Sunday, 9 October 2011

Half Marathon (better late than never)

I thought I'd better get this blog out before the Royal Parks crowd all do theirs v. efficiently tomorrow ;)

So 2 weeks ago I DID my Run to the Beat HM!!!!  It was brilliant.  I met up with Carla (Fortnight Flo) and Alma (Plustenner) and we ran all the way together apart from a short distance in which I had to shoot off and find a toilet or else I'd have had a Paula Radcliffe moment!!  Thanks to the Royal Standard for letting me use theirs! After that I managed to catch them up and we stayed together until the end!

Carla paced us brilliantly and kept us going steady rather than run off like all three of us really wanted to do.  I honestly think that's what made it so much easier than any of my training runs.  I'm definitely going to take more notice of pace in future and less notice of speed.

The weather was a little bit warm, but there were plenty of drink stations and we made sure we took advantage of each of them.  In the last 2 miles we saw several runners collapsed at the side of the road being looked after by medics, so we did the right thing.

We went over the line in official time 2hrs 33 mins!!! Amazing!  My prediction from my training runs was 2h 45m so it was an excellent time.

The support all the way round was terrific.  I had my name on my shirt and it was so good when complete strangers cheered me on and shouted my name. Passed the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research cheer point at about mile 11 and they roared my name out. (I was wearing one of their bright yellow shirts).  I felt like a Superstar!.

Carla's family kept popping up all round the course with a big banner.  I have no idea how they did it.  They must have been running faster than we were :)

I saw Mike and my Mum in the last 500m cheering and taking  photos and it was really nice to see them.

Carla grabbed Alma and my hands and we went across the line all together, yelling!

Then we were finished, all still standing and all feeling great. It was the most amazing feeling.

We got our medals handed in our chips and went to get our bags.  Then we did a bit of stretching and went our separate ways.  That is when everything started to go wrong for me.................TO BE CONTINUED....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Nearly There!!

So, Half Marathon is on Sunday!!!

I do feel ready now, although I'm not going to break any records.  I was awed when I saw Nell McAndrews coming in at 1hr 25 on the Great North Run last weekend, but there is no fear of me doing that.

My hairdresser did this race 2 years ago when she was 23 and she did it in 2hrs 41, so I'd like to beat her time.  Also one of Mike's granddaughters did the GNR last year in 2hrs 46,  at age 21, so beating either of the girls would do me fine as I'm twice their age. (and the rest).

I finally feel that I have my kit exactly right.

My New Balance 1226 trainers are great.
Garmin Forerunner 610 - v. efficient.  I've pared the info back to the bare minimum for Sunday so I'm not running along trying to work out what it all means.
Runkeeper as a back-up, my old pal and not really an added extra as I use the iPhone for music.
My Senneheiser 680i headphones are excellent, they just don't fall out even when my face and ears are all sweaty. (Nice).
Shock Absorber Run Bra - terrific, now I've finally got the shoulder straps at the right level so they don't unhook themselves as I'm going along.
Best of all 1000 mile tactel trainer liners.  These are the BEST socks ever.  They have completely stopped me getting blisters which used to be a real issue.

I do have a penchant for running with the kitchen sink, and watching the GNR on Sunday no-one seemed to be wearing belts.  I will definitely have a small bumbag on as I don't feel happy without sweeties, and a couple of hankies, even if I don't use them.
There was a man with a fridge on his back.  My sort of runner.  I'd have it stocked with drinks, sweeties, loo roll, and also make-up, hairbrush, spare clothes,  mirror, body spray.

Hoping to finally meet Fortnight Flo on Sunday!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Strange times

So, since my last blog what's been happening?

Well,  In spite of being "Proper Poorly and on antibiotics", I didn't think I could let up on my training, so  I went out round our fields the day after starting the meds.  It was lovely.  I haven't run round there for ages and it was a gorgeous day and Buster came with me (most of the way).  It was only about 3km, but it is on rough and hilly terrain so it's quite hard work.

Had finished most of the run, Buster flying along gamely with his Racing Ears on and streaming out behind him, when suddenly I realised that he was no longer with me. This was after I'd just gone round our largest field and I'd last seen him at the far end of it, which is separated only by a hedge from the main road.

I called him and got no answer so I thought OK I'll do another lap of the field.  Went round again, and on this second lap, (we'll come back to this later) had to cut a corner at the top end as the sheep had huddled in that corner and I didn't want to run through them and scare them.

No sign of Buster. Curses.

Next part of run took me back to  and around the house.  Buster sitting on doorstep watching me go by, had had enough of running and taken himself home. Ignored faithless hound and kept running.

