Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Another year nearly over

Well, 2011 is drawing to a close, only a few days left... It is at this time of year we all start thinking of what we have done over the last 12 months, the highs and the lows, as well as what we would like to achieve over the next 12 months.

This year I ran my first ever half marathon... And then went on to run another 3 ! During that time I have knocked 24 minutes off my PB.... I have run several 10k races, again with a new PB and several other shorter races as well.

I have gained a few t-shirts from races, as well as a shot glass, microfibre cloth and a collection of medals :)

The highs ?? Well, I think one of them was finishing the Surrey Badger, a wonderful HM and when the chap who finished just in front of me turned round and shook my hand (we had taken it in turns passing each other all through the race) it made me realise how in general runners are a really friendly bunch.

The lows ?? Well, as far as running is concerned there haven't really been any low points, I suppose my attitude towards running isn't all out competitive and even if I don't reach my own target time I have never seen that as a failure, just a "not this time"

Looking ahead next years challenge is Brighton marathon; I have another couple of halves lined up before then but I'm planning on treating them more as part of the training rather than races if that makes sense.....

I don't know if I will run any other marathons after Brighton, it really does depend on how I recover afterwards..... I would like to.... I have one or two that I have been looking at for the end of 2012 and in to 2013.... but I'm not going to make any real commitments yet... but I am tempted !

I'm going to carry forward my goals from this year to next year.... I want to run a sub 2hr half (I'm only 3 minutes out at the moment) and a sub 50 minute 10k.... That one may prove slightly harder... I need to knock 2:25 off my current best.....

So, hears to a good 2012, may the snow stay away and everyone enjoy their running :)


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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Being visible....

This time of year I am doing a lot of running in the dark.... or "twilight".... I have a couple of dayglow yellow running tops but some of my favourite warm tops have tiny little reflective strips on and to be honest I'm wary of running in them in the evenings because I think I may not be seen.

So, I put some thought in to this and have "customised" my favourite running jacket to make it a bit more visible... this is the first customisation and I have a few more tops lined up for the treatment.

I looked online and bought some iron on reflective patches from Cyberglow. I emailed them first to find out how hot an iron I needed to use, and checked the washing instructions on the jacket to make sure it was safe to use an iron on and wouldn't melt !

So, after spending about £8 I now have a jacket that is unique as well as being far more reflective.

These are the before and after photos....





There is also the added advantage in that no-one else will have a jacket like it so it will be very easy to identify at the end of a club training session !

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The mud is back !

Well, after all the rain we have had the mud is well and truly back. I skipped the training group run this morning (opting for a bit longer in bed) and went for a run on my own over the Downs instead.

Some of the puddles were frozen over, and some of the mud had a "crunchy" top coat..... I had also forgotten how much harder running through mud can be, the first four miles are not only all up hill but are also the muddiest section of the route...

I stopped to take a few photos on my phone of the views....




These views make it all worth while :)

So, that is week 3 of a 20 week marathon training plan done... I'm a bit above my mileage this week but my plan is a bit flexible... for the next two weeks I have Christmas and the New Year so I'm not quite sure how I will fit in the running. I also need to mark on my plan the dates when I know I'm working away and may very well not be able to get out running; hopefully it won't impact things too much...

So in 17 weeks time the marathon will  be over... strange though that...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

One from today's run

Just thought I would post a photo from today's run... Quite chilly in
the wind but there is something about winter sunshine that is really
quite nice:)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Diet and Weight Loss

Since I started running I have lost nearly 3 stone in weight.

This isn't just through running but from a few other changes to my diet as well... Over the years I have tried just abut every sort of diet going, from diets that you mean you seem to leave off milk shakes and other meal replacement "stuff" to weight watchers, low fat diets etc etc.

On each of them I have lost weight only to gradually put it all back on again over the coming months. For me this has been the main problem with "diets" in that yes, they do help you lose weight but unless you change your underlying eating and exercise patterns you WILL put the weight back on again. 

There are many reasons that people eat too much or the "wrong" things.... I tended to eat as a reward to myself... or to cheer myself up if I was feeling fed up... there are so many reasons, the list could go on and on.... including not enough time to cook "proper" food etc, etc. But a basic fact is that if you want to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you use. You can do this by either changing the food you eat to versions that contain less calories, cut down on the amount you eat or by increasing the number of calories you use through exercise (or a mix of all three).

There is no magic answer. The real downside is that you have to keep up with these changes to keep the weight off. You have to make lifestyle changes.

When I started running I did this because I wanted to lose weight. I also started looking at what I was eating.. as well as what I was drinking ! I kept a food diary and wrote down literally everything that I ate and drank. To be honest I scared myself a bit, I wasn't aware of how many calories were in the snacks I was having or in the alcohol I was consuming.

Did you know that a large (250ml) glass of average strength red wine is approx 214 calories ? or that one pint of "premium" larger is 330 calories ?? Did you also know that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1lb of fat. Yes, when you start a diet you may lose far more than that to start with but that may just be extra fluid that you are losing and not just fat......

The main changes I have made are as follows (in no particular order !):

1. Drastically reduce my alcohol intake
2. Eat more fruit and veg
3. Change to wholemeal pasta and brown rice
4. Reduce portion sizes
5. Cut out snacks or switch to a healthy option (dried fruit rather than biscuits)
6. Cook healthier versions of meals

These aren't just changes for the time that I am "dieting" these are permanent changes. They have to be or I will start putting the weight back on... So what is different for me this time ? Well, this time I am far more committed to the weight loss being permanent. It has taken me 18 months to get where I am today, I have seen the differences it has made in my day to day life. I am far fitter now than I have been at any time in my life. I don't worry that I won't be able to keep up with friends if we go for a walk (yet alone hire bikes and go for a ride !) Work has become easier, being fitter has had some real advantages.... I still eat chocolate, biscuits, cakes etc... just nowhere near the amount or frequency that I used to. It is a "treat" rather than the "norm" in my day... It hasn't always been easy, to start with I did feel hungry between meals but that has gradually gone.. but it has been worth the effort. I'm now training for a marathon, something that I would have though impossible 18 months ago.

Week 2 - done ! (only 18 to go...)

After a brief rewrite of my training plan all is looking good ( Is that cheating ??)

Sunday's run was a bit wet and windy.... We ran up to Devils Dyke and back, it is quite good running as part of a group, there is always someone to talk to and many of the people have run marathons before so there is a whole knowledge bank I can tap in to.

I have met some really interesting people that I wouldn't have met any other way and it is wonderful to see such a wide variety of people all with one common goal.

This weeks mileage is a bit less than last week, my plan is to build up for a few weeks followed by a recovery week....

I will be updating my training plan with my total miles run each week rather than posting them on each blog post.

Anyway, this is a photo of everyone's muddy trainers at the end of Sundays run :)




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Friday, 9 December 2011

All Change !

Well, I have made a few changes to my training plan.... (what is a plan for if not for changing !) and also put it in to a spreadsheet to make it a bit easier to update in future. So, as time goes on, especially over the next few weeks I am going to be "tweaking" it a bit. As you can see I have dropped the Monday runs, I may still run on Mondays but if it isn't in the Plan then I won't feel guilty if I miss it (hopefully that makes sense). I'm also putting the Plan on a separate tab to make it easier to have a sneaky peek at.....

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Brighton Marathon Route changed....

Well, it looks as though the Brighton Marathon route is being changed... http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9403817.Brighton_Marathon_route_tweaked_to_draw_in_elite_runners/ I'm not sure how I feel about this, I have never run a marathon so I have nothing to compare it to. The only thing is I hope there is still some "scenery" to look at... My least favourite race was the Bupa London 10k, I'm not sure if this was just the heat of the day but lets just say I didn't really notice the historic landmarks I ran past.. just keeping on running was my main concern.. Personally I don't mind some hills, for very uphill there is also a downhill :) and because of where I live it is almost impossible to run anywhere without a hill of some sort being involved.. I do find it quite strange running on the flat; it seems to use your leg muscles in a slightly different way....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Week 1 - Done !

Well that is the first week of marathon training completed.... The "Plan" said 25 miles, I ended up running 29.58.... This was mainly due to me deciding to run home (5.5 miles) and the group training run of 7.5 miles this morning. So, this is a break down of what was planned and what I actually did (actual distance in brackets):

Monday - 2.5 (2.48)
Tuesday - 5 (6.01)
Wednesday - 3 (0)
Thursday - 4 (2.92 recorded on my Garmin but I forgot to start it on one lap... So closer to 4)
Friday - 2.5 (5.18)
Saturday - 0 (0)
Sunday - 8 (13.09)

So, all in all not a bad week.

