Re-evaluating the plan

My goal for this Spring was to get a Sub 5hr marathon at the MK marathon at the start of May.  This didn’t happen despite lots of training and being on target just a few weeks before marathon day.

After the marathon I had intended on entering most of the races in the EMGP series with my main goal of course being the Ultra at the start of June.

Taking five days off training when I was ill pushed my training back and I realised that my speed had decreased dramatically from what I know I had been capable of.  I know that if I had chosen to run in the EMGP races over the past two/three weeks I would damage my 35 mile Shires and Spires race in just one week’s time.  I would push myself too hard at the smaller distances, knowing that I was capable of better times, feel frustrated with my results anyway and then end up losing my confidence going into my target race – the Ultra.  Therefore I have chosen not to enter any more races until the Ultra is over and I can really evaluate how my running is going and how I feel about it.

Meghann has posted today about not being able to do it all and I think it is important to be able to prioritise just what you do do in life. I am very guilty for trying too hard to ‘do it all’ and at the moment I’m often finding myself struggling to work a full time job, fit in a part time job, train for an ultra, maintain several websites – including the running club one, blog, keep the house tidy, cook healthy meals, be a good friend and daughter.  How does anyone fit it all in?!

Tonight I headed out for a run after work with my headphones and Episode #3 of Marathon Talk on my iPod.  It had rained on and off all day and when I saw this massive puddle by my car after work I ummmed and ahhhed about getting out for a run tonight…

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…and then I told myself to MAN UP! and get out there.  I would have loved for it to have been raining like this on marathon day and I knew I wouldn’t regret heading out for a run once I was out there.

I had initially planned a 5mile run around my normal after-work route but instead headed out across quite a hilly 8.1 mile route that went through several nearby villages but had little traffic.  I lost myself in the podcast and intended on going pretty slowly – 11mm ish (after factoring in road crossings, removing my jacket, warmup and the like.)  I was still going strong at mile 7 so decided to try a trick my coach Heather mentioned a while ago and instead of trying to run faster for the remaining mile and a half, I tried to increase the number of steps I took per second.  I still had a lot of energy left in me and my splits ended up as 11:20, 10:37, 11:12, 10:48, 10:50, 10:19, 10:36, 9:30, 8:32.  Maybe I do have a bit of speed left in my legs after all that marathon training after all!

IMAG0807We’ve had a lot of rain and wind today and when I got home from work it turned out part of a tree and come down on the green opposite our house.  Somebody had chainsawed it up and was already carting it off by the time I returned from my run!

This is the third tree on the green to go over since we moved in nearly three years ago.  One day I’ll be first on the scene to collect the extra firewood!  :)

Perfect trail weather

Perfect trail weather tonight and pretty much back to full fitness finally!

I haven’t been packing lunch since I went back to school last Thursday after having a couple of days off ill.  I have barely been able to eat quarter of a bowl of cereal in the mornings and that was forced down each day.  Yesterday though I managed a full bowl, and today another one and was starving by lunchtime!  So much so, that when one of my year 7s pulled out some chocolate chunk cookies to offer me one, I couldn’t resist!  A true sign that I have my apetite back again!  :)

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I definitely need to pack up a lunch tomorrow though to make sure I don’t end up snacking on rubbish throughout the day now my appetite has returned.

Tonight I had organised myself to go on one of Kev’s Wednesday night trail runs.  He is planning on running these each week all through until the winter.  The weather was perfect.  Still warm and sunny enough that we could run in short-sleeves and shorts, but cool enough that we weren’t gasping for a drink from the heat.  He had planned a lovely route from town through fields along the river to a local nature reserve and back through a slightly different field route.  along There ended up being five of us that went out – Me, Kev, another Kev that came on the last Wed night trail run, Colin and Tim who are both much, much faster runners than me!  I think they’re both in the top group.

It didn’t matter today though and I did not feel as though I had to keep up with them.  They kept at a fairly steady pace and there were lots of gates and stiles on route which ensured we kept regrouping at regular intervals.  Kev ran with me the whole way and both Colin and Tim dropped back at separate times to have a chat with us.  I didn’t feel pressured to keep up and I felt like I was running well again.  Some of the confidence I have lost just lately began to return.  My average running pace was between 9-9:30mm and then with all of the stiles/gates this took my Garmin ‘AvePace’ down to 11mm over the 6.22mile distance.

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We passed through two fields of sheep, a field with two ponies in and a field of cattle.  I’ve never seen Kev move so fast before!  He has some deep fear of cattle in a field!  One of our club runners was tossed up in the air by a cow a few years back and had to have several operations on his arm to repair the damage that was caused.  I think several of our runners now enter fields ready to put a quick spurt on when necessary!  Is there anybody else out there with bad cattle/sheep/horse experiences?!

After the run we all stopped and chatted marathon experiences together for 10-15mins before heading our separate ways home.  It was nice to ‘meet’ others from my club who are much faster runners than me and have been running for a lot longer.  Our paths would probably otherwise never cross if we were to rely purely from meeting on running nights.  I fully intend on continuing to run on Wednesday evenings after my Ultra.

