Thursday, 29 May 2014

Running, Swimming, Core Training?

Hello blog lovers.

Today I had running, swimming and core training! Can you believe that? Well don't!  I didn't do the swimming, but I was at the pool watching my grandson learn how swim.  The other two activities I did do, albeit with several hours in between!  But it does look good in the title!

So this morning I wanted to go running.  I missed out on my other group run due to the awful weather.  I wanted to do a nice longish (for me) steady run.  So I chose one of my old favourite routes, up to the A21 then on to Locksbottom and through to Crofton and then back home!  Did I say favourites?  Well, it is really, now that I am back to running for running sake, no other reason, no training, no pressure, just for fun!

I had my tunes going on in my ears, the weather was good, no raining thankfully.  The sun even came out and it felt quite warm.  I was beginning to think that I should have at least bought along some water!  Oh well, I am not turning back now, I was already on Southborough lane! Although I was going to have a 'no pressure' long (ish) run, I was hoping that I wasn't going to go any slower that sub 13 min mileing.  After all, its all exercise and I know that I have to push myself just a tad, especially as I want to lose this ridiculous 2 stone that seems to have taken refuge on my body!

I had forgotten (probably subconsciously on purpose) to weigh on Monday, so from next Monday I shall be add a 'thing' on here that will keep an eye on my weight! And hopefully it will show that it's disappearing! 

I was feeling really very upbeat as I ran up towards the A21, in fact with the first 3 miles I kept to my desired under 13 mi/m!  Which pleased me!  But then that silly business of heading up hills started. I also decided that I wasn't go to through the 'posh' houses, which, I'm not sure is right, but seems like a short cut!  I was going all the way up to the top, by the traffic lights before turning left to head on home!  This of course means another hill, albeit a smaller one.  But then after that, well after that, it's virtually all down hill.

I was started to get a bit tired as well, I should be well comfortable doing a 10k, instead of calling it a long run, especially after having done the half the other week, but of course, that was run while be totally under trained for it!  This is what I was thinking as I ran along.  "So what, Old Girl, that you're struggling, you have only been doing 3.5 miles for weeks" which is of course true!  The ideal situation is to build up slowly, increase the mileage slowly, everything done slowly, well apart from the speed sessions! So again, I pulled myself together so that I can just enjoy the rest of the run! With maybe just a quick glance or to at my Garmin!

Once in Pettswood I decided to run through the High street as well, instead of cutting corners and taking short cuts.  Besides, it's nice to run through the High street, because this is where the Tribute run will be coming through, towards the end, just like my run today.  I only have about 1 more mile today, and that's that.

I start running towards my home now, feeling pretty good actually. Ok so it's not the most fantastic of times, but does it really matter, it's just little old me.  In fact, when I saw a friend of mine just a few hundreds yards from my home I stopped and chatted to her for about 4 or 5 minutes!  Now that is what I like about my running!  Just a few moments from that precious finish but still stopping for a chat with mates!

Anyway this is what my geeky stats look like! You can see where I chatted too!

And so for the second part of my day.  Of course there were quite a few hours between the jogging and the core training.  At least the rain as held off so if there is going to be any sort of rolling about on the grass it's not going to be too wet!

Illustrious Leader was taking over todays training session, and she is as she says, an iron fist in a velvet glove!  So no slacking here!  I was early for a  change, which means I started the warm up couple of laps with everybody else, it also meant that I had to do both laps, and no slacking!

But of course I am here to work hard! And so I did my best!  First there was the drills.  Me, trying to do the knee highs as best I can.  And the twisty things, well I can do those no problem.  I.L. did call them something else which I can't remember now.

Then after that it was the hill training  bit.  When I say hill training, it was a slightly incline training.  As we do all of our training in the rec, of course there isn't any hills there, but there is this slight incline.  It's great when you run anti clockwise around the field as it's very much noticed!  The more, shall we say, 'energenic' leaders tell us to run around the other way!

But running up this bit, my first speedy run to the second cone I seemed to over stretched my leg.  The top of my left thigh started hurting.  Last week it was the muscle at the back of my thigh and today its the front!  I don't know what I'm doing wrong!  Maybe I need to warm up even more before I start the speed sessions.

Anyway after that it was the core training part!  40 seconds of each discipline, lunges, plants, squats and those dreaded things burpees!  I tried to do as many as I could without straining to much, the muscle that was hurting.

After that it was a three point running session.  Visualising a 'triangle' in the rec we had to run fast to point A and then jog or shuffle or crawl to point B and then fun fast back to the beginning.  This was fun, but I didn't give it as much speed as I wanted to, as much as I know I can do.  I have already pulled my leg slightly but I am sill managing to run.  I think If I put in a bit more extra speed then I know it will not end well!

Best to take it easy and be able to play and run the next day, rather than have a week or more off for doing damage!

A great session today, and it really did feel quite gentle!  Am I getting used to it, or was it truly delivered with a velvet glove!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Group 0 Brave The Monsoon!

Hello Blog lovers.

Welcome to British Summer! For the whole day, the bloomin day, the rain has come down! Non stop!  The kids are on school holidays as well, and looking longingly out of the window!  So a trip to buzz zone was in order.  Not my favourite place to be during half term, so many kids!

Hence I was really looking forward to my club runs, to relieve some of the, shall we say tensions from the morning.  I sent out a text to my Group 0 Heroes, to give them some encouragement to come along, I thought if I get just one reply back saying they was going to be there then I would go.  I  had two!  That made me smile, now we have runners appearing through the ranks!

Getting out to run in the rain, for me, is really, really tough.  Just the thought of going out, getting absolutely soaked, probably cold too, as well as trying to run is just not motivational at all.  And quite frankly getting just two of my group out was amazing!  (especially as........ well I shall tell you in a minute!)

Going through the woods is just not an option, it really will be very slippery and possibly twisting ankles on the slipper roots, so I chose one of the harder winter routes to do.  Out of the gate, turn left and left again.  The undulating roads will keep us warm, and this weather will keep us wanting to move without stopping!

