Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sleepy and Sweep

After a long post work nap I decided I was still to tired from the weekend to run with PWR tonight... then I changed my mind... then I changed it again. Finally a message from Emma spurred me into action and I threw on my running kit and ran out the door.
I arrived a little giddy but undecided as to which group to run with, I didn't want to risk group 4 as I wasn't sure the toll of 48hours of drinking, dancing and karaoke may have had on me. I pondered group 2 but ultimately, like a magnet I returned to my safety blanket Group 3. Tonight, mark was unwell so Dave (as deputy) was leading the group with me as the Sweep (bring up the rear).
It was nice to run with some new faces to the group, some first timers and a couple at only their second week. The group was well paced until the end when a few eager beavers sprinted off to the meeting point... bit naughty but once they are off they are off!
Really pleased I dragged my sorry self out tonight, a good run which help stretch me out after a weekend that made the whole of me ache - but who knows why!! 

Also, good news on my Thunder Run 24 2012 recruitment drive as I have a 4th member for my relay team... hooray, one more to go and with time to spare before entries open!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Woman's Best Friend

Back from the hen weekend and still up t'north preparing for the drive home again I went out for a run this morning. I was accompanied by my good friend Beau (pictured right), who whilst new to running stayed with me on my heels for just over two miles before she got a little distracted and started sniffing in the bushes for rabbits and pheasants.
A lovely run and just what I needed to get my body working again and clear some of the aching I was feeling after two days of drinking, dancing, singing and much merriness.   

I am home now, tired and contemplating which group I should run with tomorrow night... at this stage it could go any way!

The chief and the hen

On Thursday evening I arrived at my friends house in Sheffield, we were preparing ourselves for her hen weekend in Spain. It seemed the most sensible to pre-burn off some of the excesses of the forthcoming weekend  with a gentle run on the hills of Sheffield!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Group 4 security breach!

So after 2 and a half years with the club, many musings about my capabilities of running faster whilst chatting and maintaining the pace I slipped semi-unnoticed (at first at least) into Group 4 this week. 
I remained at the rear with group 4 sweeper and Mrs Motivator (Emma) for the majority of the run keeping quiet initially while my legs found their rhythm then getting more chatty before once again quietening down towards the end. Was nice to run with a few of the club regulars that I normally wouldn't run with and also some more familiar Group 3 runners who have moved up recently.
I was concerned about the pace and with the front runners trying to push James to a higher pace I worried a little about how much the group might speed up and I may be left behind. I need not have feared, James kept them in check keeping the pace just below the publicised 9min/mile. 
After 5 miles and keeping up fairly well I could feel the group pulling away from me and as we rounded the corner onto my nemesis (Southborough Lane) the group seemed to by gliding effortlessly whereas I was just about managing to maintain pace with Emma encouraging me. I made it up the hill and then realised that with Group 3 we often have a breather and a drink at the halfway point, no such luck with Group 4 they just keep ploughing ever onwards!
The final half mile Emma pushed me to catch the group and I think overall we came in about 1 minute behind the rest of the group... not a bad run for my first outing with Group 4.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Running the Petts Wood 10k Race Route

We are closing in on the infamous Petts Wood 10k race with only 3 weeks away so it was time to run the route, every year the club members and marshalls are invited to run the route so we know what all the racers are in for and make sure its all safe for the big day.
We broke into three groups based on Tuesday night sessions, me running with Group 3/4 at supposedly a Group 3 pace. Alas that was not to be, with Phil as our leader who naturally slipped into a faster pace leaving me trailing behind after a big roast dinner last night followed by lots of lovely home-made tiramisu! Johnny Gill kept with me chatting at the back and using me as his own personal pack horse as he got too hot in his layers and I tied them to my running belt!
The miles felt too fast and hard yet seemed to pass slowly and we got back to the rec with my garmin reading 5 miles but on asking Phil where we went wrong he showed me his watch and it was spot on 10k..... hmmm then I remembered a funny thing on my watch saying I was running out of memory which I ignored....hmmm best not do that again! (Note to self - clear the memory on my garmin before I run again!)

