Tag Archives: Lordshill Road Runners

Back on the team…

19 Dec

Training with a baby isn’t easy. I haven’t swum since I gave birth as I’m no longer a member of my University gym and I’m not currently a swimming member of Southampton Tri Club. I also haven’t been able to cycle as my turbo trainer isn’t set up (there’s currently no room for it). However, I have been running. Despite this, I’ve decided not to renew my membership with Lordshill Road Runners. I’ve run with the club for 5 years or so, but this year I’ve only trained with them twice and led coaching sessions for them, so I don’t think my membership fee is worth it. I may change my mind in 2017 and rejoin, but I’m more likely to track run with the tri club and do parkrun.

I am fortunate enough to have been selected as a member of Team SOAS again and will be rejoining some fantastic ladies. My friend, Abi, has also been selected this year, which is great.

Team SOAS 2017

We’ve already had some glimpses of the kit and there’s also a one-piece this year that Caroline Coble has been wearing:

Caroline Coble wearing SOAS one piece

I can’t wait for my 2017 kit to arrive and for me to wear it in a race 🙂

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Training with friends

31 Jul

After last weekend’s Thunder Run, I intended to take this week easy, but looking back, I’ve perhaps not been as lazy as I’d intended!

On Monday evening, I did my usual swimming session with Southampton Tri Club. I liked the set and really enjoyed it… but I wish that my swimming lane hadn’t been moved to the side of the pool nearest the changing rooms as the fug of aerosol deodorants can make it really hard for me to breathe. On Monday night, the doors were propped open, and I ended up having to rest a few times and use my inhaler 😦

It was the Lordshill Road Runners Magic Mile on Tuesday evening. I knew I wouldn’t be as quick as last month as my legs were tired from Thunder Run, but I was pleased with my result:

Lordshill Magic Mile July 2016

I managed 8:42 last month, so I was just 9 seconds slower 🙂

On Thursday I went for a lovely lunchtime run with my colleague, Sarah. I suggested that we take a side path, that we had tried previously. Last time it was muddy, so I thought the sunshine would mean that the route would be ‘safe’ this time. What I hadn’t thought of was the growth of brambles and nettles, so after a few hundred metres, we had to turn back. The rest of our run was uneventful. It was very humid and we were enjoying a chat, so I can’t say it was a quick run, but it was good to get out and get some fresh air during the working week.

Yesterday, I went to parkrun. It was a special event at Southampton as we knew that the 45th runner would be the 100 000th finisher at Southampton. Southampton Daily Echo sent a reporter to cover the event and I appeared in their photo gallery:

Southampton parkrun 30th July 2017

Southampton parkrun 30th July 2017 © Southampton Daily Echo

I had agreed to meet up with my friend Carmen. We haven’t seen each other for a while, so decided to have a chatty social run. The sun wasn’t shining, but it was a very warm day, so we didn’t go as quickly as we’d hoped. After we’d finished running, Inez took some photos:

Tamsyn and Carmen parkrun 30th July

Posing with Carmen – my face shows how warm I thought it was!

After Carmen had to dash off, I had a great chat with Inez and Ellie, and Inez persuaded us to pose for some more photos:

Tamsyn at parkrun 30th July

Inez wanted a photo that shows off my 29 week baby belly, so here it is!

Tamsyn and Ellie parkrun 30th July

Ellie and Tamsyn parkrun 30th July

Ellie and Tamsyn parkrun 30th July

I then went to the Hawthorns Cafe for a post-parkrun drink with Ellie and Di. Whilst we were there, Rob the Run Director asked me if I could have a look at the kit with him. Unfortunately, the data wouldn’t download from the stopwatch. We spent until midday battling with the stopwatches and the Event Director, John, had to come back and collect the kit. In the end, John and his wife Rachel had to manually enter the data for over 600 runners, which must have taken hours.

My official result was:

parkrun result 30th July 2016

parkrun result 30th July 2016

However, I’m confident that Carmen and I completed the run in 31:28.

How has your week been?

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How to enjoy a race you haven’t trained for

17 Nov

Gosport Half Marathon is a popular race on the south coast that is renowned for being fast and flat. I’ve run it three times before:

However, I’ve always done a reasonable amount of training before taking part in this race. Often it hasn’t been a specific half marathon training plan, but I’ve usually been training for a marathon or regularly doing long runs at the weekend, but this year has been different. I spent much of the year in the water training for the Scilly Swim Challenge and then I went straight onto two wheels for Tour de Y, so running has taken a back seat.

At the start of the year, I persuaded a few of my colleagues to start running with me at lunch time. Attendance was variable, not because of lack of motivation, but because of everyone’s hectic work schedules, but everyone made progress. One colleague, Sarah, decided that she needed to set herself a challenge. Sarah completed the Great South Run 5 years ago in a respectable time, but has not completed any races since, so I persuaded her to enter Gosport Half. Unfortunately, neither of us has managed to get out and do very much running in the last few weeks. I had expected to do a 10-15 mile run on my training holiday, but the extreme weather conditions meant the schedule had to be flexible and the long run was a casualty. Last weekend, Sarah and I went out for an 8 mile run on part of the half marathon course. I think we both found it hard, with both of us being grateful for some walking breaks, which didn’t seem auspicious.

I checked the weekend’s weather forecast during the week. It looked bleak: 40mph winds, temperature around 10-14°C and the possibility of rain 😦

My lack of run training meant that I knew the race would be hard and I was worried that a slow time would make me feel demotivated – especially as many of my club mates have been running really well recently. I also didn’t want to risk injury, so I had to come up with a strategy that would help me to enjoy the race.