One thing I did find out this week is that my nice white Nike t-shirt really is see through when wet ! Quite glad I had a high vis jacket on top....

I am also quite glad I have started a couple of weeks early, I know I'm going to be missing some weeks so this does help a bit...

Next week I know I'm going to miss Mondays easy run. One thing I like about my plan is that it is ok to skip the Monday and Friday runs if either I just can't make it or if I need some extra rest. I'm now thinking ahead about Christmas, not necessarily the shopping but how to fit some running in ! (Am I becoming obsessive ??)

I met someone this morning who had been training for the Brighton Marathon last year until she injured herself in training in January. She went along to watch the marathon and said it was one of the most bitter sweet things she had ever done and gave her the added incentive to try again... I that come the end of march/ beginning of April I'm going to become a bit paranoid about injury, I can only imagine how heart breaking it must be to but so much work in to the training only to miss out at the last hurdle...

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Friday, 2 December 2011

And here it is !

For the people that have asked to see it this link *should* take you to my Marathon Training plan The runs highlighted in yellow are the ones I know I will miss because of work commitments so I will be juggling those weeks around a bit..... Some of the easy 2.5 mile days may become rest days and I may swap some of the mid-week runs round depending what time I have available.... So although it is a plan that looks as though it involves running 6 days a week it is quite flexible and may not end up that way. I have also started it 2 weeks early to allow for the runs I know I will miss.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I have a plan !

It is a very cunning plan. It is a plan that will get me round the marathon....

I have typed it out, added it all up and pinned it to the wall next to me desk....

It contains a lot of running.... But part of me is worried that it is still not enough because, if I'm honest, it isn't an awful lot more than I've been running some weeks over the summer anyway; the main difference is how the runs are split up.

Everyone tells me to trust The Plan because it isn't just having a plan, and sticking to it that will get me round this marathon, it is Believing in the plan... Believing that the plan will be plenty.... Apparently this is as important as the actual training.....

Do I believe ? It is a bit like asking me if I believe in Father Christmas.... I would love to believe... I really would, but I'm not sure that I do... yet....


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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sports Bra Fitting

As all women will know apart from trainers the other important item for running is a sports bra. Sweatshop have a video on YouTube about correct fitting, well worth watching. I didn't realise that your sports bra should be replaced as often as your trainers.....




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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My thought process during last weekends race....

Before the start - "Right, I know my pace, I know I can do the distance..... But boy isn't it crowded here.... I wonder how long it will take me to cross the start line... Should I have worn a shorts ? Should I have had a bit more to drink ? Should I have bought some water with me ? I wonder how warm this is going to get......

Miles 0 - 1 - "we're off ! Well, at least the walk to the start, does this count as a warm up ? It's still pretty crowded here... Hope I don't trip over anyone.... Why is the first mile so narrow.... I wonder when the front runners will come back past... Can I keep this pace up ?"

Miles 1-2 - "why is it still so crowded ? All I want is a little bit of space...I know I'm warmed up... Can I go just a bit faster ??"

Miles 2-3 - " right, I can see the half way point in the distance... I wonder if it is the theory of relativity in that the faster you run the slower you seem to cover a mile... The sun is lovely, but it's getting a bit warm... I wonder if my mascara is starting to run...."

Miles 3-4 -" ok, over half way now, why did I think this race was a good idea ?? I could be having a nice easy run over the downs, no crowds of other runners, a gentle breeze and great views.... Or I could still be in bed, yes, that's it, on a Sunday morning I should still be in bed"

Miles 4-5 -" right, that's it, I'm never running this race again. Why I ever thought it would be a good idea I don't know. I can see the pier, it's near the finish, but it isn't getting any closer.... Can I keep this pace up ? The faster I run the sooner it will be over....I hate running on roads. It is all too flat, hills are nice, you get a breather downhill... This is all too....... constant....... And I'm expected to run the whole thing ! There are people watching, and cheering, so I can't walk a bit... Of god, why did I ever take up running !"

Miles 5-6 - " I think I'm going to be sick. Think breathing, concentrate on the breathing, don't think about being sick.... Look at the sea, it's all..... blue.... And sea like..... and the pier is getting a bit closer.... Just don't think about being sick..."

Miles 6-6.2 - " I can see the finish ! Can I push just that little bit harder... A few sounds may make a difference.... Of god, I really feel sick now......deep breath, concentrate, yay, it's over !"

10 minutes later..... Great ! A new PB ! What a wonderful race.... If I train a bit harder I wonder what time I can get next year...... I wonder if I'm going to look as though I wanted to throw up in the photos.....


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Monday, 21 November 2011

Data junkie

Well, I am a bit of a data junkie. I download and look at the details of each run, looking at how I have run.

I find it fascinating to see the changes over time. One useful thing is to be able to look at split times to see how well I have managed to pace myself. Before I start a race I have worked out the pace I need to run at to achieve any target time I have. During a race I tend not to look at the total elapsed time, but I do look at my split time for each mile (my watch beeps each mile to make it easy to check) this lets me know how I am doing compared to my target.... I also try and run on feel.... So I know what the pace feels like (aka quite how knackered it is making me feel....) and carry on running on that "feel" I can tell if I am slowing down or speeding up on how out of breath I am, is it making my lungs burn... and am I about to throw up....

The other thing I have learnt is that it gradually gets harder to knock the same amount of time off your pace because proportionally it becomes far more..... To improve by 30 secs a mile from a 10 min/mile pace is a 5% improvement.... To improve by 30 secs a mile from a 5 min/mile pace is a 10% improvement. So the seconds really start to count...

I now have no races planned until Brighton marathon, I may enter something between now and then but my training will be geared to getting round the marathon. I have no time target and I will be running with Holly so our aim is to finish rather than race. If it goes well I may run another marathon, if I don't enjoy it I won't. I really quite enjoy running half marathons so I may just work at improving my time for these events... But, at this point in time who knows what I will do :)

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Brooks Brighton 10k

Well, it was more amazing weather today for the Brooks Brighton 10k. It is November and it was still 14C and sunny ! At home it is still foggy and 8C. Luckily it wasn't too windy and it was really only the last 3.5 km that we were running in to the wind.

There were a total of 2700 runners that started the race, and a few of them were other runners from Steyning AC...

I haven't done much running this week since last weekends HM... A mix of recovery and "taper" all in one week :)

Last year I ran this race in 60:15, in May I ran the Bupa London 10k in 55:40 and today I finished in 52:25.

I think a big part of this improvement has been down to me joining Steyning AC and running with them regularly, I know I would never push myself as hard on my own as I do at their coaching sessions, so thank you Steyning AC :)

Anyway, these are a couple of photos before the start...






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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Poppy Half Marathon

Well, I have a new personal best time of 2:02:57 for a half marathon. I didn't break the two hour barrier but to be honest I'm very happy with the time I achieved :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Running in the dark....

I went for an interesting run last night, in the dark, rain and fog over the Downs.... It wasn't that cold but it was pretty muddy in places ! The run was partly to test quite how good my head torch is and also to try eating Clif Shotbloks whilst running.

I have tried different gels, jelly babies etc whilst running but I'm still trying to find something that I get on with. I find most gels a bit strange in that they seem to stick to the inside of your mouth... And I don't get on with chewing jelly babies (or jelly beans) whilst running. Shotbloks seem like a good compromise...

Anyway, back to the run.... We didn't see another person whilst on the Downs, not surprising really ! We did however scare several pheasants and other birds.

On the last downhill section they have cattle grazing as part of a downland scheme; this means that the paths have been really churned up and were incredibly muddy. We did walk part of this section, a mixture of mud, rain and chalk is not good to run on especially without spikes... I still ended up on my bum in the mud at one point, no serious damage done though !

Anyway, this is a photo of me, complete with head torch in the dark. The photo was taken on an iPhone and the only light available was from our head torches :)

Would I do it again ? Yes :)




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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Makeup and running

I think I am like most women who run.... You find that as soon as you start running so does any trace of makeup that you have on you. At the start of the run you can look perfectly groomed with flawless makeup and by the end of it you resemble a pink sweaty version of Daisy the pantomime cow with mascara smeared all round your eyes making them sting even more than the sweat running in to them.

