Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A marathon on a Tuesday

The Leahurst Marathon is a small event - just 19 runners this year - which takes place starting in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. Very icy in places, a pretty route with a mixture of road, fields, paths and trails. We ran it as a group (great company) at a very relaxed place (nearly 7 hours!!). Nice.My 44th and last marathon for 2009, bringing my total number of miles covered in races this year to just over 1500.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Snowy sunny marathon - phew!

On Friday, along with the snow came an email from the organiser of the 'Stansted Stagger' marathon, saying that it had been cancelled. I was disappointed, but Roger Biggs (chairman of the 100 Marathon Club) was even more keen to complete a marathon at the weekend - he was going for a marathon every week of 2009 and had managed 50 so far...

So a new event, "Roger's Stansted Snow Slog" popped onto the race calendar at very short notice. We had the route description from the stagger and arranged to meet at 9am in Stansted Mountfitchet to complete the pretty, off road course. About a dozen or so of us turned up and I ran with Heather again. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the fields of snow looked stunning. We were later joined by Neil and Simon (who took the photos) and enjoyed chatting away the hours managing not to get lost (quite a feat given that we couldn't see things like the 'wide muddy track' or the 'sandy path' as everything just looked like more white). As it mostly wasn't too deep, nor too icy, the snow actually made the terrain easier going than the mudfest it may otherwise have been.
We finished, still smiling, in 5 hours 18 minutes. It felt very special. Maybe because it was so peaceful out in the snow, maybe because we were pleased to be running after the initial cancellation. A great way to spend Sunday anyway.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Wintry weekend

Brrr it's strating to get chilly. On Saturday we went to visit my sister for a pre-xmas dinner, as she'll be away during the holidays. We had a lovely family day and I finally got to meet her horse, who is a beautiful big beast. I probably drank too much, but it was a very pleasant day.The 'Winter in Wheathampstead' on Sunday was my first 100-club-only marathon. It was great as I knew lots of the other people there, having met them at other marathons over the past few years. It was a very pleasant countryside course of three different loops back to the village hall checkpoint, with some pretty woods and not too many stiles nor too much mud. I did manage to get stung by an electric fence though. Ouch. A slow one (5:21) but a most enjoyable day out. I like wintry weekends.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

My first time in a podcast

A new podcast about running is available from iTunes, which can also be heard by scrolling down the page and pressing the play button at Running and Life (Episode 2 - December 09) and if you listen carefully, you'll hear me prattling on about my running... (I begin about 4 minutes in from the start).


my justgiving page

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lovely Luton (?!)

On Sunday I went to Luton for the marathon. For some reason I really like this one. It's 3 laps near Luton, usually very windy and often raining too. (Last year it was canceled due to ice so I didn't mind too much what the weather did as long as the race went ahead.) But somehow it's a great event. Possibly it's the smooth organisation and enthusiastic marshals that do it.

I decided to go by train as there was heavy rain and strong wind in the morning, making riding Haku an unappealing transport option. There was a bus as rail replacement service, so I was surprised to arrive earlier than orginally planned. Not sure how that happened. Anyway, I'd had a dodgy leg all week (I hardly ran at all, which is very unusual for me) so went for a pre-race sports massage which felt fantastic. I think I might treat myself to a massage more often.

There were loads of familiar faces there so it was all very sociable. There were 3 other Vegan Runners UK runners, plus many Fetchies and 100 Club peeps. My leg was sore for the first 7 miles but then the pain eased off and I really enjoyed the run. My final time was 4:32:59 - not nearly as slow as anticipated. We got a cotton goody bag and a medal, both rather nice.
And that's number 81 done now, so the 100 by May is still looking like a good target.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Muddy mud and more mud

I thought I'd met all the varieties of mud that the UK has to offer. But it turns out I hadn't. On Sunday I was introduced to even more types of the brown stuff (as well as thigh-deep, cold floodwater (also new territory) and the many stiles I've come to expect on an LDWA event) at the Gatliff 50K in Kent.

We were fortunate with the weather, in that while it was extremely soggy underfoot, it didn't actually rain too much, nor was it excessively windy while we were out (for over 8 hours! Who'd have thought a head torch would be necessary for a mere 31 miles?). Saw a beautiful big rainbow.

Nice day out all in all: lots of familiar faces at the start and finish and I had the pleasure of Heather's company - many laughs throughout the day. Plus it was a bit of celebration as it was my first 50K, my last ultra of the year, my 80th 'marathon' and the day before my birthday. We had bubbly at the finish...