Sunday, February 21, 2010


In this ghastly photo of me - never let it be said I'm not honest with you all - you can just see what I should have known was a harbinger of doom. See that large spot above my eyebrow? It's not a fleck on your screen, it's a boil on my forehead. I get few spots ever but when they come, oh boy. They're bad. I could feel this stinker brewing on Friday morning and was wondering why it was there and what it had come to tell me. At about 10pm last night I found out, as I sat shivering on the sofa (we had guests) and could just feel flu descend like a blanket over my head. By this morning I realised I had it. Flu. I performed the bare minimum of my maternal tasks - made pancakes, cleaned up, put on laundry, ironed, lost my temper with 2 fighting children - before retreating to my bed where I have been tucked up ever since. No 10 miler with speedwork. And much more sadly - no Mika concert tonight. But sometimes you just know there is no way. And this is one of those occasions. I am not going anywhere.

So.. training! Well - I am not too worried. I have actually lost track of how many weeks I have been training and I have just used my last silver bullet week over my children's half-term holiday (damn!) but given the length of my training program (20 weeks) I think I can afford to skip a few days and jump back in when I feel better again.

After last Sunday's exertions I took Monday and Tuesday off from running, and did a very slow 5 miler on Wednesday morning round Highbury Fields in London where I was, by now, staying with my bestie, Dawn. Thursday morning I got up nice and early and ran a glorious 10 miler, running down to the Smithfield meat market and then along the Embankment and across Westminster bridge, and back across the Wobbly bridge and through the West End. Friday was another washout - spent all day in the car, taking the kids first to the Roald Dahl museum and then back home through roadworks and rush hour traffic. So yesterday morning I woke up determined to set things straight. The schedule called for a 14M long run this weekend, but as I had missed an 8 miler, I decided to turn my run into an 18 miler. Hardcore no? It went okay - AutoPause was on so I didn't record the time stretching between miles and the various pitstops I made -but all in all I still managed an sub 9 minute mile for the run. I was intending to do an 8 miler with speedwork this morning but well .. that didn't happen. So it goes.

I hope this post finds you all better than I am. Happy running!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's Valentime!

That's what my 7 year old calls it. Poor child doesn't know about Hammertime yet. It'll be years before he appreciates the 80s.

And Valentime is racetime! Last year I ran the Stamford St. Valentine's 30K for the first time and so I'll refer you there for info on the location. This year there was no snow (good), but plenty of drizzle and rain and a nasty northeaster. Plus the hills just don't get any easier. Although the course is shorter it's good Boston preparation - mostly downhill for the first 4M, then hills and then uphills at the end. My aim for the race was to run a smart race - not go out like a bat out of hell but start slow and speed up as I go. And in that aim I was very successful. Running Oprah (I love to chat while racing long distance) met a couple 9 minute miling for the first 10K. Then at the 10K marker some wag pointed out there were only 20 more kms to go and I got chatting to him. His pace was slightly faster, around 8:55 min/mile, and we ran the next 10k together. He let me surge ahead at 20K and I did. I was feeling strong, even on the hills and was overtaking people slowly as I went along. The last .6 mile I finally went like a bat out of hell and overtook everyone in my way (including a woman who I had seen in the distance for the entire 30K). She and I duked it out the last 20 metres or so, and people? I was victorious! I made it across the finish in 2:44: 51 - nearly 4 minutes faster than last year and 1 second ahead of my nemesis.

Overall a decent race. It is hard and hilly but I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed managing my pace along the way. Running the last mile a marshall said he'd never seen anyone smile at 29K. Now I'm in bed and contemplating the week ahead. I think this will be one of my silver bullet weeks - I'm going to repeat the last week's training during this week which is a holiday week for my kids. 43 miles so nothing too serious. And only 14 this weekend! I'm positively giddy.

Overall I'm feeling okay. The past 2 months have been tough on the personal front - the kids and husband are fine but there has been some difficult and challenging stuff going on my life. It has left me feeling pretty low mentally and truly my running, however difficult it is at times, has been the thing that's made me feel I'm okay and worthwhile. Put it this way - I am looking forward to running Boston - it's a goal that I really need right now.

I hope all your running - and life - is going well. Keep me posted!
A celebratory glass after today's race - onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Consider yourself

Blessed. Because I have saved you from the most boring blogpost ever. I had written it up and was getting ready to post it when I reread it and recoiled in boredom. There was just no need for it. The world is a better, richer place without it.

So here's a reworked version. Sure, I'll put some of the old content in. But I've hacked and cut and scissored out the really dull stuff. I'll summarise the first 2 paragraphs:
  • the meditation bit? Living in the moment? Not started that yet. Still living in past and future. Not too much mindfulness. A lot of mindlessness. Or just general anxiety and frustration.
  • I've been running a lot. A great lot.
  • some of my runs have been great. Some of my runs have been crappy. Some have just been okay.
Then there was a bit that was really unbelievably tedious. It was about me being tired. I have to say it is true - I am tired. Very tired. A lot of the time.
See? Ignore the daggy haircut (it seems that impulsive hair decisions take a looooooong time to fix themselves - let me be your warning) and the sort of general scaliness and paleness. It's February, peeps. It's not my time of year. But I am tired. Good lord. This is either
  • because I run so much. My non-running friends thinks this is the case. But I have run a lot before and I wasn't this tired.
  • because I have anaemia again. Or still. I had it last year, took iron pills, was much better. Then I ran out of iron pills and never got round to getting more and hey, here we are. Overall exhaustion. So I have bought more iron pills, have improved my diet (I am full to busting with leafy greens and whole grains you will be happy to hear) and am getting more sleep.
Overall - both my old discarded post and my new acceptable post tell you that everything is kind of ticking along. No major breakthroughs but no disasters either. Oh. Apart from the crosstraining. I have been biking with a friend who is training for a really long bike ride. That has been good - we don't go too fast so I think it is helpful without, god forbid, wearing me out even more. But we did our first longish bikeride together 10 days ago - 25 miles - and while it was good in many ways I realise that my bike and I need a few crucial upgrades. Let Oprah tell you about it:

So, in short, I need a new bike seat and some cycle shorts. Any recommendations? I want a really comfortable seat, to avoid any repeat of the pain of that bike ride.

And in the most positive news yet, I've booked my trip to Boston. I am going alone - the marathon falls on the day my kids go back to school after 3 weeks of Easter holidays and the school get really narky about missed days at the beginning of term. Husband is being left in charge of all the boring actually-getting-them-back-to-school-with-all-the-stuff-they-need job. I am flying out on Friday April 16th (arriving in the afternoon) and leaving on April 20th (evening). If this sounds like me inviting any of you to breakfast, lunch, dinner, post-run partying - well yes I am! Email me, FaceBook me, comment me. Don't twitter me because I never check. Sorry!

Hope all your running (and rest of life) is going well - I'm gearing up for my first big race, the Stamford St. Valentine's 30K on Sunday. Last year Isaac Stout was born on race day - thoughts of Susan in labor kept self-pity at bay during this nasty race. I will try to channel that spirit again on Sunday - report will follow. Till soon my chums.