running blog



This morning I received in the post a wonderful shiny gold medal from Louise.  She’d had them made for us after our 24 mile Kingston Challenge run last week where we were a little disappointed not to get a medal

Medals are very important to us runners, just ask any runner or fellow runner-blogger-Rachel Medal Slut, it’s all about the medal! It’s not only the collecto maniacs and magpies in us that want more and more shiny medals hanging and clanking like cow bells from our wardrobe doors.  Medals are the important physical token which represents the wonderful feeling of achievement and pride we get from running any race, from a first 5K through our longest runs and fastest races.  Last week was the furthest I’ve ever run and I ran it faster than I thought and Louise ran an amazing race so having such a wonderful medal to remind us of our achievements last week is fantastic.  No pressure Rutland Water Marathon in 2 weeks time!

Apologies if I’m gushing but I’m on the sofa drinking a glass of wine with my feet up watching Strictly after running 17 miles today. I have my first Saturday night in many weeks with a glass bottle of wine and a lie in booked for tomorrow because I’m not racing tomorrow and I have now run ALL my marathon long runs!  Only a taper and the Great South Run between me and Rutland Water Marathon.


Great South Run

Nothing ever goes exactly to plan.

On Saturday afternoon I grabbed my garmin to lend to my family who were off to try a new cycle route.  No battery power left! Just as well I checked, at least I know to charge it for the race.  Then I realised I had brought the wrong charger.  Disaster!  I can’t run a race without my garmin! Does it stop you being able to run?  Well, actually no… err … um…yes… how do I know what pace I’m running? Don’t suppose there’s anywhere on the IOW that sell garmin chargers separately?  Didn’t think so… Advice from twitter was to ‘run so it hurts!’ Eventually I followed advice for plan B to use runkeeper on my iPhone.

On Sunday morning I travelled to the race from the Isle of Wight by hovercraft. (Well I was excited!) and very handy too as it delivers you straight to Southsea Common within easy walking distance of the race start.

 I had plenty of time to queue for the loo and drop my bag off at the leisure centre before making my way to my start area.  Although we were standing there for  a long time it was sociable and I passed the time chatting with the people around me.  It was particularly amusing during the warm up, jumping jacks are not a great idea when packed together closely!

Not long after the start I realised that Runkeeper was not giving me any feedback on pace and distance.  I thought I’d mistakenly disabled the audio cues so removed my earphones and carried on regardless, assuming it was still recording OK.

I ran at the pace of the group to start and then fell into my comfortable pace. I had completely no idea of actual speed apart from what I could work out using the old traditional method of analogue watch and mile markers. (Not knowing the precise start time on my watch didn’t help!) I was conscious of not starting out too fast and  If anything I was running slower than I thought.  No bad thing.  After the first few miles I started to overtake at least 3 or 4 people each mile to help me maintain my pace and not slow with the pack.

My official split times of 29.08 at 5k, 58.08 at 10K and 1.27.56 at 15K  show that my average pace at each was very close to my overall average pace of 9.24 min miles indicating I ran a pretty evenly paced race without the help of modern technology.  Yes, I would have liked to have run at more like 9.00 pace but in hindsight I would have then really flagged at the 7 to 9 mile point and my aching legs and limp sprint finish indicated that I ran my best race on the day.  Who needs a garmin?!

I do actually.  I was very disappointed to find Runkeeper had stopped along the way.  So no record of a race ran and no nice map and mile splits and statistics to download.  What Runkeeper did record was my first mile at 9.32 into Portsmouth Old Town before a 4.26 min/mile sprint somewhere (the pub?) before it stopped!

I really enjoyed the race.  There was a fantastic atmosphere and freed from the need to look at my watch every few minutes I relaxed and loved running through scenic Portsmouth and Southsea.  The amount of support was amazing and there were some brilliant groups of drummers and bands.  Yes I was overtaken by a crocodile, a donkey and Superman but not by Percy Pig!  And my claim to fame is overtaking part of Pompey FC while they lapped up support from the locals.

Great South Run, Bupa!  I’m coming back for some more next year!


Fairweather running shoe friend.

A grey damp day in London today but I was keen to get out and run after being in the house with four teenage boys and two Nerf guns. The joys of half term! So when they took themselves off to the cinema I grabbed the opportunity for some me time. Thank goodness they are old enough to go on their own these days, although I have to confess, when they were little, to using the hour or so of quiet in the dark of the cinema to close my eyes for a short while.

