Month: May 2016

Review – CamdenGear Hydration Belt

Upping the miles has come with a whole host of other things to think about especially hydrating whilst out on a long run.

I was in the market for a hydration belt and came across the CamdenGear belt. I was offered the belt at a discount price for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

On the arrival of the belt, I initially wasn’t sure velcro was the way to go given that I’d been using belts with plastic buckles.

I’m a size 16 so was very cautious of what would fit and be comfortable as well as looking good and not digging into me.

The belt comes with 2 x 170mls bottles and a bag. Within the bag section there is a plastic section that would fit your debit or credit card. It easily holds my keys, Samsung Galaxy 5, a few coins and my caffeine sweets.

I was easily able to run my headphones from my phone in the bag to my ears and they didn’t budge all run.

This is testament to how well the belt stays in place. I did wear it with the bottles and bag to the back, so it sat neatly on the small of my back, with the the fastening to the front and felt weightless.

The bottle holders do, like any hydration belt, take getting used to using whilst moving. They fit snuggly and have an additional pull string toggles to help secure if you are in fear of the bottle popping out and giving you extra peace of mind.

I do love the velcro fastening.  It doesn’t scratch and means that if you where even sharing the belt between you and your partner it doesn’t need to be resized every run to get it back to your size.

The hook and loop is fantastic quality and I don’t see it losing its stickiness too easily.

The CamdenGear Hydration Belt ticks all the right boxes.

●It has plenty of space for the long run essentials
●Easy to use
●Secure water bottles
●Hardwearing velcro fastening
●Great sizing for the “cuddlier” athlete
●Stays put whilst on the move
●Not bulky so you hardly notice it once moving.

Would I recommend it?
I definitely would. I’ve had it out on a few long runs and it hasn’t caused me any problems or discomfort. I’ve yet to have it on me and think that there is something more it needs. A great product and an essential for any runner.

You can buy it on Amazon for RRP £24.99
Currently on sale today 23.05.16 for £12.99
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camden-Gear-Hydration-Running-Belt/dp/B00F01E3PC

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My legs are hungover -Life with DOMS

Ok I may have brought this on myself.
After feeling pretty epic after the weekend and scaling 3 mountains and throwing an 11miles in on the Sunday as I felt great…the bubble of invincibility was going to burst.

And boy did it do it in style.

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Took Monday off knowing that I was bound to need a rest and secondly I’d a pt session at 7am on Tuesday morning. So the alarm went off at 6.20am on Tuesday. Felt alright and off I headed to the gym to see what Shane had in store for me this week.

The dreaded words of “Legs and Core” started the morning off and I swear I’ve never pushed myself like it. Between umpteen weighted squats and lunges, I pretty much crawled out of the gym.

No climbing mountains after the school run. I knew I had to rest as had a 10k race on the Wednesday. But it wasn’t to be. Serious case of DOMS had set in and I only felt good standing in one place and not moving. I tried to walk it out taking the 3k trip to pick the little one up from school but I was like jelly. Anything… I mean ANYTHING I did from trying to go to the toilet to getting in and out of the car was and still is agony.

Yesterday was a joke and if I had recorded the sound effects that accompanied me they would have went viral. Labour was easier and I swear if someone had offered me an epidural I would have bitten their hand off.

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Foam rolling was even more hillarious with the kids asking why I looked so sore. I’m sure I looked like a beached whale unable to make it to sea. I drank a tonne of water in a bid to feed my muscles as well as a load of protein. This did mean I had to endure the toilet a bit more often which wasn’t a pleasant transaction.

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So here we are…day 2. I’m still sore but hopeful that it might begin to subside soon or I’ll learn to live with the pain better. My 10k didn’t happen last night. I could barely walk to the shop never mind run 10k.

So what have I learnt from the past few days…
I am human
My body does get sore
It also gets tried
My body shouldn’t have to punish me to teach me a lesson
I should know when to rest
I never EVER want to feel like this again.

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What a weekend of triumph for my wee legs

Summer has come to Ireland this week and boy how the sun makes you want to move.
I’ve had a pretty active week as it was, between a session with Shane at the gym where he found my breaking point, running up the local mountain, kicking ass in spin and running home afterwards followed by a Friday Funday around the hills of Tollymore with Lauren.

