Pain in the neck

I’ve been a little quiet this week… after the 10k I felt a little tired (blurry vision gives it away for me), so on Monday I rested, and then on Tuesday too. Work was busy, but good busy. I’d not been sleeping too well, broken sleep, but that wasn’t the end of the world.

Then Wednesday I woke up at 5am, with a run in my mind, I got up and dressed into my running gear. Only to realise that I had a bit of a sore neck… right up at the top of it, on the left side. And sitting waiting to wake up and go my run, it got worse and worse, and I realised I had limited movement and a lot of pain.

I got up from my chair to go my run, then realised very quickly there was no way I was running, and went right back to bed for more sleep.

After two days of rest, I managed to pull my neck… seemingly in my sleep. I thought back to around this time last year, it might have even been the same week. I was holding assessments at work, like this week, holding assessments at work, and as I was putting a top on (such a dangerous activity!) POP… a muscle in my shoulder popped.

This one, in my neck this time feels very similar, got through the dangerous act of sleeping! This time there are odd occasions of shooting pains depending on what I do… and I’m best not to use my left arm to do anything or pain can shoot up my neck.

I’ve been taking the usual medication and icing it, and lucky for me I was able to get a half hour massage with Lorraine in work yesterday. The sorest ever. Yesterday the pain was so bad I was in tears at points… hopefully time and medication / managing the pain will make it better soon.

I text my brother and he said MTFU and keep taking the pills – and it just so happened I sat down to my lunch and the snickers above was in my lunch box. Ha ha. Best not to be a moaner eh?

So I’ve had to cancel a couple of coaching sessions this week – boooo. And if you see me walking funny like a robot not able to turn my head, you know why.

On the bright side, I got this picture message from a colleague this morning. Looks like it’s on the M74… a big bright double rainbow, telling us everything will be fine. So get better and stop moaning.

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Wk23 into Wk24

Last week I had a good balance of exercise and rest… 3 runs including a long easy run and a 10k race… 2 Strength sessions and 2 rest days.

Work was really busy and I was doing long days, so Saturday, a day of rest, was welcome. Time out… out for breakfast, in the garden and out and about. Sunday was race day, but I was careful to relax and not do much the rest of the day.

In the afternoon on Sunday, we went to the Big Feed just along the road, where I had a tasty venison cheese burger and a wee treat whilst we enjoyed the atmosphere. £2 to get in, then food, drink and ice cream for how ever much it cost. My burger was just what I needed after the 10k.

So here’s what I did last week:

Mon: Squat Strength
Tue: 4M easy
Wed: Rest
Thu: 9.5M
Fri: Strength
Sat: Rest
Sun: 10k race

I felt ok after the 10k, my calves were a little tight but I felt ok this morning. My average HR was 168 / max 182… so pretty high… for 47 minutes. I walked plenty on top of that too. Today I thought about strength training this morning, but realistically I knew rest would be best.

I was in work early, and felt a little tired with my vision a little blurry. A clear sign that a Rest day was the right choice.

I’ll get an early night tonight, and as long as I’m feeling ok tomorrow, here’s what I’m planning this week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: Strength 1/8
Wed: 5k Bridges easy
Thu: AM Strength 2/8, PM Coaching (hill)
Fri: AM Coaching (hills)
Sat: Coaching (long run)
Sun: Rest

Work will be another busy one, this week and next, and I’m finding getting up early to train, along with regular rest days, a nice balance to help me deal with it all. I seem to be getting enough sleep too, so fingers crossed that stays the same.

All good. 👍🏻

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How to become a morning exerciser

These last few weeks after we had a wee break in mid May… I’ve been finding it really easy to get up in the morning to exercise. (Touch wood!) It could be my body clock, it could be Spring / Summer versus Winter (I always find it harder to get up to exercise when it’s cold and dark)… it could be that everything else in my life seems to be going well, so I’m sleeping better… it could be habit… it could be a lot of things.

Whatever the reason it’s good. Each morning I’m waking up around 5 or 6am… and I’m then able to get into a routine of getting up and ready to train and be finished my run or strength training by 730am, and in work for before 9am. It’s good.

There’s a saying that you’re either a Lark or an Owl and I’m most definitely a Lark… I much prefer training first thing in the morning, waking me up and setting me up for the day. The days I exercise in the mornings, I usually feel great after and go on to have a good day. It’s well worth getting up for.

