If I remember rightly it has been about a week and a half since my last blog post and there have been lots of exciting things that have happened both running and non-running related.
I will try and remember everything I wanted to write about and there will be photos too – I do love a photo. (Although if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you’ll have seen the photos already – I’m sorry!)
I went to step aerobics on Monday, it should have been my rest day after my really tough run on Sunday up some inclines, but my legs felt ok and I hadn’t been to Step for a while because of rugby and bank holidays. As always it is so much fun and for once I didn’t fall off the step or hurt myself! My average heart rate according to my apple watch was 101bpm – I always expect it to be higher, but we do have some brief rest moments where we are getting a drink or watching the next series of steps. I always like to go to classes after work because it gives me chance to do something fun or that I enjoy, especially if I have had a crazy busy day.
Do you go to classes or run after work? Do you think it helps relax you?
Tuesday was Kettlercise – this programme is still a tough one, but it seems to get slightly easier each week. Although I’m sure we only have a couple of weeks left until we change again. I still haven’t gone up to a 10kg kettlebell. Some exercises feel “easy” if anything with a kettlebell could be easy, but I don’t think I would be able to do many with a 10kg kettlebell just yet. I’m very lucky to have a few people who took me under their wing when I first started kettlercise last year and we always have a giggle. Especially when our instructor tells us to “walk out” or “take a break when you need to”. That usually means we don’t do an exercise that we don’t like – mine is usually jump jacks with the kettlebell or knee raises. I can really feel the muscles in my legs now and I can only put it down to kettlercise as it has been the one constant (alongside pilates) that I have been able to go to even when I haven’t been running.
On Wednesday, I got home from work and really needed to go for a run, I was getting really annoyed with myself for not having run on Tuesday as per my plan so there was no doubt I would run on Wednesday. I wasn’t sure what kind of run I wanted to do, but I wanted to mix it up a little. I’m so indecisive, so I took to Twitter in a short 10 minute poll whilst I was getting ready for my run. Interval, fartlek or hill repeats. The lovely people of twitter voted for intervals and so that is the run I did. I set my Garmin for intervals 3 min run: 2 min walk. In reality I was going to try and run as quickly as I could maintain for 3 mins and then recover by slowing it down for 2 mins and repeat for 20 mins (so 4 times) after a 5 min warm up and then a 5 min cool down (although I ended up wanted to get to 5k so my cool down was a little longer than 5 mins). It was one of the toughest things I have done and I got an awful stitch, but I will definitely be doing more interval runs. It was good to push and see how quick I could go over a short period of time, and how quickly I could recover. I managed to get my pace under 10 min miles over a short period, which means there must be some speed in the legs. This is really encouraging!
I then went to Pilates, which after a run is really relaxing and gives my legs a good old stretch. I could feel my hip wasn’t too happy after my run but I’m being really careful with it and it didn’t feel as bad after pilates.
On Thursday I had another rest day – I seemed to run out of time to do anything after work and had to get myself ready for Friday!
On Friday I went to meet my fried Steph in Birmingham. I am incredibly lucky to have met Steph on Twitter and we have become best friends. It’s just a shame she lives so far away. We went for food and spent the first 20 minutes catching up and not even looking at the menu. We text each other every day but we still had so much to talk about. We then went to join the queue to go to see Ed Sheeran. As my birthday present Steph had bought tickets for Ed Sheeran. Even as we were queuing up it still felt a bit like a dream. Safe to Ed Sheeran was incredible and we had the best time. I cannot take any credit for the photos, Steph took them all. (I’m only very short and my photos would probably have included people’s arms and heads). We went for a cocktail after (yum yum) and decided to sign up for the Birmingham International Marathon. We very quickly told the lovely Emma, another one of our friends from Twitter and she was very excited as she is running it too. I’m pretty sure Emma is already planning what we are going to do post marathon – it could involve lots of alcohol and me and Steph nodding off in the corner!
On Saturday morning, I met Steph for breakfast before we had to part ways (sad times) so that she could drive home and I could drive to Leicester to watch Leicester Tigers and see (and hopefully meet) Freddie Burns for the last time at home before he moves to Bath (more sad times – have to admit I have had a little cry about him leaving). We put together a plan of action – we would enter a 10k to run together and also meet up for a few training runs when the miles get longer. Steph is faster than me, but it will just be nice to not have to go on long runs always on my own. And I know that Steph and Emma will both keep me on track and we will keep supporting each other all the way. We are #teamhardcore and we are determined to give the marathon everything. This may be my one and only marathon, so why not!
We said our goodbyes and Steph left with a mission to find us a 10k, sort a hotel if we were stopping over and mine is to sort our hotel for Birmingham (if anyone has any suggestions let me know!)
