Journey to My First Half Marathon, Week 2

After running 17 races last year as a complete beginner, I am now training for my first Half Marathon on the 13th May 2018. To keep myself accountable I will be linking up with the inspirational Holly from HoHo Runs and her fabulous co-host Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home every week to make sure I stay on track and keep motivated! Be sure to check out their blogs (as well as others on the link-up) – there is always so much to learn! I love it!  

Monday, 8th JanuaryTreadmill/Outside, Easy Run, 40:30 min, 5.78 km

My knee was sore the whole day. It kept “clicking” and it felt so uncomfortable going up stairs at work and even walking from office to office. So I didn’t think this run would happen. But then I read a comment from Wendy from my last blog post where she asked whether I had a foam roller. I actually got a foam roller for mother’s day last year but had used it once. So when I got home I dusted off my foam roller and used it as part of my long warm up routine. I then hopped on the treadmill and started out nice and slow. I was pleasantly surprised that my knee felt good! Holly also suggested I Google some proper techniques for foam rolling which I have started work on already. So hopefully I can sort my knee out in this way. It just needs so much patience! Anyway, back to Monday’s run – with 300m to go, my treadmill just stopped working! I couldn’t bear to end the workout short of the 5 km I was supposed to do. So I quickly ran outside (temp was down to 27 °C so it felt a lot better) and I did 1.06 km bringing my total for the day to 5.78 km!

Tuesday, 9th January:  Gym Class (Shape)

Shape is a body conditioning class using a variety of equipment in the studio. Tapiwa and I found the class jam packed. As it was so full we only used dumbbells but we certainly made good use of them! I kept a close eye on my knee which wasn’t thoroughly warmed up and I’m really glad I used manageable weights (1.25 kg each). A woman in front of me used 4 kg dumbbells. I was in awe!

Wednesday, 10th JanuarySteady Run, 30 min, 3.79 km

Coach Nicola had scheduled a Fartlek for today but given my temperamental knee, we decided to change this to a Steady Run. As we had an event in the evening, I set off for my run around 06:30 am which is very unusual for me as I hate morning runs! My legs didn’t feel like lead as they had last week after my hard gym session. Progress! My knee was not 100% comfortable but I managed to run quite well.

In the evening, my running squad and I went out to Table 50 Two which is the highest restaurant in Gaborone to celebrate our #17in2017 achievement! The views of our little city were so beautiful! When I refer to hiking up Kgale Hill, that’s the hill I am referring to!

It was an amazing night out where we looked back at 2017 and what we had achieved. Of the 17 races I did, at least one of these friends was present at 16 of them and without a doubt they helped to get me through all those finish lines. It was a truly amazing year of running and friendship, one that needed to be celebrated in grand style! Our dress code was “Show them legs you worked for!”

Thursday, 11th January: Gym Class (Spinning)

The only class available at 6 pm today was Spinning! So I had my first go at a Spinning Class with Tapiwa. Quads and glutes, hello!! It was fun but tough and I love that there was very little impact on my knee. I was quite confused at the start of the class but in the end I kind of got the hang of things.

Friday, 12th January:  Rest Day

Saturday, 13th JanuaryGym Class (Pilates, 1 hr)

After Kaia’s tennis lesson, I went to a pilates class. It wasn’t the usual class I take and the instructor had a different approach to my usual instructor. We used the fit ball for the whole class which I have never done before. Although I struggled a bit in parts, I still had a good workout. It was exactly what I needed after all the tough gym classes and running I have been doing. A few days ago I joined Kelly Roberts’ #badassladygang which is all about setting and making impossible goals possible with the love and support of like-minded women! On Saturday I got my special announcement photo from her! How cool is this? To join just go to her new website, http://www.shecanandshedid.com

Sunday, 14th January: Long Run, 8 km, 01:07:30 min

This weekend was so hot again and I really didn’t feel like running. I failed to run on Saturday as planned and on Sunday I had a million and one excuses NOT to. I also kept coming up with unrealistic solutions – maybe I can squeeze the run in first thing Monday morning? Yeah, right! So once things had cooled down around 18:30 on Sunday, I set off for a run with Ditiro. We started with a walk and then stopped for some warm-ups. Once I started running my knee felt okay but I really struggled with this run. It was tough and my average heart rate was 166 beats/min. So you can tell I was working hard! Ditiro’s was 115, LOL so it would seem while I was working my heart out, he was more or less on a leisurely stroll! I’ll get there! Of course, once I was done I was so glad I did it but boy, was it tough!!

Mileage this week: 17.57 km

Mileage this training cycle: 30.37 km

Gym Classes this week: 3

Grade: A+ (A great week. I had a few challenges but for the most part stayed focused and kept going. Even if I struggled with my Long Run, I got it done in the end!)

Journey to My First Half Marathon, Week 1

After three weeks of indulging (more like OVERindulging) the first thing I noticed  this morning is that the dress I am wearing on my first day back at work is very snug! 🙂 So it is back to work in all senses of the word! I hope you all had a great festive season and that this year is filled with lots of love and laughter for you and your families. I have not blogged in a few weeks and there is just SO MUCH to say – first of all, I owe you the final two race recaps from my 17 Race Challenge in 2017! Yes, I am ecstatic to say I did accomplish my goal of running 17 races last year! It was such an epic journey and when I was in the last few kilometres of my 17th race so many emotions washed over me, at times making it hard to breathe as I ran.

