Pre-race preparations

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I’ve gone from thinking of tomorrow as a ‘training run with a difference’ to having full on pre-race jitters in the space of 24 hours.  I have no idea what I have to be nervous about, i’ve done this several times before. But each time I end up with these irrational nerves.

Been through my usual preparations:

  • Put my clothes out
  • Written out the back of my race number
  • Found, lost, then found again my trusty 4 safety pins (that have been to New York and back with me)
  • Tried to remember to drink lots of water
  • Allowed myself a piece of cake (not strictly limited to pre half marathon days)
  • Check my clothes again
  • Had a nice relaxing bath (a new one to the list)
  • Had a conversation with Jess about what to wear

Now going to bed, uncertain as to what I will wear in the morning.

Why all the fuss?? It’s just another bloody run!Image

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Half-way there

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Well it’s been a while. I’m not sure what happened to February- it appears to be March now! I’ve been really busy with work and have had kids half term as well as a little one off school for a week to contend with.

But.  I haven’t missed a single run – of that I’m very proud.  I’ve finished the dreaded hill sessions; my skinny jeans don’t fit over my calves any more; but I do feel fitter (and a bit faster) than I have done in a long while.

And now that it’s March, it’s the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday.

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I feel fairly well prepared for this thanks to George and his very Intelligent Running programme. I’ve started a sweepstake for my finishing time to raise some extra money for the wonderful Breast Cancer Campaign – it’s quite scary what some people have put down as their guesses for my finishing time….
The lovely people at Breast Cancer Campaign sent me letters to iron on my shirt – difficult having such a long name but I just managed to get them on:
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So now I’m feeling a little more prepared for Sunday.  The weather looks suitably cold and drab which suits me just fine – last year it was so hot I really struggled.
My lovely friend Winky seems to be doing really well. Here she is swimming with dolphins 🙂
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One of my mother’s very close friends has also just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Life is so unfair. She has already had cancer, had her leg amputated because of it and had a stroke.  But she takes it all in her stride and deals with all the horrible blows life throws at her.
All this reminds me that the cause I’m running for is so worthwhile so if you have a spare few quid, please feel free to sponsor me.
So from here on in the training is going to get much harder.  The long runs get longer, the short runs get longer, the threshold runs get longer….. I’m going to need all the motivation I can get!

Longleat 10k

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Last week’s running was a bit interrupted by my poor youngest having a horrible virus and being ill all week.  I managed to fit in my threshold training run and last week seemed to bit of a rest week as I had 45 mins easy on the programme instead of the dreaded hills.  I didn’t manage to make that due to the littlest being at home, but I figured it wasn’t the end of the world as I had the Longleat 10k planned for Sunday.  I ran 50 mins on Saturday morning too.

The Longleat 10k was a great race.  I have done it once before – my very first race when I started running back in 2008 when I did it in 1:08.  It is an exceptionally hilly course but I gave it my all.  I had planned to meet Cat whose blog I follow but we didn’t manage to catch each other before the start.

Lining up at the start in front of the beautiful house was pretty spectacular.

At the start

At the start

Then we were off on the short flat start of the course to the first hill.  Which went on… And on! I had forgotten quite how hard and long it was.  Once you get to the top of this hill here is a lovely long downhill back to the start point and then another loop round past the house and up another hill through the woods.  I spent most of this time trying to work out whether the route was different from when I did it and came to the conclusion that it was (I was right).  I deduced therefore that the second time up the first horrible hill was now not included (I was wrong).

Those mean hills

Those mean hills

The legs were feeling very tired the second time around but I did feel that my hill training paid off as I did manage to maintain my pace.  I finished in 57:30 which I was really pleased with. We got a lovely lion medal at the end too!

Lion medal (pic courtesy of Cat)

Lion medal (pic courtesy of Cat)

And I did mange to meet up with Cat and her friend Nic and we went and had a very welcome hot chocolate afterwards.

Me, Cat & Nic

Me, Cat & Nic

All in all a good day and a a good opportunity to practice running a race on my own.  Bath Half next… 4 weeks to go.

Oooh, and did I mention my lovely new shoes? Finally got round to getting some so that I have plenty of time to break them in before London.

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Fuelling with gin

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I’m now into week 5 of my programme – that’s scary!  11 weeks to go….

I finished off last week with my icy hill runs and then a long run on Saturday morning into Bath to collect the car (again!).  This time I had been to a Gin tasting the evening before.  Not my usual preparation for a long run it must be said.

I had 90 minutes on the schedule so thought that would be a good way to clear the head the next day.

I went to the tasting with three friends and it was great fun.  I have never done a spirits tasting before and found it fascinating.

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Not your average Friday night out

We tasted 10 different gins including many I’ve never heard of.

We tried:

Seagram Reserve

Beefeater

Beefeater 24

Tanqueray

Bombay Sapphire

Plymouth Gin

Hoxton Gin

G’Vine

Chase Williams Gin

Hendricks

There were some that I really wasn’t keen on. The Hoxton Gin (which had coconut and grapefruit in it) wouldn’t be my top choice for a gin & tonic, but I can imagine it would make a good base for a cocktail. It smelled like a Pina Colada!

