Sunday, 25 November 2012

And so it begins…

This morning I did my very first run as part of my London Marathon training plan. Which can only mean one thing…

I fixed my foot?
I didn’t have a hangover?
The kids were driving me nuts and I needed to get out of the house?
No it was far more simplistic than that... I bought my trainers AT LAST!  Easy you would think? I beg to differ…and ‘this’ is the story of me finally buying some trainers.

10 years ago I walked into a little shop that formed part of Cannons Sports Club in the city and asked them about trainers to run the Marathon.  They made me run up and down the shop, studied my gait (not the kind that hangs off its hinges outside your house) and then they recommended me some trainers.  I walked away with a nice little pair of trainers, some socks and a ‘good luck’. I downloaded myself a little running plan and VOILA…I ran the London Marathon (well …I ran a lot, walked a bit, ran some more, hopped a fair amount – and you get the picture).
So here we are 10 years later and a lot has changed. I mean you still put one foot in front of the other to ‘run’…nothing there has changed BUT the buying process is a poxy minefield! There are so many makes and models of trainers, sorry ‘running shoes’ and so many opinions to consider.

For weeks I have been having many conversations with my Boss that usually start thus: “Have you bought your trainers yet?” and then we discuss trainers (he himself is now quite a keen runner) and we discuss ‘times’ of his run clearly as I’ve done nothing yet…and gradually we inched towards the grand goal of me buying my own ones.  ‘Asics’ as a brand were thrown out there as that’s what he uses and they’re the ones I used before. In the ‘running world’ these are considered the ‘serious’ runners choice of shoe.  Not your Nike’s or Adidas’s.
So on Friday I went into a local shop in the City (of a well known sports chain) having discovered they did ‘gait analysis’ there. My boss was sceptical of the ‘chain’ but I went along anyway. The nice Assistant asked me some questions and then noticed my tights and boots. “Er, do you have your running socks with you?” Uhmn that will be no as I haven’t run in 10 years (as I told you) so don’t have any clearly. In a gentle and alluring voice he told me to take my clothes off (sorry…just checking you’re still reading…that’s a different book I reckon!)  What he actually told me was to go to the changing room and take my tights off and come back which I did. He then said “we don’t have any socks for you to use to try trainers on with, would you like to buy some?” at which point I should have known I was in the wrong place. Upon return he started telling me about these wonderful new foot inserts that they mould to the shape of your foot to help your running experience. He waved them around at me (they looked like insoles) and then he stuck them in a heating mechanism, stood me on some plastic play bricks (that’s what they looked like to me) and started bending them around my foot. At this point I totally wanted to kick myself for my lack of ‘foot prettiness’… my nail varnish was cracked and split and gone on most toes and to be honest…my legs could have done with a shave too. What?...I am a girl after all.

He then got some trainers out, put the insoles in and asked me to step onto the running machine and start it up to a speed I could cope with.  When I didn’t move after a few seconds…he said “have you been on a running machine before?” uhm..that’ll be a no no and NO! I don’t do ‘the Gym’ so no I have never been on a running machine. The man looked utterly perplexed by me and slightly worried. Not as worried as me though. So I got on, he started it up and I eventually got to a jog on the machine that he could record on his new-fangled machine and then tell me what trainers I needed.  He then told me I was a ‘neutral’ runner. Now this is important, very important and could totally affect how I run. I knew that 10 years previously I was’ over-pronate’ which means my heels roll-in as I run along etc. I mentioned this and he said “hmnn if you think you’re slightly pronate you could try some with some more stability?” – what do you mean if I THINK…you’re supposed to be TELLING ME grrr. So we tried 3 running shoes with me back and forth on the machine and eventually he tried to sell me between two pairs.
Sound like a nightmare? Not as much as the moment he told me the PRICE!

I wanted to be sick, Christmas was clearly going to be cancelled as the cheapest ones with the ‘insoles’ (oh yes…those nifty little things that he omitted to tell me the price of and come in at a whopping £45!) was going to set me back £175. What’s worse is you almost definitely need two pairs by the time you actually RUN the Marathon as you kill them in training. So £350 then….
I made some crappy excuse up about wanting a second opinion from my Husband who was a ‘Runner’ and would come back later as he worked up the road in the City and could meet me after work. Now Jamie will be killing himself laughing at THAT description of himself…but personally I would quite like to hook up with this fictitious Husband myself :D

Then I made like the wind out of there.
I bemoaned all of the above to my Boss when back at work, he helped me track down the same ones online at a massive saving and I started to cheer up a bit. I also decided though to try a different shop for a second opinion…and this is how I ended up at ‘Sweatshop’ at London’s Westfield Stratford City on a pre-Xmas Saturday when it was MOBBED! Sweatshop is a ‘real runners’ shop apparently and now I appreciate why.

