Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I am having an affair.....there, I said it!

...with this..... ;-)

Yes peeps, I am in love with a foam roller.
Nobody panic, I have not taken leave of my senses. I am merely trying to communicate to you my new-found adoration for this weird piece of equipment. They say that there's a fine line between pleasure and pain. It's my belief that whoever coined that phrase was, at the time, foam rollering his or her iliotibial band.
At the gym t'other day, I was having a post interval sprint gasp, er..chat, with one of the gym bods who is a lovely chap, all of 20 years old, with a real passion for running and helping people to train correctly. We often have chats - he's taught me to do a proper pull up. He asked if I'd seen the new piece of equipment. I cast my eyes around the room expecting a new treadmill or (God forbid) another bloody PowerPlate (Yes, I do think they're for lazy people. What of it?!) but nooooo....couldn't see anything. We walked over to the stretching area. And lo and behold, there it was. Martin presented the roller to me as proudly as a new dad showing off his offspring. I was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelighted!
I have heard about these foam rollery things and used one on occasion when I could get my hands on one (believe it or not, relatively new phenomenon in the UK - usually only available from verrrrrry expensivo physio shops....PTL for amazon.co.uk!) - especially this time last year when I had that sucky injury to my hip flexors caused by a too tight ITB. So needless to say, I was eager to get involved! I have had a few really disappointing training sessions lately and a lot of leg fatigue so I was quite excited to rejuvenate the old pins! (Taken longer to recover from the Hell Runner than I thought, and longer to get the miles back in my legs *sad face*)
You know that (other) old saying: 'Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen'?? Well this is how I reckon the foam roller feels about me. (Just go with me on this...)...because it REALLY BLOODY HURTS when you use it but afterwards, you're left with such release that you can't help but go back for more the next time.....
And therein lies my problem. I am hopelessly addicted to it. I've hogged it after every run or sprint session I've done since and my legs definitely feel 'looser' and more quickly recovered after training, particularly as I begin to get back into the swing of things after slacking a bit. Most def feeling the benefits. Nowt wrong with that. No one else seems to want to use it. Job's a good'un!
I have a *slight* issue I need to bring to your atttention.
How on earth does one accurately and effectively use the foam roller without (a) yelling loud expletives, (b) groaning and moaning (c) looking/sounding like you're auditioning to be in a porn film??
(Personally, I think the answer is buy one and use it at home....preferably when no one else is around...and believe you me, it's at the top of my Christmas list!) BUT at the gym, what is the correct etiquette? Do you grin and bear it or just let the pain out?!
I was literally having fits of giggles as I worked on my legs imagining (a) what I must look like to everyone else, and (b) what I must have sounded like! Imagine surpressing a scream akin to the scream you emit when you get a sports massage and have an elbow unceremoniously jabbed in your glutes.....I am not a quiet subject when I get massaged so I can only imagine what I sounded like! HAHAHA! I drew some funny looks, let me tell you! Nor am I particularly given to ever using the f word. Apparently this is not true where foam rollers (or massage, as it happens) are concerned. Oopsie.
Remember the secen in 'Friends' when Phoebe accuses Monica of making sex noises when she gets massaged? That's how I imagine I sounded to people...which only made me laugh even more.
So, I don't know what the answer is but boy am I glad my gym invested in one.
( - As a brief aside, yes there is just one. That means other people have used it. Which makes me feel slightly ill. I am trying to get over it.)
Here's to 'loose legs' and better running!
Lizzie xoxo
Here's a link for youtube demo of foam rollering - not of me doing it, I hasten to add!!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hell Runner Up North 2010 *edited*

Hello! I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hell Runner was absolutely FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC! I LOVED it! Don't get me wrong, it was hard work but wow what a feeling! I am so very glad I ran those ten miles last Thursday night in torrential rain and howling gales! The course was like nothing we'd expected. 10 miles, sure, but the HILLS - ohhh the hills! Craziest inclines, up and down, repeat ad nauseaum. 2 bogs in total, so as soon as you'd dried off from one you were plunged into the next. There were points where you couldn't actually run because the terrain was so steep it involved literally hand over hand climbing up roots and then sliding down the other side. There were points when I felt as if I was in the Army!! Thank the Lord the weather was beautiful!

