fairweatherrunner

running blog


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London Winter Run

Janathon might have technically finished on Saturday but I ended it in style on Sunday running the Winter 10K with Alma and Giselle.  This was my first race since September and the longest I have run since then.  A comeback run.

So far this year I’ve not run further than 5K so I had planned to get a 6 mile training run or two in before the race but that didn’t happen for numerous reasons.  In an exchange of texts with Giselle about pace I thought an aim of 9 min mile was realistic for me although running under 55 minutes would be a good goal.  Giselle’s aim was to get as close as possible to 50 mins (I said I’d love to be back there and would be with her at that pace for a mile or two tops!) or practice pacing at 8.50, to which I agreed I should be able to manage for most of the race.

The start of the race wasn’t as organised as it could have been and the published ‘start waves’ were more a ‘guideline’ about what time to shuffle out of the loo queue towards the start. We joined the queue aiming for the latest of the times we had together at 10.02  but in the crowds up the embankment it was a matter of first come first served, all participants mixed up together.  While waiting to start and trying to keep warm we all began to worry about the race being a bit chaotic. I suggested it might be hard work to try and run together in the crowds.

Fortunately it all turned out better than feared. The crowd was good-natured and there was music and a warm up to keep us motivated. Although we didn’t finally start until 10.17 we were fortunate to be close to the front of the start pen and so when we finally got going the 8 minute gap between waves meant that the race was spaced out and we had a lovely clear run up the embankment.  I caught up with Giselle and joined her to run at her pace after all.

She was an excellent pace maker.  I watched the mile splits clock by at very consistent pace just under 8.40/mi.  Giselle told me to stop looking at my Garmin and just stick with her.  It’s true, it is all in the mind and when you just have to concentrate on running with someone your mind can’t contemplate the pace and pass on ‘I’m tired’ messages to the legs.  Her cunning plan was to slowly up the pace in the second half.   I lasted until mid way between the 8 and 9km markers.  The combination of an 8.08 min 5th mile, the slight slope back up to the embankment and the lack of miles in my legs were finally showing.  I convinced Giselle that she needed to keep pushing and I really did have to just hold average pace to the end. I followed her up the last km of the embankment at an increasing distance and managed a modest sprint past a few others at the finish line half a minute behind her.

I was very chuffed to have run 52.52. With a little help I proved to myself that I’m not so out of form after all. Come back race an enjoyable success. Big thank you to Giselle.

So I’m signed up for next year, and a half marathon while I was at it. I’ve decided winter races suit me because apart from a few shivers waiting to start I find the cooler temperature kinder when trying to up the pace. I also don’t have the hassle of carrying water and on Sunday nor did we have to pause to grab water en route.

An excellent race. A little disorganised towards the start but the 8 minute staggered starts worked well at spacing out the race. We coped ok starting further back than planned and having to weave through runners when we caught up with waves in front.

There was a good atmosphere, a perfectly organised bag drop and a lovely bit of Bling at the end. Plus hugs and photo opportunities with polar bears if you’re into that sort of thing. At the start we were more interested in stealing a polar bear suit to keep warm!

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Jan-don

Another Janathon is over. Rather too quickly as usual making me feel I’m still in catch up mode. I haven’t run or exercised as much as other years but have hopefully re-started some good habits which I can build on and continue rather than going for broke and spending February recovering.

This week I’ve run a bit less due to some mild niggles in my hamstrings and piriformis which feel worse when it’s very cold  so I stuck to alternate days exercising.

Today, the last day of Janathon and being Saturday it was parkrun time. I’ve been using parkrun for the past few months as my way back into running so for the last day of Janathon, I gave back and volunteered and did finish token duty. My exercise was therefore just cycling there, a bit earlier than usual, (and in a snow/sleet shower) and back. Unless walking round and round in circles while looking after all the bags and trying to keep warm waiting for runners to finish counts. I do have a 10K race tomorrow to make up!

Day 30. 1 hour BMF class 2.7 miles run, 5.5 miles cycled.

Day 31. 2.4 miles cycled (part in snow) 1 parkrun volunteered at with a few circles paced, in the freezing cold!

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Shuttle sprints.

At parents evening tonight I “ran” shuttle sprints between my sons school library, the hall and main corridor. This was because my thoughtful younger son had booked us back to back 5 minute slots so we could see all 11 teachers in as short as time as possible but without taking into account differences in location.

Fortunately his school is on a fairly compact location and he’s a good pupil so he and I were spared protracted discussions and made it out the school gates in just over the hour with GCSE predicated grades and A level choices signed off.

Job done, one worn out mother who’d earned her glass of wine.

I did also go to BMF today, and cycled home against strong winds in the rain. No wonder I’m tired tonight!

