Saturday, 30 June 2012


This is what I did yesterday before dinner:
1. Took Robbie to school and came home
2. Took Emma to school (a trial session before she starts properly in September)
3. Took out the recycling
4. Returned some library books
5. Went to the supermarket and shopped for ingredients
6. Picked up Emma
7. Made a courgette frittata
8. Made and ate lunch with Emma
9. Took Emma to nursery
10. Ran 5 miles (intervals)
11. Had a shower
12. Picked up Emma
13. Made a chocolate cake
14. Picked up Robbie
15. My parents arrived for the weekend - yay!
16. Prepared a salad to go with the frittata
17. Picked up Pete from the station
18. Had dinner and relaxed!

What a busy day, but I'm so glad I managed to fit the run in, and the frittata and chocolate cake were both delicious and totally worth the trouble!

Oven baked courgette and feta frittata

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Effects of Illness

Last week I learned a bit more about how illness - even an apparently mild cold - can effect fitness. I'd had a cold over the previous weekend, and having missed most of my runs, I was looking forward to getting stuck in again last week.

However, things didn't turn out as I had hoped. On Monday I wanted to run 10 miles, but felt very sluggish and slow, and cut the run short to 6.2miles.

Found a great new route across a field and over train tracks!

 On Tuesday, I had to pop in to work in the afternoon, when I normally would have done a bike ride. I decided to cycle to work, as it's only about 3.5 miles away, and I did, but my legs felt really heavy, and I found a long uphill more difficult than usual.

I did my usual 4 mile early morning run on Wednesday, and was a bit slower than usual, at 8.56 min/miles pace. I thought I was almost back to normal, but then on Friday I had a terrible headache. This was a product of all the congestion in my head , and something I often get after a cold.

Adfter a lot of humming and haaing, I did run on Friday, but only after taking ibuprofen, and it wasn't a great run, at 9.05 min/mile pace for 5 miles.

Later I listened to Jillian Michaels' podcast, in which she criticised people for continuing to workout when ill. I knew she was right. Really, what good are you doing yourself? I just didn't want my mileage count for June to be too badly affected - how ridiculous!

So when I still had a terrible headache all weekend, I didn't run. I did have a little bike ride, but I spent a lot of  time in a dark room, waiting to get better (and watching the UK athletic Olympic Trials - great!).

Now I'm feeling more human, but not back to 100% yet. So I'm going to give myself a break, and not push myself too hard. Logically I know that this is not the time to train hard - hopefully I've got plenty more weeks of injury and illness-free running ahead, before I do any races.

In total last week, I ran 3 times, which amounted to 15.2 miles, and cycled 16.1 miles. Not bad for a bit of a wiped out week!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A poorly week

Not much running to report this week, because I'm afraid to say I got the lurgy. I did a long run on Tuesday afternoon, had a rest day on Wednesday, felt ill that evening, decided to drop Thursday morning's run in favour of sleep, felt much worse that evening, stayed in bed all day while Pete looked after the kids on Friday, managed to go to work on Saturday, and feel almost back to normal today!

So not ideal, but at least the feeling-really-crap stage didn't last too long. I'm left with a head full of congestion, and I know from experience that this will last a while, but luckily I haven't had a cough or any chest problems with this one. (So far - fingers crossed).

I was very tempted to try a run on Thursday morning, but I'm glad I didn't give in to temptation, as it would no doubt have been tough and of no benefit. I also wondered about trying to squeeze one in today, but I decided that there's no point tiring myself out, and another day off is probably more beneficial than a slow 3-miler. Hard to accept this logic when you want to run, but we all know it's the sensible thing to do!

I'm glad then that Tuesday's run was a pretty damn good 10-miler. There were a couple of annoyances with this run:  one was that it was raining, and in the 90 minutes I was out there, it didn't let up for a single sorry second. I got drenched, which I didn't enjoy, and my bra-strap chafed where it was soaking wet and rubbed a load of skin off - ouch!

You can't really tell, but I was soaked
The second irritant was my Garmin being silly. It said low battery before I went (but there was no reason why it should have been low), and frustratingly, it went dead about 0.2 miles before I got home!

