Friday, 25 June 2010

Secrets of Success

Tonight I learnt from the legendary Jack Daniels... 5 elements of success for a runner. I believe I have the five...
Ability - getting there, but I think I have more of a 'long distance' frame
Motivation - bags of it... and no distractions
Opportunity - belonging to a running club and with many local races and beautiful places to run nearby, I have this
Training - I think of all the criteria, this could be where I need some help - most of it is what I believe from experience works, and trying different things... but trial and error is what the experts recommend
LUCK! Well it seems that other than avoiding injury, and getting all the ingredients of training right for improvement, apparently this could be another competitor's misfortune in a race that puts you in advantage... this had happened a couple of times now, and it does help when the Ladies field is thin... and you are one of the few serious ones.

Thats the thing I do feel like I am one of a few female of the species - taking this 'seriously'... especially at my age, when I guess the majority are sprogging up or going down the career route. But in the interval training last night, I was one of 4 ladies doing the session - about 15 men (3 of us were probably about halfway up the pack pace-wise). Most of the women in the club had decided on an 'easy 4 miler' on one of the familiar routes... I guess this is what separates the 'women from the girls' - I understand it is hard... it hurts... and after all, maybe for them running is about 'me-time' and its not about serious racing...which is their choice at the end of the day. But then you get the moaners...'I don't seem to be getting any faster'... Hmmmm.

I have always look up to strong women... I do like to be perceived as determined and strong Sarah Connor or Starbuck type... even Paula (of course), who I look up to. I like it when it rubs off on the others... and I hope our Ladies start getting some prizes to put out alongside the mens.. This running makes me feel energised, sexy, confident and strong. Feeling like this makes me confident when I 'go into battle', so I draw on this 'Sarah Connor' inside, and as soon as the race is over, its Ros again. But this is what works for me.


One of my favourite artists, Van Gogh....'Noon: Rest from Work'. I wish I could have rested at noon.. but I wonder given the temperatures at the moment (which are most unfavourable)...we could demand a siesta?

A siesta (Spanish pronunciation: [╦łsjesta]) is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in some countries, particularly those where the weather is warm. The word siesta is Spanish, from the Latin hora sexta – "the sixth hour" (counting from dawn, therefore noon, hence "midday rest").

Well maybe the heat and some hard training had earnt me a rest, but despite my mileage target, I decided to take one this evening. Finding myself 'Home Alone', what did I do..? A couple of year's ago... Bridget Jones? How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? .....a bit of American Psycho even? A phone call to a relative? A tub of Green & Black ice-cream and a large glass of wine? None of the above... what is happening to me? I sat down with a beautifully steamed salmon and vegetables, to watch 'Jack Daniels, The Art and Science of Running'. No disturbances... OK so I had treated my neglected face to a face-pack before...(which was nice and cooling)... and I did treat myself to ice-cream flavour chewits and a Milky Bar. I am taking this seriously, I think people that don't know me very well, maybe don't get this?

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Intervals with Friends....

Thank GOD!!! The speed is there, the stomach settled, and the motivation is BACK! Having spent a really productive day at work, and getting things organised, Calendars, BBQs, an overdue girly evening planned, an even more overdue trip down to see my Grandpa...and generally feeling I was putting some time in for things that really had taken a back seat, I was raring to go for the evening session. I needed to feel I still had that fast girl inside... the comradery of the club to help push hard, and catching up with a good friend back from hols! We made our way over to the flat, gravelly, narrow (and shaded!) 'Greenway'... where the 400m had been marked out, so we would each head out with similarly paced club members. My friend and I both had demons to burn....she had the week of holiday sins and no chance to burn out for a while, I had a few recent slow, trudgy and demoralising runs...and the need to feel back in control! I held my Garmin in my hand to check our pace and time - by the time the watch had caught up with me (pace wise) we were already about halfway down, and chasing down the leading pack... but the first rep was astonishingly SPOT on target time! More of the same - but the backward reps were slightly easier (very slight downhill on the first half)...
One thing I noticed was how doubled up and 'spent' the fastest group were when they crossed the 400m...almost to the point of wretching.... and the further back in the group you finished...the less it seemed to physically have taken out of them (noticeably anyway)... which made me wonder is it going to get really 'painful' to get better at this..? Do these guys push the pain barrier to the limits? The rewards are there... and i felt GREAT after the session, but Im not going to push any harder than my targets - for the time being anyway. :)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Trails, Fails and Tantrums!

