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People Say ‘Why Me’ I Say ‘Try Me’

“Son, your Dad has cancer.” My mum said as I was in the middle of making my bed.

“What!?” I burst out saying in complete disbelief and anger.

“He’s only 47, he’s my dad, he can’t have cancer!” I said as my eyes welled up with tears that I tried to hide from my mothers eyes.

It was August 25th 2015, a bright beautiful day, the sun was shining and you could hear the birds sing in the green leafy tree tops. The skies were bright blue with some grey clouds approaching from the distance. However this was a great day, one of a kind to be honest as Glasgow doesn’t see much sun, (That’s maybe why there’s a Scottish stereotype of white skin and ginger, iron bru, like hair) so I open my bedroom window and inhale the warm, humid summer air.

“Ahhh, today is going to be a good day” I said to myself.

Today was a big day, a huge day in fact. It was my National track and field championships. Something I’ve been training relentlessly all year towards. I was in the best physical condition of my life, I felt like Rocky Balboa going up against Apollo Creed, the underdog about to stamp his authority on the National scene.

Like I always do, I go down stairs, get the coffee on and make a big bowl of hearty porridge with nuts, raisins, honey and just a dash of cinnamon (Cinnamon always made it that little bit more Christmasy). This always fuelled me for important days; little did I know how memorable this day was going to turn out for me.

This was the first time I was home for months, I lived in London, working as a personal trainer. I was sitting at the dinner table watching television, anything to pass the time and keep my mind from drifting towards my race and using up my nervous energy. Usually my Mum and Dad are really upbeat when I get home, they are always asking me questions, sometimes too many that it annoys me most of the time because they haven’t seen their only Son in so long. However today was quite the contrast, I sat there at the table and nothing, not a single word from them. They just sat on the couch watching television too. It was I that was asking the questions.

“How have things been, have you guys decided if you want to go on holiday yet?” I asked.

“No maybe not this year, maybe next year.” My mum replied hesitantly.

“Aw okay, usually you go away for the September weekend to Gran Canaria do you not?” I asked.

“Yeah Son but not this year, we don’t have the money just now, your mum has been working a lot to pay for the mortgage and other suff.” My dad replied.

This seemed really weird to me as my mum and dad love spending the September weekend in Gran Canaria, They have been doing it for the past 6 years. Something wasn’t right I thought.

“Are you having money problems?” I enquired.

“Yeah, well, your dad has had a few sick days this month and hasn’t been getting his usual monthly wages. So I’m having to work double shifts to pay the bills.” My mum replied.

Something didn’t seem right but I couldn’t put my finger on it, maybe it was that I was very focused on the day ahead, my mind was wondering off and taking me through the race of my life that I was about to take on. Not knowing someone else had their own race of their life; my dad.

So as I walked upstairs completely oblivious to what was going on around me, I think as a teenager you don’t think panoramically at things in life and what is going on round about you. As a teenager I had quite a self absorbed personality that I feel most teenagers have in this day and age. This “Facebook” generation has completely engulfed us as a human race and has really corrupted and poisoned the human mind, we walk around like zombies with phones in our hands as if it is our life support machine and I don’t think we will ever get rid of this Facebook generation, will we?

As I was making my bed and laying my competition clothes out on the bed making sure I had everything I needed “Singlet? Check. Shorts? Check. Spikes? Check. Warm up tracksuit? Check.” I said to myself as I go through my mental checklist.

“Sean, can I tell you something?” My mum asked.

“Yeah sure, whats up” I replied. Not knowing that the next sentence I was about to hear would change my perception of life forever.

“Sean, I know you have a big race today and I know there is no easy way to tell you this. I didn’t want to tell you over the phone when you were down in London but your dad has cancer son.”

My heat sank, that blind panic feeling you get when you wake from a nightmare when one of your loved ones die and you feel its real for a split second, I had that. I could feel pins and needles run through my veins and all over my face as if a snake full of venom bit me, it was the same feeling I had when I crashed the car when I was younger and thought I was going over the bridge, my life flashed before my eyes. It was that exact same feeling of shock. I couldn’t believe what my mum just said, why me I asked, why my dad, why my family, this only happens to other people not my family. You see and hear people with cancer everyday but you always think “No that will never happen to me or my family, always someone else but not us.”

