Sunday 28 November 2010

My Debut Marathon - La Rochelle

The big day has arrived! Up at 6.15am and feeling nervous and excited. Looked out the window and it looked like it was snowing but actually it was sleeting and thankfully no snow on the ground!

7.45 and an easy jog - felt slightly milder out than yesterday so changed my mind on wearing a t.shirt under my vest top.

5 mins before the race start and I'm at the start line - I'm in the elite women's start! Now feeling really happy and looking forward to running!

9am and the gun goes! I'm near the front and count 6 girls and 1 man in front of me (our start was all women and men over 50 with elite women and a few men at the front - there was a separate start line for all men under 50). I'm running alongside another girl and it feels like I'm jogging. After 1k I look at my watch - a touch quicker than I planned - oops! I keep at this pace with the other girl and at 2k look again - still too quick so I back off a bit. Any faster at this point will mean a lot of pain later! The other girl encourages me to stay with her but for all I know she might be aiming for around 2hrs 30 so I back off.

After 3 or 4k we join up with the men from the other start and I get into a nice group of about 15 men and this really helps to pull me along. My splits are still looking quicker than I planned by around 10-15s per km but it feels so easy! Around 10k it starts to rain a bit and the course took us down a road with quite a lot of puddles. About 1k later my thighs started to feel really cold. Just before halfway my thighs started to hurt. I've done a few half marathons before and never had this pain. I just decided that I can't expect to run a marathon and not feel any pain so I tried my best to ignore it. I went through half marathon in 1hr 20.30. This is around my half marathon pb! It felt so easy. My legs were hurting but everything else was feeling great. I wasn't tired, my breathing wasn't heavy and I was enjoying myself!!

Just after 21k the group of men sped up and I decided to run my own race and stay at the pace I was at which was still much faster than I'd planned.

At 28k my legs were killing me and I was aware that my splits were getting slower. I just kept pushing 1k at a time. I really badly wanted to stop and massage my legs to warm them up but knew that if I did this there was a good chance I might not be able to start running again.

For the last few kms quite a few men came past me - all with encouragement. I tried so hard to pick up the pace for the last km and was so relieved to finally see the towers and then the finish line. I was so happy to get there and really surprised as I looked up at the clock as I crossed the line and saw my time - 2 hrs 51.30. I really thought I'd faded to about 2hrs 58! As soon as I stopped my legs wanted to give way and 2 officials had to hold me up! I was looking everywhere for Dan, Dave and Cathy and finally saw them. I was so happy and by the looks of it so were they!

Later today as I write this blog so many thoughts are going through my head. I am really pleased with how I did today. My aim was for a sub 3hr and I have easily achieved this. My training has indicated that I would run just under 2hr 50 and if you look at my splits it will look like I started off too fast and died. I honestly think that if I had started of at 4mins per km pace as planned that I still would have lost 10 mins in the 2nd half due to cold legs cramping up and probably would have finished with a time just under 3hrs or even just over so I don't think I started off too fast. But I am now thinking that if I hadn't been so cold on my thighs I could have gone under 2hrs 45 which would have been amazing.

At the start of the race a girl went ahead of me wearing 3/4 length tights and I thought that was a bit silly but I now think that that is exactly what I should have been wearing! I'm sure my legs wouldn't have cramped up if I had been. Its all a learning experience and next time I will know to plan for all weather conditions!

Marathon de La Rochelle was a fantastic event - well organised, lots of support and flat!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

10 days to go!

The good news is I've so far managed to avoid Dan's illness and now he has gone away with work for a few days and hopefully he will be completely over it by the time he gets back!

The bad news is a funny tummy since the weekend and was actually sick yesterday! I'm thinking its either a dodgy Nandos that I ate on Saturday night or possibly too much vit C! I have overdone the vit C a bit in my paranoia to not catch Dan's flu. Anyway, after being sick I now feel a lot better. A few days training missed but doesn't matter now as all my hard work is done and I've started tapering now.

