Archive for October 2012

Spookathon: The Aftermath   Leave a comment

On Monday I awoke to find my upper calves and the back of my knees had been replaced by cannonballs of pain. I was unable to stand up straight or put my heels to the floor. This was blatantly the doing of step! I now have an idea what marathoners’ whole legs feel like post-race. Although the pain and stiffness was restricted to the upper few inches of calf (how is this possible?) on both sides it was (and still is) the most painful and ridiculous post-exercise strain I have ever had. Thankfully I was still in post-spookathon hysteria so spent much time laughing as I hobbled about like an absolute lord. The worst thing was whenever I sat down I then had to go through the whole bow-legged, tiptoed, knees bent walk for a few minutes until the calves loosened enough to walk almost normally. Most amusing (and painful). Naturally being a FOOL I decided to go to track anyway even though standing on tiptoes was an impossibility (odd as that was ALL I could do when I got up) and for the first time ever I was relieved when Bob told us the session was 3 x 500m, (100walk), 1k, (100w), 1500m, (100w), 1 minute rest. The pace was to be 2 minutes for the 500s, 4 for the 1k and 6 for the 1500. I set out with much trepidation as I had failed to be able to do most of the warm up. However I discovered that running with a slightly odd flat footed gait was in fact much more comfortable than standing still and I was surprised to find that I was able to keep to the allotted pace (by following Duncan the perfect pacer). I tried to inject further positivity into myself by remembering that I would have thought these sorts of times impossible a few months ago. Hurrah!

On Tuesday I hoped that my calves would miraculously be fine. They were NOT. So I set out for Core & Stretch extra early as I knew cycling would be a slow process due to my inability to push down on the pedals. I was pleased to discover that a girl at the gym had the same calf-related injury and we both firmly placed the blame on the step class. After some attempts at stretching, with some aborted, I discovered that many other bits of me ached or were very tired but I suppose after 4 classes back to back I couldn’t have expected anything else. But you know me, I got annoyed that I couldn’t do as much as normal, and still went back later for kettlebells. This was not as bad as I feared mainly because Matt didn’t do too many things I couldn’t do. I had to miss out high knees and star jumps as that required being up on my toes. Impossible. The threat of major cramps in both legs was too great. I substituted some squats instead. The kettlebell exercises were fine though my arms had had it by the end. When the class was finally over I sloped off vowing to rest on Wednesday.

That’s today. I AM RESTING. I think the terrible weather will help my decision as it is awfully windy and supposed to be raining like mad later. Hopefully this will also keep any trick or treaters away. Bah humbug!

Spookathontastic!   5 comments

Having not done anything on Tuesday or Wednesday morning I thought I might be OK on Wednesday evening. I was not. Slow and generally a bit feeble. Another 7.5 miles for the book. Thus I felt maybe Thursday would be better as Wednesday was not. Wrong. Perhaps this meant I was still not fully well. Slumped around HovePark and moseyed up and down some hills. Did nothing on Friday or Saturday (didn’t even help at parkrun having woken up on the dot of 9 – oops – but probably good for my health).

Today (Sunday) was the charity spookathon at my gym (Alive, Castle Street, Brighton). Six back to back classes to raise money for LostCatsBrighton (where I work) and The Martlets. I couldn’t bring myself to do zumba or yoga but psyched myself up for four classes, a long day and plenty of cakes to keep me going. I started with the spin/circuit combination class which was good.

Still Alive in the first class…












Lots of people there and a good variety of exercises. As I hadn’t done anything proper since Monday I felt quite strong and got stuck in. Not long after I realised I still had three more classes to go and had already used up most of my strength. Oh dear. Never mind! Onwards. I refuelled with a tasty chocolate brownie and a banana. An hour later (after fitting in a bit of food shopping – tres excitment) I made my way in to the 80’s step class. Having never done step before I knew I would find it very hard as it involves coordination and concentration. I was so right! It was really really hard and complicated and I was getting all the steps wrong left, right and centre. It was without doubt the hardest but most fun I have done for ages. So funny! Thankfully there were plenty of people equally uncoordinated and getting themselves confused and tied in knots. I spent a good proportion of the time laughing and standing on my step bemusedly trying to work out how the heck those who were good at it were keeping up and getting the steps right. The trick was to focus on one person who was doing it right’s feet and copy their footsteps whilst not listening to Toby’s instructions or looking in the mirror as that just caused further confusion and falling about. It was without doubt the most fun I have had for ages and also really really hard! My legs and abs were wibbling like crazy by about 20 minutes in. Probably not helped by already having done one class and surviving on brownies in the interim. If this class were to be brought back I would sooooo do it. Even if only because it was so funny being so useless. This is the reason I don’t do this sort of class but in this case it just made me happy. Maybe because there were many others equally useless? Also I think I had become somewhat hysterical with lack of food and tiredness. I was already shaking, with dead quads and arms and this was only class two.

