Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A few things I forgot to say yesterday!

So, as usual, in my enthusiasm to get everything down on paper I forgot a few things! Like husbando and I giggling in the car when the radio presenter said that Paula Radcliffe was returning to racing after taking 18months off to give birth! That is one heck of a long labour! There can't be many sports where people like me get to compete against world record holders. It is hugely exciting to see the elite athletes running back up the Embankment as we set out (they were on kilometre 7, we were at kilometre 3).

The picture above shows my pace profile for the race. Not terribly consistent - every so often I had to almost come to a stop as the runner in front of me abruptly pulled up, or someone moved out into my path without checking behind them. I was going to blame these dips for not making it to sub 50, but the official time shows I finished in 49:59 - which is hugely exciting for me! I like to tell myself I run because I enjoy it, that speed isn't important, but I am too competitive to believe that - even if the only person I am competing with is myself.

Just after the finish line, when I was looking mournfully at the big fat 50:01 on my watch another runner came up behind me and asked how it had gone, and said that following me had pulled her through a couple of k. She thought I must be famous because people kept shouting my name (and me being me, I like to wave to people who call my name). Only when she met me at the end of the race did she realise that I had my name in letters on the front of my vest!

And, while on the topic of running vests, I wore the same vest as last year. I know I have lost 15lbs since the end of March (being cast out of the staff room at the end of teaching practice works wonders for the waist line), but I didn't realise how long I had been carrying the extra weight for. The pictures show me last year and this year. Yes, the sun and a bit of a tan help, but how I pulled those legs and arms around a 10k course in a respectable time (52:28) is a miracle!

I am particularly pleased with my arms. I am very lazy and hate gym work, so worry about bingo wings, but it seems that running is working - oh and saying goodbye to legs like porridge is always a joy! I think I'll have to try and dig out some more comparison photos to scare you all with!

Today has been a busy day - I took the three younger children up to Leicestershire to stay with their Nanna and Auntie for a few days, then drove straight home (quick loo stop, no coffee - just enough time to get my toes licked by the new puppy) for an appointment with 'the foot man!' He is an amazing podiatrist - I think he is a wizard really - who sorted out my hip problems last year. We were going mainly for husbando, who has damaged his patella tendon, but it made sense to get my slightly twingy right calf checked out. I have a tiny new orthotic for the right shoe, my left orthotic remains the same. Husbando's orthotic has been tweaked - and made walking less painful. He has been told not to run for six weeks! Six weeks!! Then he is going to build up gradually to the Paris-Versailles.

When we got home, I set out for a 'slow, recovery run.' Lovely weather, some mellow tunes on my iPod, and a run through my favourite country lanes. I covered 3.75miles in 30 minutes - not sure what happened to slow, but it didn't feel as though I was running sub 8 min/mile!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Bupa 10,000m

When we left the house this morning it was cold, overcast and rain was forecast. I was wearing long running tights and a warm top. I took my hat with me as well as my shades. It was still cold when we parked the car in London, but by the time we arrived in Green Park the sun was shining and it was starting to warm up. Apparently we have husbando to thank for this as he left his sunglasses at home.

We met up with my friend Sue before the beginning of the race, organised wallets, 'phones, kit bags etc. before saying goodbye to husbando and heading off to the start.

This is the second year I have run this race and it was just as well organised as last year. The start is split into 9 waves (3 each in red, blue and green). The organisers use previous or predicted finish times to allocate starting waves, and this ensures a relatively smooth start. While this meant that there was less bunching as we set off it did mean that I was starting at the back of the red wave and Sue was in the green wave, so we went our separate ways to await the start.

I like this part - before the hard work starts, when you can look around, chat with people and take in the sights! I was starting with a very brave gentleman in a Borat style mankini! The chaffing doesn't bear thinking about! The start was slowish, or maybe I was trying to go too fast. I ran a mixed race, averaging about 7.54min/mile. Slow points were around 5k where there suddenly seemed to be hundreds of people in the way, and trying to overtake was a nightmare, and coming back down the Embankment I realised the the green wave were running up the other way - so I slowed slightly to lookout for my friend. I don't think I saw her, there were an awful lot of tall, dark haired women wearing white t-shirts and black shorts!

