Category Archives: Status
So today was the day and what a glorious day – the weather was very good and we were treated to a spectacular autumnal day.
I was more than a little stressed/worried en route to the bag check but there was still time for Richard and I to stop and take some photos of the phenomenal sunrise.
I joined the 2:30 group and was worried it may take 3 hours to get to the end because of how long ago I started to taper but once I got started I needn’t have worried.
The atmosphere and the buzz of the crowd really do help carry you but I was sensible enough to ensure that I did not run too fast and that I maintained a good pace.
I was ahead of my average pace for most of the race but was sensible with my splits and ensured that I had a couple of gels at the 50 minute marks. That and the ample supply of water and Lucozade, I was more than hydrated and fuelled enough for the run.
Richard and I stayed in town to enable us to be there in time for the start of the race (bag drop was from 7:30 am). We walked down from the Hilton in Queensway and made our way to the baggage area. Shortly after that we met Paul and then briefly Em and her boyfriend Liam.
We dispersed at that stage and that was the last time Paul and I saw everyone again. We didn’t get to catch Enda or Faergal at the start and by the time Paul and I completed our warm up (courtesy of the Royal Army) – it was already time to get going.
Well it wasn’t – we queued for a final pee stop but it took 30 minutes to get to the toilets. That’s my only compliant this year as I missed the start as I had just got to the loo. That’s not a big problem when 16,000 people as my group didn’t actually cross the line until 9:30 anyway.
There were runners of all shapes and sizes and as usual they were all very friendly.
The route was brilliant and I was privileged enough to run on roads that are usually chock full of cars in London. Running over Westminster Bridge in the road, down the centre of The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, up through Whitehall etc – all made for a very inspiring and fun race.
Here is the full race route – how many famous sights can you name?
I wasn’t completely ready for such a grand crowd but boy did it help! For the first time I had my name on my running top (thanks to the British Heart Foundation sending me the letters) and it was fun to run and hear your name. I tried to thank everyone who called out my name (Ian Waite from Strictly Come Dancing called out my name as I crossed the finish ) but to be honest I did concentrate a lot and didn’t hear everyone.
I have to say thank you though to:
- The blonde lady on the Embankment who gave me a very loud cheer and a smile
- The guy by Embankment bridge who shouted “go on my son” and as I turned to thank him, he winked at me
- The support team from the British Heart Foundation – I have never given so many high fives!
- All the other charity supporters who were great at getting you motivated
This really made a huge difference and I spent most of the run with a smile on my face.
I didn’t start to feel uncomfortable until about the 8 mile marker but to be honest it was nothing I couldn’t handle and even though my mid run maths was a bit dodgy I was determined not to stop running, not to walk and to do as best I could.
I was a little annoyed by tourists and Londoners who insisted on crossing in front of the runners (thanks for that) and by those who chose to walk whilst not moving to the side of the tracks but that’s all part of racing I guess.
I did set RunKeeper which (even though I didn’t think it did), actually did a great job of tracking my run and uploading my information to the web live. The Royal Parks App only seemed to work for a while but as Richard said this morning it had to fail given how it had to broadcast live updates of 16,000 runners!
I did see one celebrity – Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) was decked out in his tracksuit heading towards the baggage area whilst smoking a cigarette – don’t you love superstar DJs!
I want to say a big thank you to Richard for supporting me through all this and for the late dinners and all the rescheduling of our weekends we have done to enable me to fit in all of my training. After all I even did some training in Vancouver! I could not have done it without his support. Richard has taken some brilliant photos from the day and even though I didn’t see him and Paul in the crowd on the home straight, he did manage to capture my progress perfectly. I love my baby x
I also want to thank Paul for all his training advice and support, for coaching me through my running and joining me on our odd lunchtime in London. Thank you so much Paul you are a star!
Thanks have to go to WalkJogRun whose Beginner Half Marathon training plan I used to get me up to speed and to the guys from Full Potential who were brought in by the British Heart Foundation to help the Heart Runners train efficiently and effectively.
And of course thanks to all of you for your support, your encouragement, for sticking with me and following my journey on the blog.
And last but not least thanks to everyone who has sponsored me in my efforts to raise as much as I could for the British Heart Foundation. There is of course still time to sponsor me but thank you all for helping me break through my target and raise a massive £1,365.65! Thank you all.
Here is a selection of photos Richard captured today
I met Paul today for a lunch time run (although a bit later than planned due to an overrunning meeting).
We headed out into London and made our way along the Thames to Tower Bridge, across and back.
It was very humid out and I ended up drinking a bit mid run to keep me going.