For anybody that’s interested in running an Ultra and wants bucket loads of help and advice, I notice that Women’s Running mag have started advertising their Operation Ultra again.  I entered the comp last year, and both years of Project 26.2 but no luck yet.  I shall be entering Operation Ultra again this year and suggest anyone even remotely tempted by an ultra does the same!  I would love to receive all of what’s on offer for the winner…

* Free entry into the ultra of your choice (from the list below)
* Step-by-step training plans from coaching expert Phoebe Thomas
* Ongoing training support to get you race-fit
* Essential advice on injury prevention
* Nutritional advice and support
* Apparel and footwear to keep you comfortable during your ultra

Imagine where my running could go with that little lot!…

Running with friends is the best sort of running :)

Yesterday my friend Hayley asked if I wanted to go for a little four mile jog with her from the lakes after work.  Hayley joined the beginners group the same time as me back in Spring 2011 and we both ran our first marathon together in April 2012.  Hayley was plagued with injuries not long after and has struggled to get back into a regular running routine since.  I haven’t run with her for months.  I jumped at the chance to go running with her last night, despite her warning me that she would probably be at 11-11:30min miles.  I got changed straight after school, got some firewood in and the fire going and jumped in my car to get to the lakes.

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We actually probably ran at 10:30mm average but walked for the first 0.15 miles as a warm-up, ran out for two miles then had a little walk as a break for Hayley, before turning round and running another two miles and walking back to our cars.

It was so nice to have a proper gossipy catchup with somebody whilst running.  Other than heading out with Hayley, and occasionally Jenny, I’m very reluctant to run out with others, especially as a group.  I worry that I will be too slow, or need the toilet, or feel constricted going at a certain pace.  When I run with Hayley or Jenny I feel like I can relax and just have a truly chatty, relaxed run, not worrying about my pace or if I’m struggling at all.  Although I love being part of a running club at times I worry myself before going to training on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, that I won’t be up to the standard of the rest of the group, and nobody will stick by me when I’m struggling as they will be concentrating so much on their own running.

Running out with Kev on Saturday was great (despite feeling so very poorly!)  When I’m feeling 100% again I plan on making a lot more of his long weekend trail runs over the Summer!

IMG_7499On the topic of feeling better, after getting back from my run last night I managed to eat the entire meal that Dan had cooked for me.  Boiled potatoes, breaded fish and LOADS of baked beans.  This is one of the first full meals I’ve been able to eat and not forced myself to do so and I’m feeling hopeful that I’m now on the mend!

 

A busy weekend

A busy weekend was had after waking up after my post 20 mile trail run nap on Saturday afternoon.

As soon as I woke I had to get myself together enough to cook up an Irish Stew as my dish for Eurovision and Dan popped some Russian kebabs in the oven for a quick cook.

Every year in the week before Eurovision, when the finalists are announced we draw countries and then head to our friend Kate’s house in dress representing that country and presenting a dish from that country also.  This year, I was Ireland, Dan was Russia.

IMAG0796Irish stew seemed like a great idea at the time, and after barely eating at all for the past few days I really fancied some of this dish whilst it was cooking in the oven.  Unfortunately I didn’t really think about transportation issues and ended up balancing a rather full casserole dish on a teatowel, on a tray on my lap for 20 miles to get to Peterborough!  I felt a little like I should have been on the Crystal Maze and should have been rewarded with a crystal upon arrival with just one spillage!

IrelandDan was dubbed face-artist for the night when he produced doodles as good as my clover and flag, and was then roped in to ceate several people’s face images including a really good rose on the UK person’s face!

The costumes weren’t quite as good this year as some.  (Dan and I were rather lazy…Dan’s facepaint was actually the extent of his costume, and I ended up just wearing something green for the night.  Lazy as.)  I love dressing up but having had such a rubbish week I didn’t have the energy to get together something this year.

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euroFoodThe food was not a let down though and we had a massive assortment of dishes from all across Europe.  I managed to eat a piece of the Spanish omlette, some of my Irish Stew, two pieces of french stick some of the sweet potato with lemongrass dressing and some white fudge for dessert.  It took me a long while to get the food down.  Everybody else had had seconds or even thirds by the time I put my plate down but I got through it!

pearsonsOn Sunday Dan and I headed to his nephew’s first birthday party.  We met his parents and brother there, as well as obviously his sister (Sarah) and boyfriend (also called Dan) with their child (my Dan’s nephew), Jenson.  Brother-in-law(ish) Dan already has a five year old, Evie, and Dan’s friend Phil brought her over to visit, along with Dan’s Mum.  I was photographer for the day so there are no photos of me!

Jenson had a Thomas the Tank cake and Evie was desperate to help him blow out the candle on the cake when the time came!  The only photos she would let us take of her were the ones she didn’t know we were taking, so I snapped several of the cake presenting/blowing!

haskaynes I had a piece of cake, but it wasn’t homemade and was pretty standard.  I didn’t take any of the other party food on offer as I still wasn’t really feeling like eating.  I had at least managed a small bowl of stew before heading out to the party that morning.  Not exactly breakfast food, but I was just happy to feel like eating something again!

When we arrived back at ours we sorted our lawn out.  It had been almost a month since it was last mown and it always takes forever to do the lawn as we have a section infront of the house, a long strip at the side of the house and then a large area out the back.  We decided to work on it together and spent the best part of two hours mowing, strimming and pulling MASSIVE thistles up from the garden.  How do they get so big after less than a month?!?!IMAG0799