I spotted husbando as I approached Trafalgar Square, he says I was looking like I had lots of energy still. At this point I passed someone whose husband was trying to encourage to keep going so I joined in with a bit of cheerleading. We were within 500m of the finish - I know how gutted I would feel to stop running that near the end. If I look back on all the races I have ever done, I realise I have spent a fair bit of time encouraging people. Running is a friendly sport, and winning isn't everything, but today I wish I'd been a bit more selfish! My watch showed that I crossed the line in 50min 01secs - so near and yet so far! Next time I shall have to try to run all out for me! On the other hand, I have beaten last year's time and still have an achievable barrier to break. I'll have to wait for the official results - they aren't due on the website until tomorrow at 5pm.

After the race we met up with Sue and went for lunch. A bottle of prosecco slipped down very nicely. Was lovely to catch up after far too long! I had planned to go for a bike ride when we got back home, but the rain was lashing down when we got back, so that novelty will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A bit of a grump.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have pre race nerves, but on the whole I am looking forward to it.

I was really looking forward to having a friendly face in the crowd, or waiting for me just after the finish. I mostly travel to races on my own as husbando works at the weekend. He has been with me to two races, one because we were on our way to lunch with friends (who doesn't fit in their first ever 10k race on the way to Sunday lunch?) and the second because we were taking our middle child and a friend to the cinema directly after a 5k race. All the others have seen me arrive at the finish line to be met by no one. All around me people are being congratulated by friends and relatives, and I wander off to pick up my medal/goody bag on my own, then wander off to the station to come home.

So, when husbando said he'd come up to London with me for the Bupa 10,000m I was thrilled. I told him where the best places to watch would be, where we could meet up afterwards etc. But he doesn't want to 'hang around for ages' waiting for me. I said he could just get to the finish at around noon and cheer me over the finish line, but he says he'll meet me (and my friend Sue) at the restaurant for lunch. I guess I'll just have to rely on the official photographers for some pre/post and during race photos as he doesn't want to carry the camera all day.

I have the glums about this, which is silly because it is totally predictable behaviour on his part. If the boot were on the other foot I would not only want to be there, he'd expect me to be there!

Ho hum.... what I could do with is a run......

Saturday, 28 May 2011

And this was supposed to be a quiet week!

After my long run last Sunday I decided that I should take things easy in preparation for the Bupa 10,000m on Monday. Somehow I have managed to clock up just over 29 miles while, er, resting!

To be fair, I acquired two new sports bras on Thursday. These impressive feats of engineering result in my frontage remaining stationary (with respect to the rest of my body) while I run! So what if I resemble a heavily upholstered sofa?! Given that they are new, and that there are two slightly different styles, I decided that they had to be taken out for trial runs so that I wasn't going to get any unexpected surprises when I wear them on Monday. They are possibly the most unsexy items of clothing in the history of the universe, but they do the job!

One of my trial runs was the Basingstoke Parkrun. I bettered last week's time by 50 seconds! In fact I have been running increasingly fast over the last couple of weeks - not sure why. Husbando reckons it is because I have shed 15lbs so am not pulling that around with me! I just hope I can clock up a respectable time on Monday.

During the week I was chatting with a friend who has given up running for cycling. He and his wife both cycle. He has very kindly lent me his wife's mountain bike (she has a road bike) for me to try for a few weeks. I shall have a go next week after the race - it would be silly to try something new this weekend. I am exceedingly grateful for this loan! I like the idea of cycling, but not the idea of splashing out a small fortune on something that I don't get on with. It will be nice to do something on my 'rest' days, and cycling will be a great way to scout out new running routes...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Today is a rest day...

...and I hate rest days!

Don't get me wrong, I've had a lovely day! I've been up to London with husbando and one of my best friends, we have bought shoes and had lunch. We went to Rigby & Peller on the pretext of getting measured for a new sports bra, but came out with not just a functional sports bra but also a gorgeous bra and knickers set. I've lost a bit of weight recently (well 15lbs) so my bras don't fit as well as they once did, and I needed to do something to stop them wobbling around like jellies on a plate! I don't want to buy too many new bras, as I still want to lose more weight - but I figure I need a minimum of 2 new sports bras. We did all this, and still got home in time for parents evening for my three younger children. The boys are both doing really well, my younger daughter is 'capable but unmotivated!' She is the youngest of five and can't see the point of reading for herself if there is always an older sibling willing to help.

