Monday, 31 May 2010

Mo sets a new British Record....

.... I did OK-ish!

Up early this morning (woe, alas and on a Bank Holiday too) to get the children to their grandparents' house and catch the 7.14am train up to London. Good old rail company was offering a Saturday service but not charging 'off peak' rates for trains or car parking. As I boarded the train I spotted two women toting the 'official' kit storage bags, and at every station on the way more race bound people joined the train. I was reminded of the Philip Larkin poem 'Whitsun Weddings,' and if I were cleverer I would be able to pen a witty parody on the theme!

By the time I arrived at Green Park, runners were streaming out of the station, and my first thought was, "Where is the lovely warm weather we were promised? It is bloody freezing!" My second thought was, "Oh! Look! More Elephants!" I had a quick dash around the park to take photos of the ones I could see - and as I don't have a photo of me yet (will have to see how awful the official race ones are) this lovely elephant will have to do for now!

The race seemed well organised, plenty of loos, lots of race photographers, very efficient baggage store arrangements. I chatted with several people as I made my way to the start line. I was keeping my eyes open for a cyber buddy from Running4Women but didn't manage to spot her in the 13,000+ runners assembling in Birdcage Walk. Last time I was in Birdcage Walk on foot was for the Queen Mum's 90th birthday celebrations, I was part of the Honour Guard for the ULOTC and we had lots of Japanese tourists snapping photos of us. I seem to recall that it was a blisteringly hot day on which to be wearing dress uniforms - very different from today!

The start was well organised - after the elite athletes we went off in 9 waves. At the start of our wave the 'celebs' started too. I have to admit that I didn't recognise any of them.

My start was not too great. I hit the 1km marker at 4minutes (by my watch), way too fast for me to sustain over another 9km, I consciously slowed down - but that was hard as the support was great and my legs felt good. Between 2 and 3km we met Mo Farah coming back down the other side of the Embankment (his 8km) - he looked fantastic, making running look so effortless as I plodded along like an elephant! Good hearted cheers for the elite athletes as we passed them and I am not surprised to see that Mo completed the race in 27mins 44 secs and broke his previously held British 10,000m record as he looked in fine form.

Water at 3km - why can't people throw the empty bottles to the side of the road? I'm not mad on playing hopscotch at the best of times!

Running through the City was fun! I see that there is a House of Fraser in what used to be a branch of the bank I used to work for, we passed old watering holes, and survived the cobbles of Leadenhall Market. The support from spectators was excellent throughout, lots of cheering. It was the first time I had put my name on my vest, and I am glad I did! Thank you to all the lovely people who shouted 'COME ON TORIA!' It really does make a difference, if only that you lift your head up to see who is shouting and smile at them.

Between 8 & 9km there was a group of high viz jackets at the side of the road, human nature being what it is, I think we all looked as we passed. And then wished we hadn't. A quick glimpse of a man being given CPR. I hope he is OK. My thoughts are with him and his family today.

The last part of the race seemed very hard, I'd already calculated that there was no way I could beat my PB (52 mins) but that I was ahead of where I thought I would be (54mins) and the fun of running seemed to have vanished - all the supporters were cheering us on, not knowing that there was a very sick man just a few hundred meters away!

I think I finished in about 52mins 45 secs, so not too bad. Will have to wait for the official times to come in. I'm glad I did the race. It was a lovely flat route, but very busy all the way around. The organisation was great at the finish too and, although I didn't meet up with my cyber buddy Carol, I met some friendly people to chat to!

I'll definitely put this one in my diary to do next year - but don't think I'll be catching up with Mo any time soon!

Friday, 28 May 2010

I love my running club!

I am a member of an online running club, Running4Women. It is a great source of information and support, my membership and the clubs affiliation to English Athletics Association gets me discounted race entry fees, which in the course of a year will probably pay my membership fee. I don't feel that I have to go out and run with people, but know that there is a chance I will spot a club vest at some of the bigger races. And today, thanks to the club, a pair of Nikes arrived in the post for me to review! Fabulous! I won't trial them until next week, just in case they give me vile blisters before my race on Monday.

