Sunday, 30 April 2017

Beginners Week 8 - Final Day!

Hello blog lovers!

So yesterday was the very last time that we will be meeting our beginners on a Saturday at the rec.......and I can't run with them!  I was just so disappointed to not be running with them but I still went along.  If I can't run with them at least I will be able to walk around the rec for first, and then just watch them run out and then run back in!  You see, I hurt my back!  After all the activities I do, running half marathon, helping out at the water station at mile four on the Virgin London Marathon last Sunday, and standing around on trains, pushing wheel did I hurt my back!?  Putting my socks on!  I know!  It's safer to go bare foot!

So I turned up to see nearly 40 runners for the final training session.  It's all done now,  there will be no more for these spring beginners.  The next time we all meet will be at Normans Park parkrun, next Saturday to do our free timed 5k!  We had about 8 PWR's with us, some have been here every week and have been running and watching them all achieve what they thought they couldn't!

So before we even started with the brisk walk around ZippySherry spoke about what's going to happen next week and what time we will be meeting up.  By the way, we shall be meeting up about 8:30 in the car park of  Normans Park, Bromley common entrance! That received a huge gasp, I could hear them all, '08:30, my goodness that's early' was the buzz going around!  But Sherry explained that parkrun starts promptly at 09:00 and we need to get organised first! And then she said what our session is going to be today, 14 minutes for walking around with 2 minutes of walking, times twice!  Do you know, there was not one gasp!  Our runners that are here know that they can do it!  There was no 'So what happened to 12 minutes' or 'Can we not just jump to 13 minutes' Nope, they all just accepted it because they knew they could do it!

I walked around with them as they did a brisk two laps of the rec and then ZippySherry did the warm up drills! And then the running started.  I sat down on the bench, and I collected house keys, car keys and I became 'cloakroom manager' while they all started running around the green and then out onto the roads.  I started up my garmin when they started running just so that I knew when they would be coming back into the rec.  Let me tell you, sitting around for half an hour seems a lot longer than running around for half an hour!  I was getting itchy feet, I was just so wanting to be able to run with them.  But rest and gentle movement is what is needed for me and I shall just have to be patient!

It was good to see them running back after half not only that but running strong! Some of them had done the loop 3 times before getting back to the rec, others had done it twice!  Truly amazing.  One of the runners came and showed me his phone with his activity app opened on it "Whats that in kilometres?" he said to me.  I looked at his phone and it said 3.12 miles, "That's 5k" I said to him!  Well the look on his face was magic and he just realised that he had ran a parkrun in the half hour or so they were out!  Thrilled to pieces!  I felt proud for him, and for all of them that were coming through the gate, Grace and Ali and Claudia, Tracy, Shalini are just some of the names that I can recall (my memory is like swiss cheese!)  They all looked pleased that they completed the course!  I was a bit overwhelmed myself!  Thinking about my own journey of how I got to here!  What out for blog to come about about that!

When everyone had come back to the rec and the time had run out, although ZippySherry was doing a 'Donna' but ignoring the clock!  But she was doing it deliberately, trying to get them to 15 minutes!  They would have actually have done it!  They all looked so comfortable!  Really, honestly, so comfortable, even though they said it was tough!  Oh my goodness I just can't wait for next week when they all run parkrun, at the own pace, doing their own thing, running for as much as they want to get around!  I wonder how many will run it non-stop! I should imagine they all will have a go, and will probably do it!  That two minutes walk we throw in the middle, its really not needed, it's just there like a comfort blanket, to know that there is a walk there!   I know on my runs I have lots of comfort blankets!!

And so to the warm down stretches,  our spring beginners course comes to an end.  Graduation day is next Saturday at parkrun!  I can't wait!  I am just so excited!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tuesday Club Run

Hello blog readers.

So this is it, I finally caught up with my blogging, albeit its all out of whack, not in it ain in order that it 'appened!

I was leading group 1 on Tuesday, and I was so pleased that we still had some daylight left because I was eager to get my group 1 through the woods for the first time this year..... er thats group 1 Tuesday group not group 1 or did DiscoRich call my group 'group 3' on a Thursday! Anyway, we were just touching on the woods today!

When I annouced it they were all so very pleased, until I mentioned the other bit, Tillingbourne Green!  It's a lovely little challenge really, and I know that I for one am in desperate need to get some miles done.  I have been slacking of late!  So a few little hills will do us all good.

We had our usual head count, there were 20 of us that started! Twenty!  I think that's a group record so far!  It will be good practice for us all to get used to calling out to all behind us of the trips, slips and fall hazards along the way, and to call out if the illusive woodman is around.!

I shall finish this blog some time tomorrow!

Running With My Pals!

Hello blog readers

My blogs are all over the place, this one is for Thursday, the week before last!

Well that Thursday (13th April) morning I only did the one run, through the woods of course.  Let me see if I can recall who came along! There was me, J.J. and.....I think Ariol......Viral......Kay.......Wait.....Viral?  Yes, he was deffo running with us.  In the running group.  We do like a natter when we run together. But yes, Viral was running with us, I think he usually runs in group 7 or maybe 8!?

