From First to Last

After the joy of the Severn Bridge Night Run I should have known I was due a bad run. 

My club has recently started holding a monthly handicap 5k race. I did the very first one and loved it. It was fantastic to see the runners on an equal playing field.


I came 5th in the very first one and was mega impressed with my time (28:41) until we all realised that the course was short of 5k. I was slightly gutted as my time had smashed my previous PB by a minute. But obviously the lack of distance explains that. 

The rules of the handicap race state that your starting time and place are set by your PB in a previous handicap run. This stops people stating they are slower than they are in order to win. It’s a good rule but it meant that yesterday I had to use the (unachievable) time of 28:41. 

As it happens I was still the slowest and therefore first to set off. It was cold and foggy and my legs felt like lead. I was struggling for breath when I was overtaken just over 1km into the run. I was then overtaken twice more before the halfway point. As we ran the bottom loop every man and his dog overtook me. It was so embarrassing. 

As I came up the last stretch I could see that I was last. But not just last, last by quite a while! I was mortified. Every single person had overtaken me! I had tears in my eyes crossing the finish line and would have cried had Little Lady not been with me!

My time wasn’t a bad one. In fact it’s about right for me at the minute but going from first to last really hurt.


I’ve had a bit of time to think about it since then and really it’s not the end of the world. We all have bad runs and I need to remember that. I had such lovely messages of support from members of my running club who saw how upset I was and that really made my day. It reminded me how supportive the running community can be. 

Onwards and upwards

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Pacing myself

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered myself to pace 35minutes at the Pontypridd parkrun pacer day. I’ve taken part in pacer days twice before at Cardiff. The first time I got sub 32 and the second time I got my one and only sub 30. The Pontypridd organisers were looking for a 35minute pacer and I decided to give back and volunteer.

As soon as I had offered my services I started to doubt my ability to keep to the time. I still remember very vividly how hard a 35 minute 5k used to feel. This post shows how pleased I was to smash my PB and I still wasn’t near 35minutes!

The only way to put my mind to rest was to go out and run a 35minute 5k and I was really surprised by how easy it felt. I could see how far I’ve come and I prayed that it would still feel as easy on the day so that I could chat my way around and keep to the time.

I arrived earlier than normal so that I could attend the volunteer briefing and hopefully settle my nerves a little bit. This is the park that we run around.

Once I had identified myself to the Run Director I was given a lovely bib to wear and stood in a huddle with others wearing a similar bib with varying numbers between 21 and 35!

At 9am on the dot we set off and I was a bit disappointed that no one had wanted to run with me. I still kept to my 35min target though and ran the first smaller lap on my own and the start of the first bigger lap. Then I caught up with a friend who was struggling to get back after an injury. She had gone off in front of me but was struggling to keep up her pace. As I passed her I offered some encouragement and she decided to stick with me. Less than 200m further on I picked up Gemma who was also on a return to running after a break and was struggling. We ran on, me chatting and joking with both the ladies and a family who we kept bumping into.

The family consisted of a mum with 3 young boys. We had had a chat earlier in the run and the mum had said they would probably only do 2 laps as she didn’t think the little one would manage the whole course. Every time I saw them I offered encouragement to each of the boys as they were doing fantastically. There was no whinging or complaining. They were so focused, it was humbling to see on children so young. They were so determined.

As we rounded the last corner and the route drops down towards the finish line I pushed the ladies to sprint finish. As they set off in front of me, the young boys overtook me. They were flying! I shouted encouragement at them and the ladies as we came down the last straight and I was so proud when both ladies came in under 35 minutes! Perfect!

After the run I congratulated both ladies that had run with me and I also went over to speak to the boys to tell them how fantastic they had been. They seemed pretty pleased with their achievement and rightly so.

I then went home and showered and changed and later on in the afternoon I was browsing on Facebook when I saw this posted on the local parkrun page.

It really made me smile. Thank you to the mum who took time out to post this. It really made my day. 🙂

Gym? Who’s he?

Argh! I finally bit the bullet and joined a gym! My aim is to use my membership to build up some strength in my arms, legs and core and to use the treadmill when I can’t run outside. I’m hoping that the membership fee will pay for itself through improved fitness and running performance. I’m not necessarily concentrating on times but more on stamina and how I actually feel when I’m running. I tend to get tired easily and then get a poor posture when I run so a stronger core will help with that. 

I’ve been twice now since I joined end of last week and I’m starting to think I’m not cut out for the gym. 

  
I think I need to go on a diet too looking at this photo!! 

Yesterday I went with the intention of doing a quick 5k on the treadmill before I went to treat my mum and sister to afternoon tea. I put my running kit on and packed a change of clothes and shower stuff. 