I might have mentioned loving running... and also hating it.... but hating it for loving it so much....that is my true love, the road run. Tonight I met my love's dirtier, crueller cousin... 'trail'-er trash!!! Ooooooooooo she was was just sick. I had a hard three days following the hilly long run (which none of my club-mates can quite believe I did - especially this soon before my goal race!) Well some athletes (I am told) start training for target races a year or so in advance! So put that in your Garmin Training Centre and CHART it!! Well I was tired.... I dont know if I expected a 'second' wall to break through again tonight - so slow leady legs suddenly turn to light feathery goodness. I havent felt like this three nights on the go before, and trying to get through this... but getting lost on the over-grown, grassy, sun-belted dry, rocky muddy, rutty, ground with no room for exposed legs swishing through nettles, thistles and other spikey nastiness! I stopped. Started. Stopped. My Garmin was getting p****ed off with me (make your frakin' mind up girl!!!) Not that it matters because I'M FRAKIN WALKING my way through most of this. Please note I have not blamed anyone for but myself for just getting so annoyed with it all. I am a control freak when it comes to training and what distances and routes I am doing, so when I was just demoralised that the short grassed trail route I was promised (I didnt even have my Mizuno Ascends on - and I did double and triple check that the person knew the route well) would actually turn into Private Benjamin's worst nightmare... I would have said - nah, I'll do my own thing tonight. These things happen - grasses grow... (radically apparently) - so I let that go. But I still have this big frustrated monster inside... why do we do this? Sometimes trails ARE fun... hell I did the Moreton Morrell Muddness...the Fierce 10 .... even the EXTREME terrain 10km!! But that was social - funny - and on freshly, tapered legs. Maybe I am just too tired? Maybe I just need some rest. Anything's worth a try.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

My affair with running....definitely a love/hate thing!

What is it with running? I mean...what IS it? She is like a temptress maybe - a mermaid, a vixen, a filthy whore even?! Someone you can share all your frustrations...take it out on her! (Is it a her...why have I called it 'her'?) She is there, patiently always there... like the perfect Mistress, she will always try to make you feel better, but sometimes its just too hard... you end up resenting her for it.... but she can hurt you more than you've ever known was possible!
Tonight I was resenting her... I was not happy after looking for pretty Summer shoes earlier on, which I felt SHE would ruin! I mean how can I wear these things.. she has made me crave comfort when not striking the ground hard! I AM the typical shoe loving girl... not a 'girly' girl - but I like to show off my hard-worked calves, and enjoy my REST nights with a pretty dress and matching shoes. But she is always there in my mind... always. I plan everything around her.. my days, weeks... and now even further ahead than that! But I also hate her. Tonight - I didnt even want to go out... after starting so slowly last night, and having planned in a long run instead of the normal club night to get my time with her. She had made me feel like this, like I had to be sneaky about doing it tonight... if the others saw my struggle with her, I might give it away. I ended up feeling the others would give me more strength to cope with her in numbers I guess! Well went out fairly well. but then she had her sweaty grip on me. and I slowed... grrrrrrr! Right thats IT!! I fought - I fought with the mental stimulation and chatting with Barry and Richard about beer!! Thats the spirit, IGNORE her, being sociable helped me overcome the mental struggle (was it physical or mental - probably a bit of both) - but I was able to finish feeling back in control. You have to stay in control of this one... she only makes you hate yourself for loving her so much... but sometimes you WILL hate her....its probably those times that make you a better runner.

Monday, 21 June 2010

No Pain, No Gain ...

