fairweatherrunner

running blog


3 Comments

Juneathon 12/30 and a cyclist rant. 

Juneathon day 12. 

A BMF  class, 2.8 miles run, plus 5.3 miles cycling there and back  including a close encounter with a 52 bus that didn’t respect the  priority  of a ‘vehicle’ (me) already on the roundabout!  This mini roundabout is on a so called back street but I have decided it is the most dangerous part of my regular route. I’ve had a few other near misses here but this was the closest and potentially most dangerous to date.  I think it’s time for a re-route. 

Londin cyclist rant over. 

Other than that I intended to take some photographs today for my blog because many other Juneathon bloggers have taken some beautiful photographs of their runs, walks and rides and mine feels a bit bland. 

I meant to stop andtake some   pictures on my route across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but when I dashed back home for my forgotten sunglasses I dropped my bike and my chain came off which made me  late plus I had rather black greasy paws. 

Next time.  


5 Comments

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!

IMG_3782


2 Comments

Exploring

I went out on my bike today. Just me, so I decided to have a bit of an explore of some routes around London I want to work out with no time pressures.
It’s funny how I am so much more confident these days exploring new routes by bike than by car. It’s probably because it’s so easy when you get lost or end up on a dual carriage way to hop off a bike and become a pedestrian for a few metres until you find a cycle friendly way through or consult the map.

I got a bit lost going backward and forward looking for the ‘back street’ route to Regents Park but the signage kept taking me to the canal which is best avoided on a Sunday, unless you want to walk. I made it in the end, only cycling the wrong way up one one-way street. After a part lap of the park I took the faster return route towards Hyde Park and discovered slightly better signage, which doesn’t leave you abandoned in the middle of nowhere, and that ‘the fast’ routes are no more scary than the so called quiet ones. That’s what exploring is all about.

Not the fastest of rides because of navigation issues, some busy routes with tourists and strong cross winds on the few nice quiet stretches of open road I tried to race down.

Janathon day 11.
17.2 miles cycled.


Leave a comment

Adventure to parkrun

I decided to have a bit of a cycle mini adventure on Saturday.

I’d arranged to meet Alma and Giselle at Wimbledon parkrun for a catch up and when working out the route noticed that cycling the 6 – 7 miles there would only be 10 mins slower than driving. It’s on reasonably familiar territory so I decided I could get a longer ride in on Saturday knowing that I wouldn’t be able to cycle on Sunday.

It also gave me the chance to venture further afield than my regular bike routes and take a longer ride on my own which required a bit of navigating. The Citymapper app said the quiet route would take me 44 minutes. I got there in 47 but that included at least 3 complete stops to consult the map closely to find the right roads and a detour back to the road when I realised the Thames Path in Barnes was not suitable for road bike tyres.

It was such a beautiful warm sunny morning to be out on my bike so I didn’t regret getting up early. Wimbledon parkrun benefits from shade under the trees on the common but it was still a warm one. It’s a big parkrun,  the largest parkrun I’ve been to, I’ve certainly never finished in 189th place before! We started from the back so, having not done lots of running recently, I could start slowly and judge how I felt as I went along. It also gave me time to get used to watching my feet as it’s bumpy under the trees with roots, holes and ruts from all the mud on wetter days.

I gradually picked up the pace as the pack of runners thinned out and ran on feel trying to hold a ‘just slower than breathless’ pace and for a first parkrun in 6 months was pleased to finish in about the average time for all my parkruns. I also had nice negative splits!

Wimbledon parkrun is near an excellent café where we sat in the sun with coffee and cake for a catch up. It felt good to be back at parkrun and interesting to run a new venue. I think what makes it worth getting up and out early for (and the only way to get me out of my bed and to parkrun!) is a meet up with friends (and cake) so I am going to do it more often.

Cycling home took a little longer. I detoured off route a bit and followed my nose in the general direction of home. At one point I found myself approaching a busy junction I know but in the wrong place for my turn so I got off and walked to cross the tricky bits. I did end up going along roads I’d tried to avoid on the Thames Path earlier but it was absolutely fine, apart from crossing Hammersmith Bridge, which was horrid.