But not any longer ! I have found (totally by accident) some makeup that stays put..... I went out running with the club straight after seeing clients, in such a rush that I forgot to take my makeup off... And at the end of the run it was still in place ! I was still a bit pink in the face and dishevelled but at least my makeup wasn't smeared over my face :)

So, the magic makeup is by LancĂ´me; they make a waterproof eyeliner ( kohl pencil) and mascara that really is waterproof, and sweat proof :)

So, at the end of my next race the finishing photo may just show a hint of mascara ;)


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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Food Hospital - Channel 4

There was a very interesting program on Channel 4 last night called the food hospital. The program looks at how you can use food instead of medicine to help improve your health.

One person they followed was a 7 year old boy who suffers from really bad migraines; just by changing his diet they were able to stop his migraines... And this child has been on medication for them for years..

It really does make me wonder what we eat without realising it.... I know from my own experiences with my son as soon as we took food colourings out of his diet then he wasn't anywhere near as hyperactive as he used to be, he is still sensitive to caffeine and needs to avoid it if he wants to get a good nights sleep ! When you start reading the back of food packets it is surprising what is actually in them (have you ever wondered how some shop bought cakes stay fresh for weeks ??)

I'm trying to avoid as much processed food as possible. I still like the odd bar of chocolate and cake from the bakers but with our everyday food I do try and make sure that where possible the list of ingredients is something that you don't need a chemistry degree to understand !


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Monday, 31 October 2011

End of another month....

Well, it is now the end of October, the clocks have gone back and it is dark really early !

I went out for a 13.1 mile run today, extending a route that I've run before and arranged a lift home :) I was really pleased to complete this in 2:14 especially as part of it is really uneven and I have to take it slowly to avoid tripping on something and falling in to a river (that really wouldn't be a good look !). The 2:14 also included one toilet stop and a phone call stop to make sure my husband was on his way to collect me ! I didn't push it with the pace, just quite a relaxed pace keeping my HR at about 65% so I'm kind of hoping that this puts me in a good place for my next half marathon.. The next one is flat (rather than the hilly off road things I normally do), I guess I'll just have to wait and see, if I break the 2 hr barrier that would be great, if I don't I won't be heartbroken; if I know I have tried my best then what will be will be.

One thing I did notice today was that the closer I get to towns when running the more surprised people seem when you say good morning.... Maybe it is because on the Downs you tend to meet other people that have gone out to enjoy the scenery, on today's run I was meeting people just walking to get somewhere (work, home etc)

Running also gives you plenty of time to think, today was really quite peaceful, running along by the water, watching the waves and the seagulls.....


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Sunday, 23 October 2011

1,011 miles....


Well, I have broken the thousand miles mark today. To be precise I have now run a total of 1,011.13 miles so far this year, and there are still a couple of months left in the year !

So, that is approx 101,100 calories, or, to look at it another way 401 jam doughnuts. That is a lot of doughnuts.....

I thought it would be fun to work out how many of a few other things it equates to...

2,247 Jaffa Cakes
555 pints of beer
1,108 glasses of champagne
594 Cadburys creme eggs...

Have I eaten or drunk all of these ? No, I've had some of each.... But obviously less than the quantities here because over this year I have still lost weight..

There is something about running that doesn't mix well with a hangover..... And something about running that does kind of encourage you to eat a bit more healthily....

Anyway, this photo was taken on today's run at the thousand mile mark. I stopped for a moment and thought about how far that thousand miles has been... and wonder what the next thousand miles holds...




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Friday, 21 October 2011

Road ID

I've recently bought myself a road ID wrist band. The idea is that you have your name, emergency contact numbers and other info engraved on it. Then, if anything happens to you, people know who you are and how to contact your family. You can also have important medical info on it....

Why have I bought one ? Well, I do a lot of running on my own. Yes, I normally carry my phone but if anything does happen to me (trip over a tree root etc) then it will hopefully make it a bit easier for anyone that stops to help.

The website has lots of useful info to help you order the right size etc. This is a photo of my Road ID :)




-

As you can see it is quite bright, you'll have to excuse the angle but I didn't want to publish all my personal details on the Internet :)


I've also been doing some thinking about the race I was meant to be doing on Sunday. I won't be running it. There are a few reasons for this and to be honest I don't think my heart has ever been in this one.

Instead I will be going for a long run on my own, something that I really enjoy doing :) and something that fits in with my training plan for my next half marathon.... After this weekend I only have one more long run scheduled before my next half marathon, so to skip Sundays long run for a short race does seem a bit daft. After all as I have been told the best training plan is the one that makes you feel prepared for the race. If I skip Sundays run then I won't feel prepared and will start the HM mentally in the wrong place.....




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Sunday, 16 October 2011

A feeling of dejavu ??

Ever felt you have been somewhere before ??

Well, here I am again, with 4 weeks to go until the next half marathon wondering how I'm going to fit the running that I want to do to achieve my target with what looks like a busy time at work.....

I still feel as though my legs are still recovering from last weekend, although I did go out for a 10 mile run along the river with Holly today.

It is strange the things that I think about while I'm running to pass the time. I find myself having conversations with the sheep and cows in the fields, and, when I'm finding it tough I just count in my head. From 0 to 300 and then over again. I look at the scenery, other people out walking dogs and riding bikes... I really prefer it when I'm not running a long straight stretch where the path just seems endless...

But, at some point during the next 7 days I am going to hit the thousand mile mark for this year. That is quite a long way really, if you had told me a couple of years ago that I would run more than a thousand miles in a year I would have laughed. Inside I might have wished it could be true but I think I was always too scared to try, to worried about failing....

To a degree I am still worried about failing, I set myself different targets for each race and want to achieve them although funnily enough I'm not really disappointed if I don't so long as I can see the reason why.

Now, the next dilemma... I had been planning on running a 5 mile race next weekend but, with the next half marathon I'm training for I really need to be running 11+ miles.... and with my work schedule I can't fit a long run in any other day. Looking at the next few weeks ahead it is going to be difficult for me to fit in the long runs I need to do so, do I miss the long run and potentially miss my HM target, or do I run the shorter 5 mile race ? I guess I just need to think about what is more important to me.... and will I really curse myself if I think I miss my target through a lack of long runs and endurance....

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Surrey Badger HM

Well, my legs are starting to recover from Sunday so here is a bit more detail about the run.

As I said previously I don't think I did quite as many long runs prior to the HM as I would have liked, but running the hills round here did have some benefits !

If I'm honest the hills weren't quite as bad as I had thought..... but some of them just seemed to go on forever...

I was conscious that I didn't want to start out too fast. It is always very easy to get carried away and run the first couple of miles far faster than intended and run out of juice later in the race... so I followed my normal plan and started near the back of the field. I'm also not the fastest runner around and don't want to get crushed by the pack.. this race was chip timed so it really didn't matter that it took me a minute or so to cross the start line. I started my Garmin when the gun went so that is also a few minutes out..

I have included the Garmin data at the bottom of this post, as you can see it is either uphill or downhill with nothing on the flat.....

The first and last couple of miles were along the A24... not my favourite part of the run but only gently undulating, something I was quite grateful for towards the end of the race. After running alongside the A24 we turned in to Norbury Park and then I saw the line of runners ahead snaking uphill.... and the hill just seemed to go on and on..... It was on this hill that I met the runner that I crossed the line just behind... we were overtaking people going uphill and I offered to let him past first (I thought he would be faster than me..) but he let me go through and followed me up the hill. For the rest of the race I seemed to overtake him uphill and he passed me again on the way down... I finally caught up with him just before the finish and we had a sprint finish, he crossed the line just ahead of me and then turned and shook my hand; this is why I like running....

Anyway, back to the main race.. I decided to carry my own water with me even though I knew there would be five water stops... I guess it is my comfort blanket.. I'm quite glad I did because it was so nice to be able to have a drink when I got to the top of the hills, just a few sips but enough to take that dry, dusty taste out of your mouth. I did also stop at the water stops and WALK while drinking; I still havent managed to master the art of drinking adequately from a cup whilst running and personally I think getting adequate water was worth the few seconds I lost by walking.

I did walk some bits of the hills (you will be able to see where on the details below) two days later I am beginning to think I could have pushed harder uphill than I did but at the time I didn't know how much more hill I had to go up !