We certainly did that! The no stopping that is, all the way to the memorial  hall in Pettswood.  We had a quick breather, but we carried on walking rather than the stopping.  Although it is supposed to be summer, or coming up to it, it feels bloomin cold! Standing around in the pouring rain just after running a mile it's quite surprising how quickly you can cool down, and therefore more difficult to get going again.  Not to mention the possibility of cramps and stuff!

We started running again just as we got to the walking bridge and then kept it going virtually all the way until we got back to the memorial hall!  We had a bit of footwear malfunction as laces came undone, but mainly just kept running.  When we got to the memorial hall again, ready for the last push down to the rec, the rain seemed to come down even heavier! It really was just relentless!  But I know the two ladies are going to be so pleased that they came out!

And let me tell you, they were!  As we were one the last couple of corners from the rec, I head Jo saying that she thought we were running faster than usual!  Now this did make me smile! Although I hid it well under the soggy exterior, because I don't think that anybody, and I mean, absolutely anybody, has ever accused me of running faster than usual!  So, this is a first for me!  And something to cherish for a little while and bask in the glow that I felt when I was told I was running faster!

Oh, yes, the thing that I have to tell you.  Well, we ran pretty well, no warm up, and a lot faster, due to the fact that we didn't have to pick our way through muddy puddles, and roots and stuff, that we finished quite early.  After some warm down drills the two ladies went home.  Of course I was still hanging around, still thinking that maybe, as I am so wet now I could go ahead and do group 1 run.  But as I was waiting, the cold started creeping all over.  I even stood in the ladies toilets to keep out of the rain, but that chill would not leave me. 

The waterproof jacket that I was wearing was making things worse,  I didn't want to move my arms because then I had to 'feel' the cold wet sleeves touch my arms.  My legs started to cool down and now I could feel just how wet my jog pants are, and my feet! Brrrrrr, wet and cold!

I am sure if I kept going, kept moving, kept myself warmed up then I could have gone for another 3.5 mile jog, but then I would have been by myself as a solo runner!  Waiting for the 20 minutes or so made my mind up to call it a day!  Jogging is fun! And right then I felt cold, wet and horrible, but I did have a good run with the two ladies!  That's good enough for me!

How the ultra runners can keep themselves motivated to keep going when they feel like that, on top of being awake, running, walking and avoiding wildlife, I do not know, and I am thinking a friend of mine, Mr. Jerry Smallwood (aka Mr.S) who managed to do that for 100 miles over the weekend in the GUCR!  Birmingham to London!  Crazy!  And also so young people that are my daughters friend, Andy, who went from London to Brighton, also running and jogging, in one go!  Hats of to your guys!  Really!  Hats off!

Anyway geeky stats, maybe you can tell me where I was running faster!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Thursday Training Day

Hello blog lovers.

Last night was training at the rec.  I was running a bit late so I took my car to get along there.  I just got there in time as they started off their first warm up lap.  I tagged along and started chatting to Illustrious Leader.  I was also pleased to see a couple of ladies from my Group 0 there as well.   I was glad that I 'sold' it to them.  These sessions although are hard work, are great fun.  And really you put in as much hard work as you want to.  Still feeling the effects of yet another cold, I just did as best as I could.

First off, was the drills.  But kicks, sideways running, high knees and twisty side running. It was all in there to get us ready for some speedy running.  At first Jenny, who was taking last nights session, had us in 2 groups.  We had to do relay style running up and down five cones, each one just a little further away. There is always a little bit of rivalry involved with this team games. 

This time I was on the winning team!  After that, Jenny had a brain wave to make 3 teams, and then we had to do it again, but thankfully only go up to the 5th cone and finishing, not going back down the numbers to 1 again.

A quick drink, and then it was into the core training part!  I really think this is going to do me some real good.  I need to have a good strong core for running faster and for cycling!  I tried as best as I could, I have made myself a promise to lose 2 stone and to get fitter!

We  had a another little break after the star jumps, planks, press ups, burpees! and the into our next running session.  Relay racing! With battons, I love these sessions.  Of course I teamed up with the group 0 ladies, but I did notice that Victoria can put on a pretty darn good spurt of speed as she was running up to me with the batton!

Brilliant session and can't wait to do it all again!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Still Running!

Hello blog lovers.

The Orpington Half marathon hasn't put me off running!  But it has made me more determined to get fitter, thinner (possibly) but definitely lighter!  And also it has made me realised that you need to do tons of training before attempting long distances!

Anyway, let me get my diary of running down!  Yesterday I took out group zero.  Still slightly achy from Saturdays run, but it was a great recovery run for me.  I took my bike along as well, just to do a little bit of a warm up before the run.  And also, I was hoping to have a meeting with DiscoRich about our plans for the tribute run I am organising! So that meeting could (ok it did) end up in the pub!

There were about 6 yesterday, or 5, my brain is not working this evening, and there were the sisters back with us!  Their mojo keeps hiding from them! So they made a determined effort to get to the rec and get back to running!

The weather was quite muggy and sultry, and it seems more germs have been creeping into my body!  I have yet another cold and cough that is developing!  But I am going to try and not let it get me down!  It's summer for goodness sake! No-one gets colds in the summer!  Anyway, the route today was in the woods (of course) and then turn right to run towards Chislehurst Road, then along there before turning left to run towards the middle path of the woods.

The hill is a bit of a challenge for everybody, including me!  But to run through our woods then we have no choice but to get up them thar hills!  It's all great fun really! And it's always a huge ego boost when you can get up a particular nemesis of a hill in one go!

They ladies were all running great.  I decided that I was going to take them down an interesting path, one that we haven't been down before.  It will cut our run slightly shorter so if they wanted we could go on for just a little more.  I think they were all intrigued and decided to go with the interesting path.

So we went past the middle of the woods path and then went down the next path that goes to the railway.  Of course when I say interesting, I mean it may be a tad muddy just down a bit further!  I had noticed that a couple of the ladies had lovely shoes, lovely clean looking, 'I need to be run' in shoes.  To me, a clean pair of shoes are the ones you 'Hang around' with.  A good pair of running shoes needs look as if they have had a hard run! (Even if its only for 3 miles, cross country)

It was then that I realised that I think I am liking cross country running!  An Old Townie Girl like me loving running through mud!  Great stuff.  As it happened, they muddy patches were just soft ground!  But the path is still a very interesting path, fields either side then popping back into the woods with the routes making it great fun to negotiate, not to mention that it's all down hill too!