Yesterday was a busy day. Up early to go to an auction in London, where Stephen was bidding on behalf of a client. I slept on the train on the way there and back and really thought I was too tired to run. With this in mind I set off on a run, thinking that there is no shame in turning back. As I ran I started to feel better, and ended up running 5.75 miles in 49 minutes. I ran partly on public footpaths across farmland. The last time I ran this route was in the winter, when it was muddy and I got caught in a hail storm. This time the crops had grown considerably and with my short legs I had to hurdle hummocks of grass. The farmer had also put course gravel on most of his farm tracks - this may be great for tractors, but it was really horrible to run on.

I'm getting excited about the race on Monday! It is a strange day for a race - meaning I will have to miss my long run on Sunday. I've checked train times, have my number pinned on my vest already, timing chip is safely waiting to be attached to shoes, and I've read the description of the route about a thousand times! There are thousands of entrants in this race, so I suspect that the start will be a bit of a bun fight, despite the fact that it starts in 9 waves. I have no idea how fast I will run it. My PB is 52 minutes, but I don't think I am running that fast at the moment.

Will have a short run with Stephen this evening - probably about 4 miles, and then I hope to get to a spinning class tomorrow morning. All I need to do now is get to the magical £500 sponsorship mark! Not quite sure what happens if I don't get the full amount but I don't really want to find out!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


I always go a bit mad with the camera when I am let loose at the Chelsea Flower Show. Luckily for any readers I can't work out how to add more than five pictures to a blog entry! They'll appear here in no particular order. We had a lovely day. The weather was cooler than it has been of late, but dry and sunny, ideal for wandering around, looking at beautiful things. I am always amazed at the perfection in every bloom on show and this year was no exception. I did order a fair few tulip bulbs from Bloms . In a quaintly trusting way, one orders the bulbs now for delivery in October. No credit card information is given, but an invoice is sent out after delivery of the bulbs!

Got to love an elephant! Especially this one made entirely out of flowers!

These were stunning too! I like browsing around the Grand Pavilion as you can actually get to see the flowers in there. The show gardens are beautiful but, even on members' day, it is hard to get to see them, and once you have elbowed your way to the front you tend to only see a snippet, not being able to step back and see the garden in its entirety as the designer intended. In some ways it is better to see the show gardens on the TV coverage. One can't do the show justice either way really, but a combination of being there and TV works well for me. Being there gives ample opportunity for retail therapy too.....

Talking of beautiful things - two lovely ladies hiding their lights under glasses of pink champagne! And one of those ladies trying to hide herself by pretending to be a cushion!

The observant amongst you will remember that my youngest had a birthday today! She is now four years old. She had a great day with cupcakes, presents, birthday cake, presents, presents and more presents! She has her own baby now, and a buggy for the baby too.

As this is supposed to be a blog about running, I should also mention that I went out running with Stephen again. We ran the same route as yesterday, but he managed to run the whole 4.33 miles and I knocked 2 minutes of yesterday's time to run it in 36 minutes, so about 8min 14secs a mile. Apparently I run at the same pace whether I am running up hill, on the flat or down hill, appart from on the 'home stretch' where I subconciously pick up the pace - I wasn't aware of this! I also twist my upper body too much as I run still, so more work on those pesky abs is needed. Good to have some feedback on what I am doing other than just times, and it won't be long before Stephen is back up to speed and leaving me for standing. Hopefully running with him from time to time will spur me on to run faster. I am enjoying this brief spell of being the faster, fitter runner!

Monday, 24 May 2010

I have runners' feet...