I have a bit of a routine to get me up and out of the door… and here it is:

1. Wake up to my Garmin Vivoactive vibration alarm on my wrist, turn it off.
2. Get up, and go to the bathroom, wash my face.
3. Go to the spare room and put on my workout / running clothes which I laid out the night before.
4. Go downstairs, sit, drink water, and take my vitamins / creatine.
5. Avoid checking my emails / Facebook on my phone (until after working out).
6. Bathroom…
7a. Taking my phone (music), water and a banana into the garagym to workout…
7b. Go out for a run.
8. Back, blog, breakfast, shower, get ready.
9. Prep food for the day and walk to work.
10. All of this is one with a weekly plan of what training I’ll do, so I have a plan to go by and follow.

Now here’s my tips for how you can become an early morning runner / exerciser:

  1. Get to bed early. … work out how much sleep you need, and work your go to bed time, back from your get up time. Ie – i want to get 8 hours sleep ideally…and want to be up by 6am and out the door by 630am. So if I get ready for bed by 930pm…and in bed by 10pm, that should be 8 hours sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep so that you’re able to train, work and function properly.
  2. After you wake… count slowly backwards from 5… so that by the time you get to 1… you’re up… 5 eyes open, 4 sit up, 3 push covers off, 2 swing legs around onto the floor, 1 stand up.
  3. Lay out your clothes, trainers and gadgets in a separate room the night before. … I wear different gear and gadgets for running and strength training. So I lay my training gear out depending on what I’m doing the next morning. I put it in the spare room so that I don’t wake up my other half scrabbling around in the dark.
  4. Get an alarm clock that works in waking you up or put your alarm clock out of reach. … set your music system to turn on and wake you up from another room… or get a daylight alarm clock to wake you up gently. My vibration alarm works well for me.
  5. Have a Training Schedule. … know what you’re going to do training wise, and be committed to it. Post it online if it helps you be accountable. Have a number of things you’ll aim to do each week… ie 3 runs, 2 strength sessions. Maybe train for an event, or have a reason to get up to train / exercise. Listen to your body though, and if you need sleep instead of training, make sure you get it. It’s all about balance.
  6. Think about your plan the night before. … have a set strength plan, workout to do or a class that you need to be there for… if you’re running, decide on a route, and if you’re like me… if you’re lying at night not being able to get to sleep, visualise running or going along the route you’re planning to do as you try to get to sleep.
  7. Get a morning running or training buddy. … this one really works for me… If I’m meeting Twinnie, I always turn up on time… (except that one time I lay in and woke up 2 minutes before I was meant to meet her – ouch!) … it’s not so easy to roll over and go back to sleep. Or go to a boot camp or get a personal trainer to train you at 630am…that’ll get you up and out!
  8. Eat something light…. for strength sessions, I take a banana and water in with me… sometimes I just need that little bit of energy to set me up to work hard. I tend to run on empty, but do what works for you.
  9. Drink some water… when i go downstairs, I put my gadgets on, then grab my vitamins and bottle of water and sit for a bit to allow my body to wake up. I’m usually about twenty minutes to half an hour from when I get up to when I’m out the door.
  10. (If it’s dark or winter) wear something reflective (or if it is Spring / Summer) keep the curtains / blinds slightly open so you get some daylight in your room early on to help wake you up.

And if you want to read a good book on how you can get an effective routine into your morning to benefit you and help you become a morning person, read Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I read it a couple of years ago, and whilst I don’t do everything he suggests, I’ve created my own habits and rules to help get me up and out to train.

You can too. What are you waiting for?

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How does your garden grow?

I must be getting old… after adding plant after plant and seeds after seeds for the last few weeks… And seeing plants and bushes we planted last year and the year before, grow and bloom… it’s quite satisfying now, sitting in our garden watching it grow and watch the wee birdies come and go.

I planted some yellow canary creepers a few weeks back and they’re starting to bloom. So I’m setting them up with some string set out vertical so that they can climb up it.

Here’s the seeds I bought, two lots.

And here’s them growing next to the fence, and in the wooden planter above…and the pink pot at the top of the page.

I also got some campion red flowers which I’ve planted about.

And then there’s the wild flowers that are starting to take hold…

It was nice sitting in the sunny garden today, taking it all in and saying hello to the wee birdies who were getting their lunch. 🙂


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NOT got my 10k number…

So… here’s a tip… if you’re training for an event… for six or seven weeks… and you’re really keen to do it… it’s best to enter it, and complete your entry… so that you get your number in the post.

