Monday, 22 October 2012

Bridlington Mist

As I lay wide awake at 4 am I questioned again and again, why?  I wasn't worried or nervous, I didn't feel ill,  I didn't need the loo, in fact I could think of no good reason at all. I had even set an additional alarm on my mobile phone to ensure our Eccleshill friends weren't left waiting for us to board the coach should my dear husband decide to press 'snooze' on his alarm as he so often does on a work day!

When I decided enough was enough I got up and began my routine as I do on the morning of any race. Breakfast eaten, bag checked, we set off for our usual meet point to board the coach.  It didn't seem to take long before we arrived in a very misty Bridlington.  It wasn't a heavy fog so the thinking was that it would lift as we drew nearer to lunch time and the sun would peer through.  The 12 o'clock start time arrived and we assembled on the start line, being chip timed for the first time I had wondered more than once what effect this may have.  Bridlington being my pb for a half I questioned whether I would be able to better it. I set my watch as we crossed the line and soon came upon Steve and Claire.  The pace seemed comfortable and after a while Steve pulled away, leaving Claire and I running side by side.  We seemed to take turns to take the lead, sometimes I would overtake and she would follow and vice versa, I was just waiting for the time when I would start to fade and when we happened upon a short hill at around mile 4 I thought that would be it.  We kept good pace up the hill and I managed to recover ok and keep up.  I always feel like it's a gamble but am a firm believer in staying in the moment and if I feel good I'll go with it if not I'll drop back.  I surprised myself until mile 11 when I started to feel tired, an onlooker shouted to us that we only had two miles left and Claire uttered 'have we?' with an air of surprise. I was never entirely sure how Claire was feeling, and advised her if she had anything left to go for it for the last two miles. She did get a little ahead but was never out of site and I was more surprised to come upon clubmates, first, Brian and then Steve, we were all on for around a similar finishing time it seemed.

The cliff top finish I had been looking forward to was a bit of a let down, shrouded in mist you could see no further than the sea front, as always though there was plenty of supporters out along there and as I edged nearer and nearer to the finish, it seemed never ending.  I crossed the finishing line and stopped my watch 1:53:28 I was elated to have beaten last year's time 1:56:58 by a reasonable margin. Let the celebrations begin! Off to the Leisure Centre to freshen up and change and then meet up with the rest of the coach to while away the afternoon.

Team ERR

Misty Finish!

Next on the agenda is the Guy Fawkes 10 mile race so training will resume as soon as I feel I can put in a recovery run and get back to it.  I don't envisage a 10 mile pb having the Birstwith Brute, Swinford Swine and For Fawkes Sake to contend with, time will no doubt tell.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Winter is nigh..

With the Winter championship races well and truly placed on the Eccleshill website and this weekend's Roundhay parkrun being the penultimate race of the Summer championships we can't ignore the fact that Winter is almost upon us. The gloves are out on training runs albeit they sometimes turn out not to be needed! The next step is the clock going back and that will complete the cycle!

Thankfully, we have had dry runs of late though, parkrun at Roundhay on Saturday was beautiful if a little cold, the sun shimmered on the frosty grass as we ran the three loops of the park.  This was the message I got when the results were emailed:

Congratulations on completing your 16th parkrun and your 1th at Roundhay today. You finished in 90th place and were the 14th lady out of a field of 185 parkrunners and you came 1st in your age category VW50-54. You can view the full set of results here. As this is your first run at this event we have set your PB.

Amused that it was my 1th run at Roundhay I then spied that I finished the race first in my age category! I'm just 'taking it' I don't even want to know how many ran in the category!! Although it is obviously a Roundhay pb I was three seconds away from my 5k pb and just one second away from my all time parkrun pb, note to self: 'must try harder'!
The beautiful lake at Roundhay

So another Monday arrived and although I really enjoy our monthly Enterprise Surprise sessions I once again realised we were only a week away from a half marathon as I did the week before the Great North, and I really felt I could not take part in the fun and games session and risk compromising my fitness ahead of the Bridlington Half marathon so I and a few others who are running this weekend opted to do our three mile time trial, a little more effort than our social runs but no twisting and turning involved! I think it's important to keep up with the variety of the sessions but to just be sensible about it. It seems to work for me anyway, I know you have no way of knowing what's around the corner but in my opinion there's no need to invite trouble! Sadly one or two at club have already announced they are pulling out due to injury or illness which always puts a damper on things but on the plus side there are 53 of us going on the trip so it should be a fab day out despite some of us having to run 13.1 miles and I will keep in mind the words of the late great Arthur James and run 'because I can'.

The plan now is to coast along the rest of the week, sports massage with Peter May is booked and so I hope to get to the start line in Brid and more importantly Wetherspoons after the race in one piece!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

It never rains but what it pours!

The weather forecasters distinctly said it was going to dry up - I know we often don't believe them but on this occasion I hoped against all hope that it was true.  Just how much more rain is there up there waiting to come down?

It always seems to start raining an hour or so before run club. Monday's time trial session ended before the rains came but Wednesday's longer run night we were not so lucky, the heavens opened, the wind was blowing, enough to make the dog refuse to go outside never mind us runners. Numbers were not bad despite the fact that it was atrocious and felt really cold. I ran with Dawn and Sarah - we formed small groups and decided to ditch the waiting game this session, it was far too cold and wet to be hanging around.  We seemed to keep good pace and as we headed into Pudsey town centre before taking a left turn to loop back to base the wind seemed to increase, flinging the rain at us, it felt like icy globules! 9.7 miles later, back at the club house after taking a soggy photo to prove how wet we got, we dried ourselves off and made our way home.  There's extra satisfaction in knowing you've braved such weather conditions and still done the suggested route and can  go home and have a hot bath, bliss!

