Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Review of the Running Year 2013

Well quite frankly in my head it sucked, two weeks into January I was rear-ended in my car and gained a back injury from which I am still struggling with, I managed a measly annual mileage of less than half of the previous year, I was unable to train... then wait a minute, I stopped and thought about it. I have really done some amazing things this year. Things that most people may not even consider as a joke never mind a reality.

The sucky parts: 

  • I had to pull out of several races due to my back problems
  • Despite ongoing physio I am not in much better shape
  • I sleep with a heat pad on my back most nights, especially after running
  • Being terrified by giant clowns in Chamonix
The awesome parts:
So, in short, the year was not as expected in terms of my running ambition but I made the big ones, I had fun and while I broke no records, I got off my arse and I did it.

Here's to more miles next year and plenty more great running experiences with friends and family!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Bimble

On Christmas Day I did not venture out to run but I did do a speed session on my new sparkly spin bike to get the metabolism working and prepare me for the feasting ahead. I headed to my favourite Aunty's house laden with canapés, mince pies, brandy butter and plenty of bubbly ready to celebrate the season with loved ones. 
On Boxing Day morning the hardy amongst us... myself, my Aunt and a soon to be persuaded Dan (having his first Lycra experience) got out early to start work on burning of the Christmas treats.
We went to the railway path, one of my favourite places for a non-thinking run, lovely and soft underfoot so good on the knees and out and back with the potential for miles so not much thinking required.
We passed many walkers donning their Santa hats, flooded fields below us and a number of fallen trees to negotiate. There was no real plan on distance but a vague hour run was in mind, 30 mins out then back. 
All quite pleased with ourselves we went back for a breakfast of toast with Christmas Cheeseboard... well we can't be angels all the time! 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Apparently I've been quiet!

So it would seem I have been noticeably absent from the world of running and particularly blogging with my last post over 2 months ago, I can only apologise to the few followers I have and hope to be able to get back on top of both the running and the blogging very soon.

Sadly it would seem that since my car accident in January when I suffered lower back problems I have now (11 months on) had to return to the doctor and been advised more physio... bummer. Yes, maybe I can still do more that the average man on the sofa but it doesn't mean I have to be happy or satisfied with that, I want to be out there running, running like Forest Gump with no end in sight and it doesn't matter because I just want to run when I feel like it and for as long as I feel like it... not until my back starts to ache as my spine compresses and compounds the pain and forces me to walk or even to return home.

So I will have the physio, I will continue to build my core strength during my personal training and I will try to follow Forest Gump example... I run because I can and because I just felt like running. 

So today, I went out to meet up with Jerry, his first run since the Winter 100 which he completed in true Jerry style with "real grit". It seemed a good match, he needed to test his legs out slow and so did I. Plus we hadn't had a good old chinwag about running and randomness for some weeks so we were well overdue hence the chatter flowed as the miles disappeared under foot. 

We came across small band of PWR Sunday runners where one in his usual cheery way was keen to point out that we all have problems (referring to my back injury) that we run with. It's always hard to say if this is a dig or some attempt at being nice. Either way we made our pleasantries and carried on our way. 
"Mama said they was Magic shoes" - Forrest Gump

Through woods and along trails, a short way on road and before long we had not run out of chatter but we were back at the car for Jerry's departure (hopefully he remembered the Brandy on the way home for Christmas baking). I added a little more on as I was feeling happy and good to be out arriving home a snippet under 6.5 miles and thoroughly pleased with that. 

All I need now is that pair of magic shoes I saw in the Nike store..... so so beautiful and wonderful on my feet!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Xempo Pacer Race Report: Royal Parks Half Marathon 2013

This race was one I had wanted to run for a few years now and for one reason and another, not to mention how popular it is I have been unable so when I saw the opportunity arise via Xempo to take part as a pacer it was too good to be true so I put my name forward with many others runners and was lucky enough to be selected. I opted for the last of the pacer positions for two reasons (1) I wanted the pace to be comfortable so I would not let down any of the other runners who wanted to run with me as their pacing guide and (2) since my whiplash injury earlier this year I wasn't sure how hard I could push myself. 