...I'm just waiting for the legs to be delivered! Honestly, my feet are horrible, covered in patches of hard skin, the remains of blisters, I have one toe nail that has gone grey (no idea what's going on there) and I have to resort to really bright nail varnish, if I want to wear open toe shoes, to make sure that people don't look at the sorry state of the rest of my feet. My legs, on the other hand, remain resolutely un-lovely! I have been running for weeks in shorts in the hope of getting a glimmer of a tan, I have been running for years in the hope of getting a pair of gorgeously toned legs, but they have yet to make an appearance. Maybe, by the time I hit 70, something will kick in and I'll have slender legs, in the meantime I should apologise to all those who have been exposed to my white, flabby legs this week. It is far too sunny to wear anything other than a mini skirt!

Ran this evening with my husband and, you know, it wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be! The last few times I've regarded it as a sacrifice of my precious 'me' time, so resented every step! Tonight it was different. I'm not entirely sure why. It was hot, about 28c when we set out, and very sunny. The plan was to run one of my favourite short routes (know as the Christmas Day run as I first ran it on Christmas Day 2008). On that occasion it took me 45 minutes to cover the 4.33miles. Today we ran and talked, talked and ran, and then stopped for a bit of a walk (Stephen is just starting running again after a long break with back problems and the heat, distance etc. were too much for him) ran again, with me yabbering away 13 to the dozen, until Stephen announced he would walk the rest of the way. I ran on alone, MP3-less, for the last mile. It was good to have a short time without any music/talking. I don't take my MP3 to races, because I like the buzz and the random, snatched conversations with other runners, but I think I'd get bored running alone, for long distances without noise!

Arriving back at the start point I was amazed to find that I'd only taken 38 minutes! It didn't seem as though we'd been running that fast. I sat on the bridge, having done a few stretches that got me some funny looks from passing motorists and a wolf whistle from some passing cyclists, and waited for Stephen. It was gone 7pm and still the sun was blazing - just gorgeous weather for sitting around and avoiding the midges!

In other news, it is my youngest child's 4th birthday tomorrow. Not quite sure where the last four years have gone, but madam is excited! I am being a bad parent (tm) and going to the Chelsea Flower Show first thing tomorrow morning, so I won't see her until the evening. I am such a bad parent that I nearly forgot to wrap her presents this evening - whoops! They are all wrapped now, a mass of pink paper to be ripped to shreds tomorrow after school. I have made cupcakes for all her friends at school. They had to be 'pink cakes with white icing and sprinkles on top' and here they are:

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hot, hot, hot!

Got up early today so that I could run before the heat became unbearable! At 6.30am the sun was blazing, but not too hot. I ran up Brockham Hill, a 9% hill climb near the beginning of a 6.75 mile run. It has been a while since I ran up this hill, but I was determined to fit it in this week.

The race pack for the Bupa London 10,000m arrived last week while I was in Paris. It is a very comprehensive pack, even including four safety pins for attaching my race number. The instructions included a brief overview of the course. It mentions the 'one significant climb' which had me panicking, until I checked the route on mapmyrun and saw that this 'hill' is a 2% incline and it doesn't last too long. Round here that counts as 'almost flat!' I get very excited about race packs, and a little nervous too. I love reading all the information, checking out the chip, making sure I have my race number on my kit bag etc. It's the little things that make me happy!

We took the children to see 'Cloudy with a chance of meatballs' this morning, as much to avoid sunburn as anything else, and then out to lunch. I introduced my husband to the joys of shopping at Primark and TK Maxx. A huge bag of tops for him and cheap sunglasses for the children for just £20. We stopped for ice cream on the way home - it really must be summer!

My husband took our eldest daughter out for a run this afternoon, they did try to tempt me to come too but I refrained. My daughter and I are running Race for Life again this summer, and this is the first time she had been out training. She ran for a good 20 minutes, talking all the time (she never stops talking, even in her sleep) so hopefully she'll be alright on the day!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Is Café Gourmand the best idea ever?

I am just back from a few days in France. A bit of a girlie trip - two of us went to stay with a friend of mine in Maisons Laffitte. We had a brilliant time. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much! A full run down of our itinerary would either bore you or make you jealous, but we paid Mickey a visit (yes, without the children), strolled around Paris, visited Versailles, ate, drank and made merry!

