Friday 6 December 2013


I've been so lucky to have the pleasure of meeting the greatest distance runner the world has ever seen - Mr Haile Gebrselassie!!

I was invited to an Adidas evening and day via TriActive with Haile as special guest.  He was such a character with lots of interesting things to say and all with a sense of humor.  A few things he said that have stuck with me have been: hard work, commitment, discipline; he mentioned he didn't think barefoot running was a good idea; too many very good runners go to marathon too young (in their early 20s) and then are finished too soon.

 I was then privileged to go on a run with him the following morning.  It started off nice and easy then gradually started to get quicker.  Not great with a hangover and having run a marathon 10 days earlier!!  I must admit I found myself near the front and couldn't possibly drop back!

We then spent the rest of the day seeing what Adidas have in store for 2014 which apart from a couple of dodgy items it mostly looks great!

Thank you to Adidas for putting on such a great event and thanks for the freebie trainers and kit!  To be honest I've had a pair of Adidas trainers in the past which were ok but not my favourite.  They gave me a pair of Adi Glide Boost and I've run in them today for the 2nd time and my early impressions are that they are up there with one of the best pairs of trainers I've run in.  I'm very impressed!!

Thursday 28 November 2013

Marathon De La Rochelle 2013

Arrived in La Rochelle on Friday evening after almost not making it!  First of all a train crashes into the barriers at Chester Station the day before (luckily no one hurt) and I was worried this would affect our London bound train but luckily the service was running as normal.  Then as we arrive at Milton Keynes it is announced that due to a fatality on the line we will be delayed but they don't know how long for.  A quick decision needed - stay on the train or jump off and try our luck with getting a cab into St Pancras to catch the  Eurostar.  Decided that waiting wasn't an option!  We hit luck as we were finding a taxi someone advised us that the best thing to do would be getting to Bedford station (30 mins away) then a train from there straight to St Pancras.  In the end we got to the Eurostar with just 10 mins to spare!  It turns out that our train got sent back to Chester!

A relaxed night and following day at the hotel courtesy of the race organisers (a big thank you). Met up with my coach and his wife for some dinner then an early night before the big day.

Race morning and its cold, dark and quite windy out!  Windy weather is always what I dread when going for a time in a race as I always feel this affects time the most.  Nothing I can do about it and just hope I can tuck in behind some men when I hit the windy bits.  

I'm feeling relaxed (well as relaxed as I can get which is still quite tense).  The nerve feeling I had in my leg disappeared by Wednesday.  Possibly from lots of physio and also a good massage from Peer on Tuesday.  I'm still nervous about getting injured but I guess this is normal after what happened at London.

As the race starts I find myself with the 3 Ethiopian girls.  We are running so slow though so I'm not worried I've started off too fast.  Hit the first 1k spot on.  Stay with them for another 1k which is just a few secs quicker then they seem to gradually start picking it up so I leave them to it!  A girl from Slovakia seemed to go with them so I find myself in 5th which I'm happy with.  At 3k we join up with the men and I get into a small group.  A guy starts to chat to me about what time I'm aiming for at half way which is fine but I start to worry that I'm wasting energy so try to drop back a bit.  

Half way in 82 mins.  I had hoped for about 81 but I'm happy with this as I'm feeling really comfortable and no pains anywhere.  I get to 27km and all good and feeling happy as this is where it all went wrong in London.  

At about 30km there is a group of about 5 guys 10m ahead not pulling away so I make a decision to put a little effort in to get on the back of them.  I was starting to feel it a bit but when I got amongst them my running started feeling easier.  I was really comfortable and keeping a check on my km splits and it was all looking good.  I stayed with them but by 35k the pace was starting to get a bit quicker.  I'm now going about 5-6s per km quicker than my target and I started to worry that it was too soon and I might die a death and lose several minutes if I mess this up.  I was feeling good though but know that I've died in the last 5-10km in the past.  This was the only mistake I made in the race.  Shortly after I let them go we turned a corner and it was straight into the wind for about 5k!  

I can't actually believe how strong I felt in the last few kms of the race.  Turning the final corner with about 50m to go I saw the clock and it said 2hr 44.58.  Gutted!  I really was aiming for a sub 2hr 45.  I finished in 2hr 45.11 and although I'm really pleased as it was a pb by over 4 mins I was cursing those 12 seconds!!  I'd held onto my 5th place though and it turned out I was only 2 mins 30 behind 4th with first being about 7 mins ahead!  