BUT, but, but... no running today and that makes me jittery! I ran on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, distances between 3.7 and 4 miles in increasingly fast times. Yesterday I ran 3.8 miles averaging 8.14 mins/mile. And yesterday I was trying to run slowly! I knew that I should take things easy because my right calf is a wee bit sore, I tried to run slowly, but it just wasn't happening. I am supposed to be doing a mini taper for the Bupa 10,000m on Monday 30th May. The problem is, 10k on a Monday really messes up the rest of my training. It isn't a long run, but I want to give it my best. I can't do my long run on Sunday as my legs will be too tired if I have run a half marathon distance on Sunday, so I will have to try to push my long run forward to Tuesday... which is a busy day anyway.

Had some lovely news today, a friend of mine, who is relatively new to running, has been browbeaten (by yours truly) into running the Bupa 10,000m on Monday. All it took was a promise of a friendly face at the finish line and lunch afterwards. I haven't seen her since I was pregnant with my middle child so it will be lovely to catch up in person while enjoying a post race glass of fizz!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wow, I think I really can do this running thing!

After yesterday's Parkrun I was worried that today's run might be a bit of an anticlimax. Husbando keeps telling me not to run the day before my long run, but there are only so many days in the week, and I don't have time for along run on many of them. After a cup of tea and a crunchy maple syrup granola bar in bed, I did some laundry and got ready for a run.

It had rained overnight, but was sunny when I set out, and windy. Very windy. At one point I came around the corner, out of the shelter of a hedge and was hit by a gust that almost knocked me sideways! I set off to run the Alton 10 route, I knew that starting from my house I would need to add on a few miles if I wanted to finish back at my house without running on into town. So, when I got to Bentley I ran up Station Road and back again. The run was harder without other people to pace myself against, but I reached the 10k point in just under 53 minutes. I hope I can pull something out of the bag for my next 10k race - I'd like to get a new PB. I saw no other runners at all today, but swarms of cyclists. Cycling looks very appealing when you are slogging up hill and the cyclists are freewheeling in the opposite direction! The hills have their benefits, the views from the top are breathtaking, I truly believe that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. And, while running down hill hurts my knees and hips, it does allow me to take a bit of a breather.

My detour up Station Road and back again was not going to be enough to ensure I was running for 1hr 45 mins, so when I got back to the start I decided to just carry on! I added a loop that takes in Alton Station and the industrial estate (not terribly pretty!) I felt good and knew that I was averaging sub 9 mins/mile, which isn't bad for what was supposed to be a 'long, slow, distance' run! When I first started running (or rather after a couple of months) this loop of the station and industrial estate constituted my 'long' run, and probably took me the best part of 40 minutes!

I stopped running at the end of my road, having run 12.5 miles in 1hr 50mins and feeling very chuffed with myself! I have to say that I have no idea how people manage to take walking breaks in races - I don't think I could have started running again at that point for all the tea in China! But then again I had just sprinted the last 200m. Someone was asking how hilly the Alton 10 race is - so I've included the elevation profile from today's run as the first 10 miles are pretty much the same.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

My first Parkrun

It has been an up and down week. Running has been the only thing to stave off the stress induced headaches, although I suspect alcohol would do the trick too - but a hangover would not be appreciated!

Having stepped up the distances on my long weekend runs, I find that my 'everyday' runs are much more fun. Running 4 miles doesn't seem like a big deal, and I can have some fun while running. I know that I should do more (some?) interval training, but I generally hate it! I decided to use cues from some of the music I listen to while running, so if Lilly Allen comes on I will sprint during the chorus and jog for recovery during the verses. Other music includes 'She said' by PlanB - I sprint during the rap bits and jog during the more melodic sections. There are other tracks that have two distinct styles where this works well - but I haven't got a clue what they are called as they just play randomly from my running playlist! I seem to be doing something right, as my overall speed is increasing a little.

