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I hope everyone has had a good day.

After years of resistance, I’ve joined the Twittersphere! Yay!

You can follow me @WHRunner.

No idea what I’m doing yet! All I know is that I have to be way more concise than usual, and I need to chuck in the odd @ and #…

If you’re on twitter, do you have any recommendations of interesting people to follow? Particularly in the fitness / running / fashion world…?

Jx

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Happy Halloween?

I work for a US company, so the office is an interesting place to be today! Check out the decorations that adorn our little legal room:

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Our team has been fairly conservative, but across the office it’s a different story. You have to duck to avoid a face full of cobwebs, and around every corner lurks another spooky surprise.

This is all VERY new to me. Until fairly recently, I worked for a City law firm. A business suit was standard attire, although we would occasionally do something WILD and wear jeans, but only if it was to raise money for charity! I now work for a company where no one bats an eyelid if you show up in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Growing up in church, the general consensus was that Halloween was NOT something to be celebrated. In fact, it was probably considered by many to be evil. I only went trick or treating once or twice and that would have been without my parents’ approval. I’m interested to know what other people think of it all!

Probably because of my background, I couldn’t bring myself to fully embrace the Halloween spirit at work today, but dressing up is FUN so I thought I would put my own little spin on it and dress up as a PRIEST! Keep those demons at bay 😉

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The cheap polyester is making me HOT but we are having lots of fun in the office so it’s all good.

And in case anyone wants to know which shoes work really well with a priest outfit….the answer is….4 inch, patent leather mary jane Kurt Geigers.Image

Better get back to work…lunch is over and it’s time to do my legal thang!

Jx

It’s Been Emotional!

I have LOVED reading through all the race reports that have been posted over the last few days. It seems that this weekend was a popular one for racing both here in the UK and abroad. I’m glad so many people achieved their goals and enjoyed themselves along the way! 🙂

So…I’m wondering if other people get really emotional around race day?? Is it just me?

The Emotional Rollercoaster…join me on the journey:

Day before race:

– Excited…and then:

– Anxious… that I will not sleep, will not wake, will not get to the start line, will not be able to use the bathroom, will not be able to run, will be too cold.

Race day:

– Excited again! Bounce out of bed ready to RACE.

– A little bit of nerves as I wait to cross the start line, but a little bit of adrenaline is a great thing!

– Determination as I run and run some more.

– Elation, relief and happiness as I cross the finish line.

Post race:

This is the weird bit….after having a feed and icing my knee, I had the overwhelming feeling of…nothing. Nothingness? Maybe it was because I didn’t refuel effectively after the race, or maybe it was the natural come down after an adrenaline high, but whatever it was, I felt a bit….flat.

By the time Monday morning came the post-race blues had disappeared. I have been feeling really pleased about the race and SO EXCITED about the next one in February. I need to wait for these little muscles to chill out and calm down before I pop those Asics back on though. I haven’t braved a pair of heels yet either, just sticking to my trusty Carvella flats for now:

Flats are my BEST post-race friends 🙂

In addition to strutting my stuff in flats, other post-race activities have included:

– Sitting in the jacuzzi / hot tub at my gym for 20 minutes before work. My muscles are SO grateful!

– Eating lots of fresh fruit and veg.I made this simple but delicious beetroot, feta and olive salad for lunch, followed by a handful of Food Doctor granola…YUM

– Realising I’m still hungry and supplementing my healthy choices with wine and chocolate. I make no apologies for this…if there is ever a time to indulge in wine and chocolate, surely it’s post-race (after refueling and hydrating in a sensible fashion of course..) !!

On a completely separate and way more serious note…I have been keeping an eye on the news and can hardly believe what is happening over on the US East Coast right now. It’s such a startling reminder that whilst we try to control so many areas of our lives, there are some things that are far more powerful than we are. Praying for all the people affected by the storm.

Jx

Recap & Review – Run To The Beat, London 2012

REVIEW

Lets get the slightly disappointing bit out of the way first…I’ll keep it brief so I can get on to the fun stuff:

What? Run To The Beat
Distance 13.1 miles. One lap course.
Where? The o2 Arena – Greenwich
Cost? Around £45 I think
Size 12,000 raced, apparently 18,500 entered
USP It’s marketed as ‘London’s Music Half Marathon’
Terrain Roads – undulating.

The highlights

– Technical race t-shirt instead of a race number, provided by Nike.

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– A couple of interesting parts of the course at Greenwich Park and the Royal Artillery Barracks.

– Good crowd support at the start and finish.

– Frequent water and Powerade stations.

The downside

– This race is all about the music…apparently. I was expecting live bands and varied genres…almost like a festival atmosphere. All I remember is hearing/seeing a number of DJs blasting out UK garage music every few miles. Nothing special unfortunately. Between each DJ…I was underwhelmed by the silence… this may be the quietest race I have ever taken part in.

– Spectators on the route were few and far between.

