Lichfield Half Marathon: Sunday 6th May

The Lichfield Half Marathon starts near our house so it’s easy to jog to the start. It was two weeks after the Virgin London Marathon and hot. I don’t know how it’s described in race reports but I would describe as mostly flat with a few ups and downs. The start is at King Edward School and the finish is about a mile apart in town by the Lichfield Cathedral in town, but the 1 mile walk is worth it for the lovely atmosphere at the end and the walk through Lichfield City back to the start. You could park at the start in the school car park or a car park in town. We have done this event three times and we wouldn’t be coming back year after year if we didn’t enjoy it

The Swimathon: Saturday 28th April 2018

Six days after the Virgin London we did the Swimathon. It’s a 5km swim and you have a choice of swimming pools you can do it in. I think we have done the Swimathon about 3 or 4 times now, at a variety of locations. In the past the pools, counters and everything had been perfect. It had been a while since we had done one and we hadn’t done much train but we still thought it would be a bit of fun. I think we chose the wrong pool when registering. One of our friends said as a joke “I wouldn’t leave anything in you car at that pool and be careful that your stuff doesn’t get stolen.” Anyway it was fine, we did it which we glad but the counters didn’t count, so we did far too many lengths, it was ridiculous. Then we never got a certificate or medal. The pool had so many children in it and I thought the water looked a bit yellow. To round it off nicely I lost my new watch. We think about that event and now laugh.

Virgin Money London Marathon: Sunday 26th April 2017.

We arrived in London on the Friday and went to our hotel which was the Premier Inn at Stratford. Stratford has good transport links and is walking distance from the Hackney Marsh parkrun which we had decided to do on Saturday. We went to the Expo on the Friday, to pick up my husband’s number and look around. there were lots of excited people, it was buzzing.

They had lots of nice sports stuff but we didn’t buy anything but we ate free sample of anything on offer. We listen to a great talk by Martin Yelling and Paula Radcliffe and saw a few people we knew.

We had dinner at a restaurant in the Westfield Centre in Stratford. There are so many restaurants to choose from and it’s important prior to a marathon to eat well. After the healthy dinner we had a great big dessert.

On Saturday morning we walked via the Olympic Park to the Hackney Marsh parkrun. It’s a pretty parkrun, the whole area of Stratford has had a massive change in the last 20 years when I used to live in London.

Hackney Marsh parkrun is flat and so is also the type of course that would give you a PB. I was surprised that there were not even more runners.Afterwards we walked back to our hotel via the Olympic Park which I’d never seen before. We had the photo taken in front of the West Ham United Football Stadium which used to be the Olympic Athletic Stadium.

After parkrun we had a fairly restful day and had a healthy dinner out and early to bed so my husband and friend were ready for the Marathon the next day.

On Sunday morning it was quite a warm morning. I said goodbye to my husband and friend and was hoping it didn’t get any hotter. They had both done the marathon a number of times so they knew the routine. One thing we always do is put all our luggage in the baggage lorry, then pick it up at the end, meet at the Lions at Trafalgar Square, then go back home on the train. We don’t bring too much stuff.

It was interesting watching for a change. I couldn’t believe that out of all the people I knew who were running it, I only spotted two! I didn’t even spot my husband. It got hotter and hotter. I was not in the shade. I felt sorry for the runners who had to run the heat. I stood near the 17 mile mark and the lady next to me got a phone call from her husband saying he had pulled out. I then started worrying about my husband, I thought “what if he’s collapsed somewhere”, even a man tree and a lady tree had come past and I still hadn’t seen him. I had run in the London Marathon for last 3 years, twice by ‘good for age’ and once by gaining a place in my Club ballot. Initially I was disappointed I didn’t get a place in the ballot but as the day when on and it became hotter and hotter, deep down inside I now thought “this is not the year to run it”. Eventually, I though I must of missed him and went to the finish line.

Our friend had collapsed at the finish and was taken to the medical tent, so unfortunately not a good race for him. My husband jogged around. The finish was chaos, because instead of meeting at the Lions our friend wasn’t in the best condition to move. Finally, we got on the train at Euston, went to the Super First Class Virgin Lounge and had a shower, food and drinks followed by a gentle train ride home.

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Boston UK Marathon: Sunday 15th May 2018

This was a great marathon. Not only is it flat and fast but you can say “I’ve done the Boston Marathon”. It’s very low key, it only has about 1500 runners in it. We did the beautiful Rutland parkrun, on the Saturday and then arrived at our hotel which was 400 metres from the start. At our hotel there was a get together of anyone who was running the next day. We chatted and met someone who came all the way from New York just to do the Boston Marathon. When we woke up the next day we walked out of our hotel 20 minutes before the start in our running gear, no bags. My husband ran with me again, he was a great windbreaker, although it wasn’t too windy. The locals also said we were quite lucky with the weather because it’s usually always windy. The marathon was hassle free. Perhaps it’s the easiest one too. An excellent one if you want to get ‘Good for Age’ in the Virgin London Marathon.