I got on the only spare treadmill to find myself between two very fit runners! I sorted out the settings on my treadmill and set off. Less than 5 minutes later one of the fit guys is speeding up to the same pace as me and the other one is speeding up to be faster than me! About 3.5k in I was knackered but there was no way I could slow it down as I was wearing my running club vest and I didn’t want to shame the club 😂 so I kept going! I did 5k but it was hard work. I kept worrying about what would happen if I fell of the end! Next time I’ll wear a normal top so if I can’t keep up the pace it doesn’t matter 😂 On the upside I did manage my fastest 5k since I got my sub 30 last year. 

 
Happy with that I get in the shower to wash and change for afternoon tea. I get out and dry only to realise I’ve forgotten all my underwear!! No Knicks, bra or socks!! 😱 I had left them all in a pile on my bed at home. Thankfully I had fur lined boots with me so the socks thing didn’t matter as much but I drove home so carefully praying I didn’t have an accident and therefore revealing my underwear-less position to the emergency services! 

Maybe I’m not cut out for the gym!!!

Race For Life 2015

One more running post then I’ll change the subject for a while. 😀

Little Lady and I completed our 2nd RFL together recently. As I mentioned here we have been following a simple Couch 2 5k programme together while I also used the Kiqplan* programme alongside. This year Little Lady wanted to beat last year’s time and run a lot more of the route so that was our aim.

She decided that we needed to wear a lot of pink and a tutu if possible. 😀 So in the run up to the race I made 5 pink tutus and bought us all matching tops. Now the matching tops were not my best idea. I couldn’t get the top in a child’s size so Little Lady wore a different top anyway and after the race I swore I wouldn’t run in a cotton t-shirt again! I think I sweated more than at the Caerphilly 10k!! Not great for running in at all!

Do our bums look big in these? 😀

When we got to the park a local radio station had DJ’s on the stage and Little Lady wanted to go to see them. We were right at the front and were able to see ourselves on the big screen. That prompted a friend of Little Lady’s to come and find us to say hi! That worked well as the two of them ran together and encouraged each other to keep going. We made it around with hardly any complaining from either of them which was amazing really as 5k is pretty far never mind when you are only 7!

Little Lady ran so hard she hardly had anything left for the sprint finish, which is her favourite part! She loves beating me to the finish line 😀

But she did and we were 3minutes faster than last year. I am so proud of her. 3 minutes is huge. That’s a minute a mile she’s knocked off! She is amazing. Well done sweetie. I am so proud of you.

Oh and let’s not forget D who also had to take part as Hubby was working and both my mum and sister were taking part in the RFL as well. He decided he didn’t want to wear a tutu (lol!) he wanted to wear a cape! So he ran/walked dressed as Superman. He had so many comments from strangers saying how cute he looked. I could only agree 😉

You would be forgiven for thinking this is an “after” photo but it was actually taken before we had even set off! Good old Anti messing about with the kiddies 😀
*I was given free access to the Kiqplan programme for the purposes of a review. You can find my review here but I am also mentioning it in this post for clarity of posting.

RFL #3

This is my third year of doing Race For Life.   

I have written about both the 2013 and the 2014 RFL races and how different my training for them were. For my first RFL I followed the Couch 2 5k programme to be able to run the whole distance, while for the 2014 RFL I hardly trained at all as I was “running” it with Little Lady. 

This year I will be running with Little Lady again but our training has been different again. I was offered a Fitbug Orb* and free access to the Kiqplan Race For Life 5k plan* in order to help my RFL training.   

I have used the Fitbug Orb a lot to be fair but mostly as a pedometer. It does track sleep too but I find it very fiddly to first off switch it to sleep mode and then to switch it off sleep mode. I was also under the impression that the app sent all data to the kiqplan app but that doesn’t seem to be the case even though I have synced them. That makes it pretty time consuming manually transferring data from one to the other. 😦

The kiqplan app has a lot of good advice from nutrition to getting a good night’s sleep and the training plan is a good one for beginners. Personally I haven’t stuck to it religiously as Little Lady and I are doing a loose version of the Couch to 5k as she wants to run more of it this year.  I have been following the exercises part of it though and am enjoying that.  

 Kiqplan have a lot of different programmes so if 5k isn’t your thing then it is still worth having a look. My Fitbug will be getting a lot of use in the coming weeks too as I use it to try to keep my steps over 10k everyday in the school holidays. 
Look out for another RFL update soon as it’s not long til we run it. 😀

*I was sent the Fitbug Orb and given access to the Kiqplan 5k programme free for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own and I wouldn’t recommend anything unless I truly liked it. 

Sub 30

In 2 weeks time I will be running in my local 10k race and I have high expectations for it. Lately, as you know I have been feeling down with my times and it took a look back at last year’s posts to see how far I have actually come. I run once a week with a friend and it’s always a pretty slow one as we spend the whole time gossiping, whinging and putting the world to right! She has recently found a lot of speed in her running and smashed the sub1hr 10k she was looking for back in March. I was complaining to her about my lack of speed and she told me how she had only found her speed since she dropped a stone in weight. It really made me think as I know I have put on weight recently and after weighing myself I was really shocked by the fact I had put on a stone!

