Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Back in training

Well it's been a long time and I've still been pootling along with my running, mostly short 5-6km runs with various groups and a couple of 10km trail races (one which was hilariously muddy and slippy and more like a walk/slide than a run!). Nothing challenging, but keeping going.

And now I'm back on the half marathon trail.

As well as the Royal Parks Half in October which I got in to (happily) via the ballot earlier this year, I'm now signed up for the Isle of Man Half in August (to coincide with a visit to family).

So far so good. It's early days. I've done a 7mile long run and a 7.5-8m long run (my tracker failed, so not sure exactly how far I ran!), the last 2 Sundays.   Also a good parkrun last weekend where I pushed myself faster - not up to PB level but managed my fastest time so far this year.

I've also taken up pilates and started doing the occasional circuit class to help make me stronger and fitter.  

Soooo not exactly my plan to focus on getting faster at 5kms this year... but at least having the halve's in sight keeps me focused.  This weekend I'm running the 10km race for life in Milton Keynes, to support my friend - it's her first 10k!

Keep going keep going.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Great run and runners high

Last night I went out with my Dynamo girls ... And thank goodness I did as it was a great run and really pumped me up again after the hideous experience on Sunday. 

Today (day after) I'm happy and sore and I like it!!! Hahaha isn't it silly? I like that post (hard) run leg soreness so you know you've really used your body. 

I almost didn't make it as the boy was in bed and I was waiting for husband to get home and he was late! I had to text the girls to ask them to wait then drive like a demon and break the law a little to get to them as fast as I could. 

So we ran a nice flat 9km route in one hour, and I enjoyed every bit of it, and really felt strong while running. I didn't let my little demon voices talk me out of it, I remained positive and pushed myself speed wise as much as I could.

I even had a good 100m or so sprint finish which always makes my happy endorphins flood through. All in all a cracker.

Loved it. Loved it. Reminds me why I love running when I have a good one like this!

Best of all - I slept like a log! A good run always makes me sleep well. I look forward to post Monday Dynamo run sleeps lol!


Sunday, 6 March 2016

I hate dogs

I'm sooooooooooooo pissed off. I had a glorious run this morning for almost 4 miles and then a horrible incident with a really scary dog ruined it.

I have to preface all this by saying I've always had a dog-phobia. BUT I've been getting better with age. I'm usually ok these days unless they start barking a lot as the noise just goes through me and makes my heart leap into my mouth and my pulse race. I've always been terribly terrified - when I was at school I had a route I could walk to school that took double the time it should, because I avoided walking past gardens with dogs in. I usually cross the street or change direction if I see someone waking towards me with a dog. Sounds crazy doesn't it, but it's just me!

Anyway. It's always a bit of a worry going running with a dog phobia, but until today it's rarely been a problem - 99% of dog owners are responsible, keep their dogs on leads and under control. Most dogs are not interested in me and aren't barking crazy wild animals... 

I did an out and back route today - I had an hour of me time thanks to the husband and son going to mini-football practice. So I just ran for 30 minutes then turned around. Perfect conditions. Blue skies, bright sunshine, cool but not too cold. Perfect. I was listening to the Marathon talk podcast for the first time. I'll listen to it again! Here's the link if you want to check it out yourself <Marathon talk podcast and webpage>

So there I was, not long turned back for home and running down a narrow bit of pavement with garden walls and hedges to my right and cars to my left. I looked up and saw a man coming towards me with a massive and scary looking dog with a muzzle (a muzzle!!!!!) on. I freaked out but tried to stay calm, didn't want to look like an idiot. But this dog was seriously terrifying me. There was no way to cross the road safely and no pavement on the other side anyway. I noticed a break in the garden walls and a driveway and thought I would just hop in there and wait for them to pass giving plenty of room. I would be ok I thought. 

But then the man kept walking faster toward me and pulling the dog right over to the car side - it looked like he was trying to give me room to get through, but also it meant that he got to, and passed, the safe-haven driveway before I could nip in. Bugger. I had no choice but to pass them on a pavement just wide enough for 2 people. 

With rising panic I kept saying to myself to just look straight ahead and speed up and I would be past them really fast. I can do this, I can do this. 

But then, disaster.  The dog barked at me, and pulled away from the man. I froze to the spot as I always do. The dog tried to jump up me and pushed me into a hedge above a garden wall. I just totally freaked and panicked - frozen to the spot I threw myself further into the hedge to get away. I should have run faster!!!!