So it will be important for me to take some time to analyse what I went through last year and what I gained from the whole 17 race experience. I also want to take some time to talk about my Goals in 2018, one of which is running my First Half Marathon! So in January I will dedicate a lot of time to looking back and charting my way forward, both in my head and on paper. But in that process I don’t want to lose focus of what I am currently doing so I will continue to write my weekly recaps. To keep me accountable I will be linking up with the inspirational Holly from HoHo Runs and her fabulous new co-host Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home. Both these women have inspired me with their pearls of wisdom as well as their grit and determination to get stuff done. Be sure to check out their blogs too!  

I never thought a Half Marathon was on the cards for me. Me? Run a Half Marathon? Not likely! But after a year of reading others’ blogs and seeing myself grow as a runner, the idea really started to take shape. A lot of people kept asking if I was going to do an 18 Race Challenge and although I toyed with the idea, in the end I wanted to focus on quality over quantity. Sometimes in checking races off my list, I lost track of actually working towards becoming a better runner. Once I was certain that I wanted to do a Half Marathon, I contacted Coach Nicola from Running Happy and we agreed to start my 19 week training plan on the 1st January. My goal race is the Diacore Half Marathon which will be held in Gaborone on the 13th May 2018. I did the Diacore 10k last year (recap here) and I am so thrilled that I will be taking things up a notch! I am nervous but also extremely excited as there is nothing right now that I would like to be working towards more. So… let’s do this 🙂

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Monday, 1st January: Treadmill, Easy Run, 30 min, 4.28 km

I always dread my first run after a bit of a break but this one felt really good. I ran my final race of 2017 on antibiotics so I think the break away from running was a good move.  On New Year’s Day, I woke up rather late and it was already 30°C by the time I had put on my shoes. So I was forced to use the treadmill with a fan blowing directly at me! The run went really well and my legs were on top form.

Coach Nicola has also introduced some little daily exercises to do each week that work on some of the fundamental movement skills (Agility, Balance or Coordination). This week it was balancing on one foot, left and right, for 30 seconds each and then doing it with my eyes closed too. Those went really well and towards the end of the week I was hardly wobbling!

Tuesday, 2nd January:  Gym Class (Grid)

The Grid “is a brand new offering from Virgin Active. We will teach you how to push, pull, squat, bend, twist and lunge. Six movements you’ve done your whole life, probably incorrectly”. Today the 6 stations were: squats with a kettle bell; bench press; lunges with weights; shoulder press sitting and standing; walking high planks; and transferring a cone from corner to corner.

Seemed simple enough but my friend Polelo had warned me that it wouldn’t be easy… It wasn’t easy at all. I am pleased to say I survived! I loved it because it was a proper strength and conditioning class using simple but effective movements. The photo below was taken just as the class was done but that was the last smile I had for a few days! The pain that followed was intense…

Wednesday, 3rd January: Easy Run, 30 min, 3.52 km

I had scheduled an early morning run with my cousin Tapiwa. She got to my house around 06:30 and we were off shortly after. I wasn’t yet sore but my legs were as heavy as lead and I was super slow. Thankfully, it was a beautifully cloudy day so we didn’t have to contend with the heat as well.

Thursday, 4th January: Rest Day

What a disaster. So the Grid workout on Tuesday killed me. I am so glad I scheduled a 06:30 am run on Wednesday because after that run I was just in a state of pain and shock. My kids were laughing at me because I could hardly walk. Bending down to sit was a struggle and bending to pick something off the floor was a no-no. Thank goodness for my little ones, they became my extra hands and legs. In the evening I was forced to take an ibuprofen and I sprayed arnica on the back of my legs. So… the gym class planned for this afternoon didn’t happen. This pain was such a huge wake-up call. I must admit I was disappointed – after all, I have been running for a year, how unfit can I be? But sadly many of my muscles seem to have been dormant and Tuesday’s gym class was a rude awakening.

Friday, 5th January:  Gym Class (Core Conditioning, 30 min)

Pilates classes hadn’t resumed after the holidays so I did a Core Conditioning Class (30 min). I dropped the kids at the Virgin Play Centre and did my class. It was quite an intense ab workout. I got through it but have a long way to go. I did my best though. Just looking forward to my best being even better! My body as a whole felt so much better but my left knee was a bit sore. Knowing I had a 5 km run scheduled for Saturday I iced it and “arnica’d” it before bed.

Saturday, 6th January: Easy Run, 5 km, 41:38 min

The Meteorology Office and the Ministry of Health issued warnings about a heat wave between the 6th – 8th January. It was already boiling hot before then so we knew we were in for it. I aborted my first run in the morning because it was insanely hot. At 8:33 pm it had only dropped to 33°C! At least I didn’t have to worry about the sun! A tough run but very glad I did it. Also, my pace was a bit quicker than Wednesday’s run. However, my left knee was not comfortable throughout.

Sunday, 7th January: Rest Day!

Today was meant to be a spinning class but Sunday classes had not yet resumed… I must confess I was slightly relieved about that! *hands over face*

Mileage this week: 12.8 km

Mileage this training cycle: 12.8 km

Gym Classes this week: 2

Grade: A- (Overall, I am very pleased with my first week. I am a tiny bit disappointed that I am so sore… have I really not been working on these major muscle groups?? Oh well, better late than never! I am glad that I did 5 of the 7 planned workouts and that I went for Saturday’s run even if I had to do it at night because of the awful temperatures.)

How was your first week of training this year? Do you also get excited about New Years that start on Mondays? Any major goals for the year? Are any of you in the Southern Hemisphere and struggling in this heat?