Some people would argue that it is unwise to run a half marathon when you haven’t trained for it, but I felt that my swimming and cycling combined with strength and conditioning sessions and previous experience as a runner meant that I would be OK to complete the race as long as I didn’t try to do it in under 2 hours.

I spoke to Sarah and agreed to run with her in a time of just under 2:15. I said that this would equate to around 10 minute miles, which would be a solid pace… however, I generally work with run paces in min/km, so we then agreed 6:00/km.

On the morning of the race, I had to collect my race number. I realised that I hadn’t received an email about my entry, so I logged in online and had a complete panic that I didn’t appear to be registered. I couldn’t let Sarah down, but there are no entries on the day for this popular race. Luckily, I must have entered some details incorrectly, as Stu pointed out that I was on the list of registered entrants.

We drove to Gosport and I collected my race number. It was really lovely to catch up with friends from the running community – especially Flo, Becky and Ruth. I also had plenty of time to chat to friends from Lordshill Road Runners… and, of course, there was time for a group photo!

Pre Gosport Group

Before the start of the race ©Lisa Fhithyan

There was also enough time for a bird to ‘leave a message’ down my arm as I was waiting outside. I know superstition states that’s lucky, but it didn’t feel like it! I washed my arm off, met Sarah and deposited my bag, before heading to the start.

There were a couple of thousand runners, which is a good attendance for a local race. I made sure that Sarah and I didn’t start at the very back as I knew there would be plenty of people who would be slower than us. I also wanted to make sure that we didn’t go too far forward as I’m really bad at going off too quickly.

The new course at Gosport is two loops that are essentially an out and back with the ‘out’ bit being slightly more sheltered and the ‘back’ being entirely exposed along the sea front.

Sarah and I had quite a lot to chat about, so the first loop passed fairly quickly. Sarah’s mum had braved the bad weather and was out cheering on the course, and I was also watching out for many of my friends who were running. The second loop was a little tougher, but Sarah had a goal in mind – she wanted to beat her 10 mile PB.

Gosport 1

Gosport 2

Gosport 3

Thanks to Lisa Fhithyan for this series of photos. I’ve no idea who I was waving to!

As we got towards the 10 mile point, we kept the pace consistent and Sarah looked strong. She smashed her 10 mile PB by around 6 minutes, which is fantastic 🙂

It was then only ‘parkrun to go’, but the wind seemed to have got up a bit and there was a bit of drizzle… and one of my knees was starting to ache a bit. I was motivated by trying to keep us as close as possible to our target pace of 6:00/km, which gave me something to focus on.

Gosport Half

I might be grumbling a bit about the race, but the photographic evidence shows that I was still having fun.

Eventually, the finish line was in sight and Sarah and I could see the clock. We both picked up the pace and finished in 2:07:53 – well under our goal time of 2:15 and at exactly 6:00/km. It was a great time for Sarah’s first half marathon and I was pleased that I managed to pace it correctly.

We had our chips removed and then were given our medals as well as receiving the legendary Gosport goodie bags: Capri Sun, a finger of fudge, a cereal bar, a packet of crisps, a banana, a piece of cake and some information about joining Gosport Running Club.

I said goodbye to Sarah and then posed for another photo with fellow LRRs before heading back to the finish to cheer on some friends.Post Gosport Group

Even though I was 15 minutes off my PB, I loved this event and will be back next year.

So, to summarise, if you want to enjoy a race that you haven’t trained for:

  • Decide whether you have done enough training to safely complete the race
  • Modify your goals – don’t expect a PB
  • Run with a friend
  • Consider whether you can help to make someone else’s race by supporting them
  • Use the event to practise pacing

Do you have any tips on how to enjoy a race that you haven’t trained for?

Catching up, CrossFit, Ironman Dublin 70.3, Marafun, stir-fry and Santahampton.

7 Dec

I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve not had enough time to blog. I hope that I can find more time in 2015 – I think that perhaps I need to be more productive in my lunch breaks. As I’m struggling to find enough time, I’m trying to add more frequent social media updates:

One of my aims for 2015 is to focus a little more on my diet and nutrition. I’m good at sticking to a training plan, so I think I need to be as rigid about what I eat to try to stop me from making unhealthy choices. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve… more will be revealed later.

I’ve been busy for several reasons – one of which is work, but the main one is that I’m trying to get back into regular training, so that it’s not too difficult for me to pick up my half marathon training in January. I’m also desperate to get a 5km PB before the end of the year as I feel like I’m making some progress with my running. I’m also back to Run Leading/coaching with Lordshill Road Runners. I now regularly help Ben on a Wednesday, which is great. It means that I get a rest day in the middle of the week whilst helping other people to achieve their goals.

A month ago, I blogged that I had achieved my best ever race pace. Later I looked at my run on Strava and was surprised to see how well it ranked against my other runs:

Strava results

I know that I’ve run 1 mile faster than 7:32 (my PB is 7:27), but I’ve never run 5k in under 25 minutes! 🙂 This is great as it means that I’ve a little hope that I might get a 5k PB before the end of the year.

I’ve also been doing a lot more training with SUTRI. I’ve regularly been attending Tuesday night spinning classes. They’re quite different from what I was used to at Bournemouth University. I used to do 30 minute classes and these are an hour, but I don’t find them as challenging – I think this is because I’m fitter and now ride a bike every day. The music is also very different from what I’m used to.

