Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The end of another year......

Well, I'm sitting writing this with a glass of wine in front of the log burner with the two dogs asleep by my feet. To be honest I can't think of a better way to see the New Year in !

This year has been quite a year, in total I have run 1,092 miles lots of them off road in all sorts of conditions. At the start of the year we had snow and ice.. And the end of the year mud and rain ! There have been lots of beautiful sunrises, sunsets and gorgeous runs over the South Downs.

I think that I'm really lucky to live where I do and get out and take advantage of it. I don't ever want to turn round one day when I can't run any more and wish that I had tried; I want to turn round and remember what it felt like even in the mud and rain, it just makes to u feel so alive !

This year I have qualified as a Run Leader and I'm well on the way to become a fully qualified endurance running coach, something I would have never thought possible a few years ago.

So, as one year end and another begins I think it is fair to say that none of us knows what tomorrow holds, all we can do is live life to the full today :)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

It has started....

Marathon training that is..... Ok, so this week hasn't been brilliant; trying to fit runs in the week before Christmas never looked easy but I will have done most of them and at the moment the mileage is no different to the amount I've been doing for the last few months, it is after Christmas it increases.......

This is always a reflective time of year as one draws to a close and another is about to start.

One thing I have learnt is that you will never really know what life will throw at you but for me running helps keep me sane. It is my therapy.

As I sit here listening to the wind and rain outside I know this afternoons run will be very muddy and a bit tough in places (the running in to the wind places) but I also know how exhilarating that feels.... You may not be able to see far on the top of the Downs some days but I do know the routes I run very well now so the chances of getting lost in bad weather are quite low.

In theory today is my last day of work before Christmas, I then have a week off. I still have Christmas shopping to do and loads to sort out at home before people come and stay so I'm sure I will be busy. I'm also arranging a club run for Christmas Day so I need to get that sorted.

Then, if I have a spare half day I have all the work it need to do for my Cirf course. I had the last weekends training last weekend so now I need to knuckle down and get the coaching diary written up and the sessions planned for the next few months so that I can get my assessment booked for the first half of the year. Oh, and did I mention that I'm away again in January ? The best part of a week in London speaking at Europes largest annual photographic convention.... and I still have my presentations to finish...

Best get on with it all and hope you all have a wonderful Christmas x

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A real milestone....

Today a group of the runners from the group that I started just after Easter took part in the Worthing Running Sisters Christmas Cracker run. This is great because they have a 5k and 10k run at the same time so the slightly more adventurous in the group could run the 10k :)

Our first ever group member Judy ran the 10k, she was the only one in the group to do this so I ran with her the whole way talking gibberish half the way round with Judy trying so hard she couldn't always reply ! This is a massive achievement for someone who couldn't run at Easter this year to complete her first 10k in just over an hour, especially as the first half was running in to wind. I must admit I'm so proud of all our runners, turning up, giving it a go and they all made it to the finish :) There was the incentive of mince pies.....

I have just finished putting my marathon training plan in to my calendar on Garmin Connect; it looks like a lot of running... I haven't totalled it up yet so I'm not sure how many miles I will do, I may leave that as a nice surprise :)

I do have a target this year. Based on my half marathon time in theory I *should* be able to achieve a 4:03 marathon time but to be honest I do feel that is a bit optimistic so I'm aiming for 4:15 to 4:30 which based on past performance should be achievable. All I need to do is the training, especially the mid week pace runs which historically is something I'm quite bad at doing. Looks like I will have to program my Garmin to nag me !

I must admit it is a bit scary actually admitting what I want to achieve. It isn't something I do that often but I do have this hidden ambition to run a sub 4hr marathon, maybe not next year but hopefully sometime soon after that :)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wow !

I found out at last nights training session that I had been awarded Club Member of the Year and Most Improved Runner at last Fridays annual awards dinner. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the dinner because I was working..... The first one I have missed for a couple of years !

The Club Member of the Year was for the work I have done setting up the beginners group and getting it going and growing ! I must admit this is something I have really enjoyed doing and I am really enjoying the training that I'm doing towards my next coaching qualification.

So, all in all it has been quite a good running year for me. I have beaten my half marathon PB ( something I really wanted to do this year) and in each race I have beaten my previous course time...... I'm now starting to plan next year, my marathon training and setting some targets for races later in the year :)

PS as soon as I receive the trophies I will no doubt post a photo !

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Found it !

Well, not long after giving up all hope of finding my head torch (and about to order a new one) it magically re-appeared..... Right at the back under my desk....

I'm not sure quite who the culprit was but it was one of my two four legged friends....

Anyway, it's back and I'm running !

Monday, 18 November 2013

A new half marathon PB

Well, yesterday I got a new half marathon PB of 1:55:50 at Gosport. I think we were really lucky with the weather, it was cool but not cold with a slight breeze rather than the gale we had for the Great South Run.

I hadn't had the ideal race preparation; I had spent the previous two days photographing weddings. This isn't as glamorous as it may sound. It is normally 12 hours at a time, most of it on your feet with quite heavy kit, not eating properly and not drinking anywhere near enough.

What with that and I had still been running with the dogs over the Downs each morning so they got their exercise I wouldn't have been surprised if I hadn't beaten my PB.

On the drive down there I gave myself a good talking to. At each race this year I have beaten my previous course best and at the Great South Run I had proved that I could run the pace I needed to for 10 miles..... I just hadn't done as many long distances as I had wanted and really wasn't sure if I could maintain it for another three, I was worried about running out of energy as much as anything.

I took my own water, I just can't get on with running and drinking from cups, I gave it another go but for me it just doesn't work. I also had some Clif shot bloks with me and had these at miles 5 and 7.