Juneathon day 21.
First parkrun for 6 months (3.1 miles run) and 14 miles cycled.


5 Comments

Trip to the park.

20140614-220653-79613370.jpg

I wanted to test out my new road bike more today, OH has been adjusting the brake tensions for me to try and see if it would give more breaking power. I have small hands and limited reach on the shifters so found I didn’t have quite enough power to brake to a complete stop in traffic fast enough and got tired and aching hands after an hours ride.

My youngest is suddenly keen on cycling (he’s the same height as me at the moment and rather likes my lovely everyday single speed) and wanted to come too. We persuaded Dad to join us and as Ed only fancied a short half hour ride out with his parents I suggested showing him the quiet route to school and back which would take us to Ravenscourt Park where I could take some photos for Shaz who commented on my blog that she used to go there a “few” years ago.

Note to the driver of the car who beeped at us to hurry up when we were waiting to cross 4 lanes of traffic from a side road. Yes I meant every bit (and more) of my 4 letter expletive.
– DO NOT EDGE YOUR CAR AGGRESSIVELY FORWARDS AT MY YOUNGEST SON ON MY MOST LOVED BIKE!!- Grrrrrrr!

You’re very lucky my OH was there to stop me getting really mad, and then hold you up some more when he unfortunately “failed” to make it across the road at the same time as us!

Juneathon day 14.
4.8 miles family cycling.


3 Comments

Fell off the wagon

Yes I went to BMF everyday for 5 days as planned last week (and cycled there and back!) But no I didn’t blog every day.

My aching arms (and legs) got used to the extra exercises (many tricep dips and squats) and by the end of 5 days I was quite enjoying it. But it did take up a lot of time and left me a little knackered! So the blogging suffered.

Thursday’s BMF class, my second at the new Ravenscourt Park venue, was fun.  We had the distraction of three French women who turned up for a free trial.  Complete with video camera which they tried to use while participating!  Our instructor was the picture of patience and ended up filming everyone to try and get them to co-operate.  It all certainly made the rest of us work hard.  I really can’t not sprint my hardest to get back first when two people are walking and taking a massive short cut!  Thank you Ladies, we did think you were rather rude half participating and then giving up but you did get the best out of the rest of us!

At least it was sunny after Tuesday’s wash out.  I am finding the novelty of BMF in a new environment and in a smaller group very motivating.  I plan to go there regularly, although Hyde Park will always be my home!  Adding the extra sessions last week was exhausting but they made quite a difference in my quest to lose a bit of fat.  I’ve obviously been ticking along on a plateau so adding 2 more sessions have given me the training boost I needed to make a real difference.   I might not continue to make 5 classes a week but will certainly try and make at least 4 if I can pre holiday.

Friday I was back at Hyde Park for my 5th BMF of the week and  a well-earned coffee in the sunshine afterwards.  Saturday although a rest day (nothing logged) I did run several errands (of under a mile) on my bike and hoovered the stairs which is as good a work out as many!

Today I went out on my own for a fantastc sunny  Sunday ride in London.  It was very busy with lots going on and roads closed around Buckingham Palace.  A wonderful hour out pottering on my bike, dodging tourists and realising what a wonderful city I live in.

Juneathon week 1.

5, 1 hour BMF classes, (about 15 miles running) and  37 miles cycled.

Plan for week 2 … More of the same plus I will go out for a proper RUN!

 

 

20140608-214750-78470503.jpg


Leave a comment

‘…changing lives one mile at a time…’

Three weeks to go before I run the London marathon! I’ve run my 20 mile long runs and am into the taper to the big day. I’m also fundraising.

I’ve not sought sponsorship for any races since I ran my very first 10K back in 2006. But London is special. For me it is the marathon and it’s my home patch. I was lucky to get a ballot place so have no obligations but wanted to celebrate by raising some money for a good cause. I wanted to choose a relevant, small local charity, one without charity marathon places.

I chose Home Straight because it feels right to plod mile after mile around London to help others change their lives for the better through exercise, one mile at a time.

