Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Hairy Weekend! - Part 1

Hello blog lovers.

How's your prostate?.......I know, its not the sort of question one normally asks is it. How are you, how do you, alright mate? is the usual greeting of the day. Which usually results in the response of "I am fine thank you, and you?" Which sometimes isn't true, you may have a sore knee, leg, back, head or indeed there could be things not seen, you're feeling down or worse, things could be happening to your body that you don't know about or even probably don't even think about.  Todays Park run at Bromley, Normans Park, was a Movember run.  It's to raise awareness of prostrate problems and mens health in general. Now isn't a much better way of getting you blokes to think of your selves, no award question and answering session.  Anything that you feel is not quite right then get it checked! And it's also the first Movember park run I have done! And of course I kept to the spirit of the event, along with Della and Nagging Sister and almost all participants of Park run today!
The three musketeers?!

So you can image the start line for todays park, the whole line up is one big hairy lipped, curly permed wig wearing runners you could ever see!  From the chaps, some of whom even grew their moustaches, to the ladies and children sporting various shaped stick on versions.  I even saw a dog with the stick on variety, I tried to get a picture of him/her but he ran off in the other direction!
The line up.

Even spectators got involved.
We were soon off on our hairy park run.  I must say, I wasn't looking forward to peeling off my moustache after, nor, in fact, thinking about the state it was going to be in at the end! Ewww, no, best not to think about that.

I was running along with nagging sister, for just about the first.....10 feet, before she took off!  Each week she has been getting faster and faster! I seem to be  heading in the opposite direction!  I know this run will also go on the wrong side of my fastest time!  It was my birthday week, so with cakes, chocolates, lunches, drinkies, champagne and theatres and burgers, I feel just walking around todays run and finishing is a miracle! There, a new excuse for the Mighty Moosh excuse book!

This was again, a technology free run, my Garmin was dead, I had forgotten to charge it.  So there is not going to be any pacing for me, I wont know if I am going to fast at the beginning, or too slow.  I couldn't even see anyone that I knew who runs faster or slower than me to gauge my running.  But what with this being a timed run, it didn't matter.  The geeky stats will arrive at some point today, and I will know then if I am any good at judging the whole pacing thing without techno gizmos!

The ground was getting better, with not so much wet muddy stuff around, and although it was chilly, I knew that running along I was going to warm up. I did see someone that runs in group 1, but she was doing her thing so I said hello to her and passed on by.  At least now I know that there was at least 1 person behind me that is my pace timekeeper, even though she doesn't realise it! 

I wasn't pushing my self this park run "Do you ever?" I can hear you all crying out, as I really thought I didn't have it to give, I was feeling very heavy, very bloated with way too much celebrating for a birthday, so the idea was to just keep going for as long as I could, with the occasional push for speed if I felt like it.

Well the long and short of it is that I had  a great time out there, I even managed to keep on the 'tash, even though it was just starting to peel off at the ends.  It felt like a slow run, and I felt really as if I could have put a bit more effort in, but hey, I'm out here, running, with full tummy and post birthday week celebratory head, sporting a stick on 'tash, so chaps, you now have been made aware of this, go check out the bits that you can check out (as if none of you ever do that anyway!) or if there is something worrying you else where, go see the doc, they don't bite, or won't think you're being daft!

Me nearing the end, complete with soggy moustache!
Last picture courtesy of Brian Page, edition of So Lets Go Running magazine.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Call Of Nature!

Hello blog lovers.

Thursdays run just had to be through the woods! Pounding pavements is ok, when it's particularly dark and there is only one head torch between us, but during the day it's such a shame to not go and run through His fantastic gardens, the woods!.......What?......The call of nature title?......Did you all think this was about .... well, well it's not.  It's just that nothing beats running through woods fields and meadows!  The calling of the woods, the trees and even the mud, is just so strong, it really is criminal not to get out there and run through it.  And that's coming from an old townie like me!  I never used to actually like it but now, I just can't get enough!

There was only the three of us running in the 'Elites' group, and I had forgotten my Garmin, but sometimes (as Mr. S. says sometimes) it's good to just run.  I know the route is about 3 and half to 4 miles, but there is no idea how long we will take to complete it, and there is no idea of pace either.  Free running at its best!

My route was to go through 'Dog Poo Ally' and then turn right to head for towards the road and then turning left just before we get to the road.  Then its running along parallel to the road but still in all the green stuff!  I am determined to try and stick to the route that I did a good few weeks ago when I went on a path finding run but for the last couple of times we have run this way I managed 'popped' out of the woods way to early and we have had to run along the road with the traffic fumes contaminating our air! And guess what?! I still popped out to early! But I feel I am getting ever closer to the right path! Who knows I may actually get it right next time.

But then Illustrious Leader told me about a path that keeps going along to where I want to be and there is no crossing over the busy road.  I think I shall have to try and investigate this and see where about it is.  The path that we did take was still a good path, nice and wide, not too sticky with mud and at least it was going in the right direction!

After we crossed the road we had to run along with the traffic until we could go into the woods on the right for a short while.  We ran past the place where I was hoping to come out its almost opposite the way into the woods on where I wanted us to run.  I think this is Scadbury Park, but I was never good at geography (or orienteering come to that!) and could be completely wrong.  But it's still a nice place to run. 