Let’s face it…I deserved a rest day. But did I? Of course not. I had the mountains calling me and I was going. What was going to be a trip out with my mother in law ended up as a day adventure with Michael.

His mum preferred to stay about the house and mind the kids, letting us get out for a few hours leaving us off about 10mile away from home and a mountain range between us and home.
Although there was a huge downhill road home we obviously opted for the more scenic and mountainous route. With 3 peaks ranging from 550m elevation to 700m to be scaled and conquered we set off ready to take it on.
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It was literally 3 mountains in 3 hours. What went up, definitely came down. The views however were so breathtaking and the sun shone down on us. Thankfully I’d broken out the sun cream earlier that day so only minor areas of redness on completion.

I could feel every muscle including my heart crying out for a rest as I went up each mountain. Thing is, anyone can do the Mournes. It’s about picking the right route and just taking your time. We passed two couples on our assent of Meelbeg and I wouldn’t be surprised if they where well into their 60s. Taking a break every 10metres to regroup and continue on. Obviously they were well versed in climbing as their gear was all top notch and there was me out in my Brooks (first time this year braving trainers up the mountain) and best of sports direct gym gear. But it had been dry enough and as long as I wasn’t planning on fell running I was going to be ok.

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So if that wasn’t enough for my body to endure for one weekend. On waking on Sunday (kids had a sleep over at grannys) we decided to attempt a long run.

Picking a route beyond the park is always interesting especially when you have no idea how long it will take for you to break. So setting off with the hope of 10mile with various side routes to take if we felt tired.

Well 10mile came and went and we hit home shortly after 11 mile.

When both watches beeped at 10mile I stopped and done a funky dance in the middle of the road.  It was ok…It was a country road with no one else on it so I was saved.

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A new 10mile and 15k pb so absolutely buzzing considering I had had a grueling hike the day before. This body can and will make it to the end of a half marathon. 30 days and counting.

My wee legs are looking forward to a rest that’s for sure.

What motivates you when running

I’m sure every runner has that one thing which gives them a virtual kick on route in the middle of the run to get them to the end.

I’ve seen many people before a race dedicating each mile to someone special to get them through it. Others I am sure are driven by their own personal competition to be consistsntly better and knowing that giving up isn’t an option.

A friend tonight posted about being out for a run and how it was one of those days where she doubted her ability and her fitness just because it was a tough run.

It got me thinking about the moments I hit whilst out on a run and what picks me up.

I’m a very emotive runner. I would one minute be running with a smile plastered across my face then 2 minutes later I’d have tears rolling down my face.   

A year ago I was on all sorts of anti depressants and anxiety tablets to keep me functioning. Now I just have running.

I’ve a very dark past, one which I recently faced head on and finally put to rest in the courts in 2013. I lost a lot in that battle but it didn’t measure up to what I gained not only personally but for society and the development of the law in similar cases.

However it is the outcome of that case that spurs me on when I am struggling.  I spent years having my dreams and aspirations suppressed by those who wanted to control me more so for their own safety and reputations. I was always lead to believe that I couldn’t do things or achieve something I wanted. I coasted a long in life never really challanging myself as I never had the support that even if it was a ridiculous idea that there was unconditional support.

Being on the heavier side, my mum would poke fun at any idea I had that I could do something athletic and succeed. Even whilst wedding dress shopping she commented that we would need to buy a particular dress as there would be nothing else out there that would do me as much justice.

So what has that got to do with running? It’s pretty simple when I am struggling I hear her voice nagging me…telling me that it was a stupid idea to run and I was never capable of it.

Ok not the positive encouragement whilst out running but I am driven by spite quite strangely. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my past but I know I am finding ways to cope with it. I know in myself that I am stronger than I ever thought both mentally and physically. I know I want to prove her wrong everytime I set my garmin and go.

I am going to complete this marathon and I will show the world that I can be apart of that elite 1% of people to have done one. Nothing understated or mediocre about that. An achievement which seems madness to many but to me it’s something I will do and will nail.

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Smells like Marathon Spirit

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The skies where clear, it was mild and it was Marathon Monday.

However when I woke up on the May Bank Holiday Monday it was far from clear skies! I opened the curtains to a dull and wet morning where the rain was bouncing off the street.