We needed to be at the Xempo tent prior to the start but on a Sunday in Central London this was not to be the easiest of tasks, calling on my ever helpful hubby, he dropped me at Clapham tube station around 7am as the trains near our home turf would not start until after 7am. This gave me more time to get to the start point and meet the others pacers before the race began. 

I gathered my t-shirt, race number and pacer backpack, a surprisingly lightweight and comfortable contraption supporting a large pacer flag... I would not be difficult to spot. I was positioned in the rear of the yellow pen and I collected up a few runners keen to run to my pace for the race including Paul, Kate from Unicef, Kim (recovering from injury) and Red, chatty Gina, a mother and daughter pair, a lovely blonde lady who kept thanking me throughout the race, another blonde lady who I am sure did not believe we were going to make the finish but was a delight to see her smile at the end and some more (apologies if I have failed to mention you).  

The yellow pen headed out at 30 minutes later than official race start time due to the huge volume of numbers (16,000) running the race today. However, this spread the field nicely when running and no bottlenecks occurred which was great especially as I had a number of first time half marathon runners with me wanting just to be able to run the whole race. As we started the race through the park and before long emerged to run past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament I was even more delighted I had decided to pace today, as the sun lit up from beyond the river the city looked glorious. A fantastic day to be out and see London in its glory. 

By mile 4 we had all settled comfortably into pace and everyone was doing well, the nerves of some runners had now subsided and they were settled and focussed on the race. My mother and daughter pairing were running well and had big smiles on their faces. This was certainly a race to be enjoyed with some fantastic sites around London to behold. 

At the halfway point I looked at my watch and we were bang on pace as my watched ticked on to 1:15:04 we certainly were halfway there and running well. I was so proud of everyone and it was great to be part of a team running together. 

The two stalwarts of my role as a pacer were Paul and Kate whom seemed to be at my sides throughout. Sadly at around mile 10-11 we lost Paul at a water station, I looked for a while but could not go back with so many relying on me, he had run strong and I had no doubt he would still make it through in a great time.

Kate who was stuck like glue to me throughout was a very strong runner and we had a good old chuckle at many moments throughout the run. She was like a mini celebrity as there were so may Unicef supporters out that knew her which you could see physically boosting her each time. 

Towards the end, just after the 12 mile marker, the trees were hanging a little lower with led to a few pace flag near misses in the trees. This would not deter us though, with less than a mile to go we have almost 15 minutes to make the last mile, there was room for a little tree pruning and banter! The runners were doing great with smiles and a few shouts whenever I asked them how they were doing - or in some cases grunts and laughs. I had promised I would get them round at a steady pace and I would not fail them, we were in this together and I wanted them to achieve their goals. 

At about 400m to the finish I sent two runners ahead as I could see they had more in them and sent them towards the finish line, I had a little backward running to check out my other pacee's and shout encouragement. I nearly got in trouble with a marshal as I almost hit her with my backward running!

As I crossed the line I think I had sent many of my runners ahead as I hung back and shouted encouragement to more runners coming towards the finish. I waited over the line where I was thanked by a lovely lady whose name I do not know and then saw Paul appear and making it in time, we high-fived and I was delighted for him as he had achieved his PB by many minutes. 

Back to the Xempo tent I went, thoroughly happy and thanked the team once again for selecting me. I headed off and stopped in to the Unicef tent to see if Kate was there and how she had got on, no sign so I continued to the tube. Then, who knows if luck or coincidence I bumped into Kate and her family, she gave me a big hug and thanked me, she had crossed in 2:21 and was delighted as was I, it was so good to have helped someone achieve their goals and in fact far exceed their own expectations. It certainly left me with a warm fuzzy feeling as I heading into the tube station (not to mention my race spoils, a lovely tech top, canvas bag and wooden leaf shaped medal).