– Not much going on in terms of scenery. It was pretty bleak, not helped by the grey skies and misty rain.

– Boring medal? But I’m so happy about what it stands for that I don’t care…others may though. Also…they handed out the medals folded up in tiny plastic bags. What a waste of plastic?!

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– NO GOODY BAG. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I was handed another a Powerade at the finish. All I wanted was water…I could see others with it but I wasn’t offered any and couldn’t see any. I thought they would hand out cereal bars or bananas or SOMETHING to encourage people to refuel. I couldn’t see anything for sale either…

The Verdict: This is clearly a very popular race…and if 18,500 people are prepared to shell out £45 a year for this, then the race organisers and sponsors are laughing all the way to the bank…so I can’t imagine the race will improve. It would be interesting to know if things have been the same every year. Very little thought seems to have gone in to making this special…or even making this on par with other races. I have NEVER been to a race where there was no obvious way of refuelling. I’m just so glad I had water, chocolate peanut butter bars and a banana in the car! With all the great half marathons that go on in London and across the UK, I am not sure I’ll do this again, although the technical tee and the PB potential may just get the better of me, never say never :).

RECAP

I bounced out of bed at 6:15am after a restless night’s sleep. The clocks went back today which meant an extra hour in bed so it didn’t feel too early. I didn’t sleep well due to a combination of someone getting in from a stag do at 3am, the fact I was not sure whether my phone alarm would know the clocks went back, and due to the excitement and anticipation of today. It turns out all my electronic devices knew about the change…apart from the Garmin.

I started the day with a cup of earl grey tea (with milk…I know I know…) and a cinnamon and raisin bagel. I also had lots of water and a lemsip, plus half a banana when I got near the venue.

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I got my kit together and caught up on some reading whilst waiting for my friend to arrive.

My friend picked me up around 8am and we drove to south east London. The roads are dead on Sunday mornings so the only traffic was waiting to turn off at the O2 and queuing for the car park. We used to work together so had a great catch up about life, work and running. We drove past the Olympic park which was quite exciting, the stadium, velodrome etc looked fantastic. After parking and sticking on our throwaway gear, we only had about 15 minutes to get to the start but we both really needed to use the port-a-loo so we joined the HUGE queue. We must have been waiting around twenty minutes so we missed the start gun, but by the time we got to our pen it was still nowhere near the start line so we were fine.

We decided to run together for the first mile, but my friend told me to head off on my own after that mile because she was concerned about the pace. I totally understood….we each had our own race to run, and it’s horrible when you feel like you are either holding someone back or putting too much pressure on them, so we wished each other good luck and parted ways.

Miles 2-4 were lonely. Lonely and cold at first. At mile three I had warmed up so I ditched my hat and gloves. At mile four I was getting into the swing of things and trying to think positively. I knew if I could stay strong until mile six I would be nearly half way. There was a tough incline around mile five…but I remembered some of the horrible hills I conquered during training and fought hard to get to the top and enjoy the gentle downhill section. I hit the ten kilometre mark knowing that I’d probably run my fastest ever 10k so I felt confident going into the second half of the race. I guessed a sub-2 would probably be out of reach, but I was excited to know that a sub 2:05 was looking like a realistic possibility.

Somewhere between miles 7-10 I tackled another hill and got chatting to another runner before heading into Greenwich Park for what was undoubtedly the prettiest part of the race. There were quite a few out-and-back sections where you would see runners coming towards you, and at one point I was getting disorientated and thought I may have accidentally run back round the same section twice! Thankfully I hadn’t done that, it was just slightly repetitive. I’m not complaining though, the autumn leaves were beautiful and I enjoyed a steep downhill coming out of the park.

As I crossed the mile 12 marker, the DJ put Florence’s You Got The Love on and this gave me the final push I needed to make it through the hardest mile. I knew I could make it to the finish, but I was desperate to finish strong and give it everything I could. I wanted to finish with nothing left in the tank. As I spotted the finish line in the distance I made a final kick and pushed on for a sprint finish. The crowds were good on the final straight and I was elated as I crossed the finished and spotted the time on my Garmin. I couldn’t stop smiling:

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My official time was 02:03:06, average pace of 9:23. The average pace for the whole field was 2:06, I’m really happy to finish in the top 50%.

Splits were: 9:13; 8:57; 9:04; 9:14; 9:47; 9:28; 9:17; 9:17; 9:29; 9:34; 8:57; 9:10; 9:29; 2:11.

I realise my review of the race itself is not very positive; there was nothing special about the race and they missed some fundamentals. That said…it doesn’t take away from the fact that I loved racing today and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take part.

Now…time to rest these feet and my slightly painful left knee and hip.

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Jx

A New Personal Best!!!

Hi there! Hope everyone is having a great weekend and has enjoyed their training / racing.

I am THRILLED to say that I have a new PB….I don’t know my official chip time yet, but my Garmin says 02:03:06 so I am over the moon 🙂 !!!