We arrived on Monday morning and having left home at 4am and been on the go all day I did not manage to fit in a run, but I got up early (6am) on the other three mornings and went out for a run. I have no idea how far I ran, as the iMap thing on my 'phone wouldn't play ball, but I was out for 50 mins to an hour, running in La forêt de Saint-Germain-en-Laye or the Parc de Maisons Laffitte. The paths and roads through the park are all very similar, I thought I was properly lost this morning - but managed to find the route home eventually! There are several benefits of early morning runs in France. One is the beautiful sunrises, and another is being able to pick up freshly baked croissants on the way home!

It was refreshing not to know how far or how fast I was running. Just to be out enjoying the scenery, dodging yappy dogs and trying not to inhale too much second had smoke! My hip seems to be well on the mend and my right hamstring no longer screams at me every time I ask it to do a little bit of work!

Perhaps my favourite discovery of this trip was Café Gourmand. First encountered when one friend decide to be abstemious and 'only order a coffee.' She ordered a 'Café Gourmand' and a plate arrived with a cup of coffee, and an artistic array of small puddings! Delicious. We couldn't get enough of them!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Quick check in here, before I go!

I'm off to Paris in the morning and, due to the early start, I'm staying with a friend tonight so we can set off bright and early.

Running has not gone well this week. My hamstrings hurt! I've managed about 25 miles, and only had time to run 9 miles today (my 'long' run day) as opposed to the 11 I'd hoped to do. Still, I have some new hamstring stretches to try, so we'll see how that goes.

Not sure how much running I'll get done this coming week - but figure that Disneyland, sight seeing and shopping are a form of cross training!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

10 miles is a lot further than 10 km!

Mentioned to someone that I'd run my first 10 mile race and they said 'Oh, but you used to run a lot of 10k races - so 10 miles isn't that much further!' She was a non runner and, I am beginning to think, a non mathematician! 10 km is, well, 10 km, 10 miles is 16.1km - that is a whopping 6.1km further than a 10km race. That's quite a long way - it is twice the distance between here and my nearest supermarket and most people jump in the car to get there!

I've decided that I need to train myself to be less competitive. I will never be a fast runner, I started too late, have the wrong physique and don't dedicate enough time to training to even come close to people who are fast for my age. I love running, it is good for my health and mental wellbeing, and need to learn that this is all that really matters. I am in awe people I know, who at age 50+ can run a marathon sub 3hrs 30mins - I'll never do that - but hats off to Jo!

With this in mind (the non competitive thing!) I've just entered the Brighton Marathon for next April - there is no way I will get a fast time. I've got a target time in my mind and will work towards that. It isn't fast, but it is, I hope, respectable. It is a week before the London Marathon, so if I get a place in London I'll defer my Brighton place. I think they factor that in to the numbers they allow to apply as they ask if you have also applied to the London ballot.

So, what ever happens I'll be running a marathon in April 2011. Eek! I said I'd never do one, that I liked 10k and would stick with that! 2.5 months back into running and I've already broken that resolution and done a 10 miler. I've just got to remember to enjoy running for the sake of running, not running to chase a personal best etc. I think a few runs without a watch are called for.

In other news....

No running for me today! Sorted out a HUGE load of books that came into the shop today and then off to Fat Olives for lunch with a friend. I devoured: asparagus mouse, asparagus and quails eggs, salmon with a mint and pea cream sauce, (washed down with a lovely Macon Fuisse) rhubarb clafoutis and rhubarb sorbet with a glass of pudding wine! I wouldn't recommend lunching this way every day as I spent most of the afternoon trying to stay awake, but once in a while it is nice to have a bit of a blow out!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Hurting hamstrings!

My right hamstring is so, so, tight! When the woman at the beauty salon asked me to lift my leg so she could wax it properly I thought I was going to have to say that she would have to move it herself. I survived, and have lovely smooth legs (and shapely eyebrows) into the bargain.

