Silverstone Half Marathon

I have to admit  – I was not looking forward to this race at all. The only positive thing that I had heard was from my brother who had said that the medal was great. The reports from everyone else was not good – it is running around a field in the middle of nowhere and therefore windy. Had I been a Formula one racing car fan then maybe it would be different as the race takes place on the race track. Unfortunately I am not a fan!

The start line

The start line

I then found out that the start time was midday. MIDDAY? I ask you. Oh and you had to get there at 10.30 which means leaving home about 8. This race would take all day and how was I meant to fuel my run? Breakfast would be early. As the race started, I would be ready for lunch . Yuck.

Decisions, decisions.

We drove there in thick fog which I took as a good sign as it meant that there was no wind so that would be one less thing to worry about. We arrived in plenty of time and sat in the car for a bit as I didn’t want to get too cold hanging around. As we were waiting for the start the sun  started to make an appearance which gave me a dilemma, what do I wear? If it stayed foggy I wanted long sleeves but if the sun came out I would be too hot. I plumped for a vest and sleeves (with sun-cream on my exposed shoulders). As it turned out the right decision. The sun came out. (And I didn’t get burnt.)

The Course

Source

This gives some idea as to the course. It looped around  a lot which was nice as you felt involved with the race – you could hear the announcements over much of the course so was able to hear when people got a course record. There was also music for much  of it. On the other hand there were not a lot of areas where supporters could get to so there were areas that were quiet although I found that I always had a lot of people running near me. The course itself was nice and wide so no bottlenecks. It was also relatively flat. Towards the end I did feel as if I had been here, done this before and was ready for it to finish but by then I was tiring.

2016-03-13 12.55.19So how did I do?

I got another PB of 2 hours and 49 secs. How pleased am I? At the beginning I felt as if I was going out too fast but found it very hard to slow it down much. At the start we were split into 2 groups over 2 hours and sub 2 hours. I went in the over 2 hours but this meant that I was going faster than most of the people around me. This felt good so, in the end I just kept going. The Lucozade drinks that were provided made me wheezy but no doubt kept me going. I had nothing left at the end which was good as I know that I couldn’t have managed a sub 2 hours…..this time.

Getting out of the car park at the end was a nightmare…..but who cares? I got a PB!

Another PB!

After last weeks confidence booster of Cambridge half marathon I was on a roll. Tuesday’s club session was the 5k handicap. I had absolutely no aches from Sunday and knew that I needed to keep on moving although a 5k ‘race’ was not the best run to start the week with. On my arrival a few eyebrows were raised.

The rules of the 5k are that if you run fast then you run in that group. The last time I got was 25.56. So despite being just 4 minutes away from 26 minutes it meant that I still had to run in the 25 minute group. I tried to appeal and say that I wanted to take it easy but they were having none of it.

Consequently I ended up with another pb – 25.51. I know, just 5 secs but I was taking it easy.  Hmmmm. It seems that I am just too competitive.

I had a sports massage booked for Weds and surprisingly my legs are not in too much of a mess. Other than that I had a rest on Weds. Thursday was another club run. 5.32 miles at an average pace of 9.03 minute miles and Friday I biked to work.

I had thought that I would have a rest on Saturday but then I panicked that I needed to run a few more miles as there would be no long run on Sunday due to the last cross-country of the season. I ended up doing 6 so-called easy miles with a good friend through sharp showers. The average pace was 9.37. Not exactly the pace I was after (a bit fast) but pleased to get the miles done.

As said before, Sunday was the last race of the season at a beautiful park:

The daffodils were stunning. The run was no-where near as bad as last months – very muddy and therefore slippery and a bit undulating as opposed to hilly. I did feel that my legs were a bit tired after all the work they have done recently but I did manage to keep running throughout it. 5.76 miles at an average pace of 9.45 which wasn’t at all bad. I am just grateful that I didn’t fall over! What a way to spend Mother’s Day!

To finish a few facts for you:

Last month I ran a total of 112.83 miles which took 18 hours and 19 mins.

I biked 29.77 miles which took me 2.55 minutes!

 

 

Cambridge Half Marathon 2016

 

I have run every Cambridge half Marathon event since it started in 2011. Today was the first time I actually enjoyed it. Previously there has always been something that has not gone my way – from falling over to being ill. Not so this year.