I’ve also been going to SUTRI strength and conditioning classes which are led by Ollie at the local CrossFit box. CrossFit seems to be a Marmite activity, as it divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. The lovers enjoy the group mentality and camaraderie about working with others to push yourselves to the limit; the haters point out the extreme risks that are taken in some gyms where the instructors have received minimal training and rhabdo is common. What we’re doing is a modified version of CrossFit that is tailored to triathlon. Also, I’m confident that the coach knows what he’s doing and isn’t going to get anyone doing multiple reps of an exercise that they don’t understand with a weight that’s too heavy for them.

So far, I’ve been to three strength and conditioning classes. The first one was the day after Gosport Half Marathon, so my legs were a little bit tired. We did a whole range of things that I’ve not done for many years including some pull ups using rings and some squats… lots of squats. There were squats with a medicine ball, squats throwing a medicine ball and just plain squats. I’ve no idea how many squats I did, but the next day my legs hurt and by Wednesday I wondered whether I would ever be able to stand without groaning again!

In my second class, the focus was on inversions. This was much safer territory for me. I stopped doing gymnastics in 2008, but muscle memory means that I still know how to do a handstand. We did a variety of handstands in groups of three and also had to walk up the wall into a handstand position for me. It felt good as I knew that I could do it. We also had to balance in crow position (from yoga). I used to spend a lot of time doing various balance on the beam and have practised this position in yoga, so it was something that I knew I could do. I felt great when the class finished and was pleased that I did not ache afterwards.

Last week, my friend Roelie came along to the class with me. I’m significantly older than the other participants, so it was great to have a friend who’s not in her early twenties to train with. The focus of the session was using kettlebells. A few years back, I did a kettlebell workout with my karate instructor, Sean, but I’ve not used them since then. We spent quite a bit of time working on doing a Russian/Turkish get up (as demonstrated in this video). We also had to do knee-lifts, which involved working the lower abs by raising our knees to our chests whilst hanging from a bar. We had to do this in sets of 10. My biggest concern was whether I’d be able to reach the bar. Some of the taller blokes could reach up and touch it with their hands, whilst I was hoping that I would be able to jump high enough to reach it! Fortunately, I managed it, but it’s a long time since I’ve done anything like that, so my hands didn’t like it!

The only frustration that I’ve had so far is that each class seems to have some burpees in it. Unfortunately, my low blood pressure means that I’m not allowed to do burpees as I always end up fainting. I’ve been told to do the burpees slowly, but I’m not convinced that it has any benefit for me and just makes me look like I can’t do them 😦

Ironman Dublin logo

On 24th November, entry to Ironman Dublin 70.3 opened for people who had pre-registered. Stuart and I were fortunate enough to get places, along with three of our friends from Southampton Tri Club: Suzanne, Huw and Steve. Unlike Weymouth, I won’t be able to train on the course in advance, but I’m more confident now and I’m hoping that I’ll head into HIM training on the back of some successful half marathon training. My aim is to finish in under 7 hours, which will require me to improve on all disciplines. I think I wasted a lot of time in T1 at Weymouth and my run was poor, so they should be easy places to lose some time.

On 29th November, Rob and Stuart agreed to pace me at parkrun. I had several aims:

  • Beat my fastest time at parkrun this year (25:45)
  • Beat my Southampton parkrun PB (25:12)
  • Beat my 5k PB (25:08)
  • Finish in 24:59 or faster

I’ve blogged about how it went – I didn’t achieve all of my goals, but it was my 3rd fastest ever parkrun and I’m confident that with some consistent training and a healthy diet I’ll get there.

I’m now running again with Lordshill on a Monday evening. The pace of the groups is a little inconsistent at the moment, so it’s not always easy to work out which group to run with. I was dithering about joining Stu’s group (Group F) for some sprints when I was asked to help out with Group D on Monday. I agreed to tail run, which was probably a good decision. Before we started running, Teri got me to pose for a quick photo with James who won the Best New Male Athlete award by Southampton Tri Club. Teri humorously referred to us as the ‘king and queen of tri’ – I’m not sure I’m at that level yet, but I’m still proud enough to keep polishing my trophy!

Celebrating my tri club win with Jmes, who was awarded best new male

Celebrating my tri club win with James, who was awarded best new male

After running, I headed down to swimming. It had been cold outside, which meant that the pool felt warm for a change… the pool at The Quays is always really cold! It was a tiring session, but it’s always hard to swim for an hour when you’ve already done an hour of strength and conditioning, an hour of running and have spent nearly an hour commuting by bike!

On Thursday evenings, I’ve been running at the track with Huw from STC. He’s a great coach – I find him very supportive and motivational and I love running on the track as it has such a lovely bouncy surface. This week’s session was 600ms. We had to jog/walk/recover for 200m before running 400m at 5k pace followed by 200m at faster than 5k pace. I managed to do six reps before calling it a day. It was a tough session, but I know that it’s what will make the difference when it comes to getting a 5k PB.

On Friday evening, I did a 750m swimming time trial that I’ve blogged about. It was tough!

Yesterday, I didn’t go to parkrun. I’ve been considering having laser eye surgery for a while, so I booked a consultation for Saturday afternoon. I was not allowed to wear my contact lenses for 24 hour beforehand, which meant that I couldn’t do parkrun as I cannot run with my glasses on. As an alternative, I went swimming with STC. I knew it would be tough as it was only 12 hours after I finished swimming with SUTRI.

