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...
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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