running blog


Bupa London 10K

It was hot, blooming hot!

On Sunday I met up in Green Park with my good friend Kirsten (returning to racing after injury) and with Alma and Louise.  We met in the pleasant surroundings of Green Park and while we pinned on numbers and attached timing chips I realised how hot it really was.  It might have been a much better idea to stay there sitting on the grass for a chat and a picnic!

As usual for this race it was really well organised, plenty of loos and very organised baggage drop so it only took a few minutes to get ready before heading to the start.  The course had been changed this year to reflect the Olympic Marathon course starting on the Mall.  A very slick start and all waves were moved forward very promptly to get the start cleared for the elite runners to finish at the same point!  It was a busy race and there was a bit of weaving to keep up pace and having to wait to pass people and some elbow bashing at narrower points but there was a good atmosphere and lots of noisy spectators cheering us along.  As my 5th running of this race it was a nice change to run it in reverse!

Kirsten who has suffered with an injuries recently told me to go ahead at the start as she had promised her Physio to walk if her legs were tight.  However she caught up with me not long after 1Km and we ran the rest of the race together.  As I predicted, injury or no injury, Kirsten has one pace (quite quick which she can carry on for miles and miles!) and it was me who was the weak-link suggesting in a few places where the heat was really getting to me that we ease off a bit! Having a good steady pace maker helped me maintain a reasonable pace and I’m sure that left to my own devices I would have been far slower. I really struggled in the heat and almost stopped to walk just before the 9k point but managed to force myself on having got so far.  So I was happy to scrape in under 55 mins at 54.53.  My slowest 10K for a long while but by far the hottest, the reported temperature was 28 degrees!

The highlight was just before 3km when the front group of the mens race passed us on the other side of the road on their return leg and we all shouted encouragement to Mo Farrah to continue his winning streak  My olympic athletics experience! Who needs tickets?  We also saw the stands in place at Horse Guards Parade for the volleyball and crossed the finish line where the olympic marathon will in front of a crowd of spectators.

A great day,  finished with lunch out for Kirsten’s birthday with her partner and my family.  I have signed up for a sixth Bupa London 10K in 2013 when I hope to break my ‘getting slower and slower’ streak!



My Favourite Race

It’s one month before the Bupa London 10,000, my favourite race. And this year however light I am on training (as usual) I am not panicked. No this year I am happy because more importantly my running buddy Kirsten will be back to run it with me. Thanks Bupa Running for the extra place.

It’s all Kirsten’s fault I got into running in the first place! We have been friends for many years and shared flats at university in the 80s. Back then Kirsten was a runner and I was a boozer (not too much has changed then) although I did sport for my college’s netball team, although we were difficult to lose against and could give the lads a good contest in the union bar after matches (can’t leave all the fun to the boys).

Fast forward a ‘few’ years and a couple of kids, several degrees and careers later, Kirsten and I are still good friends and living in London. I finally found a love of exercise with British Military Fitness and when I mentioned that I was enjoying running Kirsten, who was still running and had recently run the Great North Run, suggested we run a race for life together which later progressed to more 5K’s and to on to my first 10K

So began our history with the Bupa 10,000m. We ran the Bupa Great Capital run in Hyde Park in July 2007 (blooming hot if I remember) which was the precursor of the current Bupa 10,000 and have run it in its current form as the London 10,000m from Green Park in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We remember the first run in the pouring rain all too well! Each year we have run the race together and Kirsten being a faster, fitter runner than me has patiently run with me and paced me round to a new PB each time culminating in my current 10K PB in 2010 of 50.38mins!

Last year Kirsten couldn’t make it (was off climbing peaks in Norway) and although I had great company from twitter and blogging buddies, I missed her, having a less enjoyable time trying too hard on my own to meet or beat my pb without my pacer!

This year I’m simply looking forward to running the race. It won’t be about chasing PB’s. Kirsten has had a tough year, having recently lost her father and suffering various injuries so it might have to be me having to slow down and hold back for a change (although I doubt it) but I will be very happy to, because running this race together for our enjoyment, shared history and friendship is more important that a new PB.


Staying focused and races in 2012

Well I survived half term!  While I had a break from BMF I did manage to run 4 days and clocked up a decent 25 miles, so running is still on track.

My plans for 2012 are to run at least a race (10K or Half Marathon) a month.   I have some personal time goals I’d like to meet for 5K, 10K and HM this year which I had thought, for some distances, were a bit of a long shot! However after taking 4 minutes off my HM PB last week I’m thinking anything’s possible! Watch this space!  With a lot of blogger and twitter buddies training for marathons this  spring I have to keep my goals in mind especially as now I am reading about their increasing long runs going over my distance and getting designs on running a marathon myself.  No… plenty of time for that next year!

