About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Brighton Half Marathon - Or The Day I Beat Batman!

What a fantastic day it's been - not only did I run most of the 13.1 mile course, but the weather was more than perfect and I got to spend some time with my family and some great friends!

Yesterday I went for a little 2 mile jog just to make sure my legs didn't forget what to do.  A lovely little jog down to the West Beach (yes the one that's been closed for years) and back via the Marina - one of my favourite little runs.  The rest of the day was spent getting bits of food shopping done and a dog walk in the afternoon with a nice chicken and pasta tea to finish things off.

We didn't get to bed particularly early but that didn't seem to matter - we had a new mattress delivered on Friday and both nights I've had a lovely sleep.   Shaun got up at 5am (stoopid o'clock) to walk the dog and I got up a few minutes later to sort myself out some porridge & banana.  Danni and her friend Lucy were volunteering at the bag drop and needed to be in at 7 - hence the ridiculously early start for a local race!

It was a horribly dark, foggy & icy morning so lots of layers & the choice to wear a long sleeve top with a vest base layer underneath.  Luckily Shaun told me to pick up my sunglasses!

We dropped the girls off at Dukes Mound so that they could sign in and then drove on to my works car park in town. Being there so early we managed to see the sun come up - it was an amazing sunrise!

Managed to say a quick hi to my physio Matt - I needed to keep moving to stay warm so we headed to where I'd arranged to meet my parents who were bringing Steve, Jo and Amy down.  It wasn't long before we were walking back to the Steve Ovett statue where I'd arranged to meet Team Bosh (a facebook page for runners)
I had a bit of a trek down to the Green start pen (the last one!) and had arranged to meet up with Alma and another Bosh runner, Liz.  Michelle and I made our way down, it was very busy and the queue for the loos was horrendous.  Decided at that point to ignore the impending feeling in my bladder and get to the start (bad idea).  The race started at 9am sharp!

I was pretty pleased with myself at not stopping to walk up that horrible slope out of town and along to Roedean, I'd always thought I would never manage it!   At mile 3 I couldn't ignore my bladder any longer, luckily there were some portaloos and we agreed to stop for a quick comfort break, and to pick up some water from the water station!   As we turned back to the Sea Life Centre it was becoming more apparent that it was becoming warmer.  I decided it was time to remove the baselayer and be ready to throw it at the support team as we ran past.  Hopefully I didn't offend too many spectators whilst the undressing was occurring !

The bit between 6 and 10 miles is horrible, a long stretch where you can see the faster runners coming back to the finish line.  We took advantage of a couple of walk breaks between miles 9 and 11 - the stretch where the beach huts are is horrible too - they seem to go on forever and the promenade is full of people completely unaware that runners are behind them.   From mile 11 we ran the whole way and it was great to see the 1km to go marker and then count down and see the finish.

It was great to do the finish straight, lots of people clapping and cheering and encouraging runners on.  I spotted a chap in a batman outfit in front of us and was determined he wasn't going to finish before us - I like to make targets so we sped up as much as my legs would allow.

Alma and I crossed the line in 2 hours 41 mins (official chip time) - Alma's garmin said 2 hours 38 as she'd stopped it for the loo break.  Mine for some unknown reason had stopped at 6 miles - probably during the undressing saga! Here's the link to us crossing the line

All in all a good days running.  I had originally predicted 2 hrs 30 mins before the injury and having decided to run it I was aiming for less than 2 hrs 45, so I can't really complain.   I'm not sure that Half Mara's are for me but I'm sure with some good training I could come to enjoy them.  There is absolutely no way I will ever attempt a full marathon, and you all have permission to remind me of that in the future!   I'm pretty sure I will be back to give Brighton HM another go!

What have I learned today ?

1 To run in short sleeved tops whatever the weather!
2 Wear SPF moisturiser - having looked in the mirror tonight I have a sunburnt face.
3 Make sure I go to the loo however long the queue at the start is.
4 Wear more bodyglide or similar on the soles of my feet - no blisters but my god they were sore at about
    9 miles!
5 Check gel stocks a few days before the race, not the night before!

Thanks have to go to Shaun - he's had to put up with a lot over the last few weeks (including tears & being shouted at!)  I love him more than he will ever know.   To daughter Danni - sorry for abandoning you when you needed help with your A Level studies because I HAD to go for a run and well done for the volunteering, I hope you enjoyed it & make sure it goes on your CV! I love you lots and lots too and I am more proud of you every day x

Thanks also to Matt the physio at Studio 57 - without your magic hands, knowledge and the ability to read me like a book I would NEVER have attempted today.

Also thanks to Alma for offering to run with me - lots of encouragement and help in focussing on getting to the next mile - a perfect running partner!

Thanks to Steve & Jo for the emergency gel - and well done on good running!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Decisions !

I know I said I was going to wait until at least the day before Brighton Half before I decided what I was doing, but as anyone who knows me personally I'm not the most patient person in the world.   I had in the back of my mind that if I could get a decent long distance run (for me) then I could make the decision earlier.  

Shaun suggested that instead of doing my long run today (Sunday) I do it on Saturday when he was at work, then we could do the shopping together today.  The weather forecast for Saturday was dry but chilly, and very little wind but Sunday was going to be horrid - lots of rain, strong southerly winds and extremely cold.   So that was the plan for the weekend - he went off to work early Saturday morning - I took the dog out for a walk to Piddinghoe to warm up and then go out on my run to see how far I could get.

