Sunday, June 24, 2007

So-so running

This week has not been great for running. The last two weeks have been unbelievably busy and I've only just managed to get my running in, and then not all of it. Every day seems to have been scheduled from 6am onwards, with me driving backwards and forwards, doing work, doing kids, doing house stuff, doing admin, dealing with our flat in london - it's been non-stop. My levels of stress have been sky-high - I have been waking around 5:30 in the morning just taut with all I've had to accomplish each day. As I said I've managed to fit in the running and while it provided some release, to some extent it was also another thing to fit in. Perhaps as a result of that, my running has been so-so this week - no great speeds, no major achievements. I've ended up missing one 6 mile pace workout and a cross training session - just not enough hours in the day. However - on balance, I'm pretty happy with it. I've kept it up and while they were perhaps "junk miles" they were miles nonetheless and I can look back and marvel that somehow they happened.

The stress is tailing off now, or at least I seem to believe it has, which is all that matters. We've done the 7th birthday party, we've done various social obligations - we are now running down the last 2 weeks before our holidays begin! And what a holiday! This year we are heading out to Vancouver, British Columbia for 3 weeks on a home exchange. A family from Vancouver is coming to stay in our house and we are staying in theirs, and we are also exchanging cars. It's very exciting and has prompted quite a bit of work on our part getting our house ready - we have done all sorts of jobs that needed doing for years and I have cleared out everyone's closets . Again this has been a stress factor but now I feel that we have cleared the hump of it and we're on the home stretch - almost ready to go! The kids are so excited about it in part because we are going to a city - we live in deep countryside so cities are a thrill. I'm excited about running in Stanley Park and round the coast - it should be beautiful. Anyone know a runner out there I could contact for some tips?

So here's hoping these next 2 weeks are an improvement on the last 2 weeks, in terms of stress at least. Keep running and keep happy - and stay (or get) chilled!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Maddy tagged me..

For some reason this post was published further down my blog so I hope reposting it will work..

Maddy tagged me and now I have to share 6 weird and unusual things about myself with you. The question is - do you really want to know? It's taken me a few days to whittle the list down (my husband has proved most helpful and has provided a lot of suggestions) but here goes:
- I can't whistle. Have tried a lot, for a lot of years, but I can't do it. However - and IrishBlue is going to be so jealous - I can burp on command.
- I didn't realise until recently how much of a dealbreaker this is, but I don't really like chocolate. I don't mind it but it just isn't really my thing. In fact, Kevin rescinded an offer of marriage purely on this basis (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that both he and I are already happily married..);
- My husband and I share a very untrendy taste in music. I won't divulge too much of the gory details but let me tell you that we were burgled once and the burglars took most of our possessions but left our CD collection. Apparently you can't buy a lot of crack for a Neil Diamond CD.
- Related to this last point - I walked up the aisle to the wedding march from the Sound of Music. 'Nuff said.
- Like Maddy, I live next door to my father-in-law. It makes for an interesting life..
- my best friend helped me realise recently that my first crush ever was on Gopher from the Love Boat. How sad is that?

Well everyone - you know some very weird things about me now. I guess if you meet me in a race now you may well speed up ahead rather than linger alongside..

Happy trails!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Finally! It's sad but I've been desperate to blog, just couldn't find the time! I've been running around working, doing house stuff and doing lots of family stuff. I've started every day with a to-do list. Crazy!

First things first - running. On Friday I had my first Adium chat with Maddy which was wonderful and we motivated each other for each other's long run. Mine was going to be 10 miles. But, dear readers, I couldn't do it. It was hot (which I know a lot of you can handle but for us thick-skinned northern europeans can prove a bit of a challenge) and I was exhausted after a crazy busy week - I gave up after 5 miles and felt rotten about myself. Reading other blogs I realised that some of you work much harder than I do (getting up at 5 am to run, Susan? You're amazing!) but I just couldn't get it together. After a good night's sleep on Sunday night I woke up at 6 and resolved to run the other 5 miles as well as cross train. Which, amazingly, I had done by 9am. The day was still crazy busy but at least I got my running in. It still bugged me, however, that I had bailed on my first long run of my training - everyone else had managed so I felt I was being weak. Then Tuesday - which again was really busy - I suddenly found myself with a 2 hour gap in the day while my son had a trial session at "big school". So, this time, despite still being exhausted and despite the fact it was far hotter than Sunday I decided there would be no more excuses so I dropped him off at school and headed out for a 10miler! And I accomplished it! What a feeling! I felt I had really beat myself which was great! So I'm back on track and back on schedule and determined to plan my time a bit more cleverly in the next months. Fitting in marathon training around the rest of your life is a big part of the challenge of training, imho..

