running blog


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?….