I set out with the idea that this was another training with the added bonus of a medal at the end. I was under no pressure to get a time, I was just going to get round. This year, as with nearly every other, they had changed the route but this was a big change: 1 loop instead of 2. On paper I was dreading this as I thought it would feel a long way out to Granchester as it is a long way from the centre of the city and the crowds.

In reality it was lovely. The miles ticked by nicely and there was good support along much of the route which makes a huge difference. The sun came out, I met some lovely people along the way and had a good chat. There were a couple of bands along the way (the drummers along Elizabeth Way Bridge was awesome).

Weather dilemmas

Deciding what to wear was a bit of a dilemma as it was really cold first thing. I decided on a long-sleeved top under my vest but as we were waiting to hand our bags in the sun came out and I had a sudden change of heart. I would wear just my vest with my arm warmers. As we set off along the first mile I thought that I had made a huge mistake but as we got going I knew I had been correct. The sun even came out. 🙂

Look at the size of the medal!

Look at the size of the medal!

A Slight Blip

As it had been cold, I hadn’t realised just how cold my body had got and as I started off I really couldn’t feel my feet and my fingers got pins and needles as the warmth returned. The trouble with not feeling my feet was that my running style changed as I was slapping my feet down on the ground. This meant I had real pain along my left shin. To begin with I was worried that I would have to drop out or run the risk of getting shin splints which could jeopardise my marathon. Luckily after 2 miles the pain went and I could run properly again. I did stop to loosen my laces a bit later as it felt like the blood  off from my toes and I worried I might lose one of them. This really helped and I had no more issues for the rest of the race.

Pacing

My mile times say it all: The first was 10.05 followed by 5 consistent miles of 9.47, 9,.45, 9.44, 9.50, 9.44. There was then a mile of 10.01. I think this was the mile where I stopped to loosen my shoelace. Mile 8 was 9.56 followed by 9.53, 9.20, 9.30, 9.29 and then 8.37!!! I could obviously smell the finish line. There was a moment when I wondered if I was being a bit silly but I dismissed these thoughts. I had something to prove to myself!

5555 my lucky number!

5555 my lucky number!

I am so very, very happy with myself. It has been a real revelation that you can run that sort of distance and not die half way around. I thought that was just my lot. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it and not just the end. I have high hopes for the marathon now. Because I am the mouthy sort of person that I am when I saw someone really struggling I tried to say something positive to them to try to encourage them. I knew exactly what they were going through and can remember how much everyone’s kind words to me meant. It is my way of giving back a little to the running community.

 

Yarny Goodies.

Finally – a non-running related post :).

Look what lovely yarn my amazing friend bought me for my birthday:

Isn't it divine?

Isn’t it divine?

I have to admit to never having seen anything like this before. Each skein gets slightly lighter (or smoother depending on your view-point). It is 100% Superwash Merino and it feels divine. Perfect colours for me too.

It is called nougat on coffee which contains just the most perfect colours for me.

It’s name is Nougat on Coffee which has just the perfect colours for me.

Aren’t I just so, so, so lucky? I am thinking a beautiful shawl.

I have also ‘acquired’ these:

All my favourite colours.

All my favourite colours.

I just feel so happy when I look at my new acquisitions. The same friend that bought my nougat yarn was having a clear out and these just jumped out at me. Not quite sure what I will do with these but now they are giving me lots of pleasure just as they are. Planning is part of the enjoyment right?

What would you make?

Another Busy Week

After my cross-country last Sunday (here) I am very relieved to report that I didn’t exaggerate at all. Everyone at the club this week agreed and commented on how tough it was. It seems that the course was longer than the normal length for Ladies cross-country. Several people have picked up minor injuries too which is a bit rubbish.

Recovery Run

I didn’t get away completely free as my legs were a bit achy on Monday but I was asked by a good friend to go for a run….how could I decline? I wanted to learn all about her amazing holiday. I agreed to an easy run which, for once, was what we did.  4-9 miles at an average pace of 10.35 minutes. Just what my legs needed. I started off at 11.something min miles and got faster as my legs loosened up.

Club run

Tuesday is club night. A shorter run was on the menu for it which suited me nicely. It actually ended up being 6 miles. After last Thursday we decided to brave the faster group again. Our average pace was 8.52. It felt easier than Thursday (I think that everyone was a bit slower tonight after the cross-country!)

