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.
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
Things are mental at work. I’m not enjoying things one bit at present and each day there is more pressure and my head is spinning.
Planning a run in the middle seems mental but I wanted the release in my day and wanted to ensure I enjoy an evening with Richard as he will be home when I get in.
I had a massive headache and was contemplating not running but I am so glad I did.
I got out at lunch and headed towards Westminster.
I encountered the first group of tourists and crowds at Westminster Bridge and ended up with the other runners on the kerb or the cycle lane.
Things got very congested on the other side and I was struggling to keep any pace. I don’t understand why tourists pay so much money for attractions such as the London Dungeon. The queue was ridiculous – there’s so much more to London! Anyway…
I was supposed to run a 45 minute conversation pace. At this stage 45 minutes at any pace looked like a challenge.
I had to literally fight my way through the crowd and it was by the Millennium Eye that I had my first casualty. Tourists it would seem do not look where they are going and a woman came out of the queue and instead of looking ahead she was looking behind. I dodged her but caught her elbow with my water bottle.
The crowds persisted all along the South Bank but I managed a decent pace and decided to keep going.
I aimed to run 5k then increased this to 6k and so on…
At Southwark a young girl with an oversized handbag was an unexpected obstacle and during my attempt to miss her she stuck her arm out and I caught her bag. She called me a tit. I simply made some comment about using the handles as they were intended and carried on running.
There were many near misses today as London is now at the height of the tourist season. It’s very different from dodging fields full of cows and rabbits when running in Colchester.
I decided to continue to London Bridge and stupidly thought it’d be an idea to run up the stairs. They are very steep and I was knackered when I reached the top. At this point I stopped the timer and walked across the bridge. I had a well deserved drink too.
Once on the other side of the bridge I felt fine but was tired of the crowds. I decided this wasn’t going to stop me though and started the timer again.
I then ran back onto the bank of the river and headed back towards to office and Blackfriars Bridge.
I made it back in 45 minutes before stopping on the bridge to so some stretches.
Regardless of the crowds and the sporadic approach to the run, it all came out well.
Nike reports 6.96 km and Garmin recorded 6.65 km. Not too shabby as I was under several bridges and in quite a few walkways so both devices did well to track my route effectively.
With the walk across London Bridge in the middle I probably tipped over 7k which I think is very good going considering I felt like death before I started.
Apart from the odd post run ache I felt much better this afternoon and was very grateful I went for the run.
I want to run some more of London and aim to ask Paul for his companionship on future runs. It’s just a nightmare to schedule anything at present as my work calendar is subject to change without warning.
At least the running, my baby, Brandy and my friends help to keep me sane in amongst all this chaos.
I’m looking forward to an evening curled up on the sofa with my baby and miss Brandy.
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!
The forecast in London was to top 31 degrees today and I had planned to run with Paul at mid-day. Thinking of Mad Dogs and Englishmen… I decided it would be a nice idea to try and move the run to a cooler time. I looked at the weather and there was only a degree in it between 8 am and pretty much until tonight. We did move our run to 11:30 in an attempt to miss some of the heat and some of the tourists but we failed on both counts.
We ran from the office (after stocking up on liquid), along the river Thames towards Tower Bridge, at Tower Bridge we caught some congestion cause of the tail end of a carnival (which was very odd mid week), from there we crossed to the South Bank and ran back to wards the office.
We had a surprising amount of shade during the run and thankfully Paul stopped a couple times to get a drink and this enabled me to get my breath back.
Todays plan was 40 minutes at an easy ace but I ended up running 37 minutes at a faster pace – possibly at my threshold for this heat. I was sweating buckets but enjoyed the run when we were moving.
I didn’t enjoy stopping but it was unavoidable in this heat and as Paul said its best clock the time out then to worry about the mileage.
Paul did manage to go at a blistering pace though but I am happy I kept up with him most of the run (he had already been to the gym and turned up topless and sweaty as he had run from home to meet me (and he ran back)). The guy certainly has some stamina!
There was an awful lot of tourists around today and when we ran around the South Bank it was very very congested. I haven’t seen London quite so busy but it’s good to see and of course the weather is making all the difference.
It’s interesting to see how many people were out running today especially in this heat.
