Wednesday 25 November 2009

22nd November - Swindon 10k

What a crock.

Was umming and ah'ing about this one, i'd done the aquathlon the day before and didnt really feel it, but had entered and wanted to beat lady from club after her beating me in my drunk state at swindon barf marathon. Ronny was there too, he reckoned he wouldnt do that well but i'd hoped he'd get the sub 42 he was after. A bunch of lovely wlr lot were down for hte event too, some of them from swindon it made sense!

Got there to yet anohter wet and windy swindon 10k at the karting ground. It's really open up there so took a battering from the gales.

Really jaded by this run which is why i've taken so long to write the report and why i'm lacking enthusiasm about it, and having had the nicest run this evening than i've had in a while i feel more able to write about it.

I've still had a sub 42 in my hopes, but can't see it happening this year. i need to be in a more focused state of mind and lose a stone, so i'm putting this goal on ice until next year after the IM. The training i'm starting to do for IM is low intensity aerobic, so it's in conflict with this aim.

So the run... huddled at the start, got off to a pretty decent start, first 2k were 4:05, so thought maybe i'd come close to the 42 if i kept it was a 2 loop course... the rain had stopped but the wind was terrible, between 3 and 4, 7 and 8 and the final 500 odd metres you hit a brick wall of wind. At 4k i was going to pull up and give it up as a bad job but i kept going... each km getting slower, harder, the wind zapping my energy, my chubby thighs not wanting to work for me.

Could still see ronny ahead for the first 6 or 7 km, but wasnt going to keep up with his pace so kissed goodbye to a 42/43min.... for thelast km i kept checking behind for running club lady, i could see her in the distance, not quite caught up, i wasnt going to give her the pleasure, or id never hear the end of it. the last 500m was so tough.... it was like running through thick treacle.

Finalyl dragged my sorry fat ass through the finish in 46 mins. shocking run. running club lady came in a bit behind me rambling "anohter half mile and i would have aught you"

"but you didnt" and as kathy said "she had 6 miles!!"

my mate from club told me tonight she said "anna was lucky" really? i dont believe in luck actually, i believe in hard work and preparation... i didnt prepare for this, hence it was shite.

Anyhow, went back and waited with Mr AmySara and watched the wlr lot fly through... they made the finish look a lot easier than i found it!

Then on to a roast, pint of cider and great company in the pub. :-) made up for a bad run.

sound bitter don't i!! :-P

oh, i was 8th lady, and our team won the ladies prize.... dunno what the prize is yet.

Saturday 21 November 2009

21st November Calne Aquathlon - Race 2

Today was race 2 of the series....

Again, the focus was on my swim. Have had a couple of really good training sessions since the last one and really been working on what i'm being taught. I think in some ways i'm in a fortunate position to make quicker improvements as being a beginner i've not got ingrained bad habits to try and correct.

I got my dad to film my swim today so i can analyse it and see any flaws that have been pointed out and see if i can improve them in future ones.

So.. same deal as last time.. 400m swim, 5k run... same route, smae time, and weather almost identical.

So the swim.... i was 2nd to be set off in my lane and got off to a good start, overtook the lady in front before the end 2nd length and now had no=one to draft off which i had suspected was helping my swim times in training. Despite having done a few tumble turns last week, i'm not at all comforatble doing them so did my usual touch turns, which from watching the video are awful.... i pause, bring my head right up, turn round, sort of surface dive so my arse comes out the water and then finally streamline off the wall (not for as far as i should) thus losing a good second or two on each turn.

My arms started to tire about towards the end. and with 50m to go i pushed on to the finish. I got out, checked my watch - balls - i hadnt started it!! well i had but it said 15 seconds! so clearly id stopped it shortly after! doh.

Trotted outside, up the steps, into car park. Started the watch when i got to my trainers. I'd brought socks this week as last time i ran with none on and got really sore blisters, so was worth the extra time added to transition. which was a bit over a minute not including running round from the poool, so prob at good 90 seconds

I didnt run out too hard to begin, but gradually picked up the pace to what felt unpleasant. I overtook as many as i could who had got out the pool ahead of me. The run was uneventful but didnt feel very good, i'm not really sure what/why/how, just not 100% i think i've still got the ball buster in my legs, and didnt feel very sparky.

Went through finish and checked my watch, 22:15, meaning my run time was about 21, which is ok... about 10 secs slower than the last one. it felt a lot slower though.bit of a treacely one!