Janathon day 28.

1 hour BMF class, 3.1 miles run. 5.4 miles cycled.


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Extreme weather?

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Sandwiched between Kensington and Shepherds Bush is the pocket sized microclimate of Holland Park! I walked through it today, taking my chances, after seeing this sign at the entrance, thinking I’d have an adventure.

Blizzard? Ice trekking? Biblical flood to cross? A hurricane to sprint away from? But all was calm and quiet and reassuringly urban. The only adaptation I had to make for the weather conditions was to remove my scarf because it was rather mild.

I was going to run today but didn’t fancy it much. Then walking home from dropping my bike off for its service I noticed how bad the traffic was and hatched a plan. Rather than squeezing in a short run before getting changed and driving to meet people at lunch time I would bin the run, leave early for my meet up and walk there.

Janathon day 26.

5.9 miles walked.
2.4 miles cycled.

1 Bike serviced.
Squeaky brakes (which they told me was quite normal) now cured.


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parkrun

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I nearly didn’t make parkrun today. I snoozed my alarm many times and while I lay there semi conscious I was convincing myself that my body ached too much from BMF yesterday (no mention of the wine I drank last night of course) and I was sure I could hear it was raining outside.

At 8am, the point of no return, I got up and looked out the window. Dry cold and sunny. One of those lovely mornings that I would regret not getting out there. Two cups of tea, run kit, 2 nurofen, a bit of toast and 40 minutes later I was wrapped up and dragging my bike out the door.

Thank god for my local parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs for being less than 10 mins away by bike and being, in the winter at least, reliably wet, boggy, ice and mud filled to make it not really matter (for the likes of me) what state of hydration, fuelled or hungover I turn up in, it doesn’t really affect my overall pace.

Bike and warm layers deposited at the finish I was off to the start and wondering what I was up for today and what bits of me really did ache after yesterday.

It was very soggy under foot, wet soggy grass and puddles covered in a crusty ice surface hiding the lovely mud underneath. I started trying to avoid the worst of the puddles and mud but once one foot had plunged completely into an ice bath most of us just ploughed straight through it all.

My legs didn’t ache too much but my hamstrings convinced my head that any attempt at pace was out. In the end I finished not too much over my recent ‘muddy times’ and went to enjoy a post run cuppa and flapjack. A lovely bright, cold, blue-sky morning to be out. I was really glad I made the effort. A bit of mud is always fun!

Afterwards I realised that some parts of my glute muscles got more of a work out during Friday’s tuck jumps and jump squats than I realised. Time to stretch and think about the foam roller.

It took longer to soak the mud out my feet and legs than run parkrun and my socks and shoes (once yellow) needed special treatment.

Janathon day 24. 29th parkrun done.

5K run, 3.4 miles cycled


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Leg blast

Today I had good intentions of writing my blog early and catching up with reading Janathon blogs, my emails and the rest of my life generally. But then I cycled off to BMF on the coldest morning yet.

I got there fine, apart from my missing finger tips which joined me 5 minutes later. (Wind proof thermal cycle gloves only ok to -1, apparently).

I did notice at the start if the class that there were an awful lot of greens (advanced). All BMF classes follow much the same format with the variety from the instructor. The make up of the group also makes a big difference. Today there were 12 of us and with half greens it meant one thing. A hard fast class. Eek! Then the mention of ‘leg blast’ class turned my legs to jelly before we even started. My small portion of porridge for breakfast suddenly felt a bit inadequate.

Fortunately I survived the running, gun drills, squat jumps, tuck jumps until our legs screamed. Plus a bit more running to make it to arms and abs and we were into the sprints to finish. A good class where I knew I had worked hard.

I cycled home before I cooled down too much and discovered that it is possible to change gear and brake on a road bike wearing sheepskin mittens and they are far better at maintaining feeling in my fingers than fancy cycle gloves.

After all that hard work and fresh air, a hot shower, food and coffee I sat on the sofa and my ability to do much else left me.

I’ll have to catch up tomorrow.

Janathon day 23.

Cold 5.3 miles cycled
1 hour tough BMF class, 3.2 miles run.


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JFDI

Fitflo and Plustenner in their blogs this week have set good examples of getting on with their Janathon / marathon training runs despite having had long days, not feeling like it and having a full list of excellent excuses.

If they could get out there and JFDI well so can I. So after a day of maybe later, after this, after that, can’t until… This evening I threw my kit on as quickly as possible and stepped out the door before my brain could work out what was happening.

Both Carla and Alma reported having good runs once they got going and it worked for me too. Once down the road and into my ‘Janathon Loop’ I was happy to be running and felt good.

Janathon day 22

3.1 miles run.