The course is just about as flat as you can get although if it is windy and raining I don't think the sections through the airport would be much fun !

I had planned to stay just below 9min miles and apart from a mental wobble at mile 7 I managed it. I just have to stay focused, not let my concentration drift and tell myself I can do it !

Anyway, here is the Garmin data

And here is the medal :)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lots to learn !

Last weekend was my first two days training for my Coach in a Running Fitness qualification... this is quite a step up from the Leader in Running Fitness course that I did in March and goes in to an awful lot more detail about the technical model of running as well as learning how to coach.

I now have my homework to go and complete as well as making a start on my coaching diary before my next training day in December. After that I then have a sixteen week supported practice period and then both written and practical exams (after my training diary has been assessed).

I think I'm only just realising quite how much work goes in to this. As well as the planning aspect I'm busy learning more about nutrition and energy systems as well as the biomechanics of running.

I now have the "curse"; I can't pass another runner without assessing their technique in my head !

This has been fascinating so far and made me assess my own running technique (I need to be able to demonstrate the "proper" way!). It has also made me look at the coaching techniques that I use with the existing group that I run as well as looking at each individual's ability and where they fit on the "Athlete Pathway".

As far as actual running is concerned I have been out and doing some ! I still have a slightly sore Achilles after the Great South Run so I have been doing some specific exercises for it... I have also been back out over the Downs in the mud and rain with the dogs :) I really love running off road, the speed doesn't really matter, it is just the feeling of running through the woods and fields and when you get to the top you really feel as though you are on top of the world.

On the downside I've managed to lose my head torch somewhere so last nights run through the woods in the dark was a bit dodgy...... I keep hoping it will turn up somewhere but I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and buy another one...

Anyway, this is what it looked like once the rain had cleared earlier today...

Monday, 28 October 2013

Great South Run 2013

Well, yesterday was the Great South Run.

For those of you not living in the UK we were also forecast to have one of the worst storms in this area since 1987 so I think it is fair to say that I was watching the forecast with interest !

The Great South Run is 10 miles and is meant to be the flattest 10 mile race of its kind and yes, it certainly was flat !

I have to say the organisation was brilliant from start to finish. With winds gusting up to 40mph along the seafront I knew that the last two miles would be hard work and I'm not sure if it was comforting or not to hear it announced over the tannoy system that this was a race of 3 parts.... the first part would be in to wind, the middle part would be quite sheltered but from mile 8 it would be hard work !

This only confirmed what I already knew having looked at the weather and race route before I started so rather than running a steady pace for the whole 10 miles I thought I needed to have some "spare" time that I could use if I slowed down in the last two miles..... I know from training runs that I have down that running straight in to wind like this can slow me down my up to 1 minute a mile. This may not sound like much but when I was planning on running 9 min/miles this is actually over a 10% difference.... So, somewhere along the line I needed to make up 2 minutes or about 15 seconds a mile for the first 8 miles. If you don't run this doesn't sound much.... but it can feel harder than you think !

I also met a lovely chap from Pompey Joggers at the start who was acting as the 1:30 pace maker... I didn't realise there would be pacers until this point ! I had a chat with him and his plan was to start a bit slow to let the crowd spread out, increase the pace over the middle section to allow for the wind at the end so I decided to start with that I would stick with him. I still wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain the pace though....

As we got going you have the dreaded walk to the start line... the bit when you know the race has started but the sheer volume of people means that you aren't going anywhere !

As always before the start of a race I can never decide what to wear. I always get cold at the start and I always get really hot when I'm running ! On the walk from the car park I had been wearing a t-shirt-hoodie and jacket and that felt about right but I knew running I wouldn't need this amount so I opted for my club running vest and capri bottoms.... with  a very stylish black bin liner to wear over the top to try and keep me a bit warmer before the start !

I'm glad I didn't wear any more and to be honest I was wishing I had worn shorts. Despite the wind the temperature was actually quite warm for the time of year !

About mile 3 or 4 I over took the 1:30 pacer and kept in front of him until the last mile. when he caught up with me he did chat to see how I was getting on and reassure me that I would be in my target time. It is surprising how much a few words from a stranger can spur you on in a difficult stretch of a race.

So, I crossed the line in 1:28:36 well within the 1:30 target that I had been aiming for. My garmin data is shown below. I was surprised I didn't slow down more in the last two miles in to wind and I could see where the water stops were on the way round because drinking does cost me a few more seconds.

All in all a good day :)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Last League Race.....

Well, Sunday was the last Fun Run League race of the year.... I decided to run the 5 miles over the Downs to the race, run the race.... and then run home again to make sure that I get a good long run in.

I did have the option of a lift home lined up just in case the weather turned particularly bad or I just felt too tired but I didn't race flat out and felt good for the run home. One of the other members of our Tuesday night running group also ran home with us and it is surprising how quickly the time and miles go when you chat !

I'm not sure how much running I will do this week, I have the Great South Run on Sunday so I should be taking it a bit easy...... But I also know I haven't done the training I had planned (man-flu) so I may very well not achieve my target time so I may train a bit harder this week so I am in a better place for my next half marathon.

Anyway, this is a photo of me at the finish of Sundays race, I did have enough left for a sprint finish !


Thursday, 17 October 2013

West Sussex Fun Run League....

Last weekend saw me running around Hickstead Racecourse in the pouring rain..... This was all in aid of helping the club gain some points in the West Sussex Fun Run League.

