This time last year I was growing my moustache and at the end of my tapering for my first ever 10K. That seems like such a long time ago and there has been quite a bit of progress this year*.
Of course I ran the Movember MoRun in Greenwich with a group of friends and raised money for Alzheimer’s Society in 2012.
This years run takes place tomorrow on a reconfigured route but I didn’t sign up for it as I believed I would be busy this weekend. As it turns out I cannot run as I have Sciatica so I won’t be doing any running for a while, let alone entering any races!
I can’t wait to get back out on the road running but it’s a way off yet as I am still having trouble turning over in bed, bending forward and walking for too long – it’s getting better but it’s a slow process.
This also means I will miss the Colchester Santa run this year which takes place in a week or so.
I have a couple of friends who are running the MoRun tomorrow and I wanted to wish Enda and Jon the best of luck for tomorrow. I don’t know if they are running in fancy dress but Enda Facetime’d me this week and he has a full beard so I am sure there will be some serious Mo action going on!
Best of Luck Enda, Jon and anyone else who may be running in Greenwich on Saturday – watch out for those hills!
*In a year my training has gone from strength to strength and I ran my first half marathon at the beginning of October.
We have had a lovely weekend. Paul visited this weekend and we decided to have a quiet weekend. Luckily the weather has been dry this weekend which meant we could get out and about.
Saturday we took a drive to Dunwich Heath where we enjoyed a stroll along the beach and the coastal path. It was cloudy but the sea was like a mill-pond. I don’t think we have ever seen it so still up there. We wrapped up well but to be honest it was much milder than usual for November.
Following our walk we drove to Saxmundham where we enjoyed a very welcome lunch before heading home.
We spent our time catching, chilling out and generally enjoying one another’s company. Richard cooked a lovely dinner Saturday evening and we enjoyed some lovely aperitif, sherry and wine which made for a very relaxed evening.
This morning the sky was clear and sunny, Paul had escaped for an early run (it was about 3 degrees outside) and returned in time for a full English. As it was nice we decided to make the most of the day before Paul had to leave and headed over to Frinton on Sea. After observing the 2 minute silence at 11 am we left the car then headed down to the beach to watch people walking their dogs and riding their horses along the shore.
As it was chilly the beach was pretty much deserted which was lovely as it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
After returning home for tea and biscuits it was time for Paul to head back to London, and as usual a weekend with friends comes to an end far too quickly.
We said our goodbyes than I ensured I made the most of the weather and got my New Balance trainers out of the cupboard and went for a run.
Following our run on Friday I noticed that the leaves on the ground made the terrain a little slippery so I decided to switch to the New Balance trainers as they have much more grip.
It was chilly but I wore my long sleeve running Run Breeze top which was more than enough protection and got into my stride.
I enjoyed the run and my pace was good so I mentally set myself a route and decided to keep going until I reached 5K. This is the first 5K I have run in a while and it felt good to reach that virtual goal.
All in all I am feeling much better and am glad I am back into the running. It’s also nice not to be training for anything as it ensures there is no pressure or plan. I will get some races booked so I have goals to work to but for now I am happy to go out, run, switch off the head, switch on my legs and enjoy the me time out on the road.
All in all a lovely autumnal weekend.
We booked the tickets ages ago and I must confess to not knowing many of there tracks (except the high pop chart stuff). I needn’t have worried though as they were brilliant live.
The band was incredibly tight, the set was awesome and Alison’s voice was amazing.
They’re sounded exactly as they do recorded and I was very impressed.
Of course I had no doubt that the doc very would be good as my new celebrity buddy Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) told me so…
I came into London wearing a Bright Light x2 t shirt I bought ages ago but never wore before.
But it gets better… Paul and I went to the retro bar to attend birthday drinks for a friend of his. We were busily chatting when I turned around and Rod Thomas was propped up at the bar behind us.
I had to double check it was him and plucked up the courage to say hello.
I spluttered something about the t shirts and how I wish I hadn’t changed. Shake his hand. Told him how much I love his album and that I’ve been an advocate of it since first hearing him sing.
He was very polite. Said thank you. Referenced the tweet conversation then proceeded to tell me how great Goldfrapp are live and to enjoy the show.
How cool is that!
Rod you made my evening!
Saturday was Pride in London (and Dublin, New York, San Francisco and many other places) and even though we didn't really plan to participate we were going to be in London.
It's Richards birthday on Tuesday and I bought him tickets for the Pompeii exhibition at The British Museum so we headed into town in the morning and went to Shoreditch where Richard had his hair cut.
Following this we found a lovely coffee warehouse off Old Street called Ozone where we had a delicious (if a little pricey) brunch.
Ozone was really nice. It had a great atmosphere and it was cool to sit and watch the chefs prepare your food in front of you. We managed to arrive at a good time and didn't have to queue. There was quite a queue when we left however.
