Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Way off the mark

I'm currently doing some soul searching. I really can't remember having the feelings and emotions I experienced following Sunday's Brass Monkey half marathon. Setting goals I now realise can be a little precarious.  Whilst I think on the whole aiming for goals can only be a good thing I now realise if things don't go to plan it can also have a detrimental effect.  All part of learning I suppose.  However, at around mile 11 on Sunday I never wanted to run again!

I had wrestled with my thoughts on running with Lyndon and by and large came to the conclusion that it could be my salvation in terms of getting me the time I had set my sights on, 1 hr 50 minutes.  That wonderful thing 'hindsight' has popped up again and I wish I had some of it at the right time sometimes.  With it, I might well have done one of two things, pulled out of the race or at least given myself a break and lowered my goal to take into account my health and the horrendous weather bestowed on us over the weekend.

Instead I took the decision to run with Lyndon and agreed if I couldn't keep up he should keep going.  Hmm, 2 miles in and he pulled away, never looking back, gasping as I fought to catch my breath, I kept him in my sights up until about mile 5 and then I didn't see him again. I plodded on trying to fight against the wind, at times being blown off the path and into ditches, once even having another runner blown into me! The further into the race I got, the weaker I got, I hadn't anything at all in the tank. I told my self at mile ten I only had a parkrun to go. By mile 11 I was in pain across the bottom of my back and chest, I felt sick and I truly considered giving in.  I have never, ever done that before. Coming back into the village of Bishopsthorpe, the cheery marshals kept telling runners that they had only a mile to go, what seemed like an age later I came upon the 12 mile marker. eventually I struggled back into York race course, the relief was immense.  Not having once looked at my watch, I stopped it and glanced down, just as I expected I was way off the mark - way off my previous time for the same race even.  How had I got it so wrong?  I hadn't a clue, my head was fuzzy and I couldn't think straight.  I joined the queue for drinks and was thrust a plastic bag, 'one size fits all' said the man.  When I finally was able to comprehend what he had given me I realised it was a 'large' gilet displaying the race logo! Wonderful, the darn thing doesn't even fit so I don't even get a reward for my efforts.  I do wish that race organisers would take into account that smaller people finish near the back of the field too!

A few hours later I was able to look back on the race, nobody likes making excuses and it's difficult to accept that there are going to be days when your race or run don't go according to plan, c'est la vie! I've now cut myself some slack but my pride is still a little dented and it might take me a while to think about chasing goals in the future!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

All in order...

I'm writing a short blog this morning in an attempt to get my thinking in order. I hope.  It's been another busy week what with this session, that session and a new yoga class thrown in for good measure!  I have to admit to feeling a little under the weather today, so my plan is to chill and destress.  Starting this morning with a long hot bath and self pamper session. I won't go into details! 'Thank God' I hear you cry?

Well this brings me to here and now.  Reflecting on the week.  I have been searching for a while for some form of cross training and I'm really pleased I joined a yoga class on Thursday evening and I plan to keep going until I either, get the gist of it or figure it's really not for me.  The good thing is, unlike my first Zumba class, I do want to go again.  I also plan to go back to my Wii fit yoga for an extra session each week too, I'm sure the 'real thing' will  aid me in this.  Funny how some people's reaction to the Wii fit yoga is 'oh it'll be nothing like it' - it really is, I was surprised that apart from the teacher being 'virtual' (an advantage here is I can choose a female or a hunky male!) the poses are very much correct, the teaching of the class is what's not, having to choose each pose with the cursor, I can skip the poses I don't feel I'm very good at, therefore, never will be!

I'm hoping it was a one off but the morning after yoga - and coincidentally completing a health questionnaire before the class, stating that I suffer with migraine, as I have since my teens although attacks are few and far between these days, yes you guessed it, I suffered a migraine, quite mild but I'm still feeling the effects today.  Anyhow the good news is that Fen (yoga teacher) has assured me that although the first yoga class often brings out a few things in clients it's often the breath (as we often don't breathe properly on a day to day basis) that causes it rather than the physical side of things, and it shouldn't last. Here's hoping.

