Tuesday, 30 August 2011

LIRF (pronounced Loeeerf with a French accent)

Tonight I ventured back out with Petts Wood Runners, I have been a little lax of late on club nights mostly due to being tired and wanting to eat my dinner before 9.30pm.
To play it safe and have an 'easy' run I decided to go with Group 2, that lasted about 2 seconds and as Group 3 left the rec I was running along at the front with Mark our devoted leader.... soon to be a Lirf*.
About half way through the six miles, both myself and Emma G started to struggle a little - just a bad run day I guess - so we dropped off the pace and kept the group in sight. Before long Mark was back to check on us like the good leader he is (he doesn't need a course, he could train others in leading running groups!). We assured him we were fine and let him rejoin the others as we kept a steady pace some way behind them but keeping them in our sights.
As we approached the final stretch we became merged with Group 2 - maybe a sign I should have gone with them after all? 
Back at Willet rec we reconvened with other groups and had a chat with Dave Berry about his progression to Group 4, one day I'll make it but still too fast for me now because after all Tuesday night is chatting night.
* Leader in Running Fitness

Sunday, 28 August 2011

What goes up....(when badgers mount)

Today was my last long run prior to the Nottingham Robin Hood Half Marathon in two weeks time, I wanted to do about 14 miles and decided a good plan was to run up to Badgers Mount and back. The theory behind this being that the route is easy - just one long road - and that although it is a steady incline for almost 7 miles that means the way back would be easy as it would be downhill!
After 3 miles I wanted to quit, I couldn't get into my pace and the road stretching out ahead of me seemed to go on forever. At this point I knew it couldn't be long before I got comfortable so I stopped and stretched before setting of again. Strangely on my ipod shuffle 'Walk of Life' by Dire Straits started to play and suddenly my feet seem to find their groove, before long my legs were playing the game and I was making steady progress up the hill.
I passed many dog walkers and cyclists - I wondered what was tougher, running up such a long slow incline or cycling up it - for me probably cycling, my pace would slow, and eventually I think I'd just tip off my bike into a ditch! 
Proof I made it!
Finally I reached the top point of my route and turned back for the 'easy part'. The pace was steady, I tired not to get carried away on the down hills and was going well until traffic lights halted my progress where I chatted momentarily to an old fella very impressed by my distance which at that pint was 11miles (he asked I didn't just announce it as I am prone to do). My legs started to feel heavy as I approached the 13 mile mark and left the flat for the last stretch up Midfield Way and home, not long after 13 they gave in and so did I. I managed to keep a good pace averaging around 9min/miles and walked the last couple of hundred yards... now time for a bath!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Happy Anniversary Bromley Parkrun (and the metronome returns!)

With my running kit and my barcode laid out last night I woke and jumped straight into action preparing the 2nd anniversary of Bromley Parkrun (weekly timed 5km event).
A little bonus before I left was that I finally located my running sunnies... sadly I later discovered they were broken and need replacing, oh well an afternoon on ebay trying to find them again!
The anniversary run was held in reverse, usually good for a pb as it seems slightly faster this way around but after last weeks 10k pb (and the excesses of a wedding this week) I wasn't ready to push it all out again for a pb. At about 2 miles in I had a little chat to PWR Rob White who while taking it easy promptly left me in his dust!
I ran well and comfortably coming in just over 25 minutes with very even splits (the metronome returns!), very acceptable to me! 
Enjoyed the usual cuppa, cake and chat afterwards allowing me to have a little catch up with PWR's as I haven't made it to the club in a while, I have promised Team captain Mark though so I'll be back out in the streets of Petts Wood on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Live like a toddler

The plan was simple, I was too tired to run last night (sorry PWR) so I decided I would get up extra early and go for my planned swim and also hit the treadmill afterwards, a good plan I thought!
I did my 24 lengths (1/2 mile), I love the fact that the Walnuts pool is 33.3m long as it means less lengths for the same distance, something I like. Similar to running, I prefer miles as I have less to do than km's... running is indeed a pshycological game!
After my swim, a speedy change and I headed up with damp hair to the gym and leapt with renewed energy onto the treadmill, just an easy 4miles was planned and completed in about 36mins. by this time my body temp seemed to have risen to an alarming rate and sweat was pouring from me like I was in the shower already, phew!
The morning passed quickly with a few meetings and lots to do but by lunch I can honestly say I was ready for some food and a nap... I think the life of a toddler would suit me well! 
Play, eat, nap, repeat.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Joining the barefoot revolution (thanks CCV)

I have recently changed jobs and my leaving gift - following a few subtle hints - was a pair of the now infamous and often mocked Vibram Fivefingers Bikila running shoes.... wooooo hoooooo!
I have it on good authority that those who contributed to the gift thought that the person in charge of buying was making it up and that no such thing existed... that's non-runners for you!
But they do indeed exist and soon I will be running free like my friend @bhundu, I hope, although for the short term at least I should probably keep my focus on the Robin Hood Half Marathon in 3 weeks for which I have been training. 
My progress will no doubt be well documented in the coming days, weeks and months!