As I moved on to kettlebells (having scoffed another brownie in about 30 seconds) I was really feeling it. Quivery muscles, general shakiness. On the upside this had made me somewhat hysterical so I alternately laughed and died my way through. We finished with a (more gentle than usual as Jenny was also dead) Core & Stretch class. I was still laughing, shaking and fuelled on yet another brownie. But oh so knackered. Downward dogging, which I always hate, was an impossibility so I generally lay in child’s pose. Finally the  spookathon was over and I fuelled up on a vegan flapjack and wibbled home on my bike with legs o’ jelly.

All in all it was an excellent day which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it was a killer. God knows what state I’ll be in tomorrow but a superb time was had so no complaints.

Goodness gracious I think this might be the first wholly positive post I have ever written! Hoopla!

A short post! Mr. A. Mazing   2 comments

The Goodwood results are now up! I was pleased to discover I ran a pb for the course by 31 seconds (21.13 for 2.92 hilly, muddy, twisty turny miles) and was first scorer for the second Arena team (6th ladies team overall). This bodes well for the future (except Plumpton) as hopefully I will feel much better than I did on Saturday next time I race. Speaking of ill I have been trying to be sensible (you know how good I am at that) so have only done track since Saturday.

The session was 12 x 400 split into 3 x 400 with 100 jog between each 400, with 2 minutes rest between sets. The night was extremely muggy and mild so we were all sweaty as heck before we even started running. Perhaps I sweated out some of the ill? Anyway our times averaged 1.29 with a range from 1.24 – 1.33. I think this is acceptable for 12 reps. We had a good group of 5 who worked on the fast bits and recovered on the recovery bits, sticking together as a group throughout. As it should be. Altogether I enjoyed the session and didn’t feel too bad after Saturday though I was still feeling a bit stuffed up in the sinuses with a bit of earache and dizziness (what was that about being sensible?). I did manage to do nothing on Tuesday however, helped by the fact there is a Charity Spookathon (raising money for LostCatsBrighton where I work) at my gym on Sunday which means I can do my Tuesday classes then instead so I haven’t technically missed anything. So the next thing on my agenda is the seafront 6 this evening.

I think having the cold of doom disguised the antidepressant withdrawal symptoms as I am feeling a little queasy again but I must remember it hasn’t even been a month since I stopped taking them so it is still early days. In general though I feel much better in the mind, calmer, with no intrusive obsessional thoughts or constant negative self deprecating narrative running through my mind making it hard to do anything. Yippee!

The only way is up!   Leave a comment

One day I may stop entitling my posts with song lyrics.

After the horrible illness of Wednesday and Thursday I was relieved to find on Friday that I didn’t feel so utterly awful. Sneezing and snotting was greatly reduced and I was left with a headache and painful sinuses and a sore throat which was much preferable. I whipped up some mini Victoria sponges for Goodwood on Saturday and was hopeful that I would be able to run (not that it was ever in doubt that I would). As Saturday dawned (well it had dawned much earlier as I didn’t wake up until 8.50 – unheard of to miss parkrun) I tried very hard to dismiss my shaky, hot and dizzy feelings, blaming them on taking too much inhaler. I filled myself with every cold remedy going, tablets, sinus spray, tiger balm on the temples, vitamin c etc and headed out.

Goodwood was very mild and still. Makes a nice change from the usual howling and freezing gale and meant putting up the tent was easy. After a small and desultory warm up I was not feeling confident as I was really out of breath but reminded myself that other than the small problem of not being able to breathe properly my legs had been rested since Wednesday.

With this in mind I took to the start line. I remembered the relay we did a few weeks ago and decided to try and start ahead of people and try and recreate the fear of being caught as that worked very well last time. Thus I set off quite fast but not ridiculously so (the massively loud gun at the start elicited many a girly scream and much leaping in the air which I found quite amusing especially as I may have screamed myself – what a girl). As we rounded the field for the fist time I could still see the speedies not too far ahead and instead of thinking arg I must be going too fast I just told myself to stick with it and see what happened. As we entered the forest I overtook a few (non-Arena) people and felt surprisingly OK. As we exited the forest Charlie caught up with me but I managed to keep ahead of her and dragged myself onward to the finish. I was very pleased with the run as I really didn’t feel that great beforehand and midway through the run I had another massive ill sweat a la kettlebells. The results are not up yet but I hope to have improved my pb for this course. I know that I was first scorer for the second team which is pleasing and I finished where I felt I should with regards to my team mates.