I hardly ever swim with STC on a Saturday morning, so I had no idea who would be in my lane or what I could expect. Fortunately, it wasn’t too busy and the other people in my lane were not significantly faster than me. I was quite proud of myself for managing 4 lengths of butterfly (my previous best was 1/4 length). It wasn’t great – I’m quite surprised none of the lifeguards tried to save me – but I didn’t drown. Sadly, Garmin thinks I was doing freestyle… but at least it recognised that it was a swimming stroke! I should probably admit that I had fins on… But I also had to do another 4 lengths single arm without fins, at which point I nearly died! Afterwards, we went for a hot drink with some of the others swimmers. It was so difficult to recognise people without their swimming hats and goggles on!

On Saturday evening, I made a lovely dinner: sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry.

Sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry

Sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry

It’s based on an old recipe that I had for cabbage stir-fry.  Ingredients:

  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • Small piece of chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Some sesame seeds (I used a mixture of black and white seeds)
  • Any stir-fry veg (I used mangetout, red pepper [capsicum], baby corn, spring onions [scallions], broccoli spears and a red chilli
  • Tofu

It worked out really well 🙂

Today has been a busy day. This morning, Stuart and I ran up to The Common for another training run with the Marafun crew. I dithered a bit, but went into the 9 minute mile group again. If I’m going to get a PB then I’ll need to manage faster than that pace on race day!

After we finished the group run, Stuart and I ran home, where I made some spirulina smoothies.

This afternoon, we joined Coach Ant’s fun run: Santahampton.

We arrived a little late, but it was easy to see where we needed to go as there were plenty of people out with costumes on:

Arriving at Santahampton

Arriving at Santahampton

The local newspaper had sent a photographer and also a journalist (who turned out to be one of my former students. I love it when I hear about my people I’ve taught doing well).

Coach Ant briefed everyone about the route, and then we were off.

Ant starting the run

Ant starting the run

I jogged with some people that I know – we were at the back, but that was fine as it was a fun sociable event. I really enjoyed having a chance to say hello to people that I know.

Afterwards, we were all rewarded with a mince pie.

Any with Sandra and her huskies

Ant with Sandra and her huskies

My favourite Christmas elf

My favourite Christmas elf – Liz and her medal.

Secret Santa (aka Rikki)

Secret Santa (aka Rikki)

Papping the photographer - a quick snap of Jules

Papping the photographer – a quick snap of Jules

How’s your week been? Have you got any festive runs scheduled?

Brighton Marathon: I high-fived Paula Radcliffe!!!

6 Apr

So, today was the big day. For the past few weeks, I’ve postponed everything saying that I would ‘do it after Brighton’.

Stu and I woke up at 5:30am and I sprang out of bed, ready to make my porridge. Today I opted for 30g oats, 20g dried apricots, 30g ground almonds, a drop of vanilla essence and 1tsp golden syrup, microwaved with some water. Whilst it was cooling (I hate HOT porridge), I got dressed. The weather forecast had been for wind and rain, but given my problems with overheating, I decided not to change my planned outfit: my black SportZone double layer shorts, Lordshill t-shirt, headband (depending on the temperature), Nike dri-fit elite socks, turquoise Compress Sport calf guards, Shock Absorber ball sports bra and Brooks Vapors.

I wasted a bit of time, so Stu and I didn’t leave the house until 6:25am, but I wasn’t too worried as I knew that the roads would be fairly quiet.

We came off the main road and went straight into a traffic jam for the Mill Road park and ride. I saw other people get out of their cars and walk, but I didn’t feel ready to leave Stu at that point (7:40am), so I stayed for a while, but by the time it got to 8am, I thought I’d better get out as the instructions said that the last bus would leave the park and ride at 8:15am and I didn’t want to miss it.

I walked down a hill and crossed a road by a roundabout. I’d seen another girl get out of a car. She had flagged down a park and ride bus as she had seen another woman get on it. I jogged over and was able to get on with her. This was a fortunate move as when we got to the bus stop, there was a massive queue. I chatted to the other runner, who told me that she was called Rosie, was 24 and from Birmingham. She had planned to run the race with a friend, but her friend got injured, so she was doing it on her own and aiming for 5 hours.

The journey to the start was about 2 miles, so it didn’t take long for us to get there. I then went to queue for a toilet with Rosie. All of the queues were enormous, so it took quite a long time, but I wasn’t worried as we had over half an hour before the race would start.Finally, I made it to the front of the queue – what a relief.

Near the baggage lorries, I saw a man applying vaseline. I decided it might be prudent to apply some more, but I had forgotten mine, so I asked the man if I could have some. I removed my trousers and hoodie and rubbed a bit of vaseline on my legs to prevent chafing. I then took out my bin bag, handed in my bag and headed towards the start. I realised that I still had my headband around my neck, so I pulled it up. I wasn’t sure whether I would need it, but rain had been forecast, so I thought it might be useful.

On the way to the start line, I saw Matt White, a fellow LRR runner, so I popped over to wish him luck and then went to the start line. There was some nervous chatter and I realised that I hadn’t put a pacing band on, but I wasn’t too fussed as I figured that some mental arithmetic might help to distract me along the way. I also realised that it felt quite warm, so I removed my bin bag.

Brighton Marathon Map

Brighton Marathon Map

My corral started moving forwards and I could see the start line. As I got near, I realised that Paula Radcliffe was on my side of the road, high-fiving runners crossing the start line. She is one of my running heroes, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. I headed straight for her and was so excited to high five her.

