Monday, 25 June 2012

Torch excitement

The inclement weather got in the way of our run on Friday as gusts of wind blew the heavy rain down hard.  An off road route was on the cards but I knew even if anyone other than me was daft enough to turn up we wouldn't be able to follow it.  Helen - our leader for the evening - was already down at Rawdon Meadows when I arrived.  Having just returned from the hot climes of Cyprus I felt for her - at least we haven't had much different weather since she had been away.  One other hardy soul turned up but by this time Helen and I had agreed if no one else turned up we would be going back home.  As Mark insisted he was going to run, saying he had 'bypassed the sofa' to get himself out and been changed and ready since 5pm he was going to run at all costs! Not surprisingly no one else did turn up so we bade Mark farewell and went back home.

The nearest I got to a torchbearer!

City Park      

I can't let the subject of the Olympic torch relay pass me by without a mention.  I have to say I got rather excited about the prospect of seeing the torch being brought into Bradford yesterday and I don't mind admitting I've fantasised what it must be like to be given the opportunity to carry it.  Arriving down in Centenary Square where we had ascertained would be the best place to go - lots going on and all that, not - it was absolutely overflowing with people, not a chance of getting near any of the barriers to see anything. I did manage to stand on the far edge of the newly installed 'City Park' which was about four or five people deep all the way round, and see the first torchbearer run down by the side of City Hall and around the edge of City Park and perform the 'kiss', the lighting of one torch with the other for the swap over (alas the torches were all I could see), even though my view was extremely limited it was still a very proud moment and one I can say 'I was there' to my grandchildren - the two eldest of which I offered to take with us but they refused - I'm sure they'll understand  better when they are older.

The week ahead promises to be another busy one.  Kicking off with those pesky blood tests, I hope they don't test for alcohol as I consumed my fair share watching England crash out of Euro 2012. Fitness First pyramid is the club's speed and hills session for tonight which should stand us in good stead for the next YVAA race at Meanwood tomorrow, another hilly one I'm told.  Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us for the next few days and allow us to carry out our training and racing a little drier at least!

Monday, 18 June 2012

PB Surprise!

working hard at the Otley 10 mile
Arriving in the lovely village of Otley for the annual 10 mile race I felt slightly apprehensive.  I hadn't looked at my previous 10 mile race times but, as you do, had an idea of what my pb was.  The evening was a little drizzly and very overcast, perfect for running really.  I got my number, pinned it on and off for a last toilet stop and a warm up.  I met expectant mum and club mate Sophie and Lisa coming into the registration area, I was really pleased to see them.  It's always a boost when you know people are out and about supporting a race.  It turned out there were just four Eccleshill runners in the race, not surprising really since the Pudsey vets had taken place just the evening before.  Assembled in the start area, off went the funny sounding klaxon and off we set.  A flat just over 4 miles gives runners a chance to get into their pace before the climbing begins and then the climbs are offset by the immense downhills allowing runners such as me, to make up valuable time they almost certainly lose on the uphills! Not until next day though did I realise I had done much better than I could have imagined.  Having the run the hilly vets race the previous evening I thought it would almost certainly be a disadvantage. The times came out and I logged onto to compare times.  I was under the impression that Otley 2011 was my pb 10 mile race when in fact it was Guy Fawkes 10 mile and I had in fact taken four minutes off my previous Otley time and nearly 2 minutes off my previous pb, I was extremely pleased.

Resting on Thursday I then went to club as usual on Friday.  A hilly run up towards Leeds/Bradford airport was on the menu.  Just what is it with hills this week?  Despite the pouring rain I enjoyed the run with club mates. Undeterred by even more rain on Saturday morning I went to Bradford parkrun (spurred on by the fact I had some pictures to deliver to a regular parkrunner if I'm honest!). I'll just jog round was my thought.  Off we set charging towards Cartwright Hall. I felt quite good after the first lap and Linda's (parkrun director) dad caught me up and chatted.  Off he went, off I went.  It turned into bit of a game of cat and mouse, he'd be in front, I'd overtake him, he'd overtake me and so on.  I knew he must be taking it easy as he is much faster than me normally and eventually he finished about three people ahead of me but I knew I must have done at least a little better than my previous Bradford parkrun times.  Off I went home to shower and look forward to lunch with the girlies at Don't Tell Titus in Saltaire.  Whilst lunching I got the text from parkrun with my time 26:31 and 2nd lady in my category to boot! Turned out I was 1 minute 38 seconds faster than my previous Bradford time and only 2 seconds outside my all time 5k pb so I was elated once again!

I'm hoping that my current spate of good running lasts since it's only a couple of months ago I felt I was going 'downhill' though not literally it actually felt like an uphill struggle, I had a distinct lack of energy on encountering even the smallest of inclines. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong or explain how I felt but then I had an unpleasant scare with nearly passing out and feeling really ill whilst watching Marc play football one Sunday and this prompted me (at least my husband did) to visit my GP.  Following lots of tests they discovered I was severely anaemic and calcium deficient.  Since taking regular iron and calcium tablets I started to feel much better and in particular in my running. It just goes to show that we can sometimes overlook things, I genuinely thought it was a natural progression I am getting to another big birthday number in a few weeks and so I thought it was only to be expected. Hopefully when I go for further tests in a couple of weeks they will show a marked improvement and prevent even further tests.