I gave my mum a hug and told her not cry and that everything will be okay, my mum couldn’t see the tears in my eyes as I made sure I stayed strong for her and dad. Feeling her hands shake as her hands were clasped round my back, I could feel the soft tear drop fall on my neck. I was completely devastated and shocked at what I had just been told. I walked downstairs and my dad gave me a look that he knew there was nothing we can do but hope and pray that we can hold strong as a unit and fight this destructive and toxic virus off.

“How are you feeling dad?” I asked.

“Don’t worry son, we will beat it. My time isn’t up yet.”

I picked my dad up off the couch and told him “If I’ve got my strength from you, you will make it, I know you will. Cancer may have started the fight but you will win the war.” I said with a tear in my eye and hope in my heart.

August 25th 2015 will have a permanent place in my heart and mind until the day I die, this was the moment where I knew that we as humans are not invincible, but yet we live every day like we will live another. This day shocked me to my core and told me to fight for my dreams and goals because that one day might come where your fight may be done. 

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” – Vince Lombardi.

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New Surroundings

So its been around 7 weeks now since leaving the hustle and bustle fast life of London and living here in my new adopted home of Alamosa, Colorado. Since we have got here it has been a real team effort to stick together. It has been a great experience thus far but I wouldn’t say it has been a stroll in the park.

I have really had to budget my savings and make sure I am not splashing out the way I used to on training kit, supplements and eating out. It has been hard but its a good struggle because even though I haven’t got the same income as I had back in the UK Im a lot happier with this new way of life. I may not be the wealthiest Ive ever been but I am the happiest Ive ever been in a long time and thats the most important thing in life… Well I guess thats the wise words of a poor man! ha. 

Since coming here to Alamosa it has been a seamless transition in terms of meeting new people and making friends, so far Ive met a lot of great people, actually everyone Ive met have great but I feel that my two closest friends are Aaron Denzeio and Austin Bogina. They have both really helped me settle in and keep my head screwed on when I am having a hard day at “the office” aka the track! I think its because we are like minded people. 

Aaron is a 10k guy who is extremely passionate about running, who has moved from California, Pennsilvania. To be here at Alamosa, 7,500ft high to reach his full potential under Coach Martin and achieve distance running greatness and I cant wait to be part of the journey with him. He works hard on and off the track making sure he does everything right to perform well in training and he is an awesome training partner.

Austin is a distance guy too, from Kansas State University, passionate like me and Aaron. He loves the miles! Like myself ! Maybe thats why we get on so well just because of that! haha. No He’s an awesome guy too. I think he’s going to be a great coach when he’s older when speaking to him I get that feeling he really knows his stuff and loves helping people, including me. We have great chats about training, racing, running in general and just general life stuff too… but more running chat because lets face it running is awesome!

Living and Training at 7,500ft has been a beauty and the beast experience the reason being, Alamosa is such an epic place for endless trails to run, Beautiful snow top mountains super close, knowing that you are surrounded and engulfed by the mountains all around is a mesmerising setting. Its like everywhere you look its a screensaver moment that you could set as your background picture. Being at altitude really does make you feel at one with nature, and the great thing about Alamosa is that its practically flat… Until you get to the mountains of course but the town itself is flat as a pancake. Which makes it really good for fast running and recovery running. The scenery is the beauty but what is the beast!?

The beast is the training and how you feel when your working out hard up here at the high elevation. When you are at 7,500ft everything you do is hard on your body… Even sleep! Even if you get 7-8 hrs sleep up here, it doesn’t make you magically recover from a hard days session. Recovery is slower up here and digging yourself a hole of fatigue is real easy. Once you’ve felt into the trap, its hard to get yourself out. It is not like sea level, if you train hard and get enough sleep and in a day or two your back to normal. Up here it could takes weeks or a month to reset your bodies fatigue levels. Its almost like quicksand in a way in terms of the harder you try and fight, the deeper below you go.