I've hobbled through the day, stopping to do all sorts of hamstring stretches when I thought no one was looking. It has to get better I don't want to cut down on the running when I am enjoying it so much. Went for a 3 mile run with Stephen this evening. After being dry and sunny (if cold) all day, the rain came down as we left the house. I am not sure how I feel about this running together lark. As soon as he regains fitness he is going to leave me standing. At the moment we bimble along happily enough at a similar pace, although I will admit that I am taking it very easy this week, so the short runs with him are probably a good idea. And it is nice to get out of the house and do something together.

I think I may have a day off tomorrow, although I shouldn't as I am off to Fat Olives in Emsworth for lunch - so will have plenty of calories to burn. I'll have to see how the timings work out. I seem to have lost the knack of getting up early in the morning to go out before the children were awake. That worked OK when I was only running for 30 minutes - but trying to fit an hour or more in at that time of day means I have to get up before I go to bed.

Elder daughter informs me that tomorrow morning is the last of their SATs papers (I am not very up to date on what she is doing when because I am a Bad Mummy) and that they are having a party after they finish. Apparently she has informed the class that she will bring a cake with her.... so she turned up after school with several packets of Smarties (I won't buy them) and demanded that a cake be conjured from the ether! The result is below.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Today's witty comment

Today's witty comment came from the man serving me in WHSmith. I approached the counter with a copy of 'The Knitter' and a copy of 'Runner's World.' Man behind the counter said 'Oh, a magazine for you and one for your husband.' For once I had a clever reply. 'Oh yes,' I said 'My husband loves knitting!' Seriously - is it so unusual for one person to have more than one interest in life?

Yesterday I went for a run with my husband. This is a very rare occurrence as a) leaving 5 children home alone is not always a wise move, b) I jealously guard my 'me' time, and c) when fit he is a lot faster than me, and that is just plain demoralising. He is recovering from a back injury, and has only been back to running for a week - so I wasn't too worried about being left standing. We didn't go far, about 2.5 miles, at a fairly gentle pace. My legs were screaming in protest at being made to work again after Sunday's exertions. It was nice to chat as we ran, but I really do prefer running on my own.

Today I did a slow 4.5 mile run. Listening to an audio book ('House Rules' by Jodi Picoult) on my iPhone and to the aches and pains in my body. I choose an audio book over music when I want a relaxed run as I don't run to a beat - just as I feel like running. I do wish the weather would make its mind up though. Was dark, overcast and chilly (especially in the wind) when I set out, had a few minutes of blazing sun and lovely warmth, and then brooding storm clouds again.

In other news, my elder daughter is part way through her KS2 SATs week. Can't say it has made a huge difference to the stress levels chez nous! We are having issues with our eldest's school - he missed half of last term due to a gangrenous appendix, and the school are being less than helpful with helping him catch up. We had to beg and grovel for the three small bits of work that they managed to give us while he was away, they didn't tell him he would have a maths test (on work that hadn't been sent home to him) in his first week back, and none of the teachers have provided us with any of the information we asked of them as we'd missed parents' evening. I've spend today contacting schools, rearranging ultrasound scans, and generally working my way a little further down my 'to do' list without any sense of having really achieved anything.

Never mind.... this time next week I'll be in Paris! And to keep me happy in the meantime, here are some lovely tulips I saw outside school today.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Today's customer service award goes to....

.... Sweatshop at Harrods!

I bought a pair of running shoes from there a week or two ago and, because I was in a hurry, I believed the salesman when he said that he didn't need to see me on the treadmill to know that they were perfect for my feet.

They weren't. I wore them twice, once for 6 miles and once (last Sunday) for 10 miles. It felt like I had strange boxes attached to my feet - almost as though my feet weren't attached to my body. I thought it was just a 'new shoe' thing, but the morning after I ran 10 miles in them I woke up with a really achey left hip. The shoes were offering no support for my overpronation, and as a result I had thrown my hip out.

