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...