I can’t log my run until later as I left my Garmin cable at home but it’s another run in the log
If you have not done so already please be so kind as to reward all this effort and sponsor me British Heart Foundation. I am training to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October. Thanks.
Updated with stats from Garmin Connect:
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…
Starting the half marathon training a week early may sound mad but this is probably the only time this week or next I'd get in the long run which this time is 4 miles.
In an attempt to mix it up again I've extended my route and this time made my way into Highwoods Country Park. Richard and I have only been there once and it is on our doorstep so I'd be mad not to include it in my runs and explore it.
As you can see I made it into the country park and turned around at the half way marker. From the satellite image above you can see exactly how big the park is. I am sure it'll be a great commodity as I increase my mileage. Of course running the park will be even more enjoyable if its as beautiful and sunny as it is today.
I really found my rhythm today and just got on with it. I think the new route was a bit of a distraction and running through the fields of buttercups was lovely.
Running with Paul last week has given me confidence too. Finishing the 10K and running a steady 5K Wednesday has woken me up and getting through the 5k and into 6 was good going today. I didn't worry about it. I simply got on with it.
I'm glad I took Paul's advice and reverted back to kilometres instead of miles as I can gauge my efforts based on each km. I've also reduced the amount of information iSmoothRun provides mid run so I am not swamped with stats.
Busy day at work but the run has really helped me switch off and start my weekend with a great boost.
I started to read Zen and the Art of Running today and its given me some ideas of how to further boost my mental attitude to my runs. Most importantly it will help me balance my doubts about my abilities and the voices in my head that stress me when I worry about juggling all my training with my time at home and work commitments.
Fastest track today (giggles) was Runaway by Janet Jackson.
Have a great weekend everyone!
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.
My first run following Saturdays 10K and its all change tonight…
New trainers – my old Lunarglides were starting to hurt my feet but I decided to wait until I completed the race to change them (I did clock up 318km/198 miles in them).
I can certainly feel the difference. There is definitely more bounce and obviously more cushioning as a few times I scuffed the floor whilst running.
I have a pain in the ball of my right foot which is where I am getting support I wasn't with the old pair. It'll be a matter of time but I am sure I will get used to them.
They are a bit bright though, I may need to get them a bit dirty!
This will probably be my last pair of LunarGlides as Nike seem to be discontinuing them. Looks like I will be moving to Flyknits after all!
I don't actually start my half marathon training until next week but have a week of crap and upheaval in work so have decided to start from tonight.
It wasn't an intense run tonight as I had to do 30 minutes at a steady pace. This seemed ideal for the new shoes and was just about right to run following the 10K.
Given the shoes and the fact I only had a days break I am feeling remarkably well except for a minor niggle here or there. After the Mo Run I was in discomfort. Just shows how much I have grown since November.
I think I may try to find some more 10Ks before the half marathon though to give me as much experience as possible before race day.
Although (above) Nike is reporting in KM I have made the switch to miles to ensure that I am running at a measure that makes sense for the half marathon. As the first set of runs are based on time rather than distance it'll give me chance to get used to not running in KMs and mentally waiting for my usual distance markers to come up during the run.
I am also running different routes to shake things up a bit. By August I'll be running 10 miles so I'll need to get some new routes sorted otherwise I'll go mad. There's plenty to do around here, I just need to branch out and forget my old loop methodology. I'm not sure I will branch out as far as Paul did when he ran here but then again 10 miles is some distance!
The training with Gipis did ok but I am going to move to a half marathon training plan I have seen on Walk Jog Run. This allows me three runs a week and up to four when it gets full on in August.
I can tell that something triggered in me on Saturday and I kept on my feet today, ignoring any doubts or concerns. In fact to be fair I didn't have any. I just got out there, managed to program iSmoothRun to the right pace and apart from a couple points where it told me to go faster (mainly as I went under the railway bridge) I was on pace throughout the run and enjoyed it.
As I wasn't held back by concerns over the distance etc I was free to just feel my way around the run and enjoy myself. It was a lovely evening and I was really glad I got out and running.
I think juggling all my running around work is going to be tough but I am determined to crack the training and complete the half marathon in a time I will be proud of.
Fastest track this run was When a Fire Starts to Burn by Disclosure. If you want a great album for running you cannot go wrong with this English Deep House gem. It certainly kept me motivated!
Roll on the next run (which will be in London with Paul).