Rest day?

I resisted the temptation to bike to work on Wednesday having done run for three days on the trot. I also had a busy day planned for Thursday with 2 runs.(Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!)

I had my Vo2 max done. It was hard work and I looked a bit like this. More on this will follow as it deserves a post all of its own. Suffice to say that it was quite hard work.

Club night 2

I ummmed and ahhhhed about going tonight as I had already worked really hard but didn’t want to let my friends down. It was very quiet as we have a big local race on Sunday and people were resting so I was glad I went. It was also not a very popular session! It involved running up a road that has a gentle incline. We used the lamp posts as markers – running fast and slow. I didn’t push myself too hard although I actually had no choice as my legs didn’t have that much in them.

On our way back the running leader said that I wouldn’t feel the benefit of that run for three weeks! That is just about in time for my second half marathon of the year.

A busy week on the running front but do please note that I have tried to be sensible as I have not biked at all this week, and I had no car one day! I don’t want to completely trash myself.

 

Two tough runs

Last Thursday, at running club my friend and I moved up a group. We were in the situation where one group was a bit slow for us and another a bit fast. We decided to go with the faster group and run at the back. Phew. It was a good but very challenging work out. We ran 6 miles at an average pace of 8.51 min miles. This did include a few stops at meet points.

I am sure it was good for us, just as I really hope that today’s cross-country has done me good too! It was 61/2 miles of boggy, waterlogged land. Even the kilometre long hill was all boggy. The wind was gusting along at 25 miles per hour (and happened to be against us up that killer hill). My legs were screaming as were my lungs. When I had finished one lady said that she had given up half way round. If only I knew that was a possibility! Oh well. To give you an idea of the type of run it was I had an average pace of 11.11 min mile. 2 minutes slower than Thursday!

I have peeled the muddy clothes off, scrubbed off the muddy tide marks and had a nice warm shower. My legs are achy and I am  tired. I am really hoping that next weeks half marathon feels easy in comparison. At least I will know that when my feet hit the ground I will know they will stay where they land and not slip, twist or sink. I will also get some bounce back from the road instead of the land sucking all the energy away.  Easy peasy right? (If only!) At least I will have a medal to show for next weeks efforts!

More Running Goodies

Purely coincidently I also received another running gift through the post yesterday.

My first Jogbox

My first Joggbox

I first heard about these some time last year and was very tempted to sign up straight away but waited. Last month I  took advantage of an offer and took the plunge.

When you subscribe to Joggbox you get a box every other month through the post filled with running goodies. This is what I got this month.

IMG_1517In more detail:

The contents.

The contents.

  1. The main item in this months is a neck tube by Absolute. Unfortunately I have not been able to try this out. It has also got a bit warmer recently so I am looking forward to cooler weather again. 😉
  2. Touchscreen gloves will be very useful when wanting to us all my tech when running.
  3. A soothing gel by Meltonic which I am looking forward to trying out on my sore muscles.
  4. Energy chews by Gu
  5. Oh my goodness bar.

The leaflet that comes with it details how much each item is worth which I feel a bit mixed about. I understand why it is included so you can see how much value you get each month but I think that I would prefer to just receive the items. Maybe I am just too trusting?

I really liked receiving this. I looked forward  it.  I like surprises. and  the opportunity that it gives me to try new things that I wouldn’t necessarily try otherwise.

All the items that I received are useful and will get used which, if I am honest is a bonus.

I shall now have to decide if I wish to carry on ……..

Have you ever subscribed to something like this?

All views on this are entirely my own.

 

It’s my birthday!

No exercise (except the kind that involves the mouth!) but lots of lovely presents:

My husband is FAB!

My husband is FAB!

Under armour top (we have graduated from Karrimor) running socks and sports wash (yes I know!)

And the bracelet is one where you can add beads as you run races. My first is a marathon one for the London marathon I ran last year.

IMG_1515I am hoping to add many more beads to this before we get to the summer. 🙂

I am a very lucky lady with a great family and fantastic friends. I am very grateful.

 

Why do we do it to ourselves?

Although this is a post about exercise, it can apply to many situations. I do it with my job, my hobbies and even my family.

I have just come back from the gym. I don’t go very often as running fits into my life a lot easier and running is ‘my thing.’ I go once a week, at the weekends with the main purpose being to strengthen my legs to help prevent injury. The advantage to going early in the morning at weekends is that I have the place to myself. Today was anything but.