The final leg of my day was to get home, I arrived at Victoria and saw my train was due in about 20 minutes so I thought I'd pick up some food. I selected a lovely looking crayfish and mango salad in M&S Simply Food then I must have had some sort of blackout, when I came around I was sat on the train with a Big Mac Meal in my hands!! Oh well needs must!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Short and Sweet in Sunny Spain

I was required to go to Spain for work, lucky me you say and in some ways yes but there was plenty of meetings and work to done so sadly not all play as I am sure some imagine it would be. Waking this morning I knew I needed to get some miles in the the day ahead was hot and even as I woke early the air felt a little too much for me. I headed instead - rather disappointedly to the hotel gym where at least I could be assured of aircon. Although this turned out not to be the case either but I was there and on the treadmill so I just had to man-up and get one with it. 
My initial goal had been to try and get about 5 miles in, but the heat combined with an early meeting saw me flake out at 5km... still at least I got some exercise in whilst away. 
Next time I hit the outside, no matter how hot it is, especially as it was raining at home.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sweet Sixteen

Sometime in the week I had sent a message to Jerry, a 14-16 mile run was required at a slow pace and an early start. He answered promptly as ever saying he was up for it and would start planning a route. A few days later a message appeared on my facebook page stating the following:

"Liz, Sunday's run involves llamas, sandpits and moaning parishioners! It will be an out and back to guarantee mileage but will be tough but gently paced. Coach Maisy has instructed me to get you on the trails with hills in prep for BHM."

The first mile was purely downhill and knowing that the route of the day would be an out and back this would not be fun on the return journey! From the advertised run, there certainly were sandpits and parishioners but no sign of the llamas, I must ask Jerry about that. But we did have copious amounts of cows and a bull all within the first few miles. Imagine my alarm when the first field we approached had a sign stating, DON'T RUN, JUST WALK - BULL. Holy Cow, this was not the sort of field I would approach alone

The field was full of cows and you could not see the Bull but who knew if he was out there. I wasn't going to risk running and setting off a stampeded so I sort of speed walk through the field, the cows scattering left and right as we passed through. There was much relief to reach the other side.

Then came the cornfield before we crossed a bridge over the M25 just near Clacket Lane Services - traffic looked pretty good considering the road works.We soon moved on from Jerry's ramblings on an IT program and we had moved onto ice cream, an ice-cream submarine and the apples from his garden, delighted I was to find I could get a fresh supply of cooking apples - an autumn of Apple Pie, Crumble, Cake, Tart and pork chops with apple sauce awaits.

There were several other runners out and about, a couple of maniacs driving on the road, one of who came speeding towards us with his car door open, shut it and gave us the thumbs up...nice one bruvva! We crossed the paths of many longer routes like the London to Brighton trail race, The Vanguard Way and the Green Sands Marathon. The route was very hilly but as advised by Coach Maisy this would all come in handy as part of my training for the Beachy Head Marathon next month.  

I have mentioned before and I will say it again, my favourite runs are those on the trails, and especially when led by my good running buddy Jerry. I feel no pressure when running with Jerry as we trot along, chatting away, laughing and conspiring, always keeping moving but walking if we must. He is full of local knowledge and routes so that every run is different and definitely a new experience.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Motherly Motivation

Some days a run seems like the hardest thing you could possibly do, even as an experienced runner and even one who enjoys it so much. This morning was one of those mornings. I had had less sleep than I would normally require following a festival/staff party which left me a little worse for wear come morning time. I had in anticipation only packed sports kit for the morning so that it would guilt me into running should I have an inclination to just head home and get back into bed. 
So laying in bed, I wasn't sure this would be enough. I needed a commitment and some motivation. I texted 'The Mother' - did she fancy cycling along by my side along the Forest Way whilst I tried to get in about 14 miles. She was keen for a distraction herself I think as the prospect of painted a fence loomed heavy over her. I gave her my eta and immediately felt I'd better get my act together and head for some breakfast pre-run.
It was a muggy day, very humid and running was not comfortable. However, the added bonus of my cycling support crew spurred me on and together we made it to the turnaround point passing many other runners, cyclists and dog walkers making the most of this Sunday September morn without the threat of rain.
About 9 miles into the run I had begun to struggle, the heat was getting too much and I was starting to feel dehydrated the last few miles would be tough. I had a walk break which seemed to help and put some strength back into my legs. The Mother encouraging me along the way and as we chatted and caught up on the latest news in our lives the run soon came to an end at a respectable 12 miles.
I hopped back in my car leaving The Mother to cycle the remaining mile to the house while I drove - after having a big drink of water! We had a lovely homemade soup for lunch and then I headed home again. 
Much need motivation was provided today as without that support I may have given up long before the 12 mile mark.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Zombie Field & Old Friends