Training has been going really well but boy does the lack of oxygen kill you quick in sessions, Im still coming to terms with living and training this high and for a lengthly period of time. Its not like I’m here for 4-5weeks then coming back to sea level and recover from a brutal altitude stint, this is months and years that I will be here living and training at this elevation and if I don’t treat it with respect it will slowly but surely break me down.

Ive got great faith in my coaches Damon, Clayton and David who have all helped me settle into the town and training programme nicely. My team mates who are all awesomely motivated to win National titles, which if we keep working the way we are then I can see us having a great shot at gold! Most importantly, this is my new family for the time that I am here, the Adams Family! Get it?haha. Thats enough from me, more updates from me soon on training, progress, competitions and …wait for it… starting University for the first time ever!! WTF, It will be like 22 Jump Street!! lawl.

See ya!! Off to buy my books and pens!!

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Scottish National Cross Country

Waking up and thinking here it is, there is that funny stomach feeling you get that tells you this isn’t any ordinary day or another training run. This is the feeling of all the training runs being put to the test…. It’s here I said to myself… Scottish national 12km cross country championships!

This is where I’m going to find out if I have trained well since my last outing in January at Edinburgh against the best in Scotland. Are all those early morning 6am runs or late night 10pm runs worth stressing over, getting them done before or after work. 

As I sat on the couch eating breakfast and looking over at my dad and thinking all of the stuff he’s been through since summer, “jees if he can go through what he has been through then I can go through the pain of a race any day… It’s only one foot in front of the other!!” My dad has been through hell and back and now hopefully doesn’t have to go through any more pain again but as I looked at him sitting on the other couch now only 8 stone when he used to be 11 and a half stone before his illness. “I’m gonna make him proud like I did at the Scottish championships in the summer” I said to myself.

As I set off for the race in the car, my mum drove…. What a mistake, if I wasn’t already nervous enough her driving had me right reved up for the race. I was like god you’ve been on the planet for 50 odd years and you still don’t know how to get to bloody Falkirk!!! Aw I’m telling you I love my mum to bits but damn she knows how to push my buttons…. Worst driver ever! A strong coffee and my mother driving at 50miles per hour on the motorway is a recipe for disaster… Bloody hell mum the race will be done by the time we get there!! Oh the nerves were rattled my mate Derek was in stitches as me and my mum had our little tiff in the car… “Typical Fontana” he said. 

We got to the course… Finally. With only 10mins to spare before I had to warm up I made my way to the course. As I was power walking to my club tent I bumped into a nice wee man from Edinburgh athletic club he was also racing but in his words he “looked just to get round the 12km course.” I wished him the best of luck and hoped he ran well and as we went to our separate tents he wished me luck and said he will watch out for me. If he is reading this just now, I hope you done well:)

As I warmed up I felt slightly heavy… Wether that was nerves or 2 massive servings of mums homemade risotto from night before, I don’t know but hey that cup of strong coffee certainly cleaned the tubes! Haha. As I got into my warm up I felt better and lighter… “Awesome!” I thought. I had a good week of training leading upto the race so I was just hoping everything would stay together for today as I know the week before a race doesn’t tell you very much about what your going to do, it’s the weeks and months before. But hey I was going to clutch onto anything to keep me feeling positive about running a 12km cross country, the great thing about Falkirk is that it is a true cross country blessed with mud, up hills and down hills, trail, undulation, wind, puddles and most of all the great atmosphere of spectators cheering you on…. It’s so different to track both of which I love. 5mins before the gun goes off I put my vest on…. “Shit the bed!! Why the hell is this too tight!!?” I must have picked up the wrong vest from a previous race thinking it was mines and now I’m 5mins from racing and I’ve got a extra small boys vest clinging to my rib cage. I’m like I’m gonna miss the start of my race… Help!! has anyone got a vest!? One of our club members came to the rescue and lend me his vest… It was like a formula 1 pit stop with four or five Victoria park members taking my vest number off one vest and each of them with a pin each ready to put my number on the new vest I pulled on…. Great work guys!! I was on the start line now, ready to rock and roll. 