We were soon heading towards our neck of the woods, pun well  and truly intended, Hawkwood and Pettswood.  We crossed back over the road and down towards Botany Bay, but then did a left turn to run past the back of the school fields and down towards the little pond.  It was a little bit sticky here just in front of the board walk, but we all managed to get past it without falling.

I took them back on to the bridle path as this is wider, which means I.L. and PinkladyJo can zoom up in front of me! I had a feeling I would be the slowest going up here.  Then its a left turn down past the fields, just to keep it interesting.  Whenever I go down this path, with it's slight direction changes it always feels as if I have taken a wrong turn (again) but we are always on the right track!  Just the last stretch of muddy paths to go and our run for today is over!

I think next time I forget my Garmin I shall take my phone with me and capture some pictures of us.  I really enjoyed this run, this free from techno run, free from pavements (well almost), run.  And we beat DiscoRich and his group back too, (not that we were racing them) mind you, they had done 5 and half miles!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Coffee and Walnuts!

Hello blog lovers.

Who ever put those two things together was just genius!  It's like, Pie 'n' mash, cheese and onion rhubarb and custard! But todays odd title refers to my cake baking efforts for my running buddies.  Today is my birthday, and for after our club runs then I was dishing out the cakes I made earlier in the day.  (It's a test really to see if they will be good enough for next years cake bake for our 10k)

Anyway, running before cakes!  Nagging sister and her attachments were not here today, it was just Ade and Tracy and Lorraine!  But todays session was going to be some hill reps!  I mentioned it to the girls last week, but neglected to tell Ade, just in case he found 'a must go to meeting' appointment some where. 

To start with we just jogged around block, nice and easy, just to get us warmed up.  The last couple of metres or so we did some side striding, some butt kicks and some knee highs.  I want them to have very warmed up legs, because we are going to go straight into the hill reps.  Ade and Lorraine were no.1 me and Tracy were no.2.  No.1 runs, quite fast, as far as the silver taxi that is about half way up the hill in Woodrise. Then they come back and No. 2 does the same.  Then No.1 runs to the top of the hill, where another car is conveniently parked, and then jog back to let their partner do it. That is one rep.  I want them to do at least 5 of those! Not a lot to ask of them, is it? 

They all did really well indeed.  It's good to have some hill training, (it's been drummed into me!) so if I know that then I have to impart that on to these guys!  It needs to be done.  I have also said to them that they should come along and try a run with Group 1.  If they know what it's like, how far we run as a group and the speed then they will either keep up or go back to training in order to reach that speed.  I know they can do it.  The distance will be a little longer, but the hill training that we have done, and the not stop two milers will hopefully sustain them through.  After all in group 1 we do have a couple of regrouping stops.

No geeky stats for group 1 today, as it was just running up and down the hill. And I did less than Ade, I did the same as the other ladies, just 4 reps, after all I am running again after.

Group 1

There was no Illustrious Leader today, SingstarJo was leading, and after todays hill reps, I quickly put my hand up to volunteer as sweeper today.  I knew I would be at the back today. Even though I welched out on the last rep!  Well, I had to watch and see that all the others were having a good time!

After all the group leaders said where they were going, we all started off. SingstarJo tried very tactfully not to mention 'Cardiac Hill' she kind of glossed over that bit, especially as we had a number of newbies join us today.  Best not frighten them with things like 'hills' and 'Cardiacs' we do want them to come back after all!

We were running down Tudor Way, and turning left towards Crofton.  I started to get cramp in my toe, again! I think its the cold weather! I am deffo not a cold weather person, my body doesn't like cold weather and my pshche doesn't like cold weather! Spring and Autumn are just perfect times for running, not too hot, not to cold, with maybe just a smidge of rain!

The main body of group 1 stayed together pretty well, with just one lady struggling just a tad.  I was quite happy to stay back and keep her motivated.  She is one of DiscoRich's graduates and completed her first 5k last week! 

Going up Lynwood I told her to visualise the hills as upside down hills/bumps! These ones are quite little ones anyway, and they are short, all over and done with before you realise it.  The lampposts came into play again.  Good old lamppost, they never fail. Standing there just waiting for you to 'use' them to help you on your way to fitness greatness! As well as to light our way as well!

We turned right heading along Mayfield and towards that Hill.  Me and Julia were a bit behind the others now, but I knew where they were heading! And so did Julia!  But there is quite a few people that have struggles with this hill, so I told her to take her time and just go at her own pace. I won't be leaving her to find her own way back!  'We never leave an in the field' or even a runner on route!

We got to the top of Cardiac hill and regrouped with all the others.  Here Julia (I do hope that I have remembered her name right!) had a decision to make.  There is three ways to go, the short way, the slightly shorter way, or keep with the main group!  She was feeling quite tired so opted for the short way. I was holding on to half when I go there!  I have decided that the sports bra I am wearing will be known as Brylcream.......  Put it this way, my 'ShockAbsorber' sports bra does exactly what it says! It really does keep ...ahem...everything under control, but my Brylcream bra....well I'm guessing you older readers can image why I've called it this!.....blimey sore or what!

But as always, I do like a bit of a challenge, I try to impart the love of challenges on to others, so I suggested to her that as we were running up Crossways then we use the lampposts to do a bit of interval running!  A bit of speed running and then slower jogging, all the way to the rec.  But as we went the shorter way, they we will go right to the end and see if we can beat the others to the end of the road or even back to the rec again!