I’m writing about it now, not just to drum up donations (please feel free!) but also to help spread the word/raise awareness about Home Straight to the running community, who follow my blog or me on twitter, who will appreciate how the benefits we get from our passion for running can also help people who are homeless, marginalised or suffering from substance abuse improve their lives by getting them into running.

This testimonial sums up what Home Straight is and does. It makes me feel that every hard mile of my long training runs was worth it…

“I was first introduced to Homestraight running club around November 2011. I was then 43-years-old and had just got out of a treatment centre.

I had been drinking alcoholically and taking drugs regularly since being a teenager. During the final ten years of my using I was a full time heroin addict, who was unable to hold down a job or even form relationships with people. I’d come precariously close to being homeless, and was living temporarily in a spare room in the house of my sister’s family when I first attended Homestraight.

Despite the severity of my situation, I had still relapsed and continued taking drugs after leaving the treatment centre. However, I decided to throw myself into a fitness regime proposed to me by the club. After a gentle start I was training four times a week: a combination of running, circuit training, stretching and some strength work.

I cannot stress enough how much this helped me turn a corner in my recovery. I want to make it clear that attending AA and NA meetings, often two or three times a day, plus having a sponsor, was not sufficient to keep me clean. That didn’t work for me the way it does for some people.

What did work was having a dedicated fitness program. I trusted my trainers, goals were set for me, and my commitment to the club grew over time. Before too long I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Not only did it enable me to abstain from all drugs and alcohol, within a year I had given up smoking. I never planned or expected to give that up. But after a while I wanted to see how much my running would improve so I did.

I am completely clean today, have a home, girlfriend and a job. I still attend classes twice a week. My experience tells me that beating addiction requires everything you can throw at it. Having a fitness regime administered to you by fitness trainers who know what they’re doing is an essential factor in this mix. I cannot thank everyone at Homestraight club enough.”

‘I wouldn’t have missed it for anything” reflects how I also feel about BMF classes (similar to sessions attended by Home Sraight members.) It is BMF that I have stuck at and attended regularly for 9 years and got me into running. Both have also changed my life in many ways too.  Not least finding a great community and many good friends.

Many thanks to those of you who have sponsored me. It means a lot to Home Straight and has really helped give me the grit I’ve needed at times to get on with my training when I’ve found it tough.

You can sponsor me at virginmoneygiving/Rachel Bedford17 or find out more about Home Straight here..

Thank you.


8 Comments

Confession

I have a confession to make.

This is a running blog and I call myself a runner (at times) but I have a new obsession – bikes!  I’m falling in love with cycling.

And so today I found myself pedalling a new bike across London.  Yes I know I only got my other bike a few months ago but it’s not until you cycle around for a few months that you really know what sort of bike suits your needs. I have a great hybrid bike which is comfortable and easy to ride.  A great all round work horse and good beginners bike.  But being a hybrid it’s good at many things but master of none and where it falls down for me is that although it is fairly light weight it is not light enough.

In London if you want to keep your bike you keep it indoors. We live in a typical London terraced house and our bikes are either in the shed (right through the house at the back of the garden) or like mine. which I want to use frequently, kept in the kitchen/squeezed in the kitchen hallway by the bottom door.  To get it out I have to twist it out a tight door round a corner and up a steep flight of stairs from the basement.  My hybrid might be light at 13 to 14kg but it takes a bit of strength to get it out and I’ve been put off a few very short trips because of the 5 mins effort it takes to get it out the door.

When I got the bike bug I started surfing the web and dreaming about more and more gorgeous bikes. I got a taste for traditional classic style bikes and kept showing my OH stunning looking ones with big price tags! And then we went to a drinks party where OH’s friends managed to tell me about their planned (and already booked) boys ski trip before my other half had! I took advantage of the amount of alcohol he had consumed and extracted a promise that if he could spend on a ski trip he could buy me a new bike! Result.

So my lusting after pretty bikes became research for the right one for me. I needed light, I wanted simple. I use at most 3 of the 16 gears on my hybrid and go for many trips without changing gear altogether. When trying to keep up with OH on his road bike I complain about my lack of speed, however fast my little legs pedal! I realise it’s a lot to do with my poor gear experience and choice although a lighter bike and thinner road tyres will help.