This puts me at 20th on the Power of 10 rankings which is ok but I really wanted to be in the top 15.  I think on a better day with less or no wind it would have made a 2 min difference.  But hey ho nothing you can do about the weather!  A nice break now with a holiday then a big focus towards London where there could be a sub 2hr 40!!

Big thanks yous to Gary at Pro Physio for sorting my foot out from my London injury then putting up with my panics in the 2 weeks before.  Thanks to Peer for my regular massages and thanks to the organisers for a great event.  

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Last Minute Nerves!

Just under 2 weeks until my marathon and I'm feeling excited and apprehensive.  In the last week my marathon pace work and steady runs have suddenly moved on to another level and I'm feeling great.  But then a few days ago I started getting a funny nerve feeling in my left leg which sometimes makes my leg almost give way when running.  I'm just hoping this feeling disappears!  Been to physio and going back again in a few days in the hope Gary can sort it out!

Saturday 12 October 2013

Cardiff Half

I spent the last few days feeling a bit down with my running but I've finally picked myself up again.

I did the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday in the elite women's start which I felt would be a great opportunity to race against some good athletes on a fast course.  

Basically, I ran a race that I just felt I wasn't there in my head for.  I had no nerves at the start (which I normally get in excess).  I started the first km slightly too quick so backed it off a bit but then just never got going.  My plan was to pick it up around 7-8 miles but when it came to it I just didn't and I don't really know why.  I was disappointed with my time which was 2 mins slower than my pb.  Although I didn't expect a pb at this stage in my training I did expect to go 1 min quicker than I did.  

On reflection and after chatting with my coach I think a few things probably affected my race here.  Firstly, I had to travel down there on my own as Dan was working again.  So a 3 hour drive and a night in a hotel on my own followed by going to the race on my own.  Although I don't mind my own company I do find that I need someone and that someone best being Dan, to be with me during this time before a race.  Secondly, although my training went well within a few days of being back from Lanzarote I think having a lighter week in the lead up to the race my body started to adapt to the hard training and I probably had some tiredness and mental fatigue.  That's not to say I should have carried on with hard training through to the race as I would have needed this recovery week.  

Its quite hard when you have a race that's not gone right.  Getting up the next morning to run is tough.  My legs weren't tired at all (normally they would be after a half) but I just didn't want to be running.

Luckily I now have my mojo back and have had some good runs and a good threshold paced session since!

Monday 30 September 2013

Hot Weather Training

Just back from some "hot" weather training in Lanzarote.  A few months ago I decided to book a holiday to Lanzarote.  My mum and sister were already going and had booked a villa so I decided to tag along with them.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some warm weather training just as our summer is coming to an end.  

Firstly, a good result before I went.  I came 1st lady and 3rd overall (with the 1st man only being 5s quicker than me) at the Delamere Park run.  Then a few days later and I'm sunning myself in between run sessions.

It was so hot out there and when I got back I found out that the Canary Islands had had a heatwave and it was significantly hotter than normal.  Running there was quite hard going.  I love running in warm weather but this was just a few degrees too hot.  My effort sessions were a lot slower than normal and my long runs were quite slow, but I think the important thing was to get the training in and not worry about the times as long as the same perceived effort was there.

The day after I got back I had a marathon paced run to do and i was flying so I think the training and conditions paid off.  

I also had a great time being with my mum, sis and nephew.  I don't get to see them that often so its great to spend a week away with them

Wednesday 11 September 2013

First Race Back

Sunday was my first race back - the English Half Marathon in Warrington.  I had done this last year and won it so I felt a bit of pressure as I really wanted to win again but then not really knowing how fit I am with coming back from the injury and having no race sharpness.  Last year it was very close between me and another girl and I half hoped she would be in it again.

On the day I was so nervous.  I had to go to the race on my own as Dan was working.  I relaxed slightly when I was on the line and saw 2 club friends.  I also looked around and couldn't see any girls who might provide competition.  