As well as gaining points for the club Steyning AC also runs it's own handicap system for these races and in the ones I have managed to get to this year I have come first in all but one of them and in the last race I beat my predicted handicap time by four and a half minutes ! The slightly worrying thing is that to keep this going I just have to get faster and faster.....

I know every runner says this but I just haven't done as much training as I wanted to over the last few weeks. I've had a bout of "man-flu" ( or a bad cold to most women ;) ) so my mileage has slipped a bit but it does seem as though the training I have done has paid off.

At last weekends race we had some of our Tuesday night runners; at each race we are persuading 4 or 5 of the new runners to take part and the feedback so far has been great. There is something about the feeling you get when you cross a finish line that just can't be beaten !

This weekend is the last race of the leagues season. A very hilly 5 miles across the South Downs from Lancing. The plan at the moment is that I'm going to run there and back adding another 5 miles each way to make up the distance I need to be doing for my long run. It does depend a bit on the weather and quite how knackered I feel after the race (I can always hitch a lift home with someone) but I really want to try and improve on my 1:59 half marathon PB in November...... time will tell all I can do is my best on the day :)

Anyway, I can't add a post without a photo; this is one of the sunsets we have been having recently..... this is why I run.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

All change !

Well, the nights are getting darker so I'm back road running. I have
hardly done any road running all summer and it did feel a bit

This blog is also going to be changing and moving... I want to use it
for some of my landscape photography as well as my running because the
two are quite closely linked; so watch this space ! This should also
mean a few more regular updates...

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 16 September 2013

It's starting to feel a bit like Autumn....

I managed to get out for a lovely 11 mile run with Millie yesterday in spite of having a sore throat and streaming nose.... I took it gently, stopped to chat to dog walkers and take a few photographs.

It is definitely starting to look a bit like Autumn, the blackberries are ripening and most of the harvesting has been done around here although the fields haven't yet been ploughed. It was quite nice to find that the bull had been moved from the field he was in last week. I always feel a bit nervous running through there when I know he is about !

This is the longest run so far that Millie has done with me and judging by her behaviour for the rest of the day it didn't tire her out.... I have gradually been increasing the distance that she runs with me. She always tears on ahead and waits for me with a look on her face that seems to say "come on, what's keeping you !" Sometimes she picks up the scent of something and goes to investigate but doesn't stray far... she then races along to overtake me again.

I'm not sure how far she would run; I know the working cocker spaniels can be outside running around all day so I guess her breeding gives her quite a bit of stamina.

I never get tired of the views around here and often stop at the same spots to take photographs. Every day it looks a bit different influenced by the time of year, weather and time of day.... This is a photograph of my favourite bit of the run yesterday, it really does feel as though you are running on top of the world...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Where is the year going ?

I guess the title says it all really ! This year is flying past and finding time for everything seems a bit tricky at times :)

We now have puppy number two; another Cockapoo called Honey. It will be another couple of months before she comes out running with me :)

I have been out enjoying this beautiful weather. After training during one of the worst winters we have seen it is wonderful to be out running in shorts and vest top and planning runs for when it won't be too hot...

I have also shed a few more pounds over the summer and I'm now at a weight that I'm comfortable with. In the last three and a bit years of running I have gone from size 14 clothes being too tight to size 8 fitting very well... I have also lost about 25% of my body weight.

What is different this time compared to all the other times that I have lost weight is that it has taken me a long time to achieve this. There have been no fad diets, just a change in my eating habits and regular running. I'm drinking far less than I ever have and eating far more fruit and veg than ever. So yes, this time I am quietly confident that the weight loss will be permanent.

With the training I am doing with UK Athletics for my full coaching qualifications I am learning far more about diet, metabolism and the human body than ever and I am finding this fascinating. As part of my training I will be coaching individuals to help them achieve their goals, something that I find very rewarding :)

On a personal note I still have a few races left to run this year. I have been managing to beat my personal best course times on almost every race I have run this year; the exceptions being when I have run with someone else to support them....

I know Christmas will be here before I know it, then it will be back to marathon training for the spring.

In the meantime I'm getting out running and enjoying views like this :)

Friday, 9 August 2013

Time goes so fast....

Well, time is certainly whizzing past..... This is one of our busiest times of years work wise so other things (like this blog) start to slip a bit...

Some good news though ! I will be doing my Coach in Running Fitness course in November :) I think it is fair to say I'm looking forward to it as well as being a bit apprehensive all at the same time. I find the mechanics and science behind running fascinating and I'm looking forward to learning more about it all.

The Steyning beginners group is going from strength to strength. Considering we started in April with one person we now have over 20 ! On the 18th August some of the beginners will be taking part in their first fun run league race, I hope the weather is good but not too hot, it will be great to get them out running these races regularly :)

I've left the best to last..... On Monday I collected our new puppy, Honey. She is another Cockapoo from the same breeder as Millie. I had forgotten how tiny puppies are, and how load they can be at night for the first few nights...

It will be a few months before she comes out running with us, I'm taking Millie out running on her own at the moment (she is up to about 10 miles on a long run) and has learnt a few commands like "left" and "right" so I can tell her which way to go.... She still runs on ahead up the hills and waits for me to catch up !

Anyway, this is Honey :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer is here !

Well, it looks like summer has finally arrived....

The memories of the dark, cold, wet runs in the sleet and snow are fading and instead I'm trying to get out early morning or late evening when it is a bit cooler...

Last week seemed to be dominated by running:

Monday evening I had arranged a trainer fitting evening over at Nick Rivett sport in Hove for the beginners group.

Tuesday evening was the beginners running group (I did fit in a sneaky 4 miles before breakfast as well)

Wednesday evening I was a marshal for the Round Hill Romp - I was right on the top of the South Downs Way with wonderful views. The weather couldn't have been better for running !