HUng about for results i came 3rd out of he ladies, with a swim time oooooof........... 8:50!!!!! :-) :-)

hurrrraaayyyyyyyyyy! knocked off another 22 seconds from the previous one... so over a minute since the end of august when i started :-)

The girl who's won both of the races so far is a min quicker on the run, about 90secs quicker on the swim and really quick at putting her shoes on, so i need to up my game if i want in on the prizes at the end of the series!! :-P

Woop Woop!

oooh. also, feel the need to share... whilst waiting for results, in came to the gym was a stunning 6ft creature.... wasnt quick enough to bite his pretty bum though... he may have seen the look in my eye and made a dash! :-P

Sunday 15 November 2009

Sunday 15th November - "Wickstead Wander"

I fancied a change and bit of recovery after a few months working hard pounding the tarmac, so i'd planned either doing avebury 8 or wickstead wander and not going balls out. Avebury filled up so i went for wickstead instead.

It's a new race this year in Highworth, 5.5 "country miles" (which i'm assuming means inaccurate and probably measured using cows?! :-) across fields and a cross country course (horse one) i've ridden round the jumps before and it's lush. Raising money for RDA.

I arrived just in the nick of time to enter and get to the start, probably about 150 runners, 3 of which were men cross dressing for the occasion - one of these is a guy who wins pretty much all the local races. I'd borrowed some running spikes from a lady at running club but i'd stoopidly forgotten them! Big mistake.

The race briefing... "there are cross country jumps as obstacles.. they're not compulsory, but st johns ambulance are on the course!" :-P

Despite all the rain the last few days the fields weren't too muddy, a bit skiddy in places and some parts were boggy but mostly it was sruface water, still spikes would have been handy!

So the course..... set out across a field, onto a track, down a steep hill, through some slimy farm with sh1t everywhere. across ploughed fields, round some more, over (in my case through) a deep ditch ankle deep with water.... splash splashh through more fields.... i could see i was leading lady and someone said "well done, first ladies through" plural? glanced behind and there was a lady just behind me, she overotok me up another hill.

Then came the cross country fences.. some of them werent optional cos you couldnt get by without it. but it was all good fun so clambered over them... then through a water jump... knee deep and when you ran,, got soaked form head to toe! Up a big step out of it, over anohter jump, across more fields, over more jumps.. lady who overtook was never more than 20m ahead of me so i though i could possibly catch her if i dug in. But i still had a way to go so didnt feel ready to speed up, overtake, then maintain that pace.

Through another water jump, up some more hills, over more jumps, back over the ditch from before, back up the track - the hill was waaaay steeper than on the way down and i was really blowing and struggling. It seemed longer than before too. Lady was increasing the gap and i knew i wouldnt catch her now.

Finally got to the top of the hill, back across the final field and through the finish. 2nd place :-) and wona coool trophy!! :-)

Spoke to the lady who won after and she was lovely and i don't mind being second to her cos she was really un-smug about it and is a triathlete too. She finished a minute ahead of me in the end, there's no way i could have caught her, she did good. she said though that if it was another mile i'd have overtaken but i dont think i would have as i'd had enough by then.

There was a bloke at the finish i was chatting to too who said

"did you used to be blonde?"
"yeah, are my roots coming through!!? sorry, who are you?"
"i recognised the tattoo on the back of your neck, i wasnt suer if it was a bassett hound thing or you were the same person"
" ahhh.. you've been behind me before then"? :-P
"haha, yes. Are you doing the xc series"
"no, i dont do xc..... this was a bit random, plus i think it was more of a steeplechase!"

he was saying i should go for this xc championships in a couple of weeks that i was pondering... but i'm realy not sure.... that or eynsham 10k?? mmmmm...

Anyhooo, chuffed with today, legs are still a bit heavy from last week so gonna have anohter gentle week before a couple of races next weekend.

Saturday 7 November 2009

The BallBuster Duathlon Sat 7th November 2009

This one needs a bit of background....

Some months ago, my friend Suzie absently suggested this for me in jest... I looked it up, thought why the heck not and entered. I then asked around, did some research, read some reviews and found out more about what the hell I was getting myself into.

So what was that now?

Quote from the humanrace website:

"The Ballbuster duathlon takes you over Box Hill, near Dorking in Surrey, a total of five times with each loop being 8 miles long; twice on foot and three times in the saddle. It is a severe test of stamina and should not be taken lightly. It is the equivalent of running a marathon and should be treated with the utmost respect. Many fail each year"

So the last couple of months have been prepping myself for this... how? By throwing myself up as many big hills as possible of course. I'd raced half marathons purely for the fact that they've been hilly, taken my rides to work up the biggest hills i can find, got people to drag me out up hills at running club and requested "more hills" when out on evening rides, brick training at 5 in the morning before work.

