Archive for the ‘Couch to 42k’ Category

Water. Drink it

Water. Drink it

All of you out there who think you drink enough water – I bet you don’t. Okay, maybe some of you do, but I thought I was one of those people and turns out…Nope. Or maybe it’s my potassium levels…

So I’ve told you already that I broke the ice and started running for my journey from Couch to 42k with Heather. Well guess what happened after that first run? Probably mere hours after I told you about it. The. worst. muscle. cramps. ever.

I’ve had muscle cramps before. I was an athlete in a former American high school life, and I remember the times when I’d be doing my laps in the pool and suddenly my foot would decide to try curling up into a ball. Then it was out of the pool, bottle of water in one hand, banana in the other, while the physio did things to your foot that felt worse than the cramp in the first place.

I thought that was bad.

So the day of my first run went great. I got up early, jogged around Clissold Park, got home, got ready and jumped on my bike to head to work. Left work and (this may have been the mistake) headed straight to my weekly netball game.

I got home and everything was great. Had some dinner, watched some iPlayer, got ready for an early restful night. All nicely tucked up in bed, straighten my legs out. And it hits me. It starts at the toes. The arches of the foot. My calf, my shins, my….everything. My whole right leg was in one giant muscle spasm. This is a muscle cramp like I didn’t even know existed. Unfortunately in the middle of the night, home alone, with no idea how to just make it stop, I felt pretty helpless as I yelled at nobody in particular while trying my best to stand up on it.

According to the ever helpful WebMD (checked after the fact…) muscle cramps can be caused by:

-Poor circulation (think I’m okay here, I was recently told I had very good blood pressure)

-Over exertion of the calf muscles (Running, cycling and netball in the same day. Hmm….)

-Insufficient stretching (I stretched…for a few seconds…)

-Exercising in the heat (Obviously not)

-Muscle fatigue (Check)

-Dehydration (Check)

-Magnesium or potassium deficiency (Check)

-Calcium deficiency (I love cheese…so no)

-Malfunctioning nerves (think I’m okay here)

-Side effect to medicine (My drug intake is pretty low…)

So at least five of those symptoms are pretty likely to fit my description pretty well. And the worst one? Dehydration. Think about how much water you drink in a day. I mean really think about. I always thought my agua levels were all good. But when I’m jogging a couple of miles, cycling about 8 miles, AND playing netball? I need a LOT more water in this body of mine to keep going.

Anyway, lesson learned. Big time. Please don’t let my mistake be yours. Be all about the agua.


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Okay. My first run is over. I’ve broken the ice, and now there’s no looking back. To start training, Heather and I are going to be using the NHS podcast Couch to 5k that talks you through your running over a nine week period to get you up to a 5k run.

Since there is almost exactly nine weeks until our first run – the Race for Life 5k in Hyde Park, it’s worked out pretty perfectly.

I’m not a morning person, and I really didn’t think I could do this, but with a hectic work schedule, a pre-work run was the only way this was going to happen. I live just by a park and surprised myself by enjoying my 30 minute walk/jog around the ponds (there are still so many baby ducks and geese! Cue the ‘awww’s) and around the petting zoo to say good morning to the billy goats. Yes, my park has a petting zoo. Beat that.

Week One of the NHS Couch to 5k is a nice gentle start, which is just what I needed. With a 5 minute warm up walk, and then alternating 60 seconds jogs and 90 second walks, it was just enough to start getting me in the mindset of what this is actually going to be like.

The next two runs will be the same, but it will start kicking up a few notches and I think I’m finally ready (in my head anyway…my legs may disagree). Wish me luck, and please do show your support by helping me our and giving some money to an amazing cause here: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/fillingthepages

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Okay, well I’ve mentioned it already and now it’s becoming very real. I really am about to start training for a marathon. And throw in a 5k, a 10k and a half marathon in the meanwhile. My family has been affected by cancer more than once and I want celebrate the fact that those closest to me have come out the other end of treatments and surgery, and are still living happy lives, and luckily I’ve found a good friend with her own desires to give something back to Cancer Research.

Except, me and my running friend Heather have decided to try and put a little twist on things by running our races around the world. We’re starting with the Race for Life 5k in Hyde Park in July, then the idea is to do a 10k potentially in North Africa (still pending) before hitting a half marathon on the Great Wall of China. To top it all off – we’re really set on getting to Jamaica for the Reggae Marathon. Because, well, if you’re going to run a marathon, why not do it on a beautiful island with beaches you can collapse on afterwards?

But we can’t do this alone – we need all the support we can get. We’re both raising money (hopefully we’ll manage to merge our two sites together, but for now if you can, please donate here: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/fillingthepages) and we’re looking for any and all kinds of sponsors to help us along the way. We’ve already been contacted by a few experiences runners and a nutritionist who’s going to take away all our biscuits and chocolate (aahhh) but if you know of anyone, or if you yourself think you might be able to help us in some way, then please get in touch.

We’d love to try out new training programmes, fitness gear, anything really! If you happen to own a plane that could take us to China and Jamaica…well that’d be just fine too.

Most of all, we need lots of encouragement, so please keep checking back to hear how I’m doing, comment, donate, and if you want to join us in any or all of our runs, even better.

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