Month: May 2016

Arriving in Edinburgh by train not plane

Edinburgh marathon festival – Travel plans

So today was the day we were travelling to Scotland for the 2016 Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

Everything was planned so that I would finish work and pick up Dani en route before heading to Bedminster to catch the airport bus to get our 8pm flight to arrive in Edinburgh so that I could have a chilled day before the marathon.

The airport bus came on time and I even saw a pupil’s dad on there (who I found out the day before was off to the north of Spain to run a trail race there). As expected for the Friday of a bank holiday weekend, there was traffic but we had plenty of time so all was calm. It also turned out that worse was to come…

Delay at Bristol airport so sat on floor

The delay had just been announced so we took a seat

Arriving at the airport, we had a 30 minute delay (not bad as the dad’s flight to Spain already had a 2 hour delay). After making the most of the free hand cream samples – always a nice airport treat – we settled down for a coke and waited to board. We were called to our gate by 9 and after ten minutes of waiting, an announcement came!

The captain came into the gate to announce the plane had been struck by lightning on its last flight and the men who had been shining torches at the plane for the last ten minutes were in fact inspecting it to find out where the Lightning exited. Fair enough. We all want to fly on a safe plane. We grabbed a seat on the floor to get comfy but soon they said it could be an hour so kindly suggested we return to the departure lounge to be able to access refreshments. Our dinner plans on arrival in Edinburgh were ruined so we decided on airport food. Not great in the build up to a marathon.

Mens Running UK to read whilst waiting for plane at Bristol airport

Something to keep my focused whilst waiting

Then announcement #2 came.

This time it was over the tannoy and informed us the flight had been cancelled! Cancelled! With no advice of what to do at 10pm! (Funnily, just as this announcement came through, the Madrid flight were asked to start boarding 4 hours after their expected departure. Lucky them. Sort of).

Confusion raced around the departure lounge and we made our way to the easy jet desk where it was very tense with some trying to get to the race and some to weddings. Luckily, Dani was great in this situation (I will blog about how great she is in more detail soon) and had already checked to see there was no flight the next day we could swap onto but there was a train leaving at 6:45am. We decided that this was the best and the only real viable option. So we took it. £220 pound for 2 tickets in first class and cheaper than standard class. What a deal for a seven hour train. Not so great as it was an extra £120 than we paid for the flight to Edinburgh. But needs must and we will be appealing for more compensation. So we left the airport at 11pm and headed home to get some sort of sleep frustrated at losing a night of our Edinburgh accommodation but happy we had a plan. The planned night of good sleep and waking up whenever on the day before the race was now going to be spent travelling.

Day 2

First class travel to Edinburgh

We made it onto the train and were en route to Edinburgh

Waking up early we started our journey again and got to the station and took our seats for my first trip in first class. Normally I wouldn’t bother with first class but for a journey this long and before a marathon it was ideal (we checked and found the seats would normally be £330 each so we were very smug!).

Carb loading on the train to Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Carb loading on the train to Edinburgh

We made the most of the free tea which came with a shortbread biscuit every time! Perfect pre race food right? It was also nice to have leg room to stretch out in, although I did feel guilty when I wanted to stand up to stretch my legs when people in other parts of the train were probably being forced to stand!

First class train snacks including tea and shortbread on way to Edinburgh

Shortbread and tea to keep me fuelled

We finally made it to Edinburgh for 2:30 and began our holiday! The flat we found on air bnb was a 25 minute walk from the station and was absolutely brilliant. For £76 a night it came with a kitchen which means we can cook food if we want and a lounge which is great for chilling if the rain comes. It also has a bath which I will be having a nice bath in.. I mean an ice bath! All in all it is much better then a hotel that we would normally choose to stay in for a price close to the cost of this flat.

Edinburgh apartment from Air BnB

Edinburgh apartment from Air BnB

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My training session for injury recovery

Training sessions (wc 13th May)

After my recent knee issues I have been scouring the net for ideas to help improve my IT Band and knee issue.

From what I have gathered, it looks like it may have resulted from my dodgy hips. Now I have been aware that my hip flexor is not the most stretchy and have been working on it with lots of lunge stretching, but I did not realise the impact that my hips have been having on the rest of my body.

About 7 or 8 years ago I had a phase of going to a chiropractor to sort out some back issues which caused me a lot of grief. Although they helped I think there has always been something not quite right. I get very fidgety when sat down for too long (much to the annoyance of my better half). I also have a slight grind on my left side if I raise my leg up past a certain point and my lower back aches fairly regularly. Once this marathon is out of the way I plan to get to the root cause of these issues starting with a trip to the GP.

I have found a number of exercises that people have suggested and placed these into a little exercise routine in the hope that it will firstly get me to a state that makes the marathon ok to run and secondly help properly fix my IT Band issues.

Training session

I start with a 20 minute jog (the only running I’m currently doing which is way harder physically then it should be) as I am worried about what my knee can take and it has seemed to be ok during it. I have been doing this over at the local pitches close to my house which is good because I can walk there, and back. However, it can get a bit lonely doing laps in a small park as they only seem to take about 3 and a half minutes each.

Then I go through this mini circuit:

20 leg raises (each side) – Lying on my side, I raise a straight leg from my heel, with toes pointing down as much as possible. I have found it can be a bit tricky to get the balance right so I sometimes angle my bottom leg backwards for that added stability.

20 leg clams (each side) – Lying on my side again, I bring my knees out in front of me, close to 90 degrees from the waist. The feet rest in line with the spine and the top knee is then raised whilst keeping the feet in contact. When I did this in my gym I used a resistance band, but have not still got myself one yet.

10 pistol squats (each leg) – Standing on one leg I push one leg out in front of me as I do a squat on one leg only. This is quite wobbly until you get used to it so you may want to have something to hold onto. The further down you go, the harder it gets but I try and get as close to 90 degrees in the knee as I can.

I have been doing these for just over the week and feel like they have been helping me and I clearly have a weakness that it picks up, which probably means I need to train those areas.

Afterwards I am stretching and make sure I do the stretch pictured below each time as it really picks up my glutes which is not always easy.

Post training glute stretch to help injury recovery

Glute stretch after exercise

Once the marathon is out of the way and I know what state I am in, I will reassess the exercises I will be doing going forwards.

Little Stoke Park Run

As I have mentioned on a previous post, I have found the whole experience of Park Run absolutely brilliant. They have been well run, with friendly supportive volunteers and a lovely vibe amongst runners before, during and after the race (the treats that were made by runners was a nice and welcome surprise at the end).

I was therefore really surprised and disappointed when I heard on the news about the ridiculous intention of the local council to charge for the use of the park. This is CRAZY! When we live in a society of high obesity and inactivity levels which ultimately puts a strain onto the NHS and therefore government funding, why are we trying to discourage any organisation that is trying to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle. The mix of people you get visiting a park run on a Saturday morning each week is a fantastically varied bunch that made me feel proud to be part of it and proud of all those giving it a go – be it their first park run or their hundredth!

Unfortunately the council won and now the Park Run has to move which means a number of local people will have to find alternative solutions or travel further to find another Park Run. This will probably mean more people driving to the new location, or driving further, which means more people on the road, which means more congestion and air pollution. That is if people even decide it is worth committing to something which might then be dropped because a council demands a fee! I understand the argument that the council requires funds for the upkeep of the park, but they would have to pay for that regardless of who is using it and surely the idea of a park is that people ACTUALLY USE IT!

Hopefully everyone sticks to supporting Park Runs and if this story has brought anything good out of it, let it be that more people are now aware of Park Run and the good and positivity it spreads.