fairweatherrunner

running blog


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I’m Back

Really back this time.

I’m running a marathon tomorrow.

Yes I know I should have blogged about it earlier.  I did get a nag from Cathy for not updating my marathon training and mentions from Sharon and Alma which nudged me back to my blog but I felt a bit of a fraud having a running blog when I wasn’t really running.

I have dabbled during Juneathon and Janathon, writing  a bit about my excuses for not running and the odd BMF class, parkrun or classy plank.

I’ve had false starts, comebacks and ‘return’ races.  I managed a 2 week run streak during Juneathon this year and a comeback 10K at the end of Janathon but I have not seriously run or trained for any event since the London Marathon in 2014.

Then two things happened.  I stood on the scales at Easter to weigh my son’s suitcase and I went to cheer this years London Marathon.  The mean old scales told me the truth I didn’t want to hear and watching the marathon made me think that maybe it wasn’t as bad as my memories were telling me.  I set about losing some blubber and my subconscious started thinking about running another marathon.

Facebook and wine don’t mix.  On May Bank Holiday Sunday evening I found myself entering a marathon with Cathy, Helen and Cassie.  It’s a flat one and the medal and goodie bag (beer and cake) are fantastic. (We’ll worry about the strong winds on the Kent coastal sea wall tomorrow!)

Fast forward to this Autumn and after a slow start I finally got into my marathon training.  I said I would run it –  so I had to grit my teeth and get on with it.   But I started to enjoy myself.  Regular running and being 12 pounds lighter have done wonders for my pace and stamina.  In October I ran a good HM at the Exeter Great West Run and felt really strong on a hilly course.  If I hadn’t had to make an unplanned loo stop I would have pipped my HM PB by a few seconds.  Mojo returned.

My previous attempts at marathon training have felt like a chore, hating the really long, long runs.  I can’t say I love them now,  and I could do with running a few more of them, but for the last weeks of my training I have had a new business like attitude to training and focus on my plan.

The icing on the cake was running a 10K PB of 49.06 two weeks ago.  I ran 50.38 in 2010 and have been trying to get back there, or under 50 minutes ever since but 52  is the closest I’ve managed.

Marathon training rocks!

We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

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Getting the hang of it

After 18 days I’m finally getting the hang of Janathon this year. This afternoon I went out for another non parkrun or BMF, solo run. It felt right and I enjoyed it. Only 5K but it’s finally feeling routine to do at least that each day. I think this is the most I’ve run in a week since I ran the Ealing half at the end of September and before that at Thunder Run in July.

Five days in a row and I think I can say I finally like running again.

Janathon day 18.

3.3 miles run.


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Recovery run

I felt much better today and decided I needed to get some fresh air after 2 days indoors. Having slept over 12 hours last night, and missed parkrun, a little exercise would also be a good idea if I felt up to it.  I’d already missed 2 days of Janathon activity. It was windy so I discounted cycling,  being a bit woozy and cycling in strong winds was maybe not the best idea.  So  got my kit on and went off for a brief run or walk, or whatever my legs felt like.

I felt good and it became a run.  I  had to ease off reminding myself it was all about recovery, getting some fresh air and some blood pumping around my legs.  I think the wind pushing me uphill helped my pace and good feeling.  While running I was trying to remember when I last ran by myself. I have been to BMF and parkrun in the past few months and joined in with my local Sweatshop running group less recently, but when did I last get out the door and run alone?

I got home to research and discover that my last totally solo run was on 10th June and titled ‘first run since VLM! Today’s run was maybe a recovery in more ways than I thought.

Janathon day 10.   3 miles run

First solo run since Juneathon, first solo run of Janathon..

My  next goal for Janathon, a first run back at BMF run club or with sweatshop running group.


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Starting Over

Dusting down my long neglected blog for Janathon.

I lost my way with running after the London Marathon this year. To be honest I found I didn’t enjoy my runs anymore so didn’t want to get out there. I didn’t turn up for my favourite 10K race, I half heartedly participated in Juneathon trying to find my mojo and walked myself round the Ealing Half Marathon in record slow time because I just didn’t have the motivation for mind over matter to keep running when my legs ached a little. And not feeling like running meant not feeling like blogging or particularly having anything worthwhile to say.