We got to the rail lines and then turned left to head back to 'Dog Poo' ally and back to the rec.  I didn't take my Garmin with me, so I have no idea how far we had run, but we were gone for a good 40 mins, and I was a few minutes late so it worked out perfectly timed to be back at the rec!

After a few stretches to warm down, I told them all about the Thursday core training sessions.  I think I may have convinced them to come along!  I didn't go along to group 1 as I was meeting up with DiscoRich to discuss plans!

This brings me up to today!

Normally I would be preparing stuff for my toddler group but today it was going to be a Play-doh day at the group!  Which meant I had a morning free to go running!  After I took my grandson to school, and then had a half hour chat with Nagging Sister on the phone, my resolve for running started to dwindle.  I was still sat in the car near the school.  After I put the phone down I came home and again just sat down.  I had this awful headache which I woke up with, and my resolve for going running started to dwindle even more! 

Eventually I thought that a run will do me the power of good and may even shake this headache!  so I went up stairs and got ready to go.  Grabbing my Garmin I headed off to the woods.  I took the car, as the thought of running on streets just didn't appeal to me right there and then and I drove to Tent Peg Lane. 

While I was waiting for the satellites to find me I notice a lady with a dog on a lead.  The dog was laying down with the lady telling the dog to get up and go with her.  The dog refused to budge!  I went over to say hi to the little pooch.  The lady explained the her dog didn't want to go home because he hadn't yet met his friends!  And until he did then he was going to stay put!  I thought this was most amusing.  Watching this lady pull up her dog, who had one of those harness I must add, and the dog just remaining floppy!

So with a smile on my face I started running.  I had my tunes in my ears and the woods at my disposal.  My headache started to drift from my mind!  I started running through Jubilee Park, my route was going to take me up Goss hill!  I know, there I go with the biggest hills again!  But like I said, my woods is just full of them!  Just that tiny bit of pavement to run on by Bickly Manor and down Barfields road before going back into my woods!

I had a great tune going on in my ears at the time, and I was running along keeping pace with it.  And because I wanted to keep the pace going I played the song another two times which got my almost up the hill!  I didn't put it on again! My legs would have collapsed if I didn't take a quick walking break!  But I made sure that I ran to the top and then took a quick stop!

I started again along the path, but then I breathed in a small fly! I felt it touch the back of my throat! I think it was the thought of it more than the fly itself but I suddenly started couching a retching!  Anyone coming past at that moment could quite easily mistake me for a runner that pushes her self to point of pukedom!  After I had recovered and stopped thinking about the fly that I had just eaten (even now I am feeling queasy) then I started back to my running.  My headache was all forgotten about and I was really have a great time just running along.

The middle path was soon in my sights, after me running up the first of the hills, but the second hill is still a huge nemesis!  I felt as if the run was coming to end all too soon, I could just carry on running, finding new paths, see where they would take me, sort out new routes for Group 0. But toddler group needed to be opened and I was going to be the only leader there today. So I headed off back to the car.

Running down the middle path, just enjoying being out, my lungs seems to be clearing of all the nasty yuckiness, and my headache appears to have gone.  This is much better than any paracetamol, and the fresh air is just perfect!

The walk over bridge was just in eyesight now.  How did it end that quick!?  I want more, but I realised that although it felt as if I ran quickly it is still just a nice steady plod out, I just wanted it to be longer!

I got back to the car, but took at quick walk to Pettswood high Street to see a very kind business owner who has donated to the tribute run that I am organising!  A great run.

But now its all done, I get back home and ........ my headache is back!

Geeky stats.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Orpington Half Mara(fun?)


A mirror selfie
Hello blog lovers.

It's taken me well over 24 house to get started on writing about this event.  This was my first challenging run this year.  But regrettably I was very, very under trained for it! Due to all that nasty cold virus attacking me, mother-in-law being unwell and then of course my most relaxing, face stuffing 'hardly doing anything' holiday only last week, I went into this run with trepidation!

Knowing how under trained I was I decided there was not going to be beatings up from me.  I was just going to get through to the end as best as I could, but above all make sure that I enjoy getting to the end!  After all, what is the point of doing something, totally unnecessary, such as running for 13 miles, if you're going to hate doing it!

Naggy Neighbour, Karin, was also doing this, and she was also under trained!  So it really is going to be a test of the determination we have inside of us!  We drove to the school, where the start and finish is, to pick up our numbers and to prepare (mentally) for what is ahead of us!  Well, there is not a lot you can do with your mind really!  Just tell yourself and each other and anyone else to have a good run! Job done!

The Marathon started at 10 in the morning while the half marathon started at 1 in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day!  This will truly be a test of endurance for me.  I made sure I had water with me and so did Naggy, she had flavoured stuff in hers though. 
Our numbers

We were called down to the start after a quick briefing from the marshal about safety and telephone numbers etc. While we were waiting for the off some of the marathoners were just coming past the gate to do their second lap of the day, we gave them a cheer as they started their next lap.  I did not envy them at all! Then it was our time, the claxton raised high, 3, 2, 1, PARRRRRRRRRP!

We set of out of the gate turning left and.......faced the first hill of the day! Talk about under prepared!  I took one look at it and my heart sunk straight to my boots, probably along with all other bits of my offal!!! I was not looking forward to running up there.  N.N. seemed to be able to just keep going as she set off at what I thought was break neck speed.  I decided that I wouldn't be trying to catch up with her, and that I will see her at the end!

The hill just seemed to go on for ages, most of the half marathoners seemed to be already in front of me, but I did have a quick look behind me and saw just a couple of other people behind.  As I 'walked' up the hill a very nice young lady joined me, she must have been about 16, she looked so young, a runner from Cottingdon AC in Wallingham I believe.  She too was walking up the hill, So I did not feel particularly bad! If a young girl like her was having to walk up here then it must be a 'doozy' of a hill!

