Fit Girl – more about FG

In the last few months I’ve been posting about Fit Girl’s recent journey to her being able to train for and complete her first half marathon and her first marathon.

But those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, might remember that I’ve written about Fit Girl before.

It all started here, where I write about her injury – her IT band:

And since then I’ve written about other challenges she’s faced:

Just as a bit of context before I start, ‘Fit Girl’ is my friend, who unlike me (who seems to share everything online – from the colour of my pee, the miles I’ve run and the strange breakfast concoctions I have)…

… my friend Fit Girl is a person who doesn’t like to share anything online (perhaps almost an unknown breed in this day and age?)

She likes to be in control of the information she shares with others, and who she shares it with. Hence the reason we came up with the nickname and I never write her actual name or post her picture.

So whilst you might know her, or you might get to meet her through me, I write about her generally, with not much specific detail, or photos of her. However her story is another story which you might relate to, so we wanted to share it with you.

Now I hope to have you a bit of insight into this motivated and dedicated person that Fit Girl is. She’s walked up the Devil’s Staircase ahead of me on day 4 of waking the West Highland Way – me wanting to cry or give up, and her keeping going, motivating me along.

She really is a star, and she’s one of the reasons I’m who I am today.

She keeps herself to herself, but she impresses me, and many others with her hard work and effort she puts into everything – she makes me look lazy – honestly! (My ice cream below, whilst she’s busy cutting the grass!!)

– – … – –

Anyway, here’s some history behind Fit Girl’s journey to where she is now. She’s always been active and fit. Her main exercise has usually been in the gym, strength training with some cardio (spin / running / rowing / cross trainer)… Health and fitness are important to her.

Right about the time I started exercising more, running more and writing this blog, (in 2008, when I aimed to do a 5k, then I aimed to run for 45 mins non stop …)… Fit Girl started running more too.

We both built our running up, from walk jog to running for 20 minutes non stop, waking for a few minutes, then running for 20 again. Then in October 2008, we both ran a 5k event together. And in 2009 we did the women’s 10k and I went onto do a triathlon.

Then in 2010, we continued with 10ks and I ended up building to run my first half marathon, the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon. But right about then Fit Girl was stopped in her tracks by a knee injury. I’d had the odd injury, so I knew how she felt, but my injuries tended to get better or go away after a few weeks or so.

This was an intermittent pain in her left knee, and she had no idea what it was. She could run 4 or 5 miles one day with no pain, then she’d run a mile and she’d get an excruciating pain in her left knee. It turned out to be IT band syndrome, and it went on and on and on – for years. 😦

She got advice, she went to an NHS physio for weeks, she went to a private physio, she took advice and did all of the exercises she was given to try. She stayed off running for 6 weeks at one point, and only swam. She had an MRI, knee straps and specialist look at her knee. All over the course of 3-4 years.

Nothing worked, nothing seemed to fix it. She learned about what the experts though it was – an IT band issue, but nothing anyone suggested ever helped her to be able to run pain free. She eventually just resigned herself to running short runs (up to 6 miles) often, and she thought she’d never be able to run more than that.

That was until she randomly found out what worked for her and her knee. Fit Girl joined a gym which had the very motivational spin sessions ‘my ride’ and specifically, the sessions she used, had a very motivational virtual American coach called Mike Michels, or Mikey as he calls himself in the videos.

She’d done Spinfit before, with a great instructor called Helen, and she loved it. But the virtual spin allowed Fit Girl to sons many sessions in a week as she wanted and it helped her to push her limits and get motivated by Mikey and his words, and coaching, along the way.

She found herself pushing herself more with much harder spin sessions with Mikey and with his motivational phrases during the sessions, she found that she was getting stronger and stronger.

She did at least 3 gym sessions a week, each with 45 mins to 1:30 of spin with Mikey, and some strength work. And she did one long run at the weekend. This seemed to work as she built up the strength in her glutes, and her legs. And on her long runs, she was able to run longer!

We tested the water with an 8 miler on week, then a 9 miler. And before we knew it she was running 10 miles with me.

You see, whilst all of his pain and injury was happening for Fit Girl – I kind of went off and left her behind. In 2010 I ran a few half marathons, and at the end of the year I ran a marathon distance up Loch Lomond. My first official marathon event in 2011, and onto ultra training in 2012 before settling back down to running half marathons and marathons in 2013 and 2014. Oops.

Anyway, now with her knee holding out, and her love of running, Fit Girl said she wanted to try to run her first half marathon. I wanted to help her, so we found what worked for her training wise and she continued withal using on 3 spin and strength sessions through the week, and just one long run at the weekend.

And it worked – she was able to run long once a week with me, and strengthen everything up with Mikey on the myride workouts.

Then she started to ask herself. If I can do this and run 10 miles, what else can I do?

– – … – –

Look out for my next posts about a bit more
about Fit Girl, her dream, her marathon plan, her marathon training, the big event day and her recovery and beyond.:-)

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