Question: There are 4 runners wanting a long run, Jerry wants to do 20 miles, Robert 16 miles, Liz 12 miles and Emma 10 miles. How could they do this?

Answer: Let Jerry just tell us what to do, we trust him to take care of business!

The preamble to the run began like this and was supported by a 20 message thread on Facebook which attempted to solve a quandary not dissimilar to that of a 1940s math book. 

I met Jerry at my allotted time and place (in fact 3 minutes early) and we headed through Jerry's secret path through Petts Woods and onto a path with a steep edge where we encountered an overly excited and high dog who was determined to bound along with us and perhaps wanted to flee his owners and join us for the rest of the run, apparently still a pup but huge and wolf like all the same. This path would later become known to us and forever more as Wolf Ravine. 

Meet up point 2 where both Emma and Rob would meet us having come separately  one by foot, one by car all part of the mathematical and geographical equation Jerry had devised to ensure everyone hit their mileage targets and we headed off on pavement and trail towards High Elms. Not dissimilar to my recent run at Eridge Jerry is prone to naming routes and runs, sometimes I delight in coming up with such a route naming as each has its very own story that sits being it just begging to be told to future runners on the route.

Mouse Alley (AKA Flying Squirrel Alley) - named for the dead mouse that was found along the alleyway but can also been know as Flying Squirrel Alley as often the trees rattle with overhead flying rodents much to the alarm of runners passing through this narrow channel. We emerged with no mice and just one squirrel sighting today and headed out towards an open field, as we emerged though the gate and looked across the wide expanse there were figures dotted around in the mist and without the dogs this could well have been the start so the field was named the only thing we could rightly name it, Zombie Field.

The out of the out and back completed we passed through Zombie Field once again but the herd seemed to have moved on and the danger had passed for now. that was until leaping from the bushes a cat flew out ninja style, promptly fluffed up and departed again giving us all, particularly Jerry who was in front quite a surprise. 

Almost back at the departure points for Rob and Emma we each got a bit soppy stating just how lovely it had been. But it was. I was a great run, lovely route, great company and catching up with some faces from the club I hadn't seen and certainly hadn't run with in far too long. Must not leave it that long again I miss my running buddies... Sunday long runs are making a comeback in my life! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tempo & Kettlebells

So with my new found mojo, and the anticipation of a late notice entry to a marathon - only 7 weeks away I was determined to get straight into my training plan and start building up my miles and working sensibly towards a goal for the first time this year. (not that I haven't had goals but have been unable to train as I normally would thanks to the dreaded whiplash).

I arrived early to the gym for my personal training session and proceeded to get in a 5km tempo run - key run in all training plans, not to be omitted - thanks #xempoday for reminding me! Running hard for longer than I had for a while felt great, I was pleased with my pace and to get the blood flowing.

By the time Emma arrived for our session the sweat was pooring off me but I was feeling amazing. Today's session was to be a full hours kettlebell work out. In a slight state of being zoned out I looked around the room and started to wonder which gym equipment would be the best in a Zombie attack (I am getting dangerously obsessed with the The Walking Dead). I thought it best to open up with question and we thought a Kettlebell with be good in close quarters as you could do a good skull crushing swing but with a handle for a grip.

