Monday, 25 July 2011

5x5 relay

I was brave and took part in our club's 5x5 relay on Saturday.  This event was created a couple of years ago to celebrate our 25th year.  Basically teams of 5 run a leg of approx 5 miles around Crieff and Comrie.  Each leg is very different (road, trail or hill) so it suits all kinds of runners. 

My team were The Royal Family headed by Queen Elizabeth herself!  Thanks to Kirsty who made our fab team t shirts and gave us our titles.  I'm Duchess of the Turret since my leg was running downhill from Turret Dam into Crieff. I like running down the hill!!

 It looks like I'm all alone up there but everyone else was in front of me!  Note the Sharon-esque leg pose ;-)

Phil came storming in over the hill to hand over to me in 2nd place.  I think this photo might end up in a club caption competition!!!

The relay is designed to be a fun event.  The runners fall into 2 camps.  Those who take it all very seriously and work out team tactics and those who don't (me n Charlie!) But I surprised myself.  When 3rd place Charlie caught up with me and passed me I was quite disappointed.  I really wanted to hold my 2nd place for the team.  So it was with some glee I saw that he was struggling so I pushed on and we kinda ran together for a while.  When we hit the flat I pushed on again and he couldn't keep up.  I knew he wouldn't catch me so I kept going.  I really thought I'd hold my 2nd place.

So I was quite scunnered when Colin came flying past me with about half a mile to go. He might joke that he's an Old Git (it's on the back of his hoodie!) but he's a good runner so I took comfort in only losing one place before handing over to Her Majesty who ran the final leg which is the 10k route.

It's the first time I've taken part in the event and I loved it.  And I've found there is a wee competitive streak in me! Maybe next year I'll run an uphill leg!

(photos by Liz Mestecky)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The C word

I got a row for using the C word.  As usual it was in relation to my run this morning. I sent a text to Clark saying I had managed my 5 mile run but had made the mistake of attempting to run up Laggan Hill.  I have a complete mental block when it comes to hills.  My head says I can do it and I really want to do it but my legs have a different idea. They just stop.  We have endless conversations about why this happens and so far I haven't found the answer.  So when I said I had a good run but still can't do hills I got the reply "stop using that f*cking word - it is not in my dictionary!" (the * wasn't me, you know I have no problem writing or saying fuck and all its derivatives) 

I don't know how to get round this.  Even wee gradual inclines floor me mentally.  I'm constantly seeking flat routes to run (and cycle) but as I'm increasing my mileage it's getting harder to find decent routes without just going 10 times round the block.  I'm gonna have to run up hills cos something else has started happening.  When I grind to a halt, my head fills with more than just running related crap.  I'm a half empty glass kinda person so even when there's a lot of great stuff going on I'll always be focusing on the negative.

As I walked up the hill I tried to force myself into thinking positive thoughts. I've been reading a few books on the subject but I think deep down I don't actually believe what they say.  Visualising myself running up the hill just doesn't work.  Chanting like 'the little engine who could' doesn't work either.  The thing is I'm sure I'm physically fit enough to do it now.

I could avoid hills but as I improve I'm discovering what kind of runs I like. I like off road, I like loops rather than out and back runs.  And I like running down hills.  In this weekend's upcoming club relay event I requested the run down from the dam.  5 miles straight down!

Not using the C word is simplifying the problem.  I could say I have difficulty running up hills.  But the truth is right now I can't go up hills and I don't know why.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Clyde Stride

There aren't many things or people that can get me up at silly o'clock on a Saturday morning especially after the week I've just had!!  But my friend Lee is one of them. There are no words to describe what she has done for me so when she asked me to be her wingman during her race the Clyde Stride, I didn't even think about it.  I didn't even ask what she wanted me to do.  I just promised her I'd be there on the day.

And what a day it was.  It was fantastic to meet up with lots of old friends running or helping and lots of new ones too.  We rode in a white van delivering drop bags and water to checkpoints.  I told her when to eat and she told me when to put up more signs.  We righted the world (obviously!!) We picked up an injured passenger (Mark, who was lovely) and we arrived at the finish in plenty of time delivering the finishers' bags.  Mighty fine day oot!

In the absence of my personal torturer, this week's training has been haphazard to say the least. But a timely abusive text convinced me to go out a stress busting run on Friday night instead of reaching for a glass of wine. I've never been out a run where it was almost dark on my return!