When the top of the hill finally came the young lady and I jogged and chatted about stuff, you know, like you do, and she kept my mind off my running as I kept pace with her.  She stayed with me for the first 2 and half to 3 miles.  We kept egging each other up over the other smaller hills that we came across, and when I started to flag a bit she said "Just think what a brilliant thing you are doing today" but she didn't mean the running for 13.1 miles, "All those children who want to be able to go to school but cant afford it, you are helping them to be able to have an education!"  With that thought in mind I suddenly got goosebumps!  "Just a few hours of suffering for us but a life time of achievements for those kids, through education!" I thought to myself! The proceeds of the entries to this race will be going to children in other countries to be able to afford to send kids to school!  Now that is worth running for.  And this young lady was most exited and enthused about it! Well It made me smile!

We were running past Opington high street when another runner had caught us up, he was doing the marathon and he was also on his second lap. I admired him, and all the others that were doing this marathon, in this heat.  It's not a particularly nice route, but he did tell me that they have a nice bit of woods that we run through!  I knew where these woods were, we run through there with our club! I couldn't wait to get there.

My running buddy soon found her pace as we neared the long, long boring road past all of the industrial shopping estate, and the Nugent Centre, with Nandos, a place that I do like to go to on the odd occasion!  I was caught on this road by some others who were doing the marathon, knowing that had already done this bit already today was very humbling.  I don't think I could do a marathon where there is two laps, especially if its someplace I know, no trees, or woods to distract you.  I think I could even run around our woods for 26 miles, just because it was in the woods, but on the roads, and on this road in particular! Well, it just wouldn't be fun.  I used this road when I was training for a marathon! So to me, this just looks like a training session.

McDonalds was just coming up on my left and I saw two runners emerge with a carton of drink!  Now what a good idea that is, why didn't I think of that!  I nice ice cold drink right about now would be just perfect, instead of my luke warm water! Oh well, just keep on plodding Old Girl.

There were water stations on route, about every 2 miles or so, so it wasn't as if I was going to de-hydrate, but the thought of ice in a drink was still so much nicer!  We got to the end of Sevenoaks way and the route lead us down to the subway and then up! Cruel!  I could have just stayed at the top and run around!  Why was it necessary to go down just to go up the other side!  It wasn't as if we had to go through the subway!

But after this then the next big hill came into view.  Toying with your emotions, it loomed up.  You can see it for about a mile!  It seemed that the hill just kept getting further away as I ran towards it.  The trepidation of getting up it was hanging over me as I kept looking up to it.  It seemed as if the hill was taunting me, "Come on then, Old Girl, let's see what you're made of" I imagined that was what the hill was saying to me.  But then it started. The climb up!  Needless to say I didn't run up all of it.  I did this kind of run for 30 seconds then walk then run for 30 seconds then walk. 

I checked behind me to see if there was anyone behind, but I didn't see anyone, and I kept going with the same run/walk and after a little while I looked behind me again and a lot further down the road I saw a runner. "At least I'm not completely last" I thought to myself and I plodded along trying to get up the hill.

When I got to the last marker board for the drivers to slow down for the round about I decided that I wasn't going to stop until I got to the top of it!  But blow me down if the race organisers had made the route go down to the subway way again!  Well stuff that!  I am staying on top and running round, that will save that hill! 

As I started to run along this road I checked behind me again and the runner was nearer to me.  I thought I had better get a move on and I felt as if I ran a bit faster, I probably didn't but in my mind I was flying!  I looked behind me again and the man (because now I can distinguish who it was) was even closer.  It bought to mind an episode of Doctor who - The Weeping Angels!  I chuckled to myself as I thought this, and it just helped me to get through the next few minutes with a smile on my face!


The next time I looked behind me was just a couple of metres away!  This really did bring a huge smile on my face.  To me, in my 'Just think of anything to take you mind of the pain' state of mind the man wasn't actually moving!  To me, just at the time, he really did look like one of Doctor. Who's Weeping Angels.  Should I be frightened now, should I look back, just keep going Old Girl, he's gaining on you, he is going to get you!

Just then the runner shuffled past me.


He looked like he wasn't running fast at all, yet there he was over taking me.  "It's a tough one" he said as he past me by! "And its a hot one" he said without looking back.  "It is indeed" I cried after him, not knowing if he had actually heard me, for now instead of creeping up on me he seems to be quickly disappearing into the distance!

There were more undulating hills, all of which I know.  I have run up them before, as well as cycled on them on numerous occasions!  The water from my bottle, topped up at every water station was being poured over my neck as well now to keep cool!  My legs were complaining, my back was complaining and it seemed now I was the only one left running along!

As I got to Chislehurst there was another water station. This time they had some lovely fizzy cola bottle jellys!  I took a couple as well as topped up my water. "There is a nice bit of woods for you to run through now" the ladies had said.  I smiled, now this is going to be lovely.

I turned left and started towards the woody bit.  The signs and arrows pointing the way.  When I entered the woods the sound of the traffic started to fade, after a few metres in I saw a couple of people walking in the opposite direction, a cyclist, and then....nothing!  Sheer bliss!  All I could hear was the singing of the birds! What a beautiful peaceful moment that was. Oh if only all the this half marathon could be in such conditions, instead of that awful road the A224! I had to have a walk here, I didn't want it to end and I wanted to be able to just enjoy the tranquillity for just a moment longer, the occasional car going past reminding me that I will soon be back onto the roads.

When I came out of the woods there was marshall waiting to help me cross the road and point out the little path through the other side of the woods.  For just a few more seconds I felt the earth under my feet instead of tarmac and pavement slabs.  Then it was back out and running towards Birchwood!

Now I really am on my manor!  Even group 0 use this road, and the next few roads too.  We are going up towards Pettswood (the horrible way) with the longer hill having to be run up!  But some of the neighbours were out and some of the kids were there with sweeties and chocolate!  Well, I have never been know to ignore chocolate! And it was most welcomed too!

