Update #20

The month of the half marathon has finally come around! And as usual it’s hard to believe that it’s October already; there’s only this month, November and December, and then it will be a new year before we know it.

Looking back on September, all of my blogs have been focused on fitness. This comes as no surprise since my main focus has been training for the half marathon in Leicester. I ran 18km for the third time at the start of September, and then I very recently ran the distance of a half marathon for the first time. I was very pleased with how it went, despite being absolutely knackered afterwards. I now know that I can run that far and I’m raring to go for Sunday 15th October.

To facilitate my training I bought a fitness tracker which counts the number of steps you take in a day. I have found it more useful as a timer for my long distance runs, as I don’t think it’s entirely accurate for running. My mother has a fitness tracker as well as she’s walking 10,000 steps a day this month, so it’s more suited for her challenge.

I was aiming to post foodie and feminist blogs, but time and life got the better of me, and I’ve been mainly focused on my biggest physical challenge yet. I did however write a few poems last month which are on my poetry blog. I wrote a pessimistic poem about the current state of the world called ‘Ticking time bomb‘, and a more upbeat and satirical poem about online dating called ‘Swiping away‘.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

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My best run yet

I woke up feeling tired and a bit achy this morning, but I feel much better and my legs don’t hurt so much now. This aching is due to the fact that I ran 21km/13 miles for the first time yesterday afternoon; I’ve finally reached the distance of a half marathon! With just two weeks to go, I’m now feeling more ready than ever to run in my first half marathon at the Leicester Marathon on Sunday 15th October.

I’m so chuffed at how well my first attempt at running 21km went yesterday. I felt like the master of the steep inclines and slopes as I didn’t have to walk up them; I took them gently and made sure to recover by running at a steady pace and gradually pick up speed again. The only time I had to walk was towards the end during the last 1km. This point was when I was running in the unknown, further than 18km which I had been running previously.

I completed 21km in 2 hours and 35 minutes, which I’m pleased with. I felt more determined than ever yesterday to run the distance of a half marathon. I think that this is mostly due to the success of my fundraising so far, as I am running a half marathon for the Association of Air Ambulances. My mother has started her 10,000 steps a day this month, which is also in aid of the same charity. We’ve both raised over £500 together so far!

I think that another reason why my run went so well yesterday was the fact that I went out in the afternoon, rather than in the morning. During my training so far I have been going out for a long distance run not long after I wake up in the morning, but I went out at 2pm yesterday afternoon. I wonder if being awake for longer during the day made it easier to run, rather than going out shortly after waking up.

I got rather wet yesterday as it rained during the last 4km of my run. It was refreshing more than anything, and I was dripping with sweat anyway, so a bit of water did no harm. There is also the possibility of rain in two weeks’ time, so I’m prepared to run whatever the elements may throw at me and the thousands of other runners!

Hot, wet and sweaty after running 13 miles!

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t mind what time I finish the half marathon in, but I’d like to aim for 2 hours and 3o minutes. The majority of the route is flat, but the last mile will be the real challenge, as it up a long slope known as the New Walk in Leicester. I’m hoping that there will be lots of supporters along this last part to cheer all of the runners on. My sister will be waiting at the end to take a photo of me crossing the finish line!

If you’d like to sponsor my mother and I, you can donate online via our Just Giving page.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Racer #201

I was going to write ’18 days to go’ as the title for this blog, but I changed my mind and thought ‘Racer #201’ would sound cooler!

So I received my racing number today through the post, and the number is much lower than I expected. I signed up for the Leicester half marathon four months ago, thinking that lots of people will have already signed up. In the past I’ve had much higher numbers for race; I do like the number 201.

Racer 0201

On the back of my number is a foam chip, but will record my time once I cross the finish line. On the day I will be wearing my new fitness tracker so that I can check the time as well.

There are a few more things I need to do before I run my first half marathon. I need a t-shirt to wear on the day, as runners receive a Leicester Marathon t-shirt at the end of the race. The only t-shirts I have are from races I have completed. I can’t really wear an Iron Run t-shirt or a parkrun t-shirt when I’m raising money for the Association of Air Ambulances! I’ll see if I can get a t-shirt with air ambulances on it.

The other thing I need to do is run the distance of a half marathon if I can before the 15th October. I was thinking of running either tomorrow or on Sunday. The weekend before the half marathon I will be away in Brighton so I need to run this weekend.

Not long to go now!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

22 days to go

In just less than three weeks’ time I will be raring to go and running my first half marathon in Leicester! I still can’t believe how quick it’s coming round. I can’t wait to get to the start line and join thousands of runners who are also running a half marathon, or those who are brave enough to tackle the full 26 miles!

I have now found a map showing the half marathon route for Sunday 15th October on the Leicester Marathon website. Here is the route I’ll be running in 22 day’s time:

Starting at Victoria Park (where I have ran two Race for Lifes), the route goes past a lovely park called Abbey Park and round surrounding suburbs north of Leicester, including Thurmaston, Wanlip and Birstall. I will know that it’s not far until the end when I pass the iconic National Space Centre and then back through the city centre towards Victoria Park.

I’m looking forward to trying out a new route. My training has involved running along the same route which can get quite boring, so running past some of Leicester’s attractions will be exciting to do.

In terms of my training, I’ve yet to run 13 miles/21km. The furthest I’ve ran to date is 18km (approx. 11.2 miles). I’m hoping to run the distance of a half marathon this coming week or during the next weekend.

