23 June 2011

A run in Clare (23rd June)

Stomach bug and a sore throat has hit me since the start of the week. I couldn't afford not to go out running today so I was on my way out and my friend Paul rang me and said do ya fancy a run down in Clare.  I knew the run be slow but after so many days off, a nice run and a chat would go down great.

So we took off down to Clare to run with Emmet. Emmet has signed up for the Achill half but did leave it on the back burner so he has only managed up to 6 kilometers. We picked him up at Spancil Hill. Big horse fair on their today and we just passed through the tail end of it. Got to Emmets house before 6, changed and did a few stretches and took off in the middle of in a fine summers day in Clare.

I brought along my water belt as the sun was scorching us out there. I also brought an energy gel but did not intend to use it. I wanted to see where the best place was to carry the gel. I put it inside my compression shorts. The place worked perfect. I didn't notice it there and that should be the storage place for the half marathon.

The run itself was grand. Nice quite country roads. Pretty much flat. We chatted among the run and I took the scenery in. The Emergency helicopter flew by, we joked it was called out for us. We finished the 5.9mile route in 1.08. 
Back in Emmets house, his mother dished out some grub. Home buns went down a treat. We had a chat and took back to the road of Galway. We will all meet up again for the Achill half.  Should be a great day.

17 June 2011

Its all on now

With a good few runs this week and a nice rest day, I was ready for my next long run.  I picked up some energy gels and planned to test them out on the run.  An hour previous to the run, i downed a delicious orange,grapes, and strawberries covered in yogurt. It went down a treat.

I took off at a nice steady pace, legs felt heavy again but i knew that would go away just like the last time. It was a very uneventful run this time round. I took my first energy gel around 45mins into the run. When i usually take them high sugared isotonic drinks, my stomach never really settles to them and I usually throw up a few mouthfuls. I was expecting the same taste from the energy Gel but it was nice and delicious.

I took the kinetic orange flavour. In the shop, the store assistant said the cola flavour was the most popular and i guess that's why they were sold out. I will have to get my hands on a few more as today I just officially signed up for the Achill half marathon. It is a tough course with a category climb at the end.  I hope to get around the course in a time of 2hr 30mins. Main thing for this one is to finish it.  Only 7 weeks ago i could only run 3.6km. 

I will go on a recovery run now tomorrow. Legs very stiff at the moment. Hopefully a good night sleep tomorrow will ease the pain.  Only two weeks now. Scary thought. Below is a short video of the last years Achill half

15 June 2011

My favourite place: Hospital

Today,  i took a visit to the hospital.  My appointment was to see to see the specialist who focuses on the lungs.  it was a nice 9.30 am appointment so i made it in around 9.45.  I did run about 2km to get in for that time but sure there was a good few people already ahead of me and it wouldn't have mattered being late. So for all my hard work getting there, I was waiting for another hour before i met a doctor. I was quite happy just to be waiting for only that time. Doctor performed some physical tests, and lots and lots of questions. In there for a half an hour before the specialist came in and perform more tests. He is the one that makes the decisions.

He pointed out that since the x-ray performed over a month ago did show up some nodules on the lungs, he does expect it to be Sarcoidosis. So what they are going to do now is more blood tests, TB test, lung tests and a few more tests. i will return to the specialist in 10 weeks or so to analyse the results and take it from there. So plenty of more visits to the hospital to come.

The main thing i can take from this is there is no more pain. I want to keep it that way. I would hate to think of being in pain so much and having to wait.

I returned home and managed to put in a 9km.. During the run, i did think how this condition could have being worse and there be no way Id be back out running. I thank my lucky stars for that and will make the most of what I got.
10 June 2011

Getting further and further (10th June)

I knew today i was going to have to push it if I ever had a chance in completing a half marathon.  So i looked out the window and seen it was a perfect day.  So taking my own advice from my previous post, I began to perform some stretches and filled my water bottles with some diluted orange and put them on my belt.  I don't have or never tried any energy gels and i didn't have any Fig Rolls either so i found some Walnuts and put them on my belt.