As the gun goes off we all charge up the hill fighting for position and good ground to run on. I analyse every competitor that is in front of me knowing wether or not they have went off too quick and gonna be left to lick their wounds half way through the race. I settle in and stay calm even though I’m think the pace is pretty hot just now and going any quicker may jeopardise my race to finish as high up as I can. I really didn’t know what shape I was in so I started conservatively and worked my way through the field. First lap I was around 13/14th, as I passed my training partner Gauson I asked how many laps have we got, I couldn’t remember if it was 3 or 4, He said 3. So now with two laps to go I push through the field again now coming round to the last lap I’m in 7th position… First and second place were clear but between 3-8th there was a glimpse that if anyone was to kick for home with a strong finish they could get that bronze. I looked back and saw I was clear of 9th and 10th place but there were still a good 4 of us looking to gun down the third place man. I thought with a mile to go I’m gonna push here and kill off any kick from some people it brought us down to me and Alexander hendry in 5th and 4th looking to chase twelde in third as the gap was now deminishing by each stride. I could sniff the bronze medal and was hungry to attack… I moved passed Hendry into 4th with 1km to go and chasing down twelde. Hendry tracking my heels me tracking twelde …. C’mon Sean push for home 600 to go…. Hendry now found a gear and moved up on my shoulder… Me twelde and hendry sitting in third spot here neck and neck!! The fans were screaming, I don’t know who for as I was lost in the race and digging deep and trying to pull everything out the bag to get the medal… I was running desperate at this point, running on empty… Guts… Mental toughness. Pumping my arms trying to shift my heavy legs to the finish. As we turned the corner 200m from the finish hendry and twelde kicked again. I tried with all my might and want but a gap appeared… Shit!!! Come back to me!! I screamed in my head. But there was nothing I could do as we crossed the line twelde held on by the skin of his teeth, hendry 4th and me 5th with absolutely nothing in it. 

How was that? My old coach Lawrie asked right away… “I’m fucked. Thought I had 3rd. Just never had the legs to go with them at the end.” “Yeh I thought you had it, paced it well and thought you were gonna steal the bronze. But hey it wasn’t to be. Well done but next time you need to capitalise on those opportunities Sean.” He said. Which I feel he’s right in saying because I am known for missing the boat sometimes when it comes time to strike.

Looking back on the race I won’t say I’m happy, I’m definitely in a better place mentally and physically from January’s performance but having walked away with nothing when I had a sniff at a medal is hard to take. I know some people reading this will be like don’t be selfish or look what you have achieved but as someone who puts a lot of time and effort into running and does want to be one of the best distance runners in Scotland and hopefully Britain… I don’t want 5th… I want more and I guess that is the mindset of an athlete where sometimes nothing is ever enough. And I wouldn’t be an athlete if I thought any other way that’s what drives me to be better and do better. As I said I’m satisfied with what I have done what will make me happy is to go out at the inter counties and race better again and carry the national cross country performance through to the inter counties and home countries cross country.

For everyone who competed in the race well done and that wherever you placed it drives you to better that next time. I guess what I’m trying to say is “be better tomorrow than you were today!” 

Thanks for taking the time to read guys!!!:) x 

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Mud and Guts

Waking up and breathing in that crisp fresh air in the morning let’s me know what time of year it is. Yup that’s right … Winter time, road racing, and cross country time, mileage time… Putting in the grind time!!

There was a famous quote I heard recently “all men are created equally, but some work harder in pre season!” It was by a man called Eric Turner, hip hop preacher. Look him up in YouTube, absolute legend. 

And it’s right the grind you put in today, tomorrow, next week and next month will ultimately affect the outcome of your track season. I’m a big believer in the winter volume to get you strong and durable for the track season ahead. There’s nothing better than churning out 100miles per week and feeling like a lion. I’m guessing there are a lot of guys and girls looking forward to slogging it out on the mud and there are people who are dreading it… To all of you out there what I say is shut up and get dirty!! Haha. Embrace the elements they make you strong and tough like a piece of iron.