This morning I took part in my first Parkrun. Despite getting a little lost on the last lap (you'd think on the third time around I'd know the right way rather than following someone who wasn't taking part wouldn't you?) I finished in 24mins 16 secs - so I was quite pleased. I was the 12th lady to finish, 90th overall and 5th in my age/gender group. I don't know about other runners, but quite often at the beginning of a race I decide I want to finish in front of a certain person. Today I wanted to finish in front of the lanky lad with the surf shorts on and the lady in the running skort. I did overtake them both within the last half kilometer, and if I hadn't gone down the wrong path I'd have finished in front of them. Mind you, if they lady in the running skort hadn't screamed 'wrong way' I'd probably still be running now! I was amazed at how much energy I still had left in the last couple of hundred metres. I sprinted like mad at the end, desperate to regain a few seconds, so probably didn't finish that much slower than if I'd just carried on at the pace I was at.

I was really impressed with the organisation (it was my fault I went the wrong way!) 221 runners enjoying a lovely run in a local park has to be a nightmare to organise, but everything went smoothly. I hadn't realised that children could take part too, and will try to persuade my 2 older children to come with me in future. I have driven past the venue for this run *many* times but this was the first time I'd ever been in the park. It was rather nice, with a bandstand and an aviary as well as the more usual play park. Turns out husbando used to play there as a very small child, and has fond memories of staring into a big hole that was being dug, these were the days before health and safety and he was able to stand at the very edge of the hole!

Tomorrow will see me up early again, I aim to run for 1hr 45 mins, following advice from a friends (who knows what he is talking about) to increase the distance by about 10 - 15 mins a week on my long runs. Not sure where I'll go yet....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tired, stressed and tired!

The events of last week are still casting ripples (or tsunamis) through our little world here. I got an email from the school yesterday inviting me to interview for the position of science teacher next week. After some soul searching we came to the conclusion that I could not apply for the job. It wouldn't be fair to my son, and I couldn't give of my best in an interview. Added to that, I am not entirely sure I want to be a teacher at that school.

I think the stress has made us all a bit tired. I've been going to bed early and sleeping badly. And I'm not the one being bullied! My son was attacked at school yesterday and threatened today - on the day he had his first GCSE.

So, running, the only thing that seems to be keeping me sane.... On Sunday I set off early (well 9am - I'd intended to leave earlier but bed was so lovely!) and ran up Brockham Hill, intending to do a loop round through a neighbouring village and back home. In my memory this was 'quite a long run' (I haven't run it since last summer) but as I got near home I realised that it wasn't going to be much more than 6 miles, so I had to add a run to a nearby village (2miles away) and back again. 10.5miles in 1hr 33minutes. Was a lovely run, the weather was so sunny I got the best part of the day and even caught the sun a bit.

I didn't run on Monday. My goal is to get to a stage where running 10 miles is 'no big deal' and I don't feel at all stiff afterwards - I did a bit on Sunday, so took a rest on Monday. I was talking to a friend, who used to run ultramarathons and has coached lots of people to their first marathon, today. He says that the important thing is to concentrate on time on the road. So I should be concentrating on increasing the time running rather than worrying about mileage.

Today I ran in my new trainers. I was so angry when I set out, all the stress of the last few days bubbling away inside me. I plugged my music in and just ran. Only 3.3miles, but quite speedy - 26minutes. I have decided that Lilly Allen is good for interval training - sprint like mad during the chorus and then jog through the verses! Which is fine until she repeats the chorus at the end when one is already knackered!

I booked places for husbando and I to run the Berlin Half Marathon next April! Should be fun! I had to complete a medical questionnaire before I could register my place, and had a minor panic about remembering what ailments husbando and members of his family had suffered, but I needn't have worried, the system allowed me to register him without any reference to his health! We've also booked a hotel room - just flights to look into now.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

An eventful week

I hadn't planned to run on Thursday, due to poorly toes, but it turns out that I wouldn't have managed to anyway. My oldest son punched another boy at school, a boy who had attacked him from behind and thrown against a wall and punched and kicked him. Despite the fact that he clearly acted in self defence, he earned himself an exclusion as school policy states that any child who thumps another child must be excluded. From talking to the headmaster, I get the impression that most of the staff would like to pat him on the back for standing up for himself against a known troublemaker, and he reassured us that our boy is doing really well and that the teachers are all really pleased with him.

