Friday, 24 May 2013

Week 19

What a pain in the shins

Well this has been the toughest week in my training so far, the main problem being that my legs could only manage 3 miles of running. This has been quite deflating in all honesty, at one point I was close to tears with pure frustration.

This week my shin splints came back with avengence, I have suffered with this through most of my life and if any body has suffered from them then you will catch my drift at how unbearable they can be, it is almost as if your shin bone and muscle have decided they have fallen out of love and want a divorce. They scream and shout at each other for a while which is bearable until they decide to have a full on row and launch the fine China plates at each other. They throw that many plates in reminiscent of a Greek wedding tradition all in the space of a storage cupboard. The end result is they hurt each other quite badly and end up in the local A&E where they are stitched up and ordered to rest.

And rest is what I will be doing for the next 2 weeks to see how it copes. Plenty of deep freeze and ice to help reduce the inflammation and plenty of cross training at the gym to keep my cardio levels up.

Level 10

This week I also visited my local wellness centre for an evaluation to help me get my body in the right shape to achieve my goals.
Using Tanita scales to get a full examination of my body. We discussed entering into a competition run by herbalife called Level 10.
You choose from 3 categories weight loss, lean muscle gain and body fat reduction, from this I set a goal to reduce my body fat to around 15% in 90 days which ties in well to fill the gap until the new football season starts.

Also we discussed a nutrition plan, using an identifier as a protein factor to establish what sort of protein consumption my body will require to achieve my goal based on my height and BMI. I will need 126g of protein a day whilst keeping my calories to no more than the 2000 RDA. It is a challenge I am looking forward to and I can not wait to see the results.

If you are interested in taking part in this challenge then please visit Your local herbalife independent distributor's website

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Week 18

10k Man? Erm no 10 mile man actually!

This week marked another major milestone in my preparation for the biggest run of my life. I decided that a nice evening run around Abington Park would do just nicely, so at at around 7:30pm I set off on to my latest conquest. Now Abington Park is by no means what I would call an easy run, it has some lovely steep hills which really put the burners into your calves.

I had predetermined that I would run 7 miles at least that evening and off the back of the buzz of running Silverstone I was totally in the right frame of mind. So off I went headphones in and off on a nice 10 minute a mile pace. The last time I had run Abington Park I was ecstatic at achieving 3 laps so after completing my 4th lap I was rather satisfied but I still had plenty in the tank and so I just carried on running. This run taught me something new in that running + nice scenery = easier runs add to that combo with some classical music and you have probably the ultimate scenario for nice relaxed running.

I appreciate that will not be to everyone's taste,but the soothing sounds of big classical instruments really makes you feel unbelievably relaxed to the point any niggling aches in your legs are soon forgotten and it's just you the music and the scenery. For those runners not concerned with high pace then I suggest you try it.

So after 1 hour and ten minutes I had completed my 7 miles, it was not time to stop so I just carried on until my legs said no more, this submission came at 10 miles. Wow I actually can not believe that I can now run 10 miles 18 weeks ago I was out of breath at just 500 yards, this was a whole new level for me. A word of warning though a ten mile run does not hurt until you stop. My goodness they say no pain no gain, well I hope I gained a lot after that, my legs decided they would rather feel like lead pipes than muscle and water, trying to walk back to the car up a hill was certainly not the one with all the lactic acid flooding through me. A few stretches later all was well and what a way to end a pretty awesome running week.

Also this week I notched up another Personal Best for a 1 mile run clocking in at 7:30 so not only am I building endurance I am building speed, watch out Mo Farah Barker is coming to get you.

8 Months

This week also marked 8 months since our little sleeping beauty was born. I can not believe how quick the time has gone it all still feels like it all happened yesterday. I still feel like I had not long held her in my arms looking at her with the purest of love that you just can not describe, thinking how on earth did I play a part in making the most perfect baby girl you ever did see. She just looked so peaceful she really was a real life angel. To this day though I still do not understand why she was taken from us I don't think I ever will, the pain of losing her is still very raw, some days I just would like to hide away from the world and not come out, but then I think of my Jasmine and she provides me with the strength to carry on and to be strong, She is my inspiration she has instilled in me a never give up attitude and while she may not be here, I will still take her on every journey I make, with every flower I see, every gentle touch of wind that pats my back it is all a sign that she is there with me.

Its a boy a real boy

To end on a good note we have found out that baby Barker the II is a boy, we are absolutely thrilled and can not wait to meet him, next up trying to think of a some names, Wilberforce any body?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Week 16 & 17

Mr 10K

The morning of Wednesday 8th May 2013 I woke up feeling rather apprehensive and slightly nervous, my legs were feeling tight at the thought of what was to come in the evening, bracing them selves for their first ever competitive race on one of the worlds most famous sporting venues.

Silverstone the home of the British Grand Prix, where the grey tarmac has been graced by the fastest cars in the world, Ferrari Maclaren, Mercedes and Red Bull as well as legend drivers such as Senna and Schumacher.
I arrived at the venue 45 minutes before the start of the race and there were already hundreds of runners there all getting prepared for the challenge ahead, I walked to race control heart beat slightly raised with adrenalin as I collected my race number. 437 apt as these numbers add up to my favourite number and the day my Daughter was born on 4+3+7 = 14 a sure sign that my daughter was watching down on me cheering me on. After nervously attaching my number to my shirt after originally trying to fasten it with 2 safety pins instead of the required 4, I was interviewed by the race MC, who wished me well after I told him that this was my first ever race in preparation for the Great North Run. I then rather sheepishly headed to the race track to warm up with some dynamic stretching.

At this point the heavens opened and for at least 20 minutes my skin was lashed with the purest of rain water, many people headed for cover, not me this was my element, for me running in the rain is a far more pleasurable experience.As the clock ticked down to 7:30 I became focused and ready to enjoy this event. There were a total of 1050 runners to compete with, many coming from running clubs from across the country, I headed towards the back of the pack and with one final shake of the legs and shoulders waited for the start.

7:30 pm and the sound of the klaxon starts the race and 1050 runners head off. I pass a few people at the start and settle into a rhythm that I have been running at comfortably over recent weeks. I soon found a running partner a woman who was part of a running club named Bedford Harriers and for the first lap I matched her pace as she pushed on a bit so did I, running in this environment does have a lot more compared to running alone, whilst running it was quiet amazing to think how long the track is and gives you a real appreciation for how fast those f1 cars go, truly unbelievable.

Through out the course there were many volunteers who would clap you on and tell you how well you are doing, that sort of thing really does help to motivate you. It soon became that I had finished my first lap with a time of 30:32 on schedule to beat my personal best. At this point I decided to kick on and I left my pace maker and picked up the pace, passing people in a race did make me feel good, there were people in running clubs that I would overtake and I guess I was quite satisfied with myself as I had only been running 17 weeks and only achieved this distance within the last 4 weeks or so. The competitive streak in me is certainly growing and I felt this in the last 3k, my legs were now well and truly warmed up I looked in front and got my legs moving faster as I entered the home straight I think I ran the fastest I have ever run and over took about 5 people just at the finish line, what a buzz that I had the strength to power home really made me quite proud, running past a crowd and the MC highlighting my final sprint wow what a feeling. I finished the race in 58.18 seconds so a massive 5 minutes off my personal best and finishing 878th out of 1050 pretty good for my first ever race and I felt I have more in the tank. Now I can not wait to run my next race.

My sprint finish was so fast I made the photo blur