Very very heavy legs... which after a week of increased mileage, unsurprising, but with a complete rest day yesterday, out of the ordinary! It started off very sluggish - as if I had just hoisted myself out of swamp water having run a hard cross-country race (were my trainers still wet from the Friday the week before? Not possible!) It was a warm evening so maybe the heat was also pushing me back... but this was just trudgy and groany and hard. After a kilometre or so - through quite a popular section with commuters making their way up from a nearby station (I normally like to go quick here as I feel my sport is on show!) ...I was frustrated this wasnt passing easily, but not to give up! I made my way to the canal, and on the flat ground I was able to hit a nice pace, and started easing up slowly. I mused over the day... I agonised over whether I had offended people... I had a moment thinking of my dad and how he would be smiling at me right now, which made me feel much better. I think a positive mental attitude...of not giving up, gritting teeth and powering through sometimes is the only way. Hard for some to comprehend, especially when nothing in their life has given them a unique 'drive' to succeed or survive! I really believe there is a factor there in a lot of successful runners, a strong core and a pain to overcome.... maybe in their life a pain they want to forget, helps to fuel the running. This is something I have thought about a lot...when I feel pain I think of the pain of losing my dad, of how much I would give for another day with him, and I can imagine similar things for others.. the pain of being seen as overweight, the pain of losing someone, of missing something significant in their life? I know how I can use these feelings to my advantage in a race...and dig really deep to not let it get the better of me. I know there are genuinely painful injuries that force a stubborn runner to stop in their avoid running and to take the bench to their dismay. I am absolutely terrified of this happening to me.. I need the running like a drug, to settle my mind and to feel the pain again which takes all other pain away... this sounds rather scary when I read it back but it really is true. Important thing is to know your limits, to know when a niggle is just a niggle and to sensibly get back on track... so far so good - touch wood but the further the training goes the higher the risks I suppose.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Another Inspiring, Hilly Cotswold Long Run.....

Well this run began in the little Cotswold village of Mickleton, heading out to Chipping Camden and on to Snowshill and the Lavendar Farm there... this was another one of the 'Hilly 100' legs, so plan was for me to run it for around 14.4km and then turn round and come back, so completing 18 miles. From the profile of the route it was going to be a long slow inclining outward run, maybe not as good training as doing the downhill at the beginning and then the incline at the end...but I wasn't going to complain! It was a lovely sunny day... my fuel belt a bit annoyingly 'sloshy', and the seal not quite good enough to prevent the odd trickle of water down my leg as it sloshed up.. heading out following the little yellow Hilly 100 stickers where we met junctions. A long slow hill was the first challenge and I felt strong in my legs to deal with it...but it went on..and on....and on a bit more.. but then coming into Chipping Camden, it was nice being met with the hussle and bustle of this beautiful Cotwold tourist trap! Antique shops, tea rooms and lots of limestone... and we strongly ran down the high street to avoid the crowds (feeling a bit of a local celebrity with my mirror shades on and plait swinging violently! After the High street heading out of the town, the most gorgeous collection of cottages... rounded hedges, long long long drives, some of the best kept gardens and just absolutely breathtaking houses!
Carrying on... long quiet roads with no paths, with beautiful views across the fields ... more slow inclines and a darker section with woodland either side of the road...and then a turning on the route to a Lavendar Farm.

Light hazey rows of lavendar, like purple tidal waves lined up either side of the narrow road here up and over past the farm... a tea-room sign advertising 'Lavendar Shortbread', sounded divine right now (nicer than my orange carb gel anyway!) I headed a couple of kms further than Pete to get to my target of 14.4km before turning round... just before the end a steep downhill .....owwwwww (that means I have to do a steep hill after the turn!) But this last section past chickens, more tumbling cottages, a pretty little village centre with picturesque church... and a twisty route through woodland... I stopped the Garmin - took a gel and changed direction. Was I confident about the route back...yes no problem, and the landmarks I enjoyed on the way out all to come again! It was lonely this way round as Pete had headed back after 12km.. just something I would have to cope with in the weeks ahead, but more inspiring routes like this one, is what long runs should be about!

Friday, 18 June 2010

The mascara of Rosso!

If there was ever a thorough test of mascara staying power.. it was on my run this evening... I ran, the mascara didn't! It was that fine misty rain that clings to you, doesn't hit you or render you breathless - but there must have been lots of it as it was pouring down my face but my Bourjois Waterproof Mascara resisted the attack! Very girly concern - but I did have this vision of looking like The Cure when I got back from my little run... I was sweetly surprised. So its my new favourite thing...having had some major fails on this front in the past! The run was refreshing, enlightening and enjoyable... my legs suddenly lighter despite the heavy mileage now building in them. My laces are getting annoying though...far too short and undo easily, so had to stop to tie them (again).