It's great that the faster runners do come and chat with us in the social groups, it's most inspiring, and I am so sure that they themselves will get something back from us in the slow groups!  I mean, look at all of us volunteers in the beginners course!  It is so rewarding encouraging people to run.

You can tell I am waffling a bit, mainly because it has been a couple of weeks, and if I don't write these things down straight away, these days it just gets filed in my filing system in my brain!  I am not good at filing at the best of times!  But I do know that it was a great run, with some great people!  Through the woods, which were quite dry then, perfect for running.  I am looking forward to leading group 1 through the woods when it becomes lighter!

Here's the geeky stats

Beginners Week 7

Hello blog lovers!

I can't tell you how many blogs I am behind! Seriously.  But I wanted to get this one out first.  Keeping people motivated and encouraged to keep going is what I am hoping my blogs do!  Or.......just light reading to help people fall asleep before bedtime!

It's great to see just how many have made it to the final couple of weeks left our our Spring Beginners course. I so love doing this course, twice a year we do it!  Which to me is just perfect.  It gives a nice chance for our beginners to join in our club and make themselves at home, sort out which group they will be comfortable in before we bring in more newbies.  It would be wonderful if they all joined us!

Last Saturday we were running for 10 minutes with 2 mins walking, three times.  But not only that but we went out onto the streets to show off exactly how we are doing!  There is this 'cheeky' little hill just opposite the entrance to the rec, yup, you've guessed it, we run up here first! Well, when I say first it is after we have done all the brisk walk, the warm ups as well as a running lap around the rec first.  Then we just slot in our PWR volunteers to accompany our wonderful group of runners.  Because that is what they are!

I can't wait for graduation day, but we still have one more week to get them all ready, we will be getting them to run only two reps next week! Fourteen minutes each time, I don't think they know that just yet! Well if they read this they might do!  But it is totally doable! If you can run for 10 minutes you can run for 12, and if you know you can do that, just adding another 2 minutes on there doesn't seem a lot!  Seeing everyone last Saturday, I know they are all capable of doing it!

Right, Geeky stats for you.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Running Off The 'Food Baby'

Hello blog lovers.

I had a bit of a break this weekend.  I stuffed my face silly this weekend, my belly seems to be holding a food baby inside!  I was with the Old boy and we went sampling a good few of the restaurents the New Forest and Burton Bradstock area had to offer!  It started on Thursday evening actually!  I haven't even written up my blog about my Thursday morning run yet, but I will get around to that soon!  But this evening is all about group 1 run today!  And for the second time this year I was sweeper!  Charley was doing her debut leading in group 1 this evening! She had a big group, 15 of us to lead!  LittleJ was there, Carole and Michael, Ruth and others plus a newbie too, a young man called Andrew!

For the second time this year I turn up to the rec with not a clue as to where we were going to go.  Well, actually, I could see Mr. S's route, but Charley's route seem to want to stay hidden from me!  I was looking forward to it though.  I was going to be sweep, at the back encouraging who ever will be there.  It was Tracy and Kay actually.  Just like the old days in the old group 1 days when I used to sweep for IllustriousLeader!  Those were the days!  Dear Tracy though looked horrified!  I am sure I am not that bad.  We haven't been out for a Wednesday run for a while, she must be missing my nagging!  It was a look of happiness that I would be running at the back today, that's what the was!

Charley gave out the route and mentioned the 'H' word!  Well, if you gonna make an entrance into the leaders club then make it a good un!  I still didn't quite hear where the route was, but I was still quite happy about that, I nice surprise, and I could concentrate on helping the back runners to stay on pace, to keep going and to not give in.  We are went to our respective posts had the usual count up and then we were off!  I almost forgot to start my Garmin as I was just totally relaxed about this evenings run.

We ran out of the gate and then turned right, we were running along to Petts Wood Road and then turning left. Charley had told me the week before some of the route, but I didn't really take it all in, I prefer to actually look at the map so as I can see it.  Names of streets and roads don't usually help me to know where she was talking about.  But I do recall that she said something about 'square bit' with a possible short cut for those who didn't want to do the square.  I still couldn't quite figure out where about she had this 'square bit' of her route would be.

We ran along to St Johns Road and then turned left!  Oh my goodness, our Leader CharleyBear (her new nickname!) She make look like a cute smiley young lady, but her first lead is taking us up Cardiac Hill, which can turn most of us into grizzlers as we try and run it!  Tracy had no idea where we were, but K did.  "You know that name of this hill?" I said but K said, "Shhh, tell her after"  I agreed with her!  The road started to rise "More hills' Tracy said!  She hasn't seen the one that is just around the corner!  We'll let that one be a surprise for her!

Well, it was that all right! She didn't look at all pleased, in fact she looked towards me as if to say that actually I am not that bad nagging after all!  Cardiac Hill, on your first lead, now that's class there!  She did say that she had not idea, not when she plotted it out on mapmyrun!  She said that it didn't really show the elevations too well!  Mind you, sometimes when you look at the elevation it puts you off when in actual fact it's not half as bad as you thought looks!  Well, that's what I keep telling myself!  And besides, it looks good on your geeky stats if there is an incline or two there!