I think there are a few things that are enabling me to finally begin to get where I want to in terms of my running:

Not on antidepressants so no longer tranquilised – this must surely make running easier by default.

My mind is calmer than it has been for ages (possibly due to cold stuffing up head). No constant negative narrative running through and meaning everything is a struggle against it.

I am beginning to change my opinion of myself, or at least I understand that thinking I am shit is only an opinion and not a stone cold fact. This is a major and amazing change that I never ever believed would happen so I am very very pleased and long may it continue.

I must credit the NHS West Hove Access Team for making the above two points possible. I really hope that I am finally ready to get rid of my depression for good. Well this might be a bit optimistic but I think I now have the skills to cope better and help myself out of it if I should ever fall back into it (please don’t let this happen). So all in all I am feeling quite positive and now just need to calm down the exercise, get rid of this cold and get stuck in to my new life as a good runner! Roll on v35…

Snot. Snot funny.   3 comments

Even though I was still somewhat coldy I went off to track on Monday looking forward to a nice dry one as the day had been brightly sunny. Cue the world’s biggest and most torrential rainstorm x 3. It was SO WET we couldn’t see and lane one was a fast-flowing river pelted by raindrops the size of grapes. Yet we battled onwards. The session was 8 x 800, 600 tempo followed by 200 fast with 1 minute recovery between efforts. Due to the inclement (read apocalyptic) weather, the snottiness and the fact this should be an easier week pre-Goodwood xc I took the session quite steadily. I didn’t time anything as I think my watch would have died in the deluge. In fact many Garmins died that night. RIP.

By Tuesday the constant soakings of my person had taken their toll on my already enfeebled immune system and the cold worsened. In the morning I was still OK and went off to Core & Stretch quite happily with only a slightly drippy nose and crispy too-much-nose-blowing moustache but alas half way through kettlebells in the evening everything came to a head. Suddenly was drenched in an ill sweat (distinct and very different to an exercise sweat) and had to downgrade to lighter weights. I struggled on pathetically to the end.

Today (Wednesday) I got up bright and early ready for spin until I was forced to admit I am just way too ill. Too snotty, can’t stop sneezing or blowing my nose, shivery and hot and weak. Texted Lydia to get her to talk some sense in to me as I felt horribly anxious and panicked at the thought of missing spin even though I know really it would have been stupid and detrimental to go. Anyway I didn’t go. Thank goodness I managed to finally be sensible though of course if I had been sensible originally and not done 11 solid days of exercise in the first place none of this would have happened. I will have to go through the panic and anxiety again later though as I will have to miss the seafront run too. It is for the best. Must keep telling myself that. I need to be well for Saturday. I will not suddenly put on 10 stone or forget to run if I don’t do anything between now and then. Have to make a sodding Victoria sponge on Friday too (not that that’s got anything to do with anything).

Urrrgggghhhhh I feel so groooooooooooooooooo. At least the groo is all snot and cold related which has the benefit of overriding any antidepressant withdrawal that may still be going on. I must say I haven’t felt nauseous for a while and my appetite seems to have returned (probably a good thing though I was quite happy with the weight loss – at least I’ll get fat enough to keep my shorts up again) though not much point at the moment as I can’t taste anything. Also as my head is so hot and stuffed with ill there is no space left for gloom or obsessive manic hysteria.

Hopefully by Sunday I will have tales of xc success to tell you and will be feeling fine and ready to get back to proper (sensible) training next week. Toodlepipski for now.

Instead of making me better, it’s making me ill…   Leave a comment

After the morning’s feeble spin I wasn’t confident that the seafront was a good idea but I went anyway (of course). Turned out fine! Ran with Duncan for the first 4 or so miles at sub 7 pace which didn’t feel too taxing. I had a break on the way back when he got embroiled in doctor talk with Anne though he did pick me back up in the last mile. Overall I ran 9 miles at a respectable pace and was happy I went out.

Then, finally, it was day 11 of 11. Off to HovePark I went thinking it would be a recovery style run but it turned out to be another good session. Bob set us off on some shortish reps of around 400 – 600 metres, one uphill, one down to be done 3 times. This was right up my street so I gave it a good go. Bob then sent the rest of the group off on long reps but kept me doing the shorter stuff as that is what I should concentrate on as I am just not designed for longer stuff. I managed to blast out some more good quality (in the sense of how I felt about my effort, possibly not reflected in my speed or lack thereof) reps. I then rejoined the group as they finished off with some more, similar but shorter, fast reps. An excellent session to end the exercise marathon.

