Jantastic – Febulous complete

It is whizzing by! I managed to panic myself today by clicking on a link from the Brighton marathon- 39 days to go! That does not sound long at all.

So, last week went like this:

Monday- Rest. Had a bath to try and help as my legs were a bit stiff. Noticed the Epsom salts as I got out. Whoops. Must try harder next time.

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Monday morning post-half marathon treat= a yummy chai latte

Tuesday- Club run. A new route which ended up being 5 miles (and some did more as they were looping back). Legs felt pretty heavy so just went at a steady rate and chatted.

Wednesday- SRC run. Only 2 of us turned up! The run leader accompanied us on a bike. Originally was going to go further but only just got home in time to make the start, so 4.5 miles was the total.

Thursday- Pump.

Friday- Rest.

Saturday- Parkrun with my dad. He was going to take it easy, so I joked I would try to keep up. It started raining at the start, so we sheltered behind a tree (the wind was making the rain go properly sideways). We had a good catch up on the way around and he even let me cross the finish line first (we got the same time). It was pretty cold and although we both enjoyed it, we were glad to get back to the car. Then I popped home for a shower before we headed over to my parents’ for breakfast. The rest of the day was spent catching up on work.

Sunday- Long run day. I laughed at my plan, as until now it just said the exact number of miles, whereas this weekend it said 17/18 miles. If you had a choice, what would you choose? In the end I mapped out a route that was just over 17 miles, and thought that if I felt OK I could always run up and down the road at the end to make it up. I woke up before my alarm (7am), had a vanilla pulsin’ bar (thanks to Jess for suggesting something more dense than porridge), had some water and then stopped dilly dallying about and just did it. The route ended up being 17.6 miles, and it was so windy that I could not face adding the extra bit on. It was slow- I think I should be doing 11 min miles but it was less than that, but then I think at least I finished. Andy even said when I got home “you don’t look too bad”. And I didn’t have to stop. After walking around town, and having a late lunch I even managed an afternoon nap- I went to lie down and listen to a few more podcasts and then suddenly it was an hour later!

4/4 workouts done, long run distance done (I had put 17 miles in) and 30.2 miles in total.

Next week the joker will be played as I will be at work for a couple of evenings and know I won’t get the 4th run in. I have set my March targets (4 runs per week and long runs of 20/12/20/12, and a time target for one of the 20 milers). Next weekend is a biggie- 20 miles. Eek!

How have the first two months of the year gone for you? If you are doing Jantastic, what distance have you chosen for your time trial? One year I predicted 27 minute 5k, did a parkrun in 27.10, and then realised I had managed to predict 27 hours as my time! I did not score well that time!

Post run routine and another long run

I don’t know about you, but when I get home from a run (and I mean a longer run really) I just don’t know what to do first. I want to wash my face, I want a drink, I should go to the toilet, I need some food, I need a shower…. what to do first?

I used to always get straight into the shower, but I was finding that after I was out, dry, dressed, had wiped down the shower, hung up the towels, then made my breakfast, an hour could have gone by and I would just feel awful. So recently I have been washing my face (so salty), putting on a jumper so I don’t get too cold, having a drink (lovely nuun tropical is my favourite at the moment) and an apple, and then having a shower and breakfast a bit later. It was working well.

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But the mileage has taken another hike. I have been having something first, although porridge didn’t work out so well, so this time I had a pulsin’ bar (the vanilla one), and went out about 30 minutes later.

The run was actually OK. I was really dreading it for some reason, and didn’t sleep well at all (although I haven’t been sleeping well anyway at the moment), so I was up at just after 7am and out the door before 8. I had roughly plotted a route, which was a figure of 8 with my town in the centre- good in case I was really struggling.  It was around 17 miles (my plan said 17 or 18) but I could always run up and down the road to add a bit more on if I wanted to. I wasn’t sure what to wear, in the end I chose a t-shirt and my jacket (good for the pockets).

2015-03-01 14.26.49I packed these snacks, plus tissues, phone and key, and decided I would not look at my watch. I lined up my podcasts (the rest of the latest Happy Health Chat, Marathon Talk from early Feb, News Quiz from last week, and Adam Buxton on Richard Herring) and then tried not to think about running for that many hours!

