Sunday, 28 March 2010

...97, 98...

Another two very pleasant marathons ticked off this weekend.

Yesterday was the LDWA Charnwood Marathon. Last year this was my first ever LDWA event and it was great to go back. I learnt that having done it before does not make the navigation any easier - while I recognised a lot of the course, we still had to stop several times to re-read the instructions to work out where to go. It was much hillier than I had remembered too, including a trip up to the highest point in Leicestershire. I ran with Heather and we took it very steady as we were worried about the 5:30 cut off time on the South Downs the following day. We rocked up to the finish in 5:21 then picked up some welcome soup, as well as a patch and certificate.

Today was the Brighton Trail Marathon, a 27 mile route out of Brighton, over the hills of the South Downs. It was indeed hilly, but with beautiful views and pleasant sunny spells. There was a lot of headwind too, but overall it didn't seem as tough as we were expecting. I've found that on the second day of a double I tend to feel a lot stronger, as reflected in the 4:46 finish time. This one had a banana, a T shirt and a shot glass at then end.
So, this time next week, if all goes to plan, I'll have run my 100th marathon. I'm quite excited about that.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Being a sponsored aferleet

Today I collected a parcel containing 4 pairs of shorts, 2 vests, 2 T shirts, 2 longsleeves, a jacket, 5 pairs of socks and a pair shoes. All top quality wicking/performance fabric Asics goods. And best of all, I didn't have to pay for it - it's all part of the 10 in 10 deal. Shiny.
Admittedly pink wouldn't have been my first choice of colour... but it's still great.

Only a little bit lost

My 100th marathon is approaching fast, with number 96 completed at the Sevenoaks Circular on Sunday.

It was an LDWA event (so following 4 pages of instructions about crossing stiles, following field edges and going through kissing gates - "X st, follow LHFE, thru KG" etc) of 30 miles, though getting a bit lost made it just over 31. Actually I was very fortunate as I hadn't realised I was lost until some people ahead of me got even more lost and approached from behind... they soon got us all back on the right route.There were plenty of folk I knew there, mostly from the 100 club. The marhalls at the checkpoints were great and even made me a marmite and jam sandwich (it tasted fantastic, though I'm not sure if I'd fancy one when I haven't just run 25 miles). It was all off road and there were some pretty bits, especially in Knole Park where I ran with some deer for a brief while and almost felt like part of their herd.I got a certificate and a patch at the finish (plus some welcome beans on toast). Another lovely day out then. My legs were a bit achy on Monday and Tuesday, but I made them do 10 miles each day anyway as part of my 10 in 10 training. It was nice to have a lie-in this morning.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Relaxed running on sunny Sunday

A sunny day, 27 miles around the Bedfordshire countryside. Taking it easy, enjoying the scenery - including some very cute lambs.

A race organised by Nightjar from Fetch. He deserves a prize for organising such a great event. And lots more Fetchies taking part, marshaling and photographing. A very pleasant day out.
All good training for the 10 in 10, which is now less than a couple of months away...

The day was topped off nicely by a trip to the cinema with Jim to see the most recent Jeunet film: Micmacs. We liked it.

Monday, 8 March 2010

A trophy for training

This weekend presented a good opportunity for 10 in 10 training: six days of 10+ miles, including a couple of long marathons, then I'll have rest day, then another six days of 10+.

So it was that I headed up to Grantham for the weekend for Rory Coleman's ULTRArace 29.3 double along the canal. Saturday was chilly and overcast (great for running) and I took it steady with Heather, completing the 29.3 miles in 5 hours. There were loads of people I knew there, including 5 people doing the 10 in 10 and several other Fetchies, plus others I'd met at previous events. It made for a pleasant afternoon and evening in a posh hotel, including an informative question/answer session, primarily aimed at people doing the Marathon de Sables (which does not appeal to me at all) but with lots of stuff applicable for other endurance events.
Sunday dawned frosty but sunny. A beautiful day for a trot along the canal. Again I went with Heather: we suprised ourselves by keeping up a steady but slightly faster pace, making for a 4:42 finish and joint 3rd place (hence the trophy - yay!). In fact, we were only beaten by women who were just doing Sunday, not both days, which was pleasing to note.

A top weekend, well organised with a fantastic atmosphere. Great training. This morning's 10 miles was hard but good. Another 10 tomorrow then a day off. Wednesday's lie in will be most welcome.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ain't running great?

The half term holiday was fantastic. We finally saw Avatar and we spent a lovely 3 days in Bristol. Neither of us were very well on the Thursday, but it was snowing and raining so we went to see Ponyo (a Miyazaki film) at the cinema. It's bonkers. We wandered up to see Brunel's suspension bridge and the camera obscura, both good geeky entertainment. There was no race on at the weekend, so I took the opportunity to give my legs a bit of a rest.

This weekend I went up to York for Paul's 60th Birthday Marathon. It was a beautiful course, mostly on cycle lanes, but also followed the river for a while, as well as passing by the minster in the city and along the old wall. The other runners were mostly older than me, with several in their 60s and 70s. There were so many inspirational stories - I thoroughly enjoyed chatting away with lots of different folk as we jogged along throughout the day. Some of us got lost, meaning that the marathon became 28 and a half miles, but that was fine in such top company. There was good food and drinks at the start, the checkpoints and the finish, plus a great memento (a York rose, 'engraved' on the back). It was one of those days I'll have fond memories of for a long time.

On Sunday, it was quite a contrast to be with my group of 'enrichment' students from college. 15 teenagers had been training with me for just six weeks to take part in a 10K race. When we woke to persistent rain in the morning, I doubted that many of them would actually show up. But every single one of them (along with our Vice Principal) came to do the South London 10K in Wimbledon and we all completed it. At the fast end, we had a lad at just over 41 minutes, through to one who took well over an hour, but battled on against blisters. They all felt proud of their achievement and were chuffed with their medals.It was a weekend of really enjoying running and being reminded of all sorts of positve effects it has on those who take part. I had quite a spring in my step on Monday.