Banana centrefold

I arrived home yesterday to find the delivery I had been waiting for ever since competing in the TR24... the new issue of Womens Running magazine. Immediately I ripped of the plastic covering and scanned the contents page... there is was in the new trail running section, the story of the Thunder Run 24 event 2011.
Ronnie Haydon, speedy/competitive/supportive/journalist team member did us all proud with her review of the event under the title '24 hour party people'. I was pleased to have a solo - despite one of the men's running team lurking in the background - picture of me demonstrating the importance of staying hydrated, drinking what was to be the first protein shake I have ever had (banana flavoured For Goodness Shakes), tasted just like Nesquick, yum! 
If you get the chance check out page 56 of the September issue and there you will find my story....
Now'll I'll ask again, who wants to be on my team next year? I reckon a team of 5 would be a good step up for me, who's in?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Full of pride... and not over 45!

Collected by John Gurney at 9am I was all over the place this morning, first |I couldn't find my sunglasses (which never did turn up), then I jumped in the car forgetting my essentials... banana and powerade for pre-race fuel. Maybe I was thrown by the a race being on a Saturday?
After a few more PWR pick-ups (Dave - chief supporter, Murat and Hannah we headed towards the Blackwall tunnel and the race.
More PWRs arrived, some in rather fetching pink tutus and more of the committee to support - as a spectator this event is great as the runners do 3 laps of the park so easy to spot runners.
I started the race in a strange sort of mood - without my glasses - and not really knowing what I would do. I didn't have it in mind to do a PB despite knowing this is a fast course I just didn't quite think I had it in me... but I decided I would just set off and see what I had in me. The first 2 miles sailed by at a good pace, by the time I reached the water station on lap two my mouth was bone dry and I was feeling the heat, needles to say half the water ended up over my head. Richard and Anne were still cheering us on and I had not spotted a single PWR since the starter pistol went. Rounding the corner to start my final lap I say Sarah Stonnard and her pink tutu ahead of me and this pushed me to keep going although I was starting to feel a bit sick and my powerade was repeating on me somewhat. Not sure if Mike Reeves managed to catch the overtake on his recording but I was pretty impressed with myself!
Looking at my faithful garmin I could see that my pace was slowing but I could actually do this, I was going to get a PB if I could just keep it going for the last km. It was no sprint finish although I mustered what I could and crossed the line with a chip time of 49:45 (a pb by 30 seconds and the best by about 3 mins this year alone).
As the volunteer tried to pass me my medal I tried not to vomit on her hand, you know you have worked hard when you want to chuck up after a race!
We decided to stay for the prizes and after much waiting and many guest speakers they called the Ladies 45+ category and it was our very own Karen Barritt (well done!) but she had left so I wnet up to collect her prize for her... I was quite perturbed at what followed:
Presenter: Oh there's no Karen here, can someone take her prize?
(I walk up)
Presenter: Oh look here Karen is now...
Me: Hold on, are you saying I look over 45? I'm offended
Huge crowd begin laughing at me!
to summarise: feeling fantastic with my new PB, feeling like I should get botox as I look over 45 now! 

Friday, 19 August 2011

No chicken in the pool

This morning I woke early and headed to the Walnuts again to check out early morning swimming, the pool looked pretty full so I had the usual worries about swimming pool etiquette - in my last gym it seemed that the regulars knew the unofficial rules of the pool but hotel guests using the facilities were not so savvy always trying to make you move by playing swimming pool chicken.
[for those unaccustomed, this means swimming directly at you and refusing to move until in a worst case scenario you collide - not quite so dangerous as a James Dean style chicken but can still get pretty hairy!]
The regulars were friendly and despite the busy pool somehow it all worked, one old fella used the classic "you're putting me to shame you must have done 50 lengths by now" line - pool chat commonly used by the over 70s male at the Walnuts so it seems... lets see how many more use it in the months to come!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Walnut taster

I woke up knowing I would run today although not sure at what point. As the day progressed I started to get a strange feeling that I wouldn't be able to run once I tried... odd but not uncommon for me if I have a few days off exercise.
As a safety net I decided to go kill two birds with one stone and try out my new gym, The Walnuts in Orpington (and treadmill - in case my knee wasn't ready).
Nice little warm up on the cross-trainer and although I could feel the bruise down my shin throbbing my knee seemed untroubled.
Hitting the treadmill, I was delighted to find that not only did it have the option of mph (not just kph like my old gym - simple pleasures) but it had a little track on the screen so I could pretend I was actually doing my intervals on a real track...
After a warm up I completed 12 x 200m sprints with 100m walk recoveries and was relieved to find my knee not complaining so feeling much better about the race on Saturday, phew!
I rounded things of with 20 minutes on the bike before heading home and treating myself to a bit of Soreen on the way!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I want to run... but will it hurt my pride?