It was very tough but amazing, for the last part we pumped up the music and as I felt that strange quiver in my top lip as the reps became tougher and tougher I knew I would be sore tomorrow!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Salomons circuits

New job and a new running buddy for me, after a long day in the office we headed out in the light drizzle to run a circuit of the perimeter of the grounds of the Salomons Estate. parts of the route were known but we opted to take the lesser known tracks as we departed to test the mettle of my new found running prodigy.

Lap 1 was good and cutting some corners and taking in a pretty steep old hill we have gone just over a mile with a few walk breaks. The second lap we knew what was coming and progressed further up the hill this time with a more measure pace and working on uphill running techniques. 

Two miles was a good start point, my new friend is strong, willing and I reckon I'll have her signed up to a race in no time!!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Race Report: Eridge 10 - September 2013

Yesterday I attended the Xempo Performance Day, getting back the remainder of my mental running mojo. Last night I received a text from my trainer and friend, Emma... would I be running the Eridge 10 mile cross country tomorrow. 

No preparation. No target. No pace monitoring. No sunglasses (I left them in the car). I said Yes.

The horror stories ensued very wuickly from fellow runners and the familar Orpies, including Dave B who assured me my shoes would be sucked from my feet in the boggy mud, the hills were so steep they were near vertical and that never to get impatient, wait for the easy root or you may be lost forever! Hmmm, could this have been a mistake? As we lined up to start the race starter reminded us that it was indeed 10 miles and not 10k and then off we went. 

Apart from being cross-country which I find altogether, much nicer to run, more interesting and less pressure on times I was glad to have made the effort especially when I discovered that parts of the route had names which were signposted throughout which only increased my enjoyment. The first lake we ran past was just beautiful, bathed in sunlight the water glistened and I knew I would enjoy today regardless of time, speed or pace. I had opted not to use my garmin but just to run to how I felt. After a couple of miles and when I was starting to gasp from the hills we reached Heavenly Hill, some water beforehand and then off we went downwards and ever downwards (possible about a mile) gradually picking off few runners - this would change later as I am much stronger on a downhill then uphill (this seems an obvious thing to say but it is surprising how many runners can be very hesitant on the downhill stretch).

A couple of miles on, through open fields and sheltered woodland we passed through a gate where a marshall called out 45th lady to me... oooh that was interesting and kept me entertained for some time as I eeked my way to 39th and then a massive hill saw me fall to about 50th where I stopped concentrating and had no idea of my placement. Kept my mind busy though! We ran onwards... running where we could and walking where necessary, up to Coronation Clump and the to Watership Up all the time with great encouragement from all the very friendly marshals. 

Some rather worrying signs came up soon enough, the Leap of Death and the Tomb of the unknown Harrier were a little concerning to say the least. More hills accosted us the weary runners 'before the long (and we mean long!) climb to the delightful 'damsel-in distress' tower at Saxonbury 659 (the highest point of the race)'. Where we were delighted to see another water station and jelly sweets to give us some extra umph! 

Up and down we went for the meaning 4 miles, up up up and a very steep up before some meandering down through a wood lined gully. Onwards and ever onwards, by now I was wondering about my time, with no great concern just interested to know. soon eneough there was a sign for 400m and then 200m and then the finish line was in sight, my fellow PWRs called my name and shouting encouragement as I put in what was left and ran across the line to where beer and cake awaited me. Declined a pint after the race I grabbed some coffee cake and went to congratualte the rest of the team and get a picture with them. 

Great news followed later that day when we discovered that our ladies had come 3rd in the team placings!! Hooray!!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Xempo Performance Day 2013 #xempoday

Congratulations, you and Jacqueline are in!!! As soon as the email entered my inbox with those words in the subject line I was over the moon. Some weeks ago I had nominated my second cousin Jacqueline in the 'Hype A Runner' competition being run by Xempo. At the time I was unaware that should she get one of the winning slots that I too would get to participate in the prize - a Performance Day so double delight ensured when our place was secured and a huge thank you once again to everyone who voted for us.

It seems to create some level of embarrassment for Jacqui when reading my words so I will refrain from publishing them with the blog but needless to say I felt she was a very worthy winner as someone who came to running late and has embraced it for the same reasons that I love it.