The WalkJogRun plan was for 4 miles tomorrow but I ran 3.22 at lunch (just over 5K) and am happy with that.
The run as mentioned was very humid and it was quote tricky in places as there were so many tourists out and about.
I enjoy running this route around the Thames but you do have to hop and dodge around the crowds to get where you need to go. Thankfully most people hear or see us coming and get out of our way (most).
I have to learn how to run up and down narrow stairs though. Paul does it like a pro but I’m convinced I’m going to go ass over tip so I slow down (which I believe is wise).
We were both amused when we reached the bottom of one flight of stairs and some woman tried to hand is fliers!
This was my first run with my new Garmin Forerunner 210 and it was interesting to not use anything other than the watch to guide me.
I will run with my phone on my arm when running along – purely for safety. I will however track and plan everything now on the watch.
I am amazed how easy it is to use and how clear the display/tones are when running.
I missed the 2nd km marker but that may have been me thinking Paul’s watch beeped when it was mine.
Uploading content to the site it easy and there is a lot of facts and figures to read to help me train better.
I have managed to extract all my old runs from iSmoothRun too. Rather handily they allow you to export into your Garmin Connect account. It’s so easy I did it in the train this morning.
Now all of my training is in one place and I can compare runs, save courses and dissect all the information easily.
I’m connected as trunkguy, if you have a Garmin Connect account why not connect accounts?
There are a few quirks to the Garmin site I have to get used to but to be honest it’s far better than the likes of Nike etc!
I have managed to sync my Garmin runs into Runkeeper although I note this is a little buggy. Today’s run however went in with no problems.
I’ll keep iSmoothRun on my iPhone as its a great alternative to the Garmin. I’ll also keep Run Keeper as I like its social features. Nike Running, Gipis and Daily Miles (Electric Miles app) have all been removed.
All apps serve a purpose and all have helped me get where I am and have given me a record of nearly a hundred runs which is great. I am how ere simplifying and going to leverage the power of Garmin.
I am keeping WalkJogRun too as it includes my plan for the half marathon. I could add this to the Garmin site but I’ve already invested time doing this in my iCloud account so for now it can stay as is.
I tried the heart rate monitor last night and was amazed how quickly the two sync up. As soon as I snapped the monitor on the belt the watch beeped and I was ready to go.
I need to find a way of working out all my heart rates. If you have any ideas please email or leave a comment.
It’s safe to say we were both a hot sweaty mess when we finished the run.
I pushed myself fairly hard today and although I didn’t do the prescribed distance I did run faster so am happy with this progress.
Paul (who ran a 10k in 41:32 minutes last weekend!) did have to pause for me a few times but he’s great at pacing and encouraging me. In fact even though I pushed myself and struggled with the humid conditions I did manage to have some short conversations with him mid run.
So that’s this weeks runs. Monday I aim to try and see how I get on with the HRM. I’m sure it’ll all be fine.
And yes once again no music, no distractions (except the odd thousand tourist!) and I finished feeling happy with a sense of achievement.
I realise I was at Tower Bridge with Paul (and Enda) on Tuesday as we caught the Thames Clipper there to the Millennium Dome.
We were very lucky to see an original Thames Clipper sail under the bridge. This was the first time Enda had seen the bridge raised.
As you can see it was a lovely evening to be on the river.
Update: I’ve actually had a second run this evening as I got caught in a torrential storm. I got soaked through (I was wearing my Adidas running rain coat) but decided to run to simply get home. Not the best idea in flay canvas trainers etc but I am happy I can simply turn it on and run like the clappers when I need to.
Now I simply need to dry off!
So tonight I decided to do as planned and ditched the earphones and the music. Apart from races this is very rare for me to do but I was determined to run, listen to my body, my breathing and see how if got on.
I did have the audio instruction on iSmoothRun just to guide me with my pacing but I could hardly hear it and it didn't distract me.
Considering the colour of my trail route today I am happy that its fairly consistent as this was my first decent distance run by feel.
I ran the first easy 30 minutes training run of this half marathon plan back on the 3rd of June and given that I haven't really run much over the past week, I am very pleased that I have increased the distance by nearly half a kilometre.
A different route and a different type of run for me tonight but I am at ease with this pace. I didn't struggle to keep the pace, I was able to concentrate on my breathing and I didn't need much fluid either.
Run one for the week complete.
Now I can concentrate on enjoying the Pet Shop Boys concert tomorrow in London
Runkeeper (un)helpfully indicates the Royal Parks Half Marathon is 111 days away.