Finished run and saved it on Runkeeper, and on Garmin.

Oh Runkeeper, what is going on???

I could not have got where I am today with my running if it hadn't have been for Runkeeper, it has been my total inspiration to keep going and keep seeing how far  and where I've been.   Lately however it has let me down time and time again, hence my expensive Garmin purchase. Runkeeper and I have been round our fields countless times with no problems, but this time, like so many of late, it told me that I'd run 9.7 km in the opposite direction, very fast!

Garmin on the other hand was astonishingly accurate, right down to showing the exact path I'd used to cut the corner on the 2nd lap of the big field.

I have my gripes with Garmin. I am pretty computer savvy, but it has been a complicated matter getting to grips with the functions of the Garmin and the Garmin connect website. the Forerunner 610 is the latest and best of their products but they don't  seem to have the 'support' part sorted out properly yet for it and on some parts of the site the 610 isn't even mentioned! It is getting better, but it was a bit disappointing at first.

If anyone gets a 610 and is having probs feel free to ask me as I've figured out a lot of stuff about it now that really ought to be explained more fully in the manual or on the support.

Also on the Garmin map of your run it doesn't show km or mile markers, just the whole run.  Being used to it with Runkeeper, I find it very useful, and I'm missing it on the Garmin map.

In spite of buying the Garmin I have also paid for Runkeeper Elite so that my husband can track where I am when I'm out running on my own.  He worries that I'll be murdered or kidnapped so at least he'll be able to find my body when that happens :)  .  It is a brilliant facility and Garmin don't offer it.  Luckily I hadn't shown him how to use it the other day though or he'd have seen me shooting off at very high speed down the road away from home and been convinced that I'd been bundled into a van and taken away!  Police helicopters would have been scrambled and I would have been running around our fields innocently watching them and wondering what they were looking for.

The week went on and I continued to take the antibiotics, the antibiotics and I did not get on too well.  First I developed hives which started on my legs and gradually spread to my arms, chest and scalp. I also began to get a v. poorly tummy.  I still didn't give in though and on the following Wednesday set out again to try for my 14 mile run.  Didn't do 14 miles because I hadn't planned the route very well and was back at the car after 10 miles.  BUT 10 MILES!!  Again I've run 10 miles it is quite astonishing to me that I can do that.

I could have done 14. If I'd been 4 miles away from the car I'd have got back, but I was tired.  However I know that If I can do 10 miles all on my own at this stage and with an upset tummy, I will definitely finish 13.1 miles on Sept 25th with lots of people around me and all the music going on etc.

I don' t think that I really like doing that distance on my own.  It's too far with no-one to egg you on and take your mind off it all.  I'm proud that I've done it - twice - but I'll be glad not to do it again.

Got home and spent the rest of the day rehydrating.  I was SO thirsty.  That night I had another really bad night like I had back in June.  It feels like flu.  Everything aches, every molecule of my body.   I was freezing cold and shivery. I lay awake until 1.30 then I had to get up due to tummy trouble.  That carried on all night and I had 4 loo visits. Eventually I thought to take some ibuprofen and that stopped the pains and I was able to get some sleep.

I looked back at this blog to see what I'd been doing the day before the last instance like this, but it was only 30 mins of tennis, so I don't think that the 10 mile run was directly responsible. Not Nice!

Anyway, have given myself a break since then.  Finished antibiotics on Friday and the side-effects stopped yesterday, so I'm just going to do a 30min treadmill run now.

Antibiotics did nothing but make me feel ill and my tongue is just the same.  Dr. has no idea what is wrong and has now referred me and I'm seeing a consultant on Thursday. Who'd have thought your tongue could cause so much trouble?

I feel ready to do the HM now and I wish it was this weekend I just want to get it over with.

Good Luck to everyone else going to Run to the Beat!! xxxx

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Possible Answers!

So, after yesterday's disappointment I set about making sure it wouldn't happen again.

After researching on t'internet, I concluded that both the crackly music, and the ghostly voice commands, were the fault of the earphones.

Earphones have been the bane of my life since I started running. Either they are too big in my ears and they hurt, or they get all sweaty and fall out, or other irritating little problems to numerous to bore you with.

I recently treated myself to some new ones, Radiopaq Flex.  They go round the ear so are less likely to fall out.

They were recommended as very good on a website that was reviewing sports earphones so they were the ones for me.  THEY are the ones that messed me up yesterday.

The have consistently fallen out since I've been using them.  The voice control issue, is apparently if sweat or a breeze gets into the mic hole it sets off the iPhone's voice control randomly, and I don't know why they've gone crackly after only about 6 outings, so I'm not pleased with that purchase.