Anyhoo, with all the bottle necks and waiting for dithering people to get in the bog, Chris + I finished it in 2:08, which is a bit longer than we'd have liked BUT it's very tricky to actually run at speed in ankle deep mud - not an altogether suitable terrain for my poor old knee! Kept feeling it twinge as if it were going to pop out again! *retches*

I've added a few pics from the event photographer so you can get an idea.

I am so proud of myself for doing this!

I must still be jacked up on endorphins because I just signed up for the Liverpool Half Marathon. GAH! So I guess running is going to be a big focus for my training for the next little while! YIKES!!!!

Chris + I at the end of the race covered in bog.

My sprint finish! I beat my pt by 1 second hahaha! (he so totally would have finished quicker if it weren't for my slow ass running - what a gent!)

Not too sure about the Bog of Doom

Go PT goooooo!!!

Absolutely LOVING it!

So, whaddaya think??!! Isn't it great that by having lost weight and living healthily we can tame our bodies so that they perform for us in this way? Life is good!
Lizzie xoxox
Due to popular demand, (well Charlotte asked) , this is how the race went.
The longest I have ever run up to this race was 11k. Having lost 50lbs and trained with a professional, I now run a pretty decent (for me) 20 minute 5k and a 49 minute 10k, so I am fit-ish BUT have never pushed myself with distance. Add to this the fact that I have been in the show and thus have not had tremendous amounts of time or mind space to devote to this. So it was kind of a leap of faith. Plus I am extremely competitive. And easily goaded into things and whilst, generally speaking, my pt Chris is an all-round nice fellow, he does know how to push my buttons. He called me chicken. So I entered. Stupid - yes I know. We agreed to run it together, he promised not to bomb off like a mad thing, and we'd support (read 'drag') each other round.
Our schedules are sooooooooo different that despite living in the same neighbourhood we did not manage to do ONE SINGLE SOLITARY training run together.
I began to panic.
Last week I ran 4 miles and simply could not go on, I had a sore throat and was a human snot machine. Nice. Plus, I slept funny on my neck so my head was at a permanent angle for 3 days.
I began to have doubts.
I called him on Tuesday to make the decision. He talked me into it. He suggested I get a long run in before Sunday. Wednesday I was at audition workshops for Guys + Dolls so Thursday it had to be and then 2 days of absolute rest! Not a smart way to train for the longest, most demanding race you've ever yet done...note to self.
Thursday evening I was determined I would get out there. So obviously it was the coldest, wettest, most torrential rain + howling gales night of the year so far. I donned that glow in the dark running jacket and trusty Primarni head band and off I went. And I ran, And ran. And ran. Ten miles. I just got out and pushed myself. It took me an hour and a half but I bloody well did it.
(and then I had a 'proper whitey' as my sister would say, threw up and had the maaaajor squits, but that's another story)
I was ready.
Race Day
I was up at 6am. I ate 40g of steel cut porridge oats with skim milk + drank tea whilst repeating 'Just another day. Just another normal day' and 'I am going to Delamere Forest to look at Christmas trees'.
It didn't seem to work.
Chris and Mark picked me up at 8am sharp. (Mark is another guy from the studio who is, like, a proper athlete (and ran Hellrunner in 1 hour 14 minutes!).
You kinda drive through the forest to get to the carpark - it's like a mahoosive country park in Cheshire near Frodsham and so we could catch glimpses of course markers - y'know, those ominous dayglo background, black arrows that show you the way to go. We glimpsed some hills and some bogs......and all of a sudden it dawned on us. We were actually doing it!
(insert expletive here)
Fast forward to the start. 10am - the elite athlete's (Mark amongst them) dashed off. We set off at 10:20am. 'Resist the temptation to sprint' were Chris' wise-words. HAH! Couldn't have sprinted if I'd tried. The first section of the run was up a bloody hill! Imagine setting your treadmill on the highest incline and trying to run on it and then you have some idea of what I was faced with. After 2.5 miles of hills...yes....down and up, down and up and finally, mercifully down, we hit the proper trails, under tree cover, through the actual forest. I was feeling good, my breathing was good, energy levels good, wasn't knackered and the ground was firm so I could keep a steady pace - ie do 'real' running instead of the stop/start hills section. Familiar territory so we picked up our pace and overtook some people, the crowd thinned out which was helpful.
Then it got muddier.
