Sunday, 30 September 2012

The animals of Petts Wood

Back on plan today and it stated 9 miles in 1:18:00 I was a bit suspicious about my ability to do this and opted to slow it down a little changing my Garmin to the same distance in 1:25:00. I had woken fairly early and surprisingly up for a run despite the copious amounts of meat I had eaten last night at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The satellites were not up as early as me which was frustrating so I set off before they could catch on, I was slightly disheartened as the pace seemed quite slow so I pushed and pushed, before long I was running at about the right pace for the original plan so wondered how long I could keep it up.
The pace was much easier to maintain then I thought it would be and I happily ran along and did a bit or bird spotting..... there were magpies, wood pigeons, jays, parakeets. It felt a bit like the Animals of Farthing wood as I went along with birds, squirrels and foxes going about their Sunday morning routines!
The time seemed to fly by and before long I was well past halfway with only 2 miles to go until home. Sadly the last mile was mostly an incline but I kept a decent pace and was soon coasting along my road to the front door. My post run re-fuel was poached eggs on Marmite toast and a nice cuppa. Oh and the time 1:18:40 so I think this bodes well for the Brussels half marathon next weekend. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Winging It

So half of our palace to palace team set out on a bike ride today, carefully planned by me... oh and when I say half just me and hubby. We wanted a route of about 30 miles and this is what I carefully prepared with a mix of hills and flats and some nice countryside. We set off up Sevenoaks Way, a tough long upward slog towards Badgers Mount where we did in fact see some badger road kill (bad times). 
There were many other cyclists out on the roads today and all a friendly bunch, or maybe it was pity in their hello's as they passed us and became a speck in the distance before disappearing altogether. Soon enough we reached Sevenoaks  about 12 miles into our journey, we passed along the High Street and kept our eyes peeled for out next turning as we ventured into unfamiliar territory. So unfamiliar that hubby missed the turn and went flying down a huge hill - despite my best efforts to scream at him to stop he as gone and I had no choice to descend for over a mile to catch him up and give him the bad news... the turning was back up the hill. It was not something that either of us wanted to face. Luckily we spotted a sign to Penhurst so we decided instead to head their, then follow the Penhurst to Tonbridge trail before getting the train home again. This was a great idea as we stopped for a quick cuppa and some flapjack before hitting the trail. We saw many riders taking part in the castle triathlon series and encouraged them on up the incline we had just descended. 
Before long we had done 28 miles and were at Tonbridge station waiting for a our train. Happily we chugged along and soon departed and started to cycle the last 4 miles home..... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... came the shout from up ahead. Hubby had left his bag on the train, we hot-footed it back to the station and I waited with the bikes whilst Hubby chased over the platforms trying to call ahead and find the bag. We left our number and headed back knowing there was not much more we could do. By the time we had reached home and made a few more calls there was a call to say the bag had been handed in and was at Charing Cross.... massive relief for both of us and as we had planned to go uptown not a huge problem. Thanks goodness someone found it.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pretty Tired (emphasis on P and T)

Release date for tickets tbc
...but is was still my personal training session tonight and this is not something I can or will cancel. 

Emma works me hard, much harder than I would ever work myself and I really enjoy it every time. 

The best thing about this is that I can see and feel it working. I am getting stronger and faster and even maybe there is a slight hint of muscle in my previously flaccid upper arms. 

It won't be long I'm sure until I can put the tickets to the gun show on general release but right now there is still work to be done!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Rain rain go away

Sore legs (from weekend) and rain conspired against me last night and gave me sufficient reasons (excuses) not to go out... in fact that coupled with my friend coming to stay meant that staying in was really the only feasible option.
The trade off though was that I would get up early and go and do intervals this morning and I did it! It took me no time at all to get out of bed and into my kit but it did take a little longer to build up the momentum to leave the house. My plan was 10 x 200m and for the first time in ages this would happens on the roads and not the gym, I was actually looking forward to it!
As it happens I was right to, I performed well and fairly consistently, I didn't need my waterproof as the rain held off and the private road I had selected saw only one car for the duration of my session. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ferry Sweet Ride