Tracy really tried to attach the hill,  she seem to just want to get up it as fast as possible!  The main body of the group had all ready gone up it, it was just down to me, K and Tracy to flatten the hill!  I was so impressed with Tracy and K as they just inched their way up there, no stopping, and then Tracy changed gear and started to go faster up it!  Fantastic effort!  K got up there too and was congratulating Tracy among the cheers from the others that were waiting.

We continued along the road till we got to the roundabout at Poverest/Petts Wood road.  Now I know what 'square bit' CharleyBear was talking about!  It's our Hill training hill!  But we were heading down it instead, well, everyone else was, but me, K, Tracy and Charley bear were going to go straight along and then meet them at the other end.  We got there quite quickly actually, and we had to run along the road towards them and then did a quick U Turn to run back.

From there it was running down Kingsway, to the left to follow the road to Crossways and then back into the rec!  A great route from Charley, and now I know that we can get Cardiac Hill into a 3 mile run, with little short cut for those not wanting to do the 'square bit'.  Her debut runleader, earning her a nickname, not bad Charleybear, not bad!

Geeky stats.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Club Run - Initiating A New Leader!

Hello blog lovers.

It's a lovely evening for a run, and I was looking forward to it.  Having been stuck in doors waiting for deliveries and boiler men to come I was eager to get out and stretch my legs.  Although, my legs were aching a little from wearing high heels yesterday, and the girls I went out with yesterday all have lovely long legs or flat shoes and could walk a mile a minute!  But I still felt like I needed to get out and do a bit of a hilly one.

I picked up Tracy and we drove to Jayne's.  After a little chat we all walked over to the rec and met up with the rest of the gang.  Also we met Charley.  Now Charley has been a group 1 runner before, but she has been out of running for a few weeks.  But she recently completed the LiRF course and will be a second leader for group 1!  Well you know what that means, after her first time as leader the next time she leads it leaves me to a) either stay in group 1, chat with everyone, sweep, or take the middle section or......b) move up a group! Start to push myself, take myself out of the comfort zone! At least I will have that option! So back to our run.  I stood out the front and introduced Charley to everyone!  Well, she wasn't expecting that, but it's good to get that 'first time out the front' out of the way!  Because next week she will be there by herself!  Then I gave out the route!  Or a least I tried to, for some reason my teeth and tongue were not working in harmany with my words this evening!

I think I gave the gist of the route, and after everyone had given out the info we all went to our posts to have a count up! Twelve in our group!  A nice number, bigger than it has been for a while!  We ran out of the gate and turned left and ran to the end of the road and turned right.  We headed up our first hill, Birchwood.  It's a long stretch out hill with no flat bits to ease things a bit.  I ran with Charley and Michael and Becky in the front group, J.J. and Auriol were running at the back with K and Tracy while LittleJ took up the middle with Illustrious leader!  We were well covered for leaders and sweepers in our group this evening.  This evening there is no chance of anyone getting lost, left behind or forgotten......not that has ever happened in our group.....I don't!  We have always been a tight group!

We had a bit of a break to catch breath and to catchup and then we walked over to the crossing to cross the road.  Once over we started running again.  Up to the first  turning and then turned right.  This is a good route, it challenges you somewhat, and if it doesn't then there is always the short little hill....that we do two or three times!  To get to the little hill for hill training we first have to do some undulation. First it's a nice downward slope, it feels good, but you just know that we got to get back up to where we started. Once the downhill has finished, straight away it's going back up, it's just a gentle slope up, and then back down again until we get to our right turn.....which is another slight hill going back up.  As I said it's a challenging one for us in group 1, because just as we think it's finished, just by the little grassy roundabout is our little steep hill for training.  We waited on the grassy roundabout where I came up with my cunning plan.  Once Tracy and K had caught up, they will run all the way to the crest of the hill and down again and then back up to wait for any that were behind.  And how will there be anyone left behind, well, that will be because the others will run up the hill and any speed they want and see how many time they can run up and down before Tracy and K had completed twice up the hill!  Some did two, and others did three!  By the way, I did three!  Lead by example I thought, and it was me that everyone was waiting for to finish!

We ran back around to the main road that led to the roundabout on Petts Wood road and then we ran down hill!  I was planning to go all the way down to Crossways and then continue up towards the memorial hall!  I was all set for it, as it has been done on a group 1 run, but not today.  I didn't realise that the time was moving on! And with all the loop backs that everyone had done we had actually covered 3 miles!  So it was straight back along Crossways to the rec where Charley led the cool down stretches!

A fabulous run, and a great route!  It was what I needed to wake up my lazy 'waiting for deliveries' legs.  Here's the geeky stats, love this looks like K9

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Beginners week 6

Hello blog lovers,

How quick have these six weeks gone, eh?  In the gang now there are 30 still plodding on with the course.  They will deffo make it to the end now, and after that, who knows!  Some of our beginners have gone on to bigger and bigger races!  They look at distances as a challenge, pb's are there to be broken!  I feel sure that some of them in this group will be smashing pb after pb once they finished this course. And what a day it was!  The sun was shining brightly, it was even feeling warm first thing too!