Friday's 5.5 miler meant another training week was over and the weekend appeared again, this time I decided to take my own advice and make a decision whether or not to race since pre entry is not required for the YVAA races and I already have a number.  Having spent all day Saturday hopping on and off buses and exploring Leeds College of Music with Marc I was physically and mentally worn out.  I decided a day of cheering was in order instead of the hills of West Vale.  I have to admit it was just the tonic.  After a cooked breakfast off we went to Cheer the runners in at the finish of the YVAA race at West Vale with quite a few family members which was uplifting and I didn't feel too guilty for not running since the trusty team had enough ladies to count. Much better I thought than turning up feeling tired and not really wanting to run and the sun shone making for a lovely Autumnal morning.  There was though, still plenty of mud around from the recent rain fall and the runners came back covered in it!

The beautiful surroundings at West Vale
A couple more weeks to go until the Bridlington half marathon and training is not feeling so easy, I am convinced the changing season has an undesirable effect.  It's not so much that I don't want to go out and train but that something just doesn't feel quite right. I'm suffering disturbed sleep and think maybe I'm suffering an 'inner' cold.  I don't have the outward signs of sniffles and cold sores any more but still don't feel that I have totally shaken it off. Hopefully that won't still be the case a week next Sunday. I'm going to keep a lid on the mileage for the next couple of weeks and hopefully I'll get round with pleasure and not pain!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Carr Lane Revisited!

Training and racing have continued to go well since the Great North Run.  Having had a few days rest I'm now back to club and looking forward to the Bridlington Half Marathon. The last week or so have seen us training in some horrendous weather, getting a thorough soaking most nights. Last Monday and Wednesday being no exceptions.  Monday was just a short interval session but by the time I had finished running into the lashing rain along Canal Road I looked like I had jumped into the road's namesake! How nice is it though, to get home and jump into a lovely warm bath when you're cold and wet?

Wednesday was the first training session for me from our Winter base since ERR moved back to Undercliffe Cricket Club the previous week.  It's nice to get back to some 'new' routes when Summer training ends and vice versa.  This week though I was dreading the thought of revisiting Carr Lane at about the 6 mile mark for the first time in quite some months -  I did question whether I may or may not get up the 'hill from hell' without stopping.  I often recall the early days of club running and my attempts to get up it, my making land marks of where I got to without stopping, 'the first bus stop', 'the second bus stop' etc.  On  'going all the way' for the first time I remember my elation and it obviously did wonders for my mental attitude towards it since, all be it slow, I have managed each attempt in one every time since! There is nothing like getting to the top and turning to look at the spectacular view of the town of Shipley - if you can stand upright enough to look whilst trying to regain control of your breathing!

I wasn't able to run on Friday due to work commitments, yet another wet and windy evening made me thankful I was actually indoors even if it was at work until going on 11pm.

And the weekend.  Horsforth 10k on Sunday, I had several emails from the host club and I ignored the first couple telling myself I had already entered.  Finally I decided to check in my 'race entries' email folder whether I actually had since I now had my third or fourth email from them in a week! It turned out I hadn't entered! I have no idea why but I still held off entering telling myself I could enter on the day if needs be.  Still undecided I made pasta for Saturday tea and then began to wonder whether I should have a glass of wine with it. Just one I thought, well maybe two - I'll see if I feel ok in the morning and then decide whether to enter or not.  So it continued, I am convinced I was still undecided as I left the house at 9:10 and headed down to Apperley Bridge.  I parked up and it started to rain, I began to jog along to the registration area still thinking I wouldn't be disappointed if there were no entries on the day left.  There were.  I joined a large queue and paid my entry fee.  Just time for a quick warm up before we were walked a short distance to the start on Woodlands Drive.  I then realised why, surprisingly, I had only done this race once before, quite likely due to the fact that it was uphill for the first two miles. I soldiered on but quite soon began to feel awful.  My legs felt weak and I gasped for air. Thankfully we reached the part where we were turned right and I knew it was flat and then downhill.  I managed to pick up a bit of speed and overtook quite a few other runners.  Downhill and then the canal would usually be a perfect time to get control of your breathing and pace your way to the finish. Not so for me, I continued to feel terrible as I tried to find my pace - I just had nothing in my legs, I could barely put one foot in front of the other and considered stopping quite a few times,  Finally we turned into Woodhouse Grove to the finish, people surged past me as I struggled to keep moving forward.  Thankfully it was a long finishing funnel, a chap in front of me was hardly able to walk, asking if he was ok he said he was but he couldn't walk any faster. I reassured him that he was ok, I didn't want him to go any faster and breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn't about to keel over in front of me! It seems the race had taken it's toll on a few of us! No doubt all will be forgotten until the next time, I will though, learn from that hopefully and prepare better, I already know that mind as well as body needs to be in order if we are to give ourselves any chance of having a satisfactory race so shame on me for acting the way I did. Amen
If that isn't enough to make me want to make better
preparation I don't know what is!