She agreed and we both had a good time.  At least I hope she did, she did say that she will be back next week!

So geeky stats for you.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Who's Crazy? - Not Us!

Hello blog lovers.

What a glorious day it was today - NOT. As I was walking the kids to school, in the rain, and the wind and the chill of the morning, I was wondering if any of the Thursday groups would turn up today! I was a bit optimistic when I got myself ready for todays run, I deliberately didn't put on a waterproof, hoping instead that it would stop raining just as the kids go in, (as is usual.) But the rain came down even harder! So I decided to drive home and get my waterproof coat at get to the rec, to see if there are any more crazy people who go running in this!

I parked up my car and walked into the rec to other person, hood up, looking towards the green.  A lone runner, shivering, she made a very lonely.........crazy sight indeed.  And I just added to the crazy sight! Were we the only two runners waiting in the greyness, in the rain and the wind, to go running!  But we didn't have to wait long as DiscoRich and Illustrious Leader turned up and then Tracy and Ade!  PWR's, we are made or stern stuff, or we are just a few trainers short of a team!

This was going to be the whole quota of runners today.  Now I know there would have been more, but for some reason, known only to those who thought of the idea in the first place, some of the teachers were having some sort of day off......I mean an 'InSet Day' something that never seemed to happen when I was at school, but of course that meant that some of the other ladies couldn't make it for the Thursday run.

As it was such a miserable day, the rain was coming down and it was blooming cold, I decided to stick to the roads and tarmac today.  Selfish reasons for me really for this decision (a 'perk of being a leader, I finding!), one was that my knee felt a little 'weird' this morning, like I had jarred it, and also with the rain coming down, its just a bit more difficult to concentrate on where your feet are landing, with the whole wiping of eyes, and steamy glasses as well.  So to the cinder is where we were heading for, in the rain! 

Sometimes though, I have had some good runs in the rain, but the rains have usually started after I have started running! I have never been one for walking out of my house in the rain and starting to run, not unless its been a club run or a race I have entered! Very occasionally that has happened. But running today, was feeling really good.  I warmed up pretty quickly, and so did Tracy, Ade and Illustrious Leader. 

The wind had bought down a few bigger twigs from the trees along the cinder path, but apart from that the run was event free! So we didn't have the sunshine, we were all still there running, ok so the woods would have been a really sticky soupy mess, but we hit the tarmac, and yes, we were soaked through, but we were all still smiling and enjoying the fact that we were out running. Well, Ade wasn't having his best run of all, but I am sure once he got home, he was thinking to himself  "Well look at me, out on a day like this just for fun, running"  Now that is something to smile about!

Geeky stats, and you will notice that as we came out of the cinder path there is a bit of a wait, as Tracy and me waited for Ade and I.L. to do the little loopy bit, (although Ade did come back a little quicker than expected!)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Club Runs - A Chilly One!

Hello blog lovers.

What a chilly night!  Winter is certainly beginning to claim its time in our year!  Scrapping frost of the cars, wooly hats and gloves! Brrrrr!  But runners still get out there and do it!  My thinking is, it's only for an hour, but in my case its for 2, so lets get on with it!

The Graduates are still keen, which is all that it takes to be a runner.  If you can get yourself out of your nice comfy sofa, away from the drivel on the t.v. and cram your self into your running tights, bright reflective tops and jackets, and shove on a warm luminous hat (well mine is luminous, I look like a big zit running down the road!) then you really are a runner!  Nagging Sister, Tracy and Ade and Lorraine were at the rec this evening, well, N.S. went and collected Lorraine as she was running a tad late, and I didn't want her to miss out on todays run.

I was a bit negligent as I had forgotten to charge up my Garmin! I was going to do a slightly different route today but decided I would stick to the route that we had done before as I knew the exactly milage of that.  And as Tracy was coming back from injury the route was going to be the same as last time and that is run in the opposite direction! Are you with me so far? Good!

But for Ade and N.S. to make it a bit more challenging for them, then they will be doing the 'sprint backs' to me at my whistle! Well, you have got to keep it fun!  All I can say is that every one did so well indeed! I was impressed with everyone, they all kept going, Lorraine had a tight calf and had to stretch out a couple of times, but that was it.  No walking stops at all! Now to work on the speed!

Group 1 Run

SingstarJo was leading group 1 today, and it's a bit of a special one today as DiscoRich's Saturdays Beginners have graduated and they are joining us for the Group runs. I think some beginners are even joining group 2!  SingstarJo has chosen her route that will allow a short cut towards the end of the run, but if they really are feeling totally comfortable and still have tons of enery, then the is the slightly longer route with a small tiny hill, might be more appealing to them. It's the same route that I had taken the graduates on only an hour earlier!  Illustrious Leader will be sweeping this evening and when we get to the point of decision time, i.e. longer route or shorter route, then I would take all those that want to do the shorter route and take them back to the rec to begin stretches.

S.J. took us up Birchwood.  Now this should get our blood pumping and will soon warm us all up!  But just after starting on this route we had a faller!  She came down quite hard and grazed her knee!  She felt like she wanted to carry on, but sometimes you have to say to runners, "No, pain is not good, relax, get better for another time" Runners can be stubborn! But it is that determination that you need to get you out into the cold night air, or to keep you going to the end of a marathon, or to keep going after you have done 80 - 90 miles! Anyway we persuaded her to not to run any more, I.L. will walk with her back to her car, and then she will come and join up with us on another part of the route!