Sherry was leading this Saturday, fully recovered from her cold bugs from last week, although her voice was still a little softer than it needed to be!  We had stepped up our running sections by  another 2 minutes to 8 minutes but still kept the 2 minutes of walking.  It is becoming challenging now, so now you got to use all the distraction techniques that you can think of!  When I am running solo it use a my iPod.  When I get a great song on after running for a couple of miles then I make sure that I run through the whole of the song before even think about walking.  The think is though, I usually do walk instead of get another focus!  That's something I am working on!

I had one young lady approach me saying that she is going to find the session really tough as her breathing is just all over the place, she can't quite get it right!  So I suggested that once we start to run then I will stay by her and see if we can get it sorted.  I will tell her what I know what works for me......and actually what doesn't work!  For instance, panting while you're running does not work!  You just get totally light headed, hyperventilate!  That's not good!  So controlled breathing is what is called for, nice steady breathing, good quality breathing, then when you are concentrating on that you actually don't pay attention to they fact you are running.  The seconds and minutes tick away and you are not constantly listening out for the whistle to blow.  When it does, wow! You start to feel good, well, you start to feel good when there is not more running!

So that is what happened on Saturday, We walked around the green a couple of times, then the drills and then the running reps!  A couple of people spoke to me as we started running, I spoke to a couple of others and then I found Emma, the young lady that was a bit apprehensive about the session.  I just spoke to her as we were running along.  Then someone else came up to me.  She told me that she has now become one of my readers!  Sue her name is, saying that through my ramblings she finds inspiration!  Wow!  I'm still amazed that I get anyone reading to the end of my blogs!  I hope you noticed that they are shorter these days! I explained to her that my blogs are really my diary.  My thoughts and feelings, among all the other ramblings, are all in here!  It helps me to stay focused.  Reading back on m blogs helps me to see just how far I have come, and like the present time, how much I need to get back to the fitness I had before!  This fitness malarkey, well, it's tough!  It's not a 'one running course/race fix all' scenario!  It's an on going thing.  You have to stick at it, and sometimes take your self out of the comfort zone!  Just like I did on Sunday when I ran the half marathon at Paddock Wood!  There look, I'm rambling again!

Both Sue and Emma were running next to me, there were runners in front and runners at the back.  All around the rec, a nice steady pace, me just chatting away to the two girls I was running between.  Trying to take their mind off the running and to focus on breathing.  There's another good way to help take your mind off running, go with a running buddy that can chat all the way round!  It so works well! While you are trying to run, breath and take in what your pal has to say, the whistle has blown and you're taking your walk!  I miss our Wendimoo!  Now she could chat, she could make you laugh while you were running!  I know, incredible, laughing and running! Crazy!  At least Wendimoo comes back down from oop north to see us sometimes!

We were soon on our third rep, the third and final rep. It went by just as quick.  All though I did notice that I was talking a little less!  See what I mean about the fitness thing, sometimes you can do it easily, sometimes its a little bit more difficult!  When that final whistle blew the smiles on the two girls faces was just amazing!  They had done it, they had ran at a nice steady pace for 3 lots of 8 minutes!  Fan-blimmin-tastic!  Well I certainly enjoyed it and looking at everyone else, they enjoyed it as well as all the PWR volunteers today, about 10 of them I think!  Marvellous!  I just love PWR!
Always stretch after your running!

Geeky stats for you all.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dexters Morning Runners

Hello blog lovers.

It's Thursday, just in case you didn't know that, which means double exercise for me! It's also school holidays, usually there are a lot less people to go running with on Thursday mornings as everyone just does their own thing.  But I showed up anyway, it was a beautiful morning and it just needed to be enjoyed.  My daughter text me and asked if I could take little Dexter with me for a run.  I thought it wa a great idea!  I expected to be running alone anyway! But when I got there, some of the mums had bought their kids along for a run too!  Oh no!  Dexter is not too keen on big crowds.  He will be fine as soon as we are in the woods and he can strut his stuff.

So to calm him down we left promptly at 09;30, all 10 or so of us, leaving the faster and the middle groups to arrange themselves. Me and Dexter was out in front where he likes it, out of the gate and then......potty stop!  Of all the places he has to dump and he decides the pavement is where he wants to go.  We shall be going through the woods in 2 minutes, he has his choice of trees, bushes, hideaway places, but no, he decides that the pavement is the perfect place!  The group moved on while I waited for Dexi to finish.  He looked up at me and back at his poo as if to say "Pick that up"  Unbelievable!  So I have to play catchup to get back into the lead.