We arrived very early and chatted in the car park for a while before going into the athletics centre, very nice it was too with an indoor and outdoor track. Signing in we were handed out goody bags, selected our new socks by size, a coconut water and heading over to collect our t-shirts. Once again, super delighted to fit in the orange category for sub 1:55 half marathoners as I love some bright kit so orange will be great for the winter. We had out pics taken, chatted to some other runners and then settled in our seats to hear the guest speakers. 

First up some of the nominators and nominees of the competition stood up and told their stories, all of which had an abundance of inspiration, admiration and emotion. It was so great to hear these stories of selflessness and determination from so many. Running, although a solo sport has brought together so many in friendship it is truly very inspiring. I could feel myself getting drawn back into the love of running and was determined I would be back on track and up to speed soon enough.

Then we were hit with words of wisdom and heaps of useful advice from experienced and world renowned (I think) coach Nick Anderson follwed by Scott Mitchell, Physiotherapist at his public speaking debut - the nerves were evident but he broke through the other side to give us some really useful information re training and avoiding injury.

Running hero - Steve Way
The delightful and highly entertaining Steve Way told us his story from overweight, 40 a day smoker, to amazing 2:19 marathon runner who has worn the GB vest. Although brooding and moody on his picture in the backdrop, he was such an effervescent character with a big childlike grin on his face throughout the day. He is making the step change into ultra running and I think he may well be my new running hero. Following Steve - possible a hard act to follow-  was Paul Martelletti, with a similar story to Steve. A man who lived hard and had little idea of his running ability who went on to run a 2:16 marathon... awesome!

We had a break for lunch where there were cheese rolls or geek that I am took a quinoa salad. Later in the afternoon we went out and hit the track while Nick and Scott took us through some mobilisation exercises and stretched before some running drills. Great to see that both Paul and Steve were also learning from the session and goodness knows what they could do with more work on technique when they are such strong runners already... the mind boggles.

We left the day, fully motivated, full of information and I was excited to get out and run and getting back to a plan I felt I could now stick to. A huge thank you to the organisers who were great, the day went off without a hitch and was a great prize. 
A short video has been put together of the day and can be seen here. A nice write up can also be found on the Xempo website blog page.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Looking for my running mojo...

Since January and my back injury I have been so frustrated wanting to run and not being able. I had worked hard to strengthen my core to support and speed up my recovery. So whilst doing exercise it has been hugely restricted and am still suffering. The worst being that I stopped wanting to run because it caused such discomfort. Gradually it came back but I am still wary of overdoing it.  

After an intensive week of exercise last week where I attended a 3 day fitness bootcamp in the Cotswolds, then followed this with the Great Swim London (1 mile open water). I seemed to have rediscovered my running mojo or at least some of it. For the first time in weeks I was in fact excited to come home and get into my kit. So much so that I couldn't wait for running club at 8pm instead opting to run when I returned from work.

In, changed and out running, the way it used to be and where I wanted to get back to. Mentally I was ready to run but knowing what my body had gone through and the heat I opted for a shorter run taking in the woods for some shade.

The first mile my legs were leaden, not an unusual feeling for me these days as I do take a while to loosen up and get moving. By mile 2 my legs were improving but I was hot, really really hot. Grateful I had filled the water bottles on my running 'utility' belt despite the length of the run. Entering the woods I was much happier as the trees afforded me some shade, trotting away I saw many dog walkers and another couple of runners. A lovely evening for a run and glad I seem to be collected up my running mojo - it may not be fully back but there was certainly a big lump of it picked up in the woods of Scadbury. Over the next week or two I hope to up my running again and gather up the rest of the mojo.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Swim Report: Great Swim London 2013

Favourite Aunty, The Mother and Me pre swim!
This event was to be the family event, at the end of last summer a few of us ran the Bacchus Half Marathon and this year we had chosen to take to the waves and complete a one mile open water swim as part of the British Swim Series.
Following a late text two days before the swim there was to be a location change from Victoria Docks to Millwall Docks, momentarily causing confusion and leading to a slightly earlier departure from home. My mum and aunty arrived ready to leave at 8:30am. We departed and headed to Greenwich from there we would catch the DLR to Crossharbour and walk the remainder of the route to the start point. Initially I was a little apprehensive about the venue change but soon enough I realised it was located where I had my first marketing job out of university! Bizarre coincidence, the dock we would be swimming around was the one I used to walk around at a lunchtime for a bit of exercise - back in the days when a 30-40 minute walk felt like sufficient exercise for me! My how things have changed!

