Monday, 29 March 2010

Race Report: Brooklands 10km

Brooklands was my first 10km race this year, and my third 10km ever. I was hoping for a PB, having spent the past three months half marathon training, I knew my stamina (and hopefully my speed) would have improved. With that in mind, I did a bit of looking around before deciding which 10km to enter (didn't want it to be really hilly!).

I found the Brooklands 10km in Weybridge - its held at Mercedes Benz world and you run around the race track - smooth tarmac and as flat as a pancake! Definite PB potential! :D (no - its not cheating, just 'tactical planning'! :P).

So the short report is; felt really strong for first 5km, got stitch, wanted to stop at 6km, ploughed on, felt much tougher for the second half - felt I was putting in a lot more effort to maintain the same pace, a big push for the final 1500m and it was over. My chip time is 63:03 - 3 minutes 42 seconds off my PB :)

I think there may be a few milimetres between my foot and the ground,
so this may well be an elusive 'both feet in the air' picture! :D

Picture (c)

Would recomend the course for PB chasing, but very dull as its a 2 lap loop of the circuit, with nothing pretty to look at apart from the odd Mercedes car if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not!).

Next goal; sub-60. It will be mine! :D

Saturday, 27 March 2010

American Food Shop!

I was searching online a few weeks ago for tinned pumpkin - that ever so popular American product that is totally elusive over here - and I found an online store that sells American food. I then saw that they had a shop and reaslied it was only 15 minutes drive away - dangerous information! Today I went over there for some tinned pumpkin and came back with a selection of random, but very American food!

My American food stash!

My hoarde included; Lucky Charms, diet Mountain Dew, trial box of Fruit Loops, watermelon flavoured chewing gum, tinned pumkin and some Hersheys Kisses.

Hershey's Kisses!

I was most excited about the Lucky charms! For those who have forgotten what they are, or haven't had them before, they're like Cheerio style cereal with freeze dried marshmellow shapes in.

Mmm - sugary goodness!

Now I know what you may be thinking - they don't sound very healthy. But fear not, they are "wholegrain guaranteed" ;D
I'm not sure what to do with the pumpkin now that I have it - I often see it used in porridge, so may give that a go. :)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I did it! :D

Last time I went to parkrun (4 weeks ago) I smashed my previous PB (31:52 from Nov) getting a new PB of 30:10, bringing a sub-30 5km within reach for the first time. When I started running almost a year ago, sub-30 5km was one of those 'I'd love to achieve one day' goals - and its been on my goal list for the past 9 months or so.

After my last attempt, I couldn't run Frimley Lodge parkrun again until today, due to my training for Bath Half. I only needed to take 11 seconds off - a seemingly easy task. I really pushed myself the whole way round - I did the first loop in 14:30, so was well on target, but my legs got tired and I felt like I really slowed down, I forced myself to pick it up again for the last km or so.

I've just seen the official results - 29:20. Needless to say I'm very happy I can now cross this off my goal list :) I guess I'll have to aim for a new time now - if I keep this up I may well be representing GB at the 2032 Olympics! :D

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mixing it up...

I'm just going to come right out and say it; I'm not a fan of the gym. I know, I know, you all think I'm mad. Maybe its just because I don't go very often, maybe its because the gym I go to doesn't really have much on the TV (and no TVs in front of the treadmills :( ), who knows.

I don't go the gym very often (maybe 3 times/month), so I don't bother paying for a membership, I use a local 'Army' gym (so named, because its on the military complex/town nearby). Consequently, its a basic gym (hence the lack of TVs!), but its always quite empty (never a queue for machines), you can pay as you go and its half the price of the local leisure centre!

I went down after work tonight, didn't get there till about 8pm, and decided to try something a bit different. I challenged myself to do 1km 'sets' on each piece of cardio equipment. So my session went something like:

*1km Cross Trainer
*1km Treadmill
*3km Bike (1km seemed a bit short!)
*1km Rower
*1km Treadmill
*1km Cross Trainer
*1km Rower

It worked - I didn't get bored! I was in the gym for a total of 45 minutes, and I don't think I was on any piece of equipment for more than 7 or 8 minutes at a time. I also made an effort to use intervals to add interest, so I set the bike and cross trainer on the 'random' programme to incorporate hills, did 30 second bursts every minute on the rower and altered my speed every minute on the treadmill.

