Saturday, 21 February 2015

Running Errands

So the weekend had arrived, I had spent most of yesterday evening baking in preparation for my husbands birthday which meant I didn’t get a chance to hit the gym as planned. Not a biggie I could always go in the morning I thought.  

Well morning arrived and the cake was missing something…. tiny figures of wrestlers! The gym was once again out of the window but another idea struck me…. I could run to the High Street and hopefully get what I needed then catch the bus home.
Quickly I got into my kit, made sure I had some money and my bus pass in my running pack (okay so it’s a bum bag but lets still give it a semblance of cool by associating with running). Off I went on my merry way, the straightforward route would be about 2.5 miles but I wanted to get at least 3 miles despite my kitchen based commitments.
I felt fairly comfortable as I ran so pushed up my pace a little – it did help that I was on a downhill at the time but I managed to maintain a better pace when I emerged onto the flat for the last ¾ mile or so. I reached the High Street, as it was still before 10am the pedestrians were not too think on the ground and I was able to get through and finish my run outside the shop I needed on 3.2 miles.   
I went inside, the sweat starting to poor from me as it does when you stop during a run and quickly homed in on the additions I needed to put the finishing touches on the cake. I saw the bus as I emerged and had a little sprint to catch it – nice to be able to do that again and make it!
Breath caught, body cooling and pleased with my purchase I returned home to complete my WWE Victoria Sponge masterpiece! Happy Birthday Mike!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Bricking It

Definition:  Bricks are a very important part of triathlon (and duathlon) training and they are sometimes overlooked. Bricks refer to training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with very little interruption in between, just as you would do in a race. (I am sure many of you know this but just in case you didn’t!)
So today I decide to Brick it, and I was indeed bricking it. Without much forethought I decided that doing a sprint triathlon in the Spring that I would just go at it and do the bike/run distance of the event to give me a start point. Off to the gym I headed – not my favourite place to cycle or run but it was raining a lot and needs must!
Straight to the bike, headphones in, random mix of my musical favourites with the volume pumped up I set the distance goal to 16km and was on my way. I had a vague idea that the ride would take me about 45 mins or so, after about 15 minutes I really started to sweat (another downside of indoor cardio training) and I kept going at varying levels of difficulty to better replicate cycling outdoors, the sweat pouring off me at a ridiculous level. I could feel my face had turned beetroot but my reflection in the window confirmed this as I kept going. Imagine my delight when at reaching the final rotations the time came up at 38 mins 28 seconds. A quick wipe of my bike, now slick with sweat #grim and I went to the treadmills.
Not having thought too deeply into this brick session I set the goal as 5km but I was having my doubts about the speed of this. I started at an easy jogging pace, trotting along, still sweating at levels only associated with the criminally unfit! My top had almost changed colour completely to a much darker shade with the sweat content now held within it… I kind of wish I still had a Global Hypercolour T-shirt…. Oh childhood!
The music still pumping I kept going, I took a couple of walking breaks (power walking of course). The time was longer than I had hoped but I am sure that will improve in time and when the adrenaline kicks in on race day.
All in all I was pretty impressed that I didn't flake out and cut the run section short. Perhaps the next brick session should practice shorter bike/run intervals with more transitions?
Any tips welcomed...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Butterflies, Muddy Puddles and Runners Reunited

Today was a big day. I woke early and with a tummy full of butterflies. I had my kit laid out, my running belt filled with the essentials; tissues, lipsalve, keys, emergency fiver, phone and a mini bottle of water. My Garmin was charged, trainers by the front door, nothing else to do but wait.

Today I would be running with Jerry and Duncan, the first run in over a year thanks to my injury, lost fitness and lack of confidence combined. I was nervous but I needed to get back out there and let’s face it, I missed them both. Their monkey feet, their stories, their imagination, their inbuilt GPS, the lack of pressure when running with them and just running for the pure enjoyment of running. Why was I nervous then? Silly Liz!
As I stood in my porch waiting to see them appear I looked up and saw Duncan, a big wave and a smile and I knew we’d be fine. Jerry was at the end of the road tying up a rogue shoe lace. Duncan assured me none of us were at full fitness so I was not to worry. Jerry had a back problem (I know a bit about this) so we headed off tentatively towards Scadbury. Within minutes I think I had taken over all chat I think regaling the last year of stories and updates, whilst we have remained in contact via facebook there is nothing like putting the world to rights over the muddy trails. The miles were disappearing underfoot as we chatted away.