The course is not fast - its undulating/hilly for the first half then twisty on the way back.  At mile 3 it drags up for a quite a while.  Mark from my club went off quite fast but by about 4 miles I caught him up.  We ran together in a group of other guys for quite a while.  I think I dropped him around 9 or 10 miles but wasn't too sure.  Coming towards the finish with about 500m to go I had a look behind me to see if he was catching me.  He wasn't there but another guy was!  As you approach the finish you have a right hand sharp turn then its 50m to the finish line.  Well I was enjoying my finish (as I was in 1st position) and enjoying the cheering as there was a really good crowd.  As I turned the final corner and saw the finish line I could see they had put out a winners finishing tape for me.  This guy came sprinting past me and took the tape!  I was a bit gutted.  I'm sure the finish marshals and spectators who saw this must have thought he was an idiot!  I suppose I should have sprinted too!

I was glad to finally be back racing.  My time wasn't fast and I felt a bit sluggish but overall I was really pleased.  

Monday 12 August 2013

Building up my running which has been going really well.  I have a marathon in my sights again but trying not to get too carried away as the last thing I need is to get injured again.

I've been to watch a few races - and helped out at our club race, Deva Triathlon which Dan organises on behalf of the tri club.  Then there was our other club race Deva Divas which is a ladies only sprint race.  This is such a great race to be involved in as so many of the ladies are first time triathletes.  I had the privilege of giving some training advice to Louise Minchin of BBC Breakfast.  This was her first triathlon race and it was great to see that she had such a good race and a big smile on her face when she finished.  

Dan and I went and watched the Dambust Triathlon as this is also a world champs qualifier race (as is the Deva Triathlon).  We went there to see if we could get any ideas on how to make the Deva race any better (is that possible?!!!)  It was a great day and really well organised and we picked up 1 or 2 tips to help with ours!

I also went and watched the swim and the athletes get on their way on their bikes at Ironman UK in Bolton.  I had one of my athletes racing plus several people from my club also racing.  Its quite nice to go and watch and not have the nerves and stresses that you get when you race yourself but it always has me wishing I was racing!  I have a half marathon penciled in soon so at least I now have something to aim for. 

Sunday 7 July 2013

Back Running!

Yay!  I'm back running again!!

After a painful attempt 2 weeks ago.  I've now done my first bit of running (very slow) with minimal pain!

I started a run rehab plan last Tuesday which was 5 x 2 mins jog with 2 mins walk!  I'm now up to 2 x 15 mins jog.  Its a quick but very gradual progress with plenty of rest days.  I'm still aqua running and cycling to supplement this.  

It was just 9 weeks off but felt like much longer.  I'm so much happier now I can run again!

Friday 28 June 2013

Stupid Me!

Yes, I've taken leave of my senses with not being able to run!  

I decided to enter the Dee Mile (a 1 mile swim in the River Dee which can be done wearing a wetsuit or not).  Now, I don't normally swim in the river even when triathlon training as its not very clean and I've had a few sickness bugs in the past from swimming in there.  So entering in itself was something but my thinking was that if I was to get ill from it it wouldn't be that big a deal at the moment as I'm obviously not racing at the moment.

We had a spell of really good weather and as it got nearer I decided to do it non wetsuit.  For those who know me you, you'll know that I get very cold very easily and would be wondering why!  It seemed like a good idea at the time and I think I would have been ok if the race had started on time instead of about half an hour late (its held in the evening and when the sun went down the air temperature got colder very quickly.  Not blaming the organiser as I know he was let down by  several things).  

I got in easily enough and felt that it wasn't as cold as I expected.  Got swimming and feeling ok.  Got to about half way and started to feel cold.  I was swimming close to the bank on the left (after Dan's expert advice).  Then out of what seemed like nowhere another swimming (in a wetsuit) completely swam in front of me knocking into me then stopped.  This forced me to have to stop.  I then felt really disorientated due to being so cold.  I tried to get swimming again about 3 times but was just shivering too much.  I had to get out and some very nice people came to my rescue and got me in a car to warm me up!  I was gutted but feel glad to have given it a go.  I must be mad and I won't be attempting that again!  

Friday 7 June 2013

Its been 7 weeks now of not being able to run and I'm really getting narky!  Poor Dan having to put up with my bad moods.  I'm fed up with going to the pool to do aqua running sessions and I'm bored of turbo sessions on the bike too.  I just hope the positive of this is that I really appreciate it when can start running again.  

One good thing is that at least the weather has been fairly good so I've really enjoyed going open water swimming at Manley.  I'm probably a better open water swimmer now than I was when I was a triathlete!  I've been swimming 3 steady laps then by the time I get to my 4th lap Dan has caught me up and I do a fast lap hanging on to his toes and really practicing drafting and siting which I was useless at before. I might even enter the Dee Mile at this rate!