I took off in my tank top. it was the second time only wearing the fuel belt. Even though i had it nice and tight, it still managed some slack and was moving up and down. it was only minor movement and i soon ignored it.
Around the 2km into the run, the legs were feeling heavy. I was wondering was that from the 10km run on Tuesday and my tempo 7km on Wednesday.  I was trying to figure out should i continue on and run in an unfamiliar area or just take a small route and leave my long run to another day.  I said it wasn't pain, there were just heavy so I motored on slow and steady. 

i began to start drinking around the 3.5km. Only small amounts.  At 5km, there was a woman walking at a fairly high pace. i was nearly wondering was i going to catch up to her. As i did manage to catch up to her, she got a fright. i said 'Sorry' and continued on. i was never down this part of the road and was taking it all in. The Sun was beaming hard and it was a brilliant day.  Took another turn on the route and i began to eat the Walnuts i brought on the run. First time eating on a run and by god it was hard.  I had them chewed down to a tiny grain and then washed them down with water.

I then took a turn on the road and was up a real country lane. Really nice. i was wondering am i on the right route but I gave myself a certain time and if I'm not out then I would turn back.  Along the route, i heard a vehicle approach. Since it was a tiny route, i stood in but the briars was making that difficult.  There was still plenty of space to get around me but even tough he was already going slow, he needed to slow down more and move out. He didn't and his wing mirror was coming straight for my face, I quickly put up my hand and slam his wing mirror in and shouted out a few words.  He didn't dare get out of his big jeep and I continued on my run.  

I got back to a familiar area and said i will continue on for another 20 minutes.  My left knee was beginning to tighten up. Tried giving them a bit of a stretch and continued on. heard some dogs barking up a hill. it was around the 5th dog gone barking mad at me.  But these two come running from behind me.  i quickly turned around and let out a Yelp and had my fist squeezed ready in case thy came any closer.  One of the feckin sheepdogs came close and had was growling with his teeth showing.  He went off and i continued on.  I stopped around 500 meters from the house and walked home. Just to warm down.  Got home and completed my stretches, showered and got a bit to eat.  Still wondering how am I going to manage a 21km in a few weeks but will tackle that when the time comes.
09 June 2011

Topic Thursday: Stretching

One thing lately i was leaving out on my runs was my pre-run and post run stretches.  With more runs coming my way and more frequent I have decided that I'm going to make it an important part of my routine. I have plenty of time usually for running, it shouldn't be that hard to find 5 Min's before and after a workout.

So the obviously reason for stretching is to prevent injuries from occurring.  Stretching improves our circulation. Helps to relax the muscles and gives them more flexibility which in turn leads to better posture. 

You should be careful about how you stretch. If not done properly, stretching can actually cause injury rather than prevent it. 

Below is a good video that demonstrates a series of important stretches and the correct technique in doing them.

08 June 2011

All good on the running front

It was always on my mind to do the Achill half marathon.  it has being there for awhile, well before i became sick. I have told myself on many occasions that time has got the better of me and i can't be expecting to do that distance with a short time of training. 

The Achill half takes place in 4 weeks time. My max distance so far is only 10km.  i have looked up online and most comments suggest that undertaking that distance with little amounts of training could lead to injury. I am going to have to accept that risk and just say I  have already had enough bad luck for one year.  

I still haven't officially put pen to paper in taking part in the race but if I get some good session in would be great. I would like to get up to around 16km and might walk the rest of it.  I completed a 10km yesterday.  I felt I had some energy to put in an extra km or two but i decided to leave a long run till the weekend. I am  aiming for a 14km over the weekend. 

Today, I was looking to increase the pace and take on my usual 7km route in order to beat my previous time of 42.12.  I suppose the 7kms were usually my long distance runs but want that distance now to be my Tempo runs.  Run a bit faster was the plan and get home quicker.  By the first km, i could already feel the lungs were working harder then usual. I said I will slow down around half way.  

Along the route, I had checked the time previously and hit it around 19.3mins This time around i hit it at 16mins and that was the first time I looked at the watch and it gave me a boost to keep motoring. I was plodding along and got a stitch but I kept motoring to beat that 40min mark and even shouted out 'Come on Paul'. only the cows heard me I think. the course I took as pretty much flat and little downhills but the final part makes up for one big uphill. Not to sure on the length of it, maybe 200meters. i got to around 150meters of it but I just said I have to walk for a minute, let the heart-rate drop a bit and get back to my 40min target. 

Rest lasted for 45second, took some deep breaths and got them legs going again. Was still annoyed my stitch did not go away. I said I was running home no matter what. I continued through it for the last 1.5km and got home in a time of 38.05mins. Was very impressed with that result and hopefully there will be many more results i will be pleased with.