It was great to have someone to run with and to get our Medals and Boston Finishing Shirts.

Knighton 20: Sunday 11th March 2018

While training for the Boston UK Marathon we ran this 20 mile event. My injured husband, Andy said he would run with me for most of it. We both have done the race before but when we’re fit. It’s a very hilly course, maybe not perfect for London Marathon or the Boston UK Marathon but then again there don’t seem to be any flat 20 event at that time of year. It is very well organised and I love it, except that I find it tough. The weather has always been good. The race is inexpensive.

This event is friendly and it’s not all about prizes. I think it’s good not to use every event as a race.

Marathon Talk Run Camp 2018: 23rd-25th February.

On Friday 23rd of February 2018 we arrived at Sandy Balls, Godshill, Foringbridge in The New Forest, Hampshire for the Marathon Run Camp 2018.

We met our fellow camp mate as we were put in lodges with 4 other runners.

After meeting the other runners and drinking at the bar we had a welcome from Martin Yelling and Tom Williams who explained what would be happening in the week-end.Saturday Morning we were all off at 8am to do the Moors Valley parkrun. We woke up to a lovely Sunny but chilly morning ready to run the very beautiful Moors Valley parkrun. A record number of 525 runners took part including over 100 from Marathon Talk Run Camp and from 76 clubs. GB Athletes Liz Yelling and Jo Pavey also took part with everyone. (Photo above: GB Athlete Liz Yelling, Moors Valley parkrun race director/volunteer/race reporter Julie Pegoraro, Melanie Campbell and Olympic Gold Medalist Jo Pavey). The photo below is the Marathon Talk Camp runners.After parkrun as always it was time for coffee, cakes and chatting in the forest cafe and finally returning to Sandy Balls.

A buffet lunch was served followed by a fantastic and interesting Talk by Dr Tim Cruise Drew about his medical support for Eddie Izzard on his Multiple Marathon Challenge in South Africa.In the afternoon we had an optional practical run session in the forest, were we chose a speed group of our choice and did 3 reps of 1km,After dinner in the evening there was a live Q & A session with Jo Pavey, 5 time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist. Followed by a group quiz from quiz master Tony Audenshaw.After a brilliant evening Tom Williams and Martin Yelling explained Sunday’s Eliminator Run. It was a team competition where each person had to run the 10 mile course to finish as close to 12 noon as possible where they either wore no watch or there watches were taken off. Points were put on for time finished before noon and double points put on for finishing after noon. The team with the least points won. Everyone predicted their own time and decided to start according to their predicted time.After the Eliminater we all went back to Sandy Balls for another dinner before driving home.

British Indoor Rowing Championships: December 2017

In September 2017 my husband and myself decided to do a bit of rowing as we were plagued with running injuries. To make it fun and give us purpose we entered the competition along with a friend of ours. It was a novelty to all of us. None of us had done much Rowing at all. The whole day was really interesting, the venue was the Olympic Cycling Velodrome, a strict weigh in, Bradley Wiggins also was competing, it was serious stuff and then there was us three who had done a tiny bit in the gym in the previous 12 weeks. I came exactly where I expected which was ok., and my husband and our friend did really well. We all left with the feeling of blood in our lungs and agreeing it would be great to do again. Ideal for cross-training.

New Zealand parkruns & running holiday.

Day One: Arrived in Auckland at 1.30pm from Birmingham with lost luggage. We had arranged to meet Auckland Joggers at Cornwall Park so we stop-off to buy kit. Running at 6.00pm after only 3 hours sleep. With Hannah, Pete and my husband Andy.

Day 2: Morning Run in Cornwall Park and 30,000 steps walking around and seeing the sights in Auckland.

Day 3: Travel to Ohakune via Rotorua and Taupo. Did what any one would do in Rotorua…..visit a Cat Cafe.

It’s was cloudy, windy and rainy so the Tongarrio Mountain Crossing Walk the following day, (Day 4) was cancelled. We went for a little run at the end of the day.

Day 4: Ohakune: Bush walk and Andy falls off Carrot and bruises and cuts his arm and leg.so no run today.

This is what we should of been doing in good weather.

Day 5: Got very early to travel to Palmerston North in time for the Palmerston North parkrun at 8am. Drove over a big Bunny Rabbit and a Puakoe Bird on the way.

Palmerston North parkrun 8.00am

Day 6: The Honest 10km in Wellington and sightseeing.

Day 7: Beautiful run in Wellington up to Brooklyn Wind Turbine and back.

Day 8: Ferry to Picton, then travel 2 hours to Nelson. Run Nelson Midweek Evening Striders Event.

