Progress

Despite my utter lack of upkeep on this blog, I have been making progress with my running. Promise! Anyone who follows me on Facebook will be aware that I have been running regularly – I’m trying not to post too much about it but I can’t help but share my races and the best photos I get.

So without further ado, I am going to start doing what I promised I would and posting regularly to keep you all updated. The progress I have made was proven by the fact that I did my first 10km at the CorriAngri on the 26th of April in 1h04min

Me at the finish line. don't be fooled, this was the fastest I ran the whole time and I was suffering the heat
Me at the finish line. don’t be fooled, this was the fastest I ran the whole time and I was suffering the heat

The next race was a bit shorter (9.3km) and I finished in 55minutes and 31 seconds, extrapolating to a 10k time of about 1h01min.

Nicer view this time - I much prefer running where I can see the sea or some green to running on  the streets
Nicer view this time – I much prefer running where I can see the sea or some green to running on the streets

I have another 10k at Telese on Saturday. Since the time of my last 10k was as mentioned 1h04, I SHOULD be happy with 1h03. Actually, as long as my time is no worse than 1h04 I won’t tear my hair out. Secretly though… I would like to break 1 hour. 59mins59seconds. I doubt I’ll make it as apparently the course is quite hilly… but a girl can dream.

Last training session:

8km slow plus 6x100m strides to close

Next training session

14km long run

A broken toe, bronchitis and The Blerch

Yup I went missing pretty much straight after starting this blog. That’s mostly because I didn’t have anything running related to write, given that a couple of days later my colleague stood on my pinky toe and managed somehow to break it (still hurts months later!). No running for me for six weeks.

Courtesy of the Oatmeal
Courtesy of the Oatmeal

After this, I caught the flu and came down with bronchitis – happens every winter. Another two weeks off.

By this time I was feeling pretty damned sorry for myself. The last thing I felt like doing was running. I wanted to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and a good book, not go running. Because I’d forgotten what it makes you feel like.

Some people say they don’t understand runner’s high. Don’t get it at all, or have to run for hours to benefit from it. It hits me about 20 minutes into a run, and on a good day it makes me feel like I could run forever and ever and ever. It’s my Red Bull. It gives me wings.

What reminded me?

The invention of the Blerch by the Oatmeal. Or rather, the putting down on paper of a real entity (I believe in the Blerch!) and his account of why he runs. Which is so terrifyingly similar to why I run that it makes me think that all runners might just secretly have greedy, lazy dysfunctional fat kids inside them just screaming to get out. Or maybe that’s just me and the Oatmeal, although given the resonance the Blerch has had I think the former scenario is looking likely.

So off I go again, running, from fat to Florence, for Strathcarron yes, but also to beat the Blerch.

Thanks Oatmeal.

My training plan

Right, so since I’ve never done anything quite so silly as run a marathon before, I realised I needed a training plan. Not a DIY one, but one from a proper coach. I’m lucky enough to have some distance runners as friends, and one of them has very kindly agreed to help coach me through this, starting with training for a 10k in February. Training plan 1 looks like this:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – Fartlek
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Circuits
Friday – rest
Saturday – Interval training
Sunday – Long run (10km)

For those who don’t know, Fartlek training (I think the name is Swedish for “speed play”) is a sort of interval training where you speed up and slow down depending on how your body is feeling. I like to get some good music on and run hard to the faster/louder parts, but that’s just me.

Circuits involve running 100m, doing jumping jacks, running 100m doing press-ups, running 100m doing squats… and so on with various strength exercises, repeat 3x then sprint 400m. After circuits my 400m sprint is more like a 400m plod, but oh well.

Interval training like Fartlek, but over fixed times and distances. I’m currently doing 100m hard sprinting followed by 1 minute of slow jogging to recover, multiplied by ten.

The long run is just what is says on the cover – a long, steady state run. I’ve done two 10ks since starting this, the first in 1 hour 8 and the second in 1 hour 4. Please don’t jump straight into 10ks, I had been running off and on for years (admittedly more off than on recently) before doing this.

Next steps:

See the doctor for my medical clearance to race (better to do this before starting if you haven’t done any exercise for a while)

See a nutritionist about how to balance my need to lose 10kg with my need to keep my energy levels up for running 10, then 20 then 30 and eventually 42km.

I have a couple of donations on my page for the hospice, but am of course still fare far away from hitting my fundraising goal. As always I would be so grateful if anyone can give even just £1, $1 or €1 to help the people at Strathcarron – to do so please visit https://www.justgiving.com/Fat-to-Florence/

Thanks! Tomorrow onward with the journey from Fat to Florence!!!

Why fat to Florence?

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Well I am a bit fat at the moment. Not obese or anyhting but a bit rounder than I’d like. I’m also recovering from some health problems which really held me back in 2014. One thing that’s certain to make sure I won’t be saying the same this time next year is if I choose this year, 2015, to make good on a years old promise to myself to run a Marathon.

I decided about a month ago that the Marathon I will be training for will be the Florence Marathon, held 29th November – that gives me a decent amount of time for training. Great. Something was missing though… you see, they don’t run on Golden bond places here in Italy. They run purely for athletics. That’s admirable in itself, but I felt that there just wasn’t that same PUSH as when I did the London 10k for a local charity a few years back. So I thought… what’s stopping me from asking for sponsorship anyway, especially since I can do it with JustGiving?

So I had to pick a charity. That might be hard for many as there are so many incredible charities out there doing wonderful work, and they all need funding; but for me it was easy. Strathcarron Hospice is a charity my family and I have supported for many years, so although I am an expat living in Italy, I know what kind of amazing work the people at Strathcarron Hospice do tirelessly, year in, year out for the local community.They need to raise £65,000 every week to carry on providing the free vital care and palliative support they provide to those in the local community with terminal illnesses. They are a rock in the community for those who need it most, and I want to do my bit to make sure they can keep on doing what they do.

This blog is in part to raise awareness of the work Strathcarron Hospice does, hopefully picking up a few, however small, donations along the way. In part it will be to track my progress and the learning curve that is first time Marathon training. So stay with me, and if you are able to I would be so so grateful if you could give even a small amount to help this wonderful place stay open and keep providing care in the Stirlingshire area. You can make a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/Fat-to-Florence/ and the money goes straight to Strathcarron Hospice via the site – I do not handle it in any way, so you can be sure that anything you do give goes directly where it’s meant to.

Thanks all, and here’s to getting from fat to fit for Florence!