When I walked in my heart sank as there was a bunch of what I call ‘gym lads’ congregated around the area that I needed to be.

You know the sort – all muscle and brawn. (Unfortunately there were more covered up than these guys!)

Intimidated? Me? YES! As I warmed up on the bike I heard a female voice and I slowly came to realise that there was a female among them. (I couldn’t check by looking as that would be too embarrassing and obvious!) My heart sank further. I could kind of ignore and work around the men but a woman was a different matter. It wasn’t until I was driving home that I was able to understand why the dread intensified as I realised that there was a woman there and that was because she was direct competition for me. I was drawn to compare myself to her. Sound familiar?

I see it all over social media, on Runmummuyrun people are always comparing themselves with others….

I managed 6 miles today but I am such a tortoise

How can I get faster?

Compared to many of you I realise that this is slow but today I ran my furthest ever.

I definitely do it all the time and tonight was no different. So I wasn’t doing as many full press ups, pull ups, squats etc as her.  No I wasn’t shouting about the fact that I ran 12 miles at the weekend – after a swim, no I am not exercising with the lads….

BUT

I am not her. So I wasn’t doing what she was doing but then she wasn’t doing what I was doing. Could she do my single legged squats, on a bench, on 2 mats? What about my weighted snatches?? I don’t know but I maybe not (and does it matter anyway?).

I also do not have hours to spend at the gym every night. YES I also ran 12 miles on Sunday but before I went I got breakfast for 3 children, changed 4 beds and sorted out what would happen whilst I was out running. I then ran 12 miles before spending the afternoon tidying the house and running after 3 children. Did she? Probably not. She probably had a lazy morning in bed before getting up and preparing for her exercise which was followed by a lazy afternoon.

So I probably cannot run as fast as her or, in reality, am as strong as her but I am not comparing like for like. (She was also several years younger than me!) So why am I comparing myself to her? As I drove home I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel as pleased as myself after my work out and I think it was simply because I was comparing myself with her and not with myself. My single legged squats were better than they had been before and the other exercises felt easier but I didn’t feel strong.

What is really upsetting is that as we were in the minority (there were more men than women in the gym tonight) we should have supported each other (which is what happens on Runmummyrun). The only people we should compare ourselves to is us. We are all on our own individual journeys and at different points along it. We need to celebrate our own successes and not compare ourselves to others as it is not a’ fair test’.

Oh and I have absolutely nothing against the poor lady in the gym this evening she was simply an example of my own weaknesses. Please remember this as you go about your lives. Whatever you do please only compare yourselves to you and be kind. If you are learning something new concentrate on your successes and DO NOT compare yourselves to others. Yes, use others as inspiration but go no further.

Running Communities

Where do you get information about your hobbies from? Over the years I have built up an amazing amount of knowledge about running, from a range of different sources. Some of it has come from books, some from magazines and some from simply trial and error. Probably the most useful information has come from other people.

Local Connections

I am lucky enough to know  several runners that live close to me, some that I run with and some that I simply share stories with.  I am also now entering into my second year of being a member of a running club. Last year I trained with the juniors (which did also include some adults but more recently I graduated to the adult section of my local running club and have connected with some more lovely people (who I have missed this week).  These all have a huge wealth of information with different experiences.

Social media

Social media adds a completely dimension to running connections. It allows me to reach out to people who train in completely different circumstances to me and who have a completely different experience altogether. A whole new world. I started this through my blog. Blogs are hugely informative, enjoyable and fun. More recently I found a huge group of people on twitter through @ukrunchat. This is a huge group of  people who you can ask anything of them. Someone will know the answer to the most obscure questions that you can think of. The support or encouragement is amazing.

UKRunChat®

 

Even more recently, (around Christmas time) I found another amazing group, this time on Facebook; runmummyrun. This is obviously a female only group but it is completely inspirational. If you are lacking in motivation a quick scroll through these posts will soon get you moving again. There is also a second-hand page (where I picked up my trail runners) and a healthy eating page.

Through these I have gained more knowledge than I thought possible, but I have also been able to share my knowledge with others. I have been inspired and tried to inspire others too as well as been completely humbled by the stories of truly amazing, brave people. To everyone, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Have I missed anything that has inspired you?