Thursday evening was our club training session... I managed to run my fastest ever mile at 7:18 so maybe the training and diet are starting to have an effect !

Friday - well Friday night I went to the pub :)

I have been keeping my long runs a bit shorter recently (8-10 miles) but I'm planning on increasing the mileage again at the end of July before my next 10 mile and half marathons in October and November.

On Sunday I'm running the Race for Life in Worthing with some of the ladies from the beginners group. It does feel strange to think it is only 3 years since I first ran that event and at the time it was the furthest I have ever run. I had no idea when I ran that race that three years later I would have run 2 marathons and be leading a running group. If you had even suggested the idea I would have said you were crazy !

I sometimes think it is strange how life works out and that perhaps none of us really know what is in store for us or what we will do along the way :)

Anyway, I thought I would post a couple of photos from the Round Hill Romp. One is a panorama from my marshalling point and the other was the first runner coming through.... and he was fast !!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Found this today...

I found this quote from Marianne Williamson today ....

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "

Friday, 28 June 2013

Catch up time !

I know, I haven't posted much recently. A mix of it being our busiest time at work as well as being kept busy in my spare time with various house/family/running things :)

Our English summer is well and truly here..... I know it is because of the wind and rain...... none the less I have been out running. Both on my own and with the beginners group.

The beginners group really has gone from strength to strength and we now regularly have 15+ people with new people coming along each week. Next Monday I have organised an evening at a Nick Rivett Sport in Hove who have kindly offered to open the shop just for us in the evening so people can have a Video Gait Analysis of their running.

We have also had our first ever club pub run with a variety of routes so that ALL club members no matter how fast or slow could take part and this is going to be a regular monthly fixture.

I have also been off on a First Aid course organised by Run England; I now have a First Aid bumbag to run with on the beginners evenings and I'm officially qualified :)

I haven't raced since the Bedgebury Trailblazer but I have been out training 4 or 5 times a week. My next race is the 21st July (5 miles) but before then I have organised a group from our beginners evening to take part in the Race for Life. This is a great introduction to racing because it is such a positive, supportive environment and everyone gets a medal and goody bag at the end :)

I don't have any races scheduled for August or September, I tend not to book any too far in advance for these months because I don't know what my work commitments will be. (I'm typing this from a hotel room in Chester... it's a real rock'n'roll lifestyle ! - not)

Anyway, these are a couple of recent photos.... the Pyramid Orchids are in full bloom on the Downs at the moment, there seem to be more of them than normal.....

The second photo is our group for the first pub run :)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Bedgebury Forest 10k

Well, yesterday was the Bedgebury Forest 10k. This is a race I have run for the two previous years and each year I have got an almost identical time ( 59:06 and 59:04).

Bedgebury is a bit hilly and all off road, some of it on tracks and some through grass (and I don't mean paths !) so it is slower than a road 10k.

I really wasn't sure how I would do this year. This isn't one of the races I'm particularly targeting so my "tapering" consisted of running 30 miles this week and 6 days in a row... not the sort of thing you would normally do !

I entered in a wave slower than my predicted time and I think this was a bit of a mistake. The first part is quite narrow and it was a bit frustrating getting stuck behind people who were running in groups but taking up the whole width of the path without leaving space for anyone to pass them.

This brings me to my second moan....... I don't have any problems with people wearing headphones and listening to music when they run... but having the volume up so loud that hey are oblivious to everything round them in a race is dangerous. I saw a few instances where headphone wearers were obviously unaware of the people immediately around them and switched to another part of the track causing a collision...

Anyway, I will learn for next year and make sure I'm in a wave for my predicted time :)

This is also the first time that I used the function on my watch to race against myself. I downloaded last years data back on to my watch and used that as my course. This meant that I could see at any point if I was in front or behind where I was at that point last year. I found this really useful, in someways more useful than just setting a pace time because it did take in to account the hills !

I didn't carry water with me so I did stop at the water points for a drink..... and at the second one to wash the flies down that I had ended up swallowing (not nice...)

So, I finished in 56:25 knocking 2:39 off my previous PB for the course... looks like the training is working and I'm starting to get faster :)

Monday, 27 May 2013

A course PB

Well, it was another sunny run today !

Each time I finish a 10k I come away thinking that I must train harder for the next one and today was no exception.

The first part went quite well, I will look at the stats from my garmin when I get home but I think I was on target for a PB but I couldn't maintain the pace and that is down to training.

I found the last mile quite hard work which is where I met this chap. He was running in a mankini to raise money for a new church roof. He wasn't sure that the marshals would let him race so he kept shorts and t-shirt on until he was in the starting pen.....

Anyway, I finished in 54:16 according to my Garmin. Although this didn't beat my PB of 52:25 this is a course PB for me :)

My trainers and I.....

I'm off to London ! It does feel far too early to be stood on a station waiting for a train on a sunny bank holiday Monday morning.

At least it is sunny though and not pouring with rain.

This is the first race for these new, rather bright trainers. I'm not expecting miracles today, my legs still ache from the running I've done over the last few days but it is a lovely day for a run:)

I will hopefully be meeting up with a few friends, this is the first year that Ollie hasn't run this race with me, he is manning the Fire Engine today..

Anyway, see you at the finish line !

Friday, 10 May 2013

Hills, hills and more hills !

I suddenly realised I haven't update my blog for a couple of weeks... life has been a bit busy !

As well as my own running sorting out the running group takes a bit of time and this is also the busiest month of the year work wise and anyone who is self employed knows that when the work is there you take it !