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The lonely road to extra mileage

So I have actually (I think) done my first ever 8 days in a row of running with NO complete rest day... I'm at 24 miles this week, and I need a further 26 to make my target 50... so 18 on Saturday's planned long run... leaves 8. I could do a 4 tomorrow, just recovery pace... and 4 on Sunday. That would mean 11 days straight running... (11!!! That number haunts me!) I can't believe how hard it has been this week to get up to the 50 (well planned - not done yet!) Its going to be the same every week if I want to keep on top of this mileage... lots of lonely time :( The runs with the club are good fun, but I think my long runs have now got to a point that I cannot run with anyone else as they are not up to this distance, and although I love the company I am not going to shorten these. Tonight's club race of 5 miles - I was feeling the 7 previous days in my legs, and I know as Eddie found out, its something that my body will adapt to, but I have also really enjoyed the odd rest day. Overall - its a sacrifice I need to make to get my mileage unless I can work in more doubles to free up a day... but not sure that 'double trouble' will tire me out too much because of my commute and free time.. God this is hard, will extra miles really pay off? I have a niggle down my left shin which I am slightly nervous about, didnt affect my running tonight, but its new... and I don't like that. So tomorrow's run WILL be easy easy eaaaaaaasy.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


OK so I'm struggling a little on the goal front... mainly as I had some big marathon goals before, and did everything in my power to achieve them. Now I have this little race in Wales, and a 16 week training plan approaching...I'm taking this pretty seriously (as always) as this is going to be a huge step on the way to getting a serious goal PB in London next year. So the mileage, the hills... it will all contribute. But I am finding the 'goal' of the Snowdon marathon is hard to quantify, and I still need an objective there.. I confidently said to a club mate on Tuesday (though God knows where this came from), I will aim to get a marathon PB - even though yes I should allow for about 15 minutes on a flat marathon time. So that is my goal... to beat my 3:41 done on the flat and well supported Amsterdam last year. Talk about two completely different races, but therein lies the challenge. If I go for it..I imagine a huge 'runner's high' and self satisfaction (unless I blow up in training.) As I do not really have many other 'goals' or at least cannot think of any more in my non-runnning life, the running ones are all I want...that and a huge piece of M&S Coffee and Walnut cake after...and big glass of Barefoot wine!! (And a bath full of parma violets!)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Harmonious Living and Running

Do you ever have one of those days when you seem to be on top of everything, I felt super-efficient having organised my work calendar, insurance for new car, other bits and bobs, even tidied my desk, which has moved slightly and 'feels' better facing a different way, like the Feng Shui is working! However I have just looked up Feng Shui and its all wrong in our office (no wonder I feel so unbalanced!) For a start I dont have a wall behind my back, which is supposed to be 'support in your life'. I have no wall. The tables and chairs are definitely in more harmonious positions... but also there is a fax/photocopy machine next to the main office door. This is bad apparently, allowing hot chi energy to move in and out too quick. Who knew! I think I need a crystal or something for my window too.

Anyway my run was good and I felt efficient/harmonious... a good tempo run to make up for the short fail run yesterday, there was a threat of stitch which passed, and it was sunny and I felt strong. I didn't have my IPod, so I listened to my breathing/foot strike, recognising my own signature pattern now...focussing on this definitely made my running more efficient. I did feel I was pushing at almost race intensity at the end of the run, digging quite deep to maintain pace on the last kilometre or so having built in my normal hill towards the end.

One thing I always wear on my runs is my Trion:Z necklace... the theory is... Trion:Z combines the natural power of magnets and the energising effect of negative ions to balance the bodies magnetic and electrical fields. Magnetic therapy is commonly used to alleviate a wide range of health conditions, including pain relief and injury recovery. Magnetic therapy uses the influence of negative magnetic fields to naturally improve blood flow and oxygen to areas of injury to facilitate healing and cell regeneration. Well I thought it looked cool on Paula and when my friend gave me one saying 'I was her Paula'.. it became my lucky charm in races :) Does it really work? Maybe its a slight placebo effect... but it kind of makes sense too.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Saw Slash - then left the washed out Download!!