I think I will be in a good space and good shape for the race even though my training has only just started.
I have chosen a plan from Walk Jog Run which has me running 3 times a week (increasing to 4 in August) and running easy or conversational runs followed by distance work on the weekends.
So far it’s been going well and even though other commitments got in the way this week, I am very happy with how I tackled the 4 Mile run on Thursday evening.
My head is in a clearer space now and I have plenty of guidance from Richard, my running friends. Especially Paul who is doing a great job at coaching me. Not just with the runs but also with any doubts or questions I have (and I have a lot of questions (sorry Paul!)).
Zen and the Art of Running is a really interesting and inspiring read (it must be as I finished it in little over a week). I’m not sure if it’s all stuck in my head but the basics are there.
I need to practice the zen methods both running and when not running but I can see clearly how this approach can help. I can see how I must work to not let myself get hindered by my own doubts or worries. To squash my fears and lack of confidence and just go for it.
I will read it again to repeat the exercises now I should be back to my normal routine but I already tried to apply some of it I Thursday and felt great as a result.
When I mentioned to Janice last week (in amongst a mammoth week at work – and she could see the stress on my face and how tired I was)… I mentioned on the busiest day I was going home that evening to run the 4 miles part of the training – she smiled. She stated how proud she was of me and that 12 months prior I was worried about running just a couple of k let alone being at ease with 4 miles.
That, the book and the advice from Paul and Enda (and others online etc) have all added up to prove I am a runner. I try not to talk about it constantly but I love running, I miss it when I’m not doing it and (most bizarrely) I am now giving friends and colleagues advice. Advice they are actively seeking from me as they too want to start running.
I could regret not doing any of this sooner and I could be angry my PE teachers didn’t pick up on this ability when I was at school but there’s no point dwelling on the past.
I did enjoy athletics (I was Athletics Captain one year for our house), short distance sprinting, badminton and swimming, so there was some sports interest there.
Anyway I have found running now and am extremely happy I did.
I have decided to remove Gipis from my iPhone. It did a great job at monitoring and training me to run faster for the 10K but at the end of the day it’s another app and something else to update.
I am going to get myself a Garmin Forerunner 210 and use that to train and pace myself. It comes with a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and lots of other features and I want to use this seriously to get my training right.
I don’t plan on winning the half marathon but want to ensure I am well prepared ahead of the race and have the best information and knowledge before the 6th October.
Nearly a year ago I wrote about running with tech and I find it interesting how things (for me) have progressed.
I’ve enjoyed running with my iPhone and my Fuel Band has been useful too. In fact without the music and coaching from the iPhone I am sure I may have not gotten where I am now.
I was already running when I got my Fuel Band but it does help motivate you when you see you’re not going to reach your daily fuel target.
I’m now about to reach 2 million Nike fuel points (Nike I think I deserve a prize) and I will then stop wearing the Fuel Band (and probably put it on eBay). I don’t look at it that often and syncing and charging it is a pain.
It’s great to use as a watch mid run as its very bright but I don’t like that I have to switch it on to see it and if I achieve a goal mid run that gets in the way (I know I can switch this off but don’t as it only annoys me when I run).
Anyway the plan is to continue to run with my phone (in case I am stuck in a sticky situation) but use the Garmin to track and to train me.
I’m planning to use the HRM to monitor my effort as I am sure there’s more power in my legs than I give myself credit for. Both the Richmond 10K and this weeks 4 mile run were great but I had energy spare to sprint the last kilometre!
I believe the half marathon cannot be run with music and am going to ween myself off the music and see how I get on.
It’s all about what I’ve been used to but I do believe that running with the watch tracking me and nothing else should help.
I’ve found a rhythm now and have stopped looking at iSmoothRun for an update on distance etc. I am sure I can cope with just the km beep from the watch as a guide.
I’d never imagined I’d be talking about such things or with such confidence but I am and I am now pretty clear on my goals.
This seems like such a different place from where I was in the middle of that cold, dark, icy winter.
I do not know what time I want to achieve for the half marathon but I simply want to complete it.
I’ve had a weekend (or rather a day and a bit) at home and seeing my mum has reinforced my need to complete the race and raise as much as I can for the British Heart Foundation. That’s my true goal. A good time would be great but completing my first half marathon by running the whole course and being of sound mind and body would be my ultimate achievement.
I have considered (and looked long and hard) other 10K races to participate in before October. Trouble is they’re either too far away or clash with other plans.
I have considered the Humpty Dumpty run in Norwich in a couple of weeks but am not sure I could drive myself there (about 90 mins), run the race then drive home (Richards at the cricket that day).
