Monday, 27 October 2014

My targets for 2014 were:

1. To not kill James until after the wedding
2. To run enough so i can fit into my wedding dress AND still eat carbs
3. To run the Derby 10k in under an hour
4. To complete a half marathon without walking

These were all done by April so I set some new targets:

"New targets for the year, 10k at 55:20, 5 miles in 43:44 and a 5k at 26:37. Maybe slightly unrealistic but have 10 months to do it before i turn 35"

These are done now too. 

This year I've ran 32 races and have 7 left to go but I plan on running them without any pressure because racing so often is not good.  So I'm not going to set any more targets for this year and just enjoy running for the next couple of months.  My targets for 2015 are:

1. To complete my first marathon (Brighton)
2. To run three endurance events; Viper Series 9, The Tour of Merseyside and Adidas 24
3. To get into the 2015 Dopey Challenge
4. To run a sub 2 hour half marathon

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fairclough 5

People who actually read these things may know that I've been going on and on about club standards for a while.  The problem was that I got two standards quite early on in a short period of time however in order to get a trophy in my last year of the open category I needed one more.  Since I already had copper at 5k and 10k, a five mile races was probably the next easiest for me to get the required time at but I hadn't been able to complete one to date and there are not a whole lot of them.  Fairclough 5 was pretty much my last hope (There are further 5 mile races before the end of January but they are off road) otherwise I'd have to get faster at Preston 10 or Essar Four Villages half which would be a lot more pressure.

Map of Thornton Cleveley
Fairclough 5 Route Map
Thankfully when I entered the race James agreed to take me.  I get a lot less stressed when he's there and not having to figure out travel makes things a lot easier.  I'd never heard of Thornton Cleveleys but we managed to find it with very little effort and the race started in a very pretty park that borders the estuary.  There was lots of free parking and number pick up was very easy and pain free. Toilets were available, there is a 20p charge for them but the people in front were holding the doors open for those who followed.  It's worth noting here though that there was only 98 runners who completed the race.  I think parking, toilets and number pick up could be congested if the event reached it's 300 runner limit.  The majority of people there were club runners and it is listed in a number of places as a pb course but I did hear some regulars joking about hills which got me a bit worried.

 The start of the race is about half a mile away from the start, this isn't made very clear unless you study the race route that's pinned up in the HQ.  I could find any information about the route or the elevation online before the race.  It's described as a loop and a figure of 8 so it is kind of laps but you change directions a number of times so it's a bit complicated to get your head around and certainly stops the race getting boring (I'm not good with lap races).  It's hard to explain the exact rout so I kept the photos that I took of the maps at the HQ because they make a lot more sense then me trying to describe it. I had seriously considered skipping the race because I had a cold (a slow parkrun the day before was seriously tough going and I was missing the first cross country race) but James convinced me to just go and try anyway.  When we out of the car the wind was going seriously crazy, I got flashbacks to mad Dog 10k, but I felt good in the warm up running between the start and the toilets a few times. 

My optimism disappeared about five seconds after the start when I realised that in my first few seconds I was going up a steep little hill followed by a bigger longer hill that I would be back at in a mile or so but there was also a very long down hill just after the four mile marker which I made a note of for future reference.  It felt like the wind was always hitting us head on or to the side and I think that because I was ill anyway I struggled to breath for the entire race.  It was a strange experience because my body was burning up on the inside but on the outside I was freezing.  Every hill felt like it was twice as hard as it should be but luckily I'd decided to wear my FitSip and so could have a sip of water every few minutes and I think that got me through.  
Fairclough 5 Elevation

Fairclough 5 Goody Bag
There was a water station half way (On a five miler!!!! Was impressed!) but i poured that over my head).  I started struggling just before 3 miles but a lady who had been in front of me started running next to me and she was struggling more so I distracted myself by helping her (She didn't know how many miles we'd done) and I kept picturing the 4 mile marker because if I could get to there again I'd be fine (I never walk in the last mile) but I'd stop caring about how long I was taking and just wanted to finish.  The down hill at the start of the last mile gave me a bit of a boost and I overtook a few people but a big hill had appeared from nowhere at the finish.   About 200 meters from the end the crowd started cheering for the woman near me to sprint then I saw the finish and so sprinted past her as fast as I could.  It was such a difficult race for me that I was so pleased that I didn't just give up for once and ran the best that I could so when I saw my time I honestly was shocked that I'd done better than the time I wanted and finished in 43:31, over a minute and a half faster than my PB.  We also got a pretty amazing goody bag too considering the race only cost £7.  I plan on going back next year.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Medical Update: Not been a good week really.  Had two days where i couldn't talk.  The first one sucked because couldn't walk much either and brain went kaput but second day scared me more.  The muscle freeze moved to my throat, was really strange because i couldn't talk but it was different to normal.  

When I can't speak it's like a brain freeze, like that moment you have sometimes where you forgot how to tie your laces for a second or can't remember which hand your knife and fork go in because you've you've been doing it on instinct for so long but for some reason it's not kicked in this time.  That's what it is like when I can't move or talk, my body has forgotten how to do it and my brain has forgotten how to tell it but it's for minutes or hours rather than a flash.  The muscle freezing is different, my muscles go rock solid and it's generally always in my shoulders but i have it it in my back, neck and upper arms before.  On Tuesday I got it in my throat which was a very strange experience.  It was like being out of breath and could only talk in whispers, like having an asthma attack without the actual attack.  Couldn't run for two days which was annoying.

Thought I'd done well not to have any tremors this week though but they kicked in yesterday during the track warmup.  Had to do most laps with one stuck stiff are and one floppy arm but managed to run though it, love track too much to let it bother me.

If anyone actually reads this, I'm not moaning.   I'm very lucky and I love my life.