All I could think was THANK GOD it had a muzzle on. 

The man quickly kept waking and pulled the dog away with him - it all happened in seconds though it felt forever. I burst into sobs and started getting that rasping panicky, can't-get-your-breath breathing thing. I couldn't run. I just started walking fast forward to get away while trying to take big breaths and not sound like I was having an asthma attack. Which I did!

And the man never said anything, never apologised, never looked back. Bloody hell! I'm fuming!

I had to walk a good half mile after that to get my panic and breathing under control. Focusing on the podcast really helped. It helped a lot actually because I couldn't quite believe that I got to the point when I said to myself "right, it's a beautiful day, let's make the most this" and I got going again and ran home. 

I'm determined not to let this ruin my day, or ruin my running, but I needed to get this off my chest. Jesus. It was awful. Like the best and worst run altogether. 

And this morning my son was asking me if he could have a pet dog!!! Hahaha. Not going to happen.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Does running lift your mood?

Today was the first day I managed to get out for a run since last Thursday, and I was determined to run today because I've been a right moody cow since the weekend, and I'm convinced I feel down when I don't get a run in.

I was at parkrun on Saturday of course, but not running.  I had volunteered for marshalling with my son.  Crazy idea. It was 1degree celcius when we arrived.  We were wrapped up warm of course but I would rather have been running to warm the blood up.  Also I had been out drinking cocktails and wine til 12.30am the night before so I would have rather been curled up in bed.  I can't let down my parkrun marshalling duties however. Marshalling is fab, but it made me sad I wasn't able to run.

On Sunday I planned to go for a 10km run with my Chelmer Roadrunner girls, but my helpful husband had the hangover from hell - you know one of those that involves a lot of time in the bathroom and the rest of the day in bed.  Soooo annoying.  So that meant I had to stay home and entertain the boy, and even take him to his Little Kicks football group.  That was NOT fun - I was the only mum and when the dad's joined in I didn't have a chance to put my hand up and say I have never ever played football in my life!  hahaha. The four and five year olds were much more impressive than me.  I was not in a good mood by the end of the day.

Monday - lots of work, stressed and anxious about work, feeling like I couldn't be arsed. Got home really late - missed Monday night run group, the Dynamos.  That was annoying.

Tuesday - meetings, lots of work, feeling really anxious and grouchy and went to bed a bit teary.

And I know that tomorrow - Thursday, my usual Chelmer Roadrunners day, I am also busy and have a meeting that clashes with the run group time.  So I was determined to get out and run today before I bashed someone over the head. seriously.

So, I dropped the boy at school and decided to just run a couple of miles. The trick for my brain was that if i said - I'll only do 2 miles - it didn't seem like such a big thing to do.  The problem was i kept bumping into other mums around the school!  For some of them that made me change my direction to avoid them, and for others it made me run faster to impress!

Anyway, i did just do 2 miles out and back from the car park, but they were a good 2 miles.  It's lovely and flat around the school for starters!  The first mile I ran in 10 mins - very quick for me and the 2nd mile I decided to do a bit of fartlek/speed play, so sprinted from one lamp post to the next, then slow jogged or walked to the next lamppost, then sprinted again etc.  Another 10 minute mile.  Very happy.

I'm determined not to leave it so long now before I lace up again.

In fact I'm tempted to try and 'streak' (a run streak is where you set a target to run every day for a set amount of days, like lent, or advent) or if not streak, but as a minimum force myself to go out at least every other day just for 2 miles.  I think for so long my runs have been a big deal - doing 10 mile Sundays and 5 mile mid weeks that take up a fair bit of the day what with driving to meet people, having a chat after, cooking a recovery lunch and getting showered etc.   I am going to change tack therefore and try and do a little often for the next few weeks until we go on holiday, just to keep me going and to try to keep the grumps at bay!

Does running cheer you up?
L x

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Post race

I've been shattered and lazy all week. Had a very painful sports massage on Monday and have been hungry as anything since the 10 miler on Sunday.

Was quite stiff and sore so decided to rest my legs for a few days - skipped my Tuesday run, and then went back to my running group this morning. I was a deadline so had to be a quick one and I did pick up my speed and ran 2.9miles while completely out of breath! It was good to push myself like that as I would normally take it very easy on a recovery run post race.  It was really really hard going but felt wonderful when I finished. I was glad I pushed myself. I also got progressively faster which is a nice graph to see!

