Adrenaline GTS 22 Review

It’s no secret that the Brooks Adrenaline GTS are my favourite shoe. They are supportive, cushioned and not to mention come in a variety of colours!

I first started running in them whilst training for the London Marathon in 2018 and since, have never stopped.

In February, Brooks launched the Adrenaline GTS 22, and with it came improvements. With more DNA LOFT cushioning and GuideRails support, these improvements make your feet, and runs, feel both more comfortable and supportive.

Within less than a week of being kindly gifted these trainers from Brooks, I took on my second half marathon of the year, Reading. This was my second time running this race, and after covid, hip surgery and my recovery hindered this second chance, I was extremely excited to lace up and hit the route. Having always run in Brooks, taking on such a large distance in a brand new pair of shoes didn’t bother or phase me, but I maybe wouldn’t recommend for those who are first timers…😬

My first thoughts, as I put on the shoes on Sunday morning, were how incredibly comfy they were. I could instantly feel how cushioned they were, supportive and I felt like I was walking on clouds. And this feeling continued as I made my way round the 13.1 miles of the Reading Half.

I’m very impressed and would highly recommend if you are looking for a long run or recovery miles shoe, that gives lots of cushioning and support to your feet.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Brooks for kindly gifting me these Adrenalines and I look forward to many more runs in them!

Cardiff Half Marathon

“All runners are tough. Everyone has to have a little fire in them, that even in tough times, can’t be turned off.” Shalane Flanagan.

This quote sums up my experience of last weeks race to the T. A battle but one I was determined to win.

Arriving late into Cardiff on Saturday night, the air was cool after a very unseasonably warm day. Tomorrow was looking very similar, I felt nervous, doubt started to fill my head and I was questioning if I’d hydrated/prepared myself enough for this.
Thanks to Charlie, our air b&b was only an 8 minute walk from the start and meant that our morning wasn’t an early one. After a pretty good nights sleep, breakfast was quite literally forced down mine and Kyles throat, as nerves started to take over. Charlie had already left for some pre race miles, so we packed up the car and headed over to meet her at the VIP area in Cardiff Castle, right outside the start line.

I had no goal in mind but to just have fun, and even though the race was a total car crash, I did have fun. I followed Charlie’s plan of 9 minutes running and 1 minute walking, which was actually the right decision, given the weather conditions. The sun was beaming down on us, the sky was bright blue and it was warm!
Due to a technical glitch with the communication system, we were delayed by about 20/30 minutes, however, with such warm weather, the fear of getting too cold whilst waiting to start wasn’t an issue.

As we got started, I knew in my gut this wasn’t going to be easy. From mile 2 I had a headache, so we slowed our pace and I tried to get into the rhythm of our run/walk. At this point, I was extremely thankful I had Charlie by my side, as I knew she was going to play a massive part in getting me through this race. We made a joint decision to walk the water stops, take on what liquids we could and then go again. This worked really well, especially for the final miles, as it gave me something to focus on and get me through.
As we headed away from the city centre, down towards Cardiff Bay, we passed a beautiful marina before crossing the barrage to Cardiff docks. This was probably my favourite part of the route, along with the incredible crowd support to pick me up, I actually found being by the water the total opposite and really quite calming.

Passing the docks, I remember how loudly I told myself I was nearly half way, but the race remained a battle and my head was pounding. Coming away from the bay, the route heads back towards the city but detours north around a beautiful lake and residential area. This is where the real battle began. Taking a shot block from Charlie, I prayed my stomach would hold out and it would give me the boost I needed, and for a short while it did, but I was mentally still struggling. We past mile 11, now we were on the other side of the lake, it was hot and the only thing keeping me going was Charlie telling me how long it was until the next walk break. We passed a few runners who had collapsed on the side of the road due to the heat, my stomach turned, and I just hoped that they would be okay as the paramedics quickly attended and relieved members of the public who were taking care of them.

Now don’t be fooled by the supposedly “flat and fast course” it is described as, because there are a few surprise hills along this route! Savagely placed just before mile 12, which I have no shame in admitting that we walked, and the other, 400 metres before the finish.  Here we pushed towards the finish line and what a welcome we had. We smiled for the camera and finished in just over 2 hours. I was beyond happy to be done and extremely thankful, and grateful, to Charlie for sticking beside me, supporting me and getting me round.

Now, Cardiff half may have chewed me up and spat me out the other side, but I actually loved this race and I can’t recommend it enough! The crowds were incredible and it was so well marshalled and supported.

On our drive home, I discovered the SuperHalfs. A series of 5 half marathons that includes the Cardiff Half that takes place in October, Prague, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Valencia. You have 3 years to complete all 5, and I’ve definitely started thinking about attending a few this year!

I’d love to hear what races are on your bucket list!

2022

Well hello and I guess, a belated Happy New Year! The end of 2021/start of 2022 was definitely not what I expected it to be, I very much let everything around me slip to one side, I lost a very dear friend and basically wallowed in sadness and frustration, as yet another strain of Covid took over the world…

January was long, but equally felt quite short. Thrown back into work life, the weeks flew by and lots happened. Running is continuing to go well and I’ve started training for my first race of 2022 – Reading Half Marathon in April. My hip is doing better than I ever expected, I’m pretty much back to my pre surgery self, if not stronger and I’m feeling really good. I’ve thrown myself into the gym a bit more too, and loving it.

Lots of exciting things happened too..I was accepted onto the Brooks Run Happy Team for another year, which I am so excited and very thankful to be part of again. We’ve already received our first kit drop, including a few of my favourite items of clothing, these being the 8″ shorts and Hybrid Tights – with alll the pockets!!! – and some fun accessories too! We have our first meet up next week and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and meeting the new team members!