Then I found my bike. At just over 9kg its about the lightest women’s bike I could find. It’s pretty too. It’s a single speed and an ideal urban run around. And it was in a sale! OH double checked I’d be ok without gears. I reminded him of my “expert” use of the gears on the bikes I’ve had recently and that my instincts are to pedal faster when I want speed, stand up for hills and free wheel down again. After all until recently the bulk of my cycling experience was as a  pre teen  tom boy terrorising the neighbourhood in the ’70’s on my bike. A single speed!

20140201-183853.jpg

When I said on twitter this morning than I was about to ride my new bike back across London I was told I was brave.  I hadn’t thought about it because it was a necessary journey. In fact following OH, who knew the routes, and because it was quiet on a Saturday morning it was a stress free and lovely ride through the centre of London. It gave me confidence  that as long as you have your wits about you, choose your time and the right routes cycling in London doesn’t have to be a frightening experience.

The one thing we did notice was how many bloody traffic lights you come across when travelling across London  And they take aaages to change.  Why do you notice them more on two wheels? It’s not as if it’s hilly and you want a few minutes to get your breath back!

My new bike rode well.  It was light, fast, smooth and very quiet with no rattling gears when peddling.  OH was on a Boris Bike and was having to work a bit.  I, in comparison had to keep backing off, braking and  free wheeling to stay behind him!  The only slight problem is that it is going to take me a little while to get used to the harder ride from the more rigid frame and thin road tyres  It’s built for speed on smooth roads which made me very aware of how bad London roads are!  I’m sure my undercarriage will also adjust to the thinner saddle too.  Price you pay for speed!

pedalling home

8.11 miles in  1 hour 8 mins.  (mostly hanging around at traffic lights and saying ‘ouch’ over pot holes)

Tomorrow I have to run 14 miles for my marathon training. Can I take my new bike?


6 Comments

A good long run

I was rather late getting out for my long run today.  It probably had something to do with the box of empties which I put out for recycling this morning!

When I did get out I had a really good enjoyable run and was thankful for many things today…

  • My delayed run meant the rain was easing when I left home
  • The cool light drizzle during the first half hour washed away the last of my thick head
  • A group of youths cycling on the pavement actually apologised that I had to detour to avoid them!
  • The peace and quiet of 4 (more empty than normal) London Parks on a wet Sunday
  • Only being asked directions by 2 sets of tourists
  • The loo attendant letting me in at 2 mins past 4pm when she was about to lock up
  • A good feeling run on what ended up being a beautiful afternoon when the rain cleared.
  • Getting to my door and my Garmin reading 12.01 miles!  Job done.

Janathon day 26.  12 miles run

20140126-214953.jpg


11 Comments

Long run

My bike ride yesterday made me realise how fortunate we are to live within cycling or running distance of some great sights in the centre of a wonderful city and that I must break out of my usual routes and run more of London’s streets.

I had to run 10-12 miles today so I followed a similar route to which we cycled. My route took me around 4 Royal Parks, from Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’ Park.  I went through Wellington Arch, down Constitution Hill,  ran down the Mall, around past Horse Guards Parade and looped back to Buckingham Palace.

I was going to take some tourist snaps for this blog but realised when I got there I hadn’t brought my phone or camera (I have a new iPhone which I don’t want to ruin getting it damp in my pocket!)  so you’ll have to put up with my garmin map instead.

4parks

The first 3 miles were hard going (as usual) until the aches and niggles worked their way out and I settled into a good run.  As I ran down towards Buckingham palace and along the Mall it felt fantastic to be running a fresh route.  I was at the finish of the Marathon and where the Bupa London 10,000 is run; it was a mild sunny morning and I could almost feel and smell the start of a spring race.  I really felt the buzz, keen to get to the marathon  and motivated to run and run!

I should have run an extra loop of the Mall to make up the miles instead of my loop of the all too familiar Serpentine on the way back which felt a little less enthusiastic.  But all in all a very good run which I finished on a high with a grin!

Janathon day 12.  11.46 miles run.