I looked at my watch, hoping for 10+ miles, and was surprised when it was over 11, so I had one yoyo then, and another at around 14 miles. I do think I could have done with a bit of water, so I will dig out my waist belt bottle carrier thing for next weekend. The wind was really tough- at times it felt like I was barely moving, but at least it was sunny. I kept having to roll my sleeves up and down, and zip and unzip my jacket, but at no point did I get too hot which I was relieved about. It was slow (3.21), in the end the route was 17.6 miles and I opted against rounding it up because in the grand scheme of things, 0.4 of a mile didn’t seem like it would make much difference.

Anyway, back to the post run routine. Today it went visit bathroom, wash face, have a drink, have an apple. Realise the hot water hasn’t been on long enough. Have a bowl of muesli and some tea (I was going to have French toast but I could not be bothered). Shower. Ah lovely hot shower. Burn half my skin in the shower (the water isn’t that hot, but my skin gets very cold). Have some more water.

We had to pop to town, which I think is a good thing as I need to keep moving. We park a way from the town (well, it is probably about half a mile out)- it was a slow walk today! We had a John Lewis cake voucher, so we shared some chocolate cake and had more tea, before walking back to the car.

But then, there is the whole other post run routine, which I just find a bit hilarious really. It goes like this:

Plug Garmin into the computer. Wait for it to sync the data.

Go to Garmin Connect, edit the name of the run and briefly look at the map.

Go to Strava. Edit the name of the run there. Look at the activity feed and “like” all of the new ones on there. Look at my training log and see the mileage. Notice that I have completed the 10k/ half marathon/ etc challenge and wonder whether if I beat that time I will move up the leaderboard.

Go to Jantastic. Log my runs (Strava has sent them there, I just need to add them). Look at my jantastic score, see how my team-mates are doing, and wonder about the badges.

Then there are the optional ones- go to facebook and post on my blog page. Go to the Did You Run Today? page and post on there/ comment on other peoples’ runs. Go to marathon talk and rate my run (I hardly ever do this now- so many other things to do!). And of course write a blog post.

Phew. A lot to get ticked off!

I do feel like a mad person sometimes frantically clicking from one website to the next- log your runs everywhere!!!

Marathon Talk Ep 265 was really interesting- I highly recommend it. They had a discussion about nutrition with Chrissie Wellington- it did make me think a lot, and I don’t agree with everything that was said, but I do agree that we are really still sold energy gels etc when I don’t think they are needed. Just back from listening to this, I look on my facebook page to see a link to this article, which at one point suggests taking a gel before a run. Just no!! This was one of the reason I stopped buying WR magazine- there was a huge focus on weight loss, and a lot of the articles felt repeated, but also the advice regarding nutrition seemed very swayed by marketing.

Right, I am off to make some French toast as a delayed brunch (really, it is now late lunch but who is counting?). What is your post run routine? How many websites do you have your runs logged on? I haven’t even mentioned twitter as I am not on that, but I bet to a lot of runners that could be added to the list too!

Sweet and salty

In half term I was meeting up with some friends, and knew I fancied making something with chocolate and salted peanuts, I just didn’t know what.

A quick google found this Nigella recipe. Chocolate? Check. Salted peanuts. Check. Honeycomb? Well, not on my original list but it makes it sound even better.

I have made honeycomb before, but when I was buying nuts in the little health food shop I found a bag of honeycomb, so bought that for ease.

I ended up following the recipe here, because I really don’t like recipes that use cups- they make a lot more mess for one, and just are not as accurate. I had no golden syrup so used either rice syrup or agave, I can’t remember.

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Then I only took one photo, of a piece left over. But trust me, it was amazing. And very easy to make- basically melt stuff in a pan, add nuts and crushed honeycomb. Pour into tin. Cool. Try not to eat all at once.

Enjoy :)

Jantastic week 7- high mileage!

Half term seems a long time ago now!

Monday- 16 mile run (due to being away at the weekend). No heating made this not fun at all, because I knew I was coming home to a cold house. 3 + hours, then a visit home for a shower meant that it felt like it took up most of the day.

Tuesday- Rest. Visited some friends, played games and ate cake (and crudites!). Returned home to a warm house- phew.

Wednesday- Waffle House brunch with some friends. 8 mile Sweatshop in the evening. Feeling good.

Thursday- Walking in London (another brunch with another lot of teacher friends). Body Pump was fully booked so did the instructor’s earlier class, Body Conditioning. I remembered while doing it that I used to do that class before I tried pump. Pulled up my leggings and heard a rip- turned out I had ripped the pocket off- I was very worried for a few seconds there!