I went to the gym this morning and tried out rowing as a change from running. I quite often pass rowers when I run along the canal into Leicester and it looks tough. I’ve had a go at rowing a few times at the gym and now I tend to avoid it as it hurts my legs, hips and shoulders however, it’s a good intense workout. I then went on the treadmill for about 30 minutes, until I had reached 2.5km by varying the gradient and speed for another good workout.

I suppose I ought to think about what to eat the night before the half marathon. I’ve heard that carbs is a good option, so potentially spaghetti bolognese, but I’ll have a look into it and let you know what I decide to have as ‘the last supper’ before my toughest physical challenge yet!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

 

18km round #3

With less than a month to go until the big day (28 days to be exact), I knew that I had to go out for a run this morning. I was prepared with a fully charged iPod (which ran out of battery on my previous long distance run) and my new moreFit fitness tracker. I was contemplating running 21km (the distance of a half marathon), but I decided to opt for a third attempt at 18km.

If I wanted to check the time, I used to have to take my iPod out of my pocket which is a bit of a faff when you’re running. My fitness tracker is a lot more convenient to see how long I’ve been running for as I wear it on my left wrist. I can also check the distance I’ve ran, although this isn’t as accurate as I was hoping.

When I reached the 5km mark, my fitness tracker only read 4.5km. By the time I completed my 18km run, it turns out that I had only run 16km. I use Mapometer to plan my routes which is pretty accurate, so I knew that I had run 18km, not 16km. Even though my fitness tracker may not be very accurate, it’s handy to have a timer on my wrist while I’m out running, and it gives me an estimate for how many steps I’ve done when I’m just pottering around the house or out walking.

I finished 18km in 2 hours and 10 minutes today, which is more than my previous two attempts. My first attempt was around 2 hours, and my second attempt was about 2 hours and 5 minutes. However, I am not too concerned about reaching a time for my first half marathon; my main goal is to be able to run one, however long it takes. If I was to put a time on, I would say that I’d aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

With the half marathon coming round the corner, I’m starting to feel the pressure, although I’m feeling confident that I’ll be able to run 21km/13 miles on the 15th October!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Investing in fitness

My mother is walking 10,000 steps a day next month to raise money for Association of Air Ambulances, which also happens to be the charity which I’ve decided to support for the half marathon in Leicester which I’ll be running next month. In order to track the number of steps, my mother wanted to get a fitness tracker. After some research on my father’s part, I bought a moreFit Slim fitness tracker for my mother, and I’ve also bought one for myself!

Say hello to moreFit

I’ve heard positive reviews about various fitness trackers, in particular the Fitbit which is just a bit out of my price range (many are priced at over £100!). The moreFit Slim fitness tracker costs only £19.99, and is perfect for what my mother and I need.

I’ve been using mine since last Friday and it seems to be working pretty well so far. The moreFit tracks the amount of steps you walk/run, how far you’ve walked/ran, the amount of calories you’ve burnt, and the amount of time you have been active for (in minutes). The moreFit also tracks your sleeping pattern, telling you how many hours of deep sleep, shallow sleep and waking sleep you’ve had during the night when you pair it with your phone.

Steps tracker

The app that you pair the moreFit with is called Veryfit, and it is very easy to use. Firstly you enter your details into the app, including your date of birth, height and weight. When you pair the moreFit with your phone, the app updates itself showing you your progress on a chart. You can look at the data on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis for the amount of steps you’ve done and your sleeping pattern as well.

I’ve not been out for a run or to the gym with my moreFit on, but it’s amazing how many steps you can do when you’re just pottering around your home. I went to Leeds for the day on Saturday and walked almost 20,000 steps! (I did look around lots of shops as well as the Leeds City Museum and cathedral).

When I do go out for a long distance run, I can set a stop watch on my moreFit fitness tracker which will also track my exact distance, steps and calories burnt for the duration of the run. It will also be good to track my progress on the Veryfit app as well.

It’s early days yet, but my moreFit seems to be working well so far. The only thing is that the fitness tracker is quite sensitive, so it sometimes counts steps while you’re driving or a passenger in a car. Other than that, you can set yourself a target for the amount of steps that you want to achieve via the Veryfit app, and when you reach your target the moreFit tracker vibrates and shows you a trophy!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

 

Update #19

I didn’t actually post an update last month as I was away in France, where I had a lovely time away and enjoyed the sunshine and French cuisine. I didn’t quite get round to writing an update post as I wrote one about my break in France, but this update looks back at July and August together, since July was a quiet month on my blog.

So back in July I ran 18km for the first time. Since then I’ve managed to run 18km again for my third attempt, as my second go at running this distance didn’t quite go to plan. During my second 18km attempt I experienced ‘The Wall‘, but I’m glad that I overcame this obstacle in my recent 18km run. I’d like to increase this to 21km for my next long distance run, which will be the distance of a half marathon (only 39 days to go until the big day!)

Last month I managed to write a blog with a slight feminist tone, which is about our perception of body image and how this affects our health. Interestingly there was a news story recently about a study which suggests that even if you are fit and do regular exercise, you are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and other diseases if you carry too much weight. I might write a blog about this, as I consider myself to be fitter even though I am carrying a bit too much body weight. It’ll be an interesting study to look into.

Food wise I recently made a chocolate banana loaf for my sister’s birthday. It went down very well and I’d definitely like to make another one for future occasions. I do like the combination of chocolate and banana, it tastes great!

Many of you will know that I have a poetry blog as well called ‘poclaretry‘, where I have recently posted about a new poetry night I went to called Bohemia. I read out a few poems at a restaurant called Boneyard in Leicester where I had the opportunity to perform in front of a new audience, and meet other poets as well.

Performing at Bohemia

This month I’d like to focus on my training for the half marathon, since it will be my biggest physical challenge so far!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