The last two weeks I've been totally bricking myself, week before last I gave myself one last hill sessoin on bike and foot, then last week tapered - for the first time "properly" in months and months. There was nothing more I could do, except, rest, and carb it up a bit.

A couple of days before the race I had been given some great advice from someone who 's become something of a mentor (and i hope he doesn't mind my assuming that label on him!) one of these being, to set my hrm to 80% of my max hr and to maintain that through out the race, and have it so it beeps if I drop below. So with pep talks from him and from Suzie I felt a bit less scared and a bit more excited about it.

So today finally came round after months of preparation, I set off in good time, got lost, went round in circles, and finally found my way to race HQ with half an hour to get my number, rack my bike and sort myself out.

I looked around at the sort of people participating and wondered once more why the hell was i there. Headed towards the start for race briefing, once more reminded of the tough long race ahead. I felt pretty good on the whole - well rested, well fuelled and raring to go.

Set off towards the back of the pack (around 400/500 i think) and got into a rhythm that felt really comfy, after a few mins I checked my hrm and its said 90%, I gathered it was adrenaline, slight incline, start of the race etc so carried on at the same pace. I looked again a few mins later and it was still around 90...I decided to let my legs dictate the pace for a short while as i was feeling comfortable and wasn't blowing and puffing.

In my mind I had broken up the race into 7 sections -

Run x 2 lots of 4 miles
3 x 8 mile bike sections
run x 2 lots of 4 miles

Hopefully the psychology of this helping me get through it without thinking too far ahead.

It had been said that the water station would be at 4 miles, so imagine my surprise when it appeared after just 22 mins - no I hadnt' run 4 miles in that time! so this split my run up a bit differently to planned.

The route was for the first 5/6 miles largely draggy hills, some steep short inclines, some steep down hills. The finaly 2/3 was where it got nasty. Some long hard hills, sharp bends, and more long hills that just didnt seem to give in.

I actually got through the first run feeling pretty good, a comfy speed, overtaking a few poeple, not feeling like I was pushing too hard, trying to remember that i needed to try to maintain the same pace for the first and second run. However, my HR was between 85 and 90% for the whole of the first leg.

Towards the top of the longest hill on the zig zag road were a big group of supporters who were there throughout the entire race, whistling, and dancing and cheering and I believe if they weren't there a lot of people would have faded.

So off the run, through to transition, checked my watch, 60 mins and 30 secs- top notch. Was really pleased with that as I was thinking I was prob 8 min miling and hoping for about 1hr4 I'm pretty good at making up speed on the downhills though when some people get scared of going to quick I throw myself down.

I didn't rush transition (I'm notoriously bad at this!) , changed out of my running stuff and put on a warmer top, (had to turn it the right way round first!), shoes off - untied the laces as I thought it would be easier to have them ready for the next leg, shoves some snacks in my back pocket, helmet on, shoes on, finally got the bike down and started the 100m dash across the field and track to the road to mount. Took me over 3 mins in transition! :-P

So on to the bike, the first stretch was hillier than i thought it was, so had some water, some grub and settled onto the bike for a few mins. Then got going. The route was the same as the run loop, the sharp corners making it tricky in places, the damp ground making it slippy. After the run I decided to split each bike lap into two as well, of 5 miles and 3 miles, he first 5 were really fast, I'm not what you'd call a "cyclist" and I've never gotten to overtake people on the bike legs before but I was going past quite a lot, flying up the long drags faster than I used to be able to ride the flat. The second section of each lap were where the steep slow hills were. I had a swig of my energy drink, and fumbling to put it back in the cage, dropped the bugger!! So now i had to do the remaining 20 miles of the bike with only water and half a trek bar.

There was a guy and me the whole of the first 2 and a half laps, overtaking each other, taking it in turns to go past, him getting me on the short sharp, me getting him on the long drags. Every time we went past each other, we'd take the piss out of each other. The second half of the last bike lap I kept hearing my watch beeping to urge me to work harder, so i'd kick in and push on, if not for this I think I might have flaked out... that and the amazing people of the big hill yelling and cheering as i overtook some blokes.

Round the final bend and into transition again.....1hr36 got off B, gave her a kiss and ran through. my toes were frozen!! knees werent happiest after the hills, another slow transition and luckily I had another bottle of energy drink in my box so took that out on the last run., though my bladder was already full and threatening to explode....

