Monday, 31 May 2010

Bupa 10,000

If I start from the top I'm going to have to tell you about my night out on the town with my bf & bff (boyfriend and best friend forever). Well let's just say it was a good night and even though we left early (02:30), by the time we'd stopped at Bagel Bites and grabbed something to eat it was after 03:00 when we returned to our hotel. I got up around 07:30, so a severe lack of sleep! Luckily I don't drink so alcohol wasn't contaminating my system! I ended up having a cooked breakfast around 08:30, which is late for me - I like to eat 2 hours before I run. Couldn't be helped so I jumped on the train and made my way down to St. James' Park.

The park was bustling and luckily well signposted. I headed over to the baggage tent then picked up my free Lucozade Sport Lite. I was hoping to meet up with Kate, but I hadn't heard from her so made my way to my pen solo. It was really well organised and and the various waves went off smoothly. I was in the blue wave group A, the red wave was elites and celebrities, blue wave I assumed was club runners and the green wave behind me probably walkers, again an assumption, because on my way back I saw them all walking at the 2-3km stage! My wave got going at 10:10 only 10 mins passed the official start, I had anticipated waiting around a lot longer!

The route was great, the finish was in front of Buckingham Palace, we ran up and down Victoria Embankment into the city turning around into Fenchurch Street and coming back down. I'm glad I brought my own fuel as there was only one water station carefully positioned after 2km and before 8km to feed both runners starting out on one side and returning on the other side. There was also two 'shower stations' sprinkling cool water on runners just after the 5km and 8km points. This was welcomed relief as even though it wasn't a hot, sunny day, it was hard work and I was working up a heat!

I had warmed up quite well, but still started off slowly in the crowds. A good thing as I don't think I would have coped had I gone off at the gun. Even though I drive these streets regularly, I wasn't prepared for the 'peaks and trofs' along the course. In fact I had driven the route just that morning on my way back from the club so I guess I should have been paying attention! The plan was to take the first 5km easy, but still faster then my training times. At the 5km mark I planned to pretend I was running a 5km and see how I got on... Unfortunately at the 5km mark I got a stitch in my side that had me contemplating stopping for a breather, but I refused to slow down and decided to keep going. It was painful, but I reminded myself of why I was there what I wanted to achieve and obviously the lovely medal I would be walking home with! At 7km as my stitch was fading in intensity, I got another one on the other side! I was sooooo glad to see 8km then 9km and stepped up the tempo as much as I could endure. By the time I returned to the park and saw the 400m to go sign I wasn't sure I had much more in me. I wanted to sprint the rest, but whilst my heart was in it my legs were just not getting the message! I did manage to make it the quickest km of the race at 5:12, but I still didn't get in as fast as I wanted. My goal was to get in under 1:00:00 and although I recorded slightly more than 10km at 10.19km, my Garmin time was 1:00:46, 47 seconds more than what I wanted! ARGH!!! One consolation is I know I tried my best and really couldn't have pushed any harder if I tried.

The plan was to have a picnic in the park after the race with my family and my sister and her brood were at the finish when I passed through the 'runners walk'. There was still loads of people finishing when I finally met up with Mum, Gran and my Aunt and the kids and word is its my own fault for being so fast! Had I been slower they would have been able to see me finish, I guess I should have run around again to helped them out! We did have a great day in the end even if my Aunt's idea of making a picnic is calling the local pizza parlour and requesting a delivery! Everyone decided they wanted to race and we ended up having little sprints in the park. My 17 year old cousin and brother both beat me - no surprise there, they are both tall, one's stocky, one's lanky and they didn't just run 10km! I did manage to beat my Mum and my sister who ran in her heels! Minor victories, but we had fun. There was a wonderful Pelican who decided to join us and ran around the green as if he owned the place! Beautiful bird, the kids were scared to feed him, I guess he was a little big for a bird! lol

The one downside to the day was the disappointment of London Underground. The Jubilee line was down so I travelled on the Bakerloo line to Embankment then jumped two stops to St James' Park station. On the way home however, we went back to Embankment to discover there had been a train failure and the Bakerloo line was part suspended to Paddington. So we jumped on the train back past St James' Park to Paddington. Only when we got to Paddington there had been a fire on the line and no trains were running! Needless to say we ended up taking a long walk and jumping on the bus! Despite that it was a great fun day out with the family and oh the medal isn't half bad too!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Hairy Haggis Relay - 23rd May 2010