I did run on Friday, up Brockham Hill and down again - I ran all the way up for the first time in ages without having to stop. My toes seemed OK in my alternative trainers, which is good, because I am still in the mourning period for my beloved purple Asics Kayanos. I've had a quick look around t'internet and can't see any other trainers that look as pretty and as functional! I need to get better at hills. I should probably try to run up Brockham Hill at least once a week, and maybe add in another local hill.

Today I spent most of the morning at the younger children's school open day. During the course of this I managed to break my iPhone. I was chatting away to a friend and put my iPhone in my handbag as I was talking.... but I missed the handbag and the iPhone slipped down onto the tarmac. It is a very poorly 'phone now. I have just about managed to get the photos I need off it. Looks like I will have limited 'phone access until I get the insurance sorted out. I hadn't realised how dependant I was on my 'phone until today. I don't remember anyone's 'phone number anymore because they are all programmed into my contacts, I can access FaceBook while standing in the checkout queue in the supermarket and have my favourite music with me wherever I am.

I have (had?) a running playlist on my iPhone, some of the tracks are favourites of mine, others are from downloaded running playlists from Runners' World. I like the variety of things I know really well and other tracks I wouldn't normally listen to. I bung the playlist on 'shuffle' at the start of a run and then just listen to what ever plays.

This afternoon when I set off for my run I grabbed my husband's old iPod mini. You'd think that two people who have known each other for 21 years would have developed similar taste in music wouldn't you? It seems not to be the case. I will never like The Stone Roses, and The Sex Pistols while running round a rural Hampshire village is a strange juxtaposition! Not sure what I am going to do for tomorrow's run. 10 miles, on my own, with no music doesn't really appeal.

Anyway, back to today's run. I decided to run the route I ran when I started running with Couch to 5k. This is a sort of figure of 8 around the village with the bottom half of the '8' being run twice. I wish I'd kept better records of how far I'd managed to run in given times back then, but I guess I wasn't quite so OCD about running back then! I know that I used to start at a certain point (on the bridge) and finish at the top of Lower Neatham Mill Road, and this took me 30 minutes. I've just been looking at the maps and figure that I ran about 3/4 of a mile further today (different start and end points) and took only 28 minutes. It was nice to run an old route again, but I remembered why I had stopped running it - I bump into far too many people I know!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Still on a high!

I'm still on a high from Sunday's race. Breaking the 1hr 30 barrier feels fantastic. Last year I really struggled with illnesses that coincided with races, running anyway, not getting the time I wanted to get and prolonging the illness into the bargain. This year didn't start well. I didn't get the balance of working and running right on teaching practice, and then came down with just about every bug going at the end of my teaching practice. That I ran the Alton 10 at all still amazes me. That I got a PB thrills me.

I've been floating around since then, I went for a short run on Monday with husbando. Probably about 3.5 miles, in about 25/26 minutes (I forgot to take my watch!), and decided that yesterday would be one of my most hated things; a day off! The weather yesterday was lovely, so not running was really hard. Today however was a different matter. Overcast and slightly drizzly, I spent two hours walking around Farnham delivering leaflets for husbando's shop, came home had a banana, got changed and went for a run. I think I had wings on my back. I ran faster than I can remember for a long time. I averaged 8 minutes per mile over a distance of 5 and a half miles. It felt so good! I've no idea what was so different about today, but I hope it continues.

Sadly my beloved purple Asics Kayano 16s are headed for trainer heaven. My longest toes (not my big toe but the one next to it) have rubbed away the lining of the shoe and my toes are banging against the shoe - doesn't sound a huge deal, but it is quite painful. It started off just hurting when I was running, but I've done a fair few miles since I first noticed the problem, and now my toes hurt on both feet all the time. On a happy note, this means a shopping trip!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Alton 10, 2011

Husbando left the house at 4.45am this morning, leaving me slumbering in bed. He was off to the bookfairs in London, I was conserving my energy for the Alton 10. I eventually got up at around 8am, had my usual breakfast of porridge (made with water and a huge pinch of salt) with mashed banana and cinnamon.