After my successful and slightly tough hilly bike ride last Sunday with the Breeze ladies I signed up once again to go with the same group up to 'Breeze in the Park' at Victoria Park in London. I met with Jill and Collette at Danson park and we chatted as we waited for some others who did not show (naughty first timers) and off we went on our merry way. It was a cool morning and overcast, we knew the rain was coming but we didn't know when it would arrive. 
As we arrived in Woolwich (descending a very steep hill which I knew would be back to slap us in the face later)  we ventured down some dodgy looking roads and found the secret entrance to the Woolwich foot tunnel. Unlike Greenwich there is no lift but also no tourists so we lugged our bikes down the 124 step winding staircase. We followed most instructions on the sign at the entrance... no spitting, no shouting, no animal fouling but as the tunnel was empty we hopped on peddles and scooted through. The other end was a bit tougher and I was sent first with my bike up the winding and seemingly never ending staircase. We emerged like moles squinting and puffing but that was the tough bit done!
The journey continued and we cycled along the Thames path - stopping briefly to watch the cyclist of the London Triathlon - until we reached Victoria Park and met up with the other Breeze ladies, we were given cakes, sweets, croissants and hot drinks and chatted to some of the others. As we prepared to head back the rain arrived as did 4 young scallys to see what they could get from the tent - we hung around looking disapprovingly as they received a water bottle, apple juice and lots of sweets, stickers and goodness knows what else until finally the leader of the pack stated 'come on lads I think we're taking the pi$s now' - we heartily agreed and they were sent packing with their haul.
All aboard for sweet tea
Happy that the danger of young boys had left we did a lap around the park and started back along the route we had come. We passed the cyclists of the London Triathlon once again and this time went to the Woolwich Ferry. Sadly we had just missed one and were forced to stand cold and wet waiting on the windy dock. Finally the ferry arrived and we were ushered on, before long one of the ferry worker appears with a cuppa, we made a little joke about where was ours, which happily resulted in me getting his cuppa, it had sugar in it but as this point the old classic 'I'm sweet enough already' may have deterred him from giving me that sweet hot beverage. With my numb hands and cold core this was not something I was going to risk. So, yes I was told 'never to take sweeties from strangers' but not specifically 'never to take Sweet Tea from strangers' so I made an exception! I was after all, cold, wet and really wanted a cup of tea - sugar or no sugar.
We departed the ferry, somewhat warmer and ready to tackle the uber hill that awaited us... I made it all the way to the top, I used pretty much all the gears and my thighs were burning but I did it. maybe the sweet tea helped?
By this point although warmed up the rain was beginning to feel relentless and I could only focus on getting home and into a hot bath. I left the others at our meeting point and continued the final 5 miles alone. Finally back and warmed up I was in good spirits.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Foot Stray

Somewhat haphazard in my training of late it dawned on me that I had a half marathon creeping up on me in two weeks time,. I checked my plan and much to my surprise I was due to run a 14 mile route this weekend... this wouldn't be such a problem but I had also already booked onto another Breeze Bike Ride on Sunday morning and I did not want to miss it. So an early Saturday morning run it was.
I planned the route and about 4 miles in I decided to change it, another mile later I had to detour via A&E... no emergency before you worry but very nearly a little accident. Sadly many runners do suffer from something known as runners trots - I won't go into detail but its not a nice thing and usually quite unexpected and immediate. This time I was safe!
I got back to my detoured route and took random twists and turns as the urge took me trotting through the lovely Foots Cray Meadows, full of hundreds of dog walkers at this time on a Saturday morning. Through the park and out the other side, past a mini outdoor gym and then I rounded back through Bexley and headed towards home. My legs were started to complain a little by now but I was managing to keep my pace steady trying to wish away the last couple of miles using my ipod to distract me. I was so close to home (less than 1/2 mile) and yet I stopped again... this time for nourishment, a banana milkshake and orange juice and then I was home, I made it, now time to relax.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Near Every Conference....