My next race is the Great South Run on Sunday and I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.  I’ve had a few good runs recently including one at average pace 8.54 min per mile for 4.8 miles on Tuesday and a more modest paced 6.2 miles today. I don’t know whether I will be able to race the 10 miles at my target pace and finish in a time close to 1hr 30 but I am happy that my fitness is getting back to pre injury levels and confident I can have a good race and not just aim to get round.

I have enjoyed running recently in the new running shoes which I received last week. I havent run in Asics for a few years and am finding the Gel Nimbus 12’s very good.  I had found some models a bit narrow in the past but these have a nice wide toe box and plenty of wiggle space. They are light enough for my tastes, cushioned without feeling too removed from the ground and my Orthotics fit well with them.  I have been very enthusiastic about them and ready to declare them as my new BRSFs (Best running shoe friends).

However,  being fairweather by name I am also a fairweather friend to my running shoes.   Also being indecisive, fickle and a bit of a shoe floosey! I decided to grab my OBRSFs (old best running shoe friends), my Saucony Kinvaras, today and slipped in my orthotics for the first time and headed off for my run.  Ooh they felt good!  (Might have to ask for a new pair for Christmas).  Oh dear,  now one of the major pitfalls about being lucky enough to have too many current pairs of running shoes is I might still be trying to decide which pair to race in when the gun goes off!


Town vs Country

I nearly didn’t run today. I couldn’t be bothered, it felt too much like hard work and I was tempted to settle with a cuppa in front of the fire for the afternoon.

My excuses being that here on the Isle of Wight there is “nowhere to run”. True, in my ‘Townie’ speak, it isn’t possible to nip out for a run around the block and certainly not after dark as there are no pavements and few street lights. The only really safe time to run on the country roads around here is the first thing in the morning when the roads are quiet. Unfortunately I am not a morning runner, I am not even a morning person!

However, there are plenty of places to run on the Isle of Wight. I just have to jump in the car and get organised to go there. Not to mention the miles and miles of countryside trails and walks directly outside. Guess I have to ‘man’ up and get out and get trail running up those there hills! Or get out of bed earlier!

Husband, (knowing how much nicer I am after a run) gave me the impetus by offering to drive me to the old railway line where I could run but then younger son decided he would cycle so his bike was loaded into car and he and I were sent off together.

We started at the old Merstone Railway Station and decided to run in the opposite direction to our previous runs, heading towards Newport instead of towards the sea at Sandown.

A good run, almost a tempo one with my pint-sized dictator telling me to speed up if I had aspirations of running the Great South Run at 9 min mile pace! Thanks son, know how to make me feel good!

It was an interesting route, Ed finding and reading out the nature trail signs which pointed out wildlife to spot including Red Squirrels, Yellow Hammers, Ash, Rookeries, Buzzards, Sparrow Hawks, Grey Herron, Elm, Hazel, Oak. Although today I think he only saw a lesser spotted red-faced, running mother!

At the turn-around point of our out-and-back route the trees on the side of the path had been recently cut and carved leaving these great sculptures.

It felt good and I was glad to run, enjoying the fresh air with Ed. Just goes to show me that although it takes a little more effort than just falling out the door in London, there is much more to gain from running here in the Isle of Wight. I just have to get the right mentality and be open to a different sort of running instead of pounding the pavements.

On the subject of my Town vs Country side debate I have to conclude that both are best and preference has a lot to do with what we are used to. Those of us with opportunity to enjoy both environments should get out there and make the most of the different experiences when we can. It might just take a little more effort than normal!

3.82 miles in 34.54 mins



Oh hello there! Thought I’d send my Lego persona to say Hi seeing as this is my 100th blog post and its only 11 weeks until the return of my Lego running blog with Janathon!

100 is also in the news this week with a 100-year-old completing the Toronto Marathon.  He started running at 89 so there is definitely no pressure yet for me to sign up for a marathon until I am much older! With many of my blogging friends signing on the dotted lines for marathons in 2012 I have to admit that I was carried along with their enthusiasm and seriously deliberated which marathon I should enter.

This month I discovered that, after recent injury, I was still able to run a Half Marathon (slowly) after limited training.  Undertaking a marathon is a big time commitment which I don’t think I’m ready for yet.  On the other hand I can get half marathon fit in much less time, run several more next year and have a go at attacking a new ambitious PB.

Looks like It’ll be a busy year running lots of races!

In the mean time my general fitness and pace at BMF are coming back. I have the Great South Run (10 miles) in two weeks and the Gosport Half Marathon later in November. Both races have the advantage of being nice and flat so training and continued improvement willing I will be trying run as close as I can to my HM pace last year and see if I can match or beat my PB.