Once we were in the woods Dexi was in his element.  He loves it in the woods.  We started running, I kept him on his lead because we were running up towards the road.  He will come off his lead when we start heading in the opposite direction!  The kids, however, were not on reigns!  They were flying up the path!  They kept on having to stop for us (me) to catch up with them.  In the end Nicola said she would take them on a loop so she, the kids and one other, (maybe?) went off for their run.  I think it's the first time that group 1 has split on a Thursday morning!

So while the youngsters ran off we collected our breath, waited for a few moments and then we ran after them.  Just four of us left now,. Me, Illustrious Leader, Ruth and Emma, oh and Deci Deci of course.  The weather was just wonderful, we were running along, inside the woods but parallel with the road.  I was slightly distracted with the dog, but we ended up taking the wrong path!  It was totally my fault really because I took the lead off the dog, when I thought we were on the other path.  Then Dexter took the lead and I followed him.  To be honest he took us on a great route!  But once I realised where were were heading, towards the road again, I had to take back the lead!  We ended up on the Middle path but further down to where I wanted to be!  

Anyway, it all worked out pretty well, it was a bit of a mystery tour!  Once we discovered exactly where we needed to be we carried on running easy, not having to think if we were on the right path or not!  We ran along the back of the school to Botany Bay Lane and then turn left and then right.  We were going to run down Goss Hill.  Always nice to run down this particular undulation!  And then we ran along by the river.  Usually Dexter jumps in, and has a whale of a time in there!  But this morning, he wasn't interested in taking an early bath!  He looked at it, sniffed at it, and then left it!  He wasn't getting his feet wet for anyone!

He was a nice steady pace back up to Botany Bay, and then along the rail lines.  We were all chatting away and having a great time.  Dexter was behaving beautifully, coming to me when I called him, not barking at anyone!  I think maybe it's the lead that he doesn't like.  I had to put him back on the lead once we got to Dog Poo Ally, and then a nice run back to the rec.  Of course then Dexter wanted to bark at everyone!  I put him in the car and did some cool down stretches with everyone!

A fabulous run really, I did apologise for bringing the pooch, but he calmed down once we were in the woods.  So Geeky stats for you.

Track Time

The VLM'ers have two weeks before the big day.  The Brighton Marathoners, well they are all in rest mode!  They will be running on Sunday!  Not only that but there are some that are running the first Assembly League this evening!  PhysioMikeTheMod (by the way, he will be doing both marathons, with his leg powered Lambretta!  why not click the link and sponsor him) So he only has a few people there, me being the slowest of course.  It was good to see Mr. S back to track in his monkey feet.  And KevTwoBalls was there too, getting in some training too.  He is doing the London Marathon, he will be running it while dribbling two basketballs!  Click the link and you will find out more!

Anyway, the session was a mile (four times around the track) as a warm up and the 10 x 800 at marathon pace, with 90 seconds rest, I think PhysioMikeTheMod called it yasso or lasso, or something like that!  I thought I could do it, not all 10 reps, but do the 2 laps and the 90 second rest, for as much time as we had.  I think I heard PMTM say to young Luke that he should do 6 so I was thinking that is what I ssould be doing!

I started off all well intentioned, and just kept going for as long as I could.  The track was pretty busy with all the young athletes still with the coaches going through their paces.  My goodness are they fast.  This one girl came pass me, PASS ME, and what I can only describe as a bouncy casual style!  It looked like she was just casually running across the room to answer the phone or something!  Literally that, yet she was pulling away in front of me!  Like I said, they are all pretty fast.

Mind you, our PWR's are fast, I was overtaken by all of them I think at least once on the warm up lap, and then the session, well, everyone will be finishing the 2 laps at different times.  But PMTM has his iPad set up that it just reads out the numbers and you just check it out when you have done your 2 laps and then wait while it counts out 90 seconds.  It's a great system.

I did the first one, and I think the second, but then I started to get tired!  My excuse/reason is because I did a run this morning!  So I decide to do just 1 lap, with maybe less seconds rest.  Lets see how I deal with that!  I kept it going until my Garmin said 2:80 miles.  "I'm done" I said to Mr. S.  He had completed what he wanted to do, 5k non stop!  "Go one 1 more" he said to me.  I didn't really want to, but I found a bit of extra in the legs and did one more lap.  Not only that but then both me and Mr.S did a cool down 'victory' lap too!  

A great session, totally enjoyed it, but now I am beginning to enjoy my running.  I just got to find the love of pushing myself a bit out of my comfort zone!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Club Run - Chief Monkey Feet Returns

Hello blog lovers.

You know how things just happen and it happens at the exact moment you need it!  Well Mr.S, Chief Monkey Feet himself was back to running.  Sometimes life, work and just stuff get in the way of your running, and that then puts the running bug to sleep!  Our Mr.S is a LiRF and a very good one too.  He messaged me last night about leading group 1 and some time.  Well sometime was this time!  My legs were still so tired and achy!  Tonight was a perfect time for Mr.S to lead.  I don't think he was quite expecting that, "I shall let the announcers know that you will leading group 1 tomorrow night" I said to him last night!  "No pressure then" he said in reply!  I knew he would do a brilliant job of leading.