How frustrating, my knee is still not right and with the Pride 10k on Saturday morning I do not want to risk it by running too soon.
Umming and ahhhing I decided that today I would be able to run on it so common sense prevailed and I decided if it felt ready today then it certainly would be tomorrow so I should give it just a few a more hours recovery.
Usually I would supplement the non-running with swimming and some gym work but after starting my new job on Monday it has thrown my fitness routine out of whack for the short-term.
Feeling pretty lazy today after 3 days of inactivity so tomorrow I will do some exercise come hell or high water else I may start to get the grumps!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Different kind of runs tonight!

So my knee is still smarting from my little tumble on Sunday so it seemed a sensible idea to join hubby and the boys at Lahore tonight.... the infamous curry house on the Commercial Road.
Curry is of course a very silly choice for those planning to go out running so tonight I took the night off, and hopefully the extra day of rest, plenty of spicy protein and good laughs will have me well-rested and ready to run tomorrow. Here's hoping.
Real shame as well as looked liked a lovely evening to be out with Petts Wood Runners.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ready, Steady, Slip Over

A run on the North Downs... who could resist that on a beautiful Sunday morning! My alarm went off and I promptly turned over, turned it off and fell back asleep... oh dear.
Waking again at 7am (I was meeting the others at 7.15) I was glad I had laid out all my kit the night before, quickly got ready and hopped in the car to drive to the meet point... half way there disaster struck, I started to feel sick and as I looked at my left wrist I saw it was naked... no Garmin! There was no way I could run without it so a quick u-turn and back home I headed.
Arriving late the others forgave me... I followed the lead-footed Duncan and Jerry to meet Michael just past Knockholt Pound. We started out onto the downs and within minutes so was I.... down that is and feeling a little silly. Up and carried on like the brave soldier that I am!
We ran up and down on trail and over stiles, past churches and country manor houses, horse riders and cyclists on a simply glorious Sunday morning. Many of the hills were too tough to run the whole way for me so I staggered, stumbled, shuffled and made it to the top of each one, the gents waiting patiently. 
On route we munched our way through nature, eating green plums (a little sour and potentially explosive) and blackberries, followed by a the much sweeter fruit pastilles provided by Duncan.
After nearly 8 miles and back at the car we finished off the pastilles, had a satsuma and ummed and ahhed for merely seconds about adding on another 4 miles.... by this stage my knee was sure it wasn't the right thing to do after my tumble so headed home to chill out.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Note to the TR24 Womens Running Team 2011

Written the morning following the TR24:

I am still buzzing from the weekend, in fact I haven't stopped talking about it to anyone and everyone who will listen! My legs are okay but my back is a little sore - maybe the camp bed!
As desperate as I was for that 4th and final lap I was feeling the pain early on, the heat was pounding down on me and I could feel myself flagging. As I reached the halfway point and the water station I soaked myself, drank my fill and told myself to man-up... I can do this! Setting off again I proceeded to chatter away to myself looking at my watch every few moments and doing rudamentery maths to see if I could still make it back before 12, determined not to let the team down. As the heat continued to zap my energy I knew I had to do it... not to beat the men running team, that opportunity was long gone.... but for me and for the ladies! As I rounded the corner at 11:59 - James Bond style, by the skin of my teeth - I couldn't tell if it was excitement or disappointment from Marnie who now had to run a final lap (and in a great time too!). 
Marnie - I agree completely, we looked fab in our team wear, really made me feel part of something special. 
The weekend was the most random, surprising, enjoyable adventure I have had in such a long time. I think now I will do more spur of the moment challenges again but as for the TR24 next year I will be in it if I can book a team but I will be training hard! 
Maybe we'll see each other next July for round 2!

wow you're fast, I'm going to tell my teacher

So, I have been playing with the idea of starting a blog for a while. If only so that instead of boring my husband with tales of running I have an outlet to let rip the little gems when you are out and about running.

Yesterday evening a lovely thing happened and it was the stuff I think blogs should be made of, a little heart-warming tale of a little girl who made my day!

So there I was finishing up a short tempo run, sweating profusely as the humidity got to me and I heard some lieelt girls playing on the other side of the street, then I noticed that one of the girls had left the others behind and started to run along matching my pace...

In my head I was wondering if a little girl of about 6 with no shoes could really be faster than me (answer is probably yes after being whooped many times at Parkrun by youngsters).

The little girl soon cried out to me "I see you running everywhere around here"
So through my panting I responded with the few words I could manage " I run a lot" and started to wonder what would come next and would she overtake me.
I could see her slowing and she yelled out " wow you're fast, I'm going to tell my teacher" and as she had to slow "Bye" with a big wave.
I returned the wave and said goodbye.

What a lovely way to end a run!

As one of my friends then pointed out when regaling the story, children are brutally honest so I should take this as a massive compliment... and I do!