Running this race did make me realise how much I enjoy running on trails compared to roads and I think where possible I will keep my racing off road.. (this is coming from the person who is planning on running her first, and possibly last, marathon on the roads..)

About half way I had a gel at one of the water stations, this isn't something I normally do but I was aware that I had been running faster than planned for the first few miles to make sure I had a few minutes "in the bank" and I thought I may need the added oomph.. I hadn't tried this make of gel before and was aware of the advice of never try anything new in a race but ignored that and took it anyway. This has to be my least favourite gel that I have had to date... at least I know now before I start marathon training in earnest not to buy this particular make..

During the race I kept an eye on my time per mile but didn't look at the elapsed time. I knew that to achieve a time of 2:15 I needed an average pace of 10:18 per mile. I also knew that this race had hills and that I am slower uphill, I also know that on very steep downhill sections I'm also a bit slower so when possible tried to run faster than my average pace on the easier sections to compensate for the hills. I took a conscious decision not to look at the elapsed time for two reasons, the first that if I could see that I wasn't going to achieve my target I may stop trying... the second that if I knew I was inside my target time I may slow up a bit and stop trying.... so this way I wasn't sure how close it was going to be so I kept pushing right to the end.

I knew that I would be close to the 2:15 target but I had no idea that I had beaten it by quite such a margin until I saw the finish gantry. I cannot explain quite how I felt, but the word WOW just kept going through my head. Suddenly the feeling knackered, painful legs and aching lungs seemed to vanish.

I had my tag cut off my trainers, collected my beer, chocolate, t-shirt and training diary... and then finally remembered to stop my Garmin.... I then took the time to stretch, drink lots of water and eat the chocolate.

At the finish I met up with another woman that I had been chatting to at the start of the race and compared notes.

Would I do it again, yes, unfortunately it looks as though next years race will clash with work commitments but it is one I hope to run again in the future.




My chip time was 2:08:34 - a new personal best :)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I did it !!!

Well, I'm just back from the Surrey Badger Half Marathon and I'm thrilled to say I completed it in 2:08:34 in spite of the hills and although it is October it was still 21 degrees C today, a bit warmer than I had hoped for ....

Anyway, I will write a bit more about this later when I'm not so sweaty and smelly :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Now Autumn is really here......

So that I can continue running by the river and over the Downs during the winter I have bought a head torch...
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I never thought that I would get so excited about a torch but hopefully it will mean I don't just have to run on the roads over the winter :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Last nights run

Last night I went for a run with Holly over the Downs. It should have been a 5 mile run but ended up nearer 6 due to some cows (and a bull) with horns.... and their calves that didn't look too keen on moving. It was a very narrow path with a steep drop so we decided to take a detour..... Anyway this is a panoramic photo that Holly created on her iPhone.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

One week tomorrow.....

A week tomorrow I will be running my next half marathon. I'm kind of hoping that it isn't going to be 30 degrees C.....

I haven't managed to fit in much running this week, mainly due to work but also a mix of tiredness and maybe a glass of wine or two too many... So, after a week like that I know I should have done more preparation than I have... And I know it is too late so I'll just have to dig deep, take a deep breath and see what I can do.

The plan for this week is a few shorter runs (5-7 miles) and the club session on Thursday with lots of healthy eating, early nights and NO alcohol.

The good news is when I finish the half marathon I will get a t-shirt, bar of chocolate and a bottle of beer :) all of which will be gratefully received... The chocolate won't survive the drive home and I know someone who will be quite keen on relieving me of the beer... So, the only real surviving momento will be the t-shirt.




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Monday, 19 September 2011

3 weeks and counting


Well, it is now just under 3 weeks until my next half marathon.

I am beginning to think that I may have been a bit over optimistic with my target of 2:15 based on the size of the hills involved in this one !

Someone very kindly sent me a link to the route http://connect.garmin.com/activity/110787087 and to me this looks hilly without any real flat sections at all. I have been doing as much of my training on the Downs as possible, so I have been running up and down hills but I'm not sure how much faster I can push myself on the day.

I completed a long training run of 13.7 mile this morning in 2:38. Yes, I was taking it fairly easy (is is called a long SLOW run for a reason !) but I still felt quite shattered at the end of it. Maybe if I can start getting the early nights that I keep promising myself that will help.... Hopefully the scenery will be quite nice, something to take my mind off how much I think this one might hurt..

Realistically if I can beat my time of 2:26:59 for the Steyning Stinger then I will be happy; I know I am faster now than I was then, in training in March I had been running 13.5 miles in 2:45.... ok, so I'm not THAT much faster...

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Running on the South Downs

Just thought I would post a photo from yesterday's run. The views from the top of the Downs are amazing, especially when you look inland and can see both rain and sun !

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wet & Windy !

Well, I did my long run today after a full on few days with work... It was an exhilarating run at times, with gale force winds and driving rain... running along the top of the South Downs and trying not to get blown over is something that I think everyone should do at least once in their lives ! When I'm running I don't listen to music (I found that I couldn't always hear it above the wind anyway) so I have a lot of time to think. Today I was thinking about the events of 9/11 and where I was ten years ago, not just the location but where I was as a person in my life. A lot has happened in ten years, a career change and taking up running are just two things that have changed. But what has also changed is our society, it seems that working to achieve something is no longer popular. With the advent of immediate celebrity status it seems that you no longer need to have any talent to be an overnight "celebrity" and we are in danger of bringing up a whole generation that thinks having money and possessions are the most important things in life. When the planes hit the twin towers the people that ran for their lives didn't stop to pick up their designer handbags, they weren't worried about their latest "gadget", al of a sudden how much money you had was no longer important. What was important was the people that they loved and one of the most poignent things were the phone calls and answerphone messages left for loved ones. People who didn't know if they were going to live or die wanted the people in their lives to know how much they loved and cared for them. Some events in the world really do change the way that you look at life. This was one of them. I remember where I was that day, watching the events unfold, I knew that the world would never be quite the same again. I doubt that I am the only person that stopped and took a look at my own life, I think that this really did make me reassess what I wanted to achieve in life, I haven't achieved it all yet but I'm getting there.... I appreciate what I have, and my health far more than I have ever done before. It is this that lets me run, lets me see this amazing country that we live in, watch the changing seasons and the sheer beauty and power of nature. I don't mind the wind, rain, sleet or snow; feeling it as I run really is exhilarating and makes me appreciate the dry and warmth of home even more :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bits & Pieces

Well, I have just ordered some new trainers. This time I have ordered them online rather than going to a running shop even though it is a type I have not worn before, I can hear everyone saying that this could be an expensive mistake.... but to be honest no more than following the advice of some running shops. So far each shop I have been to has given me quite different advice, from being a "neutral" runner to over pronating so badly I needed to use orthotics (these gave me the worst blisters to date). So, I have used the Brooks shoe selector, given it a few basic bits of info and looked at what they suggest... I am currently running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS11 trainers, I have run the tread off my current pair at about 500 miles. I am now switching to Brooks Adrenaline ASR8 trainers, they should arrive early next week so I will let you know how they go. To date I still haven't found a pair that I can run in without getting sore spots in the same places each time so really I feel that I have nothing to lose. I'm sure photos of the trainers will be posted here when they arrive :) Other minor points.... to meet my target of a 2:15 HM my average speed needs to be 10:18 min/mile, this will be over a very hilly trail HM To meet my target of a 2hr HM I need to average 9:09 min/miles. Can I do this ? At this point in time I really don't know.... but I know I will give it a good go !

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Fittleworth Flyers 5

Well, today I ran the Fittleworth Flyers 5, a 5 mile primarily trail run in the pouring ran. I hadn't expected it to rain quite as much as it did....

It was a lovely run, a bit hilly in places, but after the hill training I have been doing I did manage to run up all the hills and quite often overtook people going uphill :)

This is the first run in the local fun run league that I have taken part in with the club, I have always felt I would be too slow up to now...

I'm not sure what my official time is yet but I recorded 45:53 on my garmin. My slowest mile was the first one, I started at the back..... But my overall average was 9:09, this is getting close to my target HM speed for November although I am now thinking that may be a bit optimistic but the November race is flat and on roads, this was primarily on trails and hilly. But it dies show that I really need to keep up with the training !

Another thing I learnt today is that when you have run the tread off your trainers they really do lose grip..... A shopping trip is on the cards....

A slightly different gift at the finishing line.... A smallish microfibre towel, certainly not big enough to dry me out after today though !