G’Vine gin was slightly different because it was made from grape spirit and had almost a cognac flavour about it.

I did like the Chase gin which was made from apple spirit but my two favourites were Hendrick’s and Tanqueray.  The Seagram was nice if a little masculine (whisky like?) and it looked like something they would definitely have been drinking in Mad Men.

We nosed them all neat, then tried them with water.  I was well aware that I was running in the morning so I only took a tiny sip of each. Then we were able to try them with tonic after the tasting so I had a delicious Tanqueray with Fevertree tonic.  Yum.

Saturday brought a beautiful morning for running – cold with lovely blue sky, perfect to blow away the cobwebs.  The pavements around Bath were still very icy so we had to go slowly in some parts, but all in all a good run of around 8.5 miles.

I missed my training today due to a poorly little girl at home, so am hoping to sneak it in tomorrow morning after dropping the boy at judo before school.

And this weekend I’m excited to be running the Longleat 10k and pleased because I’ve managed to persuade my lovely daughters to come and cheer me on as I’ll be all on my own 🙂

The Dreadmill

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Today’s run was a 3 x 10 minute threshold run.  We had another light smattering of snow last night on top of the already icy lanes so I decided running fast on a slippery surface was not advisable so I took myself off to the gym today.

I really don’t enjoy running on the treadmill although it must be said it does have its advantages:

– for an interval session like this it’s good because you maintain a constant speed, rather than slowing down towards the end as I’m sure I do when running outside

– it must be kinder on the joints

– you can let your mind wander without the running the risk of slowing down

But

– I find the lack of variety of the surface makes different muscles tired

– I find myself constantly watching the clock as it’s right in front of you (I know you can cover it up) as opposed to looking at a watch

– it is very boring looking at the same view!

Plus I had forgotten my headphones 😦

Anyway, run done. No injuries.  And home for a lovely bowl of home-made tomato and lentil soup. Yum!

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– 

Intermittent Fasting

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I’ve been following the principle of intermittent fasting for a while now and I find it really effective when I do it properly.  I think I do a bit too much of the intermittent and not enough of the fasting though…

The 5:2 method seems to be the most popular at the moment.  What I never seem to manage is the two days of fasting; I somehow can’t seem to contemplate fasting on a running day, and as that is roughly every other day, it doesn’t leave me much scope.

There seem to be many different variations.  The Horizon programme last summer highlighted the effectiveness of this way of eating – not just for losing weight but for greater health benefits and also for it’s anti-ageing benefits too.  I had already discovered Brad Pilon’s Eat stop Eat programme.  Brad advocates intermittent fasting following a 24-hour fast from the time of your last meal – i.e. if you eat supper at 7.00pm you don’t eat again until 7pm the next day.  I can cope with that as you’re asleep for the most part of it.

The Horizon programme advocates eating around 500 calories on fast days.  I personally find the former method easier psychologically because if I have decided not to eat at all, that’s easier than limiting what I do eat.

I need to move it on a bit to try exercising in the mix after reading this post by Trainer George.

Does anyone else have any experience about what works best?  I’d be really interested to know more about fasting and exercising.  I do most of my long runs on an almost empty stomach.  We try and go off early on a Saturday morning and I’m not inclined to get up even earlier to eat beforehand (I need to allow a good 90 minutes after eating before a long run otherwise I get a stitch and feel sick).  So I sometimes have an Actimel and if it’s a longish distance (9+ miles) I will take an energy drink or some squash.  But then I’m ravenous when I come home.

Food writer Fiona Beckett has been posting some lovely looking recipes on her blog that are good for eating on the 500 calorie days if you’re following that method.

Please let me know what you think in the comments!

A snowy run!

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Not one to let the weather defeat me I decided to brave a run this morning.  Not least because the Evil Man* said that I would have to run 4 times next week if I missed today’s run so I figured it would be much easier to get it over and done with.  I knew that any of my usual country routes would be too icy so I decided to stick to the main road that had been gritted.  It’s not a nice run and one I would never have chosen unless I had to run into Bath for some reason, and was a there-and-back route – my least favourite.  And to top it all, very hilly!

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Too many hills for my liking!

Looking very pretty

Looking very pretty

 

There were virtually no cars which was great.

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill....

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill….

 

I had 75 minutes on the schedule but I only managed 67, even though I did add on a bit when I got back home to make it a bit further. But in the end I was too cold and just wanted to get home for some breakfast! Very slow because of the hills – an average pace of 10.56, pathetic (but on the flatter bits I was doing more like 9 minute miles)

The view from the top.  The building you can just about see is where my office is

The view from the top. The building you can just about see is where my office is

 

* Evil Man =  George Anderson, creator of the training programme I’m following.  So far I think it’s brilliant, and there’s even a Facebook group where you can speak to other runners following the same plan.