Now I'm looking forward to my monthly sports massage with Peter May tomorrow which is a week late due to putting it off for a race to help keep my legs in tip top condition in readiness for the next bout of racing!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mud glorious mud!

The football match on Sunday totally turned into a fun affair, the weather was absolutely glorious and just put the icing on the cake.  For the last few years that we've joined in the fun with Marc's football team we've had pouring rain, someone was looking down on our last encounter and was kind to us! Although for the first time I was on the losing team for the ladies match I did manage to score 8 goals - still ran round like a headless chicken but hey, it was such fun! The Dad's didn't fair any better than in previous years losing 3 - 1 to their much younger rivals, keeping up the tradition of' talking the talk' but not 'walking the walk'!

Having being kicked in the shin by the opposing goal keeper and suffering the worst case of DOMS I went to club on Monday with low expectations.  Peel Park fartleks was on the agenda but I knew I wouldn't be playing with much speed! After the jog down to the park I managed four laps of the park and the jog back to Pulse Gym which was above and beyond all my expectations and I actually felt much better and had less aches and pains afterwards. Woe is me and the pain in my quads was back with a vengeance on Tuesday morning.  The next scheduled race in the YVAA series that evening at Pudsey didn't seem appealing at all. After all Pudsey = hills everyone knows that! The previous days of rain left the course resembling a mud wrestling venue, I probably would have fared better at that activity! However, I actually enjoyed the race, managed to stay on my feet and come in first of our ladies and I'm still puzzling how you can go into a run aching like mad and not feel a thing when you actually run? Answers on a postcard please.

Otley 10 mile race entry tonight seems like a suicidal decision.........

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Flasks, first & football

After running four out of five days last week, two club runs and two races, I was really looking forward to the long Bank Holiday weekend. I even gave parkrun a miss! The YVAA race at Bingley on Tuesday had been a particularly tough one but was made so much better with the pie and peas in the club house afterwards.  So tough was it that we had to go looking for a friend from another club who we normally stick around and cheer in. It was nearly 9pm by the time we got back over to discover whether there was indeed, anything left.  To my delight there was! It also meant we didn't have to rush home and start rummaging around for something quick to pacify our hunger at going on for10pm as we had done the previous week following the YVAA Kirkstall race. The Apperley Bridge Canter on Thursday was much more enjoyable, and although quite a lot off road and a little muddy in places after the afternoon's rain, about half way it turns into a pleasant downhill to the canal and then flat all the way back to race HQ before battling it out around the school field to the finish. I felt exhilarated afterwards and although I still class myself as a plodder I was elated to take nearly 3 minutes off last year's time (thanks to club mate Lindsey for pacing me from half way) and being rewarded with a 'cup come flask' embellished with the race name on was the icing on the cake.  I'm easily pleased and love it when race organisers step outside the box and provide something a little different to a tee shirt as a memento.

Talking of tee shirts I decided to spend some of the Bank Holiday de-cluttering parts of our house - I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder - more of a sentimentalist! Hanging onto personal possessions belonging to my late mother who passed away 12 years ago has been something I've tried to deal with on several occasions and failed miserably.  This time was going to be different I told myself and after a few tears I managed to part with quite a lot of things I really needed to let go of.  Unrelated to my mother's things though I also made a decision to recycle a lot of my running tee shirts, another difficult task as we quite often look at them and relive the race we earned them from, some have happy memories, some we are far more willing to forget.  Anyway all in all I parted with over forty of them! I now have a much more light and airy bedroom - not yet totally clutter free but it's getting there. Like many things in life I've taken the first steps and so I will continue.  I recount the story of joining Eccleshill many times - how I visited the club's website  many times, even completing the 'contact' form on more than one occasion but never actually having the guts to press 'send'.  Not until I spotted an advert in my local paper for a new family group did I encourage my youngest son Marc to accompany me and we made the first tentative steps to joining a running club and we haven't looked back, that was nearly 5 years ago, Marc was just 12 and is now 'coming of age' and stepping up to his first half marathon this year. After years of taking part in the Junior Great North run he's going to be standing on the start line of the worlds biggest mass participation half marathon on 16th September - a day he'll never forget I'm sure!

My first ever 'First'
This week culminated in a member meeting taking the place of our usual Friday club run.  Giving members a chance to air their views on training issues, how the club is run etc and the all important  presentation of the 2011/12 Winter championship trophies. At last I've got my hands on the First place trophy!

Alas, it's another busy week ahead with the next race in the YVAA series on Tuesday at Pudsey and the Otley 10 mile on Wednesday I'm looking forward to another couple of tough challenges! Before all that though we have some cross training in the form of a football match tomorrow. Marc has played his last season with the team he's played for for a number of years, Undercliffe Celtic, so this year will be our last annual Lads v Dad's match and Ladies match.  The dad's have yet to beat the lads but maybe this will be their year, who knows?! Us Mum's provide the entertainment as we run around the pitch like headless chickens without the slightest clue about 'corners', 'free kicks' or 'throw ins'!! It's all in good fun!