So I gave him the group pace and the distance that we normally do, and he created a new route for us all!  When Nicola did the introductions and said that Mr.S would be leading group 1 I could hear just a little buzz through the crowd!  I haven't missed many group runs, but when I have turned up I have always lead. But I knew that Mr. S will make a great group 1 leader.  Firstly because he himself is coming back to running after having some time away from it, and secondly, he really is an amusing guy, inspiring, inventive and totally encouraging!  I am sure those that haven't met him yet will enjoy his company.

As for me, well, I will be at the back with the sweepers, or maybe in the middle but I can be talking to all our members now and enjoying my recovery run!  The route he chose for us was quite a good route, a little incline of Petts Wood Road, running up from Crossways to the Memorial hall.  It's funny, because this road don't see half as bad running up here first rather than at the end of a run!  I didn't really notice it much at all!

He took the 'troll bridge' to get on the other side of the railway lines, I did notice that Michael wasn't stamping across it waking the troll up!  Maybe next time Mr.S leads then he will tease him with his heavy footed running! He kept us running all the way to where 'Woolworths' used to be! I so like that shop!  We ran further than I would have ran with them but being at the back I could see that everyone did really well with keeping up!  I shall take note of that, for when it's my turn to lead again!

Our next gathering stop would be at the off license, not too far.  J.J. had told Mr.S "The Old Girl usually runs from the front all the way to the back to see how we are"  I chuckled at this, and just let it slide!  "Oh right OK" he said.  And so as we were running just pass the garage Mr. S came running by me to the 3 ladies at the back to see how they were and then started to run back to the front again!  As he passed me I said "You know, I don't usually do that at all, I just send the others on while I wait for the sweepers to meet me!"  What a tease we are in group 1!

Once we got to the off license and then we turned left to go over the bridge with the usual call of "Lip" to avoid tripping up on the raised pavement that goes from bridge to pavement, Mr.S. came up with his revenge!  Actually he probably had it planned all along!  In fact he did the whole proper LiRF thing of doing a warm up routine before our running too!  His plan was to use lampposts.  I know, I use lampposts too, but his was slightly different than mine.  By around this time I was right at the back with K and J.J. and LittleJ were middle sweepers, Mr.S's plan was to run to the first lamppost and then to run back around me and K, who would be running at this nice steady pace, and then they were to run on to the next lamppost and then back, around me and K again.  A great plan.  It gives the front faster runners a chance to stretch their legs and to also keep the whole group together with the added factor of keeping everyone running together as a perfect running group!

We had to run along the road until we got to St. Johns road before he implementing that activity but it worked brilliantly.  We did the lamppost running for a few lampposts before we got back to just running forward.  We got back to Tudor way and Mr. S wanted to cross over the road and got down pass the Daylight inn.  He started to cross the the wrong place!  "The Old Girl always crosses at the bollards" said our Carol, "Health and safety first" she said.  So we all crossed by the Bollards.

We ran along the high street to the memorial hall and had a little break. "Right then" Mr S said "Right then, run along here" (pointing to Towncourt Road) "Run all the way down, turn right and then right again, go at your own pace" he said with authority!  It just goes to show you have sometimes we just take things for granted, because the faster runners started off running down Towncourt, then the turned right, but then turn would have had to turn left to go up Crossways and back to the rec! They were going the way that we normally go when we are at that distance from the rec, but Mr.S wanted us to run all the way along Towncourt then turn right into Hazlemere and then turn right into Crossways!  Simples once you realised that we should get out of our usual habits and to do something new!  We had to call Michael and Carol back, and I think someone else from Kingsway!

Back at the rec and our group seemed to merge into group 2 to join in the stretches.  After having a head count to make sure that we were all back at the rec, by they way, there were 15 of us in group 1, that left the rec and 14 of us that came back, Stephen decided he would bail out at the rail station to go home!

A brilliant run, I really enjoyed it and it really was a perfect recovery run for me.  It is so good to have Mr. S. back running with us.  I look forward to more group running with him.

Geeky stats.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Paddock Wood Half Marathon

Hello blog lovers.
Me and Naggy neighbough (Karin)

Yesterday must have been one of the warmest starts to April I have known!  Not just because of the wonderful, glorious sunshine that we have but also because I was running half marathon while suffering from this stupid 'change of life' thing which seems to be compulsory for us ladies!  I was looking forward to this half marathon, the last time I did it the weather was just awful.  It was raining and very windy!  I even dared to think that maybe, just maybe....! But then I kicked myself, never be to complacent and think you can beat your PB!  It will always be down to hard work!

This year, I hadn't put in the same amount of hard work as I did in 2015!  When I did it then I had trained a lot more, this year my longest run before hand was 9 miles, and then about 8 miles.  I should have done at least another 2 long runs before I turned up for this one!  But it's too late now.  I just have to get on with the job in hand!

NaggyNeighbour was doing it too, in fact she is the reason that I am doing it this year (and we shall be putting out names down again next year!) She is using this as one of her training runs, and also to beat her time from 2015!  We had to leave extremely early to deliver her lad to her friends for the morning and afternoon as it happened, which meant that my alarm was set for 6:30 so that I could be ready for 7 am!  I know, ridiculously early for a Sunday morning!