In 2003 I suffered a pretty catastrophic (for anyone, let alone a ballet dancer) lateral dislocation fo the left patella. Whilst on a trampoline in a PE class. Error. My poor old knee has (obv!) never been the same since. (K)Needless to say it does not do well on unstable ground. Hello running in ankle deep thick, slimy, slippy, squelchy mud. Not ideal. I literally had to 'trot' for these bits, without any kind of pace because, well, I could feel my knee 'shifting' which is ususally a pretty good indicator of impending dislocation, and I did not want to have to pop it back in and hobble round the next 8 miles.....so this slowed me (us!) down. Chris dutifully hung out with me.
Then came the bog.
All I remember thinking is "OMG it's soooo not that BAD!!!!' - then I jumped in. Up to my waist. The bog bit kinda did my head in, I was most excited about this. I wanted to prove my mettle. Bu there were crowds of bloody dithering (sorry!) women on the bank having major stresses about getting their fricking trainers dirty. GAH! Click on ladies! You KNEW what you were entering. So female ditherers also slowed us down!
The other side of the bog I had no idea how far we'd gone - because there's so much mud we didnt take our Garmins, and there are NO MILE MARKERS for the whole race. I know. Stress!
So anyway. There was a bit of a trail run more, a quick water stop (I hope they recycled!) and then a sharp right turn back into the forest. The weather, though chilly, was beautifully sunny - great running conditions, and the scenery was gorgeous. The overall ambience of this race is F-U-N! I recall at this point feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that I CAN DO THIS and enjoy it and it's fun for me and I know my life is better because of it. (Hello drunk on endorphins!)
Then it was time for 'The Hills of Hell'
They weren't kidding. Here the running stopped and the climbing began. Literally hand-over-hand, reach out and grab a root and try to find a steady foothold in the mud oozing down the embankment. Chris, who is evidently part mountain goat, bounded up them like nobody's business, so of course I followed suit....competitive? moi? nooooooooooo!
Once up the steep bank, you had to get down.Cue running so fast your legs might come off whilst being propelled by (pulled by?) gravity towards the bottom of the incline at a rather rapid rate of knots. Scary.
And repeat.
Numerous times.
By this time I was starting to flag. A cheery 'How're your energy levels?!' from Mr PT himself nearly caused me to drown him in a bog. I was lagging. This was when I began to understand the appeal of...TA DAAAAAAAAAAAAA....gels!
Rewind back to the beginning of the race. Chris hands me two 'gels' - I didn't know what they were! Sure, I had heard about them but i ran 10 miles the other night without even a water bottle so why would I need gels now?! Plus, HOW MANY CALORIES must there be in them???!!*cue hyperventilation*
Also (rant alert) NIKE pleeeeeeeeeeeease make women's running shorts with zip pockets in to accommodate such things instead of that ridiculous little ipod pouch !
So anyways, Chris suggested I have a gel at this point. On account of having no pockets I had had to keep them between my boobs in my sports bra which having no boobs nowadays, is pretty easily done. SO by the time I came to eat it (drink it? consume it?) it was warm. Bleuch. Warm, runny, vaguely orange falvoured gunk, the consistency of phlegm. *vomits*.
I kept it down and patiently jogged waiting for it to kick in, not really knowing what to expect (sceptical? moi?!). And then....all of a sudden....WHOOSH!!!!!!!!!! I felt like I was on drugs (not that i know what that is like but how i imagine!) GORDON BENNETT!
I was racing up those hills like nobody's business, doing my best impression of a mountain goat without a care in the world! AMAAAAAAAAZING!
And then we reached the bog of Doooooooooooooooooooom.....
It was not fun. I may have started a mud fight. freezing cold, thigh high (and, as it happened, waist high) thick, gloopy, wet, foul smelling MUD. To wade through. For about ten minutes. Clambering over roots, trees, people, you get the idea. I LOVED IT!
And THEN getting out, covered in it and shoes filled with water and having to run the remaining whatever-it-was (i'd lost count) back up over the hill to the start. About 2 minutes before the end i almost lost the will to live and chris uttered the immortal line ' do i ahve to get all pt on your ass?' and that kicked me into a sprint finish, completely buggering up his plans of us crossing the line together! Hahaha! (see pic above)
We collected our excellent goody bags and headed home.
(About an hour after I got home I had THE WORST diarrhoea imaginable. Bloody carb gels.)
And that, my friends, was the race!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hell Runner