The group was staying quite tight together, up the rest of the hill, and then down again.  We did start to pull apart after  a while.  With the built in stopping points that SingstarJo there wasn't too much of a gap, and to keep the faster runners from getting cold, S.J. even had a little extra bit for them to do while the back runners caught up and took a bit of a breather!

The next stopping point is the infamous off license (which is not a mini supermarket). Infamous only because we I still see it as such, (I must stop  living in the past!, when I was younger, skinnier, but a couch potato!) From there it was straight down to the Newsshopper carpark where we had another regroup and decision time!

About 8 or so decided that 3 miles for sufficient for todays run and went with me for the shorter route.  As we were running down Pettswood road I had noticed that J.J. and Janet we in front of me! Trail blazing, leading the way home! "What are you two do here?" I called out jokingly to them and they called back "We were hoping you didn't notice us" they both called back.

All in all a good couple of runs this evening, well apart from the one fall!  I shall let you all know how Wendi is getting on in my next club run!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Park Run - A runners Eye View

Hello blog lovers.

I decided that todays park run was going to be a totally relaxed affair.  DiscoRich had a rather large group of  graduates running their first 5k park run after their 8 week beginners course.  So I thought I would just jog around the course for some fresh air, exercise and if I see any of the new runners then give them some encouragement as well.  I was also going take some pictures as it is my local park run, and give a view from a runners eye of a 5k course, and in my case I am usually always looking at peoples backs! So, maybe I should call it a backside view of park run!

I met up with the PWR's and also my sister, who came alone today, no attachments with her (her daughters).  I told her that I was going to have a very pleasurable run this morning.  The announcements were made, and we were off.  The grass was still wet and muddy in places but the new path up the long straight was ready!  It's going to be great running along there, maybe even a few seconds faster for the PB chasers.

The sun was shining, it was a cool crisp morning, with a touch of frost on the untrodden parts of the grass.  Perfect for first time runners, perfect for hundredth park run runners, in fact, perfect conditions for everyone!   I do feel a lot more relaxed about this park run, I have my head right, running for running sake, and if you can keep fit and keep the fat cells at bay then that is just  a bonus. 

Here is a picture of the first of the  'river passes', see how many park runners are out for a good time.
First pass of the river
 Oh and maybe some of the Bromley Cyclists may be interested in the nice wooden bridge here. Some cycling spectators use this to watch their loved ones and friends on their park run!  Running into to the sunshine just makes you smile, well, your face muscles contort that way as you squint, so you might as well go the whole hog and smile as well.  Such a great sense of well being!

The wooden bridge over the River Ravensbourne

The ground was a bit soft but I am sure it is getting firmer as the winter tries to take its turn.  I couldn't see any of DiscoRich's beginners, I was thinking that he has done an excellent job of training them for their first 5k, and they are all going to be finishing it in less than 30 mins!

As I was just taking it easy today, I was looking around at people, seeing how they are doing, watching all the other park users enjoying this fantastic park of ours. There were youngsters doing football training, adults doing some very gruelling workouts with what looks like some armytype chap putting them through their paces.  All out here on a Saturday morning at 9 am. Now that is very much a smile inducing moment!

Reaching the pavilion I managed to snap a quick pic of some of the volunteers who help out to make this event a truly top notch bestest parkrun venue anywhere, (but I am biased)
The volunteers of Bromley
Park Run
SingstarJo was also volunteering today, but I must have missed her with my camera!  At the top of the park I took some more pictures of some more of the people who where in front of me! 

Just at the top of the Park

Next it was that lovely new path!  It was a bit sticky getting from the grass to the path but I managed it without slipping or falling, just take a look at what us lucky Bromley Park Runners have to run on, and this is the longest stretch of the lap.

The Long Straight

From one end of the park to the other! At the half way mark I took some more pictures of the faster runners as they were half way through their second lap. 
The front runners

On my second lap I did come across one of DiscoRichs graduates.  I started chatting to her and then jogged along with her for the rest of our run.  It was her very first parkrun, and she had never done any sort of running before! And here she was completed a 5k at 9 o'clock on a Saturday morning!

All the way round this lap I chatted to her, encouraging her.  She had her music with her and it is only now I am thinking that maybe she would have preferred to listen to her music then to listen to me! But she was very polite and didn't say anything and chatted away when I did.  Back to the starting point and just the last turn to do before we run for the tunnel.  There is a very large sticky puddle bit here, and I thought I would take a picture of it for all you mud lovers.
Muddy patch

It was good to say to her "look there is the orange tunnel, just a little further and its all done," I stood back and got ready with my camera to take some pictures of what runners head for when they finish their run.
A graduate of PWR's Beginners Course
running for the orange tunnel

A great run today, and so enjoy all the chat and catch up after each run! Park runners, they only people they compete with is themselves each week.  After the runs everyone is chatting and having a good time, with water, squash, tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes!
Here's me with my running buddies (I'm second left)

Love it.
Some finishers of the park run

Oh and just because I love geeky stats here is my Garmin stats.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Off on Thursday!

Hello blog lovers.