My training has all gone to plan and gone really well. Everything is on course and I should be able to achieve my goal of sub 3 hours. My training has been indicating that I can get under 2hrs 50 but I think with this being my first attempt I shouldn't get too carried away as there will be other races in the future to do this!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

3 weeks to go!

I have less than 3 weeks to go and Dan is now ill with serious man flu. I keep thinking if I get a cold now I can probably get rid of it in time but then how much will it take out of me for running a marathon? I could maybe get away with it for a 10k but not so sure about 26 miles! I'm dosing up on lots of vit C and echinacea. He has also been banished to the front room!

Why now? He never gets ill.

Saturday 23 October 2010

5 weeks to go!

Most people can probably think of better ways to spend their birthday but for me doing my longest run ever so far this morning was a great start to my birthday! The weather was crap though but once I'd gone past 10 mins of running it didn't bother me.

So far my training is going well and I'm loving my long Saturday morning runs. I really thought that running for over 2 hours I would be bored and clock watching but I'm not finding that at all. I've found some nice places to run away from traffic with gravelly ground which is perfect for running on.

An afternoon sleep now and hopefully Dan is taking me somewhere nice tonight!!

Sunday 10 October 2010

Peterborough Half

Rubbish run today! I did the Peterborough Half Marathon and really can't believe how rubbish I ran! When the race started my legs felt like they were burning for the first 1km. They settled down but just felt tired for the whole race. I finished 10th in a time of 81 mins!

When I entered this race about a month ago I decided on this one because it was flat and I thought I would be tapering for it and going for a time. In hindsight I should have entered one that was nearer to home on the same weekend but undulating. With only 8 weeks to go until my marathon my coach said it was more important to get my training in and not worry how I do here. So I didn't even ease back slightly in my training load and no rest days!

Sunday 19 September 2010

10 weeks

OK tri season is now over and after 1 week of no training I am about to start my 10 week training plan to take me to my first ever marathon! I'm really excited but also feeling nervous that 10 weeks really isn't going to be enough time to achieve the goal I am aiming for (sub 3 hours)! My coach thinks otherwise as I have the run fitness and a reasonable amount of running miles already in place and its just about making it marathon specific. I'm still keeping up with swimming and cycling training - especially my swimming! Apart from needing to keep this up as I have big plans for tri next year I think the cross training will hopefully help to stay injury free.

We shall see. Watch this space.........

Sunday 29 August 2010

Little Woody 2010

I completed my first middle distance tri yesterday.

The swim venue got changed at the last minute due to blue/green algae in the original lake. I think this ended up for the better as it was now in a diving quarry with crystal clear water.

I started off really well. Had a really good swim - 28.30 (possibly slightly short)! Long, long run up a big hill to T1. Off on the bike and feeling really good. Minor incident with my chain coming off before the long 2 mile drag up hill but easily sorted! Went past lots of people on the hills and by the time I had done the 12 miles which took us to where T2 was situated and the start of the big lap I was apparently in 1st! I was having such a good ride and feeling really good but in hindsight I had definitely overcooked it!

My HR was higher than the zone I planned to keep it in but because I was feeling good I ignored this. So first lesson learned - even when feeling good keep to the plan!

Next lesson to be learned was how to eat on the bike. I found it so hard to eat anything. I had pieces of fruit bread, cereal bars and raisins to eat but really couldn't get them down. All I managed for the whole very hilly 98k was 1 tiny piece of fruit bread, a few raisins and 3 gels. So with about 40k to go I started to go through a bad patch. This was quite worrying as I still had the 2 hills in English Bickner about 9k from the end to contend with yet.

It was during my bad patch that I dropped into 2nd place. I persevered and somehow got to the end of the bike.

When I got to T2 I saw Dan who was very encouraging and said I was now 10 mins behind 1st place and just to keep the run steady.