Must look into doing some strength training especially for the core area. Since I will be doing more running, I must get into the habit of doing my pre and post stretches. Try and remain injury free.
02 June 2011

Topic Thursday: Half Marathon Hydration.

Instead of three things Thursday, I decided to change it to Topic Thursday as i can look in more detail on one particular subject.

Last week, I managed to knock up my first 10km in a long time. Speaking of a long time, it took me nearly 70minutes to complete it. I'm not worried about the time for the moment, focusing on getting back and working on endurance.

 What to bring on Half marathon distance running

Runners can survive just on water for the half marathon distance however RunnersWorld advises drinking carb-drinks, consuming gels, chews or other snack foods like Fig Newtons.  Another great point from that article is to ensure when taking energy foods, they should be taking in small amounts. The purpose behind this is  to avoid spikes in blood sugar and GI upset. If you are using a energy food then its recommended to wash it down with water and not an energy drink.  I will try the above products ahead and see how I manage in the coming weeks.

Active.com just posted an article on nutrition during a race. The article looked at the other end of the scale called hyponatremia. This is where athletes are taking on to much fluids during a race and even stated an athlete lost her life during the Boston marathon due to hyponatremia.  A key line from the article is

"Hyponatremia occurs when your fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, which results in low blood-sodium levels. Symptoms—nausea, disorientation, muscle weakness—can be similar to dehydration" 

So where a beginner athlete taking on fluids and still think he/she is dehydrated will look to take on more and could end up hyponatremia.  The key notes from this active article based on research carried out is that you should avoid to drink unless you are actually thirsty unlike the previous recommendations stating you should keep drinking to avoid being thirsty. The other main note is to monitor yourself, you are the subject of your own study. As George Sheehan famously wrote, "Each of us is an experiment of one."  Perform such tests as the Sweat Test and urine test. Your urine colour should be pale yellow (lemonade), if it is clear like water you could be over hydrated and if it is dark (apple juice) you may be dehydrated.

According to Ottawa Marathon website,  when you are sweating during a race, you are not just losing water but also lose electrolytes. This is the reason why water is not enough for long distances. Actually drinking water alone will increase the risk of hyponatrmia as the sodium level remains low. Sports drinks contains a mixture of electrolytes and glucose. Intake of too much sports drinks (i.e. drinking way more fluids then you are losing through sweat) can also lead to hyponatremia. This really does sound like a balancing act, don't under nor over drink on sport drinks. Remember though hyponatrema is rare so along with all the beginner runners, i don't want to scare myself into not running.

Electrolytes are analogous to the motor oil in your car - they don’t make the engine run, but they’re absolutely necessary to keep everything running smoothly. Proper functioning of the digestive, nervous, cardiac, and muscular systems depends on adequate electrolyte levels.

Great article written about replenishing electrolytes by Steve Born. . Please comment below if you wish you express you own personal opinion or share an experience you have. Hopefully i will find the a good balance in the future and I will investigate the different brands in energy sport drinks at a later date.

01 June 2011

Month Review: May

About this time last month, I wondered was I going to have the same as the previous months. It did start out that way when i took to the bike and my chest was in bits. Any little hill was like a category climb

Things began to look up when the pain all over my body just seemed to disappear. It didn't take me long to say thank you and began to get back outside.  I got back on the saddle first and back to the saddle pains. Didn't focus on long distances, just nice simple strides. I then took to running 3.5km. I remember the heart was pounding and lungs could really feel the air.

I haven't increased my cycling but just getting out more. Staying around the 33km mark. usual route. Being very windy over the last few weeks. I did a 40km just recently. I am also keeping the same distance in running with a few 7km runs. I did complete a 10km run.   

Even though my times being slow, they are improving each time.  Main thing is i am enjoying being out. Even when its raining i will hit out for a run.   

I got my results today. . The x-ray has shown some lumps in my lungs. They believe it is sarcoidosis and i will have to see a specialist.  Lets just hope it was a one off and wont return. It has taken too much out of me already.

Best thing i seen on my outdoor workout this month goes to the other people. Other people out running and cycling and you give them a salute and say hi. It just gives you that little bit extra of a push when others are at it.
Worse thing was the car crash, just seen the end results of the car but its annoying when ya hear it was a motorbike that smashed into it. 

Lets hope for even better for the month of June :)