Yet more 'encouragement' today saw me out a run this afternoon.  I'm starting to think that a run of  4 or 5 miles is now just a 'wee run.' How did that happen?? Need to start upping the mileage as the half marathon gets closer and closer.  I'm also upping my cycling mileage this week.  I've been given a wee gadget thing for Delilah that measures heart rate, mileage, calories and probably gives me my daily horoscope as well!  Looks like I'm taking all this rather seriously, doesn't it? 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Crieff 10k

280 starters made this year's Crieff 10k our biggest for a few years and certainly the biggest field in my time as organiser.  Like all events there were a few glitches but the event passed without major drama.  Although my name is on the permit, like all these races there is a huge team behind the scenes making sure everything possible is done to make it a good race for everyone concerned.  Huge big thanks to my fellow Strathearn Harriers for making it a successful day!

For the first time we had a junior race, a mile round the hockey playing field.  It was open to our own juniors and we invited kids from the local schools.  Gordy finished in a time of 6 min 59 secs.  Just think what he could do with a bit more training! 

My own training is continuing in the manner to which I've become accustomed ie all over the bloody place!!  Monday's run started well but I literally ground to a halt and had to walk back to the house.  On reflection I know why.  I hadn't slept well on the Saturday night (understandably), I'd been up since 5am, I didn't eat breakfast before leaving the house at 7am and forgot to eat/drink until the race was over.  Then later was too tired and emotionally drained to eat more than half a pizza. So basically no fuel in the tank on Monday morning.  Lesson learned despite the mitigating circumstances!!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Firsts n last

I took part in my first serious race since 2004, the Brig Bash 5.  It was the first time I've taken part in a race that wasn't a mass participation event so there was no hiding in a crowd of people dressed as fairies or Superman.  It was the first time I've ever run for a club and the first time I've taken part in a championship race.  So a load of firsts!

I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do the event.  I know I can run 5 miles, I'm just slow and steady.  I'd checked the previous 2 years' race results and quickly realised I'd probably be the last runner.  But I'm trying not to compare myself to all the fab runners I know so quietly decided I'd do it.  I only told 2 people and Gordy who came with me to be my support.

We arrived in torrential rain with accompanying thunder and lightning.  I nearly went back home! But I reminded myself of why I'm doing this and duly registered.  Then the nervous wait for the start.

8 other Harriers were running and they were kind enough to be encouraging and not express surprise at my presence.

204 runners set off and I quickly settled into the rear of the field.  For the first mile I could easily see runners in front of me but they quickly pulled away.  I didn't mind and set about running my own race.  I know where I've been and how I got here.  I'm learning to be happy being "upright, outside and running"  It wasn't until one of the marshals shouting encouragement to me that I realised I wasn't last!  That was all the motivation I needed. 

I finished in 203rd position in a time of 57m 24s.  I'll never break records but it was a HUGE improvement on my last 5 mile run.  And Gordy shouting "Well done Mum!" as I crossed the line really made me smile.  I wouldn't say I enjoyed it at the time but I'm enjoying the satisfaction of completing a race.  And I earned a club championship point.

And I wasn't last! :-)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Up n down

My only excuse for not blogging regularly is that I've been rushed off my feet with all the voluntary stuff I do but rest assured I have been training regularly.  Now the school holidays are upon us I should have more time (although there is a wee race I'm organising on July 10th!!) 

I'd love to say training is going well but that's not quite true.  I'm really struggling with motivation and my lack of progress especially in running and swimming.  One great run is swiftly followed by 3 crap ones.  One good gym session is quickly followed by one that ends with me in tears at not being able to do something.  I cannot get my head round the whole PMA thing.  I want to run faster and longer so what stops me?  My head and my body are just not talking to each other. 

Clark tells me I'm too negative.  I tell myself I can't run up the hill so I don't.  Self fulfilling prophesy and all that.  I want to run up the hill so why can't I??  All suggestions gratefully received.

I know that having the right kit doesn't make you a better runner/cyclist/swimmer but I picked up my new pair of Addidas prescription sunglasses this morning.  They are worth every penny (thank goodness I like beans on toast!!)  Being able to see properly while cycling makes a huge difference.  I was very brave this morning and started my cycle from the house (I live on a blind bend at the top of a hill that is notorious for accidents!!)  I did a 12.5 mile loop in 67 mins. The last mile was uphill and nearly killed me. But I did it!

See, I'm ending on a positive note!  Although I've not managed to do much this afternoon except potter about the kitchen.  Well, we're officially on holiday now.  Just need some sunshine :-)