I hope my season goes better this year than last. Last year I was faced with a stress fracture in my foot in august then a stomach virus in November which had me out of training until the end of December. So any running and racing I’m doing just now feels like an absolute privilege. And for the guys who trained with me will probably be laughing at this right now, knowing the state I was in running round bushy park with my stomach problem… I was like a bear in the woods… After every rep in training I would veer off to the nearest tree and then pull the shorts up and back into the next rep after the recovery was up… It was so bad… Sometimes I wondered why I’m going through the mental and physical torcher but as a distance athlete we don’t know when to say no, I don’t know when to say no!! My mind will stop at nothing because I want to be the best.

So now this season has got off to a solid start, not great but solid. I finished 20th at the great north run earlier this season in a time of 67mins. Not the fastest time in the world I know but damn 13.1miles is a fair old distance if you’re not used to it!! I loved and hated it all at the same time. 

I loved the crowd, 13.1miles of fans!! Music, Lucozade, and water stations and believe it or not this year the weather was awesome!! I couldn’t tell you how much I enjoyed the atmosphere of the great north run, I will be back in 2015 to do it all over again… And faster… Well I hope!!haha.

On to the hates but this was to do with the pain and the suffering of such a brutal distance. The hills… Slow, long climbs followed by flat at the top. No down hill till the end of the race and when your legs are like rubber and you have to kick on down a hill going at a good speed your scared incase those legs give in from under you. 

On the last mile stretch I gave everything I had, I was running on empty. Being in front of a fellow countryman Luke Caldwell gave me the extra boost to know that I had ran a strong race as he was just off the back of a fantastic season representing Scotland at the commonwealth games 10,000m. As the finish line drew nearer I dug as hard as I could, I had gut wrenching pain in my stomach and feared that Luke may kick by me at any moment. But I thought about the pain I was going through to the pain my family and future family in law have went through the past year and said to myself “sean!! Dig deep!! Move your legs and arms as fast as you can!! No pain… No pain!!” And I did. Crossing that line felt amazing and sore at the same time but as I write this and think about the pain, I can only feel excitement of what next year will bring and know that this race was a stepping stone to bigger things on the horizon.

Things have been going surprisingly well for me this winter so far, I can’t complain to be honest. I just hope it transfers itself over to the races. As I said this time last year I wasn’t running a single step. Now as I write this I am making my way down to Portsmouth on the train to compete over the great south run. It’s a great feeling being in good shape early In the season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it continues.

For everyone out there that is working hard behind the scenes to get ready for their season ahead I wish you the very best in what you are competing at and get what you deserve from the race. And that is an honest statement. If you haven’t worked hard or you have worked hard I hope the results show that and make you hungry to be even better next race out. Don’t take this winter for granted because before you know it we will be hitting spring and you will be thinking “shit!! Where did the time go!!” And that’s the bitch of it!! Don’t think you are far away from any race because as we all know it creeps up on you… And all I will say is if it’s against me you better be ready!!

“Winners don’t wait for chances, they take them!”

Over and out.

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I Get Injuries Too

“Geoff it’s been 8 weeks now and I’m still not running properly, what’s going on? I don’t understand how my foot can take so long to heel!”

“Sean just be patient and you’ll soon be back, you have to just ride it out. Day by day it’s getting better, you just have to keep cross training and rehabbing the foot.”

Plantar fasciaitis is such a pain to get rid of once you get it, I’ve been told by a good few people the quickest way to cure it is to “snap your plantar” no word of a lie. One the the girls I train with Charlie Perdue, told me about her plantar trouble and Sonia o’sullivan’s, where when they both snapped it they could have it operated on then it would heal much quicker than managing an inflamed plantar. Listen to this Sonia jumped off her kitchen table to cause the tear. Because after 6 weeks of and operation and being in a boot your almost ready to start jogging lightly.

10 weeks on with my plantar fascia pain of inconsistently training and having to manage it, you can see me think “hmm… I have a kitchen table!” Stood on top of it one day and thought “sod it, let’s snap this little fucker.” But then I’m thinking nah it will get better in a couple of days time don’t worry… Couple of days later go by and I’m back on top of the kitchen table. The cycle of a crazy athletes mentality when injured. I think I could probably send a physiologist to a psychiatrist after they have a session trying to fix me when I’m injured ha!