I haven’t joined any fat clubs or started any faddy diets but by using an app on my phone to track every thing I eat I have already lost 5lbs in a month. 🙂 It hasn’t been easy as I do like to snack on biscuits when I am at home with D but it also hasn’t been that hard either if you see what I mean? Basically I’ve just tried to make better choices at mealtimes and lower the amount of snacking I do.

Alongside this I have tried to up my running. Between Hubby who works shifts, Little Lady and all her activities, work meetings and various life stuff, I don’t run as much a I would like to. Hubby has been really supportive and has offered to look after the kids while I go out for a run if he is home early. I know that may sound a bit funny but I do feel guilty if I run out of the door the second he gets home so I don’t always go unless he suggests it.

I’ve been doing a lot of speed endurance sessions, run by my running club and I have been improving. Not always time wise but the coach has told me that I run stronger and regulate my breathing a lot better now than I used to. So that’s good too.

At these sessions I’ve been running 5k at 31-32 mins on a hilly course. I have been working hard as my goal for the Caerphilly 10k is to get below 1:10mins. I’ve been so close before (1:10:23) but I can’t get under it!

I then heard read on twitter that Cardiff parkrun was putting on a pacer day and I was really tempted to go. They were pacing even numbers and as I have been getting low 30’s on a hilly course I decided to just go for it and see if I could get a sub 30 on a flat course. Hubby and I juggled arrangements for Little Lady’s swimming lesson so that I could take the car and off I went.

Once there I found the sub 30 pacer and stalked her until the start. I was so geared up for this. I was determined not to give up. The gun started us off and it all went wrong. There were over 700 people trying to run down a narrow path, people were weaving in and out and stopping dead in front of other people. The pacer had to keep the pace so she weaved in and out of people to keep her time. Unfortunately that made it hard for the group to keep up with her as there were so many people and it was so narrow. I had lost her before the 1km marker! I was gutted. I had decided beforehand that if I could keep up with her most of the way around and I struggled near the end and had to drop back then I would accept that as I would have tried my best. But to lose her so early on, and through no fault of my own? Gutting!

We passed the 1km marker and my runkeeper app reported a split time of 5.02min/km! I could have fallen over! For perspective a fast run for me is low 6min/km. I don’t think I have ever had a split that started with a 5 never mind a very low 5!! I decided to keep going as fast as I could just to see what would happen. The second km split was a bit slower but was still a low 5 (5.21min/km) I couldn’t believe it. I was wearing both a long sleeved top and a vest and the sun had decided to make an appearance at this point so I had to stop to take off the long sleeved top. I was boiling! This stop meant that the 3rd km was my slowest at 6.18min/km (usually a fast time for me).

I gave it my all and I honestly don’t think I could have given it anymore. I could barely pick up the pace for a sprint finish and I stood squashed up in the finisher funnel wondering how I was going to be sick without getting it on anyone! Thankfully I wasn’t sick but my legs were like jelly walking back to the car. I had to sit in the car park for awhile before I felt safe enough to drive home!

But it was all worth it. My time? 29.26 😀 Oh yeah! A sub 30 woohoo!! I know I couldn’t keep up that pace for 10k but my sub 70mins is edging closer. Let’s hope I’ve got the pace in a fortnight’s time.

  

Love Run

I signed up to do the Love Run months ago. In fact as it’s name suggests it should have been run in February around valentines day. All those big storms we had around that time meant it was cancelled due to a fallen tree and various other weather related health and safety stuff.

It was then rearranged for last Saturday. Which was fine. Except it meant 3 races in 3 weekends and the week before we had another severe weather warning threatening to cancel the event a second time.

Thankfully the apocalypse-style hailstones decided to stay at home so I had a message on Facebook from the organisers saying it would go ahead.

Driving to Cardiff on the morning, the rain was bouncing a foot off the floor! Thankfully by the time I arrived at the start line the sun had come out. I picked up my t shirt, spoke to some friends who had also signed up and then we were ushered to the start line. No warm up, nothing. Just straight into it.

I had quite high hopes for this race. At the women’s running 10k I had managed to run 5k in 33.09secs. That is a PB for me and I still had to run the same distance again. Surely I could go faster than that if I didn’t have to save anything to run longer?

Yeah! You would think so! Except my whole race just fell apart. It was so hot and my legs felt so tired. It was an absolute shambles. It was so awful as I crossed the finish line, I ran straight to the portaloo to cry! I had to compose myself before I went to collect my very lame goodie bag and banana.

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I felt so disappointed in myself. It has to be one of the worst runs I have had and it’s completely shattered my confidence.

And to top it all off, there wasn’t even a medal 😦