A half loop of Scadbury and we crossed over into Petts Wood and towards Hawkswood, bounding recklessly through the puddles that were skirted in the early stages on the run. A flying leap from the mischievous Duncan saw Jerry covered head to foot in muddy puddle. Still smiling Jerry detoured home and three became two. We continued onwards through the mud and trees, tipped our metaphorical hats at the dog walkers as we went. Running where we could and walking the tougher parts (mostly due to my lack of fitness). Then I bid farewell to Duncan for the final mile home, spotting some lost items on a fence post  which made me chuckle…. A car key amongst them, an item not allowed to be carried by Duncan… in fact this one was probably lost by him on some other run!

I reached home, muddy and happy, just shy of 7 miles…. In fact this demonstrated that it had been a challenge, as normally at 6.89 miles I would have kept going to round it up to 7 miles exactly.
A bit late for a resolution and I generally don’t do them but my aim is to get my running mojo back by running with the people who make running fun. Speed does not matter, getting out on the trails does, getting muddy does, laughing does, running with Jerry and Duncan always cheers me up so clear your diaries gents, I am back and we are running.   

Sunday, 1 February 2015

London Winter Run 10km - Haters Gotta Hate

We'd signed up back some months ago to run the Cancer Research Winter 10km in my head thinking this would be sufficient time to get my weakened back into shape and ready to take the challenge. The added incentive of being an early sign-up as a team of 5 meant not only did we get discounted rates but also a free beanie hat each #allaboutthestash

The first race in a long time, I was nervous but my body knew what was coming... there are certain bodily functions that kick in for me on race day, something that prepares my body for the race ahead, and clears my system of all poisons. The train was filled with runners heading into Victoria carrying their official blue bag drop bags. The first meet was with Jess T at Victoria station, we then hopped on the tube to meet point two, Piccadilly Circus and Lisa. A very cold trio we headed down the road to the start point, not sporting the beanies as they made us look like we had black condoms on our heads, not a good look.

We were joined by our final two of the team, Debbie and Jess H-H. We grudgingly de-layered and attached our numbers. Shivering as we went. My Petts Wood Runners (PWR) shirt was spotted first at the bag drop (opting for letter ‘D’ a homage to DMU where we all met) where I was told we have a team helping out at the race and then again mid run by a waving smiling woman about half way into the race. Walking to the start we made a detour to the portaloos and got a few of the promised polar bear hugs. Good hugs, poor costumes!

At least the polar bears were very enthusiastic, I particularly enjoyed the dancing bears although I think that is frowned upon in some circles, teaching animals to dance and perform for human enjoyment?!

The race was started in waves with a pre-start warm up and some huge cow bells which were to become quite a feature and reminded me of the Thunder Run and the solo bell ringer freaking me out in the night.

The team spit into two groups, I struck with Debbie and Jess H-H for who, this was their first 10km race after starting running last year to tackle a 5km. we have a run walk strategy in place, my role mostly to jibber jabber on and keep them distracted from the running part of things! This once again reinforced how much I miss running with others, so nice to be out running with pals.

The race had some wintery features that included snow zones and a Swiss Winter Wonderland… before you get your hopes up these were disappointing in equal measure. I’d suggest next year more dancing polar bears or try not to over sell the wonderland which was a tunnel with about 5 lights projected slides of a Swiss flag, a skier and a couple of other weak tenuously linked wintery images. As for the snow zones…  how does that go wrong? Just get a few magical fake snow machines…. Well no, it was like a poor attempt at a foam party and without the dancing and drinking it just wasn’t worth it!

Around the half way point was saw the others pass us on the return leg of the run and we all gave a big old wave and cheer. Giving us a bit of a buzz as we headed up the incline towards the Tower of London. The ladies were doing well but getting a lot of attention thanks to their t-shirts!

Now let’s consider the scale of this particular race, around 15,000 runners signed up to run 10km along the banks of the Thames, in freezing conditions and two of these runners have the following words printed on the reverse of their tops  “I hate running”. Well who’s have thought that so many runners would agree with that statement!! Pretty much everyone that saw them called out what a great shirt it was, they hated it too, why are we doing this etc.  I sort of wished I had one, although it would have to say ‘but I bloody love it!’ or at the very least ‘I made them do it!’.

We crossed the line at 1:20:01 pretty much bang on our predicted target time. Very proud of everyone, not just for the race but for getting out early on a Sunday morning that had a weather forecast of sub-zero wind chill factor!

We regrouped, got our bags, layered up and headed to a pub for lunch and to meet a few more of the netball girls. Good times!