Up near the memorial hall the route turned left going up Pettswood road, and just along here I spotted a sign! This!
My huge boost!

Well tears brimmed in my eyes, I smiled and I ran like crazy feeling more energised than ever.  Mile 9 and I was feeling like I was floating, if only for a while!  9 miles, in heat, totally under trained (I know I keep harping on about that, but it just a reminder to me NOT TO DO IT AGAIN!) was really affecting me.

I ran along to the next marshalling point and they held up traffic and made sure I got across safely to the next road and I noticed a car with someone hanging out of the window trying to take a picture.  I didn't quite register who it was, I was concentrating on trying to run.  But then he called out to me "Old Girl, hang on, I want to get a picture, I have everyone else" It was DiscoRich!  He and some others were doing the Orpington 10k event, it was part of our GP series, (maybe I should have done that one instead of the half!) But I stopped and had my picture taken, and he had given me the low down on what had been happening.  Then he was away, to the trophy awards or whatever it was he said he was doing.  And I was back to getting on with the job in hand.

I ran towards Opington High street and I could see another little lad hanging about and as I got closer I saw he was standing with one of my club members!  She had been waiting for me with jelly babies and sweeties!  Now that's what being part of a club is all about!  I chose this particular half marathon to do because it was nice a local, a place that I could drive to myself, I don't like driving and get a bit anxious on main roads, but this was virtually on my back door.  I chose it because I always felt bad for the people that have to wait for me to come in! The people who I have bagged a lift from, the people who are there taking photos.  Yet dear Janet waited all this time for me to drag my backside for 11 miles, 11 slow miles just to see me!  Another humbling moment!

From this point it was all just sheer will power to get to the end!  I knew where the route was going to take me, I knew all the roads that I was going to be on, so I could visualise exactly the distance to the finish!  Helpful? I'm not sure.  Some times it was some times it wasn't  Just then a car stopped next to me.  It was Julia and friends and kids!  They had just done the 10k even and were on their way home but they stopped to say hi and encourage me to keep going.  Then further up the road a cyclists stopped!  It was David!  He cycled along with me, and I was chatting!  Can you believe that!  But it did help and it help keep me on pace,  I should have asked him to ride on a bit longer with me!  But he too said goodbye and headed in the opposite direction!

The shops started coming up now, and crossing the road by the pedestrian lights was made all the easier as there were marshal stationed here to press the button for you when they saw you coming.  Just so that the lights would be at stop for the traffic when you got there!  Perfect (although a little rest wouldn't have gone a miss!)

I can almost smell the barbecue now as I just had the last few metres to go!  I can see the pub with all the people outside enjoying the warm day, I could see the marshals next to them ready to tell me that I need to turn left and head for the finish flag!

Just this last little tiny elevation to the gate and done!  Medal around my neck, a cup of lucozade in my hand and complete stand still for just a few seconds while I catch my breath!

A very hard run. A very yucky route! But bloody pleased I didn't give up!  Was so tempting to head on home when I was in Pettswood!

Geeky stats for you!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Thursday Woody Venture!

Hello blog lovers.

It's great to be back into the fold and back to running through y beautiful woods!  It's all great stuff having a holiday and I just love going to different places, but it don't 'arf play havoc on your waist line! 

Today I lead out group 1 paced  run through the woods.  I know there has been some rain about, but I was hoping the two days of sunshine has kept the old puddles at bay. There were quite a few members today for group 1, six of us were heading through the woods, I had a basic idea of where I shall be taking them, with maybe a little detour if I think we need just a little bit extra distance!

As it happened the woods were a tad sticky in places and we all had to step our way around them.  It seems they all pretty much know that if I lead then it's through the woods we go!  They won't be bringing their brand new running shoes on a Thursday morning run!

Now that I have given out my target goal weight I am going to have to work hard to help it all come off!  Going through the woods always guarantees a hill somewhere along the line!  This morning it was Botany Bay Lane.  I stood to the side to let all the others head on up the hill as fast or as slow as they want!  I knew that I was going to struggle getting up there, holiday belly is reminding me that we had great time away for a week, despite the 4 days of running!

I am hoping over the next 3 months to really push myself as hard as I can but without losing that "I just love being outside running" feeling.  There is nothing worse that trying to do some physically hard that you really don't enjoy or has become a chore!  I did that during the marathon training during 2012!  Although I am going to be training like I have a marathon to do!  Why not, you can never know what's around the corner!

I watched as the group made their way up the hill.  They all did really well!  I did the rest of the leading from behind!  We were going to go straight to the very top this time, to do our only other small bit of road work before going back into the woods along Chislehurst road.  We were running along one of the group members training patch.  I believe she has come from the spring beginners group, and she completed her first park run last Saturday.  The shoes she is running in are the FFV, vibram running shoes.  They have the little toes in the shoes and they are for barefoot or minimalistic running!  Not usually for the beginners, but she has been doing things bare foot for a long time, she tells me.

Anyway, after going through the woods on the other side of the road we crossed over again and headed back towards Chislehurst!  Why would I chose to do that?! Well, we still had a bit of time left and also it added just a little bit further to our run.  Everyone seems to be having fun so.....why not!  It meant that we had the nice long down hill section of the run all the way through the middle of the woods, one of my favourite paths to run down!  Running up it is not as fun! But I know that when I have run up it then that is more or less the hills done!

It was a great run today, the ladies in the group certainly enjoyed it. Here is the geeky stats.

Thursday Core Training

It's back!  The core and speed training!  This is great fun despite what all the groans and moans we hear!  "Oh thank goodness that's done," and "Quick blow the whistle"  we are all really enjoy pushing ourselves just that little bit extra to see what we can get out off ourselves.

I decided to cycle to the rec where we all meet up and when I got there they had just started on their warm up lap.  I didn't mind too much as I was pretty warmed up from the short cycle ride anyway. 

First off was the drills, knee high runs to the end of a set of cones and jog back, then butt kicks followed by twisty turning side runs, or just ordinary side runs. Then it was the first of our running sections.  We had to run about a third of the way around the rec and about 80% of pace that we can manage and then the next third was just a nice little jog out before completing the loop! That was to last about 10 minutes. Then straight into the core training stuff.