p.s. for anyone reading this blog who is not a member of PWR and wants to enter the race it is a sell out every year so get online and enter now, its a great medal, we have lots of friendly marshalls and even a gorilla giving out banana's! There is also a kids race this year.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Half Century for the PWR beginners group

This morning saw the first day of the weekly Petts Wood Runners Beginner Course. It welcomes all beginners with a goal of by the end of a 9 week programme they will all be able to run for at least 30minutes without stopping! Last year one of our beginners in September ended up joining our club and running in the London marathon in under 5 hours so a great place to start and build confidence.
Each week a couple of PWR members will go along to support the two coaches - Richard and Emma - and participate in the training and the drills. Today I was one of those members along with Sue from Group 1.
I decided to run from home as a warm up but having run under a mile there was a horn tooting at me, I spotted Emma and with no decision to be made I hopped in the car down to the meeting point (lazy!).
By the 9am start time the meeting area was packed with some keen, nervous, yet all friendly faces, 50 beginners came along this first week so hopefully bodes well for the upcoming sessions. The agenda was some warm ups, dynamic stretching following by 30minutes of walking for 5mins then running for 1min (and repeat). Chatting to several of the newcomers I wowed them with my running achievements(!) and how when I first started running I couldn't really run farther than the end of my road. 
It made me think about how far I  have come and what an inspiration being part of PWR has been. This coupled with the friends I have made, the people who have encouraged and challenged me over the last two and a half years, it really is amazing and for me it has kept me going so thank you to Petts Wood Runners, for welcoming me into the fold and supporting me every time I aim for a new goal.
I hope the new joiners get as much out of running as I do and that they stick with the course, running may not be for everyone but I think everyone one should give it a go just in case it is. I never thought I would enjoy it and now it is a major part of my life. (Now before you need a bucket I shall stop!)

Friday, 16 September 2011

How many showers does a cyclist need?

Today I woke up and decided it was about time I tried cycling to work, shame I only thought about it once I'd had a shower!
I decided to take the 'easy' route which meant avoiding a rather steep, busy and nasty hill (Summer Hill) and having the car drivers laugh as I struggled to maintain composure and speed on the steepest parts without falling off!
The easy route took me through Petts Wood, down Southborough Lane and along Bromley Common... with minimal road rage I made it to work in one piece but in need of shower number two of the day.
I departed work happily still in the mood to cycle - I was concerned this may have worn off through the day - and set off. The journey back was a slow incline most of the way which I thought would be much harder although turns out I did it about 10minutes faster then the mostly downhill journey to work.... this makes no sense at all. The only thing I can put it down to is the traffic this morning on the school runs.
The sun was shining, the wind was in my hair and it was a lovely end to a very good day at work. I think this may be the way forward but don't quote me on that when the weather turns bad! I might try for once a week for now!
Now off for shower number 3.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The only way is Essex

Now that got your attention I'm sure.... I was at an event to celebrate Team Bromley at the London Youth Games this evening. The special guest star was Danny Crates (now I refer to wikipedia for my summary)... 
Daniel "Danny" Brian Crates, (born 9 February 1973) is a former British athlete, who specialised in 800m sprinting. He is the Paralympic world record holder in this event, and won gold medals in a number of international competitions, including the Paralympic Games. He also plays competitive rugby and is a qualified diving instructor.
Atter some speeches and awards about the fantastic achievement's of Team Bromley this year, Danny gave his address as our guest speaker... of course I was all ears to hear all about the running.
In essence the message was; why talk about what you have done or should have, would have, could have but instead keep moving on to the next challenge - this rung home with some of my words in yesterdays blog so perhaps I am Gold medal material after all (I wish). 
And if that was not enough to be within inches of this amazing athlete, when returning to my car he asked me for directions to the multi-story car park.... I should have offered him a lift! doh! Missed opportunity to brag about my top athlete friends!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