It's Sunday morning. 6:30am. I am just about to set off for Delamere Forest in Cheshire, along with my pt, some other guys from our studio + 1500 other nutters to take part in the annual Hell Run. Might be 10 miles, might be 12. Definitely off road, definitely hilly, definitely wet, definitely muddy. Oh, and there's something called the "Bog of Doom".........

.....I'll keep you posted! Wish me luck! Eeeeek!!!!


Lizzie xoxo

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Hello chums! What an age it's taken me to update this blog! Shocking behaviour. Memo to me - must do better! Now then. What's new in my world? Allow me to update...

#1 See below - some pictures from the show I was in - I braved the costume and (in my humble opinion) actually rocked it in the end! No, my body was not perfect, or as toned or thin as I would have liked it to be on stage BUT I was HEALTHY and HAPPY with my performance and that, surely, is what counts most! It feels like a triumph anyway. Especially when you consider that this time last year I would NEVER even have considered such an outfit. On a stage. In public. In front of people who know me.

#2 Weightwatchers - Here in the UK we're all set next week for the brand new programme to be launched! New diet! New breakthrough! New you! My friends and I that clerk our local meeting have been trialling it in secret for a couple of weeks (me just for one week) and suffice it to say I am REALLY excited about it! Weight loss hhas been great and I think it affords me the opportunity to eat even healthier on plan. I onbviously can't say too much about it but I definitely think it's a good thing. It's high time WW UK got themselves in line with the rest of the world! Change is always a bit tricky and it's a faff to have to constantly look things up + check out stuff BUT I remind myself that it was this discipline that helped me succeed in the first place, not least because I have consciously thinking about each and every single thing I consume rather than knowing the plan and points values by heart. It's good to refocus.
#3 Becoming a pt - Rather mercifully the start of my practical course has been put back to January 2011. I was annoyed at first because I wanted to dive straight in BUT that would have meant that I'd gone from show week straight into the course and, well, I'm only human! Plus I have an absolute shed load of reading and learning to do before anything else so I am thankful for extra time!
#4 New project! - on the back of the success of 'forum' I have decided to audition to be in Guys and Dolls!!! It opens next April and it quite one of my favourite shows EVER! Sooo, auditions and workshops begin this evening! Wish me luck!! The reason I mention it here is because really it is another offshoot of my new healthy lifestyle. Because I am more confident about my body I can once again indulge my love of performing without detesting being looked at! It's crazy just how far reaching this weight loss malarkey is!
#5 This weekend - *GULP* I will be doing this Seriously. Watch the video. Am I insane? I blame my pt.
And as for me, well....it's November. The first day of the month fell on a Monday + this always make me happy. It feel like a new season, new beginning for me. According to weigh in on Saturday I have gained 7lbs over the past 3 weeks - I refute this entirely. I did have a relaxed week from 24th oct to 31st because I was so knackered after the show AND ill too, but there's no way that amount of fat has attached itself to my bod!. This week, however, I feel better - motivated, committed, driven. So I am counting, tracking, exercising and generally getting back into the swing of things. As I begin my training the focus of this blog may swing away from weightloss/maintenance to a more fitness focus....so I hope you'll still read + follow laong with me!!!
I'm got an unexpected day off (waiting in for a plumber) so I'm off for a foray into blogland to comment on all your blogs as I catch up on my reading!
Masses of love.
Lizzie xoxo