I've also resolved my sartorial crisis you will all be relieved to hear. Thank you for all your feedback as to what to wear - I appreciate it. Having returned my running kit to the store I went online and ordered a Sugoi skort and top. Having read Maddy's extensive research into the skort I felt it was an option worth considering. Both items arrived on Tuesday just prior to my long run and so I tested them on a long hot run and they are brilliant! Running chic(k) has arrived! What do you think? Timeless elegance and sporty practicality, teamed with a crazy 4 year-old - life doesn't get any better.

In other news, I've been tagged by Maddy. I was a bit slow on the uptake - I had to visit her blog to work it out - but I'm hoping to post 6 weird things about me. It's taking me some time to narrow it down, guys..

So keep running, keep blogging about it. It's so motivational and really provides me with the kick up the backside I sometimes so desperately need!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gearing up for events ahead..

I went to our local running store this afternoon and purchased some new bits of gear that I'm going to need in the next few months.. First and foremost - a new pair of shoes. For some reason I'm pretty hard on my shoes so my old Saucony Hurricanes were losing some of their bounce. I had to swallow a bit to buy a new pair (they are not cheapest option and I could have, conceivably, gone for some cheaper Omnis or some Brooks shoes) but I have to say that I really have loved my Hurricanes so, in for a penny in for a lot of pounds..

So in the photo you see my old pair (with my Polar pod on) and my new pair, with 3 new pairs of socks and some sports Jelly Beans (I love those!) and also a chocolate energy gel which the guy in the shop insisted I tried as apparently lots of people who hate gels can handle this one. Given that I don't even like chocolate when I'm not running (my ONE saving diet grace believe me) I'm not convinced but hey.

I also splurged on some black SKINS shorts (compression shorts) and a black short-sleeved shirt but I'm going to take them back. The compression shorts may work but I just don't think I can cope with my heinie in them - they're just too revealing. And the fact they're black just doesn't disguise my behind or the size of my thighs. Can I run in a hijab? But joking aside ladies - please send me some advice. How much does it matter to you what you look like in what you run in? I am somewhat bottom heavy - short sturdy legs, remember? - and my favourity gear is a NB short with built in compression shorts and a tight Helly Hansen shirt but the tight shirt on top draws attention to the mass on bottom so it would be good to have something somehow more balanced on top. I've followed Maddy's skorts / boardshorts debate - but I have to confess I think running shorts are probably more comfortable and that DOES matter over 26 miles. I just find that if I dress for comfort I can't bear to look at the photos of me afterwards.. Should I just put that aside? Any thoughts welcome..

into week 1..

Into week one of marathon training and so far so good... I've decided on Hal Higdon's intermediate II schedule which has 3 20mile runs instead of the two I've done for Chicago and New York and a slightly higher weekly mileage. In addition, I've made a pact with Maddy to take cross training seriously and do it this time (last year I tended to skip the cross training in favour of rest - the couch potato is never far away). So Monday I threw myself into the swimming pool and managed 15 minutes of breast stroke before contemplating sinking to the bottom - I was so bored! However, I didn't want to pull out on my first day of training so I leapt onto my elliptical and did a 20 minute program on that. So, while not entirely succesful, all was not lost. Yesterday's 3 miler was nice and gentle and so in today's 5 miler after 4 leisurely miles (mile 1 10:44, mile 2 9:58, mile 3 10:22, mile 4 9:57) I kicked it in the last mile - 8:17! True, I looked like a beetroot when I was done but it felt great!

There's a new motivational tool on the web now for all of us autumn runners, some of whom are Phedippidations World Wide Half runners and it's called - drumroll - What's a few miles between friends? A whole bunch of us are linking our training logs to this site and motivating each other in our individual training programs for autumn races. Speaking for myself it has already worked - I just don't feel I can let my new friends down!

Finally - as per Irish Blue's latest post on that blog, I'm going to try to lose a few pounds in the course of this training schedule as well and have some ideas about this - I will let you know in the new few days! Till then, happy running and stick to your schedules (hear me Maddy? Don't do much more..)