But deep down I missed running.  And missed it not only because of the green eyed envy reading others’ success and joy with running but for something else. Something that’s hard to describe. I was cycling loads and getting my fix of fresh air and of course still going to British Military Fitness ((where a fair bit of running happens) albeit many times hiding in the slower group) but every so often at a good session where I was on form, did lots of running or had a really good hard sprint I got a bit of that old feeling back and thought about running some more.

So in November I quietly decided to start again from the beginning. I thought about the sort of runs that I had enjoyed before and decided to concentrate on those. I would start with shorter distances and ignite my love of a bit of speed, I would dust off my barcode and get back to parkrun, get social, meet a few buddies and chase a few PBs. I would concentrate first on just adding 5K a week to my BMF classes and cycling by going to parkrun every Saturday that month.

That’s where I’m at. I ran 5 parkruns in November (and one in Dec) to reach 25 at 12 venues. My goal is to earn my 50 shirt, get around more venues in 2015 and maybe grab a 5K PB. Slowly I will add an occasional 10K race and get myself back to running club. I might even get out on my own for a Long Slow Run one day. But one day at a time.

So Janathon is the start of my journey to get back my love of running in 2015.


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I ran again!

Go me! I’ve been for a run, again. Yes, second in three days. I might just be getting back into running!

A few weeks ago Sweatshop opened a new store not far from me. Eek lock up my credit cards! They hold weekly running groups, Sweatshop Running community SRC and being less than a mile away I really have no excuse not to join in. I meant to go when they first opened but then got stuck into BMF and didn’t want to miss a Monday there.

But this morning I couldn’t make BMF and with one son away and the other out (no distractions) I grabbed the opportunity to get to SRC. I rocked up to the shop where I got my record card which gives rewards for weeks attended then 5 of us headed out with a member of staff towards hyde park. I expected a 5K loop but was delighted that they now run 7 or 8 km on Mondays because I need to start building my endurance after a long break.

Although we ran a loop I know very well, running in a group and having a bit of a chat makes all the difference. Not only to motivation and enjoyment but in holding a decent pace alongside the others. Definitely good for my running as my red faced melted look proved by the end (it was very warm and muggy tonight!)

Juneathon day 23.
5.5 miles run (4.88 miles with the group). I did run there as well but it took the whole way there for my Garmin to get a signal.


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I ran!

Yes, that’s right, for the first time since The London Marathon I went out the door and just ran.

I was a bit cross I couldn’t make BMF this morning because of an appointment but told myself it was the perfect opportunity to get running again. I think I’ve maybe not really lost my running mojo but just got out of the habit of running and got lazy because it’s easier to roll along to BMF and not plan anything else.

I was free by 11 ish and almost managed to talk myself into waiting until later to run because it was hot. A glance at the weather forecast showed that it wouldn’t be much cooler until 7 or 8pm by which time I was in danger of wimping out. So I grabbed the letter that needed posting and kicked myself out the door.

To avoid running the same old routes I overdid during marathon training I pootled off to the nearest park and the nearest thing to a trail or a “hill” round here. Not because I was feeling hardcore or anything but for the benefit of some shade under the trees. (Plus it’s all good TR24 training!)

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It felt like hard going to start.  I’ve got far too used to short fast bursts with a little recovery in between so I stopped to take at least one photograph at the start. It got easier with time as my legs found their rhythm again and I forced myself around for a second small loop of the “hill”.  After 2 miles I was definitely feeling myself again as I made my way home. I enjoyed it too, apart from the heat and a nice blister forming where my sock had fallen down inside my right shoe!

Juneathon day 10.  A RUN!!!!!!

It wasn’t far, it wasn’t fast. I doubt it was pretty, but 3.2 miles run.


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London Marathon

It was a once in a life time experience which I’m glad I’ve done. Some parts, like running over Tower Bridge were amazing, but I hated much of it.  Never again, although I do now have unfinished business over 26.2 miles.

I have to admit it’s taken me more than a few days to write this blog post.   I’ve been putting it off. I’ve been a bit down in the dumps and disappointed in myself. It didn’t go as I wished, I didn’t enjoy it.

As time goes on I am getting things into perspective. I had a bad day, a bad race. It was probably a combination of any of a number of things. Mistakes in fuelling and hydration, a too sharp taper with a bruised rib, under training, not taking account of the warm weather…. Whatever it was or wasn’t, bad races happen. Normally I shrug and get on with the next one a little wiser and tougher. But it’s harder to swallow when you’ve built up for a big race where the training has taken over for the previous 4 months.