Anyway I can't run on my own without music, so I bit the bullet and bought Senneheiser 680i's at a very cheap price on eBay yesterday afternoon, and today less than 24 hours later they've arrived - Excellent service.

I've had a go with them just walking about and they are very secure on my head (they have a headband at the back and go over the ears as well).  No cracklyness either, and hopefully when I take them out there'll be no more random phoning people.

Also, I had a Dr. appointment this morning.  For several weeks I've had a really really sore ............tongue!   I've been trying all sorts of medicated mouthwashes but it hasn't got better so I decided to seek advice as it's beginning to get me down a bit. (My husband says it's probably worn out).

I think it's the only time I've been to the Dr. and he's actually said "Stick your tongue out and go aaaaaahhhhh!"

He's not sure what it is, he had a good feel around my head and neck and made me yelp when he discovered that my lymph nodes are swollen.  (I hadn't noticed).  So now I'm on a week long course of Horse tablets  anti-biotics and he wants me back next week.

Anyone got any ideas about sore tongues???  One of my friends said that with the HM training I'm probably a bit "run-down".  Hahahahah!

So I'm blaming the fact that I'm unwell (I'm on anti-biotics, so I'm proper unwell, no arguing) for my poor performance yesterday.

I'm hoping to go out again tomorrow so we'll see if I do any better with my snazzy new earphones.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Crappy Run

Well that was rubbish!
I decided that I was doing a long run of 14 miles. If I did this I'd be v. happy about the HM at the end of Sept.
I did everything right.
Had Pasta last night, had porridge for breakfast this morning 2½ hours before run.
Everything went wrong.
First my music played all crackly don't know if it was the headphones or the iPod.
I couldn't get into any sort of rhythm.
Then runkeeper spazzed out and told me that I'd already done 34km! Luckily I also had the Garmin on which stayed accurate.
Then the iPhone for whatever reason kept turning voice control on and trying to phone random contacts from the phone book. WHY WAS IT DOING THIS?????
Then the iPod stopped playing altogether.
Then I got stitch!  I never get stitch, in fact I don't think I've ever had stitch once since I started running.
So I though "Bugger it all!" and gave up!  So 14 miles was only 5.63 miles followed by a walk back to the car.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Well I haven't done one for ages so here's a big catch-up!

Venice and Orient Express - Excellent.  It was really lovely.  If you'd like to see photos have a look at

Kodak Gallery
Discovered after all my weight loss, that I really couldn't manage to eat too much.  (Howl of rage) but still managed lots of lovely ice-cream!  Absolutely waddled off the Orient Express if you're not eating, you're drinking or sleeping.  Almost had to say no to afternoon tea on the Friday but the steward came along with it anyway to tempt us and it would have been rude to have left it!  

Did not manage to have dinner in Venice that night though simply too full.

Funny moment on the train.  I was sitting in the Bar Car after dinner on the Thursday night when a lady came up to me and said "I absolutely LOVE your shoes."  After she'd gone Mike asked me "Where did you get them then?? Are they Charlie Chows?"

Did do 30 mins on the treadmill at the hotel in Venice.  They had FREE brand new packets of  headphones that you could take!  I don't normally use a gym, do you usually get free headphones? I was v. excited! I've given mine to Mike for his iPad2 (Which by the way cost a lot of money but doesn't include a pair of headphones!)

What I didn't like though was that the treadmill had a TV built in and at first I thought it was really good because it killed the boredom, then I glanced sideways in the mirror and saw my posture and I was running like a hunchback leaning forward to look at the TV screen.  V. Bad. 

Ooh yes. Alan Whicker was at the table next to us at breakfast and he was on our plane home as well!  (Yes he is still alive)

Anyway, Venice over, back home.  Due to all the walking I'd only put on about 3 lbs which was great, I'm hovering around 9st9lbs at the moment and with the rest of the training for the HM I should be comfortably under 9.5 st soon.

First weekend back we had friends to stay and my running went by the board

However, the next week I had to get back into it so I set out on my first 10 miler! Did it! It took 2.05 for 10.7 miles. ( It's really odd that however far I go it always evens out at just about 33mins for 5k.)  V. proud of myself I can tell you!  

Funnily, after that I lost all motivation and really hit a low patch. Had quite sore Quads for a few days so I didn't do anything for a few more days.

Had family to stay the next weekend so no running.  2 days exhaustion after they'd all left then I did a normal 30 min treadmill run.  By the end of the week I was limping along badly with a sore Achilles.  WHY???  I didn't do anything different!