So last night I received a text from club mate Mick asking if I would like to run with fellow club mate Lyndon tomorrow at the Brass Monkey.  He said although I was looking for a PB, Lyndon wasn't going for a time (he's returning from injury), so decisions, decisions.  Once more I sit on the fence, part of me thinks I should not put myself through the stress beforehand, I'm slightly worried for some reason, I'm of the mind that this may well affect my sleep tonight, and as I'm already feeling fatigued won't help my race.  On the other hand I could be missing out on an opportunity to be paced round and at the end of the day if I find I can't keep up then Lyndon can go and do his own thing is that's what he wants, so long as we agree that beforehand then what's to lose? I think I might have talked myself into that one!

Now as I write the house doors are rattling and I can hear the wind howling down the chimney, let's hope that dies down before tomorrow.  I think I need to go lie down now.........

Mine Hosts!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Not deep but crisp!

The last few days being extremely cold and frosty makes you aware of how difficult it is to choose what gear to run in. One minute it's mild, next it's windy and driving rain, next slippery under foot! Yesterday was a slight shock when I got up fairly early to prepare to meet club members to travel over to Temple Newsam in Leeds for race number 3 in the 2011/12 Peco cross country league. Having celebrated my son's 30th birthday the previous evening with a scrumptious meal and a drink or three I'd had to prise my eyelids open to peer out of the curtains, everywhere was white, no snow, just severe frost. Brrrr I really could have climbed back into bed, 'I'll probably end up walking most of it or even worse I can see my lamb shank et al making an unscheduled reappearance' I thought as I shuffled into the bathroom! I knew though I couldn't let the team down with such a lame excuse, so I told myself I'm turning up to make up a team and if we had a team without me I could sit this one out and cheer them on. Alas, Gill, Shirley, Amanda and me made up the team of four we needed to score! I needn't have worried about having my excuses ready though, the ground was so frozen, at times slippy, rutted, tree roots, tractor tracks frozen so solid they were difficult to negotiate, all manner of obstacles in the way that I had a mountain of excuses for being even slower than normal, not least waiting for what seemed like an age in a queue to get over a stile.
The highlight of the day for me though was when we emerged from the woodland and got to the bottom of quite a steep incline and the lady marshal at the bottom was repeatedly shouting (in her German accent I think it was) 'up past the temple and go straight forward' - temple? I thought - are we heading back towards the house? Upon getting to the top of the short but steep incline, behold, there it was, 'The Little Temple' - a small stone built structure, I obviously couldn't hang around to read the tourist information board but I definitely intend to return some time soon to have a closer inspection of that and the surrounding area of Temple Newsam. One of the beauties of running is that you get to places you wouldn't normally get to near and far!
Another frosty evening awaited us for tonight's club (Enterprise) session, speedy and active though it was, the arrival of my number for the Brass Monkey Half Marathon today reminding me to take it slightly easier than I normally would, it failed to even warm an inch of my body! So with the half marathon in mind this weekend I'm planning to take the rest of the week easy too, rest tomorrow, club night Wednesday, my first yoga class on Thursday and club Friday, and a sports massage tomorrow should ensure I get to the start line confident of my target, a sub 1:50 half marathon, whoops, that's twice I've said it now......

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Whistle while we run!

Parkrun, Leeds, Hyde Park last Saturday heralded the first 2012 race in the Eccleshill Winter championship, incidentally, of which there are only five remaining, can't be too long until Summer then can it? A breezy, drizzling morning met us in the park, hundreds assembled to run the 5k time trial, 8 of us in the blue and white club colours. I bravely stripped down to my club tee shirt and began to shiver immediately and that was just at the sight of Mick Hogan in nothing more than his vest, all the other ladies and one gent had long sleeved tops under theirs - now why didn't I think of that? Lap three of three and I finally began to be able to feel my hands and arms again! Sipping freshly brewed coffee and nibbling my delicious chocolate brownie in the Opposite cafe afterwards made it all worthwhile. When the results came through my time wasn't what I had hoped but only seconds away from my 5k PB I couldn't really complain. I am, I think, still suffering the effects of the Christmas excesses and I didn't wear my new running shoes either as I was for warned that it was muddy! The excuses are piling up! I really did enjoy the change of scenery though and hope to go back some time soon.