One of my goals for 2010 was to run in a relay. I tried to pull a couple together last year, but my contact lists of runners was not that long at the time. Luckily I've made a few new runner friends this year (thank God for Twitter!), and when I mentioned that I wanted to run in a relay  Kate piped up and said she had a space on a relay she'd planned in Edinburgh. Two of the other things on my list of goals for 2010 are to run in either Scotland, Ireland or Wales and to go to Edinburgh, tick, tick!

The whole experience was great, we went up on Friday night and arrived around midnight. Saturday we went down to the beach and had lunch at a quaint little pub. After a brief respite in the afternoon we did a bit of reconnaissance and checked out the shuttle bus and start line points and saw a little of the sights of Edinburgh. Not enough time to really enjoy the city, but it did whet my appetite!

The relay was four sections over the 26.2 miles; Kate ran the first leg of 8.1 miles, Nicole ran the second leg of 5.4 miles, I ran the third leg of 8.0 miles and Michele ran the last leg of 4.7 miles. It was unbelievably hot at 26C and boy did we feel it! When I got up that morning it was raining outside. I had dressed in shorts and a shimmel to run, but watching the rain at breakfast I changed into capris and a t-shirt. Big mistake, the rain soon cleared up and the sun came out in full force! Who knew Scotland could be so hot!

My pen was next to Michele's, so we got the shuttle bus together at 10:30 and waited anxiously for Nicole to turn up, texting Kate to find out how she got on. We had examined the maps carefully the night before and it showed a fuel station just after the pens, so I left my fuel at home - one less thing to carry. Unfortunately the fuel station was just in front of the handover point so I had to grab one of the Lucozade bottles meant for the returning runners to keep me going; mistake number two. 

I took my time in transition, which may have cost the team precious seconds as there wasn't a sensor mat as I left the pen as promised in the race details. There should have been a mat going in to stop the clock and going out to start it again :-(. Oh well! 

The run felt a lot harder in the heat, but we had a lot of good support along the way. Well, except for that bit that went through what must have been a farm. The smell in the heat was potent to say the least... Every water station I came to was a blessing and I drank a whole bottle of water from each station along the way, which is a lot for me and indicative of the temperature! As I hit my 8 miles and returned to the next pen I went past local residents on their front lawns with hoses. Would have been great along the course but when I knew I had only seconds till the finish all I was thinking is I'm gonna be walking around dripping wet! I've never been so glad to see a finish line in my life albeit a partial finish line! The heat was murderous and unexpected and I ended up with a great tan line outlining my Garmin!

I must admit it did feel strange having to wait around for someone else to collect my medal; I'm used to be rewarded as soon as I finish running! Running a relay is completely different, the anxiousness you feel for your team members; I found it really hard trying to guess where everyone was and who they were doing, but it was great to feel I had achieve something with the help of three others! Just in case you were wondering here's a pic of the team!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Quintiles Bracknell Half

I'm feeling on top of the world! I was seriously apprehensive coming up to this race. For the most part I tried to ignore it; just an innocuous date in my diary. Saturday arrived however and I left it to the last possible moment before getting my race gear ready for the morning ahead. It was an early start to get to Bracknell; I was up at 06:00 and on the road before 07:00. The race was due to start at 09:00 and I had a 1.5 hour journey ahead of me!

I was seriously falling asleep behind the wheel on the way down there and just wanted to get there early enough to snooze for 20mins beforehand! As I got there it was way too busy for me to cat nap and I got myself ready slowly to race, going back to the car a couple of times - nerves! 