A complete circuit led us back to Liverpool Street where we jumped on the bus to the Strand and Covent Garden. Due to the road closures caused by the parade it was very busy on the roads so we gave up on the bus and walked the remainder of the route.
After a brief look around the shops we headed over to Russell Square and The British Museum where we saw the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. We both are fascinated by what happened to the towns that were engulfed by Visouvious and this exhibition captures it wonderfully.
It's very moving and amazing to see the corpses set in volcanic ash, the possessions, the furniture and the frescos that adorned the houses of these two villages. In many ways they were a lot like us. They sadly met a very hot and stick end.
I am surprised at how well preserved so many of the artefacts were and there's still lots more to unearth in both locations.
The casts of a family trying to escape the volcanic flow by hiding under their stairs is particularly harrowing and moving.
It was only a short walk from the museum to the pub in Soho but it was a bit of a mindfield trying to get through all the rainbow coloured semi naked bodies that crowded the streets.
We arrived in once piece though and made the most of happy hour, inbibing many a cocktail in the latter part of the afternoon.
It was a great spot to people watch, especially on such a vibrant day.
A very good friend of mine was part of the organising committee and worked tirelessly on the day. We did see him go past the pub and he looked very busy. It's cause of these volunteer efforts that make Pride the success it is. Sadly we didn't get to catch up with him but I'm sure he's either resting well or still partying hard!
An impromptu street party had broken out on the road outside and we stopped for a bit to enjoy the atmosphere before heading out to dinner.
On the way to the restaurant we got up to some mischief and Wayne managed to blag a cheeky photo with a cute cooper!
Note the PC gave Wayne his hat, it's an offense to take a hat of a policeman in the UK.
This pic sums up Pride though because even with all the controversy and in amongst all the crowds, everyone was out to simply have a good, fun day and to celebrate.
Dinner was the usual riotous affair but we had a lovely meal before heading home.
The train journey home was spent homo spotting As predicted most got off the train at Chelmsford.
We didn't plan to go to Pride (we've both participated at various levels many times before) but it was great to be in London whilst it was going on. Following lasts years debacle it was great to see this year was much better organised and a hit with everyone who took part.
The organisers were very lucky with the weather too. Changing the date paid off as it was a beautiful day in London.
I've seen loads of photos of the parade online but this is one of my favourites by Keith Houghton (instagram.com/eurokeith). I think it sums the day up perfectly.
Maybe next year we may join the parade…
We're enjoying a quiet post Pride day, Richards done the garden. The housework is complete. We are now enjoying some peace and quiet in the sun. I shall head out for my run when it cools down.
What a lovely weekend.
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…
It was glorious day and as they say mad dogs and English men… Well it was certainly warm and we seemed to have joined all the office workers and as many tourists as possible during the run.
We didn’t quite make it to midday as we’d planned as work threw in a few spammers but I was determined to get out there and Paul and I started half an hour later.
We ran along Victoria Embankment, snaked our way around to the Tower of London before heading up onto the bridge, across and then back down the South Bank passing HMS Belfast, More London and the Tate Modern.
It was tremendously busy and in places we had to do a lot of ducking and weaving about to avoid everyone out enjoying the sun.
I ran in my new shoes again and was a little worried as my right foot was really sore yesterday. Thankfully apart from an odd niggle I managed to carry on ok and feel a bit tight now but nothing major.
I honestly believe that the Brooks Green Silence I wore to work yesterday didn’t provide any support and were too tight which cause my right foot to Theo’s throughout the day.
Paul had already cycled 40 km in the morning but had boundless energy on the run (he actually managed to run 10K in total).
Cause of the crowds, his ability and his experience he did charge ahead in a couple spots and I had to concentrate not to run into anyone or lose him. At one stage I nearly went up onto one of the bridges when he had run under it.
I have walked these routes many times before but never actually run them. It’s good to run with someone who knows the routes as Paul was confidently pounding the pavements and cobbles on sections I would have been inside about.
I found some of the running a little tough. The combination of the heat and keeping up with Paul was a challenge in places. I am happy that I didn’t actually stop at all though and even though my pace was slower than his, I did keep going.
I did run in miles again but on mentioning this to Paul I am going to revert back to KMs as its a unit I am familiar with and it makes sense to me.
I knew we’d covered some distance but it wasn’t till I converted the run for miles that I realise how far I had gone.
This was a lovely route to run though. We saw so many sights and it was lovely running along the river and taking in all the famous London landmarks. I’m sure the tourists think we are nuts but we are very lucky we get to see all of this every day.
For another follow up run from a race I am happy with my progress. I now want to do the first long run of 4 miles. I just have to decide whether to do it Friday or Saturday.
I am happy with the progress in my new shoes. Two runs in and they are breaking in nicely.
And such a glorious day for it too! Long may this lovely weather continue.
The Richmond Park 10k adventure started with Paul texting me to say he was not well yesterday. I must admit I worried a bit as I was mentally prepared to run with Paul but not on my own.