My first experience of Marathon life was looking like it was going to be spent wet and miserable, paired with a sleepless night with a son who didn’t want to sleep on his own meant I could have easily crawled back into bed. The usual race thoughts ran through my head however the thought of hanging about Belfast all day in the rain made me feel miserable.

It was ok though, all 5 of us felt the same and questioned who’s bright idea was this…again sadly, that was me!

But my belief that there was a God was strengthened as we approached Belfast. The skies brightened and it looked like the rain was going to disappear.

Leaving Lauren, Tara and Thomas off at Ormeau Park to get their buses to their starting points was odd. It was the Team Relay we were part taking in and I was abandoning my team! Where’s the fun in that? Michael and I heading into town to park the car and made our way to City Hall.

City Hall was surrounded by blue portaloos and there where plenty of people tooting about with plastic bags on them, obviously they woke up to the same weather I had done! The music was booming and the reality that in less than 6 months I’d be gearing up for my own marathon gave me butterflies.

There was the usual pre race warm ups with 3 overly energetic people doing aerobics however they where accompanied by a host of oompah loompas which was extremely entertaining.

I was in awe at the field of marathoners around me. All shapes and sizes, some local, some definitely not local. Their pre race warm ups where what I would call a race in itself. There was also the look of fear in many people’s faces.  26.2 mile is not to be sniffed at and I am sure they had put the hours and hours of training in all in preparation for the task ahead.

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Michael and I at the start line.

I kissed Michael good luck and headed up to the first corner. He had a sketchy plan to run numerous legs and see how far he could manage. I’ll be honest I was just out for the experience and wasn’t in anyway inclined to want to do more than my bit.

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As I heard the Claxton sound, the race was under way. I was mesmerised by the sheer volume of people. I recognised a few faces from 10k races as they led the pack at the first corner…obviously gunning for their team to win the relay event.

I made my way to Bridge End to my starting point where not so long after the race started the leaders where already finishing their first 6 mile. I have never seen anything so graceful. The lead men where like gazelles. So elegant and running like they where floating. A 30mins 6miles is impressive as a normal run but these runners had another 20 to go and I am sure they didn’t even slow down the whole time.

As the 50min barrier approached I knew I had to be on the look out for the bright orange vest. I have to admit the organisation of the relay change over was a shambles and no prior information sent out in advance. So it was simply a matter of spot and mob your team mate. Around 56 minutes Michael appeared.

I had already written the text to send to Thomas to tell him we were on route so hit send and tried to get going. Dear god would my legs go! Standing still for 30mins was not a great idea and after a 1km in I was worried I’d never get moving.  I knew the hills at the Falls where coming and I needed loose legs to manage it. I did realise that even though I was struggling, I was running my own race pace.  I felt like I was keeping Michael back but he assured me that I was doing great and not to worry.

It was nice to share the leg with him and have him beside me. The crowd support as we came through the town and up the Falls was immense and a credit to all the locals who where inconvenienced by closed roads etc. Kids got involved and even the Nuns at Clonard where out cheering us on. Also a bonus to have your name on your bib as it was great to get the odd “come on Siobhan” as we tackled the hill.

I did genuinely want to get a 5k personal best but as I was running I didn’t feel on form and the hills are not pb material in general! As we approached the hand over point I knew I had just missed out on a pb  but was proud I’d managed the distance and the climb in a reasonable time. Only 28 secs out!

Michael pushed on with Thomas and it turned out that His wee rest running with me was just enough recovery for him to make it to the 17 mile mark at the end of stage 3. I have to admit I think he is crazy to have done that but on the other hand I am proud he managed it. At least he’s only another 9 mile to find…I’ve 16!

Thomas had the joys of meeting hero and local Olympic legend Paddy Barnes on route which I am sure made his day! Lauren blasted through her leg managing to over take and leave behind in her dust, our own local footballing county player and Tara brought it home for us with a strong finish where we came in under 4 hours as a team.

Unbelievable!

When the results came in we worked it out that we came in the top 25% of the relay teams that took park…us… near the top of the leader board. Go Us.

While we were at it, we have raised just short of £500 for the local hospice.

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So next big race is my first Half Marathon in Lisburn. Hoping I don’t have the same stiffness I had yesterday as I’d never make it to the end!

So head down and motor on…