So, I bought a new pair of shoes (from the lovely people at Alton Sports) and thought that I was just going to have to chalk it up to experience and live with being £80 out of pocket for a pair of trainers that I would never wear again. On a whim, late on Saturday evening, I emailed Harrods, via the 'Contact Us' button on the website, and outlined the problem. I said I was disappointed in the lack of service, and despite being a Rewards Points Junkie (TM) I would not be inclined to make any further purchases from their sports department. I really didn't expect much of a response.

Yesterday evening (yes Sunday!) I found an email in my in box, apologising profusely for the 'appalling' service, offering me a full refund and refund of either first hour's parking in the car park or postage costs and promising to ensure that the member of staff concerned receives more training - the treadmill and gait analysis video camera is right there in the department, they may as well use it! So shoes have been boxed up and sent on their way back to Knightsbridge via Recorded Delivery, and I await my refund with my faith in good customer service restored.

In other news....

I am feeling a bit stiff this morning, but miraculously my hip feels much better! Maybe running 10 miles in running shoes that fit properly has bashed my hip back into shape. I plan a short run later today to test it out. I may even run with my husband, who has started running again after a long break due to a back injury.

I am still disappointed about the way I ran yesterday - which is silly as my target was to run around 1hr 30mins - and that is what I did. I just know I could have done better! Also - the official photographer's photos of me running for the finish line are really awful! I am grimacing and look as though I am in real pain, which I was, but I made a conscious effort to smile for the photographer. Either my smile is very odd or he took the photos when I wasn't looking serene and lovely!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Make mine a paracetemol and voltarol cocktail please!

Up early this morning so that I could get to the race start early and pick up my number, after that I came home and made sure that the children had a list of instructions about what to do, and what not to do while I was out. 15 trips to the loo later I wandered down to the start - only a mile from my house, my hip was aching every time my left foot hit the ground. I decided to try to ignore this in the hope that it would stop hurting once I was properly warmed up. Despite this being a very local race, I only saw 2 faces I recognised, there were probably more people there, but I didn't see them in the crowds.

I tried not to let myself be daunted by the fact that the starting positions were labelled less than 50mins, 50 - 65mins, 60 - 65 mins and 65mins plus! I hadn't realised that this was a County Championship race, so club shirts abounded and there were hundreds of scarily fit and impossibly skinny people lining up to start. As it turned out my position at the start of the race didn't really mattered, as I didn't even hear the starting pistol, only realising that something was afoot as people started to move past me.

At this point the weather was cold (about 5C) and drizzling - a depressing start, but spirits were generally high. Through the village, past my road and Kitty and Hamish cheering me on, and out up the steady climb to Binstead. The uphills were OK, but the downhills were a killer on my hip - I had to slow down as I went downhill to minimise the impact. I constantly heard people complaining about the hills! The course is described as 'undulating' and it certainly was. One man said that he was pretty sure that there wasn't a level stretch on the whole run - I think he was right. Luckily, this is my normal stomping ground, so I knew when the hills were coming.

I ran too fast at the start, passing the 2 mile marker after just 14 minutes. I find it hard to pace myself when in the middle of a group. I want to keep up/overtake all the time. I paid for this later in the race. My hip was aching constantly by about mile 6, so I just had to do a bit of mind over matter, and to slow down on the downhills, when I could have gained some speed.

Kitty and Hamish were waiting for me as we came back into the village, complaining that they had been waiting for me for 33 minutes and that I was 'very slow!' They took photos - see above - and Hamish ran with me for a little while - until I realised he was wearing Crocs and sent him home!

The last mile seemed to go really well - once I got past the psychological hurdle of running past my house. I was, at last, overtaking people! Catching up and passing people who had sailed past me a few miles earlier. As I approached the finish line the timer was reading 1hr 29mins and 56secs - I hope that I managed to squeak through in under 90 mins. Even if the official time is a second or two over I am going to count it as 90mins - as it took a while to pass the start.