The incredibly informative lady who helped me was from ‘start to finish’ not remotely pushy, told me prices upfront of everything, discussed benefits of all makes and models and also the benefits ‘or not’ of these crazy foot insoles. Oh and she told me the price of those upfront too! She too took me through a similar gait analysis (but by now I had the hang of the running machine!) and then she got out a few pairs for me to try on. I felt confident with her as straight away she knew I was over pronate, but she also explained why sometimes getting too much stability at the start in a shoe could be bad for me and in one big swoop had ruled out the two pairs of running shoes I’d been recommended the day before. I also ended up in a ‘bigger size’ shoe as the ‘rule of thumb’ measuring of my toes in the shoes had clearly not been done right. This is also crucial to me as ‘last time’ I lost my big toe-nail in the process and I would like to avoid that again if possible. We then had 3 pairs of trainers again (Asics, Nike and Brooks) at varying prices (all still expensive, but no added insoles as apparently I don’t actually ‘need’ these in her opinion) and I could have walked away and bought them online too possibly cheaper.
But I didn’t, she absolutely deserved my service and she had told me a really really decisive thing for me…I could bring them back! I could go out and run in them, get them muddy, do whatever I wanted and still BRING THEM BACK. I have 30 days to do so and if I ‘don’t get along with them’ I can simply return them to the store and try another pair and see how I get along with them instead. You cannot say fairer than that.

Oh, and I’m now running in a pair of Nike’s (my boss will be alarmed – but he needn’t be!) as they were quite simply the most comfortable things I have ever put on my feet to run in. Not much difference in the price between them and the Asics actually so it really did in the end boil down to how they were on my feet and how I ran in them in the shop.
So… I have now officially started my training plan folks…and I have one last thing to say at this point…

DON’T be expecting any Christmas present from me this year!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

I’ve thought long and hard the last few weeks since gaining my Marathon spot about what my training plan will be. Seeing as I’ve not actually BEEN running yet…thinking is all I have actually done.

That and setting up a ‘JustGiving’ page and a Blog!

Yet whilst I am not a ‘Marathon Runner’ per se… I have actually run the London Marathon before so can speak with some authority on the subject – for myself that is! I know what my capabilities are. I know what went wrong and more important (correct syntax for the purposes of my Brother John and My Boss!) ... what went right for me!
It’s easy to be ‘romantic’ when you think back on your London Marathon experience. It’s kind of like child-birth really….incredibly painful at the time and then somehow you forget that and go on to do the whole thing again!

For me I got to the end of the Marathon (result really) and said “NEVER again”. By the time I hit Chinatown that night with my medal around my neck (I told you before, food is always on my mind) I had started saying “IF I ever did this again, I would do this or that” … to the next morning floating around the hotel swimming pool (as I had no ability to get out by then) saying “WHEN I do this next time…”. 
So there you have it… proof that I really am THAT stupid.

The fact is though, that for many many people the Marathon is actually quite addictive. It’s like my Husband and Tattoos……he said he was only doing that small little one years ago!
So now my mind is venturing back to last time and the schedule I undertook back then, the barriers to my training, my fitness as it were… and how I intend to tackle it all this time around.  I’ve been taking a long hard look at my life as it were and I’ve remembered this:

·         Back then I was working in the city in the day and drinking in the pub in the evenings

·         Back then I was spending full-on weekends with my Step-Daughter and Husband and rushing around like a maniac

·         Back then I hadn’t run anything since school other than high credit card bills

And this brings me to the ‘here and now’ and I’ve realised that:

·         Now I am still working in the city in the day and drinking at home in the evenings

·         Now I am spending full-on weekends with my two little Monsters and Husband and rushing around like a maniac

·         Now I haven’t run anything since the last Marathon other than the school-run!

Not a lot has actually changed in reality!

So on this basis I have decided to embark on a similar running plan to the last time around in the hope I can repeat a similar run on the day next year!  After all, I don’t think it was such a bad attempt 10 years ago if you discount setting off with an injury, picking up a new one along the way, being caught talking on my mobile phone at the optimum ‘photo opportunities’ and getting side-tracked by the handsome Fire fighters along the way ;o)
Not that bad at all!

Yep folks – if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Go Trish 'AGAIN'

So my boss says to me today “where’s your next blog Trish?” and before I can retort he has already reminded me that I’m yet to ‘start training’….insinuating that I have nothing to blog about therefore.


I have been in fact mulling over an idea these last few days, a thought that has been gathering pace in my head so much so that I just have to throw it out there and get it over and done with.
So here it is: What is going to be ‘my thing’? -  I have to have a ‘thing’.

A ‘thing ‘I hear you say? What is she going on about?
Well for those of you 10 years ago who came out in your droves to support me (via the City Pride pub in Isle of Dogs naturally)… you will know what I mean. ‘Go Trish’ was daubed over everyone’s t-shirts, all the wonderful friends and family alike who came to support me that day.  The banner created for me was so big (but certainly not as big as the one draped over the top of our pub at the time I might add!) that you almost felt someone quite important was about to come running past. They weren’t – it was just me.  Such was your overwhelming (by that I mean LOUD) support on the day that the BBC could not help but take notice of you all. Cue a rather random interview of you mad lot during the live marathon coverage where you decided to tell the Reporter I was running injured and raise their interest further.  Then followed a weird ‘Anneka Rice’ moment for me (without the pert bottom) where I was suddenly converged upon by the BBC camera crew as I exited the tunnel approaching the City Pride...sweaty, tired, make-up free (thanks a lot) and looking less than classy to be faced with a ‘live on the spot’ interview for the BBC.

