Tag Archives: HRRL

Stubbington 10k race recap

18 Jan

I’ve run Stubbington 3 times before, so I knew what to expect from this race. It’s held on a fairly flat course and being early in the year, the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Two years ago, it snowed during the race (which is unusual for this part of the UK). This year, the weather was fairly cool, but not unbearably cold. As you can see from the group photo, most of the runners in my club had opted to wear full-length or capri tights and many had long-sleeved base layers under their club vests.

I chose to wear calf guards as my legs were a bit achy, but I chose not to wear any other ‘unnecessary’ clothes – no head band, no gloves, no base-layer etc. Fortunately, this was the right decision as I felt really warm by the time I’d run 1km.

Stubbington group photo

Lordshill Road Runners at the start of Stubbington 10k, 2015 © Emily Smith

Stuart, Jez and I arrived quite early, which gave us a chance to chat with lots of other runners. I saw Jan from the tri club and then noticed Steve, one of the tri club coaches. Steve and I had a chat, and I jokingly suggested that I would draft Steve as I had done at the track earlier in the week, but he was starting in an earlier wave than me.


I really enjoyed chatting with a few runners who I haven’t seen for a while, but the time passed quickly and before I knew it, it was time to check in my bag and assemble for the group photo.

After the photo, I realised that I had checked in my bag, but forgotten to drink anything or put on any lipsyl on. Curses! Emily kindly offered me some lip balm, so that was one problem resolved.

We then lined up up on the road ready for the start… and I realised that I had forgotten the most important item in my bag – my inhaler. The last time that I tried to ‘race’ (at parkrun) without an inhaler, I really struggled and had to keep slowing down as I was worried that my wheezing would get worse. I decided to start the race and that if I felt unwell, I would slow down.

I had set several goals of increasing difficulty for myself for this race:

  • Beat my Stubbington 10k 2014 time (55:17)
  • Beat my Stubbington 10k 2013 time (55:14)
  • Beat my Stubbington 10k 2012 time (53:03)
  • Beat my Eastleigh 10k 2013 time – my second fastest 10k time (52:02)
  • Beat my Eastleigh 10k 2012 time – my PB (51:06)

Despite the asthma worry, I was feeling quite confident about this race. My build up hadn’t been perfect – my eating is not on track, mainly as a consequence of a family situation – but I’m running better than I have since 2012. I knew that beating my Eastleigh times would be hard as Eastleigh is a flatter course, but I wanted to try.

One of my worst running habits is to start off far too quickly, so I tried to rein myself in a bit… but I also tend to rely too much on my watch, so I decided that I wouldn’t allow myself to look at it until I was 2km into the race and that it would then only look at it when I saw a km sign.

At about 2km into the race,  I was passed by Lauren and Alison from my running club. I couldn’t catch up with them, but hoped that I would be able to keep them in sight and thought that maybe I would be able to use my endurance strength to my advantage later in the race.

Shortly afterwards, at about 3km, I saw Steve from tri club. He seemed to be running strongly, whereas I was unable to speak. he asked me what happened to my drafting plan, but I was only able to give him a little wave as I went past.

I hit 5km in about 26:30. I was disappointed as I think that when I got a PB at Stubbington, I also got a 5km PB. However, I also realised that I was feeling good and I didn’t want to give up too soon, so I pushed on.

The race goes along the seafront and afterwards, I was told that there was a good view of the grounded ship (the Hoegh Osaka), but I was so focussed on my race that I didn’t see it. The only thing I noticed was the absence of my favourite race photographer Paul Hammond… but I knew that he’s currently taking photos somewhere more exciting than the South Coast!

When I got to the final incline of the race, I was amazed at how good I was feeling. At this point in the race last year, my friend Kate had tried to motivate me to keep up with her, but I had absolutely no strength or energy left. This year, I saw my nemesis (Adrian) from WADAC, so I decided to try to push on and pass him. He said hello (well, actually, he swore a little!), but wasn’t able to pass me again. The series of photo taken by my club mate Emily show this moment!




I didn’t want to be passed again and I knew that I was only a couple of km away from the finish, so I started pushing harder.

I glanced at my watch and could see that I was doing quite well. I knew I wouldn’t be able to beat 51:06, but I thought I might be able to get my second fastest ever time…

Unfortunately, this made me keep looking at my watch. I knew I had to ‘suck it up’, but I just wasn’t able to push any harder… 51:59… 52:00… 52:01… keep pushing… 52:02… I can see the finish line… 52:03… missed another goal… 52:04… 52:05… 52:06… 52:07… 52:08… 52:09… 52:10… It was over 🙂

I didn’t beat my Eastleigh times from 2012 and 2013, but I did beat all of my previous Stubbington times and achieved my third fastest 10km ever 😀 My only other scheduled 10km race for 2015 (so far) is going to be off-road, so it’s not likely to be a PB course, but I’m not too worried about that.