This time I did stick to my HR zone and after about 5 mins I got into my running. I saw Dan again around 6k and he said I was now 7 mins behind and if I kept this pace I would get her. I just kept it steady and didn't let myself get carried away. I then saw Dan again at the halfway point and I was now 5.15 behind. The only problem was there was a girl not far behind tracking me and most likely biding her time!

Next time check and the gap was down to 2.45 with about 6.5k to go, then down to 1.45 with about 3.5k go go. It was just after this point that my body had enough! My hips got tight and my legs started to go. Around 3k to go the girl behind caught me and I was so frustrated as there was nothing I could do. I was light headed and wobbly! I've never felt so bad. I was really starting to wonder if I would make it to the finish line. I just had to break the rest of the run down into small chunks. When I saw the road I knew I probably had less than 1k to go and I just kept thinking when I get to the finish line then I can collapse - just keep going. The main thing that kept me going was that if I stopped and walked I might lose my 3rd spot as I really had no idea where 4th place was!

I somehow made it to the finish line in 3rd and was only 40s behind 2nd. Then I did collapse!!

Really pleased with my result but several lessons learned! I really was frustrated at how close I came to winning - if only I hadn't started off like an idiot on the bike, if only I had got my nutrition right, if only....... We can all say if only when we don't win though!!

A really friendly, well organised event. I will definitely consider this one again in the future.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

I did the Milton Keynes Big Cow Triathlon at the weekend. A really good race and we had great weather for it too.

I had my best swim! I actually got stuck in and worked hard and even managed to work in a group which I normally find really daunting.

My T1 was awesome!! I was 16th out of the swim but went into the bike in 7th!

I worked really hard on the bike so when I saw my bike time at the end I was a bit disappointed as I expected it to have been 2-3 mins quicker.

A smooth and fast T2 and a good fast run. It was a 3 lap run and I started off the first lap quite hard and just tried to keep it going. I think I did slow slightly but not too much.

I finished 3rd and was quite pleased. Going into the run the girl in 1st was about 9 mins ahead and I pulled it back to 2.5 mins and 2nd finished just 40s in front.

A really well organised race.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

France again!

Home from France for less than 2 weeks then back again for another race!

Sprint duathlon in Lievin with my French team. After feeling tired in my legs last time and missing the pack this time I felt a lot fresher so I went off with the lead girls including Sandra Levenez also in my team. It was a really fast pace and I started to worry about how my bike would go after running so hard. With about 1k left of the run I dropped off the pace a bit. I looked behind me and saw there was a fairly large group of girls not too far behind so I decided to ease up a bit in the hope of working in a group with them on the bike.

A good T1 and onto the bike. It went fairly well but not many girls would do any work on the bike. Radka from my team did a fair bit of work at the front and when no one else would go through I took it on. I think the 2 of us put the most into the bike.

I had a rubbish T2. I was in the wrong position, near to the back of the pack, plus it was quite a long run in and my feet have been so sore recently which made it difficult running with no shoes.

The final run wasn't too good either! I think I put too much into the first run and really didn't have much left.

Every time I race out here I try something different and learn something new so its all good and our team won!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Last week I spoke to my sister on the phone and she told me about the ash cloud and that the people coming out for the camp probably won't get flights. I told her to stop being so dramatic (she can be a drama queen at times) and that it will be gone by the weekend. But it wasn't. Only 2 people made it out and that was because they decided to drive.

Oh well. We're half way through the camp now and its so far gone really well - apart from the lack of athletes! This is the first camp I've coached on so it has been a good experience and not too daunting! I'm also managing to get all my normal amount of training in too.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Well I got over my cold within a couple of days and back into full training now. I think I was just run down with all the travelling before and after the duathlon race with lugging my bike box around. Maybe I'm just a light weight!!

Really enjoying training out here. Getting some good bike rides in and finding good routes for when the training camp starts.

I'm also trying really hard with learning french! Seems to be a slow process!