There are so many amazing things about ‘that moment’ none more so though then the fact that my Brother Stephen (for whom I shall be running next year’s Marathon) was sitting in his little house in Germany watching the Marathon coverage only to be suddenly faced with a screen full of familiar faces. If you knew Stephen you would know how excited this made him. He couldn’t be there, yet ‘somehow’ you brought it all to him via the medium of television and the fact you are all gob-shites!  He was ecstatic – telling everyone that his Little Sister was there on the telly being interviewed along with all his friends and family. Marvellous.
So ten years later so many things have changed, especially and painfully that Stephen is not with us now. It also turns out that the City Pride has closed down (a victim of the Docklands property development – boo BIG hiss!) and it occurs to me – what do we do now? I’ve joked about bringing out your old t-shirts and just adding the word ‘again’ on them – I’m simply stunned by just how many of you actually kept them. The creation of rather large banners has been touted once more.  I feel the early twinges of excitement building...I know you all well…I know you’ll be amazing on the day!

However, on the back of the Olympics I see more possibilities though...I want ‘a thing’.  Mo Farrah has the ‘Mobot’, Usain his ‘Bolt’ of course…what can mine be? The ‘Trishster’ perhaps? (yes Anna, I know this term for me belongs to you - but you’d still have to find me a ‘move’ to accompany it). I just don’t know what it could be? I’m renowned for swigging a glass of wine given the opportunity, but that’s not quite going to work as I navigate the Marathon route is it – which is a bit of a shame really.
I thought maybe of doing something that relates in some way to Beating Bowel Cancer.  So that just conjures up ‘bums’ and I’m not sure if I can pull off a Beyonce-esque bootylicious shaking of my derriere. Hmnnnnnnnnn…

So I’m throwing it out there to you all...give me some ideas please...create me ‘a thing’. I might even reward you should I pick your idea. Bottle of Cava anyone?   You’re an imaginative lot, so show me what you can come up with.
We can then bring it out next year in full force and who knows….maybe it will be BBC coverage ‘round 2’. 

Then we have to find ourselves a new ‘City Pride’ to host your mad cap entertainment. One thing at a time though…


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

An auspicious start!

I am sitting in the waiting room of the Osteopath clinic waiting to be seen about my foot.  4 days ago I found out I was going to be running the 2013 London Marathon for Beating Bowel Cancer and rued the day I decided to wear wedge heels to a friend’s wedding just a mere few weeks ago. The shoes in question were pretty nice but my Naomi-Campbell-esque Catwalk disaster as I strutted back from the toilets during the reception a little worse for wear ‘not so good’. A friend witnessed (to her amusement) my fall from grace shall we say as my left foot simply buckled and twisted down to the side as I walked. At that point in time I was merely embarrassed by it and proceeded to right myself and carry on walking. I then decided to do exactly what you should do when you sprain your ankle at a wedding reception…down another drink and do the ‘running man dance’ for everyone’s amusement. This is, after all, my drunk show-piece that I reel out at numerous social events!

Cue the Sunday morning following the wedding reception and I am obliterated and ‘coming to’ in bed when I feel the most god-damn awful pain from my foot. I also felt a god-dam awful pain in my head but didn’t have to do a 30 minute WALK on my head to collect the car. Don’t panic...I was not going to be driving it…that was the other half’s pleasure – but he was making me share his pain by joining him on the walk to collect the car, plus we had the kids swimming lesson to get to and I ‘had’ to be at that. I’m pretty sure he could have gone to get the car and come back for me..but that’s another matter.
That rest of that Sunday had pretty much gone in a haze to be honest. I did all my usual tricks to get over my hangover..huge Sunday lunch at local pub, and some ‘hair of the dog’.  Thinking about this some more it occurred to me sitting there that large Sunday lunches and drinking generally speaking was something I was going to have to kick to the curb in light of ensuing Marathon training.  This was a depressing thought. Anyone who knows me knows I like food…I don’t just like it ..I LOVE it and I am always planning my day around food. I always eat one meal whilst thinking about what the next one will be and it’s fair to say that pretty much all of my disposable income goes on eating out whenever I can.  Between my foot and my eating habits, I could see I was pretty much screwed right now.

But was I? Thinking some more about it I realised that if the Osteopath felt that my foot was not quite ready to embark on serious training right now and that I should wait a while before starting my running plan….I could still get in some serious eating and enjoy some more Cava in the interim. A month’s respite maybe? Now my foot has been improving daily upto this point of sitting in the waiting room and I am now walking normally and not crying out in pain anymore – all good. Still, I decided for effect that I would put my best ‘limp’ forward as I approached the treatment room.
‘Patricia Harding?’ – yep that’s me – that’s my cue. So I upped and made my way through with slightly more hobble than necessary only to be greeted with – “been on the piss again?”.

Damn the fact that the stupid Osteopath is in fact my Nephew’s Dad and knows me only too well - I’m not going to able to get anything past him. I can see I am going to have to take this all a little more seriously hereon in.
Wish me luck!