"you can't put in what God left out"

Today I heard somebody made the above statement. I have to admit it made me giggle, then it got me to thinking - firstly about those that are certainly lacking in some very basic areas like common sense, then secondly about running.
Naturally some people are more gifted runners than others whether this is down to genetics or training but its there a limit for all of us?
Does is matter how hard we train, if there is a ceiling to our ability?
Well of course it does, even if we have a limit to our natural ability it doesn't mean that we have reached it and how would we ever know unless we tried and kept on trying. I continue to set myself many goals and targets based around my running and what I want to achieve; get faster, lose weight, tone up, get a pb, try a new race.
Maybe God put that competitive edge in me to make me keep pushing, maybe he didn't - and as I always suspected it comes from having a big brother - but I will never be told what my limits are, I will always strive to burst through them and continually amaze myself.

p.s. my toe is still swollen and sore but not as bad as yesterday!

Monday, 12 September 2011

My left foot

It hurts, how it hurts, my poor toe is so sore... it was worth the pb but it won't stop me wincing and grumbling everytime I move.
I have spared you the actual picture of my toes in their blackened condition. The right foot is just like this image, black, but on my left foot it is far worse. The toenail appears to be at a funny angle, it is purply black underneath, it is very swollen and feels ready to fall off if I so much much as look at it.
Encasing it in tights today for security I have been fidgety and uncomfortable all day. It doesn't help that I keep knocking it and that one of my cats tried to bite it this morning (naughty Guinness).

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Outrunning outlaws!

So I have been training hard for the last 12 weeks and today it arrived, the day we have all been waiting for, the Nottingham Robin Hood half Marathon and hopefully my latest personal best time....
Feeling good in the morning I ate my standard race day oat-so-simple before getting ready. Being so close to the start we left just after 9am for the 10am start... we managed to bump into a few familiar faces on our way to the start then took our place in the start corrals. 
For the first 5 miles or so I felt good, my speed was up, despite the course being hillier than I remembered I managed to tackle them all steadily and with a good pace but as the day warmed up I just started to slow down, my average pace increased about 10seconds per mile and I knew that the elusive sub 1:50 was slipping out of reach. But as a good runner my back up plan was to get a PB, which meant anything under 1hour 55 so I readjusted my expectations and pushed on towards my new goal. As I rounded the corner after 11 miles the wind was blowing directly in my face and slowing me down I thought that might be the end and that I would make it for a pb time. I kept pushing and pushing and the finish line was in sight my garmin read 1:54... it could go to 1:55 any second so I put everything I had to getting across that line, I did it 1hour 54mins 40seconds... the fastest half marathon time and 10 minutes quicker than when I first ran this race two years ago... over the moon!
My good friend also got a new pb and strangely beat her previous course time by about 10 minutes, it's just fantastic to see how far we have both come in the last two years. We headed back to her house for roast chicken before I hit the road home again. 
When I peeled off my socks I was shocked to see the state of my 2nd toe, it has become more and more swollen throughout the day and | suspect I may lose my first whole toenail to running. Now its serious!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Riding through the glen

"There was a rich man from Nottingham who tried to cross a river, what a dope he tripped on a rope, now look at him shiver!"

After a nice chilled out morning I hit the road just after midday to head up to Nottingham ready for the big race tomorrow. I made it in record time, saling through the Dartford crossing and flying up the M11 - seems like my luck was in but does this mean I'll be stuck for hours coming home tomorrow (?) lets hope not.
Spag bol with plenty of pasta was lovingly prepared by my uni pal and fellow running buddy as we prepared ourselves for our 2nd outing at the Nottingham Half Marathon. Post uni we both began taking running a little more seriously and this was the first half marathon that we tackled and we did it together so 2 years on we decided to do it again. This was originally menat to be a netball girls reunion event but sadly after injuries, illness and work commitments we have been whittled down to the old running stalwarts and historically the least active amongst us... how we have changed!
Right now I must go as Kate is preparing an apple pie for desert, then time for X Factor and good nights sleep before we head down to the start line.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Operation Tummy Tone (OTT)