I was congratulated by Adrian and as I replied to him, I realised something amazing… I felt OK. For the first time ever at the end of a race, I didn’t feel light-headed and I wasn’t worried that I would faint. This probably doesn’t sound like much, but to me it was amazing. I’ve blacked out a couple of times at the end of races and I usually have to walk around in circles before someone can remove the chip from my ankle. (This race had chips in the bibs, but even so, I wasn’t worried about stopping). I was delighted that I had run well, but to feel that my asthma truly is under control and that it shouldn’t hold me back is so exciting.

We were given a commemorative drawstring bag, a banana and a bottle of water. In previous years, we’ve been given a mug and last year we were given buffs, but I’m not really in it for the goodie bag. I have quite a few bags already, but as I often have to carry sports kit to work and lots of my trainers are dirty, another bag is always handy to have.

When I got home, I analysed my pacing for the race. As usual, I started too quickly, and then ran the next two kilometres (which were uphill) too slowly to achieve my goal. To get a PB, I needed to average 5:06/km, but I’m not quite there yet.


Overall, I think my pacing has improved and although it’s not as consistent as I’d like, once I’d warmed up it was OK. I thought I was flagging in the final km, but the data shows otherwise.

A friend is currently running a 1km ‘double negative split challenge’ where the aim is to run 3x1km getting progressively faster. I managed it in kms 5-7 of this race 🙂 I also managed to run a negative split in this race. Success!

Finally, I thought I’d share a news item about pacing: Women are better than men at marathon pacing, says new research.


My goals for 2015

30 Dec

I’ve spent the last couple of days discussing the races and events that I want to enter in 2015. Stuart is a firm believer of quality over quantity, whereas I want to enter everything! I quite enjoy doing cross-country running and usually do some of the local cross-country series (CC6) but Stu doesn’t want to risk injury; also he is leading Marafun training runs on Sunday mornings and these clash with the CC6s, so we have agreed to do these runs together.

I’ve also been considering my SMART goals for the year. These are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

I have four goals:


I am going to eat healthy food for 20/21 meals and assess my progress at the end of 100 days (14th April). I hope that I will lose 14lbs (6.5kg) in that time. I will record my progress on Give It 100.


I am going to work hard on my speed between now and 26th April by attending Thursday night track sessions. I will also run on Monday evenings. My aim is to complete Southampton HM in under 1:55, with under 1:52:19 as my ultimate goal as that would be a PB/PR.

Ironman Dublin logo

I want to achieve a PB/PR at Ironman Dublin 70.3 on 9th August. I completed Weymouth Half in 7:24. I think that a time of under 7 hours is possible if I work hard on all three disciplines. I will train for 14 weeks from 3rd May.


I want to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge on 5th September. To do this, I will need to go open water swimming at least once a week between June and September. I will speak to my coach about how to train for an endurance swimming event such as this.

I need to work on my training programme to support these goals. I’m not allowed to swim until the middle of January, but for the next few months, my training schedule is going to include the following:

  • Monday: Crossfit; running; swimming.
  • Tuesday: Spinning; swimming.
  • Wednesday: Rest day. (Maybe lunchtime yoga).
  • Thursday: Track running.
  • Friday: Swimming.
  • Saturday: parkrun or swimming.
  • Sunday: Long run. Bike ride.

I’ve now scheduled most of my races and events for 2015. There’s a whole range of different events that I’ve entered:

  • HRRL – this is a league of 12 races for local club runners. The events are open for any runner to enter, but only the results of local club runners are counted in the league.
  • RR10 – this is a spring/summer local off-road running league. These races are free for local club runners and are 4-5 miles long. Dates for 2015 have not yet been confirmed.
  • parkrun – this is a free, weekly, timed 5k event. I will be adding them in accoridng to my training schedule, but I suspect that I will need to prioritise swimming over running for much of 2015.
  • Eastleigh aquathlons – this is a series of races hosted by TryTri events on Thursday evenings. Entry to them is free for SUTRI members.

Stu and I are also going cycling in Japan with a friend in early April. We’re expecting to ride about 60-70 miles a day, which will be tiring, but good training.