Well after watching Saxon and 3 Inches of Blood, the next on the wish-list was SLASH... and he delivered! Really enjoyed the set he did - including Velvet Revolver track 'Slither' and GNR (of course) - so wearing my Guns n Roses vest I was in the zone for 'Paradise City'! I also really enjoyed this track which I added to my Spotify list (below video) which is just awesome!!

Then - the heaven's opened and with thousands of fans due to leave the washed out fields later on - one poncho (Pete's - which I commandered) between the two of us - and feeling 'past it' on the festival front (girls wibbling their wibbly bits, some sites I care not to remember - one girl with laced up in piercing IN her calves so she actually had a lace running through them....FU**ED UP!) Anyway ... a hot bath, and a glass of wine seemed more appealing! I nervously asked Pete if it was BAD of me to want to leave as the rain-water relentlessly washed down our faces... and the queues for ponchos lengthened!! We were glad we made that choice... if it had been Maiden or Linkin Park or Black Sabbath, we would have stayed... but for Aerosmith...meh! And glad that it was only a slightly shallow swimming pool we had to drive through as we made our escape through the lines of sinking cars! (Heaven help them later!) It was amusing to hear Billy Idol on the stage as we walked away to the car, singing 'Nice Day for a White Wedding!'

Bit of a fail easy run...

So the plan, an early morning run before travelling to Donnington, to get my weekly mileage up to 40 and to get used to more back to back days.. so after a night of rather disappointing football, the alarm set and out at 7.30 or so for a couple of miles (although secretly hoped for possibly 6 or 7 miles so I could do 45 miles... also divisible by 5!) I felt good, slow with the hills and miles from yesterday in my legs, but a nice morning to run... until about 2km or so when the stomach lurch happened. Admittedly it hadn't occurred to me to take my all-important pre-run toilet trip this morning.. for such a short distance at that. But oh dear. Pete already had 'stomach issues' and headed for the short-cut back... could I make it a bit further, I powered through the intermittent stomach lurches, squeezing it back in each time... but it was getting touch and go (almost literally) so I turned back to the short-cut back :o( ...such a horrible feeling, as many runners will well know, to concern about the potential of squatting by the road, in a very public housing estate with no privacy. I just had to get back and quick! I didn't even get 4km on the Garmin, so I did get the 40 miles, planning to get this to 50 next week, but with more preparation next time(!)

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Calmly finding another way to stay on track

There could be so many themes that surround my run today... if I was voice-over man I would introduce it something like this...

One woman. Some of the hilliest terrain in Warwickshire. A dodgy map. A wrong turn. An offer of a lift from a running mate rejected... For no challenge is too great ...for... this Kenilworth Running diva.

OK so I awoke with a neck stiffer than a pubescent male's 'netherlands' first thing in the morning.. Good Lord...could I do a long run... let alone a tough one! Of course I could. Pete was doing a race - the first of the Threshold Series, which I competed in last year when it was called the Wedgenock Series (first lady overall in the series) so when I arrived with Pete the race organisers were expecting me to register. I was 'raced out' though....following a few week-end's racing. I needed to get back on track with the long run, to start cranking up the weekly mileage. So I used the facilities wash room - put on my I-Pod and Pete did a short warm up to show me off in the right direction before returning to race his 10km - whereas I had about 15 or so planned around the hilly area of Illmington, where one of the legs of the Hilly 100 is set. My neck had eased up but it was warm, and a night of consolation with a bottle of wine and my friend and I discussing the woes of job hunting was also poison in my veins - crying out for more hydration!