This is where all the moans and groans come from!  But you know that people are just happy doing it!  I'm glad we were not given burpees today, because I really do thin there would be a few more groans!

After that it was the second of our running sections.  A relay style running.  This year we have batons to use, which means it's just that tiny bit harder as you can call from 100 yards away for your team mate to start the run, you had to actually hand the baton to them.  No cheating! Darn it!  But it was great fun!  And it felt really good to be passing and taking a baton!  I don't think I have done that since I was at school!

I didn't take my Garmin to this session, but I may take it next time, and use the HRM to make sure that I am training at the best level I can do!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Club Runs and AGM

Hello blog lovers.

I love club nights, but today was a just a tad different, Pettswood Runners hold our annual general meeting.  So for this week only club run times alter by half an hour. 

Group 0 start half an hour later and Group 1 and beyond start half hour earlier, which means that we all start at 7:30.  It's great for any beginners to see the other members of their club, and also for the other club members to see just who are in group Zero to Hero!  Because they are all Hero's!  And today was just the proof they needed!  Plus a much needed wake up call for me!  I shall explain a little later in the blog!

The ground was already full of PWR's when I arrived and I was hoping that none of my Goup 0 will be 'put off' by them all.  I was glad to see that two of the regular runners came through the colourful chatting crowd smiling!  I'm not sure if it was a smile of relief that I was there because otherwise they would have to run with group 1.  But also running with me today was Sue and DiscoRich.  Sue was taking a nice, easy short, slow paced run today as she had completed a 26.2 mile night time walk at the weekend. And DiscoRich was recovering and also wanted to get to the AGM early too.

So after all the others had left we headed for the gate.  I had something to put into my car, one of my friends had bought me a little something as a thank you for getting her back to group 1, (I was just 'filling up' with pride that she moved up, along with all the other ladies that have as well), anyway I digress as always.  As I turned left to go to my car I told the group to turn left and left again to head for Pettswood, and that I would catch them up.

What I didn't think about is that DiscoRich who usually runs in group 4 is with us. I should have remembered that DiscoRich warm up runs is like my full pelt, end of run, sprint to the finish group 1 pace sort of pace!  By the time I started back after them they were just about to disappear around the corner.  "Well Old Girl, you better get a move on"  I started after them thinking I would just give it some welly and I could catch them up just up the road!  Yeah! I don't blooming think so!  By the time I got to the corner they seemed so far away! I started to run just a bit faster to try to catch them up.

Now what I usually tell new runners, and my Group 0 is to make sure that you warm properly before you start running.  During the winter time we did warm up drills, and when the weather changed and we went through the woods I made sure that the first half mile or so was a nice slower paced jog before they tried to go faster.  So what I was doing right then was just not what you should be doing!

I finally caught up with them (going up hills included!) was just before the memorial hall and that was only because they had a little walk so that I could catch up with them! I was totally cream crackered!  And it was me that needed the little break by the hall.  I had sent DiscoRich and Sue up to the walk about bridge and back again, while I waited with the other two ladies. I needed that break.  But it also made me realise (and this is what I was talking about earlier) I need to lose weight!  My goal is to lose 2 stone! 

After my lovely holiday, which you can read about in the previous blog which I posted to today, I knew that I needed to lose weight.  The 6 days of half board, buffed style all you can eat food certainly took it's toll, along with the drinking lager and cocktails, is probably not very good training for my half marathon on Saturday!  DiscoRich has helped push me a little harder than I would have today.  He has also bought the group to realisation that they can run a quicker pace than they have been doing so far.  Time for more of my Group to be integrated into group 1.  It's like watching fledgling birds flee the nest!  Sometimes you just need that extra push to realise what you can do.

I am looking forward (again for the second time today!) to seeing the geeky stats, and remember I was at the back!  Anyway, the rest of the run I felt like I was playing catch up with the group!  It really isn't a good idea to run as fast as you can before you have warmed up probably, and best not to do something like that after aforementioned holiday shenanigans!  Albeit I did actually do some running during the week!

Sue kept coming back to me while DiscoRich kept the other two ladies at the pace that was set for the run.  They didn't even realise it until I caught up with them at the rec!  They were thrilled with that run, and I mentioned the 'Move Up' week which will now be in two weeks time!  They are ready for it, even if they just try it!  I feel they will do just fun.  Yes the distance will be slight longer, but one thing for sure, they pace will be slightly slower than it was today!  Swings and roundabouts, they will cope just fine!

After the run it was some stretching, which I know I deffo needed and then off to the meeting.  This usually ends well in time for a couple of 'swift ones' in the nearby pub, but for me, my diet started today!  No alcohol will be consumed during any day other than on a Friday evening!  Especially after todays Group 0 run, it has reinforced my desire to lose these extra pounds!

So Geeky stats!

These geeky stats have proved two things! One, is I deffo need to lose two stone and two, my ladies are deffo ready to move to group 1! They have done brilliantly, and also given me a great idea too! When it looks as if members of Group 0 are ready to move on up I shall bring in a 'ringer' for them to follow! Just to show them that they can do it!

A Weeks Absence!

Hello blog lovers!

Gone for a week, off the running, no cycling? This can only mean one thing! Holidays! Yup I have been away, and for those of you who are keen sleuths will notice this Tuesday blog is a little earlier than the usual Tuesday blog! Why is that, this blog can't be about Tuesday club runs? Well, let me explain.

Yes I was on my holidays, and yes, it was a far away, hot, most relaxing and luxurious place that I have been to! But because of my impending half marathon this weekend I didn't want to let slip any running days.  I had promised myself that I will do at least two miles run along the see front, or 40 minutes on the dreaded 'dread' mills if the sea front was too far to get to.

The hotel I was staying at had a lovely gym, free to use and open from 7 in the morning until 10 at night!  It was just there for the taking.  And as it happened the beach was just a five minute stroll away! 