As the first glorious day of rest began so did the snot. I knew this would happen as it always does after mammoth exercisings cease. But do I learn and stop before I reach this stage? Of course not! So I have been suffering a massive cold since Friday. Wholly self inflicted. Though standing out in a torrential rainstorm yesterday at HovePark whilst volunteering at parkrun probably didn’t help. However I’m sure the rest is doing my legs good even if not my poor throbbing, snot-filled pin head. I have sneezed and blown my nose so many times it is utterly ridiculous. Lucky I bought a 12 pack of tissues not long ago as I must have gone through at least 3 packets already. Hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow as it is the AGM after track so I can’t even not go (not that that would be a realistic prospect).

A quick update on the state of my mind. After the major mood swingy madness of the beginning of the week I seem to have settled down over the past 4 days or so which is good though might just be because my head is too stuffed with cold to have any strength left for anything else. I am still feeling a bit sick and fainty. Not sure if this is because I seem to have been eating less recently, or if I’m eating less because I feel nauseous. Or I’m eating less because one of the side effects of anti depressants is increased appetite? Who knows (or cares). The attendant weight loss does mean that I need to invest in some running braces as there was some severe builders bummage at HovePark on Thursday where I was rather concerned that my shorts were going to fall down. At least I was running on my own for most of it so no-one required counselling after the trauma of glimpsing my pasty white buttocks glowing in the twilight.

 Rightio, off to blow my nose some more and make a nice big bowl of chicken soup.

Day 10… flagging…   3 comments

Good afternoon all. I’m absolutely flipping knackered. Unsurprising really as I am on day 10 of the 11 day too much exercise spree. On top of this I am struggling quite a bit with my mental state now it’s been two and a bit weeks since I stopped the mirtazapine. So today I am going to try to not give myself too much of a hard time… here goes…

On Monday it was off to track as per. Bob was back so everything was back to normal. The session began with 6 x 600 paarlauf which is just my cup of tea. Short and with a longish recovery. I paired up with Duncan as he is of comparable speed. He set off on the first 600 whilst I jogged round to the 200 start to take over. I set off quite conservatively and felt comfortable rolling home in 2.18. 2.13, 2.18, 2.18, 2.15 and 2.18 and that was that! I was very pleased with my consistency (if not that speedy) as I could only have dreamed of this a year ago. Especially as I was pacing myself, as I tend to rely on others for pace judgement (not a good thing). We then had to complete a 100, 200, 300, 400 pyramid of speed interspersed with 100 easy. This was also fine and running with Duncan meant I didn’t go too mad on the 100s and 200s. All in all this was one of my more successful sessions. With a mile warm up and warm down it’s another 6 miles for the book.

On Tuesday I was really utterly mental. This was not good. Although actually it was good as I was really rather overexcited and happy. Too happy though and feeling very strange and … not sure how to describe it… I was however aware of it and that it only ever leads to a massive crash the next day (ie today). Anyway I was feeling pretty manic and strange and wasn’t sure what might happen in my overstimulated mind. Core & Stretch in the morning was fine. My shoulders annoyed me with their pathetic and painfulness but nothing out of the ordinary. In the evening I was still feeling decidedly high and subjected a poor man to a massive ramble about all the exercise I do and how it is too much and I’m knackered but I just can’t stop. Unfortunately this energy didn’t translate into extra strength of leg and I still struggled with all the squats and jumping type things. The problem is all my various exercisings use leg so there comes a time where they just have nothing left. As track is always hardcore it means kettlebells is often a wibble-legged feeblefest. Oh well. The arm bits were OK though and I was still swinging the 20kg. As Monday was good Tuesday was never going to be as good as two good days back to back is a very rare thing.

By this morning the scary but cool madness had left and I felt utterly crap and down so spin was rubbish. I didn’t have anything left in body or mind which meant I couldn’t really give anything to the class. I also was finding it really hard just not bursting into tears. Oh dear. Playing Hurt by Johnny Cash at the end for the warm down nearly reduced me to a sobbing heap but I (just about) managed to hold it together. I know the combination of too much exercise with no rest and the withdrawal symptoms from the mirtazapine has brought me to this but I only have seafront run this evening and Thursday’s Hove Park intervals session to get through and then it’s 3 days off! Yippee.

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