...venue there really should be somewhere to run and whilst hotel staff are usually pretty useless when it comes to advising of a good local route I was lucky enough to have a work colleague who was prepared to come and meet me early and squeeze in a quick 10km before work started proper (I say proper as we inevitably talked work for most of the run).
Exiting the hotel situated quite close to the NEC and Birmingham international airport we quickly reached a country lane and after a while were able to divert down a canal tow-path. Beautiful morning for it and also lovely to see so many canal boats moored up. Ah that's the life eh!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bachhus Half Marathon: Double Coleslaw!

Final Push
Way back when I got a message from my favourite Aunty who said she had just signed up to the Bachhus Half Marathon... hosted at Denbies Winery in Dorking there was to be snacks and wine at the water stations and plenty of fancy dress. It seemed like a great idea to get more people involved and make this a real fun family event!

We set about recruiting and got our number to 6 one of whom was gifted the entry as her Birthday present - not sure if it was ion her list or not!!

As the day grew closer I knew my training meant a PB was not on the cards but least of all because the course was multi-terrain and hilly (this we found to be an understatement as hills were all there were... hills and sunshine).
As we lined up at the start line, our team of spectators led by my Mum (armed with her camera to film the start) we waiting to cheer us on. The sun pounded down on already at 28 degrees with no cloud cover. This was going to be a toughie.
I was running with 'Cousin Jacqueline' as her pacer and towards the end probably a task master but I think she has forgiven me. The start was packed and moving slowly so it took almost two miles before anyone could hit a steady pace. By this time we had already reached the first water station - thankfully the 'hot weather' plan was in operation and there were plenty of fuelling stations jam packed with water, wine, crisps, pretzels, raisins, jelly babies, energy gels and fresh fruit! Never before have I encountered such a smorgasbord during a race. As it was so hot we made the most of these stations and made sure we were properly fuelled and hydrated before setting off again in the blistering heat.

Proud at the finish!
The hills kept coming and were relentless, the worst of which was an incline of varying degrees of difficulty that went on for over 1.5 miles - a real test. As we reached the water station just after halfway the first of the full marathoners past us, looking strong but very hot indeed. The fancy dress was impressive and we passed smurfs, bumble bees, pirates, cavemen to name a few! The best in my option were the team of four who went as bunches of grapes who I later discovered won the fancy dress prize. They were pretty awesome!

After the halfway point we were still way to hot but more accepting and knew for sure that we would finish with the targeted time for Jacqui's first half marathon. We kept plugging away and gradually the miles disappeared beneath our feet and finally we reached the downhill to counter all the uphill’s at around 2 miles from the end. We glided down the hills - being tall and having long legs had a real advantage for us here. The distance was diminishing and it was hard to believe we had made it through the desert like conditions.

Crossing the last stretch with about 500m to go we ran through the vineyard passing many runners who were feeling the heat badly. We stepped up the pace getting faster and faster, with about 200m to go I instructed Jacqui to give it everything she had and finish strong, we ran hard together and crossed the line in triumph.

Running this race together was a fantastic experience, suffering the heat and coming through strong at the end was a real achievement for all. We helped ourselves to fruit and drinks at the finish then joined our team of supporters to cheer in the other runners. With all our runners home safe we tucked into our hog roast and wine with double helpings of coleslaw for those bold enough to demand it.

Amazing day!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

PWR Beginners Group - Week 8, ready to run!

The last training session for our round 2 of beginner runners from the Tuesday night training. Really impressive turn out with still over 20 runners turning up and ready to go.

A few nervous faces at the start with the prospect of running for 20 minutes with stopping but by the time the warm-up and drills were completed most of those fears had tumbled away - or were at least a little more hidden beneath the pink cheeks!

The group split into 4 smaller groups each manned by two PWR volunteers to take the runners out of the rec on our regular route. The group I was with hot their 1 minute walk break shortly up the hill in the woods much to their disappointment but at least they got to walk some of this tough part before the final running section.

We returned to the rec in perfect timing and set about our stretches once all the runners were back. All that's left now is to get to Parkrun on Saturday and put this all into practice and try to run the whole route without stopping!