Thursday group run was a tad harder for me today!.  I not sure why! I chose the route, through the woods, up to the top of Botany Bay Lane, and then touching on Scadbury woods before doing some pavement pounding to get back to the rec.

After yesterdays bike ride, which I still have to write about actually, I wasn't feeling too confident about how I will be able to keep up let alone lead today.  But I really was looking forward to running! Having a bit of a fretful morning will make you want to just run and run, and when you have beautiful woods like we have here to run through, then your cares and worries are left as you enter them!

There were only the three of us today, and we really did look like the pink ladies! I wished I had nabbed a selfie of us all in our bright pink running attire! We totally looked like a gang!  I was leading them up the middle of the woods, it is still sticky and wet in places.  We all like running through the woods and have come to accept that we are going to get muddy!  I.L. has trail shoes on and she was explaining the benefits of these.  I am deffo going to add these to my Christmas list!  PinkladyJo and me had our ordinary road shoes on.  But no one slipped over in the mud, which was good.

I struggled just a bit getting up the first hill! I think I must be coming down with something, or some other reason that I just don't seem to have the energy today.  I refuse to get ill this time of the year! It's my birthday month, its SingstarJo's birthday month, and also Christmas parties to attend for the next couple of months! I refuse to get ill.  So I'm sure the best thing to do is to just keep on going!

We had a walking section up towards the Tigers Head, well me and PinkladyJo did, Illustrious Leader seems to be back with avengance as she jogs alongside us, chatting away! We soon got back into the jog mode and then some more of the lovely woods to go through!  I am glad I.L. was with us, because as I was chatting away I nearly missed the smaller path, that would have take us further into Scadbury Park, I believe, an area that I am not familiar with, and I must admit, got lost in on one particular Mob Match, much to Spiders amusement, as it's him that usually gets lost! 

This bit didn't last too long and we soon was back on to the road.  I decided to just keep it to our usual distance, about 3 and half to 4 miles, we were going to go down to the roundabout and then turn right to run down the hill. I am hoping the down hill will fill me with some enthusiasm and energy.  It didn't work.  I was still feeling tired and achy, but I had noticed that my mood was better! And that is sometimes all you need!

I.L. was just a little a head of me and PinkladyJo, "Go ahead, keep going, I shall see you at the rec" I said, as I tried to encourage the other two to go at their own pace, I felt as if I was keep them jogging along slowly.  I.L. called back "I shall go ahead but I shall loop back" she said.  Well, she did loop back! Just as I was finishing the bottom of the hill I.L. turned around and started heading back towards me and PinkladyJo.  "I am making myself do the hill again" she said as she got nearer to me! Now that is finding your mojo again and totally embracing it!

I made myself run just a little faster down crossways, as I always do. Not as fast a sprint as I usually do but definitely the fastest I had moved today!  Both the ladies enjoyed the route and the run, which I was really pleased about. I think the Pink Ladies was a very good description of us all today, especially me, as I am sure my face was glowing as pink as my top!

Geeky stats.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Club run - On My First Whistle....

Hello blog lovers.

Well today it was back to the grind stone with graduates, although Tracy is still not quite recovered, she will be taking another week off. But Nagging sister, and MissMolly, was here and so was Lorraine.

To make it more interesting and a bit more of harder workout for Nagging Sister and MissMolly, I added a little bit of an extra thing to do. But first it was all to meet up.  As it was a bit of a chilly night, and we were going to be doing a conversational paced run, our warm up today was a very light jog for about half mile. Then I sent N.S. and M.M off to run at a slightly faster pace in front. But when they hear my whistle they were to sprint back to me and then jog it out again.

It just makes it a bit more interesting, and it was fun for her and M.M. At least it looked like a smile when I explained my cunning plan!  We were also doing our usual route in the opposite direction too, just to keep it interesting, and also it helps psychologically, as you are not quite sure how far you have run, as the usual marker points will be different!

They all did really well.  Lorraine kept on jogging, with just a couple of little walking bits. But after having 2 weeks off from running and not doing anything, I think she is doing really well indeed!

So geeky stats for the grads run.

Group 1

I was pretty warm after the grads run, and the outer layer high viz I was wearing was not a good idea.  I was soaked from the inside out!  So I removed my jacket and tried to keep as warm as possible and to try and dry off!  I read somewhere today a great tip from Jeff Gallway:

Here's a tip to keep you comfortable in the cold weather:

As you warm up through exercise, peel off each layer before you start sweating. Too much sweat accumulation will freeze and cause problems.

But I was too late in peeling of my high viz! and I was a tad cold.

But chatting with everyone and bobbing about keeping warm the time quickly went by and we were ready for the off.  Illustrious Leader as leading today and it seemed she was going to be taking it easy on us today.  With just the biggest hill of the evening at the very beginning of the run, the rest of the way looked as though it was going to be a very pleasurable, conversational group 1 run.  I do like these runs.  Chatting about anything and everything, just love it.

I thought I would remind all of the other Group 1 runners about the Grand Prix events.  We have a couple of others that have entered, all though Janet said that she can't actually remember entering. But I said that its a great way to have a little bit of competition between us all, and its a lot of fun.  Also it's a way of experience other races that normally we just wouldn't enter!