The rocket that I am… *thought* I’d entered the Glasgow women’s 10k… just before the London marathon (to give me something to focus on)… but as the event date got nearer, I didn’t get my number… so I messaged the Great Run folk via Facebook last week.

When I contacted them a week ago, they said if it’s not with you by Thursday 7th, to let them know and they’d tell me what to do. So I waited til Wednesday and it wasn’t with me.

Then they said they checked and it looked like I hadn’t completed my entry. 😪 but if I called before 4pm on Friday they’d take my entry over the phone.

They were right, somehow I hadn’t completed my entry and I wasn’t in. So my last chance was to call up on the last working day before the event and sign up.

I’ve no idea how I didn’t manage to enter, but I probably didn’t click the payment button or the payment didn’t go through. Anyway, I’m not in.

I haven’t mentioned this much, but work has been very busy recently, and yesterday I was in from 830am-630pm… and more or less non stop with a big long to do list. It’s good, but busy.

Anyway… my best intentions were to call and book my place… but it was only as I was leaving (at 630pm) I remembered to call them.

It’s a shame they didn’t check last week when I initially contacted them, but that’s probably just me trying to shift the blame from my stupidity… onto them. But perhaps that chat might work if I say it to them nicely on Sunday morning at 9am in Kelvingrove Park.

So I think that’s what I’ll do. I’ll take a leisurely early morning walk up to Kelvingrove Park on Sunday morning first thing, explain the situation, (blame their systems a bit…) and ask them nicely if they’ll let me run (or even that I can pace if they need a spare pacer).

After all, I’ve helped them out and paced at the event for four years (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016) and paced at the great Scottish Run three times. I’ve also run it myself three or four times (here’s me last year in usual race colours).

We will see.

What do you think my chances are? If I’m really nice and chat them up a bit? A wee bit of Glaswegian / Highland charm?

And I guess, if they don’t let me in, there’s nothing stopping me just going for a run, on my own, through Glasgow’s streets on a sunny Sunday morning. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ll leave you with this, something a colleague said to me yesterday when I was chatting online to him.. and I realised it’s how I tend to play things… be nice, not nasty, and you’re more likely to get what you’re after in life. (I added the ‘be nice’ bit).

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Tips for running in hot weather

It feels like it’s been warm since about April or May. Ever since the roasting day that was the London Marathon, the weather seems to have been lovely and sunny most days.

I’m definitely not complaining, but got weather can make running a little more testing. I’m always careful in running not to push it too hard when it’s hot, or at least keep an eye on my heart rate to make sure I’m not pushing it too hard.

Ahead of the women’s 10k next weekend, where it’s likely to be hot, here’s my tips for running in hot weather:

> Try and start slower and if you can pick the pace up as you go if you want to.

> For a 10k split it into 3-4 sections – 2 mile warm up and enjoy, 2 miles steady or build, 2 miles nice and strong and relaxed, last 0.2 miles everything you’ve got left.

> Look out for and aim to run in shaded areas where you can.

> When running an event, maybe reassess your goals, maybe add some time on to your goal to take account of the weather. (Add 10-20% on).

> Run to your heart rate instead of pace – to keep it easy – run at between 180-your age and that number plus 10, or plus 25 if you want to push it a bit.

> Conserve your energy, take it easy. Run at an easy pace and try not to get wound up with trying to run your fastest.

> Be careful not to overdo it. If you were planning on running in fancy dress, maybe reassess.

> Hydrate and pour water over you, down your neck and back to keep cool. If running long, wear a water pack and drink regularly.

> Drink, douse, drain, drop – throw any empty bottles to the side of the road away from the traffic of other runners.

> Take on energy, either before, during or after.

> Wear sun screen, sunglasses, shorts and a vest. Maybe a cap (wet the cap for coolness).

> If you start to find it hard, slow the pace down or walk to recover.

> You might not get a pb, but try to enjoy the experience. Relax. Look around you. Take it all in.

> Offer help and encouragement to others who are maybe struggling.

> Most of all, have fun and enjoy it. 🙂

If you’re running the Glasgow women’s 10k next week, then maybe I’ll see you there. Be sure to say hello if you see me. 👍🏻🏃‍♀️

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Scottish Half Marathon entered

I’ve entered a new race to me this year… the Scottish half marathon which takes place in the 23rd September.

It will be the weekend after our return from a 2 week holiday, but it’ll keep me focused on training well before our holiday. And I might do the Great Scottish Run a week after (as usual).

One of my good friends lives near the end of this one so it’ll be a good reason to see her and her family too. 👍🏻

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