I headed to Leicester and took my place on the Terrace as normal. It felt like a really sad occasion, 4 of our players were playing their last home game before leaving (Freddie Burns, Owen Williams, Jack Roberts and Fraser Balmain), we were also saying goodbye to Marcos Ayerza who had been forced to retire a few weeks before. I took some photos during the warm up – the players were wearing red t-shirts supporting Restart Rugby and #lifttheweight which is a charity supporting professional rugby players who have retired through illness or injury. Their lift the weight campaign is focused on Mental Health. We really needed a win to give us the best chance to get into the top four and the boys did good. We got a bonus point win and 3 out of 4 players who were leaving scored a try (Freddie, Owen and Jack). Freddie is a popular player with all of us fans and we are sad that he is going. He was taken off with about 10 minutes to go and was given a massive standing ovation, applause from everyone and chants of “Freddie, Freddie, Freddie”. Safe to say we want him to stay. After the game the players did a lap of the pitch and stopped to take photos and sign autographs. I had already met Freddie once but I really wanted him to sign my shirt as I wouldn’t have another opportunity. I waited for about 45 minutes after the game and he had stopped to have photos and sign autographs with everyone who had asked (he really is that lovely) and as he came up the steps to go back to the changing room he said that he needed to go and have physio on his back. I asked if he would sign my shirt and he did. Literally made me the happiest girl. Thank you Freddie! This shirt is never being washed again!
On Sunday I went out for a run. I wanted to get at least 4 miles, if not 5 miles. However, my legs were not playing ball. Right from the first few steps it felt like I was running with legs made of lead. It felt like such a mission to just lift my legs up, my hamstrings and quads felt so heavy. Somehow I pushed on and did 4 miles. They were 4 tough miles and sheer determination kept me going. My dad said he drove past me and beeped the horn, but I have to admit I must have been in the zone as I didn’t hear any beeps of horns or see his car. I got back to my house and felt really disappointed with my run and disappointed that I didn’t go further. I then looked at my time and realised that I had actually ran negative splits and a new 5k pb during my run. It really didn’t feel that good, in fact it felt really slow. My new PB was 34:39.
I had another rest day on Monday, my legs did not want to do anything and there were no classes as it was Bank Holiday. I also needed to pack for Tuesday and paint my nails. Oh and I signed up to run the London 10000 on Bank Holiday Monday with Steph. Let me know if you are running too and we can hopefully meet before/after.
On Tuesday I wasn’t going to kettlercise, instead I was going to the Leicester Tigers Players Awards Night at Welford Road. I had myself a nice new dress (which I love), I painted my nails, gave my Marc Jacobs bag an outing and put on some make up. I was stopping at the Holiday Inn just opposite the King Power Stadium and just a short walk from Welford Road. I was eager to see which player would be sitting on my table. I was hoping for Freddie, but sadly it wasn’t to be. At my table was Manu Tuilagi. He walked around the table and gave each of us a kiss on the cheek and asked how we were. It was quite hard to talk to him but he was really nice. I asked if he was back in training and he said he was (good news for us!) and then I took a selfie with him before I left.
I was sat by a lovely lady who had come on her own, called Janet. She knew lots of the players already and was telling me about them. I told her I wanted to see Freddie and she said she lvied near him. She went on a walk around to see if she could find him and said that we could go and find him later. After our main course we went and spoke to some of the players, Luke Hamilton is really nice and looked very different in his suit, without his hat on. He gave us a kiss on the cheek. We saw Dom Barrow too and then went and found Freddie. He was as lovely as ever and had a lovely long chat with us. I was able to get another photo with him. I asked if his back was ok and he said it was, it had just been because it was cold after the game. I also told him I didn’t want him to go and I don’t think he wanted to leave either. I had photos with Adam Thompstone and Owen Williams too and then it was time to leave. I saw Freddie again and wished him luck in the future. He was walking out behind me and chatting to a few other people and then he rang his mum! Just as he was walking onto the car park I shouted him and asked if I could have a hug. He walked over and gave me one – he probably thought I was a sad case! He literally made me the happiest girl ever and I could never thank him enough.
This girl doesn’t want to find her Prince Charming anymore. She wants to find her own Freddie Burns; handsome, lovely, caring, thoughtful, humble, funny and a very special guy. He also like my tweet I posted with the photo of me and him.
I was really sad on Wednesday morning. I knew I had to go back to work on Thursday and my amazing 6 days were over. I also knew that unless Leicester Tigers win on Saturday, that will be Freddie’s last game as a Tiger and I still don’t feel ready for that.
I got home from Leicester and went for a run in the afternoon. I had planned on going for a run in Leicester, but this numpty left her running shoes at home. I went out for a 5k run and came back with a new 5k PB! It was a tough run (they all seem to be right now) and I pushed myself as hard as I could. I didn’t quite manage negative splits, but all 3 miles were under 11 minute miles and I can’t be disappointed with that. My new PB was 33:23 – I had knocked 1:16 mins off my PB! wow! The very first time I had made it under 34 mins. Losing weight has had such an impact on my running. I went to Pilates after my run but woke up this morning with my hip screaming at me. It has loosened up as I have walked more and I have an enforced rest day today.
So all in all, an amazing few days, running, PBs, signing up to races, rugby, rugby players, Ed Sheeran, but most of all seeing my bestie who I met because of running.
I am definitely the luckiest girl.
If you have made it this far, I hope you don’t mind some of my weekly round up being non-running.
Keep running lovelies