  • 01/02/15 Marafun training run
  • 15/02/15 Marafun training run
  • 22/02/15 Heartbreak Half


  • 01/03/15 Marafun run
  • 08/03/15 Salisbury 10 mile (not yet entered)
  • 22/03/15 Winchester Duathlon (not yet entered)
  • 29/03/15 Marafun training run










  • 15/11/15 Denbies Duathlon or Gosport Half Marathon (TBC)


Off-season rest!

2015 is going to be a busy year. What have you got planned?

5 miles – Overton and Victory

21 Sep

I’ve been feeling a bit tired recently, so I decided not to do parkrun before Overton this year. In 2011, I did parkrun in the morning and got a PB before doing Overton in the afternoon. It was also kind of a PB as it was my first ever 5 mile race. Overton is an unusual race in that it is usually run in alternate directions each year. In 2011, it was run clockwise, which entailed a long slow uphill drag and a short sharp downhill. I completed the race in 45:57 in 2011.

In 2012, I was feeling strong and thought that I should easily be able to get a PB. The course was running in an anti-clockwise direction, which I thought would be easier. I was soooo wrong. I ran the best I could and battled a few LRRs in the closing km, but was really disappointed that I was unable to achieve a PB, finishing in a time of 46:12. A fortnight after that disappointment, I did Victory 5 mile and amazed myself by smashing my PB and finishing in 43:21.

Overton 2013 race number

My Overton 2013 race number

This year, Overton was also run in an anticlockwise direction. My heart sank when I learned that as I’m not running well at the moment. It’s really depressing to realise that I’m running at a lower level than two years ago when I was a novice runner. I decided that although I had calculated the paces I would need to run to achieve a PB and also to beat my Overton time (yes, I’m that geeky!) I was aware that PB pace is currently well out of reach, as I can’t do that pace for a 5k, so I thought I would start out steady and see how it went.

The start of Overton 5, courtesy of Max Satterly

The start of Overton 5, courtesy of Max Satterly

Within a couple of minutes, I had been passed by all of the LRRs, which was a little disappointing – we need 3 ladies to complete a team, and ideally nine ladies for three full teams. I was the 4th female from LRR 😦

I battled up the first hill, and noticed a lady in a yellow Adidas vest. As I passed her, she spoke to me and I realised that it was Caroline from Alton Runners. Last year, we were closely matched in most HRRL races. I expected Caroline to catch up with me again soon, but was surprised to find that didn’t happen.

On the downhill, I started overtaking people, which felt good. I LOVE running downhill! Towards the bottom, my shoelace came undone – DRAT!!! I did it up and ran on, buoyed by the cheers from some LRR supporters.

Passing Max in Overton (thanks to Max S. for the photos and the cheers)

Passing Max in Overton (thanks to Max S. for the photos and the cheers)


I was soon back at the start for the second lap, and was feeling surprisingly good. I knew there was a small hill before the steep hill…

The second lap at Overton 5

1231689_10151888909671742_1287131786_n1184770_10151888909751742_1688007284_n1236673_10151888909806742_1505645723_n The second lap at Overton 5

I decided to look at my watch, and could see that I had slowed, so I needed to try to pick up the pace. I pushed on and kept fighting up the hill. I could see others club runners and aimed to pick them off. I battled up the hill and was pleased to pass a lady from Stubbington. I ran on and then disaster struck – my shoe lace came undone again. I tied it as quickly as possible and then sprinted to pass the other runners again. Soon I was at the top of the hill. I know that I can run downhill faster than many other runners who are my pace, so this was my chance to increase my lead. I kept pushing and was delighted that Stu was still on the course watching me. I could hear spectators cheering on the runner from Stubbington, but I didn’t dare to look around.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. I made a frantic sprint for the line… and managed to finish ahead of the lady from Stubbington. I didn’t achieve a PB, but it was my second fastest 5 mile race, and an improvement on last year – 45:33. I was also given a spot prize – thank you, Alton Sports!

Overton 5 mile spot prize

Overton 5 mile spot prize

HRRL club trophies at Overton 5

HRRL club trophies at Overton 5

After the race, there was a presentation of HRRL trophies and mugs for the 2012/13 season. There were two trophies for the women’s teams, and quite a few mugs, including one for me. Will I do enough to get one this year? I honestly don’t know. I did all 12 races last year, but I already know I won’t do Lordshill 10 mile (I’m not fast enough to make the team, and I’ll be away) or Solent half (I’ve opted to do a triathlon instead). I want running to feel fun again, and I also want to race properly… Selecting the events I want to do and training specifically for them. I’m currently in the lead for the club participation award, but am not sure I can maintain that until the end of December. It will be the last time I go for it.