Today I have started what I am now referring to as Operation Tummy Tone (or OTT also known as Over The Top which is where my tummy sits in realtion to my jeans at present.).
I started a new job about a month ago and although I am loving it, it has thrown my exercise routine out of whack somewhat, and this has led to gaining a few pounds and loss of tone in my tummy and arms. After much sadness and chocolate therapy I realised that actually the main problem with my tummy is that I have lost the tummy muscles that hold me all in, but what made them strong.....? It was swimming, so the plan it to get back on track which means returning to the old routine of swimming three times per week, I started today, lets hope it works!

Carb Overloading

At lunch yesterday I ate leftovers, a potatoe and chickpea curry with rice, it was too much but I soldiered on and ate the lot, I felt too full to move, like Christmas full and just need to lay down and have a nap but alsas it was not to be. It did not stop me having tea round my friends house - a much more resonable protion as well this time! (Thanks Emma).
Arriving home, still bloated I saw that my race pack had also arrived yeterday, it was a double moment of excitement when I saw the post because the new Ikea catalogue had also arrived (a shop from which I am now banned by hubby so I can only look at the catalogue and dream about their flat pack budget goodies!).
The arrival sent a new wave of nerves through my bloated tummy so full of carbs it was screaming at me to just lay down and eat no more today else I would be bouncing round Nottingham like some sort of deluded space hopper.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Conker Dodging

Without giving myself a chance to change my mind, I got home from work and quickly changed into my running kit. I then cadged a lift from hubby to the halfway point between home and my hill of choice for hill reps.
Not sitting down removed any chance I had of bailing out of tonight's run. My plan had specified intervals, easy and a tempo run this week prior to Sunday.. but that got muddled by running with the club last night. So tweaking the plan a little I decided I would do the easy run but slot in some hill reps in the middle.
The chosen road is a private road, familiar with many a PWR member. I encountered one of the elusive residents who suitably reprimanded me for running up and down her hill with a single look - I smiled and called good afternoon, I was snubbed!
As I started my hill reps I had noticed the conkers but not really registered that if they are on the floor they are at some point falling, until of course I was narrowly missed by one falling. As I continued my reps the occasional thud was heard and a conker was sent rolling down the hill. Luckily I narrowly avoided being hit on the head or indeed anywhere else but other runners beware conkers are out to get you!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Good things come to those who wait

Working flexible hours is great albeit a little strange, in the past on a Tuesday evening I have rushed home, changed and rushed out again to get to the PWR meeting point before group runs start. This evening I was faced with another dilemma, home before 5pm I have at least 3 hours to wait until run time.... if not for the torrential rain I might have been tempted to run alone and early.
Instead I did the unusual and ate my dinner (leftovers) before running, 3 hours seemed sufficient and I was later proven right when I wasn't struck down with an agonising stitch. I then watched a movie and chilled out with Guinness (my cat) on my lap for a while. till plenty of time to go..... I filled the kettle and put a teabag in a cup next to it to save time later... still waiting.... got changed..... waiting.....finally I could leave!
I had earlier decided I would run with Group 2 tonight, it was definitely the right decision, it was great to run with some new faces. Richard was leading the group and took us on a simple circular route, at just over 2 miles we through ourselves full throttle into intervals for the next mile before steadying out pace for a long slog up hill.
When I returned to base I was thoroughly happy to have waited and come out with the group, supporting each other and providing or receiving encouragement is something that is much harder when running solo.
For fear of looking like a curb crawler in my car on the way home, I leaned out of the window and I shouted to Johnny Gill who promptly hopped in my car for a lift back up the hill. Very impressed with my recent 10k time, Johnny set to work persuading me to move up to Group 4... I agreed to give it a go in a couple of weeks so watch this space (or keep a space free in the ambulance bay).