So I set out through the beautiful village - little tumbling limestone cottages fronted by proud foxgloves and acanthus in well-kept gardens, being tended by keen early-birds. the friendly smiling gestures and the warmth of the sun on my shoulders was comforting as I made my way to the first savage hill. A tough one but early on and I had strength in my legs, continually checking my little map print-out which only had a few road names (one I had already had concurred by a friendly looking villager!) So that done I continued on a long track towards the next Village. My continuous checks of the map, turning it in my hand to work out my direction, was confusing me somewhat as I got to the vilage but a couple of miles quicker than on the map... so I had missed a turn (the fact I entered the village via from the East rather than the West was a giveaway!) So what to do... I was supposed to be heading back down the route I had come in on... so I did that - just ignoring the 2 mile short-cut and continuing with the plan, back up the now familiar route, until an intersection took me back round to the village I started at and through to my second big hilly challenge... this one was painful - almost stood proud in front of my face it seemed! I took light short steps to master the hill without walking. My loose plan was to circle back around to the route which took me back to the village where I had missed a section which from the map would give me the extra couple of miles back. I did this, passing a group of D-of-E walkers, a couple of runners gone astray from the 10km race Pete was doing (asking me the way back - to which I offered them run with me but they seemed to feel bad they had interrupted my run and went in the opposite direction!) I then caught up with the route I had doubled back before so I could store the map away and get on with it - tackling the more minor hills again... also waving off the race organiser, Rob, who could see I was warm and struggling and offered a lift, but no - I would complete my 15 (now looking more like 16!) So I soldiered on... feeling the need for some gel sustenance.. but alas no gels on me (preparation fail!) So I steadily now used what I had left in me to get back, muffled pace and the intermittent stitch which I had to keep stopping to allow to pass. I was almost back when I saw the car... Pete was on a search and save mission as I was over my eta from my long run.. apparently my mate Rich was also doing the same somewhere else on the course! Pete had won 3rd place!!! His first 'podium' finish... I pathetically congratulated him with the tiny amount of enthusiasm I had left in my weary body! He praised me to powering through and coping with my slight navigational upset (it was bound to happen!) So 16 or so miles in the bag - another 2 in the morning to make it to a lovely round 40 week!!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Highs and Lows!

After a very busy week at work which spilt over into my favourite day...'Cafe Nero coffee and cake in Warwick day'... obviously after a little plod in the morning, I was exhausted! Exhausted from working, but also mentally exhausted from the highs and lows of the beginning of the week... late nights, potential new exciting pastures... and a way out of my long commute and rather punishing working environment. But it was not to be... and I felt I had to take it out on something... the run! However I didn't have my socks and ended up in the swimming pool in a crowded hot-tub at the gym - which I didn't even successfully clear when I raised my ugly foot from the depths of the bubbling water...emerging its little ugly black nails (actually there is only one... its been a while growing the others out!)
Well - the one upside was really well rested legs - so this evening I arrived at the club half expecting to be running with a new fast lady, who my Club Chairman had given me a head's up about joining us, but she was not there.. so I ran with a group but I led the pack out to - who knows! I knew a rough plan - but Stan the man was behind and as I pushed hard out I had to keep waiting for the others to catch up. A fantastic run... through fields of long grasses - watching the others wind their way through the narrow muddy tracks pushing bare legs through nettles. We found ourselves in a field of large creamy cows! I couldn't help myself - I had to sing! 'I just can't fight this feeling any morrrrrreeeeeeee, I've forgotton what I started fighting foooorrrrrrrrrrr....' :D I think I was on a major high following a rotten few days of tears and stress.... A true runner's high but it was a good feeling!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

2 Castles - and several Peacocks!!

Today I ran the 2 Castles race from Warwick Castle to Kenilworth, which is where my running club is. I managed 45:30.... which honestly I felt a bit disappointed given my time at Oxford Town and Gown a couple of weeks earlier (PB of just sub-44 mins)...and I felt I was giving it all-out effort, especially with all the club there, but it was warm, and to be fair on myself the course was a lot hillier.... our club's men's captain won the race which was a great result for us as a team, but his time was a couple of mins behind his PB, which was reflective of the running conditions (his winning time today was 35:14... his best is 33 something...)..... a good 45 seconds ahead of second place too! Just shows though - looking at the times that the course profile and temps. did have an effect (Pete was around 40:49... so still chasing that 40!)

The race itself was tough - it was one of my first races I ran in June 2008 when I did it in 1 hour and 56 seconds! It has been an incredible journey since then as you have probably picked up... so this was a course PB for me of 15 minutes! I remembered how good the suppport was through the villages.. and how the steady incline from one town to the other was a real mental slog! I struggled today around 3km - I was working hard and feeling it.