0-5km

Just a minute down the road, I saw Stu and Ant, so that was another couple of high fives in the bag. I was aware that we had to run a loop around the park as we’d already seen some of the elite runners go past as we were heading to the start line. What I didn’t know was that we had to go up a hill. We went around a corner and I was amused that although we were only a mile or so into the race, men were already dashing off to water the plants! I felt warm, so I removed my headband and wrapped it around my arm. As I headed towards where we had started, I spotted Ant and Stu again, so I threw my headband to them.

I felt quite pleased with my 5km time of 0:30:16.

5-10km

in this part of the race, I saw Simon on the other side of the road and shouted, but I don’t think he heard me. Then Sarah spotted me from the other side of the road – she was running incognito in an orange t-shirt, which was not what I was expecting. After I turned back on the loop, I was really excited to see Reena, who was looking strong. She had headphones in, so I really had to shout for her to hear me, but I was glad that I got her attention.  I then saw Stu with Ant again at about 4.5 miles.

I was relieved to find that I was still running at a sensible and consistent pace when I hit 10km in  1:00:23.

10-15km

As I was coming up to 7 miles, I kept looking at the other side of the road, trying to spot the speedy Lordshillers. I thought I might see Steve, but he was a long way ahead, so I missed him. I finally saw Simon looking really strong and then as I was trucking up the hill, I saw my friend Deano windmilling down the other side. I shouted out to him and he responded. There weren’t many spectators at this point on the course and it felt quite hilly, so there was not a lot of chat going on.

I thought that as I’d done 10km, I should take on some nutrition, so I had a caffeinated cherry shot blok. I was hoping for an instant boost, but to be honest, I didn’t really notice any difference 😦

We headed down a small side road that was quite congested. I wasn’t able to run at my own pace, which was really frustrating and people queuing into the road for the loos didn’t help. After I’d passed the turnaround point and got to about 8.5 miles, I saw Laura for the first time. I was quite surprised as I thought I’d started at the back of my corral and assumed that she’d be ahead of me, but I hadn’t realised that she’d started in a later corral.

Despite the hill, I was still running at a consistent pace and arrived at the 15km mat in 1:30:06.

15-20km

My initial troubles started as we were heading up the hill. It had become really congested and I couldn’t work out why as the path hadn’t narrowed. I skipped up the grass verge and started moving faster. I then realised that it was so congested as I was stuck in the lass of people around the 4:30 pacer. I wondered whether I should stick with the group, but I hadn’t been enjoying running at their pace, so I thought I would be better off doing my own thing and running according to how i felt.

I then started heading down the hill which felt great. The pacer had shouted out that there were no more hills left, so I was feeling really pumped. I wasn’t having to pay too much attention to what was going on around me as it wasn’t too busy… or so I thought. Suddenly, something hit me and I was totally winded! A woman up ahead had dropped and gel and instead of ignoring it and carrying on (she had on one of those gel-belts with enough gels to feed all of the elite runners!) she had turned around and run back straight into me. It threw me for a second, and being terribly English, I even apologised, although on reflection, it was hardly my fault.

Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and was still doing an OK pace, so I reached 20km in 2:01:17.

20-25km

I was quite excited about running the 20-25km segment as I knew that I would have completed half the race and was also expecting some good crowd support along the sea front.

As I turned a corner, I heard the first cheers from LRR supporters: Mike J. and Di. Then just a little further along, I heard the cheers from Team Cleeves on the other side of the road, who were probably awaiting Steve who was much further ahead than me. The next people who I saw were Stu and Ant. I had intended to speak to Stu at this point, but I was too busy chomping on my first energy gel to be able to speak. Oops!

The path then turned away from the seafront, which is where I got my first glimpse of the LRR support crew (at about 14 miles). I was a little bit dazed to see so many of them, but I think it was Irene, Emily, Pete, Rosie and Kirsty – thanks guys 🙂

Smiling because I can see my friends © Emily Smith

Smiling because I can see my friends © Emily Smith

14 miles © Emily Smith

14 miles © Emily Smith

I was still doing surprisingly well and hit 25k in 2:33:27.

25-30km

The next part of the course was a bit warmer as we were away from the seafront and the crowds were not as thick. It was also the part of the race that I dread the most, as I often find 16-20 miles the hardest part of long distance races. However, I was feeling confident that I might beat my dismal time for 20 miles from Bramley this year, so I kept going.

I had been picking up squeezy water cartons at every drinks stop and on this section of the course, I really doused myself with the water as I could tell that I was starting to get quite hot and I didn’t want to have to walk as I was feeling OK.

At some point in this section, Laura passed me looking strong. It was nice to talk to her for a little while, and I was suprised that it hadn’t happened sooner as I was expecting her to finish the race in about 4:15.

Overall, I was still doing OK as I reached 30k in 3:07:28.

30-35km

Miles 19-21 were heading west towards the power station. They felt really tough as it’s at the point when you’ve already run a long way and you’re also aware of just how much further you have to go. I’m not sure exactly what the time was when I passed the 20 mile marker, but I was pleased that I was faster than when I did Bramley 20 earlier this year. At about that time, I saw sarah on teh other side. We both nodded to acknowledge each other, but neither of us managed to shout or really wave as I think we were both starting to feel the effort.

I had really started to slow at this point and hit 35k in 3:45:21, but at least I knew that unless something terrible happened, I ought to get a time under 5 hours, which was a relief.

35-42.2km

The last 7.2km were really hard. I desperately wanted to pick up the pace, but my legs wouldn’t obey me.I was looking for any motivation that I could get and did not have enough energy to dodge around people, so I had to say ‘excuse me’ repeatedly to people who were walking in groups.