Friday, 2 September 2011

Catch up.....

I have been a bit slow posting anything recently, there are a few reasons for this, the biggest being a lack of time. It looks like September is going to be a crazy month and it is proving hard to find much time for running. That is one of the down sides of being self employed, when you are busy you need to work more hours out of each 24 in a day, next week I am working 6 evenings out of 7 as well as the normal work during the day... I am also working all weekends between now and mid October so trying to find the time to train properly for my next half marathon is proving challenging. It looks like I may have to set the alarm and start getting up earlier (I'm not an early morning person by nature).

So, back to the running I have been doing..... Last Thursday was a club night that involved hill training, I still find hill training a bit of a killer but this did have the plus side of an amazing sunset over the downs.... I think my face was the same colour as the sky though !

Because I was working all weekend I switched my long run to Monday morning and ran 10.5 miles, trying to push a bit harder up the hills !

Realistically I am hoping this month to maintain my current level of fitness, with the time I have available I really don't think I will see much of an improvement. This then leaves me a month and a bit before the two races I have targeted in November..... I know it may be a bit early to say this but I am thinking that my target times are now looking a bit optimistic...

I guess it will be a case of wait and see.....


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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Running through the mist

Last night I ran a route that I haven't run for quite a long time... The last time was on the 15th March.....

The route is over the South Downs and yesterday much of it was shrouded in mist. Running through mist like this is quite eerie at times, it deadens sound and visibility is limited to a few meters. You can also feel it on your skin and it has a very gentle cooling effect that was rather welcome yesterday. Although the temperature has dropped a bit from the weekend it is still quite warm and really quite nice to run through.

This particular route includes a couple of killer hills, they haven't actually killed me yet but sometimes it does feel like it ! This route is going to be one of my regular ones while I'm training for the next half marathon, I have a feeling the hill profile is similar.... Even some of the downhill sections are so steep I have trouble even maintaing a jog going down and last night ended up walking sections of the downhill because the chalk was wet and very slippery...

It was a good run though, you know how you have some runs where everything just seems to come together, yesterday evening was one of those :)

I still have a bit of a twinge in the back of my leg but neither last nights run or the half marathon at the weekend have made it worse so I'll carry on running for now..

So, yesterday evenings run was a total of 8.3 miles in 1:35, my previous best time for this route was 1:55 and the last time I ran this route in March it took me 2:05 so I think it is fair to say I have improved a bit :)


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Monday, 22 August 2011

Henfield Half Marathon

Well, yesterday, in the sun and heat Holly and I ran the Henfield Half Marathon. This was Holly's first half marathon and came almost straight after a hard weeks sailing at Cowes (they came 2nd in their class) so I think it is fair to say that I never intended to "race" this one and I just used it as my LSR of the week. We finished in 2:43:25, not quite last !

The route is primarily off road with one very rutted section along a river bank, none of the hills are too bad but there are a number of gates and stiles to cross and in general I have found that running through longish grass always slows me down a bit... Some parts were in full sun and in 20+ degrees it made it feel very hot...

What I did notice is that my training runs in the heat have helped to acclimatise me to it, Holly hadn't had the chance to do the same runs due to her sailing commitments and the heat really did hit her, throw in to the mix her asthma and I think she did really well to finish, there were points during the run that I thought she may not make it, especially when she was feeling very sick, giddy and seeing stars...... So Holly now has a HM PB to beat on her next race in November. Although we are entering the same race I will be racing it rather than running together as we did for Henfield.

So, my next HM targets are :

October - I am running a very hilly trail HM, similar terrain to the Steyning Stinger, my target time for this one is 2:15 (I completed the Steyning Stinger in 2:26:59 so I really want to improve on this time)

November - This will be my first road HM, it is meant to be flat and certainly shouldn't be 20+ degrees, my target time for this is 2:00

Between now and October I will be running more hills to improve my speed going up them, this is one area that I think will make a big difference to my HM time for the October race, then I will switch to more road running to work on my speed for the flat road race.

With the club we are focusing our training on a flat 10k race so I'm hoping this will also help towards my 2hr HM goal for November.

I'll let you know how it goes !

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Location:Henfield Half Marathon

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Rainbows...

Just thought I would post a quick photo from yesterday's run of a rainbow we saw.

Run is a bit of an exaggeration for yesterday's outing, more of a gentle bimble interspersed with periods of walking. My leg is still playing up a bit so I will be taking a break from running for a bit to give it a chance to recover.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The delights of Deep Freeze

Well, it is less than a week to go until my next half marathon and training was going well.... Until Sunday.... Because of work and other commitments I wasn't able to run as much last week as I have been so I set off Sunday for my long run on relatively fresh legs.

The niggle in my knee had gone, the sun was shining and it wasn't too hot.... The first couple of miles I always find tough, not only is my body getting used to running but it is all uphill. Then, when I came to the first steeper hill I felt a twinge in the back of my right thigh... I slowed down a bit ( I was fairly knackered anyway) but the twinge continued... It didn't seem quite as bad on the flat but it came back and started to get worse on the next steep hill. It stayed at about the same twinge level on the downhill section but definitely didn't feel right. I slowed down to a walk and walked the next 1.5 miles.... I decided to cut the run short and had a gentle jog home. This didn't make it feel worse but I think if I had continued it would have been worse.

I think the best way to describe it is like bad cramp in the back of my thigh... I have tried some gentle stretching and then I remembered a freebie I received in a goody bag after a race... Deep Freeze..

I have never used anything like this before so was not sure what to expect. It was great. The cold was so soothing and a lot easier than holding ice on the back of your leg. I left the patch on overnight last night and this morning it felt quite a bit better, just bruised inside....

I haven't been running today but I am hoping to try a very gentle run tomorrow, then I'm planning on just resting it to see how it is before Sunday. I have some very long days at work this week so I think that a week primarily resting will (hopefully) sort it out.

I guess time will tell.....


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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Sundays run

Just thought I would post this photo from Sundays run. We have had some very windy days here recently and it has bought down some fairly big branches in places..... Luckily someone had been out with a chainsaw to clear it a bit !

Friday, 5 August 2011

Club run

As a club we are targeting the Brooks Brighton 10k in November so our training over the next few months is going to be geared towards this race.

As part of it we ran a 4km time trial last night to see where we all are at the moment. This was on a route I know well, Mouse Lane. If you know it then you will know it is uphill !

I was pleased to complete it in 20:14, a time that *should* equate to an approx 50 min 10k. We will be repeating this every 6 weeks or so to see how we are progressing. So, hopefully by the end of November I should be on track to break the 50 min 10k barrier, one of my personal targets for the year :)


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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

An eventful run...


Why is it some runs are far more eventful than others ?? This mornings run has to be one the more eventful....

Normally our runs are quiet, plodding type runs, especially the longer runs of 12+ miles... Over the first few miles we both try and ignore the fact that our bodies are complaining bitterly that they are having to do more running. I know this phase passes after the first couple of miles.. It is though my body gives up the fight and says ok, if you are insisting on doing this then I'll just get on with it.

This morning, less than a mile in to the run, a dog spotted us across the road. Now I don't know if it was the colour of my top he didn't like but he was distinctly unhappy about something and while his owner chatted to friends this dog bounded across the road (missed by the traffic) and showed us that he had nice big teeth as he started barking, growling and snarling at us... Apparently he hasn't had a problem with runners before, maybe he normally swallows them whole, anyway, we did the stand still and make encouraging but hopefully not terrified noises at this dog while his owner crossed the road (putting less effort in to it than the dog did) to retrieve her dog and put it on a lead.

I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor ( something else I forgot whilst trying to get out early before it got too hot...) but Holly was and it was interesting to see the "spike" created by the dog !

Anyway we continued.... The next thing we came across was a stray dog, not the first time.... But this one was quite old, wearing a collar, but still faster than us.. I think it is fair to say he seemed to know where he was going, even though we were in the middle of nowhere, and eventually disappeared from sight.

We continued our run, saw the normal mix of rabbits, birds and squirrels.... Followed by a weasel running across the path. I see quite a bit of wildlife when running but this is a first for a weasel...

When we were about 3 miles from home we came across a group of mountain bikers. They looked lost.

They were lost.

We were running from Southwater to Steyning along the Downs Link. They were riding from Eastbourne to Winchester along the South Downs Way, they really shouldn't have been heading North !