Anyway, this week has been a week of accidental hill training. I didn't plan it, it just worked out that way !

I've been trying to fit running in to my life so that I don't upset everyone at home by being out running all the time and knackered when I'm not... so, on Monday Holly invited us over to her house for a BBQ..... Holly's house is about a 10 min drive away.... or a 5 mile run :) The only problem with the run is the massive great hill that you run up for the first 2.5 miles. This hill is over 650ft from sea level... and my house is only about 40ft above sea level.... Two miles takes you to about 270ft and then by 2.6 miles you are at over 650ft so you get the kind of hill I mean. I had also run this particular hill the previous Friday.... It was a lovely run though and great to be able to get out in shorts :)

Tuesday was my beginners group so I never actually run that far or that fast...

Thursday was the main SAC coached session... and it was hill training. So, off we all went and spent the evening running up and down a particularly nasty hill. Well, it is a lovely hill to sit on, have a picnic and admire the view but running up and down it in the wind and rain isn't the sort of thing that most sane people choose to do. But then I think I realised a long time ago that anyone that gets in to running isn't what the rest of the population would call sane !

That brings us to this evening..... and I had been planning a nice gentle FLAT 9 mile run down by the river. But then Millie looked at me. She started bouncing round the office despite a walk earlier with her doggy friend Daisy.... I have a long day at work tomorrow so I know she won't get a long walk.... so, instead of a gentle 9 miles I ended up doing "that" hill again as part of a 6 mile route that I know Millie enjoys. It was really windy running along the top of the Downs, but lovely and sunny.

I guess the river run will have to wait until next week.... and I'm planning on leaving the hills as something to be admired as a view at least until next Friday !

Thursday, 25 April 2013

This and that....

Well, It has been nearly two weeks since the marathon. My legs have stopped aching and I'm missing the running !

I have still be running but I have kept the miles right down to give my body a chance to recover :)

I am now planning my next goals and the training that I will need to get there....

I am going to carry on running marathons, I know before the last one I said never again but I felt so much stronger this time round and I know I have it in me to improve on my time so I am going to carry on. I think I am lucky that I am able to run. Since the events at the Boston Marathon and the lad that died whilst running Brighton I realise how lucky I am that I am able to run. I may not always be able to.

Because I want to run faster I need to change my training a bit. I got thrown off track a bit last year, we all have things that crop up in our lives that knock us sideways sometimes but it is our own strength that means we can overcome them and carry on.

I have a couple of races booked in over the summer, just shorter 10k's, one on road and one off road and I hope that I will be able to improve my times for these.

The next races that I will be training for will be a 10 mile road run and a half marathon in the Autumn; again I would like to beat my PB for the half marathon.

Beginners Group

The beginners group that I have started with Steyning AC is going from strength to strength with new people joining each week. I must admit that I'm really enjoying running it !

I am booked of a First Aid for Run Leaders course in a few weeks time, hopefully something that I won't need to put in to practice....

I didn't realise how much planning and admin was involved in running the group initially, making sure I have up to date contact details, medical details, next of kin info etc to make sure that my insurance covers me...

In addition to that I need to do a risk assessment before each group session and keep a log of what we planned to do, what we actually did and any other relevant info.

I still love it though and I'm also learning so much more about human biology, physiology and running than I thought possible !

Monday, 15 April 2013

Brighton Marathon 2013

I'm still aching a bit while I type this.... but it was a great day !

After fairly awful weather with strong winds and rain the day before I was a bit nervous about the forecast. When we arrived at Preston Park it was overcast and raining a bit, gradually this stopped but it was still grey.

The first decision of the day was what to wear. This is something that I am quite indecisive over. I get very hot when I run but tend to feel quite cold for the rest of the time. When I get tired I also get cold... It can also be hard to decide what to wear when you know you are going to be out for 5 hours or more, the weather can change quite a bit in that time. Other things I don't like:

1. Running with clothing tied round me
2. Things that "bounce" when I run
3. Carrying more than I need, after all extra weight carried is extra energy used...

I wasn't sure what the wind strength would be on the seafront and if I would be cold in just my charity vest or if I should wear something underneath it. Looking round at the other runners never helps. You will always see people wearing far more or less than you would ever be comfortable with !

In the end I opted for just the charity vest and as it turned out it was the right decision. I do wish I had taken Amy's offer of suncream. When it has only just stopped raining and you are walking through mud to the start it is hard to believe that you will need it... but as it turned out we did and I'm just a bit pink today (the start of a summer tan ??)

Yesterday wasn't about getting a PB. For me it was about running with Holly and crossing the line together. If I'm honest it is far more fun running with someone, you keep each other going and it is someone to chat to on the way round.

I think I managed my water intake a bit better and only had two loo stops. On the first one the queues were so long I did pop in to a field so I apologise to anyone that might have been traumatised by the sight of my bum. The second time I did queue for the portaloos, fields are ok but the middle of a busy street is a step to far for me !

Before my next marathon I will be working on my drink intake, both amount and type, to try and make sure that I can get round without needing to stop. Last year I had to stop 5 times so this was a definite improvement. The advice of hydration has changed during this year. It has gone from making sure that you drink even if you aren't thirsty to drink according to thirst......

This was Holly's first marathon so crossing the line together was important to me. Holly has been asthmatic all her life and her asthma is classed as "chronic". There have been times when she was little and I was sleeping on a chair next to her hospital bed that I just wanted her well. I never thought I would see her grow up and train for and run a marathon so I see this as a massive achievement.

For me I felt far stronger running this marathon than I did last year. I felt as though I could have run faster, even in the last few miles, but I could see in Holly that she was giving it everything and really couldn't up the pace. I also remember how difficult I found the last few miles last year where just putting one foot in front of the other was a massive effort...