Anyway, I didn't care too much, because I was so pleased with my speed. I averaged 8.56 min/miles, and although the Garmin only recorded 9.8 miles (grrr), I ran 10 altogether, and was speeding up at the end.  That's about the same speed as my Half Marathon PB, and the fastest I've ever run 10 miles. I'll be doing my first 10 mile race in October, so I'll be looking for a time around 1h25m - 27m, I suppose.

I think the rain definitely made me faster, as I was fed up with being out in it!

So that was that for last week: just 10 miles run. While I'm not feeling 100% today, I'm getting there, so with the help of some apples, orange juice, coffee and plenty of sleep I'm hoping to get a long run in tomorrow, and get back to 20 miles+ this week. Sniff.

Monday, 11 June 2012

A wet week.

So summer has gone AWOL and the hot weather we had a few weeks ago is a distant memory. This last week was wet, windy and cool. Anyone who saw tv pictures of the jubilee celebrations on the Thames will recognise this description.

Dressed for the British summer
Anyway, I managed to get a decent week of running in, despite the weather and half term holidays. Because of the Queen's jubilee, Monday and Tuesday were public holidays, which meant Pete was home too. I took advantage of this on Tuesday morning, and ran 10 miles while he looked after the kids.

I set off planning to run about 7 miles, but felt ok so I kept extending the distance until it seemed silly not to round it up to 10. This was my longest run since the Half Marathon on 4th March. I'm not training for anything specific at the moment, but I want to start building my long runs and overall mileage gradually over the next 6 months, to help prepare for marathon training in the winter. Such long term planning is tricky though, and it's hard to motivate myself to run long, as I think I've got plenty of time to put it off. I just want to start marathon training with my legs well used to long distances.

Anyhoo, that 10-miler was pretty good, and I averaged 9 min/miles, which I'm very happy with.

As Pete went back to work, it was harder to get time to myself, and it's the bike rides that get dropped when I'm lacking in free time. I got up early on Thursday and Friday mornings to sneak in some short runs, and had to battle gale force wind on Friday! It wasn't too bad though, as I enjoyed some tailwind as well as headwind, which felt great!

It occured to me last week that I haven't had much variety in my running recently. I've been focusing on increasing mileage, and forgotten sessions such as intervals and hills. In fact I haven't done anything like that for months, probably not since I ran with a club in December.

So on Sunday I decided to mix it up a bit. I jogged half a mile, then ran fast half a mile, 5 times in total. My first mile was way too fast, and after most fast runs I had to stop for a while to catch my breath before I started jogging again. It felt good to run fast though, and I wondered when I had last made my legs turn over so quickly.

This run brought my weekly miles to 22.37 miles - also the highest mileage since the beginning of March.

So I will be aiming to keep the miles up, remember to add some intervals, and keep battling the weather - the forecast is grim for the rest of the month...

Winter coats and wellies in June

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Half term

This week Robbie and Emma have experienced a few firsts such as:

...celebrating their first Jubilee,

...playing draughts (checkers) for the first time,

...trying tennis for the first time,

...finally joining her big brother in swimming lessons!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Tillingham Valley Rockabilly Race

A few weeks ago I signed up for this race on a bit of a whim, as I was just looking for a race to do in June that would fit around other weekend commitments. This looked like a low-key, friendly event, and so it proved. I had no goals, other than to have fun and enjoy the views of the countryside.

It was in the middle of nowhere in deepest rural Sussex, and we got lost a couple of times on the way there, arriving after about an hour in the car. We drove into the middle of a field on a farm, and there didn't seem to be many people about. It had been advertised as a series of races beginning at 4pm, but in fact on the day, there were just 2 races - one for children and the main race - and they didn't start until 5.45pm.

So there was plenty of time to hang around and get chilly, and the kids had a great time playing with a dog they met (Sidney). The clouds crept over the sun, and it started to get quite windy, so it was a relief when it was time to line up for the kids' race.