Thankfully a heaving dose of lemon, honey, Lemsip and Benadryl seemed to sort him out.
I stayed at Paul’s as Richmond is the other side of London from Colchester.
We walked to Clapham where we had a very nice and filling meal at a local Italian. This seemed to be enough to stock up my reserves but annoyingly I speared the top of my mouth with the caramel from my creme brûlée.
We had a relaxed evening, facetimed Richard and turned in.
I woke up at around 4 then 5 but managed to dose until the alarm went off at 6:45.
We had a fuelling breakfast of porridge, banana and juice before showering and heading to Richmond.
The park soon filled up and there were plenty of runners and supporters.
The races were split between 5K and 10k and were very well organised.
To ensure the runners didn’t take over the park we went in waves and Paul and I ended up in the first pack of the 10K.
It was a little over cast and a little chilly at first but the sun made an effort to break through and it warmed up quickly.
At 5K I was comfortable and Paul and I had found a pace I was happy with (he can go much faster than me).
At 6K I recalled the trouble I had on the Mo Run and had some phantom groin pain.
This passed and was replaced at 7K where the pins and needles attacked my right foot.
At 8K I was through all this mental stuff and talking to Paul about how my trainers definitely need changing.
I didn’t aim for a time but secretly was hoping for under 1 hour. At 7K I found a good rhythm after some initial breathing problems and thought I would make it.
Sadly at 9K this was obviously not going to be the case but I kept up the pace and found some last minute energy to cross the finish line just ahead of Paul.
I certainly need to pace better if I have that much energy left in the tanks at the end of a 10K.
I am very very pleased with today. My final time was 1:02:14 which is faster than Mo and was a consistent pace.
Mo I had to stop and walk several times. This time I did not.
The speed work has made me marginally quicker but it had helped my strength.
I ran the whole course and regardless of any doubt on a few parts I kept going and found a pace I was really happy with.
I am sure I can push myself further and will work on this as I start my next phase.
So I’ve done it. Another 10K and I have another medal to add to my collection 😃
Richmond Park is a beautiful setting and amongst all the running we managed to avoid running through any deer poo! Paul unfortunately caught his ankle on a nettle when he was walking to the start but he managed to not let it trouble him.
Richmond is so scenic. There’s acres of deer park and open wood land. It was amazing to come around the loop and see London way off in the distance.
When we completed the run we took our short thank you video and some finishing photos with our medals to capture the day.
We then headed back to Paul’s to shower and to have some lunch.
I’m now on my way back to Colchester to see my baby.
I cannot believe how well today has gone and how much I have learnt in this year of running.
Paul is a great coach and a true friend. He had helped me in so many ways.
Thanks to everyone who left such lovely messages on Flickr, Facebook, here and Twitter. Your support means the world (not sure about the comments about my nipples – naughty!). Thank you.
So what next? An easy week and then I start preparing for the half marathon..!
The glorious bank holiday weather continues and today Richard and I spent the day in the company of good friends Rob and Chris.
We drove to Charlecote Park in Warwickshire which is one of our favourite National Trust locations.
I especially like the buttercup meadow and all the wonderful countryside. As you can see we had another lovely day
Paul and I met up at lunch for a run and planned some speed work. We picked Blackfriars Bridge as our target and started with a normal jog across the bridge and back.
We then increased this to run fast for half the length of the bridge and jog the rest – we did this in several loops before increasing this to a full high speed run across the bridge for the full length and then jog the whole length back.
This was good fun and interesting to run with Paul especially as I thought I had a bit of an advantage at first running ahead of him for the first few sprint sessions. Of course he is much much fitter than me and soon over took me.
It was absolutely belting it down with rain and blowing a gale so my chest was feeling the pressure of the extra work. At least I didn’t feel the force of someones umbrella which ome poor runner did when it blew inside out and took him out!
I looked at iSmoothRun once in the run as I was unclear how long or how far I had gone – it was only when Paul raised the question about the length of bridge that I realised my tracking had stopped. I am not sure if I knocked it, stopped it or whether rain had gotten in a trigged the pause but it meant I have not accurately tracked todays run which is so annoying.
Luckily Paul was tracking through his Garmin so I know I was running for 24 minutes and ran just over 4Km. Not bad considering the conditions and the mind games I had started to play on myself with regards to doubts about how well I was doing as I had no idea how far or long I had gone.
This is the revised route with the correct data but of course this doesn’t include all the pace data etc :(
That said it was a good run and I did enjoy it. I need to work on pacing without music etc and have to ensure I am on top of this for the 10K on the 1st. I am sure it’ll all be fine.
I was very happy all I had to do was come back across the bridge, stretch and then head straight into a hot shower at the gym. Poor Paul had to run home in the rain before he could have such luxury.
Still a good run regardless of the conditions and the tech issues – looking forward to the race. Cannot believe it’s just over a week away!