We stopped for a chat and to show them where they were on their map. The only problem being they didn't have a proper map with them and had gone so far north they were off the "map" they did have ! I pulled out my trusty iPhone with the memory map app and showed them on an o/s map where they were...

We then directed them back the way they came and explained the easiest way to pick up the Downs Link.... They carried on.... A bit later we caught up with them again and point out the clump of trees in the distance on the Downs that they needed to head for....

I do wonder if they made it to Winchester... To be honest covering a journey of that distance without proper maps, a compass or a gps unit does at the best seem a bit daft. Their detour would have added about 6 miles on to their journey, they already looked very hot and tired and they still had a long way to go....

Anyway, today's run was 12.38 miles in a total of 2:39:59 including the time that we were stood still waiting for a dog owner to retrieve her dog, time spent chasing a stray dog and the time chatting and directing lost mountain bikers. It was also very hot (well over 20 deg C) and very humid.....

All in all not a bad run.

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Running Manifesto

I saw this over on Lazy Girls blog so thought I would add my own !

Running is…such a feeling of freedom.
Running is not…a chore.
I run…in all weather, all year.
I run for…me.

I run because…I love to run.
I run when…I'm happy and when I need to clear my head.
I run with…a smile, it may be hidden inside behind the rather knackered looking exterior.

I have never run…and regretted it after.
I have always run…and felt thankful that I can, and appreciate the area in which I live.
I run in spite of…the voice in my head telling me I can't do it.
I don’t run…with people I don't like, I run to relax :).
I should run… faster if I keep up the training.
I might run… an ultra one day, then again I might not....
I will run…a sub-2 half marathon, I'm just not sure when !

Monday, 1 August 2011

New Gadget !

Like a lot of people I took up running to lose weight, and I have.... but I have also become a lot more interested in my general health and nutrition over the last year. Trying to work out how many calories I should be eating, what proportion should be carbohydrates etc...

I am also quite interested in what proportion of me is fat. I must admit that this is a lot lower than it was a year ago !

So, I have bought myself some new scales. Not just any scales, but "Body Composition Monitor" scales. These don't just weigh you, they will give you your fat percentage, tell you how well (or not) you are hydrated, they measure your visceral fat (the dangerous bit) and tell you how many calories you need every day.

I have only just started using them and I'm not exactly ready to post the readings here ! they were easy to setup, you can set them up for four different people to use, and they are quite easy to use.

All I need now is to have a pen and paper handy when I weigh myself to write the results down. I then plan to keep track of these in a spreadsheet and see how they change as I train for the marathon...

Anyway, this is a photo of the scales (complete with my reflection in them whilst taking the photo)....



If you are interested then you can find more about them (or buy them for yourself) by clicking on this image.


Monday, 25 July 2011

Quite a good week really :)

Yesterday I had my second long run of the week, I ran from Steyning to Worthing Sailing Club, a total distance of 11.43 miles in a total time of 2:00:08.

The other good thing was that overall I came in dead on my 70% heart rate target. This has given me confidence that I may be able to break the 2hr half marathon target in November. Even if I don't break the 2hrs I should be able to get pretty close to it.

The last time I ran this route I had a really bad run. I seriously considered giving up at 4 miles..... And hated it for most of the route. Yesterday was a really good run, I have started using some of the mental training techniques from the book I'm reading and kept repeating positive phrases over and over in my head, interspersed with lines of songs that I could remember ( and the odd hymn from my childhood ! )

The last 6 miles of the run yesterday was in to a force 5/6 head wind. I just kept telling myself that this was a Good Thing because it was keeping me cool rather than a Bad Thing because it made the running harder.

I also tried having fixed water breaks, the first at 3 miles, to get used to drinking more water in one go and simulating the water stops on next years marathon. The only difference was that I had to carry all my water with me rather than having someone hand it to me ! It will take a bit of getting used to drinking more in one go and it doesn't necessarily make running the first half mile pleasant with water sloshing inside you but it wasnt as much of a problem as I thought it might be.

So, in total last week I ran 32.47 miles split over 4 runs :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Tiredness.....

Over the last few months I have been feeling increasingly tired, not just after running but in general. Early nights didn't seem to make much difference. I have just about cut out alcohol, made sure I am eating enough, drinking plenty of water etc but still felt tired.

I even cut back the miles I was running to see if that made much of a difference but it didn't.

I ended up keeping a food diary and using some software to analyse what I was eating and found out that although what I am eating is relatively healthy and providing the right mix of carbohydrates, fat and protein it was not providing nearly enough Iron (only about 10% of the RDA).

So, I have started taking a daily multivitamin tablet with Iron that should provide me with my RDA not just of Iron but a whole host of other vitamins and minerals.

I have been taking them for about a week now and havent felt as tired as I have been feeling... I also don't feel quite as cold all the time as I have been feeling (despite the rather wintry summer weather !)

So, I'll keep taking the tablets and rattle round my runs :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Southwater to Steyning

I managed to swap my day off yesterday so that Holly and I could go running together.

It is only just over 4 weeks now until the Henfield Half Marathon.. so we need to start increasing the distances a bit..

The route we ran yesterday was down the Downs Link. For most of the way this follows the disused railway line. This has one big advantage in that most of it is flat ! There is still the old station at West Grinstead and it did seem a bit odd to be running below platform level... There are some great views in places, I didn't have my camera with me yesterday. I opted to take a bit more water in my bum bag and didn't really want the extra weight of the camera as well.

We are also using these runs to test various refuelling strategies that we will use for the Brighton marathon next year.

My aim for the marathon is to finish. That is it. Nothing more complicated than that, just get round the whole 26.2 miles.

Yesterday we tried running for two miles and then walking while we drank water, on the marathon the first drinks stop is at 3 miles and then every two miles after that. I know from experience that I find it very difficult to drink from bottles whilst running so I will need to walk to make sure that I drink properly.

I'm reading a very good book at the moment "The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer" that has loads of useful advice on preparing for the marathon mentally as well as a training plan. A lot of what they say seems to make sense so we have been starting to put the "mental" training in to practice in the build up for the half marathon.

We also tested out a couple of gels yesterday. My favourites are the Sis Go gels; they are not as sickly as the others I have tried, more with the consistency of unset jelly..... and because they are isotonic you don't need to take water with them....

So, yesterdays run was 12.37 miles.... It was more than I had planned to do yesterday so I'm taking today off :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Wet & Windy..

I know it is July but todays run was so wet & windy with sideways rain that stung when it hit you r skin. I think it has got to be one of the wettest runs I have had for a long time... When I got home I was soaked through to the skin and dripping wet..

Todays run was a total of 13.65 miles, the details are posted below. Not the fastest I have ever run parts of this route and I did take a slightly different way home to avoid the part of the river bank that is totally overgrown.

Even though the weather was atrocious there is something therapeutic about running in weather like this. Firstly you don't see anyone, well I saw one other person at Cissbury Ring until I reached checkpoint 6 for Trailwalker UK (I didn't see any walkers though!) From the setup at the checkpoint with large army tents, medical people and army catering it looked as though they were expecting a fair few people.

Although the weather was bad it wasn't that cold, the visibility was very bad but I do know the route quite well so wasn't really worried about getting lost.

I did feel sorry for the smaller birds, every time they tried flying they just went sideways !

Anyway, this weeks total is 30.21 miles.... and I now have 5 week until my next half marathon....

Monday, 11 July 2011

What a difference a year makes....

Yesterday was a bit of a landmark run really.

I took part in the 5k Race for Life in Worthing. This is almost exactly a year since my first ever race, also a 5K Race for Life. It made me think how much has changed in a year.

A year ago I really wasn't sure that I would be able to complete a 5k race, now I have run a half marathon and I'm working towards running the Brighton Marathon last year.

After completing the 5k I then entered a 10k race, again with no idea if I would be able to finish it, I put my estimated time down as 1hr 30mins...

I have gone from my size 14 clothes being quite tight but really not wanting to buy size 16 to wearing size 10 with plenty of breathing space ! For me this has been one of the biggest changes. I am 43. Last time I wore anything size 10 I was 14 or 15...... It has also meant that I have had to go out and buy new clothes. It started with a single pair of jeans.... then I needed to buy some clothes for work that fitted properly... and I have just had to buy shorts and swimmers in a size 10 so I'm not imagining it, it wasn't just a freak pair of jeans that were mislabelled and happened to fit me, I really am now a size 10.