I hadn't registered in advance for this race, as I didn't think I would be ready to run 10 'undulating' miles, but knew that it would be OK to enter on the day. There are upsides and downsides to running a race so close to home. When you discover that the battery on the car is flat it isn't a major issue as you know that you can walk to the start line, but I think that the journey to the race, and worrying about train times, traffic jams etc. is a good displacement activity! Rather than worrying about missing the train or taking the wrong turning, I worried about whether I could run 10 miles, would I need the loo half way around, would I be stretchered off the road with catastrophic injuries within 2 miles of the start? Should I wear a hat or sunglasses? The weather was strange. We'd had heavy rain all night and it was unclear whether we'd get sunburn or soaked. In the end I settled on a hat as I cannot bear the feel of rain falling on my face!

At the race HQ I registered painlessly and collected my number. At the same time I discovered why my time was listed in the men's results last year - I'd been given a 'male number!' Very odd, as I definitely ticked the 'Female' box and had collected my number in person - I don't think I look quite that androgynous! As I waited to move to the start area I looked around for familiar faces. I saw Tizzy from the wonderful Bottega dei Sapori (possibly the best coffee shop in the country and far and away the best in Alton) warming up gently. I looked in admiration at the 'serious runners' who were running warm up laps of the school's sports field. An old friend from my local gym, who is recovering from injury, was there to help out with the timing tunnel at the finish. Apart from that I saw one other person I know - an ex neighbour there to support a friend. I remember being surprised at how few people I knew at this local race, and this year was no different! Where are all the people I see out running every night of the week?

I got over the start fairly quickly, considering I started near the back in the 85 - 90 minute area. This race is not chip timed, so any time you lose getting over the start after the gun has gone are lost forever! Almost as soon as I passed the start line I spotted a woman about a 100m ahead of me running like Penelope Pitstop (although now I've looked at that video, I think PP is far more graceful and has a much better running style) and decided that I would not be beaten by her. I then totally forgot about her for the next 7 or 8 miles!

It was warmer than I expected and pretty humid too, but nowhere near as hot as it has been recently. I chatted with people as I ran, everyone was very friendly and seemed to be having a good time despite grumbling about the hills! I ran for 3 miles with a bloke from West Wight running club, but he stopped to get water at a drinking station and I carried on. I was making good time! When I got to 6.2miles I realised that I would have clocked a 10k personal best if the race finished there. I knew that there was a long hill ahead - this was my slowest mile, 9.25 minutes uphill all the way - so didn't get too optimistic about my finish time.

At around this time I spotted the Penelope Pitstop runner ahead of me. This would not do! I decided I was going to overtake her, and upped the speed a bit. I passed her at about 8.5 miles and felt very happy with myself! I was passing people right, left and centre at this point. I'd set off a lot more slowly than last year and was benefiting from reserves of energy.

The final mile, back through my village, is always tough psychologically as I have to run past my house and my body seems to think that this is where I should stop, which is logical because it is where we normally stop! My oldest son and a neighbour were at the end of the road to cheer me on and take photos (see above) and managed to snap a sequence that shows me overtaking someone.

I knew now that I would be able to beat my goal time of 1hr 30 mins, I just didn't know by how much (I'd started my Garmin when I'd started running rather than when I'd crossed the line so accurate mental maths was not possibly). I plodded on through the village, dodging parked cars and pushchairs and soon the end was in sight. As one turns up to the finish line, at Eggar's School, the path is suddenly uphill again. It is only a short distance - but it certainly make the last few yards a challenge! The race timing clock was on 1:26:50 as I approached the finish, but I reckon my recorded time will be 1:27 and some seconds. My Garmin has it as 1:27:00. Whatever the final 'official' time is, it will be below 1hr 30mins - so I am very happy with that. There was a lovely touch - the gentleman commentating on the finishers was surrounded by a bevy of ladies with clip boards who looked up the runners' numbers and matched them to names as they ran towards the finish. Lovely to hear 'Come on Victoria!' over the tannoy!

This race is really well organised, and everyone is very friendly. Yes, it is a tough race, with some long hills, but the scenery is beautiful and the atmosphere is lovely.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

But, are you a REAL runner?

This was I question I was asked a few days ago. I have to admit that it threw me somewhat. I spluttered that I try to run most days of the week, when time allows, and that I generally run about 25 to 30 miles a week. I mentioned a few races I have taken part in, and races that are coming up in the future that I hope to run.