I always said (before my first marathon) I wouldn’t run one until I was very very old because it’s such a long way and old age would give me a valid excuse to stop for a cup of tea (or two, or stronger) along the way. I think I must have meant this one and I should have stuck to my guns because London is probably the right one for tea (beer) stops. Not that I’m criticising it. I found The London Marathon an amazing somewhat overwhelming experience. But not a comfortable run.

It was impeccably organised, I was marshalled onto the right train at Charing Cross, got to the blue start where the loo queue was manageable and I dropped my bag in the right lorry, where they checked I had my timing chip and everything I needed, and walked to the start pen. It was busy but calm and civilised

I lined up with confidence. After my 20 milers I just had to do the same and then hang on and try not to slow too much over the last 6 miles. As long as I kept running then I’d hopefully be ok for about a 4.30 ish finish.

It took me a while to settle and hold a steady pace, not being pulled along with the pack at too fast a pace. At 5K I felt the buzz from feeling that I was part of something really amazing. I enjoyed the atmosphere of running around the Cutty Sark but had my first taste of the effort and concentration needed to hold pace as it became crowded. The support from spectators was amazing but at points they were spilling out onto the route pinching the flow of runners, even obscuring the blue racing line.

My problems started when I felt I needed to stop for a wee. I was reluctant because the queues looked like I could say goodbye to at least 10 minutes race time. I carried on, envious of the men at every opportunity in a line against the wall having a pee. At 10 miles I knew I wasn’t feeling the love, I was not ‘in the zone’, lost in my run and my thoughts. I was having to concentrate way too much on my surroundings and to hold pace with stop-starting in front of me, many distractions from sights, sounds and smells all around and empty water bottles to watch for on the road.

The turn towards Tower Bridge came suddenly and was one of the highlights as we ran up to and over the bridge. The crowds either side of the road were huge and the roar of cheers amazing which literally took my breath away. I’m not usually breathless at that pace, it’s the legs that go first, but the noise, crowds and the heat was quite claustrophobic.

At halfway I began to realise I was in trouble. I’d run a good steady half in 2.11,  well within my usual comfort zone, but had worked harder than I realised to do it. I had sipped water but knew I’d not drunk enough for the heat, holding back because I didn’t want to stop, and although I’d taken gels my legs were tiring and feeling wobbly. I pushed on keeping an eye on loo queues.

At about 15 miles I got a wonderful boost from seeing my brother and getting a big hug from my sister in law. It’s amazing how much pace and mileage you can get from a hug!  I was aware of roughly where friends were going to be on the course but there were so many people. Unless supporters had a banner people were impossible to spot. It was disorientating trying to look up and down both sides of the road for a familiar face and disheartening when I got well past the area they might be. How I managed to see the people who did spot me is a miracle. I was sorry to miss others, a couple of BMF buddies in particular because I was so looking forward to using one significant word to describe how I was finding it. (F***ing hot, F***ing horrible!)

After Westferry I was beginning get stomach cramps so my stop for the loo became necessary. Fortunately  I didn’t have to plod on too long before I found a portaloo with no one waiting. Then I was able to get some water and a gel down and went on to have a good patch between 16 and 18 miles and began to think I could pull things together. It was then I turned my ankle on a water bottle, nothing too bad that a hop and a stamp couldn’t cure but enough to weaken my resolve to keep running and start my first walk break.

It was great to see Alma and Louise around that point. I was so happy to see a friendly face and more than tempted to stop and chat far longer.  Carrying on I was less aware of my surroundings or the sights of London, just pleased that the course had turned and I was heading in the right direction to the finish. I was beginning to feel nauseous and settled into a pattern of taking walk breaks for a couple of minutes each mile.

Around 20 miles. I was overtaken by the 4.30 pace maker. I tucked in behind and tried to stay with them but the nausea and stomach ache returned and forced me to walk and I settled into my long run-walk to the finish. I was raising money for a good cause and I had to get my medal so I stopped feeling sorry for myself, put a grin on my face and turned to plan d. Finish.

Which I did after 4 hours 51 mins.

I was probably both an idiot and a wimp on the day. Now I must stop being cross with myself because I was slower than last time and remember I ran a marathon and in not too bad a time. I will run another marathon, but after I’ve forgotten about the training for this one. Next time if I want to get so competitive with myself I might seek some advice for training, fuelling and hydration and find a slightly less busy one with the odd quiet stretch to allow for a bit of head space.

In the meantime you’ll find me out getting therapy on my bike and at BMF.

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