But yeh that’s why I’ve not been blogging too much, not had much to talk about but then one of my clients at the gym said don’t not blog because your not training or racing properly… “It’s good to let people see the other side of an athletes good spell, how you cope with hard times and then show people how you come out of the struggle.

The usual athlete will most possibly only blog when things are going perfect and they’re in personal best shape about to race… I would love to tell you all those things but it’s the complete opposite sadly.

It has now been 8/10 weeks I have had plantar fasciaitis. And I think it all started when I switched training shoes from adidas adistar boost to nike vomeros. Don’t get me wrong both great comfy running shoes but the thing is nike has a bit more of a wider fit and adidas is a tighter, narrower fit which suits my foot better I have now found out… The hard way!

It maybe a combination of things including the switching of trainers but that may have been the ingredient that tipped my foot over the edge. Some of the causes of plantar fasciaitis are high mileage (overuse), uneven surfaces, high impact, tight calves, poor glute activation, flat arches, poor toe and foot mobility and CHANGING SHOES!!! And I think I done all those things within a short space of time so it was almost inevitable that something was going to give but every athlete almost always thinks they are the exception to the rule.

So the things I’ve been doing to treat the pain are –

1- ice pack/ hot water bottle – I would switch between icing my foot for 20  minuteA and then putting the hot water bottle on for 20 minutes.

2- this is a must!! I bought a strassburg sock which helps keep foot flexed to keep plantar stretched out and improve toe mobility.  (Ultimate Performance Strassburg sock on right)

3- took a short does of 400mg of Ibuprofen four times a day. This helped  prevent further inflammation and slight pain killer.

4- went back to my adidas adistar boost! Stick to what you know works!! Don’t go for a shoe because they look kool. 

5- get one of your dad or mates golf ball and get your foot rolling about on that. I have to say at the start of rolling your foot is a little sensitive and it is sometimes excruciating to have the solid ball underneath your heel but honestly embrace the pain. It will get easier!

6- knee to wall stretch. Try and get your foot as far  away from the wall as possible to gain more flexibility in calf, soleus and Achillies. Do 3/4  times per day 5 sets of 30 seconds hold. Keep heel on the floor. Then you can advance the plantar and chillies stretch by putting toes/ fore foot on the wall and then try to bend your knee, Such a good intense stretch for your plantar, you may feel a burning sensation at base of heel where the plantar is inflamed. 

7- calf stretch on step. Again hold for 30 seconds to 1  minute, repeat that 6 times 3 times per day. 

8- Use trigger point roller on your calves!! Must Must Must ease off upstream from plantar problem!!! loosen off those stiff calves, soles and Achilles.

9- Decrease mileage, intensity of running, and get on soft flat even surfaces. It good to run on grass but make sure it isn’t uneven because that causes a little more unnecessary stress on the achilles and plantar.

10- Cross train on Bike and pool, and rest when foot is too painful and feels like it is getting worse.

Well there you have it, the 10 commandments to helping plantar pain. There are so much more but I feel that these points have really helped me. There are different methods also but like I said this is not an absolute and some people may have different ideas also but these are just little tips that I wanted to share with anyone who feels that they have exhausted all avenues and not tired these points.

Hopefully anyone reading this and then gets success from these tips I would love to hear you success stories, there is nothing worse than an injured athlete on the sideline and watching your peers training hard and getting the miles in… Drives me mad!! But I channel that anger and frustration into a sensible way to motivate me to cross train and keep as much fitness as I can.

I hope you have enjoyed the read and learned something new. Thanks for reading guys. Another blog on my injury update coming soon. 

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Plantar Progression

A couple of weeks on from my last blog about my injury, I hope there were some useful tips that you guys can use to combat plantar pain.

Since Ive been using these methods my foot has been getting a lot better. Week on week I am gaining more confidence with putting more pressure, extra mileage on my foot and now staring to dabble into some intensity. So the intensity part would be doing sessions quicker than my steady/easy running pace, i.e. interval training.

