Monday, 23 November 2009

In the News again, plus Toon Moorathon

I was mentioned in an article in another local paper last week (which also has an online version). I assume the headline is some sort of pun on the fact that I'm Maths teacher?
Rather irritatingly, they misquoted me and it sounds like I think I'm going to be the first woman to complete 100 marathons, rather than hopefully the youngest. Hey ho. I don't think I'll be getting the world record officially certified with the Guinness people anyway, as apparently that's a bit of a faff. But if it leads to any additional sponsorship for Brathay then it's all good.

This weekend we headed up to Newcastle where we stayed with my parents, which made for a lovely break away. On Sunday we popped over to the Town Moor for the first Newcastle Marathon. There were loads of Fetchies and 100 club members there with a great Fetchpoint cheering us on. The 5 lap course was suprisingly not too dull and the weather was kind with a headwind that made some of it tough but other bits pleasantly easy. Only a tiny hill too. Admittedly it seemed bigger with each lap, of course. It was a well organised day out with enthusiastic marshals and a nice memento at the end that makes a change from a medal or T shirt.A 4:16:13 finish for me, with my parents there which was nice as I don't think they 'get' my running, but it was good for them to see what it's all about. Followed by a tasty meal at Wagamama. A great weekend all in all.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A pleasant jog by the seaside

No really, I mean it was just a 10K. The Brighton 10K is a lovely event and one to which I was proud to take 29 sixth form students this year. They had trained over the past few weeks as their 'enrichment activity' at college (this involved several sessions in the park where I stand around with a whistle and a stopwatch while they do some drills, intervals, hillwork, speedwork etc).

We took the train south the day after the stormy weather, which was pleasantly cool and calm. We just had time to drop our baggage before getting to the start line. The course loops back on itself a couple of times, so I took the excuse of jogging around gently, cheering on my students, as well as any other Vegan Runners and Fetchies that passed by in the opposite direction. The fastest of the students took just over 46 minutes, the slowest were just under 90. But they all finished and were pleased with their achievement. They were being sponsored to raise money for Children in Need or other charites of their choice. We all wore Pudsey-style bandanas to foster a team spirit (and to help Jim identify who to take photos of).

After the race we went our separate ways. Jim and I went for pizza, then drinks by the beach.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Running for Charity next year. A long way.

So far I've raised 9% of my target amount of £2000 for Brathay, for doing the Ten in Ten challenge next year. This month I was featured in the local paper (The Archer, which covers East Finchley). I guess it's a start. I'll have to start gearing up the fundraising efforts soon. That's actually considerably more effort than gearing up the training, as running more in the crisp fresh mornings (or the rain or snow) over the winter months is very appealing.

My training is even more meaningful as I've recently secured a place at next year's Grand Union Canal Race too. That's along the canal from Birmingham to Paddington, London. 145 miles. Can't wait!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

School on a Saturday (marathon Sunday)

As a teacher, it's not often I work on a Saturday. But once a year there is an Open Day where next year's prospective sixth form students come to look round the college. It felt very odd to be there on a Saturday, but we have next Friday off to make up for it, so I'm not complaining.
To make it feel more like a weekend then, I pretty much had to do a marathon today. The Steppingley Step is a great LDWA event. It felt very similar to last week, in that there were fields of mud, lots of stiles and some llamas. However, there was also a huge hill about a mile or so in (so steep it had steps) and some really fluffy cows that looked more like big stuffed toys than real live creatures. It felt much easier than last week though and was significantly quicker (yet still just over 5 hours).
A lovely day out in the countryside (it was a circular route, starting in the village of Barton-le-Clay, a bit north of Luton) and a chance to ride Haku (my shiny Yamaha Fazer 600) to get there. There were loads of people I knew there today which is always nice.
A weekend off next for me, which I think my legs will appreciate. (I mean no marathons or ultras - I'll be taking over 30 of my students down to Brighton to do the 10K. Makes a pleasant change from the sort of things we normally hear about teenagers doing.)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Half term rocks!

We took the Night Riviera train to St Ives on the Friday after school. By Saturday morning we had the tent pitched on the clifftop overlooking The Island and Porthmeor beach and left it to head into town for coffee, pasties, then sitting about with beverages outside The Sloop watching people, waves, the harbour... a chilled existence that set the tone for the week. We took a stroll inland one day to reach a high point where we could see the sea to both the North and the South. Pretty cool. I navigated us there with my recently well honed map reading skills (there is an extra advantage to ultra running) and only got lost once through lack of a compass. [Note to self - must get the hang of the 'reading the sun' thing.]

We both spent the week grinning like idiots. We napped a lot and generally just relaxed. We watched the RNLI launch drill one evening, always good to see. I didn't even run much as I wanted to rest my legs for a change (only 3 short runs all week - couldn't resist a bit of running along that beautiful coast).
It was over too quickly and we arrived home late Friday night. That didn't give me much time to sort out my kit for a weekend of running.

I was up before 6 on Saturday morning to head out to the Blackwater Marathon. This was a charming LDWA event near Colchester. I ran with Heather, a Fetchie I've done a few marathons with now: excellent company. I say 'ran' but we both had plans for the following day so we took it really gently. The route was flat but exceptionally muddy in parts (crossing fields where it seems that your shoes are replaced by bricks by the time you get to the other side). There were many bridges and stiles, cute llamas, petrified trees, a pretty sea wall and I got stung by an electric fence (ouch! - apparently I jumped backwards and glowed like the Ready Brek kid. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration...) We didn't get lost, which was good as the "marathon" was actually 28 miles long. There was of course good food after.Then it was a lift up to Norwich with Allan, another great Fetchie. I stayed in a nice little B&B, just a short walk from the start of the Marriott's Way Ultra. This was a 39 mile trail run on an out-and-back course along an old rail track. That meant it was pleasantly flat and there was some protection from the heavy rain and howling gales that hit the country on Sunday. I ran with more Fetchies from the start (Audrey and Carina) and one (Paul) was kind enough to stay with me (at the back of the small field) for the whole route. It was a lovely run, completed in 6 hours 48 minutes and didn't cost a penny to enter so more than a bargain. Definitely one to do next year. I felt most refreshed for the start of the new half term today. Quite a bounce in my step. ;-)