I headed to Splash Point at the bottom of Seaford Head, via the main road and then headed down to the beach to run along the prom where I took the video on Tuesday.   What a difference the weather made, the sea was very calm.  Splash Point marked just under 5 miles and apart from an unexpected loo stop I hadn't stopped to walk at all. 

The return to home was good, lots of runners and cyclists out making the most of the weather, all saying hi and smiling.   I started to think as I got through 6 and 7 miles that I was feeling OK, and then thoughts wandered to next weekend's race.   I was thinking about how I was going to feel meeting up with everyone, them starting and me not, and then standing watching as everyone set off and then crossing the finishing line.  That piece of visualisation was a bad idea, as I found myself choking up and crying (what a wuss!)  So there was my answer - either be a blubbering mess and support from the side of the road or be a nervous wreck and do as much of the run as I could manage, even if the last 4 miles had to be done as a run/walk.  I'm also lucky to be running with Alma again, and Jo is joining us for the start, plus a couple of other twitter followers & BOSH Runners, Liz & Michelle, both of whom are aiming for a 2 hours 30 finish time!

I finished my run by going to the Co-Op to get 4 pints of milk - forgetting that I was wearing my running kit and breathing heavy after nearly 9 miles I got some very strange looks - our Co-Op is normally empty on a Saturday but not this one!  

The only decisions I have to make now are what I'm going to run in and what my fuelling strategy is going to be - simples!  Although I think the weather  will the deciding factor in both!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A long windy one !

Yesterday was an amazing day to run - a bit cold and extremely windy, but at least it was dry (well for me anyway!)   Normally during the week my maximum mileage would only be about 4 or 5 but as you will all know I'm trying to build my mileage to enable me to take part in the Brighton Half Marathon on 17th February.  Following the last run I did to 6 miles I was a bit worried about adding anymore but it had to be done.   The aim was to do between 7 and 8, the further the better.   Unfortunately I hadn't actually reckoned on the wind being so bad.

I took some photos and a short video once I got down to the beach - the waves were very loud and some of the promenade had been reclaimed by the beach!

I had to turn back at 3 1/2 miles as the light was going and I didn't have my headtorch, otherwise I would have pushed on to Splashpoint for a 4 mile turnaround but never mind, I'm happy with 7 and a bit miles and feeling more confident that Brighton is do-able.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


I'm on week 4 of my rehab plan!

A week ago last Tuesday I visited Matt for a second physio session.  Firstly a chat about how the pain had been and how the exercises were going.  He gave my back a fantastic massage and even found a rogue muscle that wanted to stay as a knotted mess.  The next day I couldn't bear to touch the skin on my back, it was so sore - it felt like someone had whacked my back with one of those big bag of spuds.

Following that we ran through some more exercises a Table Plank with tilts to the count of 10, lunges (10 to 20 reps on each leg), a diagonal lunge (same rep) and finally a plank (starting at a 30 second hold, adapted to my feeble capabilities).   Starting with these once a day for the next 3 days, increasing to twice a day, and then a 5 to 10 min JOG on the Saturday morning.

I was stupidly excited about going out for the first time in my running kit - slightly worried too because I didn't want to be in any pain, and didn't want any disappointment over fitness levels.   I set out along the road that I started my running training on 5 years ago, not many roads to cross and fairly flat apart from the downhill on the way out and uphill (obviously) on the way back.  It's also a bit dangerous as cars drive quite fast and close to the kerb so 10 mins was enough!  It felt extremely weird turning back home when the stopwatch hit 5 mins and to be honest I was very tempted to carry on, but "no stick with the plan" I kept saying to myself.  Another 5 mins later I was back at home, puffing and wheezing like I'd never run before.  The back was fine (phew!).   I then took the dog out for his walk, a very boring road walk apart from walking across a very muddy patch of "grass".  By the time I got back I had excruciating pain across the middle of my back.   The pain soon wore off.  

Matt had suggested that I take my return to running gently and slowly, and it was also ok to introduce some Cross Trainer work, without the arms.  Rest day Sunday, with just a dog walk and then go out again Monday and increase the time by 5 or 10 mins if I felt up to it.   Monday's run was fine, back down the same road - reaching my 5 min turn around spot and keeping on running felt great!  Another running rest day Tuesday and back out on Wednesday for a further increase to 30 minutes max.  I did a different route Wednesday which felt good mentally.    Still in the back of my mind is that I have to at some point make a decision about Brighton Half, and having discussed with Shaun at length we decided between us that I should try and go as far as possible to test the back muscles - Saturday was set as long run day as the weather forecast was best for the weekend.    Today I set out in glorious running weather - hope race day weather is like that!  It was really cold and windy and when I got to 3 miles I could feel my back starting to ache.  Rather than risk it I decided to turn back and headed for home.   It's still a bit achey but I have struggled to get my body temperature up so I'm hoping it's just a reaction to the cold.

I beginning to think if I can increase the miles slightly, may be back up to the 8 or 9 I was doing pre-injury Brighton Half is still do-able.   Shaun is not so enthusiastic about me continuing and my Dad has said "I don't have to do it if I don't feel up to it", but I think it will be a decision I will have to make the day before race day.  It's not going to be an easy decision.   I know there are lots of other Half Marathons around, and other events I could take part in, but I think it's pretty borderline and even maybe a run/walk strategy for 13.1 miles will get me through.   I've had fantastic support from everyone on Twitter (as usual) and I have a couple of twitter pals to run with on the day.

One thing I have learnt about this injury business is that I have to listen to my body now, which is hard but I am doing it.   Today was a perfect example, normally I just keep going if something hurts - not today, I turned back as soon as the pain set in!

Progress !