A marathon isn't just a race. It is a journey. You learn more about yourself along the way than you think possible. You learn how hard you can push yourself both mentally and physically. You learn that anything is possible if you want it enough.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sweet dreams are made of these.... (or not in my case !)

I've always had very vivid and at some times quite nasty dreams and I have always wondered how these affect my sleep patterns...

After reading an article on sleep patterns on the BBC website I thought I would monitor my heart rate overnight to see what happens as I dream.

Last night was a fairly "normal" night dream wise for me with some very vivid dreams. It was also another morning when I wake up still feeling tired and not really that rested......

This is the heart rate data (you will need to click on the view details to see it).

I'm going to start using some relaxation techniques before I go to bed and see if it changes my sleeping heart rate pattern... My max heart rate is about 180 so I'm peaking at about half that just while I'm sleeping ! My minimum resting heart rate when I sit somewhere quiet on my own is 48....

I also don't know how accurate the calorie use is but to use 277 calories whilst sleeping isn't too bad :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Not long now !

It really isn't long now until the Brighton Marathon and I'm staring to feel nervous.

It didn't help that my IT Band problems started to re-appear on my last 14 mile run. Not something that I need at the moment. So far I have done most of my training wearing Brooks Ravenna trainers. I bought them quite cheaply at Christmas at the same time as buying a pair of Brooks GTS 12's.....

Last year I did all my training and ran the whole year in the Brooks GTS 11's. Last year I had real problems with my IT Band, several physio sessions and it was "niggling" for the whole year.

Since Christmas and changing trainers it had gone away. that is until my last 2 long runs when I switched back to the GTS 12's that I had been keeping "fresh" for the marathon.

I'm not sure if this is coincidence but it isn't a chance I want to take so I will be running in the Brooks Ravennas, I think they still have enough life in them, but I have been taking it easy to let my knee stand a bit of a chance.

So, this week I have a todo list :

1. Make sure I stretch EVERY DAY - especially the stretches for my IT Band
2. Iron my name on to my charity shirt
3. Pack bag for Sunday - this year remembering recovery drink  & crisps.
4. Make sure I have some early nights
5. Eat sensibly.

So, I'm not sure if I will update this blog again before Sunday. Wish me luck !

If you want to track my progress on the day you can download the Brighton Marathon App for your iPhone and search for me (Lisa Beaney); you will then be able to see how I get on.

Here's hoping the wind drops and the temperature rises :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Running around....

Well, I spent last week touring Ireland for work... lots of driving, talking, drinking tea and meeting people.

I did manage to fit in a short run on the outskirts of a very snowy Dublin. One thing I love about running is that I get out and see places that I would never go to otherwise. If I can find a free hour I can go for a run. I used google maps to find a park nearby along the edge of the Liffey, set my alarm for a bit earlier and went for a run...

I must admit that I felt much better for it. It made me realise how much I love just being outside and running. It doesn't matter if it is in the town or the country there is just something lovely about being outside and running.

It is less than two weeks now until the marathon and the nerves are starting to kick in a bit. This one will be quite different form last year, my goal is to finish this marathon with Holly and when you are not going for a personal best it does make you look at it differently. This one is all about having fun and making sure Holly enjoys it. Yes, it will be hard work, we will ache the next day and may have blisters but completing a marathon is one hell of an achievement. Holly is only 21, she has plenty of time ahead of her to improve her time if she wants to or to try other races. If it stays fun then it is worth doing :)

Anyway, these are a couple of the photos that I took on my run in Ireland.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Taper madness....

Well, the time has come for me to start reducing the mileage before the marathon..... It is that time when all the doubts start to creep in. I feel that I should carry on running further for longer, that I haven't done enough training, or run fast enough....

But this year I have an advantage. I have run a marathon before so I know that I can do it. I also have last years training to look back at and compare. This year I have run more long runs and they have been longer.... I have run more miles in training and I haven't had the IT band issues that I had last year.

The doubts are still there, 26.2 miles is a long way..... But this year my doubts are different. It isn't can I do it but more how hard is it going to feel.

My biggest fear is the weather. So far all our long runs have been in bad weather and the hardest part is wind. We have run in 30mph + winds and running head in to it is not fun or easy, especially when the rain is stinging your face. How I will cope with 26.2 miles of that I really don't know.

3 weeks on Sunday is marathon day and the weather this weekend is pretty bad again. This time last year I was getting sun burnt. So, I guess anything could happen in the next three weeks.....

So, if you believe in a God please can you ask them for no wind. I will settle for that, I don't mind the rain (not too hot would be good though !).

Thank you x

Thursday, 14 March 2013

One month to go.....

Well, it is only a month now until Holly and I run the Brighton Marathon.

I think it is fair to say that this week hasn't been the best for training, the heavy snow and strong winds meant that I didn't get out on Tuesday for the long run I was planning.... This means that my last really long run (21 miles) will be on Sunday. Then, partly because of work commitments, I will be starting to taper..... and beginning to worry that I haven't run enough to train properly....

Deep down I know that after completing Sundays run I will have done enough training to get me round the marathon. It is as much mental strength as it is physical. After all I'm not going out to break any records, I just want to finish this marathon with Holly and enjoy it !

I have also been getting out running with Millie and she completed her longest run to date last Saturday... 9 very muddy miles over the South Downs; I'm looking forward to a bit more sunshine but I don't think that is on the cards for this week...

This photo is one taken at the foot of the Downs on last Saturdays run.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Beginners Running Group

Well, last Sunday I went on the Leadership in Running Fitness course :)

It was a packed day and I certainly learnt lots !