Somewhere around the 23 mile point, I saw the LRR crew again, which lifted my spirits and Stu also kept popping up. It was a little depressing to see how quickly he could run to the next point whilst wearing jeans and fashion trainers, but I was grateful that he was doing his best to help me.

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 23 miles © Stuart Smith

Stu also reminded me of the phrase that Irene and I always used to use on long runs: ‘parkrun to go’, which makes 5km seem like an easy and managebale distance when you’re tired.

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

At about 24 miles © Stuart Smith

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24.5 miles or thereabouts © Emily Smith

© Emily Smith

© Emily Smith

I did spend a lot of time thinking about my posture when I felt tired and I was grateful that I didn’t have a drinks belt weighing me down, but Stu managed to get a photo of me jogging up the last slope where my posture was terrible – oh dear 😦

Heading up a slope at 25 miles © Stuart Smith

Heading up a slope at 25 miles © Stuart Smith

The crowd were really good for the last couple of miles and a lot of people were shouting my name (as it’s on my t-shirt), which made it hard to know whether they were friends or just kind supporters. (The ones shouting ‘Tasmin’ were clearly just kind supporters). I did my best to look around and thank people, even if it was just a little thumbs up, but I didn’t recognise everyone. Somewhere around the 25 mile point, one of my schoolfriends, Alex, was cheering me on, which was really kind of her. I just hope I wasn’t looking too haggard at that point as I had really slowed up and was being passed by elderly people.

My final km split was at 40km:4:22:18.

I desperately wanted to sprint to the line, but my legs just wouldn’t go any faster and as it wasn’t going to be a PB, there just didn’t seem to be any point. I finally crossed the line in

4:39:44

which is about 20 minutes faster than I had hoped for, so I felt quite pleased.

 

Here’s all of my Garmin data for the race.

Garmin data for Brighton Marathon

Garmin data for Brighton Marathon

I’m quite pleased with my cadence for the race as I really struggled towards the end. I didn’t check on it during the run, but was hoping to keep it at 180spm for the race.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 20.54.39

You can’t see how slowly I was running after 30km (which might be a good thing), but until then, I wasn’t doing too badly!

After crossing the finish line, I had to collect my medal, finisher’s t-shirt, a foil blanket, a carrier bag, a banana, some breakfast biscuits, a bottle of Gatorade and a carton of water. I was grateful for all of these items, but it would have been much easier if they’d all been placed in a bag for me.

I was desperate to just curl up and sleep, but we had to keep walking and I’d agreed to meet Stuart in the finishers’ area by the ‘S’ sign. When I got there, I sat down and removed my shoes before eating some of the food. It didn’t take Stu long to arrive and after I’d used the foil blanket as a modesty sheet to change out of my shorts, we started walking in the direction of the buses… or so we thought. We crossed a road and asked the people there for directions to the park and ride. They pointed west, so we walked quite a long way before we decided to ask someone else for directions. Aaaarrgghh – we had walked nearly two miles away from where the buses were collecting people, so we had to walk all of the way back.

We finally got on a bus and after quite a while, we were dropped off at the bottom of the park and ride. I hadn’t realised that it wasn’t a field or a car park, just a long steep hill with cars parked at the side of the road. Stu’s car was about a mile away, just a few cars from the end of the line. It probably did my legs good to keep moving, but I hadn’t planned to walk five miles after running so far!

When I got home, I had a large glass of water before showering and putting on my t-shirt (and medal)

With my finisher's tshirt and medal

With my finisher’s t-shirt and medal

I like the ribbon that the medal is on and it’s not a bad medal, but I was a little disappointed that the t-shirt is a cotton t-shirt and not a technical t-shirt, which means that it will be relegated to the back of my drawer, never to be seen again!

I’m now trying out the Actipatch that I was sent, whilst kicking back with a pizza!

Celebration pizza

Celebration pizza

All-in-all, it hasn’t been a bad day!

Here’s the stats:

I was 505/956 in my age group (Women 35-44)

5438th/8506 overall in 4:39:44

1453/3031 out of the women (although I think this is incomplete data)

 

 

What did the postie try to deliver today?

15 Jan

OMG! OMG! OMG! I think my Team SOAS kit has arrived… I’ve received a “Sorry you were out” note through my letter box and the main clues on it are that:

    • it’s an international item
    • it’s a parcel
    • it’s too big for my letterbox
While you were out card

Team SOAS parcel?

I really hope it’s my kit. I’m so excited about it! I’ve been gear hungry ever since I first saw it!

Today’s been a hectic day with me cycling to various locations in the city for meetings, but I’ve also managed to fit in some online reading and some exercise.

I went back to Weight Watchers for the first time this year and was pleased that I have lost 1lb since 18th December 🙂 I now weigh 10st 9lb (149lbs or 67.5kg). I’d like to get back to 9st (126lbs or 57kg). I know that a lot of people think that it’s not a good thing to focus weight and I am trying to concentrate on eating healthy food, but I also want to be slimmer.

After WW, I went to the Lordshill Road Runners Wednesday night training session:

Wednesday LRR training

Wednesday LRR training © Kevin Yates

It’s not easy to see me, as I’m hiding behind someone! It was a hill training session in the rain. I’m annoyed at myself as I don’t think that I pushed myself as hard as I could have done, but I was feeling tired.