I planned two spring half marathons to make sure I had a good shot at a pb and a good time.  Having achieved that last week I won’t be greedy for my next outing at the Silverstone HM in 2 weeks but hope to be able to match my pace to prove it wasn’t a fluke!  So my running continues with HM in mind although I will wait and work on any significant improvement on 1.55.49  for the Autumn.

I will then focus on 10Ks for the spring and really must get back to parkrunning on saturday mornings and running 5K’s! I am hopeful the shorter runs will help my poor feet recover enough for painted toenails and sandals in time for summer!  Even going up another half-size in running shoes hasn’t spared my poor big toenail recently.  Ouch and Eewe!

My race plans for the year have already been tested, having to change my plans for February, so I’ve looked into other races for the year keeping an open mind and the possible need to change my plans where necessary.  I would race more if I could but have to balance my races with my family’s activities and one a month is manageable at the moment.

One race to mention is the Macmillan Cancer Support 10K fun run on 17th June  in Regents park which might be my June race, depending where I am.

Additionally if you are looking to support a good cause and run in the South West please consider running for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

“I am writing on behalf of the Bath and Bristol Fundraising Team of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to ask for your support by putting your training and muscles to good use and signing up to one of the Run Bristol events in aid of the charity.
 Muscular dystrophy is a devastating, incurable and life-limiting condition that causes muscles to waste away, making people progressively weaker and preventing them from performing simple tasks that we take for granted, such as turning the pages of a book or brushing their hair. There are 60 different types of muscular dystrophy and over 70,000 babies, children and adults are affected by the disease, 6,000 of whom are in the South West. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign strives to provide care and support to individuals and families affected by muscular dystrophy; fund research into finding cures; campaigning to improve services available and awarding grants to provide specialist equipment, such as powered wheelchairs. For more information please see our website – http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org.
 Our ultimate goal is to rid the world of the condition for good and our fight against muscle wasting disease depends on the support of people like you .
 As you may be aware the 2012 Bristol 10k and Half Marathon is being held on 20th May and 30th September respectively and we are looking for runners to raise vital sponsorship funds. You can use your muscles to help those that cannot.
 If you can help, please get in contact with Nick Hearne via email –
bristol@muscular-dystrophy.org or by telephone 07771374836.
 We will support you every step of the way by supplying sponsorship forms, t-shirts, fundraising ideas and of course we will be there on the day to cheer you on.
 You really can help make a difference to the lives of thousands of people affected by this devastating muscle wasting disease.
 Thank you!”


Regents Park 10K

For my first race of 2012 I went to the Zoo for a rather early (for me) run around Regents Park.  I joined fellow ‘Athoners* Alma and Carla (who have run one of this series of 10Ks before) and Louise.  It was also lovely to meet two ‘Athoners in person for the first time,  Katie and Maggie who had travelled in from Oxford and Manchester.

[* ‘Athoner – one who participates in mad running/exercise challenges such as running every day in January.]

The race was three laps of a mostly flat course, although Carla warned me about one slope which definitely got more like a hill each rep and there were certanly some slight changes in gradient along the route!  I started out towards the back and gradually overtook people bit by bit which I prefer to only being overtaken and is a good way of keeping up my motivation and maintaining pace.

 My first mile was my slowest.  Not necessarlily due to my good planning or pacing but more due to waiting for the pack to thin out but it also gave me chance to judge how I was going.  I decided last Friday that 8.30 or 8.45 pace was achievable at my current weight** and fitness. By the end of the first mile or so I fixed on trying to keep up the faster pace especially as the first half of each lap felt easier with slightly more down slopes compared to the second half.  This was later revised to pushing 8 min miles on the good bits to make up for the effort to stay under 9 min miles on the bad bits!  Well something worked because I’m very pleased with my splits showing an even paced race.

[** I was discussing this with Carla before the race who’d read an article about how weight loss can improve run times in Runners world.  See her blog – we both agreed the stats are spot on!]

A well organised good-sized race in a lovely park.  Why haven’t I explored it before?  There was a nice stretch of the race along the back fence of London Zoo where I tried to do a bit of animal spotting.  I only saw a couple of camels!

Fortunately Alma and Carla had run this before and had found and tested a café near Camden tube where we could all go for breakfast.  Delicious! After a large latte, two poached eggs and bacon on toast I was fully restored and awake!


VLM ballot

Well somebody is pleased to have a new fleece!

I entered the London Marathon ballot on a whim not expecting to get a place and being a little worried recently what I’d do if I actually did get a place!  Fortunately today I got the ‘Dear John’ response  and the commiseration fleece so no worries there.