I did have a little battle with another lady runner who I have become familiar with in races around the region... and I knew when I let her get just ahead of me on the worst hill at around 8km, I would try and save myself for a kick in past her towards the end..... which I did despite cries of support for her as we neared the end (this almost spurred me on more!) I was a few seconds ahead of her at the end...absolutely blasting round the Kenilworth Castle grounds like it was a cross-country race where I was fighting hard for position! I was 14th lady position on the gun-time (15th on chip) ....and that was in a field of 2,300 or so runners.

The start was amazing (obviously very strong feelings about the castle) - I did the warm-up.... felt really smug when a couple of marshalls advised me of where the 'elites' doing the Warwickshire Champs were warming up (I'm not doing the WC because of my training committments.... but I must have looked suitably serious/professional for them to show me where to go!) I did the warm-up running along into this amazing little well-pruned Victorian topiary garden in Warwick Castle grounds - with a dozen or so peacocks crying and perched on top of the maze-like hedges!! One of them ruffled its feathers open..... show off! (Just because I was doing McMillan running drills!)

There were loads of fellow club runners... so lots of chatting to ease the tension. The Castle is amazing - I felt so priveleged to be starting inside the grounds and then off to another one! My favourite view was across the river where there is a timber boat-house and next to this the huge trebuchet and a few wig-wam/tents almost as it would have been...

A couple of highlights which helped in the race - I past a couple of male club runners who I perceive as just ahead of me in races normally.... so that was a big boost! There was a moment when I was told by a marshal to stop and let a car turn out in front of me....... NO WAY. I carried on regardless (but then this gave me some real anger to move up the field strongly.) Also when I saw our old Club Chairman in the housing estate as we made our final couple of kms to the other castle - and he said 'Go on Ros'... that spurred me on too.... and I clapped thanks to bunches of supporters where I could! I tended to use the cups of water at the couple of water stations on the course to splosh over myself... I cannot drink out of plastic cups when breathing hard AT ALL.

So overall - good day... and invited a couple of my old school friends who did the race back to ours for a clean up and coffee - so that was nice to catch up with them.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ice Ice!!!!

So.... warm morning! Tired legs and achey calves, not from a long run, but general training over the week's gone by, and it had been a while! So after a steaming hot shower, I cautiously entered the ice bath, a crystal clear pool with floating ice packs to maintain suitable arctic-ness! I managed to stand...moving my cosy towel from my freshly showered steaming body up to cover my shoulders so as I lowered, centimetre by centimetre... I went for the bottom next, so knees raised and calves still clear of the freezing punishment awaiting! I slowly then eased my knees down... allowing the water to slowely grip on to my warm dry flesh. My legs were now totally immersed under the mirror... and my quads were now slowly loosening under my tight restrain. Was this really good? A cup of hot coffee kept me warm inside... I started feeling at ease, following the initial shock... and almost feeling warmer from the waist down, although my upper body was shivering... more coffee!! I managed to stay for 10 minutes at least. Remember the benefits, injury prevention, improved circulation... flushing debris out of my tired muscles. This would help... and something I will have to get used to as the mileage takes its toll! It really wasn't that bad...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Eleven Eleven!!

OK on my weary heavy legged run this evening I was pondering why do I see 11:11 a lot!? I also mused over why I need to know that I have to complete 'exactly' 7 miles, not 6.something.... I want 7! It seems numbers are all the rage at the moment... I mean take the number sequence in Lost, or the 'day the Earth blacked-out' in Flash (aaaaggh - aaahhh!) Forward! Cover your eyes/ears if you haven't seen the last episode - but minutes before they realised about the other black-out I actually predicted that the black-out was of another black-out.... so a double black-out.... so they were actually thinking two jumps ahead not one... which wasn't quite right as it was a few minutes after everyone ended up where they were meant to.. BUT does this mean I am psychic?? I sometimes think I am slightly... some weird things/coincidences in my life.... sorry to be morbid, but my dad died on 30/06/99... which is a very interesting number. An avid mathemetician, I find it strangely satisfying.... numbers were a big part of our relationship... so maybe me seeing interesting numbers, or repeated numbers is remembering a little bit about him. :)