So for the first two days I decided to try out this running machine thing.  Get to see why it is so unliked and deserving of its name.  After all you can't give an opinion if you have never seen, heard, tasted, watched or used before.

My first morning there, which was last Tuesday I got up early. It was still dark, we were nestled between the mountains in Gran Canaria, Mogan, a fabulous hotel called Cordial Mogan Playa. The birds were awake, the staff at the hotel were busy preparing for the holidaymakers to make their pilgrimage from their rooms to the pool and sun loungers.  I crossed to the other side of pool and made my way to the gym.

After figuring out the Spanish controls, (it was way to early for me to have noticed the sign of the wall with the control pointed out in English for me) I started on my first 40 minutes of dread mill.  I was thinking that maybe it will be like the cross trainer thing that my sister had, although you are working hard, sweating (and boy did I sweat) because I wasn't actually 'moving' in a forward direction I could just go for it.

Well that first morning I did ok, there was a little '-' button that I could push to slow the pace down a bit, and then use the '+' to make it go faster, I was pleased with my effort, if a little bored!  The next morning was the same thing, and this time there was another person up at silly o'clock on their holidays to sweat it out in the gym.  But he didn't actually talk!  So I got bored again.  The sound of the dread mill drowned out the tunes that were playing on the t.v. witch was situated to my left.  I did try to watch it but my body got so disorientated, I started headed to the left and nearly came 'acropper' on the thing.  So from then on it was eyes front. 

A huge mirror showed myself, thighs all a wobbly, as I 'ran' on the dread mill! Not a pretty sight!  Especially as the time went on, I got pinker and sweatier!  But again I was glad that I actually got out of my bed, on my holidays, after drinking beer and sangria and other cocktails (and huge portions of delicious food!), to actually get my running shoes on was quite an achievement.

That still small voice in my head telling me to 'just do it, its only for an hour if that' was very helpful indeed.  So much so that after a rest day on the Thursday my next run really will be a run.!

After walking about the little town during the few days we had been there I had worked out a route, with help from the Old Boy.  It was a fairly short route of about 2 miles, but it is still so much better that running on the dread mill!  At the end of the hotel complex is a gate that leads to the 'outside' and just a short way along is the sea front.  It is a really lovely little town, filled with restaurants, shops and on some days there was a market!

It is also a fairly flat route! The hotel is at the bottom of the mountains! Perfect for a hill dodger such as myself!  The sun was lighting up the sky but because of the mountains it wasn't beating down on me.  Still warm though as I ran through the town.  I had remembered to bring my Garmin too! I am looking forward to seeing the results appear at the bottom of my blog, even though it will only show the 2 miles.

The route was an out and back, from one side of the harbour, to the little bit in the middle, (which is I think the reason they call it 'Little Venice' as it looks just like the canals in Venice) and then to the other end of the harbour, where the 'Yellow Submarine' is anchored!

Run back to the hotel, and as I thought it was just 2 miles I decided to do another 12 minutes on the dread mill!  This was the last time that I used the machine!  I really didn't like it, not after the run in the great outdoors!  I think the tread mills have the uses, but for me, on holiday, well, it's just no necessary!

The next morning I got up the same time, feeling even more heavier, (five days of twice daily, eat all you want buffet is having a bad effect on me) well that and the delicious cocktails and beer!  But 4 days out of 6 full days at the resort I have done some exercising among the relaxation, eating swimming and drinking!  I am pleased with myself, and I am sure I have surprised a few people at least for my determination to do at least something!

And now, add my Geeky stats!  You will notice that the pace is a tad slow! But that is only because I went in and finished off with a 12 minutes dread mill session and the satellites had lost me!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Saturday Sizzler!

Hello blog lovers.

Parkrun was on my heart.....last night, but this morning I just couldn't get my act together!  But instead of just turning over and laying in bed for a bit longer, (which I did anyway) but when I did get up I put on my running gear and just went for it!

So for punishment or really because I need to do more that 3 miles I set out to do at least 4!  I had no idea where I was going to go, the sun was shining, blues sky and I looked wonderful out there.  So my running attire was capri pants and vest top!  When I went out side I suddenly realised that it is still only just turned May! Brrr. 

But I had a feeling that it will warm up, it was too good a day not too.  So after my little shiver, and also what turned out to be a good decision, deciding whether to go and get a sleeved top on I started my Garmin and headed off, with not really a route in mind.  So as always in those sort of circumstances I head towards Pettswood and try and get inspiration. 

I chose to go up Hollingworth! It's the hills that I need to get to love!  Somehow I just don't think it's going to happen too soon!  I don't even like walking up them let alone trying run or cycle them!  It really is a love/hate relationship with them there hills!  I just love hating them!  I did run up it though no stopping, still cursing it but feeling pleased that I did it!

By now I was well and truly warmed up, a great decision about the whole 'sleeves or no sleeves' was made!  I was also running with no hat!  I left the house too quickly, (just in case I changed m mind) and left it behind.  So the sweat was now falling in my eyes, (and no sleeves to wipe with either!) but I wasn't really complaining.  Summer is my favourite season. Ok so the running can take longer as the day heats up! (got to get my excuses, for slow runs, in early for the summer!) but I just feel so much happier when the sun is shining.  It's not as if I even lay out in the sun, all those wrinkle making rays on an old bird like me, is not good!  But I just love it!

I ran along to Shepperton and then turned left to run towards the High street.  Then it was turning right under the railway lines to run along by the Daylight Inn.  I knew I had to add a mile or so on this particular route, and I was thinking about where I could go.  Suddenly a smile came to my face as I though about something special that I am working on.  A route that will take me down to the A21 and then kind of double back to take me home.

As I was going back over the walking bridge I bumped into Peter.  We had a chat, which you will notice on the geeky stats.  He told me the PWR's beginners class had their last session today, and there were still about 30 left.  From 8 weeks ago when there were about 60, that is pretty good going. It was a nice little break, and as I am only running these days because of the love of running, I wasn't going to beat myself up about stopping for a chat!