This week having rested and iced regularly, massaged with the jacuzzi jets and used Ibuprofen at night Achilles seemed much better so tried a 5 mile run.

(I love the way I can now say "Oh I just tried a 5 miler to see if I'd be OK"  5 MILES!!! WHAT??)

Achilles was fine for run and a bit stiff later in day.  I don't think I've done it any damage it's just got a bit grumpy.  I'm still icing, and Ibuprofening at night and when I get up in the morning it's stiff but I can walk and stretch it off.

Anyway, all guests are gone now bar one 9yr old for Harry Potter 3D and  a sleepover next Tuesday so from now on everything is focussed on the HM at the end of September.

I've started to get sponsorship now and people are being v. generous. My Just Giving Page

Just remembered something else my dreadful husband said on the Orient Express.

We were having dinner when a very elderly couple went past.  They looked magnificent, him in DJ and her in a lovely evening dress, but they were walking using 2 sticks each.  It's quite difficult to walk on the moving train anyway and I said to Mike, "How brave of them to come on a train journey when they're both on sticks."

He replied "Hmmph, they're probably getting off in Switzerland."

(Think about that for a moment)


Saturday, 23 July 2011

8 Miles!

So, I took a deep breath and bought a Garmin Forerunner 610!   Oooooh!

I have to say it's been a little complicated to set up, but it's done now and the link at the bottom shows you my 8 MILE RUN!

Runkeeper vs Garmin - opinion so far.

I took them both out for the run, with Runkeeper on silent, just tracking the run.  Sod's Law dictated that Runkeeper worked fine yesterday.  I did 12.98 km according to Garmin and 12.97 on Runkeeper.

Things I like / dislike about each.  I did miss Mrs. Runkeeper's voice telling me how far I'd gone, but Garmin 610 has a vibration alert, so you can set it for every 500m, or whatever you fancy, so that was fine.

I went mad with all the fields available on the Garmin and I'd got FAR too much information being thrown at me during the run.  All I need when I'm running is, the time, how long I've been running for, my speed, and my average speed.  I had calories, direction, accuracy of the GPS to within so many feet, lap times, and a few other things going on on 4 scrolling screens.  It was too difficult to see them all. Will pare right back for next run.  You can see everything else later on on the computer.

I'd like to get to grips with the Virtual running partner, I need to read up on it a bit.  I think that will be a really useful tool.

Annoyingly, I forgot to put on the Heart Rate monitor before I went out.  I've never used one before so I was quite keen to see what my heart rate would be like.  I'll remember it next time.

I'll still take my iPhone out with me because a) I use it as an iPod, and b) when I run, usually on my own, I need a phone for safety, so Garmin is another bit of kit to remember.

I've bought the Garmin for reliability as Runkeeper has been very unreliable of late, so until I've taken it out a few more times I can't tell if it's going to do the same thing. (I hope not).

The Garmin was quite complicated to set up on the computer.  The manual is not brilliant.  However I've done it and the more I use it the easier it'll be.

Garmin uses Bing maps, not Google, and I don't think they're so good.  You can however, look at your run on Google Earth once you've downloaded it, so that solves that problem.

Overall, Runkeeper is great and easy to use, but the reliability issue is a problem for me now.
Garmin is more complicated, and for the price, I do not expect any problems with the GPS, if I do get any I'll be very disappointed.

So, apart from all that, how was the 8 mile run??  Really Good!!

I am absolutely amazed at myself.  It's exactly 2 years ago this weekend that I did my first 5k, I'd gone from 48 years of couch to 5k in 4 months, and now look at me.  Nearly ready for a HM! The 8 miles was just not a problem. I was doing Jeff's recommendation of 15 mins running and 5 mins walking.  Funnily though after about an hour, when I would have expected to be flagging, I was actually finding it easier and could have managed without the 5mins walk breaks.

I had Lucozade Sport diluted by half with water in my bottle, and I also had a couple of Peppermint Creams after about 45 mins.

The new place I've found to run is lovely, all off-road and really pretty.  Husband is a bit worried in case "strange men" jump out of the bushes, but there are a lot of dog walkers about and some bike people and judging by the piles of poo, there must be quite a few horse riders using the route as well.

When I started Venice or Bust, at the beginning of Juneathon, my goal was to get to 9st 7lbs before we go to Venice, which is next Tursday. Well......I've done it!  After my run yesterday I was 9st 6lbs, and this morning I woke up at 9st. 7lbs!!!!  That's 10 lbs lost in 7.5 weeks.

I'll probably put the lot back on in 5 days on the Orient Express and in Venice   ☺☺

8 miles! by kimivory at Garmin Connect - Details