We set up 'Wendy' (thats Naggys name for her Sat Nav.....don't ask!) and we drove on towards Paddock Wood.  We amused our selves on the drive there, especially with one particular person in what I can only describe as a Ferrari wanna be!  It' could well have been the most expensive the world (think Jeremy Clarkson and I bet you said it in his voice) but for me and Naggy, it looked like just a wannabe sports car, going vroom, vroom!  We watched as he thought about overtaking the car in front and then decided that he couldn't do it, because he would have to overtake two cars!  Well you can tell that we were not talking tactics about how to run this, we were just keeping everything nice and easy fun.

We arrived at Paddock Wood with loads of time to spare, and we even managed to get a parking space so very near to the start/finish line!  We walked over to the start and straight away queued for the loos!  It's the first thing that  has to be done.  The young lady looking after the toilet sections was so busy calling out to us waiting in line as each cubicle became empty "There's one, here's one, one over here" she kept the loo line moving along smoothly as her head darted  left right and behind her!  Excellent loo marshal!

We met up with a few other PWR's while we were there, there were quite a few of us running, but we didn't meet up with all of them.  After putting out bags in at the baggage drop it was time to get to our starting point.  The anticipation was exciting, the weather was so warm, sun shining brightly, people were talking all around us, and I started to think that I could, really could, get a...!  There I said, I thought, I almost said it out loud "No, I am not going to say it" I said to Naggy, and she said "No don't"  I tried not to think about it!

I heard the buzzer, or hooter, or whatever it was they used to start the race go off!  The crowd moved forward, then stopped, then moved forward again, a bit faster this time. Then we were walking faster and before I knew it we were running, running towards the mats that will record the exact time we pass over them.  "See you at the end" Naggy called to me, "Have a great run, see you when I get back" I said to her confidently!  Because if there is one thing that I was sure of, I will finish this race, whether or not being woefully under trained or not, I will finish!

The first thing we face is the hump bridge!  It's ok going over it now but coming back it is going to look like Mount Kilimanjaro!  This run is fairly flat actually, at least, there are not any noticeable lumps apart from one which is after the first mile or so!  It's just as well they organised it this way, get it over and done with while we got fresh legs.  I ran up some of it, not all of it, but some of it!  I could have done with some water though.  I was all prepared (kit wise, not fit wise) for this run the night before.  I had my running clothes ready, my number firmly fixed to my club top, water bottle found, ready to fill in the morning, clean change of clothes and 'anti-ming' in my bag.  But when I left the car with Naggy to walk to the start I forgot to bring my water! That's ok, I know Paddock Wood have water stations, it will be fine.  But I was thirsty!

Just as we turned left to head for the dreaded hill I saw Martin, one of our PWR's he was spectating! I high fived him as I ran pass. For the first 4 miles I kept at a nice steady pace, I was 'doing a Geoffy" as it's known.  The run/walk method.  A built in run/walk.  I started off with it straight away.  Run for a mile walk for 30 seconds-1 minute, but no more.  That was my plan.  It's what got me through the marathon both times so I knew it would get me through this.  The next couple of miles I was making more walking sections!  I was telling myself off.  But there were a couple of people that were near me that just kept me going.  "Why you walking, come on, you can do this!" they said to me, and they got me running again....until my proper walking time that is! Yes I still did my 'official' walking sections.

I was thinking that I should have bought my Dextrose....ok so I wasn't fully prepared with my kit, the night before, I had forgotten to put dextrose in my bag! At the first mile or so there was someone offering jelly babies, I think I should have taken them, even if I kept them for just that moment when I needed them!  Fortunately there were other people that were offering sweeties, well I hope it was offering sweeties otherwise there was a very angry little boy telling everyone that one of the runners stole his sweeties!  But they did taste so good and gave me a little boost for a while.

I think it was about that time that I started to chat to one of the runners, I later found out her name was Tina (when Keith on the p.a. system announced our names on returning).  Well she was doing her first half marathon.  I also found out that the furthest she had ran before was about 3 miles!  I was flabbergasted!  My gaster had truly been flabbered!  So by then she had ran her most miles!  I know it was a bit mean but I felt that I needed to keep in front of her or at least by her side!  You know sometimes you find a race, and you stick to that person like glue until the end few meters when you fly pass them to the finish line!  Well, I normally chose my 'race' with people I can never catch up to!  By poor Tina was my race, I needed to keep her behind me or in front.  Usually I like to chat to people, to keep them encouraged and to keep going, but I knew that I was going to struggle towards the end because I was already aching!

The next few miles I really started to feel the heat!  I love the sun, I really do, I am a summer person, but when I'm running I want cloud cover!  The sponge stops were great!  A huge bucket with hundreds of sponges in water were at the ready to cool you down.  As I was running towards them I saw one runner get a huge bucket of water thrown over her!  I was hoping that particular watering wasn't compulsory!  I grabbed my sponge and then ran pass the 'bucket throwers' making sure I didn't make eye contact with them.....just in case!