Friday- 4 mile run- I saw an owl. It was amazing. I was running along and could see this huge white bird sitting on a post. As I got closer it took off and swooped through the trees, and then looped back again. I tried to take some photos, but as soon as I stop running my glasses fog  up, so it was a bit difficult!

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In the top right hand corner of the photo you can see the n shape of the owl against one of the trees.

I ran out and back, and as I got back to that part it flew across the path in front of me. Amazing. I went for pancakes at my parents’ house and my dad told me that owls section their hunting ground into quarters and search it very logically, which is what the owl appeared to be doing.

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Anyway I was finding it quite tough and that was just what I needed to remind me why I love running.

Saturday- Lots of walking around Brighton.

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Sunday- Brighton half marathon! Hooray! And then more walking around the town, and the train stations, and the underground….

So, 4/4 workouts done. Max distance of 16 miles done. Weekly total of 41 miles!

I also had a look and I have run 91 miles in February so far (as the week before last I only managed two short runs)- if all goes to plan I will get over 100 in a month which seems like a big amount to me!

Brighton Half 2015- working out what I am capable of!

This is going to be a long post, so you might want to make a cup of tea before you begin!

On Friday we travelled down to Brighton- we had a lovely walk in the evening around the town, and dinner at Bill’s.

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Saturday was a gorgeous day. We went out for breakfast (Cafe Coho by the station- I had these amazing nutella and banana pancakes, and Andy had some sort of scrambled eggs and bacon thing), and then had a long long walk along the seafront.

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Colourful beach huts.

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It was a really high tide (the highest for something like 18 years) – only a few metres of the beach was dry for walking.

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Perfect. We went around the shops for a bit, and shared some lovely lemon cake as an afternoon pick-me-up, before resting for a bit in the hotel (just back to see Mo Farah having his new world record time confirmed), and then went to Pizza Express for dinner.

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Then we had another walk to see the Pavillion lit up at night- it didn’t come out well in the picture though.

Luckily on Sunday the weather was fine- it had originally been forecast as rain, but thankfully that was pushed back to the afternoon. When I did Brighton before I remember being boiling hot, so I deliberately only wore a thin long sleeved top, with my OH vest over the top, and left my gloves behind.

2015-02-18 14.42.57I had an oatmeal raisin clif bar as breakfast, and packed some bear yoyo’s in my Spi-belt in case I felt like I would need a boost.

I could not quite decide what to aim for. My last two half marathons have been tough- Bath was my fastest ever time (2.06 something) but I felt pretty awful for most of the race, and was really shaky at the finish. Then I did Ashridge trail, which was just a super tough course on a hot day, taking me around 2.45. So I wanted to banish those demons and finish feeling strong. I used the free pacer band creator on the Lucozade website, and made one for 2.05, and one for 2.10 (2.10 would beat my previous Brighton time, and 2.05 would be a pb) and I was thinking I would finish at around 2.08. Basically I had to keep my miles between 9.35-9.55, so those were the numbers I kept in my head.

So, onto the race. We walked down from the hotel- as Andy wasn’t doing it I could wear my coat and give it to him at the last moment, so I stayed pretty warm- the pavements were icy and I saw a few people fall over on the way. Once in the starter pen (I ended up being right at the front of the 2-2.15 pen as that was the first opening I found) I could no longer hear the tannoy, but on walking down I had heard of an 80 year old man running it on his birthday- amazing stuff (he is in the video here). I bumped into a friend from SRC in the starter pen, which helped take my mind off the miles to come.

Then everyone was counting down and we were moving towards the start line- there was even a sort of coloured paper sprinkler thing to shower the runners with. I found the start really congested- I kept getting people from behind catching my legs which was weird (do I kick my legs so far out behind me?) and I was a bit worried about being knocked over. Also, one man spat on the ground and it only just missed me (soooo gross- if people need to do that surely they should move to the side????), and I got bumped by a few headphone-wearing runners. But anyway, of course most of the other runners were fab. I kept the 2 hour pacer runner in sight for a few miles, but once I got to the hill they were gone. At around this point I had a mini crisis of confidence- all the runners around me were super slim and athletic looking people, and I did really feel like I didn’t belong in this section of the race at all. The course doubles back and I could see the people behind me, that looked more like me. I did manage to talk myself out of it though. I didn’t find the hill too bad again- I think it is not too steep an incline so although it is uphill it doesn’t sap your energy like some hills can. I didn’t see any of the mile markers, but every time I glanced at my watch I was seeing 9 something, so that was good. After around 5 miles (I think) you turn back and go down towards the start, and this turned out to be into the wind- better that way around but it was tough and I think that mile was slower than my uphill one!