My lovely friends at Try Tri have been checking out new locations for events and recorded this video today:

It’s really cold here right now, so I think they’re crazy for going in and trying the lake. I reckon their secret location is the beautiful Kingston Maurward in Dorset. The lake looks really clear (and perhaps a bit shallow). Hands up if you think Chris received a GoPro camera for Christmas!

I also read this interesting article: http://breakingmuscle.com/swimming/im-a-triathlete-i-dont-kick-when-i-swim It dispels the myths around kicking when swimming for triathlons and is worth a read.

I followed a link from a fellow Team SOAS athlete (Hi Cheryl!) to an interesting article about tokens (medals, tshirts etc) from races and race numbers and what people do with them: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2013/12/all-that-glitters.aspx#axzz2qU7aZshD  I tend to take photos of my race numbers for my blog and the medals all go into a pile of stuff that I never look at again. What about you? What do you do with your race goodies?

Some really sad information that I read on several blogs today was about the death of a fellow runner Meg Cross Menzies who was killed by a drunk driver in Virginia. Runners are being asked to tweet photos of themselves running in her memory on Saturday January 18th with #megsmiles.

Anyway, that’s it for today… I’d love to post more, but I really need to start getting some quality sleep!

What have I been doing since my holiday?

22 Nov Gosport Half Marathon

I’ve been so busy in the fortnight since we’ve been back from Portugal that I’ve not been able to update my blog as much as I’d hoped to, so here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to.

CC6

The Sunday morning after we got back was a cross country race out in the New Forest. It was hard getting up in time for it as I was feeling shattered from the previous day’s travelling, but I knew I had to if I still wanted to be in with a chance at winning the club’s participation award.

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Near the start of the CC6

Near the start of the CC6 (all CC6 photos © Paul A. Hammond)

It was not an easy race, with quite a lot of it being muddy and hilly and the last section was a hard uphill slog.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

I played cat and mouse with Kathy for a while, but towards the end her superior speed won out and she was able to finish ahead of me. I felt quite pleased with my performance as I didn’t give up and I knew that I was running on tired legs.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

Swimming lessons

It was good to be back at my swimming lessons – I hoped that I would be stronger and would not have picked up any bad habits whilst I was away, although I know that swimming with a wetsuit on makes me lazy! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in any of my blog posts, but in the last session before my holiday, I dived into a pool for the first time in my life. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it was massive. I’ve spent so long standing on the edge of a pool, but was terrified that I would get too deep and be unable to breathe, or would hit my head on the bottom, so I just couldn’t bring myself to try it. I’m now desperate to go swimming with Stu as I really want to show him how well I can dive.

Chris got us to practise quite a lot of butterfly, which is not (and never will be) one of my favourite strokes. I’ve now had two lessons since I’ve been back and I know that I really need to work on keeping my head more streamlined during front crawl as I lift it up and don’t even realise that I’m doing it. I was also given a few pointers when doing breaststroke to try to keep my hips lower so that my feet don’t come out of the water. I’ll report back on my progress soon!

I received the video of me swimming in Lagos, which has really shown me where my swimming is going wrong, so I’m keen to get in the pool and practise:

Lordshill training

On my first Monday back, I coached a session on hills, so we went to Holly Hill and I got my group to practice various aspects of downhill running which I think went quite well, but it involved more running (to and from the venue) than I had anticipated and my legs were a little bit grumbly!

This Monday, I had planned to do a core session. I had a long list of exercises, but unfortunately, it rained and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to make my athletes lie on wet ground 😦

Southampton Tri Club

Straight after my LRR session on Monday, Stuart and I rushed down to The Quays to have a go at our first session with Southampton Tri Club. Katherine had originally tried to persuade me to wait until she was back, but I wanted to join asap and Huw at work persuaded me to go. I was in a lane with three others: Liz, James and Jo – all of whom are bloggers and LRR members! We did a 200m warm up, which felt like hard work, before being asked to do ‘200 off 4:40’. I didn’t know what that meant, so the coach explained that we had to swim 8 lengths of front crawl and have a break within 4 minutes and 40 seconds. unfortunately, I’m quite slow, so it took me over 4:30 to swim 200m. This would have left me with no break, so I waited for the others to do 2 lengths before joining in again. We had to repeat it 5 times, which felt really hard – I don’t often swim that far in a session. (Later when I asked Stu what he had done, his main set was exactly the same!!! How is that fair?!) We also had to do a variety of sculling drills, but I had to work extra hard as I didn’t have a pair of fins.

Overall, I really enjoyed the session and know that I need to work on my technique if I’m going to do OK at Challenge Weymouth, so I signed up to Southampton Tri Club yesterday evening and am now an official member 🙂

I’ve now done a second swimming session and know that it takes me 4:44 to swim 200m. I’m definitely towards the bottom end of the group, but I am not the slowest and I hope that I’ll start to make good progress.

Yoga

On Tuesday evening, I went back to yoga with Stu. Our usual instructor, Wai, is away, so we have a different instructor. It’s nice to mix up the sessions a little. We did a few shoulder stands and plough pose, which is one of my favourites… although I can’t seem to stop my feet from going right over and touching the ground, whether or not my legs are straight!

Weight Watchers

At my first WW session after our holiday, I found that I had lost 4lbs. I went again today and had lost another pound. I had thought that I might have lost more as several people commented on how good I looked today and I felt that I was looking more trim. My WW leader said that she didn’t think I needed to lose more weight and as I my BMI is now 24.47, which is within the healthy range. I am happy to be classed as a gold member again as the money that I save can be used for my tri club membership, but I would still like to lose at least another stone – I’m sure that it will help me to run faster! Every time I so much as glance at something ‘bad’ I ask myself whether Kat would eat it and the answer is usually ‘no’!

