Thursday, 6 July 2017

Forgive me, for I have sinned......

It's been nearly a year since my last report.

That's not to say that I've been sat on my laurels. More that;

a) I'm not sure anyone really reads this bilge,
b) I've been pretty busy
3) Nothing spectacular has occurred.

A brief update of the last year in the world of my escapades.

After dining out on the Lakeland result for a good few days.... some recovery and plenty of downtime and frolicking. The next stop took me to on my first trip to Italy (if you exclude the detoured flight via Milan airport the previous year for my best friends Hen Do in Barcelona) and the brief trot through during the CCC.

At work a colleague had decided that TUI needed a running club (which was his way of getting some training in around a demanding job and having young children) and word reached him that I was fond of running so I and 2 others were engaged in completing a Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) course so that we could start our own running group and we would each be leaders. This meant that 2 days a week there was an option to run during lunch guilt free and block out an hour or so in our diaries to selflessly get others to love running! (this needs a blog of it's own)

Along with Doug and JZ, I'd entered UTMR a 110k very mountainous stage race in northern Italy. It was placed over 3 days over high altitude (for a southern lass) - there was an option to do it in one day, but if I'm honest, the 3 day option looked lovely. It was the 2nd year this event was run, and split into sociable chunks with actual hotels to stay in rather than camp sites it was luxurious! Doug and I had planned a holiday prior, where we started in Naples, and Sorrento and took an incredible stay/drive up to the Alps over a week, eating pizza, drinking Prosecco, visiting the most picturesque coastal towns I've ever seen, including the Almalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre (both of which I cannot ever unsee for their incredible beauty).

To be entirely honest, I can't recall all the events of the race, just that the three of us had the most incredible time. Generally we stuck together as a threesome, rooming together, enjoying banter and japes. The route was by far the most technical terrain over the distance and also the most beautiful, the mountains that just kept on giving, 1500m climbs topping out at 3000m and the longest most technical descents I've had to tackle. I've done the CCC round Mt Blanc previously and in comparison that is a race track of smooth trails this was rugged and challenging in new ways but also breathtaking and romantic....views of the snow topped mountains all around, the incredible weather we were blessed with, the wonderful company and finishers medals after 3 days were all that really matter. Also meeting the most incredible couple I've ever met, Russ and Delena from Canada, who were the most inspiring, honest and engaging people I think I've ever come across who were taking a sabbatical from their life in Canada to experience several months travelling around Europe running, cycling and generally loving life. I sincerely hope our paths cross again one day.

Whilst we were racing in Italy, the Lakeland 50 and 100 entries went live, and I think I mentioned before this event is like getting Glastonbury tickets so would sell out pretty quick (in under 30 minutes it turned out) and Doug and I had decided we'd do the mixed pairs if we could get a place. Sadly, as we were mid race we wouldn't be able to enter but our incredible support crew Issy and Ellen were on hand and there with auto-refresh and managed to blag us our slots for the following year! Hurrah!

Following UTMR Doug and I took our annual pilgrimage to The OMM, finally picking the right course for us - the D course where we got ourselves round with plenty of time to spare and placing 3rd mixed pair. We've come a long way from that first year we thought the B course would be a "piece of piss"!

A fairly quiet winter lead to a month of sickness, so the first race I'd planned in January (the rough and tumble back in my homelands) was sacked off. The next "A Race" was London Marathon.

I'd said to Robbie before Christmas that this year I needed to focus on my career so the plan was to focus on short good quality training so it didn't take up too much of my life. We met Robbie in Feb/Mar time for a 10k race in Goring where he joked that basically I was doing a 10k race plan (because I had to keep dropping runs short or doing more interval training than normal) - this seemed not to be too terrible after claiming 6th lady in a large field at Goring 10k. Some solid 5k times, a 7th place at a local 10k trail race and generally much more consistency than we've seen in a long while.

Early March saw the first official "TUI Trotters" outing at Milton Keynes Festival of running - there was a 5k, 10k, half marathon and 20 mile event which was great because it meant that it was inclusive for all of the gang in the running club. I took on the 20 miler and had a prettty decent day out, a nasty hill over the last couple of miles nearly broke me but running most of the race with Doug, Lyndon and Andrew set me up for a PB and a good target for London (2hr 39 and some change)

Mid March - and a month out from London Marathon and my 2nd longest run this year - I treated myself to a birthday 16 mile trail race near where I live - it was, let's say.... insightful! I text Robbie after to say how badly it went - but he called me up and gave me a pep talk - it was equivalent of the 20 mile road run that would normally be in a Marathon plan but without the hard tarmac impact and plenty of hills to add. Naturally I'd set out too hard, turned up hungover and underfed (getting my excuses in there)

Now, a few weeks out from London and about to embark on the taper... my friend at work who was also running London as about my start time - as I'd secured a good for age place from the previous year I'd seen lots of spam emails coming in to my inbox and being too busy left them to read at a later date.

Issy and Ellen were coming up to watch so I decided I should check start times etc. so I did a search in my inbox for London marathon details.... I found lots of info, about training about this and that.... i found my GFA acceptance - unread because I didn't need to read that, right??

Wrong.

My heart skipped a beat.

I opened the email to check the email from last June.

"Congratulations. You have been successful, click this link to complete your entry."

Fuck.

A phone call to London marathon confirmed my fears. I hadn't finalised my entry, I'd not paid. I was not in.

I text Robbie.

Pragmatic as ever.

Milton Keynes marathon is two weeks after.

A quick check of my diary. Hmmm.... Doug and I were entered for The OMM Lite.

"Doug..... how do you fancy doing MK Mara instead of The OMM?"

"oh"

Long and short, we entered MK, The OMM transferred our entry to The OMM in October.

MK Marathon, went like a dream for me. The extra two weeks training clearly paid off. I smashed my target of getting a sub 3:30 and placed 7th lady.

Since MK, there has been park runs, a few track races (5000m, 3000m) some 10k races and a 10 miler where I've placed well.

However, now that Lakeland is coming round, there is a distinct lack of hill aptitude compared with last year. Work has become increasingly challenging and a Desk to 5k course with the TUI Trotters has meant that the lunch time running hasn't been as useful as I'd have liked.

So, with budgets due, a lot of long nights in the office, a few overeas trips this month - Snowdon race next weekend and Lakeland 2 weeks later, who knows what is going to happen! It might end up being a couple of nice weekends away hiking in the hills. Which in itself, isn't a terrible thing.

P.S I have DEFINITELY got my GFA place sorted for next year!

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