Monday 20 May 2013

Firstly, a diagnosis of plantar fascitis but after several weeks and a bit of internet reading I wasn't convinced this was actually what it was.  Also, my physio had sent me to see a podiatrist who told me I needed orthotics.  I wasn't totally convinced by this and at this point decided it was time to get a second opinion. 

I went to see Gary at Pro Physio in Chester and he said firstly we need to try and eliminate a few things, so the first test was to eliminate it being a stress fracture.  He put the ultrasound over the heel area of my foot and gradually cranked it up.  It its a stress fracture as the ultra sound frequency goes up I would likely feel a referred pain as it vibrates through the crack in the bone.  Lo and behold this is exactly what happened.  So its 99% likely I have a stress fracture.  Although not great news it could be worse and at least here I know its 6-8 weeks of no running and hopefully not much more.  

Friday 26 April 2013

Disappointment Again

I can't actually believe what happened to my race at London Marathon on Sunday.  

Over the last year or so I've really got over my excessive pre race nerves and lack of confidence and belief in myself.  I feel I've learned from previous mistakes of starting off to fast and thought this time its really going to come together for me.  

I started off at a very comfortable pace and checked my garmin every 1km to ensure I didn't go too fast in the early stages.  5k was slightly quicker than I'd have liked but it is downhill for the first 5-10k in London.  I got to 10k feeling great and at a good pace, holding back!  

Then I remember passing the 11 mile marker and I had a stabbing pain going through my right arch and heel.  I couldn't believe it, I've not had anything like this in training at all.  I carried on and tried to run through the pain.  It did ease up a bit and had it stayed that way I could have handled it.  I got to half way and apart from feeling some pain in my heel and arch I was running great and felt amazing.  I got to 25k still feeling like I was holding back and thinking that when I get to 30k I will start to pick the pace up a bit.  Then not long after (and I'm told it was just before 17 miles) the stabbing pain came back 10 times worse than before.  I couldn't bear my foot hitting the ground and I was running with a limp.  There was no way I could run through this and had to pull out.  

I was absolutely devastated.  I really was first and foremost aiming to break 2.45 but if running well (and I was running better than expected) then 2.42 should have been on the cards.  From this I would have mostly probably got an England representation out of it for a race in September or October - so this is why I'm so upset.  Even now almost a week later I'm not over it. 

Now having physio and no running.  Its plantar fasciitis.  I'm hoping I can get over this quite quickly.  I will be back racing and more determined than ever!   

Wednesday 17 April 2013

1 week to go!

Less than 1 week to go until London Marathon!  I'm starting to look forward to it now.  Did my run including marathon pace yesterday and felt great.

I also got good news at the weekend - I've passed my level 3 triathlon coaching course and now just await my certificate!  Good news for athletes I coach and anyone looking for a triathlon coach!!

Friday 29 March 2013

New Year - Start Blogging Again!

OK - not been here for a while!  

Got married last October then raced the Valencia Marathon 3 weeks later!  Marathon went ok and pb'd with 2hr 49 but didn't feel that great.  With the wedding and everything I peaked my training too early then was a bit stale by the time I raced.  Glad to do it though.

I've also spent the last year doing my level 3 triathlon coaching course.  It came to an end in November when I handed my course work in so now I just wait for the outcome!

Races so far this year have been Dewsbury 10k where I finished 4th in 36.06.  About where I expected to be.  Felt good and could probably keep that pace going for 10 miles but had no change of pace!  Before this race I was due to run the Helsby Half but it got cancelled due to snow.  Gutted but also slightly relieved as I didn't feel I was fully fit.

Wrexham Half Marathon was next in February and that went really well.  I won it and equaled my pb in 78.32 and set a course record!  I feel I could have gone faster too!

A month later and it was the Wilmslow Half Marathon.  What different weather compared to last year!  Last year was boiling hot and this year it was freezing cold and we were lucky it didn't get cancelled.  There was snow all over the north west except for in Wilmslow!  I had a great race - for once I didn't start off too fast and held back.  I was in 4th place until the last 3 miles when I caught up to 2 other girls.  I ran in a group with them which also included 3 men then I picked it up in the final 200m to come in in 2nd place and a new pb of 77.03!  I was so pleased!  I hadn't eased back for this race and feel there is a lot more to come at this distance!!

London Marathon next in 4 weeks time - all looking good so far!