Saturday 10 April 2010

I have a cold! Not a happy bunny! I was planning on doing a 10k race in Angouleme this evening as well. What with all my other 10ks being cancelled and now having a cold - am I destined to never run a 10k again?!!

Thursday 8 April 2010


Things are starting to look better. I arrived in Paris on Friday night then met up with my french team in Chatereaux on Saturday afternoon ready for my first french duathlon of the year.

Another sprint distance race of 5k run, 20k bike, and 2.5k run. I did the first run and was just off pace of a large group. I almost got onto them coming out of T1 but couldn't get my foot into my bike shoe! I should have just put my foot on top and powered myself to get to them but instead I faffed around and by the time I got my foot in it was too late. I tried really hard to sprint after them and did close the gap but it was too much!

It was a 5 lap bike course and I did almost 2 laps on my own before 2 girls caught me. This time I managed to stay with them! Only me and 1 other girl did any work - the other girl from a rival team refused to do any work. Then just before T2 she sprinted ahead then went for it on the run! I had nothing left by this time!

Overall a good race and showed me that I must have just had an off day a few weeks ago. I did feel a bit tired in my legs which I think affected by first run. I'd put this down to travelling and lugging my bike box and back pack for about 3 miles the day before! In future - get a taxi!!

Well I've now got 3 weeks in France! I'm staying with my coach and his wife (Dave and Cathy) and its soooo hot!!!

Saturday 3 April 2010

Not so good!

I had the National Elite Duathlon Champs last weekend and really don't understand why I did so bad!

My first run went well. A few girls went off quite fast but I ran with a group and felt really comfortable and really within myself. I picked it up with about 150m before T1 in case I messed my transition up.

Onto the bike and don't know what happened. I tried to ride with 2 other girls but got dropped, then about 3 girls came up and I tried to hang in there and couldn't. I ended up just going further and further back.

My second run was ok but I was so disappointed by this time. I guess its just a bad day at the office.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

North West Champ again!!!

It was the Parbold duathlon on Sunday and also the North West Champs. I had a good race. A bit heavy in the legs as I didn't really ease down out in Portugal and only flew back the day before!

I didn't have the best preparation as when we landed at Liverpool Airport we went to drive home and the car battery was dead! We had to call out the AA and it was quite late by the time we got home which stressed me out a bit!

The Parbold race is a hilly 5k run, a 3 lap 30k bike with Parbold Hill to go up 3 times, then the same 5k run again. I really enjoyed the race and was especially pleased with my descent! I actually overtook some men! I practiced descending the hill about 5 weeks ago and this really paid off!

I came in first on the run and managed to stay ahead on the bike despite my gears being a bit dodgy on Parbold Hill! On the second run I relaxed as I was quite confident I would stay in the lead.

Next race National Duathlon Champs at Loughborough....

Thursday 11 March 2010


We're in sunny Portugal - although we've not seen that much sun! Still better than England at the mo where I had another 10k cancelled due to snow!

I've got some good training in and although we've had quite a lot of rain it is warm. Found a 50m pool to train in which is about 20 mins by bus and have done a few swims in the sea when it hasn't been too rough!

Cycling has been good for the longer rides, once you get out of the busier roads and into the country with some good tarmac! Not so good for the shorter rides with efforts as too many roundabouts, traffic lights and traffic so not too impressed. Running has been quite limited too. A good cross country course down the road but once you have run there a few times its a bit boring and the roads haven't been that great to run on. Oh well just making the most of what there is.

Home in a few days and straight into a duathlon race!!

Friday 22 January 2010

Telford 10k cancelled again! This time I checked the website before driving all the way over there.

I then did Helsby Half Marathon on 17 January. After the first mile I didn't feel too good. Managed to keep going and finished in 4th in 80 mins and quite disappointed with my time.

A few days later I came down with a cold so maybe this was why I didn't feel too good in the race. I also checked my average HR for the race and it was at the same level as it is when I race 10k and should really have been about 5 beats lower!!