Still a way to go to get back to my PB times but it's a good start! It also makes me feel positive that I can push myself to do speed again like this and it's ok, so maybe the elusive 30 minute 5k is possible later this year. I hope so!

Looking forward to marshalling at parkrun on Saturday with my little legs!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Race report - Ford Test track 10

Let me just start by saying that for this 10 mile race today my aim was to run in 2hours. Official time.... 2 hours 1 minute. How flipping annoying is that?!?!?

In all honesty, I could not have done any better. It was tough out there today. The wind was so strong that when ever it was in my face I was running hard just to stand still, and when I got lovely downhills the wind seemed to be blowing me back up them! There was also a very steep hill, which we lapped twice which I just had to walk up as it was strangely steep.

All in all though, the Ford test track 10 organised by St. Luke's Hospice in Basildon was a great race. I was running with a buddy from my club, Kate, who runs the same speed as me so it was great to run together and having her there at my side really kept me going when it was tough.

The first half actually passed relatively quickly, apart from a slightly soul destroying moment when we had to run past the finishing line and start the loop again! And when were being lapped at one point by the first group... Haha. Not so great, but there were some awesome runners, including my best friend's husband who finished fifth in 1 hour 1! 

It was lovely that my best friend and her little boy were there cheering on daddy (and me), as due to the looping we passed them 4 times. 

By mile 8 I was struggling but then I just started to dig in and tell myself how little I had to go. I was slowing down dramatically and dragging my feet through the final mile,  but I still managed to speed up for the last 300 metres and sprint finish.

It was nice to do a road race that was off road - being on the Ford Car test track it was great that there was no traffic. The challenges were the hairpin bends with steep camber and of course... The small matter of the high winds whipping across an enormous open ground. 

It was also nice to be twenty minutes from home. I felt very very stiff and sore all afternoon and also utterly exhausted. I think I feel more shattered this evening than when I ran my half marathon. Maybe because I didn't have the excitement and adrenaline of completing my first half. Although I finished 10 miles today I find it really hard to imagine that I could have managed another 3 miles. 

I'm very happy to be having a little long distance break now. Plenty of time to work on some short distance speed and start planning a training plan for the Royal Parks half in October.

That's for another day... For now, it's early to bed for me!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

In and out of parkrun love

I haven't been to parkrun since Boxing Day. I kept finding excuses. Which is odd for me because I'm a parkrun evangelist. Obsessed with parkrun would be my tagline.

Its very rare I get to really run, as husband works Saturday's so a solo run would rely on a Grandparent dropping by to babysit while I run. Last happened esrly December. Also as my 5k times slowed  and slowed in the last half of last year, I started to enjoy parkrun less and less. As I was half marathon training from August to November my body started to become comfortable with very slow long runs and so trying to run faster at parkrun would give me that horrible out of breath feeling and I found it almost painful to keep running at "speed", even though I was going minute per mile slower than than my summer pb. Being so far away from my 5k PB time made me miserable. 

For two years I have run with my son in a running buggy. I adore it, we have great fun together and although it is so much harder and slower than running solo, I don't mind as its my chance to set a good example to him. But now he's 4 and a half and weighs over 3 Stone it's tougher and tougher and toward the end of last year I decided my buggy running days were over. I stopped enjoying it as I struggled. I just felt like I was pushing a rock around, especially through the muddy and grassy sections of the parkrun course, and I spent more time walking than running so just felt like I was failing. And my times (even buggy adjusted times) were getting slower as he got bigger, and that depressed me.

But then...

This morning my co-buggy runner-partner-in-crime Joanna sent me a message and said something like, 'let's just power walk parkrun with the boys (in their buggies), let them stretch their legs too, and catch up.'

I am so glad she did. I had the best time I've had at parkrun in months!!! 

It took us 40 minutes but we did not care. We chatted, we let the boys have their little runs, we stopped to scrape mud off our tyres, we jogged a lot more than I expected and walked some bits too- especially up hill and through the big  bog. 

But it reminded me what parkrun is about. Parkrun is about participation. Not just PBs. Obviously PBs are wonderful when they happen, but also wonderful is the time to see a friend, spend time with your children, enjoy the fresh air and the high fives. And the coffee and the playground after, of course.