As the race got started I really wondered if I was gonna make it the whole way round, I gave myself goals; I know I can do 3 miles, lets see how I go after that. Once I got past 6 miles and hit the half way point (that wasn't marked btw; poor form I know) it occurred to me that the last time I'd done a half my ankle went after 8 miles. The 9 mile marker was now my goal. I remember people calling my name, little kids with sweets and "Have a sweet, Ms Sweets!". So glad I put my name on my shirt! Sooner than I thought mile 9 came around, then 10, 11, 12 and I tried to pick up the pace for the final mile making it my third fastest mile for the whole race! As soon as the end was in sight I picked up the pace even further and sprinted the last 200m overtaking five people within yards of the finish! Having the crowds cheer me on really helped and I amazed myself that my ankle held up all the way through! I came in at 2:14:57 which is great considering I'm just off injury!

It was an amazing day, even if I did go home hit the shower and crash in bed afterwards. So much for date night! Sorry KG... The race organisation was great - I received a booklet in the post with all the details and a full list of all the runners. The medal is gorgeous, there was a gym bag, water bottle and t-shirt, and the entry fee was only £16! The only downside is that there was only water on offer on the course, am I spoiled with my visions of energy drinks now?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

BHF London Jog Trilogy - Tower of London Jog

I meant to post this on Wednesday, but ended up spending the whole evening in London and forgot! If I'm honest I was kinda dreading this run, I still have bruises all over my legs from the fall I took off my bike on Saturday and I spent the morning at A & E having my ankle checked out. I'd found a lump over one of the screws and I needed to check that it wasn't my screw dislodged after my fall. Luckily it wasn't apparently the knock caused a lump of tissue to grow (in a perfect little circle I might add!) over the screw head. Given the all clear I had no excuse not to use some TOIL and bunk off work early to travel to London for this jog. 

I arrived at 18:00 and planned to run 10km. I'd planned to meet @Donna_De there as well who was coming over after work. At the start I was a bit nervous; the run had been going since 16:30, it was one of those dip in dip out runs that you could start when you wanted and finish when your ready. The actual run was a loop in the moat of the Tower, not a loop all around, but a loop back on yourself around three sides of the tower. Each loop was meant to be 1km, but when they measured it it came up as 0.9km, which meant I needed to do 11 loops instead of the 10 I had mentally prepared for! Luckily I only heard the announcement once I was well into my run and by that time and extra loop didn't really mean much!

The first 3 loops were the hardest, I wasn't sure I would make it and I felt so unfit! Just once I'd warmed up (maybe I should have done that before...) it was actually quite fun. The ground was uneven in places and soft & squidgy. I soon got a text from Donna to say she had arrived and by the time I was on my 9th lap I'd met up with her, another benefit of laps I guess! I finished up my last two laps and ran a lap with Donna and we tried to catch up as much as our breath would allow! lol. Another run down, other medal earned and the best part of the day was meeting up with Donna!

Monday, 3 May 2010

New Dawn - Tri Plan Week One

Today I started Week Two of my Triathlon Training Plan. That might not mean a lot to you, but to me it signifies something important; I completed Week One! I've had rough training programmes in my head and even had programmes drawn up for me by friends and coaches, but I've never stuck to them. After recovering from my injury however I wanted to take my training more seriously and use a proper plan, stick to it and see if I could make it to the London Triathlon in one piece, gutted as I was that injury kept me away from the London Marathon. 

So Week One is under my belt, I swam 1300m, rode 31km and ran 30km. I also did a spin class, 3 core sessions and survived a tumble off my bike. I am on my way. Actually beginning to feel like a triathlete now and damn does it feel good! I can not tell you how tired I am though! I went out Saturday to see my little brother perform and Sunday night to a club with the girls. Now you know you're an athlete when you don't dance too hard in case you cause yourself an injury! lol. I did mix up my rest days to fit my social life in which meat I did not have one clear day where I was doing to training whatsoever, which is probably bad in the long run, but I intend to rectify that this week and rest up completely on Saturday and just do core work on Wednesday (and go to bed early too!).

Last week was a good week, even including the tumble. I have bruises on my legs, my arse is sore form all the hours on the bike and I think one of the screws in my ankle has come loose, but I am happy. Happy to make it through Week One and I've already got started on Week Two; Bank Holiday Monday and I've ridden 26.5 mile already! I have my first half marathon since my injury on Sunday and I'm looking forward to that already, I'm planning a nice and steady run no PBs, just feeling the legs out again. Week Two here I come!