A long run on Sunday with some of the girls from club was another welcome change. We met at Rawdon Meadows, Apperley Bridge and set off on the road to Bingley, once there we got onto the canal for the return journey. As we approached Dobson Lock at Apperley Bridge my spirits were lifted upon hearing a whistle from one of the cottages on the side of the canal, looking over to find out who it was it soon became apparent that it was in fact a parrot whose owner had sat him in the porch quite probably for some fresh air! We giggled! It soon became clear that our planned 10 mile at 10 am wasn't 10 miles but over 12! Brilliant confidence booster for the Brass Monkey half marathon which is looming. A week and a half away now, it feels good to have got the miles in the bank. Now to try not to over do it before race day.

After failing to get to club for the last two Wednesday's I really missed going out this morning but no doubt I will feel better when I get back from my run this evening! Funny how you can get used to a different routine so quickly. I won't make a habit of it though.

Chatting to Anne (of member of the month fame!) at parkrun the subject of yoga came up, I've had a stretch of doing it on my Wii fit and did quite well for a while but like most things you try to do solo, I gave up after a couple of months. Anne said the class she goes to at a local church might be what I need so I've agreed to give it a go when she comes back from her skiing holiday. A week tomorrow will be my first class. I'm quite looking forward to it and then maybe I'll be able to do an extra session each week on my Wii fit and most probably do it correctly. I always felt that without instruction I may not have been carrying out the poses correctly so hopefully I'll be able to make a comparison! Bring on the cross training!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

On reflection.......

HaPpy NeW YeAr!

Let's hope it is! On reflection 2011 has had it's ups and downs, not least with the economic climate, business has been very 'peaks' and 'troughs', even worrying at times. As for my running though it's been a steady 'up' for the most part. With PB's in every distance (except the marathon - I haven't run one!) and some distances several times over, I've had an excellent year running wise and coming into 2012 I can only hope it continues. I don't expect to continue on the up but as long as I can maintain an even keel then I'll be more than happy. Most runners know that the consequences of injury e.g. not being able to run, are not good for mind, body and soul. We runners need our 'fix' on a regular basis! So here's hoping and doing everything I can to make sure and I have Peter May to thank for assisting me with this! I'm not one for making resolutions but with all that in mind I have just a couple of running goals I would like to achieve in the coming year and they are to complete a sub 50 minute 10k and a sub 1:50 half marathon. There, I said it! I have purchased new running shoes with vouchers I received for Christmas - I know, I know, I'm like a kid with money burning holes in my pocket but they were much needed and tell me, who can resist red? Hopefully these beauties will help me in my quest!
Other running related gifts included membership of the Great North Run so for the first time ever I don't need to vie for a ballot place, I'm guaranteed one for the next three years! Wahey!

As I begin another year as a member of Eccleshill Road Runners I am a true champion of joining a club if you have any thoughts of improving your running, making friends, that feeling of 'belonging' is second to none. I've found that there's always someones friendship you can call on, be it for support with your running or a non-running related problem. Through the club I have made some true friends and long may it continue.

I'm unable to get to club tomorrow, the second Wednesday in succession, this time due to a family funeral so I'm once more planning an early morning run although the weather is doing it's level best to scupper that, I plan to carry on regardless! So far Lisa has agreed to join me so it won't be such a lonely run as last week. Having run the club 3 mile time trial for the first time last night (I am usually chief timer, thank you Alison) - I really felt the Christmas excesses - felt sick, got stitches and felt generally yuk when I had finished although I was quite pleased with my 27:15 time as it's not an easy route with numerous roads to cross, an uphill finish and the wind howling at us all the way round!