Mara-mania

Well I may have done something very silly. I *may* have signed up for a marathon! What was I thinking? To be honest I’m not entirely sure.

I’ve always said I would never sign up for a marathon due to the time commitment to train. I have entered the VLM ballot a few times but the chances of getting in are slim so I never worry about that too much.

Back last year when I did the Severn Bridge half the organisers announced that they were planning a full marathon for this year that took place over both bridges. Well that was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. To run over both Severn Bridges? It’s a dream come true (yes I know, I lead a very boring life!) However, due to the fact that the new bridge goes back into public ownership this year and the confusion surrounding that, it has not come into fruition.

Surprisingly I was really disappointed. I was actually shocked at how disappointed I was that I wasn’t going to run a marathon this year. I thought I would be pleased, dodging a bullet so to speak. But no, I was actually disappointed. So I started looking at other marathons. I finally settled on the Race for Life marathon in Lee Valley London, mainly because of the 8hour cut off. I feel that the 6hour cut off of most marathons would be putting too much pressure on myself.

Payday came and I signed up. I’m currently swinging from “woohoo!” To “what have I done?” I have 6 months to train. Six months to double my longest distance of 13.1miles. And do it comfortably. I am running with a friend so I have every confidence that we will chat our way around the course so it won’t be a flat out run.

I am currently on the look out for a good, flexible training plan that will fit around my (ahem, my kiddies’) busy life. If you’ve got any suggestions then please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

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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. 

Racing for life (again)

Well I suppose it’s about my one year anniversary of starting back running. For those that have been reading this blog that long, you will remember that I ran the Race For Life last year. It was my first proper race and I clearly remember struggling to run ALL the way. But I did and I finished in a pretty respectable 38m50s.

My mum, my sister and Little Lady were all so proud of me that they decided they wanted to run it this year. So I entered us all and chose a different course as I couldn’t make the Cardiff date.

Our race plan was that little lady and I would “sprint” off (her words) while Mamgu (my mum) wanted to finish under an hour. Anti couldn’t decide whether to run or walk but ended up having to pull out due to a chest infection 😦

There were a lot less people at this RFL than the Cardiff one and I have to be honest the course left a lot to be desired. The course covered 2 rugby fields and literally zig zagged up and down the fields before going out past the cricket club then looping around and coming back the way you had came!

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It was very boring and a bit disheartening when you are looking at all the people in front knowing you’ve still got all that to do.

Little lady and I kept ourselves amused by running, skipping, hopping and walking. We even had a game of tag around the 3km mark. 😀 Little lady also made a point of high five-ing all the Marshalls after hearing me raving about how encouraging they were at the Women’s Running race the weekend before.

Little lady enjoyed herself, having her face painted and beating me in a sprint finish. She we had a good time of just over 45mins and she snuck under the tape to escort Mamgu to the finish line just over 10 minutes later.

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Three generations with medals and I’ve already been told to book us in again next year. Although next year I think we will go back to Cardiff.

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Racing for Life

I DID IT!! I actually did it!! I ran the Race for Life!,

Sorry for shouting but I am so proud of myself for actually doing it! You see I am not a runner. I’m sure most of you have gathered that after my last running post! The problem I have is that I am easily convinced to give in. I start running, then I think “I can’t do this any more! I can’t go any further” and I stop, absolutely convinced that I can’t run any further. While training I have been using interval training so that I don’t have to run that far without a walking break.

I had a bit of a panic the day before the race, wondering what on earth I was going to listen to while I was running as I couldn’t exactly listen to my training podcast could I? Most people suggested I listened to music I liked, while others suggested I listen to other kinds of podcasts. The podcasts I ruled out as I wasn’t sure I would be able to concentrate on them while trying not to die!! Although given the fact that I didn’t die I may try out podcasts next time I go running.

Yes that’s right…I did say “next time I go running”. I am hooked! It was such a fantastic day! I loved it. My mum and my sister came to support me and they brought little lady and baby D with them. Little lady had even made me a banner

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Before the start we were separated into 3 groups – the runners, who planned to finish under 25mins!!!; the joggers, who planned to finish between 23-40mins and the walkers who were going to take 45mins plus. This threw me slightly as I was planning to finish somewhere between 40-45mins (if I was lucky). I decided to just go for it and join the joggers. I actually felt sick walking to the start line. I had no idea what I had let myself in for! I crossed the start line and was surprised by the bottleneck that happened. There was no room to move. This threw me a bit but I have been reliably informed by The Girl that it happens all the time. Once the bottleneck opened up I started running. I was very careful not to set off too fast and in fact the first 1km was my slowest!