I know the first time I heard about the Grand Prix I felt as if that I was just not 'good' enough, not fast enough, and just not fit enough to even consider being part of it.  There were half marathons and 10 milers in the events tables.  But there was also loads of 5 milers, 10k's and 5k's  Most certainly do-able for all of the Group 1 runners! Which is how comes last year I actually one the group 1 Grand Prix trophy!  My very first 1st place trophy, ever! In fact my very first trophy!

Any way I digress, but I know some of the group 1 runners are reading this, so yes I am talking to you, next year, enter it! It really is a lot of fun, and it gets you experiencing so much more running styles and distances than you would normally do!

Back to the running, I was really enjoying todays run, although I was still at the back, but I volunteered to sweep, my legs were still a bit achy and stiff from the 5 miles XC on Sunday, so I knew I would be at the back of todays group anyway.  But I had a great time.

No geeky stats for this run, but it was about 3 and half miles long in under 50 mines I believe. And this is becaruse, firstly of I forgot to switch it on until we got to Leesons hill, and then secondly, after switching it off when we got back to the rec, I had managed to switch it on again before I got home! Oh well, at least I can follow the little pointer around and just see how fast I was going.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Hello blog lovers.

What a day it was today.  An emotional day, a muddy day and a beautiful day! A day to remember!

This run, is part of our club's Grand Prix events and I have committed myself in doing these races.  So another day away from church, but I knew I would  be praying all the way round the course today. It's remembrance Sunday! A day that we remember those that have given their lives to protect the freedom of us all.  A day to remember exactly what the sacrifice of a life for the sake of others really means. God bless all those that have laid down their lives and God bless those service men and women who also serve to protect that freedom!

I met DiscoRich at the rec, he had kindly offered to drive today.  I was excited about the race, the Kent Fitness League Swanley 5 miles. But I was also a little anxious.  These events are attended by club runners from all over Kent; Canterbury, Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Swanley of course and my club, Pettswood Runners .  There were loads more other clubs too, and they are going to be running fast! But I am just going to do my best, and try to stay upright at all times.

The rain had done it's best yesterday, to create a sticky and wet course, for all of the cross country runners who just love mud.  Although I run through our woods, I still haven't acquired a pair of trail shoes, I will be slipping and sliding through todays race.  We met up with the rest of our club members, altogether there were 51 PWR's competing in this race, a very good turn out indeed, but unfortunately for me no other group 1 runners. I am going to have to encourage all the group 1's to enter the races that's in our fixtures! It's good to have a bit of competition.

The race began after a time of silence.  The 500+ runners and all the entourage and spectators fell silent, thinking, praying about the soldiers who fought for our country, not a murmur from any of the runners.  The birds tweeted, a child was heard in the playground, but just at that moment, on the start line, it was utter silence...... Then a voice brought us all back from our thoughts and it was time to go.

The course is three laps of the park, taking in the boating lake, the slight undulations and the wooded areas of the park.  The going was really, really soft! 500+ pairs of feet churning up the mud before I even got there.  The sun was shining down so brightly I was having difficulty in looking ahead.  I had forgotten my hat. This was going to be fun!  With my head down, all I could see was the muddy path, I thought to my self  "At least I can't possibly get lost, all I have to do is follow the sticky footprints in the muddy paths"

The first turn left bought us down to towards the boating lake, and it seemed to be even more muddy than the first bit, if that is at all possible! I was slipping and sliding about just as I predicted.  I thought that maybe the answer to the problem was to just 'go for it', straight through the middle of the path, but that didn't help at all, so I just slowed down and tippy toed through it, 'ewww-ing' quietly to myself. 

Picking my way through the mud I saw the front runners heading towards me, they had completed the U-Turn at the end and they made their way back past me and up to the next part of the course.  I reached the U-turn and I looked to see if there was any one else behind me.  I could see a few others picking their way through the mud, so at least I am not the last person ......yet!

This bit had a sandy path to run on! My 'sense of balance' was taking a huge sigh of relief! But not for long as it was back into the mire for some delightful uphill pleasure!  I had forgotten to bring my Garmin with me (again), but my phone app was keeping me company and it started telling me how well I was doing, calories burnt up etc, but I was just concentrating on keeping up right and trying to run! 

At this point I was talking to myself, as I nearly slipped over again for the umpteenth time, "Stupid idea, you should be at church,  worshipping, playing guitar, eating biscuits after" I am not sure if I was saying that out loud.  But from that moment I started to think about today, and I started to remember about today. 

I started to think about the soldiers that had to spend weeks and weeks in muddy fields and trenches, with bullets flying over head, and bombs exploding, and the rain and the cold and their friends being killed. This is where the emotional part started for me.  Here was I, traipsing around in the mud for fun,( and by the way, running is fun, even in the mud,) all because of our soldiers and sailors and air force continue to fight and protect to keep us in the freedom that should be everyones!

Yes, I had a few tears just then,  and I decided  that from that minute, I was just going to have fun today, because....because..... well, because I can! Thank you, you brave men and women!

So with a renewed spirit and the fact that I am allowing myself to enjoy this run, I just plodded along, doing what I always do, my pace.  The route took us pass some allotments and the car park, and then through a narrower path as we went into the wooded part of the course.
The narrower path with
the wooden edges
The course marshals had been busy before hand, highlighting all the bigger roots that could be a trip hazard.  We then came out of that and into a wider path.  I was passed by a lady wearing a purple top who told me to "Keep going"  I smiled as said "yes, thank you."  And that was the first of all the encouragement from all those that started to pass me.  From this point on the course, is where the first of the front runners started to lap me!