I was actually disappointed for a few hours this afternoon, especially getting caught up in the hype and excitement on twitter when a few people heard earlier on that they had places.  I even researched other possible marathons in 2012 such as the new Milton Keynes Marathon.

However common sense has set in, having asked myself,  ‘Do you really want to run 26.2 miles next spring?’  Erm.. Not really!   I’m not even half marathon fit at the moment after injury!  All sorted.  I am going to concentrate on rebuilding my fitness and set myself a few goals to improve my 5K, 10K and HM times by running a few more of these races in 2012.

I always did say that I would run a marathon when I was very very old and therefore could have the excuse of stopping for a cuppa tea en route!


Brading 10K

Juneathon day 19. Brading 10K.

As we spend a fair amount of time on the Isle of Wight I’ve been meaning to run one of the races organised by Ryde Harriers since I started running. To date I’ve either not been here at the right time, have wimped out because of heat waves or bad weather and come up with numerous other excuses. However as we were in the right place this weekend, the weather looked suitable and it being Juneathon and all, I was left with no excuse but to run the Brading 10K when I realised it was this weekend.

The race starts and finishes from the Isle of Wight speedway stadium near Ryde and includes a lap of the track at the end. I turned up fairly early as I was entering on the day. I was a little worried that as I was only no 63 that it would be a very small club race and with the ‘undulations’ mentioned in the details I’d be at the back!

They were a friendly bunch and I had a chat with a couple of ladies as we jogged a couple of warm up laps and talked to another who was doing her first 10K. We then all gathered in a huddle by the start line ( towards the back for some of us!) and where given a few words of information such as keep to the left and advised not to wear headphones. Then we were off.

I’ve done a number of 10Ks but this was a new experience because of the small number of runners and the fact that the race was on roads which were still open to traffic. We turned out of the stadium and headed down the smallish country road. At this stage most people were still bunched together so we took up most of one side of the road and several cars just had to stop and wait it out. We turned into the appropriately named Green Lane (A rural lane with smooth tarmac and high green hedges on either side) and the field of runners spread out pretty much into single file. A great advantage, I found, over the mass 10Ks where I have spent my time weaving through the field. Then we started going gradually uphill. The hills were not very steep nor high, as feared, however they went on and on! The first climb to West lane was over a distance of 2km the another from Brading, just before 5km, carried on up to Ryde at the 8km point. I knew the area just well enough to know I had to keep going up hill until I passed certain landmarks. The highest point was where there is a drive-in McDonald’s. Boy was I pleased to see McDonald’s for the frist time in my life!

I do a bit of running in IOW and some of it on the roads, however it was a new and somewhat exhilarating experience to run a road race on roads with no pavements with cars passing within a foot or so of your elbow. 3km of the race was on a fairly busy A road (all up hill) which kept the level of concentration going! We were in single file and by this stage I’d managed to overtake 4 people and had to get round another on a busy bit of road when there was a gap in the traffic. There was a wonderful bit of downhill after 8km where I managed to make up a little for my slow pace on the uphill stretch and before long the stadium was in sight. A final lap where I almost caught up with the runner who had been 50m in front of me for most of the race!

A friendly, well organised and marshalled race. Finishers received a commemorative slate mug mat, a nice change from another medal to hang on my wardrobe door. I’m pleased that I managed to run it only 50 secs slower than the Bupa 10K I ran 3 weeks ago. This was a tougher race but I felt stronger even on less than fresh legs after 57 miles and 18 consecutive days running (or BMF classes) of Juneathon!

6.2 miles 53.56 mins

I was 76th out of 99 finishers and 15th of 33 women!

1 Comment

Janathon for fairweatherrunner

Me fairweatherrunner?  fraid so….

Now, I’m not a complete girls blouse about mud and inclement weather (one of my favourite activities is British Military Fitness and I have witnesses there that I have done plenty of running, burpees, pressups, situps etc in the rain, wind and snow and leopard crawled in the mud)… However,  when it comes to going for a run by myself I just can’t get out from under the duvet or out of the front door if its, dark, wet, cold, snow, too early/late!  Nor if there’s something good on the TV or someone has opened a bottle of red…  Most years I do very little running from mid October until the spring, which is not great prep for a PB  in my favourite 10k, in May.

This year is going to be different. Nikegrid kept me running into November. I was fortunate to join  a fab team, Team Audiofuel, for the last part of  the grid. I ran everyday for 8 days and rediscovered running in the dark and rain.  Now there’s Janathon and I’m going to try to run, or exercise, every day in January and maybe beyond?  

I’m hoping I’ll be able to undo the christmas excesses without having to give up alcohol, cake and chocolate and manage a sub 50 min in May?….