I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to attend the theatre, more than once, seeing Frozen and Mary Poppins. I enjoyed both, but Frozen stole my heart and I absolutely loved it. Mary Poppins was good, but it didn’t quite give me the “wow” feeling as I left the theatre, like Frozen did. If any of you are questioning booking Frozen, I would 100% say go for it! It was magical, and I actually have no other words for it!

Being well into February already, it has also been a busy month. Full of weekends seeing and spending time with friends, lots of running and getting a bit more comfortable with cycling. Work has also been equally busy and challenging at times, especially as my charge is due to go into hospital next week. Prepping him for that has been my main priority, alongside making sure I’ve booked appointments and sorted everything with school. I’m actually looking forward to half term and a pause to breath, catch up and rest.

As the weeks roll by, there is lots more to come and I’m excited for it all. It’s definitely going to help me through the rest of the winter and lets just hope we don’t get any snow…My main countdown is to the USA in May, which I am very excited about and feel it’ll very much be needed by then. For now, its head down, focus on work and everything in between!

Thank you to everyone for their continued support, I hope 2022 is a much better year for us and I look forward to bringing more to this blog.

Happy Friday!

Emma xx

6 Months Post Op and a life update!

6 months…!! I definitely still have pinch me moments when I think how fast time has flown by and I see how far I have come. Living my normal active pre surgery life, well pretty nearly, feeling really good and strong.

The last few months have slowed down with my recovery and the weekly/fortnightly changes I was experiencing, have definitely become monthly and less frequent, like the consultant said. I have really noticed the sudden reduction in stiffness, although I’m holding onto a small amount mainly post run. This was definitely the hardest part of recovery for me. I would work hard in the day to move and release the hip with exercises and physiotherapy, to then have it all ping back to feeling stiff, only a few hours later. At times I felt I was going backwards but 2 steps back equalled 4 steps forward a lot of the time, and I rode the process. Gentles stretches sorts this now and it continues to worry me less everyday.
In 2 weeks I have my, late, 6 month post op appointment with one of the consultants team members. Keeping an open mind with what will happen.

Alongside giving a lot of focus to rehab and recovery, my running has increased, and am really loving it! Building the mileage has been fun and gone really smoothly. I managed my longest run of 9 miles the other day and it felt amazing. The sun was shining brightly in the blue skies and I smiled for the whole time. Speed has slowly made its way back into my plan, but only recently, and pace is still not the main focus, which I am fine with. I just want to run, and easing back in safely is my main priority!

Outside of running and the gym, work continues to go really well. I am really enjoying nannying for an older child, it’s a new challenge for me, and a fun one. During the term time, I have also been at the Orange Bakery once a week, which is local to home and I am really really enjoying it. Being able to make and bake sourdough bread alongside buns, cookies, criossants and so much more, and play around with flavours excites and makes me so happy. I have learnt so much already and am excited for all the plans both the owners, Kitty and her dad, Alex, have for the festive period.

With December on the doorstep, time I feel is quickly running away from me to get final presents wrapped and delivered, as I am off to the USA to stay with friends for Christmas and New Year. I honestly can’t wait. Mainly because I get to see and catch up with a few of my closest friends and we have some fun, festive plans already. I’m looking forward to packing a suitcase, escaping from the U.K. and as I’ll be there for New Year, I’m looking forward to starting 2022 in a different way!

So there we have it! A little life update for you all. Not hugely exciting but I mainly wanted to make sure I continued with my post op updates, especially as I have had a few people reach out to me concerned they have or will be having the same operation done. The body has, and continues, to amaze me with how it repairs and recovers.

Stay warm and safe everyone, and I hope you have had a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Emma xx

 

Henley 10k – furthest run post hip surgery!!

“Most of us feel on some level like horses chomping at the bit, pressing the gate, hoping and praying for someone to open the door and let us run out. We feel so much pent up energy, so much locked up talent…” Marianne Williamson

I stumbled across this quote when I was searching for the right words to explain how I felt, as I walked down to the race village last Sunday morning. I’ve not felt, I guess so ready and full of energy, on a lead up to a race before.

Saturday night I questioned myself and thought maybe I was taking things too fast, but after speaking to my coach who reassured me it was okay to go ahead with, I pushed all my doubt and nerves aside and rode that wave of pent up energy with confidence.

Charlie joined me for the run, deciding we’d run/walk and take it easy. Right now I am not focusing on pace or time, I’m concentrating more on getting the distance back in me, comfortably and safely. I know that I can do no damage, everything has healed really well and it’s time to start testing the hip a little bit more.

I’ve ran Henley a couple of times, mostly the half marathon as I’ve always used it as a long run, with miles tagged on either side. The 10k starts out on the horrific incline/Icehouse Lane, that slowly gets steeper, until you reach the corner at the top, and finally it’s all over. Having that right at the start was good to get it over with, but boy did it kill the legs for the rest of the 5 miles…!

It is a beautiful route, a few more rolling hills are thrown in with some very welcome down hills, and ends at the rugby pitch just outside of town. We finished in just over an hour, happy with our efforts, we grabbed our medals and headed back to collect our belongings. A post coffee was much needed, so we headed to the other side of town to try a new coffee shop!

This race is always very well organised and marshalled, with plenty of water stops along the way, however, I felt a little let down by the lack of photos taken on the day. It absolutely won’t stop me from doing the race again, in fact that hill probably will (!) but for the price of the race, I expected a few.

Regardless, I had the best time, it felt good to run longer and the hip did amazingly well! I was quite sore, probably from the hills, for the next few days but I took them off running and focused on stretching, sleep and did a yoga class – all very helpful in recovery! I’m so happy to be back at in person races and can’t wait to do more!

Hope you all had a great week and weekend! Here’s to another week ahead, may it be a fun, busy and good one for you all!

Emma xx

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