The lady in purple, who passed me
with the front runner disappearing from view

Now I can remember why I don't like doing laps in races! Apart from the fact that you know what is coming, it's also the lapping of the other runners that is just a tad demoralising!  But I again came back to the my thoughts of what this day was and I just kept going at my own pace, determined to finish, stay on my feet and above all to have fun!

The route took another  U-turn, which led us back on to ourselves again.  I tried to see how many others were behind me, but that was impossible now as more and more of the faster runners were catching up.  Just up ahead there was another.... well.... I can only describe it as a ridge, it was only about three or four feet high, similar to one that I had already gone over just a few moments earlier. Only that one was grassy! A little grassy ridge that you ran up and ran down, no problem. But this one was not grassy.  This one looked like every little school boy and girls' mud pies stacked together to make this ridiculously muddy ridge!

The steeplechase type hump!

I watched as some of the faster runners just flew up it and down the other side and then carried on running! "Ok Old Girl, you've seen the technique, now go for it" As I got nearer to it I realised that this particular Old Girl would not be 'flinging' her self up there and down the other side!

I chose some particularly well 'dented' footprints to use as steps to get up to the top of the ridge. From the top of the ridge it looked higher that it actually was! I could really see myself sliding down here on my backside if I wasn't careful.  I again chose some well dented footprints to get down, and I was also aware of the faster runners wanting to get past me. "Please don't let me fall, please don't let me fall" I was saying to myself! 

The ridge safely over I am now heading back to the starting point, over the little miniature rail lines and heading off into the cheering crowds. And now.... do it all again!  The sun was still in the same position, the grass was now even more muddier than I have ever seen, and the 'lappers' were still flying by me, splashing the mud about and with shouts of "Well done, keep going",  the encouragement was most welcomed! 

It was good to hear my name being called out, having it emblazoned on my top is a very good motivational move indeed! The marshals and the runners all shouting encouragement to everyone!  Getting back into the wooded part of the course, with the narrow path, I was particularly aware that I was totally in the way of the faster runners!  I could hear them coming up behind me, but as I was having to concentrate on where I was putting my feet I really didn't know which way to 'give way' to them.  On a number of occasions a tried to get out of the way and tripped over tree roots and even the wooden edging that was in place.  So I decided that the safest thing to do was to let them run around me.

I was feeling a bit jaded now, knowing I still had to do another lap, the constant slipping and sliding was taking its toll on my legs and knees.  I knew I had another lap to do, and I was just following all the other runners, but of course the runners I was following was the ones that had lapped me.  They were all heading for the finish line, a keened eyed marshal could see that I was on the wrong track, heading for the finish and quickly guided me  to the right path. I still had one more lap to do! 

Now there was no one to follow, I was heading up on the very sticky churned up path alone. The sun was still shining down as bright as ever and I was blindly heading in in the right direction, but then   I noticed that I wasn't on the side of the marked route! I quickly pulled myself back on the muddy path, ready to jog and squish my way up and then down towards the boating lake for the last time. 

By now I knew what was a head as I saw the boating lake. I knew, more or less, how all the other runners had been running through it,  and I knew this was the last time I had to do this bit.  I just had to go for it.  It was down hill, which made it a lot more appealing for what I was about to do, and that was to run faster through this wet, sticky slippery mud bath!  I picked up the pace, I slipped, slid and just about stayed on my feet, as my body contorted in ways that it never should do for a women of my age, an ex couch potato no less,  should be doing!  I twinged my back again, just slightly.  So I had another deciding moment, and that was I decided from then that I was just going to take it easy.

One particular marshal was very encouraging indeed, of course they all were, even with my very slow efforts of running around and keeping them knee deep in the mire, but this one chap said "You've done it, it's all yours, you are going to complete this and you will be very pleased, keep going Donna, keep going" I smiled, I was still smiling when I passed the next marshals and they cheered me along.

I started to sing to my self.  A song that they may have been singing at church today, #When the spirit of the Lord#  which was a particularly good one as it speeds up as you sing along!  This kept me going until I almost got to the rail way lines, where a "Keep going Donna, you're doing really well" from Sherry made me realise that I was almost to the end.

It really isn't that far now, I started to allow myself to get just a tad quicker, at least it felt as if I was doing that.  I could see the play park now, and I know the finish is that that way, "To the left, to the left" was the call I heard, obviously with no one to follow I was relying on the marshals and the bystanders to keep me heading towards the finish line. 

My head down, staring at the ground, I started to get faster, "Right! right" I head some one call, I looked up and I could see the finish flag, I was heading slightly left of it!  I think I must have been heading for the coffee shop! I finished! I was so pleased, just as the marshal had said. But a fantastic race! I really did enjoy it.  I was muddy, I was a bit achy and I was smiling!

No geeky stats, but I was 535 out of a field of about 537! 51st Pettswood runner home! My official time for this, my first KFL XC run is 01:05:19. A tad quicker than I thought I would have been in those conditions!
Me, after the run!

Here is a video that PhysioMike had done!

Pictures of me courtesy of Sherry Bevan and Mike Reeves, video courtesy of Mike Reeves.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Thursdays Mud Fest!

Hello blog lovers.