Over the years I have tried just about every fad diet going. I always lost the weight but over the following months put it back on, and some extra...

Sometimes several things just come together at a point in your life and this provides the motivation that you need to make the change. I now can't imagine not running, so I guess I am well and truly hooked :)

I won't ever be fast. I won't ever win races. But for me it is so much more. Each time I complete a run I feel a sense of achievement.

I have my own personal goals that I want to achieve, sometimes we can be so busy looking forwards to the next challenge or target that we forget to take a moment or two to look back at where we have come from and the journey so far...

For me, yesterday was that "looking back" moment.

Oh, and I finished the 5k in 25:40....

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ouch !

I've been experimenting a bit this week with the time of day that I go running, if I eat beforehand and how I feel energy wise...

The main reason for this is the level of tiredness I have been feeling... I know part of it is self inflicted and I really should go to bed earlier than I do but I also think that part of it could be down to what and when I eat....

Getting up and going running at 6:30am I find hard work, I enjoy it once I am going but I just feel so tired beforehand. So, I thought rather than running that early I would start work really early, eat breakfast and then take a break and go running mid morning.

Now this sounded like a really good plan but I had failed to take in to account a couple of factors. The first being the heat later in the morning, I know in England it doesn't get as hot as many other parts of the world but anything over 20C for me is HOT and any sensible person would tell you that it is far too hot to run in and you should really be sipping iced drinks by the side of a pool, or on the beach, in fact you should be doing just about anything other than running in the heat and sun.

The first part of the run was fine, I went my normal shade of bright pink and glowing... I reached the river and though that there may be a nice cool breeze. I was wrong, as I started running along the river bank I could feel the heat and humidity rising from the ground. In fact I am surprised that I didn't melt into a pool of pinkness on the ground.

The other thing that I didn't take into account was as the day heats up it brings out the insects. We are lucky in the uk that MOST insects we have are an annoyance rather than too painful but I found the exception to the rule and got bitten by some horse flies. If you havent been bitten by horse flies you may not realise but they hurt. Not only do they hurt but for relatively small things I think they must have enormous teeth because they left me with blood running down my leg. I tried wiping it away but it just kept bleeding. I gave up and just let it bleed (after all no-one has ever really suffered any substantial blood loss from a fly bite !)

The only other insect I have been bitten by that is more painful was a tsetse fly in Kenya..

So maybe the early morning runs aren't so bad after all !

Friday, 1 July 2011

26 miles 385 yards

I somehow think that this distance is already tattoed in to my brain.... And I have a sneaky suspicion that over the coming months (especially from Christmas until April) the thought of running a full 26 miles and 385 yards is going to start to scare the living daylights out of me. Do I think I can do it ? Yes, otherwise I wouldn't have entered, I don't know many people that deliberately set out to fail at something, but I know I have a long way to go.

Now that I have decided to run a marathon part of me wants to just get on and do it, but the sensible side tells me that the more training I do now and the better prepared I am before I start the "real" marathon training the more likely I am to succeed, at this point for me I see success as crossing the finishing line in one piece. I think I will start with that as a goal. If I can manage it in under 5 hours that would be great but for me finishing will be a result worth celebrating...

I have been looking at lots of different marathon training plans and they all seem quite different and it can make it hard to decide on what I should do.... Between now and Christmas I have three half marathons to run so I am concentrating my training on them... This means my long runs will be 14-16 miles one week and 10-11 miles on the other weeks and I feel quite comfortable that the training I am currently doing for these races is more than adequate and I should start to see some improvements in my HM times over the next few months.

When I look at the training plans for marathons the 14-16 mile long runs seem to kick in at about 8 weeks.... So do I just carry on doing what I'm doing or do I start to increase the mileage before that and just repeat the last two weeks before the taper to fill in the gaps ?? Any advice would be welcome !


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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

What a beautiful morning !

I've just got back from this mornings run and it really is a beautiful morning, a lot less humid than yesterday morning, with Sunshine, blue skies and the promise of a great day.

I just did my normal 5 mile run along the river this morning, running at about the same time in the mornings means you get to see some of the same people. The regular dog walkers, people walking to work, the butcher and green grocer setting up their shops..... Everyone is friendly and it really does make me appreciate where I live, it is still a community.


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Monday, 27 June 2011

It's hot !!!

Well yesterday Holly and I went out early for our long run together. I say early because it was early for me on a Sunday morning, to other hardened runners 8:30am may seem like half way through the day but for me it is early... Especially as I needed to be up and have eaten breakfast at least an hour before setting out.

The weather forecast was for it to be hot and sunny so we thought getting out early seemed like a sensible idea so we didn't melt. Some fog had come in over night and was just starting to lift as we started running.... At about the 3 mile mark we stopped so I could take a few photos of the fog on the Downs.




I've started running with my little panasonic camera in my bumbag, it isn't too heavy and gives me a good excuse for a breather at times, but I also see some amazingly beautiful scenery when I am running. Unfortunately a photo doesn't always convey the full beauty of the scene... how can you squash a whole panorama into a small photo ??

I also took a couple of photos of Holly and the field of cows we had just walked through. We walked through the field because the cows not only had their calves with them they also had the bull in the field with them and we didn't want to spook them by appearing out of nowhere !









We had a good run, nearly 11 miles in total and the furthest Holly has ever run :)

This week I am going to rework my training schedule, I have found trying to run 5 days a week quite tiring.....


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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Training run with Holly

It is Hollys day off today and because we are running a half marathon together on the 21st August we thought it would be a good idea to do a few training runs together... so this morning we went for a bimble along the river... with a stop on the way back to reunite a lost dog with its owner !

Anyway, this is the route we ran, we had the odd breather, partly to climb over stiles etc and on one occasion to move a few cows out the way so we could get past them..

Monday, 20 June 2011

Fathers Day Run

Well, this week has been a bit of an odd week and I haven't really stuck to my training plan.... Wednesday night was the annual inter club race between Steyning and Henfield; 5 miles along the Downs Link from Henfield to Steyning, this was actually one of my best races so far and I completed it in 44:04 :)

This was followed by Thursday nights club training session, titled "hill training and endurance" which roughly translates to finding the biggest hill in the area (trust me we have some big hills around here) and running up it followed by a few miles across the Downs..... My problem was that I hadn't eaten enough during the day Thursday and felt fairly knackered before I started...... So, I decided to skip Fridays early morning run....

So, come Sunday and my long run I know my week has already gone to pot training wise so I decided to run a new route over to my parents house to hand deliver my Fathers Day card to my Dad.... It is about 5 miles each way across the Downs but I did have a break in the middle for a chat and clod drink !

I also took my camera with me and stopped to take a few photos.... Total miles for the week 24.57 - target for the week 33 miles.......

This weeks target is 35 miles... Let's just see how it goes... Anyway, these are a few of the photos from yesterday's run :)










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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

It's official - I'm an athlete !

Well, my England Athletics card arrived in the post today. I don't however think that Paula Radcliff has much to worry about from me though !

Things not to do to a Garmin 110

1. Back up all your accounts data to it......When it is connected to a
PC it will be seen as an external hard drive. Don't forget this may
change all your other drive letters around. Accidentally backing up
your accounts system to your watch is not a good idea, you may not
even realise you have done this until you next go running..... And
then it takes some head scratching to work out what has happened and a
little while to fix.

Note to self, don't connect watch to work machine in future.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 13 June 2011

Just me and the Skylarks....

I had a series of really enjoyable runs last week...

Last Sunday during my long run that goes past both Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings I saw a little baby deer with its Mum.. it was only about 18 inches long and very unsteady on its feet. I have seen deer a few times while I have been running, they are very timid and have gone long before I can get a camera out.

During one of my early morning runs I also saw an Owl, just sitting on a gate post looking at me. I think it was a Barn Owl based on the RSPB website, again it flew off as I got closer, a really beautiful bird that I will certainly keep an eye out for again.

Sometimes I see other runners, cyclists and dog walkers but on one of me evening runs I didn't see a single other person... I was running up along the top of the downs following part of the South Downs Way, it was quite windy but still quite warm and the skylarks were swooping over the fields.

It is weeks like these that I realise why I love running so much; it gets me out in the countryside that surrounds us. Away from phones and computers and just able to enjoy this amazing scenery that we have.

I have also got completely soaked a couple of times this week :) but even when I am running in to the wind in the pouring rain I still love it.