Interval training and social run

On Thursday morning last week, Stu, Liz, Katherine and I met for an interval session. This is when I usually have a Run Camp session, but as there are no more until after Christmas, we decided to have ‘Run Gang’ instead (it’s like ‘Bike Gang’, but with running!) Stu had devised times for us to do 400m intervals, but my Garmin decided to amend my pace and breaks, so I wasn’t getting any rest. In the end, I reset my Garmin and just did the best that I could. My last interval felt really good – for 200m I felt like my technique was as good as Mo Farah’s or Usain Bolt’s – but I was unable to sustain the pace.

On Thursday evening, I went for a lovely 11km run with Teri. It’s nice just to be able to run and chat. We had intended to run around Portswood, but we ended up going through Bevois Valley and then back towards the Common.

This week on Thursday morning, Stu and I met Liz and Katherine for a gentle run around the new parkrun route (Route C). I didn’t want to get out of bed, but was glad that I did the run when I had finished.

Sports massage

On Friday I had a sports massage at You Massage Therapy. The masseur, Pete, is a really nice guy who is interested in sports. I’ve had sports massages from other people, but Pete seems to get the pressure just right. I thought that a massage would be a good way of preparing myself for my forthcoming race.

parkrun

On Saturday morning, I was Run Director at Southampton parkrun. It was meant to be Stu’s turn, but I wanted to save my legs for Gosport Half Marathon. It was the first time that Route C had been used and quite a few people got PBs, so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Tri Expo

After parkrun, we drove down to Bournemouth for the Primera Triathlon Expo. I ended up buying various goodies for myself:

– Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

– Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

– Bike bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

I also bought three bags of blueberry protein powder.

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

We were both given Bustinskin swimming hats and USN bottles and vooma gels.

USN vooma gel and bottle

USN vooma gel and bottle

Stu decided to check out the bike porn and decided that he liked a Storck bike, but at over £9.5k, it’s a bit out of his price range!!!

Stu admiring a Storck bike

Stu admiring a Storck bikeIMG_1597

To console him, I let him buy a couple of sachets of recovery hot chocolate.

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Christmas presents

After we left the tri expo, we went to visit Stu’s parents with an ulterior motive in mind… members of Southampton Tri Club are expected to bring a pull buoy, fins and hand paddles to every swimming session. Stu and I had added these to our amazon wish lists, but realised that we need them now. Unfortunately, Stu’s mum had already done her Christmas shopping, so we collected our presents early – thank you, Brian and Sally!

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sally

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sallyspeedo-8-027610006-zoomspeedo-8-017910004-zoom

Gosport Half Marathon

I have kept Graeme’s words in my mind about self-limiting beliefs, so I decided to aim high despite not being on form since April 2012. I decided not to look at my watch for the first two miles of Gosport HM as it takes me nearly that long to warm up, so I was delighted to find that I was running at a reasonable pace when I finally glanced at my watch. I chose to continue running according to how I felt and was delighted to achieve a 5 mile PB (42:10), which meant that I was on track to get somewhere near my HM PB of 1:52:19.
It was an overcast day that was about 6° C with no breeze, so it would seem that those conditions would be ideal for running. Unfortunately, although my breathing was comfortable and my legs felt good, between 8 and 9 miles, I started to overheat and got tunnel vision, so I had to slow down. I took on plenty of water and was fully hydrated before the race, but I could not cool down. At 10 miles, Stu was by the side of the course (he had cycled to the event) and he could see that I looked ill, so he kept popping up for the next three miles as he was worried about me. I was determined to finish and hoped that even if I wasn’t near to my PB, I would still get a sub 2 hour time. I was also aware that I was my club’s leading FV35, so I hoped that I would be able to retain my position.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. In the final mile, I was passed by many of my clubmates. Full On Sport’s chip timing system failed, but according to my Garmin, I finished in 2:00:13. I was incredibly disappointed, but Stu has pointed out to me that not only did I get a 5 mile PB, it was also my second fastest ever HM and it was over 30 seconds faster than I did the race last year. I also managed to completed it (and a cross country race on the day after I got back from Portugal), so as long as I complete a cross country race on 1st December, I will win the Lordshill Road Runners Championship participation award alongside Di Mattingly.
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dsc_4789(1) dsc_4790(2)dsc_4791(1)dsc_4792(1)dsc_4793(1)dsc_4794(1)Gosport Half Marathon Running and smiling at Gosport Half Marathon © Paul A. Hammond

Shopping

As I know that I need to work hard on my cycling, I realised that I had better buy myself some winter cycling clothing, so I went online to Wiggle and ordered myself some bib tights and a long-sleeved jersey. There wasn’t a lot of choice, so I chose DHB Team Wiggle Honda kit as it had great reviews. Orange isn’t my favourite colour, but it all arrived today and I think it looks quite nice.

My new Wiggle Honda kit

My new Wiggle Honda kitIMG_0032

I was also lured in by SportPursuit… it’s such an evil website, as it knows just how to suck me in. I wanted to get a pair of plain black shorts and ended up ordering a pair of black shorts, a Pearl Izumi jersey and a pearl Izumi winter jacket for cycling.

Pearl_Izumi_Womens_Elite_Softshell_Wxb_Jacket_White 11221120_3YQ Bellwether_NEWTON_Bicycle_Shorts_Black_Front__83336.1359390098.1280.1280

I think these goodies should arrive just before Christmas 😀

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