I am therefore delighted to hear that Colchester now has a Park Run which is about 15 minutes from the house in Castle Park.
My plan is to attend a couple of these (they are 5K and free to enter). Then run home or add any extra mileage I need to do following the race.
This will get me running with other people, should build my confidence and help me get used to race conditions. And the best part is it’s free!
Once I purchase the Forerunner hopefully I can integrate the Garmin runs into my other apps but its not a problem if I cannot as the Garmin site gives me everything I need.
I do however like the recent updates to Runkeeper and may sign up for the months subscription in October so that people can see my live progress during the run (sets calendar reminder to set this up).
Anyway I am amazed how things are progressing and thanks to all the points mentioned I can recognise myself as a runner (updates status on running sites from “beginner” to “runner”) and that I have grown a lot in the last year.
I’m also very pleased with my physical abilities too. I am probably the most fit and toned I have ever been and have reduced the amount I use my inhaler.
Richard has been a tremendous support throughout this journey and I’m not sure whose more surprised that I have continued to run, him or me!
He’ll of course pull my leg about it but I know he’s proud of my achievements and lets be honest, he gets some benefits from my running too…
So it's certainly been an odd week. One I didn't see coming and one where I never imagined I would be writing a blog entry on the train heading down to Devon.
As you may know both Richard and my mum have been unwell and I am currently en route to see my mum post heart surgery.
I cannot remember the last time I took the train home and its kind of odd. I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties taking the train to London to see the sights and to experience what the big city had to offer.
It was these trips that lead me to make the decision to leave the south west and find something bigger and better. I knew that Plymouth had had its hay day and knew that I would find what I was searching for in London.
I also knew (by the time I left) that I was gay and that the manner and opinions at home were not conducive to me living a happy independent life
That was thirteen years ago and I have not looked back.
I of course miss my parents but being an only child do not feel committed to the large extended family we have. I made the choice to move away, find my self, enjoy my life but ensure that mum and dad were always cared for. That's what I have done and I am proud and surprised at what I have achieved since I left Plymouth all that time ago.
I cannot condone people for wanting to stay where they grew up but I have to say it saddens me when so many people I went to school or worked with are still there. Same locations. Same lives.
Don't get me wrong many others have gone much further than I and some are tied due to commitments etc but I find it a shame that people stay put. I guess it's comfortable. I guess now I am comfortable too.
I am sure there are other places like Plymouth (or maybe Devon or Cornwall) where you could be born and raised and think you were living a million miles from anywhere.
That mentality still exists and I have taken years to break this mindset that everything is miles away from where I live. I commute 70 miles each way every day and to most people at home, they wouldn't travel that far to go to an airport on holiday.
Family and friends constantly insist we live in London. We don't. It's where we work, where we tune our careers and where we socialise. We live in Colchester and we love it there. It's taken us further away from Plymouth and that's why I have a six hour journey under way but you know what, if you want to do it you make the time. You make the effort. You get off your ass and you do it.
It may sound like I am knocking people – I am not. I made a choice and I am glad I did. I just find it sad some people never even get to that initial decision. Or maybe they regret not doing it later in life…
I fear for the generation growing up at home, there's no airport, no major road links and the local economy is declining faster than anywhere else. All government support (as always) heads up north (no it doesn't make it to London event though it feels like it) and the south west is left to suffer.
But then again the NIMBIES in the area need to stop complaining and be more proactive. If the people of Plymouth saw the value in a motorway, their airport or investing in big business and trade, the place wouldn't be in such a state as it is now.
I often spend these train journeys thinking about things. Mulling things over and I find it incredible that I can now pen these thoughts and store them for myself and anyone who cares to read them. Technology has opened these barriers. Could I have ever imagined such a device as an iPad or iPhone to allow me to do this when I first embarked on my journeys to the big smoke?
I was blogging back then but had to wait to get home to put finger to key…
This is purely my opinion but I love going home. I love this journey and I love my folks. I also love the fact that I made the decision years ago to move away and get a life. I simply hope all the grand children, nieces, nephews and friends kids at home wake up and do the same (before its too late).
I obviously love my husband and miss B and will miss them terribly whilst I am away. I am only gone for two days though and soon Richard and I jet off to the sun for some much needed r and r.
Oh… The duffle coat reference? That's Paddingtons fault. I loved Paddington Bear as a child but could never have imagined how many memories and feelings that little lost bear from Peru would evoke.
I wonder if he has reverted back to marmalade sandwiches following his brief dabbling with marmite?