Sunday, 19 December 2010

A time for realistic intentions!

For all my good intentions and determination to beat the laziness, there is a time for realism.  Given the weather (about 7 inches of snow here) and the imminence of Christmas and New Year, there's unlikely to be any running and much in the way of blog updates for a few days.  In all honesty, the running could be a while given that knee rehab is going to have to occur first, but I have attempted a few very gentle hip strengthening exercises.  For posterity, the exercise goes something like this:

1. Stand on both feet
2. Lift right knee a bit
3. Then extend right leg back as far is comfortable.  Make sure not to tilt your back.

This is supposed to simulate the running stride and should be done 20 times on each leg, and repeated for two sets.

They're pretty low intensity, but I'm being cautious about the rehab (cautious rather than lazy, honest!).  This is my 3rd day of doing them and because I can do them anywhere, I'm hoping Christmas won't stop them!

The bike is still in the shed (well, I probably couldn't open the door due to the snow, anyway) but it's pencilled in the diary to get out between Christmas and New Year.  Maybe writing it here will make me feel I have to do permitting!

Another task for between Christmas and New Year is to finish writing a song I've started.  If I'm a good girl, Father Christmas may bring me a new guitar, so that's incentive to get on with it!  Mini goals are apparently very good motivators to get things done, so let's see!

As well as setting myself mini goals, I've also been reading up on anatomy and physiology of the knee.  This article is a good starting point:

I've learnt that it's weak retinacular tissue in my knee (it helps keep the patella from moving side-to-side), at least in part, that's responsible for my ongoing knee problems.  It's a congenital weakness and apparently is quite common.  I've fixed it once with physio, so lets hope I can fix it again!

Anyway, that's my excuses for less updates over the festive season sorted, so Merry Christmas and hopefully I'll have something further to report soon!


Friday, 17 December 2010

...and the music?

I've always loved music (some may debate that as I used to be a bit of a Brosette!) and it's always been really important to me.  The blasting out of Bon Jovi from my stereo when I was a teenager, still leaves a ringing in my Mum's ears.  But I was never that much into playing an instrument or making my own music.  I did used to make lyrics up to songs I liked, depending on my tortured teenage mood, but I never wrote them down or anything.  I played the obligatory recorder at school and strummed a few chords on an acoustic guitar at a primary school concert on occasion, but as soon as I graduated to secondary school, I gave it all up.

I didn't really pick the guitar up again properly until about 6 years ago.  I'd been at a P!nk concert (she's cracking live, by the way) when her attitude penetrated through the arena and inspired me to go out and buy an electric guitar - it was far too early for a mid-life crisis, by the way....well, at least I hope it was!  So, I did.

Since then, I haven't looked back.  I love playing my guitar and have been part of a pub rock/pop covers band for a couple of years (Blinkwatch -  I also love songwriting,.  I'm not that great at it, but I seem to be getting better.  Despite my best efforts, most of the songs have a punk feel to them, which, fortunately, I really like!  Currently I reckon I've got two songs that are pretty much ready to use on an E.P. and one that needs recording properly.  I'm on my way.....well, much closer to that than I am to running a half marathon!

However, I have been saying I'll 'get the album done this year' for several years, so getting it done this year is still going to be a challenge.  But 2011 is the year for challenging myself and finally achieving some of these lazy ambitions....bring it on.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

So, how did my running begin.

I remember saying to a good friend of mine, a few years ago, that I'd started running (running is not really what I do, a better word for it is plodding!).  She immediately burst into fits of giggles!  You see, she has known me since we were at school together and consequently knows of my 'athletic' ability.  Don't get me wrong, I loved certain sports at school - hockey, football, tennis - but I was never a fan of athletics or running for the sake of running.  I'd do my utmost to avoid taking part in any of the athletic events because I didn't really see the point of them.  Fair enough if you have an aptitude for athletics, but I just don't!  Running a few times around the track for an enforced 800m would see me puffing and blowing by the first corner, at the back of the class.

So, how did I belatedly get into running?  It was the now ubiquitous Cancer Research Race for Life that sparked my interest.  5km (about 3 miles) seemed like an achievable target and I can help to raise money for a great cause....I'll give it a go.  It was tough to start with, I'd never run more than a few 100 metres and I was pretty unfit, but puffing after 2 minutes of running soon became puffing after 4 minutes. 

So, I know I can run.  In fact, I know I can run 3 miles - I do it pretty regularly.  I never quite manage to get consistently beyond this mark though. 

Although a lot of this is down to my attitude, the issues I have with my knees often play a part.  Physiologically, my legs are a little out of kilter, which sometimes causes discomfort after longer runs or after a period of time running to a schedule.  The first thing I need to do if I'm going to get around a half marathon is to sort out my biomechanics.  I've just read a very useful article in Runner's World about strengthening weak hips to help sort out pelvic alignment and consequently get my knees working in the way they should (rather than skewing off a bit left of centre and giving me pain).  A visit to a physio last year confirms that this probably has a lot to do with the problem, so first things first, I'm off to do some hip strengthening.  I'll do a bit of research on the biomechanics of hips and legs and maybe share anything useful I find, on here.

Whilst I'm sorting my hips, I'm going to drag a neglected bike out of the shed, give it a little tlc and try some least that's what I plan to do!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Welcome.... my new blog. 

So, who am I and what's this all about.  My name is Clare and I like to run, I also like to play guitar and write songs.  I'd love to run a marathon (well, THE marathon), write an album full of songs and play the guitar well enough to jam along with anyone and anything.  The problem is that, ultimately, I'm a little bit lazy.

I do all of the above to some degree, but I'm just not dedicated enough to achieve all the things I want to.  Put another way, I am a bit of a butterfly and flit from one thing to the next, never quite putting as much into each hobby/ambition as I should.  This blog is supposed to help me try harder, and hopefully it won't end up as another thing that I flit to and from sporadically!

A realistic issue in all this is finding the time to dedicate to each mission.  This often leads to indecisiveness and ultimately laziness - well, I can't decide, I'd just as well watch the Gilmore Girls whilst I ruminate on it!

I'm always reading about how people go out and train for a marathon having never run before.  These are always uplifting stories that should make us think we can all do it - if so-and-so can do it, so can you.  But can I?  Given my temperament and lack of drive (getting 10 miles in before breakfast anyone?), I'm not so sure.  Can anyone really do it, or do we need a certain determination that we either have or we don't?  I'd like to run a  marathon, but do I want to enough to turn that wish into a reality, or am I just too lazy?  I'm not convinced!

On top of the attitude, as far as running is concerned, I have more issues, namely, my knees.  They've been a bit of a nuisance on and off for years, so can I get them fixed up by doing enough physio exercises etc or should I continue to be at the mercy of them and at least have an excuse for the laziness.

Rather than ramble on and on in my first post, I'll leave it there for now, but I will set out the goals that I would like to achieve once the New Year begins....they're the same as last year, but maybe 2011 is the year.....

1.  Run a half marathon (well, Rome wasn't built in a day)
2.  Get enough songs for an E.P. (6 tracks maybe?, I probably have 2 and maybe 3)
3.  Get practicing some blues guitar so that jam nights are a possibility

OK, that's me setting in motion a year of change from wanting to achieve stuff to making some progress into doing it!

Merry Christmas
Clare x