Monday, March 21, 2011

PB and 5th Lady at Clapham Common 10K

Did the Clapham Common 10K on March 20th. Got my first PB for any distance since 2007. 46:22. 5th Lady!
I ran in my Clapham Runners club strip and so met another Clapham Runner who was doing the 5K. Not sure of his name, but nice to meet you. Also ran into Jacqui training on the Common after the race and said hi. I'm still working Tuesdays and Thursdays so STILL not managed to rejoin you all although proud to wear the T-shirt to advertise the club... although I was running SO fast surely the letters must have been a big blur to anyone watching...... (wink)
Good luck with your training everyone and well done on some good races this season.

Friday, March 11, 2011

mad march 20

(bit delayed putting this up!)

Inspired by Rob and Hannah’s tales of two halves, I thought I’d briefly tell you about the (not so) ‘Mad March Zoom 20’ event I ran y/day morning.
I’d signed up eagerly for this one a while back when my parents (who live in the New Forest) had asked me to look after the farm. Realising that I’d be missing the Regents Park 10k that day, and anxious about the marathon, I quickly looked for another race – settling upon this one because of its location and timing – and not principally distance; 20 miles being quite far away from what I’d otherwise have done!
I approached the race (with one of my sisters and a couple of her friends – all doing Paris) with the usual disclaimers in the front of my mind; I’d been ill the week before so not trained (arguably I’d tapered, though not through choice!), I’d been ‘house sitting’ for a few days (with a handful of cows, 30 sheep, chickens, dogs, geese, horses and a 93yr old granny, there really is no ‘sitting’ involved) and any other excuses I could think of. But I needn’t really have worried; whatever happened it was not after all the kind of distance you look for a PB, and should be approached rather as a well timed practice for the marathon.
At 10.30 a couple hundred of us set off through the small village of Burton and out into the minor agricultural roads behind it. Quite unlike the temperatures in Silverstone, it was actually a really beautiful morning, and got warmer as the time went by – generating the first freckles of the year! The race instructions had said ‘strictly no personal audio equipment’ – probably because of the fact we were running on roads in use. What this meant, however, was that my amicable virtual coach, who speaks to me every 5 minutes, had to be on loudspeaker. Fortunately, what made up for the embarrassment of her telling me very loudly what my average pace was and how close or far away I was from my target, was the fact that it being ahead most of the race actually turned out to be a conversation starter – I spoke to 5 or 6 very friendly runners from the south of England, all with different wisdom to impart about running generally and marathons in particular – one a barefoot runner (with the largest calves I’ve ever seen) and another improving his training using their heart rate alone. These mini conversations really livened it up and before I knew it I was nineteen miles and three gels later on the home straight.  
We turned the last corner back into the village and I crossed the line at 2.48; a great confidence boost for a first time marathoner. Allowing myself time to gobble down some jelly babies and do a few quick leg stretches, I picked up my t-shirt and rushed off home to feed the cows! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leith Hill Half

The story of the toddler and the chicken.

The race started as any usual trionium race, after a stirring rendition of the National Anthem we were away into the hills of the Surrey countryside. With plenty of encouraging marshals and passers-by, along with some stunning views of the South Downs the first four miles flew by.

Having just run past the marshal at mile four I heard someone shout at me "go Clapham", turning around to see if I knew who it was a further shout of "watch out!" quickly followed, too late. As I tumbled over I soon noticed that I had just run over a little toddler [belonging to the nice marshal]! With both toddler and I in a heap in the sand I quickly picked myself up and attempted to dust the child down [being rather impressed that there had been no tears shed]; after some profuse apologies I was soon off again.

As an out and back course, I ran past the same marshal and toddler and mile nine; still feeling rather guilty I stopped to check that everything was okay - it turned out that the toddler was awarded an ice cream for being brave [I didn't point out that I didn't cry either!].

Onto mile 12 and as I reached the top of the final climb of the course, a chicken came out from nowhere squaking and flapping its wings at me. I decided to hurdle the angry bird which resulted, much to the amusement of a number of other runners, with the bird chasing and pecking my shoes for a further ten metres up the path.

So, after 13.1 miles, 3600ft+ of ascent and descent, some great views, a minor collision with a toddler, a race with an angry chicken and a fair amount of cramp I wobbled over the finished line in 2h07 - I'm already looking forward to next year!


- Well done to those of you doing Silverstone today as well, especially Hannah with a new PB!

The Silverstone Slog

Yup, big on atmosphere at Silverstone.

The good news is a decent 1:39 for the first race this year, despite heavy legs trudging along wide tarmac with a wasteland of empty stands on all sides.

Cold, though. Did I mention the wasteland of empty stands?

PB for me at Silverstone

I'd approached the half at Silverstone with trepidation as I didn't feel particularly ready for it. However, I actually managed to take 10 minutes and 17 seconds off my PB, so I must have done something right.

Something I did not get right was taking gloves for the race. I forgot. I only realised that this may have been a mistake when I arrived at Silverstone and it was freezing. Luckily, Adidas were selling gloves. Unluckily for me (but not for Adidas), everyone else had clearly forgotten their gloves too. Adidas were doing a roaring trade and only had large ones left. My hands are not large. (Incidentally if anyone with larger hands wants the gloves I'll bring them to the track. They are unused. I didn't end up wearing them as it got a bit sunnier when the race started).

So I bought my oversized gloves and then wandered round the paddock. I felt quite smug about being female when I saw the queues for the loos. The queue for the ladies was much shorter and this never really happens anywhere else. Then it was time to go to the start.

In the holding area, I realised that there was a 11 minute mile pace maker. I've never seen pace makers in any of my other races (possibly there haven't been any). 11 minute mile pace is overall quicker than I've done my other halves in, and so I didn't think I'd be able to follow her for the whole way but I was interested in how long I could keep it up. Also, I'm not great at keeping a steady pace and I thought this might help.

I managed to follow the 11 minute pace for about half of the race. I lost her about half way round the course. I lost her going over a bridge-thing which constituted pretty much the only incline of the race (note to self: do some hill training). The second half was ok. I had realised that the PB was likely, and this helped a lot. I did get overtaken by a bloke dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog near the end though.

So I got my PB in the half. I am pretty pleased with this. I also think, but cannot verify yet, that I may have beaten my irritatingly long standing best time for 10km. They haven't released split times, but there were chip wire things at 10km and so I am hoping that they do. Anyway, it was a good day for me. All the more for not really having high expectations beforehand.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yoga for Runners

I am teaching another yoga workshop for runners in MARCH -- a little closer to home this time. Yoga for Runners: Mat to Marathon on Sunday March 13th 3:30-5:30pm at Evolve Wellness Centre in South Kensington. So if you fancy a stretch and/or some handy philosophical tips on how to mentally prepare for and complete your race, click the link to book! You don't have to be a marathoner to attend. It will include a handout of postures to try at home, and free samples of the all-natural athlete's engery drink Orbana.

Also, it finally looks as though I'm going to have Thursday evenings free again, so after another long absence I should be able to rejoin Clapham Runners at the track...hopefully for good!