Was also feeling very proud in the first outing of my Bath Half Marathon t-shirt. Until someone walked in wearing an IronMan top! :D

Monday, 8 March 2010

Bath Half Marathon: Race Report

I hope you’re sitting comfortably, as this may be a long post, but yesterday I ran my first half marathon, so indulge me a little! :D

Woke early on Sunday - it was a gorgeous day; sunny but cool - perfect for running. We got the most packed train into Bath (think Central Line at 6pm on a Friday!). I was slightly concerned by my lack of nerves - was I denial or did I actually feel as though I’d done enough preparation..?

All my stuff ready, the night before.

My primary goal for this race was just to get round. I’d run 12.5 miles in training in around 2:40, and knowing that I always run a bit faster in races, I was hoping for a time of 2:35 - 2:40, with a secret 'I’d-be-over-the-moon‘ time of 2hrs 30mins.

Headed off to the slow runners’ pen (i.e. the last one!) and eventually crossed the start line at 13 minutes. All was good for the first mile, then my calf began to twinge. It felt *so* tight and I could feel it all the way down my calf and into my foot. I kept going for another mile or so, but it became too painful. I had awful visions of having to pull out after only two miles! I ran across to the pavement and really stretched my leg out, fortunately it felt fine after that and didn’t give me any hassle for the rest of the race. Phew!

Amy and I before the race

Bath is a two lap course, so my plan was to run 11 minute miles for the first lap and then aim for 12 minute miles to mile 10 and then hope I could struggle through the last 3 miles. The first lap flew by and I managed to match my 10km PB, so all was going well :) The longest race I’d previously run was the Great South Run which is 10 miles (in October). I’d hit a huge wall at 8 miles and really struggled with the last two, so I was expecting this to happen again (although hopefully further on than mile 8!). Mile 8 came and went, then I was halfway round the second lap, still feeling fine. I passed mile 10 (just over 15 minutes quicker than my Great South Run time! :D), legs still felt strong. Around the 12 mile sign, my legs started to tire and feel a bit sore, but I thought with just over a mile to go I wasn’t about to slow down or stop now! The last mile was a gentle uphill (just what you want at that point in the race!), I turned a corner and could see the finish line, a final push for the last 200 metres and I was done! :)

Me getting my sprint on at the end :D
(C) Marathon Photos

There was a long, cold wait for drinks, timing chip removal, medals and goody bags (not great planning by the organisers - 11,000 people going through an alley less than 5 metres wide). There is and has been many moans about the Bath half in terms of organisation, but I must just comment on the crowd support - it was amazing. There was barely an inch of the course thata didn't have people cheering the runners on, and in several sections the crowds were 5 people deep! People had steroes playing music out of their windows, chairs set up in their front gardens and children wanting high fives! It makes such a difference hearing cheers and shouts of encouragement all the way round. I thought the atmosphere during the race was brilliant :)

The Bath website has been down since the race finished (again, not great), but I finally received an email this morning confirming my time as 2hours 20 minutes and 25seconds! :D

Needless to say, I have a very big grin on my face! Aside from the last mile, I’m surprised at how comfortable I found the whole thing - I guess the training has been working. I can’t wait to do my next one, and will definitely have my sights on a sub 2:15 time :)

Friday, 5 March 2010

Short Long Run and Body Pump!

Although last week was my last long long run (12 miles) before Bath Half Marathon, today was still long run day - just a short one! I can't believe I'm actually calling a 6.5 mile run short - I sound like one of those annoying runner types! :D

Decided to go along the canal towpath, although it was more puddles than path in places!

Legs felt good throughout, and 6 miles felt like a breeze compared to my recent runs in excess of 9 miles. Can't believe my first half marathon is on Sunday! I keep alternating between total denial ("its not really happenening"), to complete delusion ("I'm definitely going to finish in under 90 minutes") to utter panic ("why on earth did I enter this?").

Went to my first body pump class in the evening - in a bid to try new exercises and also do more strength training - body pump ticked both boxes. Arrived at the class and told the instructor I was new etc, she helped me get some equipment (weights, step, matt). When deciding what weights to give me, she said 'you look pretty fit - you're a runner right?' and started selecting some heavy looking weights! "Don't be fooled", I said "I hardly ever lift weights!" I realise now, that perhaps wearing my 'Grim Race: Survivor' t-shirt might have given her the wrong impression! ;)

I made myself a scrummy tuna pasta bake when I got home - tuna, mixed veg (sweetcorn, peas carrots) and wholewheat pasta in a creamy tomato sauce topped with cheese (that's two portions in the picture by the way!).

Now to start my mental preparation for Sunday's race (and the carb loading of course!) :P