I’ve just been for a HUGE Sunday roast of pork belly and I’m now icing my knee…with frozen coffee granules due to having nothing else in the freezer (slight error). About two hours after the race I started to get intense pain in my knee and also in my hip, so I’m nervous that I’ve aggravated my IT band…but I’m on too much of a high to care right now.

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Rest
Ice
Compress
Elevate…
…and wear medal with pride 🙂

Thanks for the supportive messages…full race recap to follow shortly!

Jx

Bbrrrr, It’s Cold In Here…

…Seriously, it’s been SNOWING across the UK and we are not even in November…but I’ll come back to that.

I’ve loved the last twelve weeks of training, I can’t believe it will all be over tomorrow and I will be focusing my mind on the next challenge. A few sessions stick out in my mind:

– Ten miler in the Norfolk countryside during my sister-in-law’s hen do. Gentle rolling hills and great company. Scary dogs, crazy chickens, interesting conversation.

– Eleven miler by the river in Cambridge with a friend who always inspires me to run harder and faster.

– Local five miler where I couldn’t sort my head out and I stopped about three times to have a little scream at myself. Not cool. But I finished and my splits were great despite the drama.

The plan is to remember these positive runs tomorrow when I start to doubt myself. When I ran the marathon last year a couple of the ladies from church (who are incredible marathon runners) gave me some great Bible verses which they use as running mantras when the going gets tough so I’ll be reminding myself of those too.

The weather forecast for Sunday is COLD…like 4 degrees cold. I loved running in the cold last year but it’s been so long that I’m not really back in the zone yet. It’s meant to be wet too so I’m expecting to feel the cold, I’m just hoping the wind dies down before the race. Not sure I want to battle all three elements in one go!! To help me prepare I headed to Poundland (classy) to get some disposable cold weather gear. I picked up three hats, three pairs of gloves, a scarf and loads of heavy duty bin-liners a few of which I have cut head holes in to protect me and my friend from the rain at the start line. I spent a six whole pounds. Bargain!

Check out my throwaway winter-warmers:

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I think this is meant to be some kind of bear…a panda?? Whatever it is I think it’s brilliant.

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But my absolute FAVE is this…I think it’s so cute. It’s definitely not going in my disposable pile, I’m gonna rock this look all winter. Or at least until Danny says I’m an embarrassment and burns it:

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After my little shopping trip and a lovely girlie carbo loading catch up at Pizza Express on the Southbank in London I got my bits together and pretended to be organised.

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Race checklist:

Asics
Nike capris
Nike dri fit socks
Undies and Shockabsorber sports bra
Race top (Nike dri fit)
Long sleeved running top (was NOT planning on this but due to the weather, my Adidas top is along for the ride)
Nike headband (need this for the ear warming factor. Again, didn’t plan this)
Garmin…CHARGED
Nathan shadow pak
Shot blocs
Tissues
Bin liners and disposable bits
Warm clothes for post race journey home
ChampionChip timing chip. Not loving this as it needs lacing through your laces, lets hope they have dedicated staff to de-chip people after the race!
Water, post race treats…I’ll add some more to that in the morning.

I ALWAYS over pack for holidays…I suspect that I’ve done the same again here, but I’d prefer to have too much than not enough.

Finally…a thought for tomorrow: “We boast in the hope of the glory of God…we also glory in our suffering because we know that SUFFERING produces PERSEVERANCE, perseverance CHARACTER, and character HOPE.” Rom 5:2-5, or to put it simply…it’s going to HURT but I’ll be stronger and better for it. I am so grateful to God that I’m fit and healthy and able to run.

So….LET’S DO THIS!!!!

Jx

I Want To Work Out!

Just a teeny tiny, picture-less update from me on the Friday night before the race.

I’ve hardly done anything this week in terms of running, but that’s more down to having a busy week at work and in my personal life than my desire to taper well.

DP have had a fun week in terms of investing in our future and learning from people more wise than us :). On Wednesday night we attended the final part of a seven week marriage enrichment course that we have doing. Info here The course is full of great practical ways of improving your relationship and covers areas such as communication, extended family/in-laws, forgiveness and good sex :). We have loved having a couple of hours together every week just to focus on each other without any distraction. The course is run by the church but it is suitable for people of all faiths and backgrounds, married or not. I cannot recommend this highly enough!

In order to get SOME exercise done and to try and calm my nerves, I got up bright and early today and was in the pool by 7am. I enjoyed a VERY leisurely swim before work. I did full on granny style breaststroke with my head out of the water because I forgot my goggles. Awesome.

In other news…just checked the weather for Sunday and it’s looking like this:

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Thanks BBC weather but I’m not really loving the 5*c temperature at the start line. My trial run did not anticipate the need for layers, so I’m going to have to change the outfit a little but it should be fine. I’m not usually bothered by the cold OR the rain, but it’s the combination of the two that is bothering me!

I know it’s Friday night but I’m totally ready for sleep 🙂

Jx