It's my Thursdays session, all eyes on me for the route as I lead these sessions.  It still is all a little weird for me to think that I am a leader, but I had a route planned through the woods, and then I changed my mind when I got to the rec and thought I would do some pavement pounding instead, with the option of a little more challenging climbing up Southborough lane.

We all met up, DiscoRich said that he would be taking his group through the woods.  When I told my group where we were going, and whether they wanted to do the route in an anti clock wise direction which is the more challenging way. They said yes. But I did ask them if they would like to do a bit of running in the woods, which they all agreed to!  I think I should have been more confident and just gone for the woods in the first place!

So the route slightly changed, we headed towards 'Dog Poo ally' and turned left.  I tried to remember the top path that PhysioMike had taken us on when we were with the beginners group.  But I got slightly lost.  But Sherry runs the woods regularly and headed us on the right track.  And it really was a mud fest!  Squishing and squelching our way around and just enjoying the woods, even all the muddy puddles.

We ran along the three bridges which brought us out to Jubilee park.  A bit of tarmac and road to bash the mud of our shoes! When we got to Blackbrook lane, I again, I gave the ladies, who were Sherry, Illustrious Leader and PinkladyJo, a choice of which way to go, which was up Blackbrook and then up Southborough, where we could run so fast the mud would dry on our shoes and we could pound it off on the way back. Or we could really embrace the mud and continue to splash around in it and go back over the top of the woods.  Guess what the unanimous decision was? Yes....MUD!

Of course, turning right and heading that way means we have Goss hill to deal with! Sherry just seems to eat up those hills!  She just headed on up there like she was just out for a morning stroll.  I tried to do a much of the hill as I could with the other two ladies behind going at their speed.

Getting to the top was hard work but we all got there, Sherry was running little circles when I reached the top!  Along the top path now, by the school and towards Botony Bay Lane.  By the time we got to lane I.L. decided that she would finish the route by going down the lane and taking a slightly shorter cut, as she was feeling a little tired.  The rest of us headed up to the top of the woods to continue our mud fest.

All I can say about todays run was that it was bloomin good! Well I enjoyed it, and the others did too.  Running down through the middle of the woods was just as muddy as the rest of it.  Good training for the next instalment our clubs Grand Prix!  Cross country 5 miler.  And todays run we covered just a tad over 4 miles!

We all met back at the rec, and I.L. came running through the cars to join us, and she still enjoyed the route.  So what I have got to learn from todays run is to be more confident in myself and just enjoy our woods, because everyone does, even though they were really muddy at the end of it!

Here is todays geeky stats!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Club Run - Back With A Bang!

Hello blog lovers

Well it seems that germs and achy backs, legs and heads have kept all the graduates at home this evening as all of them couldn't make a run this evening. This left me longing for a run even more.  I hadn't been running since last Tuesday, as I had twinged my back. I did try and just ignore it, but when I did I could feel the twinge again, so that's when I decided that I was actually going to take time off from running, having had the same sort of thing two weeks before I did the marathon in April, I have learnt my lesson.

So, although I love helping with the new improver's group, going straight to group 1 this evening was a very welcome change.  SingstarJo was leading our group today, and Illustrious Leader was sweeping. I was going to try and stay somewhere in the middle, but you know me, I was chatting and ended up at the back anyway!

We were going on S.J. (non flat) flat route, heading down Cardiac hill.  The whole group kept together really well, leaving just enough space between the runner in front so that they could see the smaller hazards that will be on route, the raised tarmac from the tree routes, pot holes and sticky up pavement slaps, the stuff you see during the daylight hours but is difficult to see at night.

Since I started running I have noticed that the roads are well lit, obviously drivers need to see the roads and the kerbs, but pedestrians need to see the pavements especially when there are trees that are lifting and contorting the pavements.  I have often stumbled over these, and that is just while walking during the day!  I always try to remember a light for these winter nights now.

We were on cardiac hill, and where I thought we were going to run down we didn't, instead we carried on down the whole of Cardiac Hill.  We are still heading down which of course I love doing! But this just makes the up hill more!  But as I am on fresh legs....fresh rested for days and days legs, this should be no problem for me. The whole group was still keeping together really well. Then the little undulations began! The gap between us few plodders and the faster runners began to grow, but not by much.

We regrouped again at the off license where we discovered that SingstarJo and mixed up two routes, so from here we are going to run straight down to Tudor way and then back to the rec.  There were a couple of sighs of relief from the runners!

I.L.'s nieces friend was with the group today a young lady, and she was at the back with me. I was chatting along with her and helping her to keep on going.  No need to speed up if you are going to burn yourself out before you finish! Keep your breath under control, slow the pace down just a tad and you will be surprised how much you can cover.

Also last week I.L. suggested to her that they sprinted to one lamppost then walk the next. So that's what we all did this week.  Even Jan and J.J. joined in this bit for the last push down Tudor way and Crossways.  Of course I just love the sprinting section of my runs.  As it was turning out, the last lamppost would have been one that we had to walk to so I encouraged the young lady to carry on running to the next one and then just to the sign post that points to the rec.  She did it! We all did it.  Sometimes it's good to have an interval running thrown in to your usual runs!

A great run today, and a great route! The non '(non flat) flat route! With added bang and sparkle from the Bonfire night celebrational fireworks!

Geeky stats....