We went to the changing area and lathered up in baby oil, this much to my delight ensured I would slip easily into my brand new wetsuit (never before worm) but a proper swimming wetsuit rather than my previous multi purpose one. We would soon see if this made a difference.

As seems to be the way this year with my events I had not done much training, I had been training hard but had not swam at all since around the middle of July, whoopsie, so was a little concerned as to my swimming strength.

I opted to swim mostly in breast stroke, two reasons. Firstly, I am much better at breast stroke conserving more energy. Secondly, I had not practised my crawl so I knew my breathing would be a problem (I tried for some of the event and I was puffed out as suspected!). Our support crew were waiting on the side of the docks opposite the start line. we went into the water to acclimatise before the swim started. Then a bouncy women came along to lead us through a warm up back in the waiting are as we all jumped around with our bright pink hats looking like a bunch of condoms bobbing about. I managed to locate Jill, another friend who was swimming before the start. Soon enough our wave had begun, this the 10:30am wave was the largest group of the day so they filtered us over the start line in smaller sub groups. I hovered with my mum until the last group and we entered the water, wished each other well and set about our own races. My aunty had gone earlier and I had no doubt would fly round the course - experienced triathlete that she is.

Not long and I felt I was struggling, I started into a minor panic attack and couldn't get my breathing right. I spotted my hubby and called out, he told me to slow down which I dutifully did. Going at a steadier pace and knowing hubby was following me on the dockside alleviated my nerves and I settled into the swim. At the halfway point I gave him a little wave and asked for the time... hmmm... could this be right, I was far quicker than last year at this point. I realised I had found it so tough to start with as I had powered off faster than usual and was closer to my pool swimming pace. Silly Liz!

Now I was more than happy, I knew I would be getting a PB, the sun was shining, the support was out and although I lost sight of hubby near the finish momentarily I could hear the familiar voices of the Turner boys shouting their encouragement in their distinctive Hull lilt. As I crossed through the finishing Bouys I saw Jill exiting the water (very please for her as she shaved plenty of time off last year and got a new PB). 

Out of the water, being assisted up the ramp I was shffling along to cross the point for my chip time to register, they called at me to slow down at which point I stopped dead, skidded and did an almost cartoon fall flying up in the air and landing flat on the back and bumping my head.... ouchy! Thanks goodness for the runner mat. Before I was even down I was surrounded by the support crew to ensure I was okay and to take a minute before getting up. My concern, not my pounding head, but to check if my chip had registered. they assured me it had so I lay back for another second or two.... then asked the uncomfortable looking photographers if they caught that putting them back at ease and I was assured he had got my action dive!

I departed the exit area to find my favourite aunty waiting for me and a short while later my mum came over the finish line too. A great swim and family event, 3 shiny new medals, then it was time to head home and refuel on the chilli - in true Blue Peter style - I had made earlier.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Post Family Day Run

The morning after family day and some of us were suffering with hangovers and others not so much. Either way the decision had been made and we were going for a run. In addition we knew there was a huge beef joint for lunch so we needed to earn it!

Donning our kit, the 5 hearty souls (myself, aunty, cousin, brother and his girlfriend) departed for an out and back past The Fox, to the railway bridge and down onto the Downs Link. Three of us made the possibly unwise decision to throw in a 400m sprint - it was make or break if this would resurrect the hangover or send it packing!

I was lucky, any remnants of a hangover dissipated and I thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the run. Was great to be out with the family for a run and so nice that so many of us have taken to this crazy running malarkey. 