I was aiming for about this time, but still feel a bit disappointed with it. It is over 3 minutes faster than when I ran it last Sunday, but I now I could have run faster if my hip had been better. The fact that my neighbour beat me by 12 minutes is probably due to the fact he is 18years old and about a foot taller than me rather than any shortcomings on my part! Still, I suppose it is better to have this as a benchmark than a freakishly good time! It is the first race I have run in nearly two years, and the longest. I only decided to do this race last week and haven't really trained for a 10miler - hopefully things can only get better! At least I know that I am going to be able to cope with the two 10k races I have coming up, the Bupa 10,000m for Cancer Research and the British 10k for Andrews' School Development Trust, and am reasonably confident about the extra 3.1miles needed for a half marathon.

Felt very flat after the race as I was there by myself. The mile long walk back home, limping slightly, clutching my medal, was bitterly cold, and the children were unimpressed with my achievement! I emptied the tank of hot water for a very long shower, then had to go to Sainsburys to get something for lunch - I really do lead a rock 'n'roll life style! Tonight I shall slump in front of the TV and watch '24' and 'House!' In the meantime I am catching up on washing school uniforms and P.E. kits to a constant background of squabbling children. Oh, and I owe myself that cocktail of painkillers!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Fashion crisis!

I'm having a footwear crisis! What to wear tomorrow? My mizunas have done 16 miles, not caused any blisters, but threw my hip out so they are not an option. My old Asics are probably a bit beyond their sell by date, but my new Asics have only done 7 miles. No blisters caused by those 7 miles, but it is early days and 4 miles in to a 10 mile race is not the time to discover that they rub like mad in one place.

At the moment the weather is cold and miserable, with more of the same forecast for tomorrow. I am trying to gauge how much time I'll have to spend standing around waiting (and freezing) before the start. I'm going on my own, as Stephen is working in London, so won't have anyone to chuck my sweatshirt too as I wait to start. Hopefully the organisation will be nice and smooth.

Maybe I need to devise a 'lucky running kit' that I wear for all races - that would certainly take the hours of indecision out of the choice. Alternatively, and this is the route my husband prefers, I could own just one of everything to eliminate choice. Think I'll wear my 'Running4Women' vest as I don't mind sticking safety pins in that one, and because being a member of Running4Women gave me a discounted race entry fee! Shorts/capris/long running tights will be a weather influenced decision. I think a cap will be a necessity, but worry that it may be too dark for me to see where I am going if I wear my shades! Off out to see 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' this evening, which is showing at our local cinema. The screen is only just bigger than our TV at home, and fresh pop corn is not an option. I hope that the film is good! I've been raving about the books for ages.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election night!

What a day. I've been for coffee with friends, seen Iron Man 2, done the school run, voted (explaining everything to an attendant eight year old) been for a run (more of that later), watched my middle child sing his heart out in his school's festival of arts, entered another race and am now waiting for cup cakes to finish cooking while listening to the election coverage. So far only one seat has declared.

Iron Man 2 was OK, not as good as the first film, and a bit slow in the middle - although this tedium was relieved by a 'phone call from a friend asking me for bread maker recommendations! The school festival arts was lovely - lots of the children's art work on display, short plays and musical performances in the drama studio, I didn't know that Hamish could sing, but he had the lead role in his class's production, and sang beautifully, filling the hall without any amplification. I know I couldn't stand up and sing solo in front of a crowded room, let alone sing a solo while remaining in character and acting at the same time.

Somewhere in the midst of school runs and voting I managed to fit in a quick run. Obviously the psychology of saying 'quick' run works - I only ran 3.36 miles, but did that in 26 minutes - so 7 mins 44 secs per mile - which is faster than I have run in a long time. Weather was rather lovely - warm and sunny, and running home from the town centre, rather than along country lanes meant that there were far fewer bugs to avoid swallowing, even if I did have to slalom around pedestrians. I had lovely new tights and top, capri length tights and vest top that match - I am sure that looking nice (or thinking that I look nice) makes me run better. I have a sore hip though - so will 'rest' (cue hollow laughter at the thought of resting with 5 children) between now and Sunday. I am looking forward to the race, and don't want to aggravate my hip before then.