For a while we thought Robbie and Emma might be the only runners, but a few more children turned up, and there were 8 altogether I think. It was 0.5 miles, and I ran with Emma. She was the youngest there, and we were last, just behind Robbie. The boys at the front were a few years older than my two, and I thought they did well to keep going the whole way. Emma said she was tired after about 30 seconds, but she didn't give up, and they both got their medals!

Robbie said afterwards that he didn't enjoy it at all though, and I think he found it hard-going.

I had about a minute to catch my breath, and then it was time for my race. There were 33 of us at the start line, and there semed to be quite a few club runners, so I wondered (as I often do) about the possibility of being last.

Crossing the start line
It was such a small race, that we all separated out very quickly. I remember deciding to overtake a woman after about 200m, and I didn't pass anyone else, nor they me for the rest of the race. The whole thing was on farm fields, so the going was pretty rough. There were rabbit holes, long grass, a couple of streams to leap over, and 2 very steep hills. The first hill was just after 1 mile, and I had to walk part of it. About half a mile later, we ran down again, and then it was round more fields and past sheep and lambs. Then the next hill was at about 3.5 miles. Again, I walked quite a lot of it as it was so steep.
The second hill we climbed
There were a couple of runners who I could just make out in front of me, a man about 1 minute ahead of me, and a woman ahead of him who eventually disappeared from view. There was no-one to be seen behind me from about 2 miles onwards, and the spectators were only at the start and finish, so apart from the sheep it was a lonely, quiet race! The views were lovely though.

The hills really took it out of me, and the bumpy fields were hard work. After the 4 mile point, there was a stretch of very long grass, and I was so tired then that I walked again. I wasn't looking for a fast time, and I knew there was no-one behind me who could catch me. Finally I turned into the start / finish area, where a rockabilly band was playing and a bar and barbeque were waiting for me. Robbie and Emma crossed the line with me and I plodded in to get my medal.

The finish!
While the band played and more runners gradually came in, I had a delicious burger and a coke, both of which I had been thinking about and looking forward to during the race! Pete said he had only seen one woman finish before me, but I knew there were at least two, and probably many more.

The kids were dancing to the music and Pete was enjoying the beer, so we stayed a bit longer, and soon the race director took the microphone to announce the winners. I couldn't believe it when he called out my name as 3rd woman! I won a bottle of wine! This was a historic moment as I have never won anything or got such a good position in a race before!

It felt really good. I was 18 / 33 runners in total, 3 / 14 women, and 2nd in my age category. According to my Garmin, the distance was 4.6 miles, and my time was 41m55s. As I was taking in the excitement of getting a prize, they also gave out prizes for the children's race. Despite finishing last, Emma was the first girl! I hadn't noticed that there were no other girl runners! She went up to receive a bag of Minstrels, and was a very happy runner!

How odd that such an uncompetitive race, which I really only did for fun and had no goals for, should turn out to be a prize winner. It was a great afternoon, and I hope they won't be the last prizes for me or Emma!

Friday, 1 June 2012

May Rundown

Last month was HOT! After a lot of rain we finally got some fantastic sunshine and warm temperatures. The trouble is, that might just have been summer and we're heading for autumn already.

As for running, I started off slowly, with a few extra rest days over the May Bank Holiday, but started to build it up again in the last 2 weeks.

At the start of the month I did the Hampshire 10K in Portsmouth (when it was still cold and rainy), and banged out a great new PB. I also did one Parkrun, but ran it as an easy training run rather than a race.

Then it got hot and I managed to get sunburnt while cycling to the beach. On that bike ride I came up with a great idea - how to stop your Garmin getting sweaty and leaving a tan-line on your wrist:

The numbers aren't too impressive overall, but the PB was the main goal:
Ran 14 times = 72.2 miles
Cycled 3 times = 37.5 miles
1 race
1 PB

This weekend I've got a race, as jubilee fever hits the UK and we get a double Bank Holiday. It's a 5-miler, accompanied by children's races, music and food stalls. I'm doing it for fun, rather than with any time goal in mind. It's also Half Term next week, which leaves me with 9 consecutive days of having the kids around - hopefully I'll sneak some running in somewhere.