Boy it sucks when you are out of shape during interval sessions, all the negative thoughts running through your head “This is shit!” “I feel heavy and fat!” “why me!” “Just stop its too much” “Legs are tired” “breathing is too heavy” “I can get away with not doing the last rep because my foot is slightly hurting” “Slow down get your breath back” “Take some more recovery, no one will know” “Don’t do a second run tonight, you’ve already trained today” “Should I go on the bike and cross train? My legs feel heavy.”

And thats only a few that I can think of thats been running through my head whilst trying to get fit. However there is something stronger than those negative thoughts inside of me that wont let me quit, wont let me back down, wont let me give up hope. Even when I race and Im having an absolute shocker and possibly on the verge of coming in last place I will not step off the track even if my mind is screaming at me to do so. Any of you guys out there that know what that is please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

In my head I know that pain is weakness leaving the body and that I would rather suffer now in the minutes and hours of intense training than let my results suffer out on the track. 

Back to training though… Each week Ive been doing that little bit more mileage, increasing my running by 5-10minutes every other day. My very first run back was 15 minutes!!! 15 bloody minutes and my foot was agony!! Now for the people who know me reading this know that would have driven me crazy and then leads to the insecurity of “What if I’m not fit by cross country season, everyone is going to be flying and Im stuck at home with a busted foot!” Sometimes these thoughts can overwhelm you so much you use it as a negative and quit till the pain eases completely or you can be felled by that thought and persevere through the pain and keep some fitness before resuming full training.

I couldn’t be doing with letting the thought of others doing well get the best of me to give up and lose all my fitness so I’ve been doing lots of cross training in the pool, rowing machine and on the stationary bike… No cross trainer, I hate the cross trainer! Plus doing lots of weight training to keep my strength up and get the glutes activated. You know I found a good few glute circuits on youtube that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Mostly its girls on a matt with hardly and clothes on, shouting “C’mon girls, squeeze that butt!!” And then my mrs ends up catching me on the living room floor with the laptop in front of me kicking my legs up in the air thinking who is the male in this relationship and my response is “I need to get these glutes activated babe, Im working it!”

The two most important rehab tools I’ve been using at the moment are the pediroller and good old ice massage. The pediroller hits the heel from all angles, bottom and sides of heel and then I get a sandwich bag with water, tie it up, freeze it, then once frozen start grinding the sore parts of my heel on the hard ice surface. The great thing about the ice massage is whilst your breaking down scar tissue, you are also icing the foot to eliminate any inflammation.

Well guys I hope you enjoyed my blog, next one will be all about my training and progression back to running and almost being back in good shape. Tune into the next one so you can see my gradual mileage progressions and also interval session progress that you can maybe use for your own road to recovery.

Thanks for your time guys.

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Font Romeu- London!

“39,40,41,42!!” I hear as I come through the line for my 300s… Last session before I come back from Font Romeu. Two mile tempo then 10x300m as my last session before the British 10,000m championships this Saturday. Looking at my watch thinking yes Im moving well, smooth and powerful as I look towards competing some of the best distance boys in Britain this weekend.

I think to myself as Im running through the line I cannot wait to hit that start line on Saturday night and mix it up. Hopefully I can hit this race right and start to show people that Im not just one of those hard trainers and rubbish racers… In terms of what I show in training sessions.

Sometimes I find it amazing how we as athletes train for hours and hours on end for that one special race day and try get that perfect timing on peaking for the day of the race. We can definitely say that the beauty is in the attempt. Because lets face it we cant get it right 100% of the time so we need to enjoy the process and being here at altitude in Font Romeu, as hard as its been I’ve loved the process of perfecting my body to race at my best this weekend. Every rep, every mile, every hill… and boy they’re some bad boy climbs here at Font. But I wouldn’t change the process for the world whatever happens this Saturday at Parliament Hill 10,000m championships.

Ive met some great people here, Kerry, one of Irelands hopefuls for the World Championships steeplechase. Who has let me stay at her place and have the opportunity to see all the amazing running trails that Font Romeu offers athletes. I cant thank her enough for touring me around to our training locations on a daily basis. She has definitely been a great help and I wish her the best of luck on her quest to the Worlds! 