My HRRL mug (and Stu's)

My HRRL mug (and Stu’s)

After my surprisingly good result at Overton, I was feeling optimistic. However, having run 14 miles on Thursday, cycled 50 miles on Friday and spent all day in London on Saturday, I was not at my best. I wanted to do well, and kept telling myself that it was a flat course, but from the moment I started, I felt exhausted. I’ve never quit in a race, but within the first kilometre I was tempted to walk 😦

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On my way out at Victory 5

On my way out at Victory 5 – photos courtesy of Paul Hammond

I carried on, and started to feel better. The course headed out in a loop that went through a car park, in an area where a cycling event had taken place earlier. They had kept up their start/finish gantry and the cycling marshals clapped and cheered for us. The music also helped me to feel better. I continued running and finally saw my nemesis, Caroline. I managed to pass her on a slight incline and kept going.

Finally, I was passing Paul Hammond again and I knew it wouldn’t take to long before I was back at the start/finish.

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Thanks to Paul Hammond for capturing the pain of the race and my relief at nearing the end!

Thanks to Paul Hammond for capturing the pain of the race and my relief at nearing the end!

I kept looking out for Stu and finally saw him on the path near to the entrance to the track. He clapped and cheered and jogged along for a little bit with me.

It wasn’t long before I was back at the track, although my heart sank when I remembered that I needed to do an entire lap and a bit before I would get to the finish. I started pushing as hard as I could and managed to overtake a few people in the finishing straight 🙂
Track finish at Victory 5


Despite my poor start, I completed the race in 45:16, which is now my second fastest 5 mile time.

Victory 5 race number

Victory 5 race number

(Thanks to Lawrence Chen, Paul Hammond, Jules & Sue Porter and Max Satterly for the photos).


Salisbury 10 Mile

17 Mar

At the moment, I’m really struggling to find time to write this blog, but maybe that’s a good thing as it means that I’m busy organising my life and training.

The key event for me at the weekend was Salisbury 10 – a local 10 mile race that is part of the Hampshire Road Race League. 10 miles is the only distance that I didn’t get a PB at last year, so I was determined that I was going to do well. I started out strong and managed to do the first two kilometres at 4:53 pace. I also managed a cadence of 96 for the second km and my average cadence for the race was 92. I knew I was doing well when I hit the 3 mile marker in 25:07 (my 5k PB is 25:08) and I achieved a PB when I reached the 5 mile marker in 43:07… However, I also knew at that point that there was no way that I would match up to Irene’s amazing 84 minute run last year.

Salisbury 10 mile race number

Salisbury 10 mile race number

I pushed on, but as usual, a negative split was unlikely. At about 8.5 miles the runner that i passed earlier in the race went past me, but I didn’t want to quit. As I was heading towards the athletics track, where the race finishes, I saw Stu, Rikki and Dean running towards me. I threw them my gloves and carried on running. I caught up with the other club runner as we went onto the track and decided to make a last ditch effort to sprint. She cheered me on in a sportsmanlike way and I managed to sprint about 100m before reverting to my distance runner’s shuffle. As I crossed the line I checked my watch: 1:27:44, a 1:15 PB. Not quite as good as I’d hoped for, but I’ll settle for that!

On Monday evening, I was expecting to lead a sprint session with Irene and Group B. Unfortunately, the extreme cold weather (it snowed all day) meant that very few people turned up to training. Three ladies were dithering about rejoining Group B, but in the end we decided to join Group A* with Mike and do a warm up before breaking down the 5k parkrun route into manageable sections and to discuss strategies for tackling them. This worked out well and meant that no-one ended up standing around for too long getting cold.

Straight afterwards was a Run Leader meeting followed by a Coaching Management Team meeting, so it was after 10pm when I got home and I ended up going to bed late. I really must make more of an effort to get to bed early.

It was hard work getting up yesterday morning and we ended up being late for Run Camp. The warm up was quite brisk and then Stu, Jenny, Rosie and I moved over to the usual path for some activities. We were focussing on the width of our stride, which was very odd as it meant that I was purposely running with my feet further apart than usual. It felt very unnatural. We also did some more hopping over hurdles, but as my right leg still wasn’t quite right, I sat out of some of them. (Well, I just ran past them).

Yesterday evening was a rest evening, so I did lots of organising. I decided to try to use up some of the food that is in the fridge. I’ve also signed up for an appointment with a nutritionist on 27th March, so I need to keep a food diary for the next week. I know that food diaries are usually thought to be inaccurate as people under-report what they eat, but I know mine will be accurate as I cannot lie. As a consequence, I am likely to eat well this week and hope that it will get me back on track for Paris Marathon.