From here my plan is to run all the way down to the Harvester, then turn left and run towards the park.  My tunes kept me well entertained until we got there.  I was feeling really good, as if I could run for ages, and at the park, instead of turning left to head off home (which would have been to short a distance anyway) I turned right and went around the park to the pathway that came out on Magpiehall Lane. 

Yup, this is a nice run!  I like this route.  From there I ran up to the A21, and turned left to run towards Trinity church.  There were runners about and they all smiled!  From those down Southborough to the ones running along the A21!  Runners and cyclists are the most friendliest people!  I don't think I get many smiles from people who are walking about, unless I know them of course, but with runners and cyclists, there is this kindred spirit, most of us always smile, we even smile at the people just going about there business if we happen to make eye contact! 

From Trinity church I turned left again to run towards Turn Around Lamppost!  It's not that far now, half a mile, I am almost there, and only just started to feel fatigued!  Not too bad, but I fear, still so under trained for my half marathon coming up soon!!  It was good running up to my home, the sweat was pouring from me, I was definitely sizzling under this lovely sun that was blazing down!

Anyway, here's the geeky stats, I think I may have gone on way to long as usual! 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Catching Up!

Hello blog lovers,

So this is my catchup blog, I will try and cram everything so far into this blog. keep everything short and sweet! if that is possible!

So, where were we.

Monday, well, Monday I didn't do any exercises, I attended Running Mans - James Gilson funeral.  A great inspirational character that lived and run around my area.

Tuesday was slightly different.  Tuesday was quite busy in the exercise dept.  First off it was a short bike ride! But that little report will be in my cycling blog!  So after reading this you can click on my profile and take a butchers at that little gem!

In the evening I had my two group runs.  The first is Group Zero.  I had another new member that came along to get back to running and also two more successes as SingstarJo and Michelle S leaves group 0 and is back into group 1!

A slightly different route for them that evening as we headed straight up the middle of the woods from 'Dog Poo Ally'.  This is another new route and I wasn't sure how far we will be running.  I was hoping though it wasn't over 3 miles! 

It was a very good run with a couple of the members really running well!  They will be the next one's to be graduating back to group 1.  The woods were not as bad as last week, with the muddy puddles a lot less sticky and wet.  Going along the top of the woods and then crossing over Botany Bay Lane we ran along towards Goss Hill.  Running this way around means we have the pleasure of running down there, and then instead of heading out of the woods to do the extra half to three quarters of a mile that group 1 would normally do we ran along by the side of the river as we turned left at the bottom of the hill.

Back up to the railway lines and the follow the rail lines all the way back to 'Dog Poo Ally' for a fast run or slow plod back to the rec.  A lovely run and believe all the ladies enjoyed it.  I know I did, but then I do love running through the woods!

Geeky stats

Group 1 run was lead by Illustrious leader.  You can tell it's getting lighter because we just touched on the woods! Yay! (as SingstarJo would say), I do love running through here, I may have mentioned that once or twice!

We were running all part of the route that I had done with Group 0 only an hour before but in the opposite direction, so at least it felt different! But I wouldn't have minded,  it's in the woods and it's running!  Win win!

The bridge that took us out of the woods seemed to arrive all to quickly, but the light was fading and safety is paramount when there is a group of us, with not a headlamp between us!  Maybe next week we can stay a bit longer! 

After this it was back on the roads.  I was at the back as usual, but it was good because I got to run along with SingstarJo and Michelle S as come back to join us in Group 1.  A lovely run, as always!  Well running with friends is always so nice!

Geeky stats.

Wednesday saw me running again.  Normally I would have a rest day as I have a kind of a busy day.  Sometimes I go cycling in the evening, but I knew this Wednesday it was going to be sat in doors (or so I thought, instead I was being a 'grease monkey' as I loaned a hand as the Old Boy fixed our daughters car!)  But I found myself after toddlers with no school run to do, no kids waiting to be picked up and the afternoon was just to glorious to stay in!  So I quickly got changed grabbed my Garmin, (which had one bar left of battery life!) and went out.

I decided to do run the route that Naggy Neighbour took me on a few weeks back.  The day we did that run was a day when we were both feeling particularly 'meh' but we were glad that we did it!  I was hoping that it will do the same again!

It wasn't a particular fast run, but I didn't worry about it.  I was out, an added bonus run to my week.  So I wasn't bothering about the time, my Garmin is just because I love seeing my route displayed!  Plus all those other geeky stats!  So you can image how annoyed I was that my Garmin ran out somewhere from the A21 or Southborough Lane!  So instead of doing a walk around the green straight away after I got back I quickly ran in to check on the time!  My clock said it was 16:11. so now I am going to work out how long I was out for!

Geeky stats and the whole run took 41 minutes

So, now we are up to date. Thursday saw me again doing another solo run!  I didn't go to the rec as I just had a feeling that there was not going to be anyone in my group turning up.  The weather is absolutely awful!  Horrid rain!  It just doesn't inspire anyway to go out.  I called DiscoRich to let him know no to expect me at the rec, and then just after 09:30 I managed to get my head together to get out and do my run!  Imagine my surprise when I found that it had stopped raining hard, just slightly drizzling.  "I can do this" I thought to myself, this is gonna be just fine.

My route is going to be the usual Turpington, Greenway, Magpiehall Lane route.  I had my music streaming into my ears and I was raring to go.  Well, in my head I was raring to go, my body felt like it was about to walk off in protest! 

As I was going around my route I started thinking that maybe I should have had a rest day after all.  But then my running brain (which is developing nicely again!) said 'Don't be soft, you're doing a half marathon soon!" And so that was the 'theme' of my run today!  Not quite a 'beating up' of my self, but I did shout out a couple of times to "get your arse in gear and move it woman!" I just hoped no-one heard me. I don't want people thinking 'There goes that crazy shouty woman again!'

I did find it tough today, and I think tomorrow after I have waited in for a delivery, I will try and squeeze in a bike ride somewhere! Less impact on the old joints but still out enjoying the day, hopefully it will be dry, unlike today!

Oh, one other thing that I did today, was to walk around a route for an organised fun run!  So keep reading my blogs for more information as things get arranged!  It's going to be fun!

Geeky stats for Thursday run.