By the time I was at mile ten I was thinking if they had a 'scoop-em-up' bus or something.  But I quickly abandoned that thought!  I didn't quit in the two marathons I did and am I certainly not going to quit now!  I told myself off, slapped my arse and moved on towards the drinks station which was there.  This time there was also some sweeties.  And just for those who may have OCD they had separated all the colours!  I thought it was marvellous!  It saves you just grabbing at them not getting your favourite....although my favourite jelly baby wasn't their, I like the black ones!  There was also the sponge stop there too and I spied Tina there, she was cooling her legs down!  I didn't even know that she had got a head of me!  How did that happen!  I checked that she was ok, she had cramp in her legs and didn't know how to deal with it.  I ran with her for a bit to make sure that she was ok and the went ahead of her.  After a few minutes I felt a nasty sharp pain in my big toe!  I had something in my shoe from the very beginning of the run, I didn't want to stop to sort it out, I just thought it would just be thrown about in the toe area as I ran, but this time as it was thrown about my toe came down on it and it stuck in my toe!  Ouch!!! It felt like a piece of glass!  I needed to get this out now, just in case it was something like glass.  As I was taking my shoe off Tina came pass me "I see you are sorting that thing in you shoe now" she said to me!  "It's a piece of rice!" I said to her as I found it and held it high to shoe her!  I put my shoe back on and then tried to find somewhere a bit higher that I could put my foot on to do my shoe up!

By that time Tina was way in front of me!  I didn't think I could catch her up!  I had a little less than a parkrun to do and I was shuffling along at a snails pace!  But I did catch her up and I did pass her!  I made sure from that moment that I stayed in front of her.  I should have chatted to her, I should have ran next to her and kept her company, but she was my race, and she didn't know it!  But she helped me stayed focused,  I shall thank her when she crosses the line!

The last couple of miles seemed to pass in a blur, I knew I was going to finish, that was never in doubt, not even when I was thinking if they had a 'sweep-up' bus.  People cheered me, they called my name, I think having my name printed on my club shirt was one of my sensible ideas, because on race days there's nothing more encouraging than to hear people call out your name urging you to keep going!

I was soon on the main road, the hump bridge name renamed Kilimanjaro, was there!  The road had been re-opened, I am definitely slower than last time, last time the road was still closed!  I felt disappointed with myself for being slower!  Over the bridge and on towards the last left turn which leads to the finish line!  People were shouting and cheering, the finishers were all calling out, I saw some that I knew who were calling out to me, Ali and her friends!  I was knackered, I really was! Then I heard my name being called out by Keith!  That made me run a bit faster and I crossed the mats and stopped!  With my hands on my knees I gathered my thoughts, my breath and my strength.  And then I heard Keith say that Tina was coming up!  I look be hind me and I called out her name, "Come on, you can do this Tina" I shouted.  She crossed the line and then came up to me to hug me!  That's when I found out that she was using me to pace her!  See what I mean about choosing your race!

It was a great day, I did it.  I completely it!  Not in a fast time and definitely not in style!  But I did it!  And I was pleased that I had indeed started, not given up and finished!

Here's my geeky stats, which tells the story!

Beginners Week 5

Hello blog lovers.

I am a bit late in writing up my blog about our fantastic beginners on Saturday!  There were 38 beginners and about 8 or so PWR's to help the through the session.  The session was a step up from our 4 minutes of running, because we went straight to 6 minutes!  But of course, if you are good at maths, we were only doing 4 reps and not 5!  It it all still adds up to about half an hour run/walk which is what we have been doing since the beginning!

If you could have seen their faces, the looked so anxious, like I had suggested we run 5k non stop already!  But there was no need to be anything but totally confident they could do it!  I knew they all could, and it was us at PWR  to help them find it in themselves to believe it too!

The warm up two laps walking was good, as it gives us a chance to chat to people to see how they are doing, followed by the drills to get those muscles warmed up nicely ready for our running.  I kept a good eye on the time this time, ZippySherry was away as she was ill, so she wouldn't be there to remind me, and Michael and Carol were away too, and Michael is very good at reminding me about the time!  I think he can remember when he was doing the course this time last year and I had them running more than they should have done!

To watch them all keep on going is such a rewarding experience, I feel totally proud of each and everyone of them.  It's not easy, I know, and there were some that started walking in the running sections.  I ran on beside them and chatted away, and got them to do the 'mini-goal' running.  Looking for trees, benches, bins to run to before even thinking of running!

By the time we were on the fourth rep they were all smiling!  I am not sure if it was because it was the last one but I like to think it was because they were totally thrilled with what they had done!  Some of them couldn't even believe that we didn't have to do another one!  I think I remember Tracy saying that!

With the cool down stretches we could chat to everyone, and answer any questions, or just to breath, relax and stretch out and just listening.  It was a great session, and next week I shall try not to forget to knock for my neighbour who came along for the first time on this week five!  Sorry Shalini!

Geeky stats