Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Orange sunsets
Crisp mornings
Turning leaves
Ovaltine evenings
Blankets unfurled
Experimental baking
Red-cheeked children

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cardiff Half Hobble

So two half marathons in as many Sundays... yes I think I am mad. But I do like a challenge and I don't give up easy so yes, there I was, on Sunday, in Cardiff Bay with 15 thousand other people at the start line. It was 4 degrees, sunny and mayhem. this was the biggest race I'd ever turned up to on my own, with no supporters; pretty nerve-wracking. I'd been bouldering with my mate Ry the day before which , with hindsight, probably wasn't very wise although thoroughly enjoyable. It resulted, thankfully, only in achey arms but meant that now I ache EVERYWHERE as I carry quite a bit of tension in my shoulders when I run (although the mantra "run tall, run free" did help a lot). Ry turnedout around the 6 mile mark to shout encouragement at me which made all the difference. Thanks Ry!

My leg didn't cause me any real issues and I came in at 2:12 which I was pretty pleased with, it only being 2 mins off my HM PB. Thanks Sean for giving me the chance to run it in the first place!

Good points about the race:
- The baggage was very well organised, as were the medal and goody bag hand outs
- The course, very pretty at the start, scenic all the way and about as flat as you could get
- Plenty of water stations
- Plenty of loos

Bad points about the race:
- The warm up wasn't very well organised, it was hard to hear and follow if you weren't up the front.
- Not enough segregation between runners and spectators at the start
- No mile markers until mile 3

I now have a couple of weeks off before the next event which is a cruisey 5k night time Hallowe'en run in Reading... dressed as a skellington :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Royal Parks 2010

Yesterday I ran the Royal Parks half marathon. Actually I use the term "ran" loosely as around mile 6 my right leg started falling apart. Not literally, but things started going wrong. I used to have an intermittant issue with my right knee which my Physio pretty much sorted out for me. Idf I do my stretches properly I don't get any trouble. So I duly did my stretches and warmed up thoroughly before the event but I felt something wasn't perfect with my knee. I hoped it would pass as I got into my stride, which does happen most times. At mile 6 I started feeling something in my hip, presumably an over compensation for the altered biomechanics of my knee, though why it'd never happened before during my long runs is a mystery. Anyway by mile 8 I was run/walking and although I managed a sprint finish I was 18 minutes behind my last year's time (completed 2010 in 2:28. I reckon I'd have beated 2:10 injury free). I did an awesome sprint finish though :)

It was a brilliant day though. Highlights included the BMF warm up, Ben Fogle starting the race, passing Big Ben at 10am and hearing the chimes, getting high fives from the stewards, collecting a stupid amount of free food from the stands (place your bets on how long it'll take me to eat 16 mars bars) and finishing on a high. It really is one of the best organised races I've ever done and the route is full of London landmarks which keep it interesting.

Huge thanks to my mum and dad for getting up early, ferrying me there and back and cheering me on. And also for putting up with my weariness immediately after the event. If this has inspired you, you can register your interest for 2011.

In a moment of madness I decided to take on the Cardiff Half Marathon next weekend. I'm running on behalf of Sean of AudioFuel who's ill and I'm very grateful to him for giving me the chance to run this event which I've been pondering for two years now. I've never signed up before because it's always been "too close" to another event. Well that excuse has gone right out the window. Can't wait but am aprehensive (my hip will be fine, my hip will be fine...). I hope I do myself proud.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Since my holiday, where despite a fairly active regime I managed to put on several pounds thanks to the abundance of food, I’ve found a new reserve of energy and determination. This is in part to do with wanting to shift the extra weight but also from having had a complete break from my normal routine.

I was getting pretty disheartened before I went away. The 5k times were rising, I felt sluggish and as if I had no time for anything expect work, sleep and training. I realise that routine is not always your friend. There are still mornings I wake up and wish I had a personal trainer to tell me exactly what I should be doing with my day, take me through yoga and a training programme. But alas I can’t afford one in terms of either time or money so I must persevere.

I’ve signed up for a few more races, I’ve discovered that I can run for almost two hours with just short pauses without suffering too much, that I rather enjoy running in the rain, that I still want a 25 minute 5k PB (and that I could probably do it with some more speedwork), and that I really really miss climbing and dancing. I used to do modern jazz and tap at a friend’s dance school but she no longer runs the classes for adults so I think I will have to find somewhere else that does the modern jazz/street/hip-hop styles because I loved it so much. I might see if anyone wants to come climbing with me when I head back to Cardiff in a week’s time.

So mixing it up is the order of the day. I reckon if I do 2 out of the 3 classes at the gym at work every week for core and cycling, a long run, parkrun and a speedwork/intervals session and then a cycle/zumba/yoga/climbing or swim session, that covers most bases and keeps things interesting although I do wonder if that’s asking too much of myself. I’m considering investing in a pull up bar and “borrowing” my friends dumbbells to work on my upper body strength at home.

I’m so positive at the moment that I’m considering signing up for a full marathon in Vegas in December 2011 rather than the half I was thinking about before…

Monday, 4 October 2010

Surfing in September

Has it really been an entire month since I wrote last? I can hardly believe it. Where has that time gone?!
I've certainly not had a lack of things to write about, I've been doing the gym classes and going on runs and getting steadily worse at parkrun it would seem, but I guess it's because I've been so busy I've not stopped to write about them. I've just spent a week in Cornwall on a surf and conservation holiday which was absolutely brilliant. We got a couple of days of glorious sunshine and then it mostly rained which isn't really an issue when you're being dunked in the sea every 10 minutes or so. After 2 and a half days surfing I was able to stand up on the board for a couple of seconds at a time and had wonderful friction burns on my hands from the foamie board. I'll never look at the sea in the same way again and I will definitely be hiring a boad and wetsuit next time I'm near the beach.

Next weekend I'm running the Royal Parks half marathon. I'm very excited. Yesterday, after about an hour of dithering about whether to go out or not, I did 10 miles in the wind and rain so I think I'm mentally and physically prepared. I'll be doing a couple of short runs this week, packing the bag and heading to mum's on Saturday night in preparation. I will therefore not be running parkrun this week, but volunteering instead. Having had a week's break and reflection I've come back all refreshed and revived and convinced that I can run a 25 minute 5k (which I've never managed yet). You never know! Maybe the aim is to do that before Christmas.

I've not got a place in the Virgin London Marathon so instead I've signed up for the Pine Ridge 10k and the Reading half. As I said, feeling refreshed and revived...