What this means is that I can now setup and start a beginners group for Steyning Athletic Club. I started running three years ago and remember so well how hard I found it. This group is open to everyone, it doesn't matter if you have never run before or have tried running and given up you will be more than welcome.

I still have a bit of planning to o so the group will start at the beginning of April this year. By then the clocks would have changed so we will have the lighter evenings and can take advantage of the wonderful countryside that is all around us.

Some evenings we will have guest speakers covering topics from choosing your trainers through to bra fitting and nutrition so if you know someone who might be interested or if you are interested yourself then please contact me at lisabeaney@me.com

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A new chapter about to start

Well, a new chapter of my running is about to start. I have booked on the first step of my training with UK Athletics to train as a running coach. So, I have been busy reading and learning and I'm really looking forward to it :)

I will be starting a new group within my running club aimed at complete beginners and novices. I think lots of people (like me) can be put off running clubs because everyone seems so fast so to have a group for complete beginners seemed like a good idea ! It also seemed a good time to tap in on people wanting to start running with the Olympics still a real memory.

Anyway, I will write a bit more about this over the next few weeks but I'm working away this week so really should get on with the day job :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

WSFRL - Valentines Run

Yesterday was the West Sussex Fun Run League's Valentines Run from Southwater.

This is the first time I have run this race so I didn't really know what to expect. The race instructions warned everyone that the car parking was about 5 mins from the Race HQ and the Race HQ was about 15 mins from the start...

One thing I will say is that it was lovely to be able to use the IBM car park, this got rid of all the normal parking problems and it really was only a few mins walk to the Race HQ.

Yesterday it rained. Not just drizzle but that horrible cold heavy rain. And it rained all day.

I met up with the other Steyning AC runners in the village hall to get my race number.... you know it is going to be muddy when everyone keeps warning you to make sure your trainers are tied up tightly....

We used the short distance to the start as a warm up jog... it seemed to be uphill all the way and I found it hard work. I always find the first mile of any run hard work, somedays it feels as though I have never run before in my life. Perhaps a late night the night before wasn't the best idea....

The first part of the race is on quiet country roads before it turns off in to the woods and the mud.

There was no way of avoiding the mud.

With the amount of rain we have had over the last 6 months there really was plenty of mud, and it was the type that goes over the top of your trainers and then grabs hold of them making every step so much harder..... In between the mud was the deep freezing cold puddles. It got to a point where I couldn't feel my fet any more and my legs just felt so heavy.

There were 2 good points though. 1) I didn't lose my trainers and 2) I didn't fall over !

After the woods we were in to water logged fields..... and then back on to muddy farm tracks, a bit more road and then the last farm track that led to the final stretch across a field to the finish !

I really enjoy the WSFRL races and it is the people from the other local clubs that you meet that make the races what they are.

By the end of this one I was soaked through, very muddy and when I stopped I got cold quite quickly.

But at the finish you got given a little heart shaped chocolate, what more could you ask from a race than chocolate at the finish !

Anyway, this was my race :) (I should add that I forgot to stop my watch at the finish and only remembered after I'd eaten my chocolate and had a drink !)

Saturday, 9 February 2013


It has been in the news quite a bit this week.

Unfortunately I think the truth is that unless you grow it, make it and cook it you can't be 100% sure what is in the food that you eat.

The more you think about it the scarier it can get.

We are meant to have complete traceability of meat from farm to finished product. Where I am you can walk past a field of beef cattle and see that each one of them has a separate ear tag and its own unique number. So, at what point did it happen ?? Oops, it's horse meat !!!! In theory this CAN'T happen but it has and we can't ignore it.....

So we need to start looking at WHY it has happened. The large supermarkets have enormous buying power and this is used to put pressure on suppliers. Just imagine you are the owner/manager of any company that supplies a large supermarket chain. You have been supplying them for years, in fact now with the way that people shop they are your ONLY customer.... they then turn round and instead of asking you what your products will cost they TELL you what they are going to pay for them and this happens to be lower than you can currently make them for... Do you :

A) Say no way, lose the business, close your factory, make hundreds of people unemployed - possibly people that have worked for you for many years and rely on you to make sure their families survive.

B) Take what is on offer and look at what you can do to make your product more cheaply - including using ingredients that aren't on the label....

So, who is to blame for this ? The factory manager that produced the product ? The supermarket chains that drive prices to unsustainably low levels ? or is it the pressure from investors on the supermarket chains to produce bigger and bigger profits each year ??

I don't know who is to blame but no doubt "someone" will be held to account. I feel that the causes behind this run far deeper than just putting horse meat in place of beef (no-one noticed). I understand the potential safety issues around supplying meat that may be classified as unfit for human consumption and that you haven't been getting quite what you thought... but I don't think the root causes of this problem are as straight forward as we may be told.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A week of wind, rain..... and beautiful sunsets !

I think sometimes I just happen to pick the wrong days for our long runs and Sunday was no exception..... I had planned our route from Shoreham to Brighton, a straight out and back route that covered the power station section of the marathon route. Quite a simple 13 mile route.... and the first half was easy ! What I hadn't planned for was running the second half back towards Shoreham head on in to 30mph winds with drizzle and bits of freezing rain thrown in for good measure.

I think it is fair to say that when the wind gusted we didn't actually move forwards much ! It was almost a relief to get back to the lock at Shoreham and on to the road sheltered a bit from the wind by the buildings.....