Day 9: Abel Tasman Track. Drive from Nelson early to the start of the track and walk to Bark Bay Hut. Walk took 5 hours. Stay in the Hut with around 20 other strange people in sleeping bags. My husband wakes all 20 people up when his alarm goes off at 5AM.

Day 10: Abel Tasman Track. Bark Bay Hut to Awaroa Lodge.

Beautiful 4 hour walk to Awaroa Lodge.

Day 11: Abel Tasman Track. Awaroa Lodge to the end of the track, water taxi back and 2 hour drive to Blenheim.

Day 12: Blenheim parkrun then drove on road just open since 2017 Christchurch Earthquake. Stopped at Kaikora about 5 hour but would normally take under 3 hours.

Day 13: Christchurch Long run in Hagley Park.

Day 14: Christchurch Run in Rolliston 6pm

Day 15: Long drive to Picton. Run in Picton before catching the Ferry back to Wellington. Stay Lodge in the City, Taranaki Street.

Day 16: Drive to New Plymouth. Run on the walkway at 5pm. Swimming Pool.

Day 17: Run then drive to Raglan.

Day 18: Drive to Whangarai

Day 19: Whangarai parkrun.

Day 17, 18 & 19 Russell, Bay of Islands.

Did nothing really but went for a few short runs along the beach.

Day 20 Auckland

Met at 5.30pm with the Auckland Joggers at Cornwall Park. A beautiful 1 hour run with lovely people on a beautiful warm day.

Day 21 Fly out of Auckland

My First Marathon: Stockholm Marathon 1989

I did my first marathon in 1989. I did run at school and stopped like a lot of people, then in my mid 20’s I started running again. I had been living in London for about 3 years and had always kept fit by cycling around London, oblivious to the traffic. I would be petrified to cycle around London now. After a few months of running I decided to do a half marathon. I looked in the Runners World magazine and decided to enter the Watford Half-Marathon. I sent off for the application form, filled it in and sent it back with a cheque and stamped SAE so I could receive the results. Remember this was the ‘back in day’ where online entry didn’t exist (not for me anyway). I did the half-marathon without any problems. Then of course the obvious next thing is to do was a marathon.

I entered the Stockholm Marathon via the same method as before. I must of only done about half a dozen runs until I did my longest which I think could of been as much as 15 miles!! The next day I had a sore knee which lasted about 6-7 weeks, more or less right up until the marathon. As the event came closer, I thought, I can’t chicken out now, I’ve told everyone I’m doing it, accommodation is booked and my cousin had decided to do it as well. For some reason I decided to work in London even the night before. I flew out on the first flight out of Heathrow to Stockholm. I arrive, took a taxi to the park, where my cousin was waiting for me. He had flew from Monte Carlo for the marathon. I think the marathon started at 1pm in the afternoon. I would never do something so daft nowadays, what if the plane was late?

Anyway, the Stockholm Marathon started. It was amazing Bands, Massages, Drinks, Food all as you ran and a fantastic crowd. I can remember crossing lots of bridges and it seemed to be drizzling with rain for a lot of it. By 18 miles I was knackered and my knee was sore, so there was some walking.

Finally, I got to the Stadium at the end before the 5 hour cut off point. My cousin greeted me with “I thought you were never going to get here, I’ve been waiting for ages.”We walked back to where we were staying. Our accommodation was a boat on the river. I was so, so, so tired. My cousin had to push me out to get something for dinner. We had a McDonalds. The next day we flew home. I was shattered and I thought “never again”. I was not fit and it’s not the way to run a marathon. Did I do another marathon?

Book Recommendation: Running Science (Editor, John Brewer)

If I was going to buy someone a running book this Christmas, I would buy this. An increasing number of people are buying E-books rather than hardback books, myself included. However, this is one of the few books I will have on my shelf at home. I enjoy reading it and find it so informative. It explains the Science of Running in a way that anyone can understand. It has large pages, large pictures and large print. It’s also not full of stuff that is not relevant or too academic. My attention span is very short so this is perfect for me. The content is excellent. The format is brilliant. Each page begin with a question and then it is explained. E.g.,

What affects recovery rate after exercise? Can I become a better runner by changing my style? Will supplements improve my running? Will a cup of coffee help me run better? Are Sports Drinks good for me? Can I run through pain? What should I think about when I’m running? How can I keep my mind positive? How much should I increase my Training? What is HIIT and should I be doing it? Is more mileage in training always better? How quickly do I lose fitness if I stop running? Can a heart rate monitor improve performance? Will core strength and stability training keep me injury free? Can sports massage help with injuries or performance? Is running bad for my knees? Will a foam roller make me a better runner?

Authors: John Brewer, Iain Fletcher, Laura Charalambous, Bob Murray, Daniel Craighead, Andy Lane, Charles Pedlar, James Earle, Paul Larkins, Anna Barnsley,

Book Available from Amazon Amazon link for Running Science Book