Then there is Richard, Kerrys partner, who as I will always remember by the bread demon.. He loves a good fresh baguette from the bakers and a slab of butter to go with the warm fresh dough. But again at the start of the trip he sat me down and spoke to me the importance of working off heart rate at altitude and his numbers knowledge really impressed me in terms of calculating certain paces and percentages of V02 max and all that complicated jazz. All I can say is he never slacked at maths in high school!! haha.

Lola, the “Whippet!”, I thought she was a greyhound until Kerry told me that a Whippet was actually a breed of a dog! She thought I was kidding when I asked her because I thought it was just a saying “She’s like a whippet!” But I thought she was kidding me on as she knew I was gullible but a whippet is an actual breed of a dog, every day is a school day with me haha. And those dogs live up to there name, I took her for a run one day and she would dart after guys on road bikes around the lake and race them, I always had to shout “Lola! Come here girl!” as she would have just kept going after the guys on the bikes, it was nuts ad then I think I wish I could take off like that! She makes me jealous.

Roseanne, she’s another talented Irish athlete looking to make her impact on the global scene as she’s done already. She’s quite a reserved girl at times and funny and open too in familiar company. We got on well and I was really impressed when she told me about her running at the World Championships and pacing the nike Oregon project female athletes in Boston last year. What an incredible career so far I thought.

Butchart and Dale, the two Scotts. I know you may be thinking that me being from Scotland and racing other athletes in Scotland I should know Butchart and Dale but to be honest we were like passing ships at championships. Never really got to know one and other, but I’m glad we did as Im forever thankful for their help with taking me to and from training locations on a daily basis. Before I met butchart I always thought man whats his secret to his amazing season!? and to be fair to him he just works hard and recovers hard… he loved a good sunbathing session! He loved getting a tan more than me and thats saying something!haha. What can I say about Dale, crazy driver… Sometimes I had my heart in my throat when he went round some of those downhill mountain corners, there was one day coming back from a run I thought I was a gonner. So did everyone else in the car I think, Me, Butchart and Johnny Hopkins all whinnsed as we were going so fast we drifted towards the edge on the mountain top… My heart rate monitor will have probably read I was at tempo when we shot round that bend! But yeh those two boys really helped me with training and they were really supportive at the track too, always cheering me as I went by. If they are reading this then thanks boys!

Also Geoff, who has done a great job keeping me on the straight and narrow this season in terms of keeping me from doing too many crazy miles, he does allow me here and there but keeping a leash on me when it matters. He allows it because he knows at the end of the day I love to run and enjoying running lots of miles and a happy athlete is a good athlete. Since he’s came over to France, he’s really helped me focus and get the best out of my body during my stay at altitude. He’s helped me recover, adapt and train properly which I think has been the ingredient I’ve been missing in my training. But the best thing about Geoff is that I see him as a friend that I can talk to honestly and openly about anything, wether it be running or life, insecurities, fears, dreams, work and goals. He really does have my best interests at heart and I’m really thankful for that.

I have loved every minute of being away and having the full time athlete lifestyle, and I will definitely come back to Font Romeu again next year. But I do love my life back home in Teddington, I love my work and training all my clients, I’ve missed that camaraderie and banter I have with all of them. If they’re reading this… you better be in that gym training your butts off! Ive missed my home comforts like chilling out and watching Geordie Shore, finding out who’s Gazz’s next conquest is! Two and a Half men, Rules of engagement and playing the playstation 4! And Squash!! You might not know this but France doesn’t do Robinson’s squash!! going cold turkey for 5 weeks almost killed me! Next time I’m out I’m taking an emergency squash supply!

Lastly I cant thank the mrs enough for putting up with my craziness to go away for weeks on end to better my athletics. I don’t know anyone on this planet that isn’t a runner themselves who could put up with me a month away, altitude tents, massaging my broken body and supporting me through the good and the bad. But hey I guess I must be worth it after the rock I put on her finger!haha. 

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Thanks guys.