So now we have run the power station stretch of the marathon route, the one part that everyone says is hard but if we can run it in those conditions I reckon we should be ok ;)

Yesterday Holly and I took Millie out for a run over the Downs. We had been nearly 2 days without rain and the ground had dried out a bit (but still VERY muddy !). The views from the top of the Downs were worth it. It was so clear you could see the Isle of Wight just as the sun was setting. There was still a very cold wind but it was behind us for the stretch of the run across the top of the Downs so it wasn't too bad.

Anyway, these are a couple of photos from the last weeks running. We had to wait at the lock in Shoreham so I took the opportunity to photograph a boat or two.... and then yesterdays sunset. This is why I run.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Will it ever stop raining ???

Sometimes it just seems hard work to get out and go for a run..... and some weeks just seem hard from beginning to end and this week has been one of those weeks.

It just doesn't seem to stop raining ! The roads near us are incredibly wet and there is a real river running down Mouse Lane, the mud is really deep round here so if you try running through it you find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place with real risk of injury.

We tried running down by the River, a path that is normally mud free even when it has been raining but even that is now thick with mud in places (although not as bad as the Downs).

Somedays I just long for dry ! It seems hard to imaging being so hot that you are running early morning or late evening to avoid the heat and the biggest problem is dust......

Anyway, despite my lack of enthusiasm this week I have been out and been running. Tuesday Holly and I ran 15.6 miles, all on the road from Findon to Ferring, along the seafront through Worthing and back to Findon through Broadwater. I'm not a big fan of running alongside main roads but for some of it you just can't find any other route.

I think it is fair to say we didn't pick the best day, gale force winds and rain.... but we did it and at the end of the day that is what counts. It is getting up, getting out and getting running when the weather is bad that will make the summer runs seem so much more enjoyable even though sometimes I do think emigrating somewhere with a bit less rain is very appealing !

Anyway, this is a photo of me on a very blustery Worthing beach... (yes, I'm still smiling)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Running in the snow.......

There is something quite magical about snow.... it muffles sounds as it is falling and covers all the mud and grey with a fresh layer of bright white.

It also stops all the traffic, closes the schools and gets people out of their houses !

I love running in the snow, maybe it is the child in me.... It is hard work and you have to be careful of the ice so in some ways it is much safer running over the Downs away from people (most people don't really go far). Luckily my new trail shoes arrived just before the snow, I had run the tread off my last pair !

My new trail shoes have a different tread pattern on the bottom and it is amazing the difference this makes, especially down hill. I had also forgotten how comfortable new trainers feel and it makes me realise that my old ones really were knackered; they had to go through the washing machine after the bog of doom and I don't think they really recovered....

Anyway, this is a photo of the snow. I have just ordered a new running camera so hopefully I will be able to post some of the photos from it over the next few weeks so this may be one of the last iPhone photos on this blog :)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Running in London

Well, I had a fabulous few days away (I was working !) and had the chance to catch up with some old friends. One thing I love about the new venue for the convention is its location, only a few minutes away from Hyde Park and right on the Paddington Basin and the start of the Grand Union Canal.

One thing running has done is give me a good excuse to go out to places that I might not visit otherwise. Before I started running I didn't really leave the convention hotel for 5 days apart from the evening out to pub or restaurant. Since I've been running I have been out and seen more of the area.

One run I wanted to do was round Hyde Park. I have never been round Hyde Park before.... I mapped out my route down Edgeware Road, round the edge of Hyde Park and back, a total of just over 5 miles so it fitted in perfectly with my marathon training plan.

This may sound strange to anyone that lives in London but it was quite strange seeing so many people out and about in the park. When I'm running over the Downs if I see 6 people it is busy and quite often I don't see another person for most of the run !

So, that is another run that I have wanted to do for a while ticked off the list :)

This (I think !) is the back of the Albert Hall.

The other run that I did while I was away was along the Grand Union Canal. I was chatting to some of the delegates waiting for my seminar about running in London and one of them pointed out that we were right on the Paddington Basin and it was a lovely run along the canal. So, the trainers were laced up and off I went ! There was a lovely smell of wood burners and bacon as I ran past on Sunday morning.... I love the colours of the boats and absolutely everything that is loaded on to the roof of the boat...

This was a shorter run, just 3.5 miles (again to fit in with the schedule) but it is a route I will remember and one that I will return to next year :)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

On the train again....

Well, I'm heading off to London for a few days. I'm hoping to get some running in while I'm away, I don't want to start getting behind on my training this early in.

I took Millie running with me again last week, she really enjoys it and starts to get excited when she sees me putting my muddy trainers on. At the moment I'm still running 6 miles with her although I think this will increase over the next few weeks.

I have also taken advantage of the sales and bought enough trainers to last me the year. With various discount vouchers and offers it meant I was able to get them for less than half price ! Ok, they may not be the latest models in the most fashionable colours but then neither am I :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year !

Ok, I know I'm a few days late but it has been a busy couple of weeks :)

2012 was quite a good year for running for me; I ran my first ever marathon and achieved a sub 2hr PB for a half.

I still haven't got a sub 50 minute PB for a 10k yet and I'm not sure if I will achieve that goal this year or not.

I'd still like to improve my half marathon PB. I have found it is a distance that I really enjoy running; I can keep a level of fitness that means I don't have to do too much training before a race and because it is 13 miles I don't run it as fast as a 10k :)

Millie is still running with me, she came out on Christmas Day for a short but muddy run across the Downs.

I've entered Brighton Marathon again for 2013 and training has started. All I need to do is to stay injury free and make it to the start line. I don't have any real goals yet set after that, I think I will just spend the year enjoying running and being out on the South Downs.

Anyway, this is Millie and I after our Christmas Day run.

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