'But have you done a marathon?' my interrogator asked.

Well, no, I haven't 'done' a marathon. Does that mean that I am not a real runner? Apparently, in some people's minds it does! Apparently I just run 'for fun.' That's a tricky one, because I do love to run. I don't love every single step along the way, 8 miles down in a 10 mile run can be a pretty miserable and lonely place, as can stepping out into a cold, wet and windy day, but on the whole running is enjoyable, if only in retrospect as I step into the shower after a difficult run! If it wasn't I wouldn't do it.

I will run a marathon one day. I think. Maybe! It is a huge commitment to take on in an already chaotic and busy schedule. My problem is that I would want to run it in a reasonable time, I have no illusions about my speed (or lack thereof) but I would like to complete it in a reasonable time - something around the 4hr 15 to 4h 30 mark. This will take a huge amount of training and while I have applied for the ballot for London 2012 part of me is dreading getting a place. Hopefully I'll be teaching full time by then so training would be tricky.

In the meantime, I will content myself with shorter races. The Alton 10 is on Sunday, I've cut back my running this week in preparation for this. Running just 4 miles on Tuesday, 3.85 miles on Wednesday and 4 miles on Thursday. I've been impressed with my speed though, as I've been quite slow recently and these shorter runs have seen me clocking an average of under 8.30 per mile, with the occasional 1 mile split being below 8 minutes per mile. I think I am looking forward to Sunday. I know the course, I know I can run it, I just want to run it faster!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A brief catch up!

Oops! It has been over a week since I blogged! I can assure you that I have been running though. After my long run last Sunday, I took it easy on Monday with slow 4 mile run. Tuesday was a day off running as we were traveling to Paris. We travelled over to visit the Paris Bookfair , eat some lovely food, celebrate Freddy's 7th birthday and, of course, to catch up with our friends in Maisons Laffitte. We hadn't told Freddy he was coming with us, so he was thrilled to discover that he was going to get to spend time with his friend.

We arrived in Maisons Laffitte at beer o'clock. The first beer barely touched the sides as I inhaled it. After that we decided to walk down to l'Avenue to meet Paul as he got off the train. Sitting outside a cafe watching the world go by must be one of the nicest ways to pass the time. I think we must have had quite a considerable amount to drink that evening, if my hangover is anything to go by! I still managed to run the next morning, but it was hard work and I only managed 3 miles. As is traditional I ended my run at the boulangerie, picking up croissants for breakfast!

Wednesday was a quiet day. We met up in Paris with a friend from my university days and had lunch at a cafe in Place de la Bastille. Lovely food, reasonably priced but they made their money on drinks and ice cream! 6€ for an espresso and 9€ for an ice cream for Freddy!

Freddy demanded a trip to the Eifel Tower on Thursday, so we obliged (after a morning run that is). That was followed by a visit to Shakespeare & Co and lunch with a bookdealer friend (over from England) at Boucherie Rouliere. Fantastic food - turns out that Freddy likes his steak bleu! We had a quick wander around the book before heading out for yet another meal! This time at Le Manege in St Germain en Laye. I tried to lessen the damage to my waistline by 'only' having two starters!

Friday was another non running day. It was Freddy's birthday, so we took him to Disney before heading home. We totally missed the Royal Wedding and had to catch up when we got home. Disney was lovely - not too busy and we were lucky with the weather. A few spots of rain, but we were mainly inside when that happened.

Saturday - back home with a bump! I did not dare stand on the scales so headed off for a 4 mile run instead, and on Sunday I decided to have a trial run of the Alton 10 route. I ended up running 10.6 miles in 1hr 36minutes, so I know I can do the distance - it is just a question of speed! I'd forgotten how tough bits of that route are....

Monday was a day off. I don't really like days off. Today I walked 5 miles this morning, delivering leaflets for husbando's shop, then ran 2 miles to the shop to pick up the car, drove home and went out for another run - 2.5 miles this time. I seem to have found a little bit of pace, or maybe it is just because I knew they were short runs so felt happier going faster.

So, that's what I've been up to. Children were all back at school today, and all I can say is that the school day is very short! We have 3 days left of this week and then only 3 weeks until half term!