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Runners: Say No to Flyers!

With one week remaining until the Robin Hood Half Marathon next Sunday my schedule dictated that today I should run 9miles at a steady pace, for me steady means around 8:45 min/miles. In reality this was closer to just over 9 min/miles, I put this down to running at parkrun yesterday instead of doing speed or hill work during the week. It was my birthday though so I won't be too hard on myself about this!
My run was pretty standard today, around and about on the roads and some trails of Chislehurst and St Pauls Cray, I got a little nervy on Kemnal Road - so nervy in fact that I paused my music so I was alert for potential attackers - where it changes from private road to overgrown track full of old mattresses but I made it through and emerged victorious on the A20 for the long slog back up the Queen Mary's roundabout.
My pace evened out after the ups and downs and with less than a mile to go I was still feeling comfortable even if I did look very red and sweaty. It was at this point that a man tried to wave me over, stepped in front of me to halt my progress and then tried to hand me a flyer - I mean really, a flyer, did I look like I wanted my windows cleaning or a handyman of some description. No I don't believe I did. I sort of flailed my hand to indicate I did not want the flyer or to stop, which he mistook for me wanted a flyer and tried once again to thrust it towards me... I sidestepped him with a grunt and went on my way in a state of disbelief. 
My advice to those giving out flyers... runners do not want them, we have nowhere to put them and don't want to stop mid-run to find out what its all about!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Kite Runner Memorial Run

When I was little I grew up in t'north but we would regularly come down south to visit our relatives, my Grandparents lived on Avery Hill Road and I have very fond memories of visiting Avery Hill Park with them when I was very young. We spent many hours flying kites - I remember my brother getting a very fantastic rainbow coloured kite with a long tail and spending what felt like the longest time in the world waiting for my turn to have a go!
Some time ago when this parkrun began, myself and my mum (both runners) decided that we would both run it. It has taken a while but finally today was the day and we arrived in plenty of time. The number of runners was smaller than my regular parkrun event (Bromley) but equally as friendly and welcoming to newbies. Although one thing I don't understand... why not call the event Eltham Parkrun (not Greenwich?)????

What a nice day with fond memories, running with my mum and what a nice email to come home to...
"Greenwich results for event #76. Your time was 24:37. Congratulations on completing your 12th parkrun and your 1st at Greenwich today. You finished in 19th place and were the 2nd lady out of a field of 63 parkrunners and you came 1st in your age category SW30-34."

Birthday girl eaten by fish!

On Thursday it was my Birthday, I have a lovely day, jam packed with all kinds of activities. Most relevant to this blog though I would argue are the 'Boris Bikes' - the first time I had tried them and although not built for speed they are a pretty useful way of getting around London and not half as scary as I though it would be cycling the streets of our Capital!
The day was rounded off with a visit to Zoola Fish in Bromley where for a very reasonable price I was able to sit with my feet dangling into a fish tank and little fish proceeded to much away at me! 
The fish tickled quite a lot so for the squeamish or very very ticklish be warned this could be more than you can handle, I did let out a squeal or two as the fish nibbled away at their chosen spots. I would certainly recommend this to everyone to give it a go, a very 'weird but wonderful' experience! 

Loosen up in the pool

My legs felt tired this week, not sure if it was the 14 miler last Sunday or Tuesday nights club run when my calves felt like lead but I have taken it easy on the running this week because of it (saving myself for Parkrun on Saturday).
My mum arrived on Friday afternoon to help celebrate my birthday and we decided to get out and be active before eating a mega slice of a rather huge and delicious Red Velvet birthday cake.
Swimming won the fight and we trotted off to the pool for a few lengths, sticking to just over 1/2 mile I decided I love the pool more and more each time I go. The difference between a 25m and 33m pool doesn't seem much but when you and seeing off those lengths it really does make a psychological difference - lets hope it stays even after I get used to the pool length!  
After the swim I felt much better and my calves had finally loosened up, phew!