At 2km I spotted a man giving out sweets so I made a slight detour to the other side of the path to make sure I was in the queue! He actually handed me the box so I took two (for my kiddies I hasten to add). It was only after I had run a bit further that I realised that I would now have to carry these sweets for the rest of the course as my fan club 😉 were at the finish line waiting for me *facepalm* but then again what else were bras made for other than to carry sweets? It’s not like it has much else to do for me!! So in they went.

In the race pack everyone was given a race number and one to go on your back which says “I race for life for…..” With a space for you to write whatever you want. Here’s what I wrote:

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My dad who I lost to cancer 18years ago and my nan who I lost 15 years ago 😦 As I ran around the course I passed the time reading what other people had written. After a while I realised I had to stop as I was starting to well up. Cancer is such a horrible disease. It does not discriminate and just takes anyone as it sees fit. Even the survivor stories were heart wrenching.

So I stopped reading them and just tried to concentrate on my running. I don’t know whether it was running in a group, being in a race or wanting to do well for my kids but it was surprisingly easy to convince myself to keep running. Now when I say “easy” you must understand that I still had the usual “I can’t go any further or I’ll die” conversation with myself but this time it was easier to say “okay well lets just get to the next km marker and we’ll see”. By the time 3km came round I didn’t want to stop. I had come this far without stopping, surely I could make 4km? If I made 4km I would be extremely proud of myself. And guess what? I made it to 4km without stopping. 😀 I did walk for about a minute at 4km as the course came back into the park there was a very steep drop so everyone was walking there. My legs felt so shaky there that I honestly thought that was it but who wants to walk the last 1km? Especially when I had my fan club waiting somewhere up there for me. Somehow I found the strength to start running again. Once I saw the 500m marker the relief was so great I actually speeded up!

Then I saw them. About 200m from the finish line. My supporters shouting for me. Little lady’s face lit up when she saw me. She was jumping up and down, waving her banner, shouting “Go mammy go!” I rescued the sweets from my bra and threw them on the blanket as I passed. Then I ran! I ran as fast as I could to the finish line.

The relief when I passed the finish line and the support from everyone lining the last 250m or so was so overwhelming I actually started to cry. I was given a medal, a bottle of water and a pain au chocolat. When I made it back to my supporters, Little lady relieved me of the pain au chocolat and the medal(!) then sat on my lap and wouldn’t let me go. That’s why there are no photos of me on this post as everyone of them has little lady in them. She was so proud of me as was both my mum and my sister. Baby D was just happy I had brought him sweets! Little lady did ask me how I had managed to go to the shop on the way round 🙂 maybe that’s why I took so long…..?!

My time? A very respectable (I think so anyway) 38.50m 😀

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Running away

I am now well into my race for life training. It’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of running that isn’t the sprint from where I’m sat to the part of the playground little lady has just fallen off, but I am actually starting to get somewhere now. I have been using a podcast to help me with my training and I am getting better. Okay so the “motivational” music leaves a lot to be desired but the actual training is pretty good.

That said there have been a few things I have learnt while out running.

The first thing, is that I have very floppy hair and it drives me mad. It flops up and down as I run, then blows in front of my face, then up in the air, then in my face, then to the other side of my parting – which just feels wrong. My hair is too short to tie up so I am constantly rearranging my hair! Surely other runners don’t get this?

The solution? Borrow a hair clip (a pink sparkly heart one no less) from little lady and with a few added brown hair grips, clip it back so that it wouldn’t move in a hurricane! Good move. Problem number one – sorted!

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Then I treated myself to an armband to keep my iPhone in while I run. Fab little gadget. The touchscreen still works through the plastic and my phone is safe while I’m running. One problem though – the popper is so tight that once my phone is in it I can’t get it back out again! It has started to loosen off a bit so I am starting to be able to do it myself without having to wait til hubby gets home. Problem number 2 – getting there!

Now my hair is no longer bothering me and my phone is safe in my new armband, I have discovered another annoying thing that happen when I run. (Does anyone else find they have too much time on their hands while they run? Nope? Just me then!!)

I have in the ear headphones to listen to my podcast while running but they keep falling out. If I’m not rearranging my hair, I’m finding and relocating my earphones! It’s a wonder I find time to run at all! Luckily hubby came to the rescue with a solution to this problem. He bought me this….

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It is a set of headphones especially made to work with my hearing aids. It plugs into my phone, the loop goes around my neck, I put both my hearing aids to the ‘T’ position and away we go! My own personal loop system. To top it all off, no one can hear my “motivational” music no matter how loud i have it! Success.

So I think I am now ready for the race for life. Don’t expect a good time as I am very slow but I really want to see how far I can run without stopping. I do plan to post my time here after the race so please be kind to me and don’t laugh.

Don’t forget I am running for Cancer Research and you can sponsor me if you wish by using the “sponsor me” button on the right hand side of this page. Thank you.