We finished the run with a good old group stretch  me putting my coaching skills into practise and ensuring that everyone was fully warmed down...geek! 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

A roundabout run to tesco

After several kitchen nightmares on Friday including a 3 tiered meringue disaster (not as pictured... it was worse). So out of eggs and with a strict timeline to adhere to this morning before heading to the annual family day at my aunt's I needed more ingredients but I also wanted to run.

Not having run much (if at all) since the Thunder Run I thought it best to start off of an easier distance, taking in the Tesco express on the way. At about 1.5 miles I hit Tesco but they didn't have what I needed, stoopid little sub standard sized petrol station Tesco this would mean a longer run to the big Tesco!

So under the roundabout I went, through the underpass and emerged victorious at the other side getting across the road without even a pause for traffic (there was none, I have not become some crazed kamikaze runner). 

Saturday morning in a supermarket was not a comfortable place to be mid run and sweating as I navigated the aisles to find my missing, lost or used up ingredients. Soon with them in hand I was on my way again. Homeward bound to complete the cooking. Phew, all went to plan, run done, cooking done but sadly I then got stuck in traffic and was an hour late!

You cannot win them all!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Adidas Thunder Run 2013: Support Crew Version

I decided a guest blog on the behalf on my support crew would pay a nice tribute to the great work they did in getting me through this years Thunder Run. The conditions were truly terrible at points and there was little chance I would have done so well without them. They fed me, changed me and supported me... kind of like a baby! 

Prior to the event I had prepared a hugely geeky briefing note, it had advised of my moods, what I might eat if I could rest and for how long but also a sheet for comments, timings and to record my food and drink. Funniest for me was the comment made at 8 laps (surely by Sue) and it said 'up for it'!!

As myself and hubby were unable to arrive until the Saturday morning following a wedding (congratulations once again to Hannah & Nick) my Dad and Sue had arrived on Friday along with their dog Beau and set up the tents for us in the solo area. On arrival at the camp site we were soon in our ready made home for the next day and offered cups of tea and bacon sarnies!

We once again reviewed the briefing note, discussed what a crazy challenge and got me ready to run.

Cake and ribena!
The posts (via twitter and facebook): 

At the start, ready to go. See you in 24 hours! TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬ 

Keep going Liz, only 23 hours and 40 minutes left! 

Liz Romano 1st lap in 1.11, looking good so far...

Lap 2 completed in 2:24:12 TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬ 

Lap 4 done in 5:23:28. A food stop on lap 5 and here comes the rain! 

TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬. Over 1/4 of the way through now @romanoliz. 40kms done. Keep going

As the thunder, lightening and torrential downpour arrives, time for some food and a power nap, ready for the night running TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬ — 

The rain hasn't stopped, so nor has Liz. Carrying on in the dark and the rain with lap 6. Onward and upwards! TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬

Well over half way now. Liz is about 3km into lap 7 after a break, so anything more is a bonus after this as she'll have equalled her total from last year. It's still raining and very dark but all the people doing this are amazing and still going TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬

Liz is back in the dry after completing lap 7. Alarm set for 5.30 to be back out at 6 for final 3 laps hopefully... TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬

Up for it!
Back out at 6 as planned, it's stopped raining for now, fingers crossed it stays that way. Lap 8 completed in 1:35 approximately, total time 19:35. Roll in lap 9. Keep going Liz!

End of lap 9 and straight on to lap 10 - 90km done, what have you got left Liz, still just over 2 hours left.

10 laps - 100km in just under 24 hours. Congratulations @romanoliz , a magnificent result TR24 ‪#‎allin24‬

These updates will be familiar to many of you but to some may be new, I was amazed when I turned on my phone after the race and saw how many messages of support, confusion and encouragement had been coming in throughout my journey. Hubby had told me everyone was rooting for me when I saw him at food breaks and it meant so such knowing everyone was behind me and supporting me in yet another crazy running endeavour. 

Yes, I did all the running but without the help and support from everyone else it would not have been possible. So thank you with all my heart and aching body!