In a fit of madness I have just registered online for the Paris - Versailles : La Grande Classique on 26th September, this looks like an interesting 10 mile race, which would necessitate a stay with my lovely friends in Maisons-Laffitte. I have registered for Run to the Beat (half marathon) on the same day, but the temptation of finishing a race at Versailles is quite strong! A lot will depend on whether I am teaching or not in September. While a trip up to London is manageable while on teaching practice, a trip to Paris may well be out of the question.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Too, too tired

I am so tired today that I have decided not to run! I did do 2 and a half hours walking around pushing leaflets through doors, so I haven't been totally inactive.

I ache all over though, so I have been eating lots of lovely fresh fruit and trying to put Sunday's 10 mile race out of my mind (who am I kidding? I rushed home to see if my race programme had come in today's post and was disappointed when it had not!) This is the first race I have done since June last year, and I am worried about it. I told the girl in the running shop that I was doing it just as a training run, getting back to having a race head on, and that I wouldn't want to put the youngsters to shame. But I know what I am like - I will want to do as well as I can. In my head I know the time I am aiming for, and know how upset I will be if I don't come close - which given the way I feel today is quite a possibility!

I'll go for a shortish (4mile) run tomorrow evening and then take it easy until Sunday I think! Hips are complaining too much to risk anything more!

Voting day tomorrow - who knows what the results will be, I will be up late watching the results.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Right, just got another new pair of shoes, because I wasn't feeling the love with the other pair! They didn't offer enough support for my overpronation, and my hips suffered after my long run on Sunday.... so back to local running shop, and the assistant I like, 10 pairs of shoes and probably a mile or two on her treadmill and I have another pair of Asics!!!! Kayano-16s this time - super sexy white and gold.

Took them out for a run (4miles in 36 mins) and they seem good - like old friends rather than something new to get used to. The run was OK. Just as I was despairing of bl%dy nature as I ran through swarm after swarm of midges the most amazing thing happened. If you live in this part of the country you'll probably have had the 'stop the car quickly to avoid the deer crossing the road momment,' well I had that today when running! 6 deer came through the hedge on my left hand side, bounced across the road and then into the open field to my right. They ran so gracefully and effortlessly I felt like a carthorse in comparison!

But, sheesh - those midges! I'm beginning to think training in the winter will be better! Much easier to put on a jacket and a hat than to spend a run swallowing the little b*ggers and running while waving my hands in front of my face looking like a madwoman!

I've gone and done it!

I threw caution to the wind this morning and entered the public ballot for the London Marathon. Won't find out if I have a place until October (which seems like a very long time - surely they can pull names out of an electronic hat well before then!) Only a 1 in 6 chance of getting a place, but I would rather have my own place than have the stress of raising £1,000+ for a charity place.

Having a bit of a stress fest about my heart rate monitor - it keeps telling me that it has a low battery, despite it only being changed about 6mths ago. There is no way I can get the battery changed before Sunday, as they have to be sent away, and I hate not wearing it when I run. Argh!!!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

So pumped!

I am so pumped! I just ran 10.15 miles!!! I have never run that far before. Not fast, 1hr 33min 29 secs, but I did it!! Now all I have to do is run in a similar time in the race next Sunday and I'll be about halfway down the womens' field. I will know the route next week too - so that should help. Oh, and I won't have been up until the wee small hours drinking and dancing next week - so that may help!

About a mile from the end some friends of mine drove past, she is also a runner and they waved and smiled - amazing how much that picked me up and gave me a boost to keep going. I now feel confident that, come September, I'll be able to run a half marathon, and am toying with seeing if I can get a place in next year's London Marathon - so yes it is official - I have lost my marbles...

Last night's 'drinking and dancing' was in aid of 'Friends of Frensham School' - lovely ball. I am sure the headmaster won't mind that I snorted champagne all over the place within seconds of meeting him - I wasn't even drunk at that point!!!