Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Tried & Tested: Firefly and Geko recovery devices

Last week I visited my brilliant physio Trev at Fulcrum Sports Therapy for him to work his magic on my tired legs following my half marathon.

Trevor was recommended to me whilst I was training for my two marathons last year, and he is brilliant. I honestly don't think I would have made it to the start line of the Berlin marathon without him. During that time when I was injured we discussed possibly using a snazzy recovery contraption and this week he suggested I trial some out as part of my post half marathon recovery.

These strange little recovery devices made by both Geko and Firefly, emit small electric pulses into your muscles to emulate light active recovery like walking, allowing better blood flow but without the energy of activity. So they are meant to be great for recovering athletes of all sports. And they let me pretend I was a pro athlete so that gave them immediate bonus points.

At first I found them a little hard to position. You need to put them on so they make your foot, as well as the muscles in your lower leg visibly jump. One leg was fine, the other took a little while to work it out but I got there in the end.

It felt really weird! Little pulses flowed through my legs making them twitch and you can turn the strength of the pulses up and down, but its a relatively nice sensation. After a little while you forget that they're even there. On my first night, two days after my half marathon and with aching legs, I tried them overnight but only managed a few hours sleeping in them but this was mostly due to the bulky straps keeping them in place rather than the shocks they gave me. In the morning I awoke and apprehensively got out of bed, bracing myself for the DOMs which had been there the day before. But they weren't there! My legs felt so much better. I'm not saying they were 100% gone but more of a background ache than a wince as you stand which you usually get.

I even managed a 25 mile cycle that day. Knowing that my legs would feel tired after this I also put then on again for a few hours that evening and the next day my legs again felt great, and noticeably less tired that they had for the same cycle the previous week.

I would love to try these after a marathon when the DOMS are so bad you have to just laugh because literally everything aches! I can only imagine how much better they would make your legs feel and I'd be interested to try.

Available from both Geko and Firefly I'll leave it to their websites to go into the whole science and benefits but I found that they helped a treat and would give them a go again after a particularly grueling run.

Trevor kindly gave me these to try for free and knew I'd be writing a little post about them. If you live in Manchester and in need of a physio go and see Trev, he'll definitely sort you out.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Windmill Half Marathon race report

Windmill Medal
I was looking forward to doing the Windmill Half marathon and getting some double digit mileage under my belt, something I've not had much chance to do while training for my triathlon. I heard the course could be pretty boring with a flat two lap loop along the coast, but I quite like this type of race as you know what you are in for and you can tick off little landmarks on your way, including a very large pretty windmill.

What I didn't like or anticipate was the wind. My god the wind. The second half of the loop felt like you were using up all your energy just pushing through the gale and I could really feel it in my legs and lungs which were burning. 'Shut up legs' I kept saying to myself over and over. Then the turn back came again and out I ran getting into the stride and feeling good. Then back into the hellish wind. Repeat. So it really was a run of two halves.

There was a nice atmosphere and the looped route also meant plenty of opportunity to see people you knew out on the course . I got to see all the Harriers who were also running, and cheer them on while they offered me words of encouragement which was great, and needed.

The miles crept up and the wind kept going and then suddenly I was at 10 miles and I realised that I was surprisingly and tantalisingly close to my PB. I told my legs to shut up again and pushed on, knowing it would be touch and go in these conditions. I decided I had to give it my all otherwise I'd be annoyed with myself. I ran and ran making strange noises and grimacing into the home straight with the effort. I gave it my all only to see the clock as I ran over the line read 1.39.55 - 10 seconds more than my PB. I felt sick - mostly because I had run so hard, and just a tiny bit sick about the time. But I'm over that. There will be other races, I will get another PB another time (perhaps when I've worked a little bit harder for it in training) and I know that I gave it my all on the day. And you can't do any better than that.

I came fourteenth lady; got my second best ever time; had a great time with some of the Harriers and received the world's most ridiculous medal, complete with moving windmill sails.

All in all not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

Friday, 17 July 2015

COMPETITION: Win Spartan Race entry

Do you want to tackle an obstacle race? The nice people over at Reebok Spartan Race have given Crandon Runs another free entry to any of their UK races, and it could be yours!

All you need to do is head over to Twitter, follow and re-tweet this.

It's that easy. But be quick, the winner will be announced on Sunday evening 19th July.

You could tackle the bleachers, traverse walls and combat fire, mud and water. There are plenty of locations to choose from as well as three different obstacle races, the Sprint, Super or the Beast. 

If you aren't lucky enough to win you can still get 10% off your entry into a Spartan race using code 'BLOGGER15'  

Visit the Spartan website for details of all locations, distances and entry info.

Good luck! AROO!

Time to tri - Friday photo #40

A round up of Crandon Runs in one weekly photo

Well, it's almost here. This week I received this lovely and terrifying bit of post:

Triathlon ready?
That's it - just over three weeks to go until I take on my first triathlon. Receiving this post has made me really excited. Excited to be taking on a new challenge and happy that I am not putting too much pressure on myself. I'm trying to think of the triathlon as doing three things I enjoy, in quick succession, rather than as a full on scary triathlon. My race goal is to enjoy it, learn from the experience and just give it my all and try my best. I may not be at the front, or even in the middle but as long as I give it everything I've got I'll be a happy bunny. Judging by my training I think I might be able to do it in under 2 hours, and I'll be happy with that or somewhere near.

But whilst I'm fairly calm regarding things like finish times, receiving this post has brought up some other anxieties. Current and very real new concerns are:

1) My hair. Seriously ladies how do you wear your hair under a helmet?! A ponytail is too bulky yet having it down is no good for the run. I'm thinking braids. Help! One of my Tricurious teammates has hinted she might just shave her head which may just be the way forward.

2) My bike, Is it safe? Will it pass inspection? Is my helmet OK? What will I do if I get a puncture? No seriously? Even if I manage to change the inner tube how do I inflate it? ARGH!

3) How will I get to the triathlon with my bike? Once in London how do I get it to where I'm staying? Can bikes travel on the tube? Apparently yes, but only at certain times. Can they go on overground? Do I have to pay?? This one was playing heavily on my mind until I realised I am talking about moving a vehicle. Stupid Crand - I can cycle it across London! Pray for me.

This is just a teeny tiny small glimpse into the questions and worries I'm currently trying to conquer. So whilst I'm excited, I'm also a tiny bit scared about the unknown. But I guess this is half the fun. Right?!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The dreaded treadmill - Friday photo #39

A round up of CrandonRuns in one weekly photo

I've been working away most of the week and staying in less than runner friendly areas, (think hotels at the side of motorways - glamorous). Long hours and working away has meant I've missed loads of Thursday night club runs with the Manchester YMCA Harriers, and that the view from my run has sadly often looked like this instead:

The Dreaded Treadmill
I hate the treadmill. It's so hot and I cannot overcome the repetitive boredom of running but staying put on the same spot. Running outdoors is so much more fun, give me the sweltering heat or the Manchester rain outside any day - at least battling the elements keeps it interesting. I'm also convinced that there is some time continuum where seconds on a treadmill last much longer than they do in real life too.

So when I awoke last Saturday morning to Twitter messages re an impromptu Harriers meet up at parkrun I was stoked. We came, we saw, we cheered on all our runners, and we conquered the run in hot and muggy conditions. A fantastic unexpected running start to everyone's weekend, which totally beat every soulless air conditioned treadmill run I'd been on that week.

And then last night I actually made it down to the club run. 8 miles of sunny, breezy canal running and chatting with the harriers has undone the horror of the treadmill and restored the running balance again. Phew!

Impromptu Harriers meet up