As I got towards the start line (you run past this at around half way) the announcer was shouting that the winner was just heading towards the finish! Crazy stuff!

The course then goes along the seafront in the other direction (towards Hove?)- basically where we had walked yesterday. I think I was remembering the Brighton 10k, as that is a mini version of the course, so I thought we would turn sooner than we did. I saw the 8 mile marker and checked my pacer band, and I was on track for the 2.05- exciting stuff! I wasn’t finding the wind too bad, but it wasn’t the easiest.

At this point I was running just behind a guy with “FLUFF” on the back of his t-shirt. So I spent a long time wondering- is that his name/ is that a club/ is it some sort of charity/ and also thinking about marshmallow fluff. I was also by some people with the BOSH running tops, and loads of the marshals had those tops too, so I had lots of cheers  for people around me which made things more interesting. I have seen about BOSH running on blogs, but wasn’t quite sure what it was- does the B stand for Brighton? It kept my mind busy anyway.

Finally we turned, so the wind was almost behind (sort of from the side a bit) and I saw the 10 mile sign- only a parkrun to go hooray! At this point I was feeling good- no need for any bear yoyo’s and no need for any drinks from the water station- I just wanted to get it done. I spent time here trying to work out where on the parkrun course I would be. At the 11 mile marker I checked my pacer band and I was still on track for 2.05- awesome-sauce!

I knew Andy was going to walk back down (he went to have breakfast while I was running) so was looking for him in the crowds, and then as I saw the 12 mile mark I tried to pick up the pace a bit more. I was so pleased that I had felt strong throughout. Often during half marathons I struggle between 8-10 miles, but I suppose the middle distance runs have helped me with this and I felt fine.

I didn’t see Andy (I was looking on the wrong side of the road) but with half a mile to go I saw my time and knew I could get a pb, and managed to keep my legs going.

I got that weird feeling sick feeling in the final spring (I get it at the end of parkrun sometimes) but it went as soon as I stopped after the finish line- it’s only when I push myself hard. I saw my watch said 2.04 something, so I just had to wait for the official time but was pretty sure I had a new pb. Thankfully they had foil blankets (although a big queue and the poor people giving them out were having to peel them apart as they weren’t in packets)- then I walked along further and got some water, further still for the goody bag, and then finally got my medal.

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Check that baby out!

I met up with Andy and put my coat on over my foil blanket, and then we walked back to the hotel. I was impressed with how good I felt- my legs did feel a bit stiff but I managed to jog a bit to meet up with him.

Brighton beach

I had a nuun tab in the water, and then had the yoyo’s on the walk back to the hotel. The bag was rubbish:

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The paper looks OK, but seriously who wants crisps, a frostie bar or jelly babies? Not me! Not even a banana or anything.

Once back at the hotel I had a shower (check out was 12, but we were offered a late check out so I had time to wash and dry my hair), and then got the text confirming my time: 2:04:10!!! Phenomenal!

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I tried to take a photo to show how red my chest was- the skin got so cold and then when I have a hot shower it goes red and itches for ages after, but the redness doesn’t really show well in the picture.

Andy had to head off to the football, so I went out for some lunch (lovely Iydea), got an amazing tea latte from the Bluebird tea company (they use almond milk! Yum), and then got the train home. (Which sounds simple, but as there was no through service it was a train, then the underground, then another train). I think all the walking around the underground and stations helped though, as although my legs are tired, they are not very stiff.

I am really really pleased with this. Mainly it has been another confidence booster, as I can see that my long runs are actually making me a stronger runner. If the half had been the main race I was training for, I could have gone faster, but I wanted to feel strong (I did) and enjoy it (I really did). Andy joked when I finished about how I should be able to do it all again- I obviously couldn’t have done that, but I felt like I could have carried on, and of course running longer I would run a bit slower, so it has really helped with how I feel. Although I then panicked myself realising that the full marathon is only 7 weeks away. How is that possible??? Hopefully my next trip to Brighton will be just as enjoyable…

2015-02-22 17.07.29Finally check out the medal size! I found Andy’s 2012 and my 2013 medal, and this year is much bigger! It was the 25th year so I think that is why.