I was thinking back about the last year, the changes that I have seen in the countryside I run through and the changing weather. We have had everything from rain, snow, ice, roasting sunshine and winds. I have seen the crops grow and be harvested, the lambs being born and growing up, all in the space of a year.

This is why I don't get bored running, there is so much to see and hear, it is constantly changing and I love it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Running for Charity...

I currently have two runs I'm planning on doing for charity. the first is a 5k Race for Life event on the 10th July and the second is the Brighton Marathon on 15th April next year.

At this point in time I am planning on these being the last charity runs that I do; there are a number of reasons for this....

With the Race For Life for Cancer Research I first ran this last year and raised over £500 for them, yes, it is a good cause but I have a bit of a problem with the way some charities operate. After running this race I got fed up with the unsolicited post and phone calls from them asking for money. You know when someone from a call centre phones and it is quite obvious they are following a script... and quite a hard sell "emotional" script to get you to donate money by direct debit each month to them doesn't sit right with me so this year is the last time I will run one of the Race for Life events. If I hadn't already committed to it (and raised some more money in sponsorship) I would not be going ahead with it, their "marketing" techniques really have got to me that much ! I also hate to think how much these marketing campaigns cost them..... and that will be coming out of the money that I have raised for them in sponsorship (yes, I am slightly disillusioned with big charities).

Next year I am running the Brighton Marathon to raise money for the Myotonic Dystophy Support Group. This will be my first ever marathon and I do have personal reasons for supporting this charity, they are also a much smaller charity without the national clout of Cancer Research. Most people I talk to have never heard of Myotonic Dystophy and until I met my husband I had never heard of it either. Even then it wasn't until the death of his brother and sister that I fully realised what this illness can do and the implications for the people that carry the gene.

But again there is a dilemma.... it is normally the same group of people that I am asking to support the charities through what I do... and I don't think it is fair to keep asking....

Also, for me, running is not a "one-off" thing, yes, it started that way, but I enjoy it and I am planning on running more marathons in the future so again it feels slightly "wrong" to ask people to sponsor me for my hobby !

So, these two runs will most probably be the last two that I do for charity. I may very well leave a link on this blog so people can, if they choose, donate to the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group but that is it.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Evening River Run

Well, I am just back from this evenings run. I think it is fair to say that my legs still ache (quite a bit actually) after yesterday evenings club training session.

I thought an easy run this evening would help stop them aching quite as much. It hasn't......

What I need now is to find someone who does gentle massage, the sort that makes you feel better, unlike sports massage that has been designed to cause more pain.... That and a nice glass of cold wine sounds like a perfect way to end what has been quite a good week....

Anyway, this is a photo from this evenings run :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Feet nibbling....

Well, what can I say. As a treat to my feet I went for a fish pedicure today. Now I will say that normally I don't like anyone touching my feet, I don't know why, maybe because when I was younger it normally involved being tickled... And I don't like it. But today I allowed lots and lots (and I really do mean lots!) of tiny fish nibble the dead skin off my feet.

It tickles. I don't mean just a little bit but it tickles like crazy for the first few minutes ! It was all I could do to keep my feet in the water whilst these fish (a relative of the pirahana....) gently removed the dead skin from my feet.

While I was sitting there I was thinking about the year ahead leading up to the marathon... At my current mileage I will be running over one thousand miles between now and then. That is a long way. That is all the way from here to St Tropez and one third of the way back again..... and my two feet are going to carry me the whole way. At the end of it I will ask them to carry me for 26.2 miles all in one go, not quite as fast as they possibly can but quite fast without stopping..... so I think they deserve a little bit of TLC now and again.

The fish did their job and my feet definitely enjoyed it.... So much so I will be back again.... and the perhaps they will forgive me for what I'm going to ask them to do over the next year.....


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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

London Bupa 10000

Well, yesterday I ran the Bupa London 10000. I think it was fair to say it was quite hot.

It wasn't hot when I left home that morning, it was overcast, drizzle and the forecast was rain and thunder, so, I decided not to wear shorts and wear my half length trousers instead. In future I will remember to ignore weather forecasts and in May wear shorts, it is unlikely I will get cold whilst running !

Anyway, what can I say ! the race organisation was superb. Everything was very well sign posted. Plenty of toilets, a secure well managed baggage area and a staggered start. There was free water and lucozade handed out before the start and two water stops on the route. The support from the crowds was amazing and the live bands on the way round were great.

This is the largest race I have ever taken part in with over ten thousands starters. Each wave started at three minute intervals so no part of the course was ever that congested.

I finished in 55:44 a bit outside my target of 55 mins but still a PB. I made a few mistakes in this race that I will learn from and hopefully not repeat too often. The first was that I started off too fast at a pace I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain. I was running this race with my son and made the mistake of running at his pace for the first 3km, after that he went on ahead and I ran at a more realistic pace but I do think if I had run slower in the first two miles I would most probably have been able to maintain that pace and possibly finish slightly faster.

The second mistake was carrying a bottle of lucozade and not my normal water belt. I had left my water belt at home because the weather didn't look that brilliant and normally for 6 miles in coolish weather I wouldn't bother with the water. In the sun in London I realised I would need something so took a bottle of lucozade round with me. The good thing was that it was a sports bottle so I could actually drink from it but I found the actual drink too sweet and sickly and it had a "claggy" feel in my mouth rather than refreshing like water is.

I dumped the bottle at about 5km and tried picking up water from a water stop, no problem in getting the water but I found that I can't drink ut of a normal screw top bottle whilst running without half choking myself.... I do wonder if it would be worth carrying a straw to drink through whilst running.... and suggestions gratefully received !

Not long after the 5km mark I started feeling very light headed and giddy and took the decision to walk for a short while to get my breathing back to a more normal pace, I think I walked for about 15 - 20 secs. Overall I don't think that this made a vast difference to my finish time, if I hadn't done this then I don't think I would have been able to run at the pace that I did for the rest of the race.

I also ended up with fairly raw patches on my arms where my sleeves rubbed. This was quite a surprise to me because I have run and raced wearing this top many times before without a problem. All I can think of is that I held my arms quite differently because I was holding a bottle.....

But, and a big but.... no blisters ! This is the first race I have completed without getting blisters so it looks like the new trainers really do the trick :)

Anyway, after my son leaving me at 3km I caught up with him at 7km. We ran more of less together for the following 2km with him working quite hard to stay in front of me.... eventually at 9km I pulled ahead of him and finished nearly a minute faster. Considering this was his first ever race on the back of very little training he did really quite well (but I'm still glad I beat him !)

Would I do it again ? Yes, and next year I have a new target to aim for......

So, this is a photo of me after the finish (when I looked a fairly normal colour again)

Monday, 23 May 2011

What a week !

Well, it was quite a busy week last week. I managed to fit in a few runs as well as hill training with the club.

Now those are two words that install fear in to me.... Hill Training...... with some of the hills around here it just feels like sheer torture. I know it will get better with time but at the moment it really does feel as though it is killing me... at times we were running (well I was trying to run) up slopes that previously I wouldn't have tried walking up yet alone running. I really wasn't sure what was going to give way first, my lungs or my legs ! But that was last Thursday. Today is Monday and today is the first day that the muscles in my bum have stopped aching. I really have discovered muscles in all sorts of places that I never knew existed. I tell myself that this is a Good Thing. That these muscles will help me through the next year and around the marathon.... another part of me really isn't convinced and thinks that a return to my old sedentary lifestyle including alcohol and chocolate would be a Good Thing.... but I will do this. I know if I keep at it I will get better at it... and as time goes on I miss the old lifestyle less and less...

After a very disturbed night Saturday I was feeling tired before I started my long run on Sunday as well as still aching from the hill session Thursday night so it was quite nice to complete the 16.3 mile route that I had planned... I'm still sticking to the HR training and tried to keep my HR below the 70% threshold, I could see when I was starting to get tired because I was running slower on flat ground and my HR was still near its limit. I think it is using my HR like this that really is helping me to extend the distances I am running.


Last week I ran a total of 32.76 miles... this week will be an awful lot less... today is a rest day, then with a mix of work commitments and the fact that I'm running in the BUPA London 10K on Monday means that I will get less runs in and will be making sure I'm fully rested. I'm hoping to get my 10k time to as close as 55 mins as I can, Monday will also be the largest race I have taken part in so far... about the same number of runners as the marathon next year....

This is my race number for Monday, wave if you see me !

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