When we finished I immediately signed up to Marshall next week. My son had been asking why we couldn't volunteer this week - he loves volunteering at parkrun, as they give him a giant foam finger and he cheers everyone on. I've also used excuses (of the weather, it's unfair to make a 4 year old stand out in the rain) not to volunteer, but I just had to take the plunge back into the wonderful parkrun world that means so much to me.  

parkrun, I'm back!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Racing again this week

On Sunday I'm running a 10 mile race.  I am feeling very laid back about it.  What's 10 miles after a half marathon!  My training has been OK, not brilliant. I ran 9.5 miles 2 weeks ago and 8 miles this weekend past. I'll be fine.  I just want to get the long distance running over with to be honest.  I'm getting fed up of my Sunday mornings being eaten up by the long slow run.  My family are also getting fed up with that too!

The 10 mile race is an interesting one - at Ford's car test track. So it should be relatively flat. And it's very close to home so that makes it easy in terms of logistics.  One lady from my running group who runs a similar pace to me is doing it too.  Also my super amazing marathon friend is running but I can't bear to think about him waiting for me at the finish line, getting cold, for an hour :-O He'll probably get a trophy.

After that I want to spend the spring and summer getting back to loving my short distances, and bringing those 5k and 10k times down.  And I want to work on eating less crap so I can lose a few extra inches and pounds... long distance running makes me eat badly :(

But then....

I got a place in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, through the ballot - first time I entered!   I couldn't believe it.  It's very exciting as it's like running the London marathon, but without the whole marathon distance lol.  I'm very excited as well because my lovely running friend Michelle also got a place so we will be able to train together.   But that's not until October so I don't need to think about that for just a little while!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Very post post race

So it's February ... I did my first half marathon last November.  What happened?  I couldn't bring myself to write about the race afterwards and I have no idea why. Because it was brilliant!  I was on a high afterwards. I loved it (well, most of it!), I felt a huge sense of pride and achievement.  I felt so much, I didn't know what to write.  I just couldn't begin.  So I didn't...  and then time passed and it seemed to far away and I lost momentum.

But now I want to start blogging about running again, so I feel I have to update things.  I hate leaving work unfinished!

So, quick race report.
Michelle was unable to run. She was still hobbling and in pain on the race day, but she insisted on coming to Norwich with me to drive me there and support me.  She was awesome.  I felt terrible that we couldn't do it together after all the training, and she was pretty gutted too, but she was/is an amazing friend.

It was a freezing freezing day.  It snowed the night before, thankfully just a sprinkling but it was so cold and grey when we started.  I was so excited lining up to start and was just determined to run my own pace and enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did.  I made a point to say hello and chat to people and I had a couple of lovely chats with people who I ran with for the odd mile here or there.  I said hello and thank you (and even high fived!) to all the marshals and people offering water.  I smiled a lot and took some photos!  After the first mile the sun came out and it was one of those glorious cold sunny winter days.    We ran around pretty little country lanes, past houses where people came out to cheer and clap.

When I ran past the half way sign I felt elated.  I hadn't stopped and walked yet and I was feeling great.

Between miles 8 and 9 it was horribly hilly but I kept going, but those hills made my hip start to ache.  By mile 10 I was starting to really flag and slow down.  And then I hit another massive hill approaching mile 11 and had to walk up it, and then the weather turned.  I kept going, determined to try and get to the finish before it started to rain, but I was getting slower and slower, running for 5 mins then having to walk for a minute,  and at mile 12 it started to bucket down, cold, heavy sleety snowy rain.  My glasses were fogged, I was wading through freezing puddles. Started to hate it, just wanted to finish.

Shortly after that, we turned back into the Norwich showground and had a mile lap to do in front of the spectators (and earlier finishers), in the rain. It was miserable. Thankfully i saw Michelle as I started that final mile and that little cheer kept me going.

I still had to walk run that last mile, until the last quarter mile when I just went for it!  I came over the line with a massive grin on my face and burst into tears.  I couldn't believe how amazing it felt to finish.  I was so overwhelmed by what I'd what I'd achieved.  I finished in 2 hours 45.  Fine for my pace and i was just glad to finish although I really wish I hadn't walked and got closer to 2.5 hours.

I ached a lot after- it was a painfully slow (and wet) walk back to the car.  And I kept getting cramp in the car on the way home.  But I felt epic. EPIC.  I wanted to do it again...