My feet took 20 mins to come back to life!

For the final run I decided to split it into 3 - first was upto the drinks station, second to the bottom of the hills, final was the last couple of mile stretch of hills.

I've never looked forward to hills so much as that last leg, as I knew it would mean I was almost home. The final run was tough, my hrm kept beeping at me, so the only thing I could do to shut the fucker up was to run harder - each time taking a swig of drink. I was still overtaking people and trying to pick them off one by one. I knew iIwasnt covering the ground very quickly but just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping moving.

Up the final hill, I hi 5'ed a fe of the supporters, shouted to a marshal "I've still got my balls!!!" over took a couple of people now walking, came up to the fnal bend and sprinted (sort of) as best I could through the finish. Time was 1:07

Totally over the moon with todays race, I'm really happy with how I prepared and trained for it and how I performed. My total time was 3hr50 which I'm dead chuffed with as I was aiming for under 4. Plus i was 5th in my category :-)

I was paranoid about getting a puncture (and there were a lot out there today) so i need to get some practice in regulraly to be prepared for that too.

It wasnt as bad as I thought it would be, partly maybe because iId been imagining the worst!! But I absolutely loved it and I think possibly my highlight race of the year - I'm going go to go back next year and aim for a sub 3:30! :-)

Sunday 1 November 2009

Halloween 5k Night Race 31st October 2009

Halloween Night 5k Race – Dark, Spoooooky, Cross country and dressed up as a skeleton.

Arrived at the race all boned up and fullup from eating too much dinner, and headed the 10/15 minute walk to the pun to meet martin who’d been there since 6 apparently.

The walk was fricking scary, not a soul along the river, just loads of swans (they can break a man’s arm y’know!) so i half jog/ran/watched out for bogey men, looking like a weirdo dressed in bones.

Walking past the race HQ there was music from Psycho blaring out to add to the atmosphereGot to pub and found martin, they only had shabby cider so settled for a lager (just a half) martin went for a full pint. Bit later penny and her husband FINALLY arrived – tsk. Got another round in halves all round. I had hoped to get martin drunk so i’d have a chance at keeping up with him!

Walked back to Race HQ, and were disappointed to se we weren’t the only ones with bones outfits, looooads of people did! So we went to picked up our headtorches, chips (timing not deep fried variety), free tops with bones on! – explained all the bonios. Dropped off bags and went outside.

Martin and I had been checking out the competition and were getting ansty to get to the start, so we all set out to the start, Halloween style music blaring out, bones and headlaps everywhere – it was quite a spectacle.

So under the grim Reapers orders (really!) martin and i were lined up right on the start line, and were off – there were fireworks (really!) Martin leapt off like a thoroughbred from the stalls – his legs were like the road runners!!

Off across a field we all went. Torchbeams lighting the way, about 500m in i was overtakn by a girl who’s feet were barely touching the floor – seriously impressive running style. Settled into a pace (no idea of this pace – just a pace that didn’t leave me wanting to hurl but didn’t leave me feeling like i was being lazy).

Course went round fields, through tracks, flat but uneven - through a cooool bit that had actual real life ghosts!! (well they weren’t as penny was very annoyed about – they were sheets stuck to the trees with ghostly music playing) was dead good!! (geddit)

Every few hundred metres i’d “hoooowwwwoooooooooooo!” like a werewolf, and someone would do it back in the distance. Got to 3k marker and was bummed (not actually bummed!) cos i thought id gone further than that – it felt it. Kept going.... 4k... overtook a coupla blokes.... 400m to go – i’m sure these signs always lie, it seemed more than 400!

Final 50m, about 6 blokes came up on either side of me for a sprint finish, let most of them have it but then to my right some lady in a devils outfit appeared, and at this point i’d not seen any other ladies go past so was pretty certain i was in 2nd place, as she overtook i dug in and threw myself past her and beat her through the finish. Checked time 23:12 (PB for dark/XC/skeleton) Looking across the field at finishers coming in looked really cool, all you could see were loads of headlamps in the distance.

Met the others, went back to pub, chatted about bikes and camel toes etc. Brilliant event, amazing atmosphere excellent value for money (£15 for a chip times, really well marshalled, fun, event with free head torch, bones top, mug, and soup)

As always great to see Martin and Penny.

About Me

My photo
This latest blog will be hopefully following my transwales experience. Enjoy with me :-)