Monday, 21 November 2011


Me crossing the finish line! (I'm the one in the fanny pack and base-ball cap... you know, the one with no fashion sense whatsoever!)

You could have been forgiven for not knowing that I was running a 10K yesterday. I didn’t spend all of last week frantically cleaning the house and having full ‘head-between-the-knees’ panic attacks at the prospects of eight thousand lyrca clad bodies in one place at one time. I didn’t make lists of lists of lists. Instead, I sat with my knees elevated watching trashy television. I also ate my entire body weight in maltesers- not easy to do when they are only 100 calories per bag! The reason for this reckless pre-race behaviour? Last Sunday’s run!
            Sure it felt good at the time. It even felt good for a short while after (see the ridiculously peppy blog I wrote for proof). Unfortunately, the day after and the day after that, my body had a little tantrum! Every single muscle in my body cramped and ached in protest at being forced to run 8 miles on a damp Sunday. As a result of this action, I could not move!
            So my race training was, well… non-existent! During the week of pain, lots and lots of carbs were consumed. I also drank lots of fluid (cups of tea count right?) as well as a few ‘extra’ fluids (beer, for pain relief obviously) I knew I should be worried, I knew I should be pacing the floor having crisis talks with my butt muscles but I found it really hard to care. My response to any queries were simply, “I survived a half marathon last month. I’ll be fine!”
            And do you know what… I was right! (Cue banners, dancing, songs and cheering!) I don’t know why! Whether it was the vast, gigantic calorific intake of the week prior to the race, the daytime naps and early bedtimes, the long, muscle soaking baths or the litres and litres of sugary tea I will never know. But on Sunday morning, after coaxing my reluctant body (and my three reluctant supporters) from their beds, I went to Leeds in the damp November drizzle and I rocked it!
            When I registered for the Abbey Dash (heralded as the fastest, flattest 10K in England) I was asked to give a predicted time. Now you might have noticed that I am a modest creature- so, despite the fact that I can run 10 minute miles (with the wind behind me on a good day) I plumped for 90 minutes. This meant that I was at the back of the pack. The pack held 8500 people. The queue for the toilets was insane.
            It took 15 minutes to get to the start line! Just as I set off, a cheerful voice over the tannoy informed us that the club and elite runners had all just reached the Abbey and were heading back into the city. I hadn’t even set off yet! The first 1K of the race went down a narrow road and then opened out onto a wide, flat dual carriageway and this was where the fun began. After being a little frustrated being stuck behind people, I could finally get going. I hopped onto the empty pavements and went for it.
            I had resolved after my near death experience at the half marathon, not to be a lemming and follow all of the other runners. To make sure that I stayed in ‘Kelly’s land of under achievement,’ I wore my baseball cap (it’s not just there to make you laugh, it had an actual, genuine purpose) and my headphones. Me and Christina Aguilera were best mates- I was Dirty, then I was a Fighter then I was Beautiful! And all in the space of 2k!
            At around 4k, I really found my va-va-voom, I forgot where I was entirely and just pushed myself forward. I remember rounding the corner at the Abbey and starting back towards the City and thinking, ‘Hey. I’m over half way.” And I felt disappointed! True, watching the ‘elites’ passing us on their way back was a bit demoralising. Being overtaken by a guy dressed as bananaman was also pretty distressing but apart from that, it was a really good run!
            Heading back into Leeds, I could see the Finish line. I could also see the hundreds of people lining the streets cheering and waving. I knew that somewhere in that tangled crowd of supporters were my kids, so I decided to make a sprint for it. Approaching the clock, I saw that it read 1.09… but I hadn’t set off until that clock read 15.00 which meant that I was on track for completing the race in under 55 minutes! Suddenly I was determined to make it. I launched myself forward. My legs were weak and I felt sick but I raced flat out through the finish line and had a grand time of 55 minutes! HURRAH! Best. Race. Ever!
            This morning my legs were sore so I took them to the gym for a relaxing stretch. While I was there I did some arm lift thingies and I have to say that I’m in danger of getting some actual muscle. The message of this story has to be that before a race, you shouldn’t panic. Just sit on your booty- eat, drink and sleep and come race day, you’ll be able to pull of a personal best worthy of an Olympic athlete!
            HURRAH! Reindeer Run 10K next! Can’t wait!

Hurrah! Now we can go and get some breakfast!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

S is for Soundtrack…

The weather up here in (rarely) sunny Yorkshire yesterday was glorious! The trees, naked of their leafy garments, swayed in a mild and gentle wind. Un-spoilt miles of undulating hillsides rolled into the distance, vanishing into an azure ocean of sky, upon which white feathered boats scudded and raced. It was the perfect November day.
I didn’t run yesterday. I ran today. And today it rained… and rained… and then rained some more. I try not to swear on the blog, but, I can’t think of a better way to say it… it pissed it down. All day.
My husband drove me eight miles into the undulating hillsides, which looked considerably less beautiful than yesterday. As we drove, the weather became wetter and wetter and wetter. The rain clouds were so dense that it was foggy, and at lunchtime all of the cars had their full headlights on. I really pick my moments to run!
Today was, without doubt, the worst weather I have ever run in. Because it was freezing, I had to keep running- otherwise I would have gotten hypothermia- and that would have severely impaired my ‘get a bottom like Beyonce’ plan. So I ran. I didn’t pass a single other runner- although I did pass one hardy cyclist who was nearly sucked under a lorry that obviously didn’t spot him (he wasn’t wearing his luminous clothing- the weather must have taken him by surprise, though not as much as the lorry did judging by the look on his face. I hope he carried spare pants!) As I ran, I listened to my ipod. It was set on shuffle, but the songs were strangely apt… so apt that I thought I’d share them with you. So, dear reader, here is the soundtrack to my rainy run.

What I was thinking
Mile 1:
Don’t stop me now. Queen.
I haven’t run for four days. I’m full of energy. Roar!  
Mile 2:
Feeling Good. Michael Bublee.
I feel awesome. I feel so good that I might just add an extra 5 miles onto the end of this run. Roar!
Mile 3:
Chariots of fire.
I might not be the fastest. Or the fittest. I’m the underdog! Feeling amazing- really into my stride now! Roar!
Mile 4:
Going Under, Evanescence
Feeling a bit wet now. And a bit cold. How far have I run? 4 miles? ONLY 4 miles? Need a wee. Oh dear.
Mile 5:
Way Down, Elvis Presley

Better stop for a wee. A bit out of breath now, I’ll just sit down on this bench and recover… snore...
Mile 6:
Dirty, Christina Aguilera
What was that? Crap, just ran through the biggest ever puddle of mud and what looked (and smelt) like horse pooh! Nice.  
Mile 7:
Another one bites the dust. Queen.
Endorphins have deserted me now. Might walk a bit… and a bit more… might as well just walk home. Don’t want to tire myself out, I’m racing next week!
Mile eight;
Everyday I’m Shufflin’  LMFAO
Wet. Cold. Tired. Muddy. Hurt.
Am shuffling for real now… can’t walk, can’t run… just shuffle. Like an eighty year old woman in her slippers!  

Yes! My musical tastes are THAT eclectic!
7 days ‘til the 10K. Praying for better weather!
Happy running x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

T is for toenails and TV

It’s official… I’m down to 8 toe nails.  I lost one just after the half marathon, which was obviously due to the huge number of miles I had been running in preparation for my ‘life-changing/ near-death’ experience. I was quite proud actually- I paraded my deceased toe nail around the house as a medal of honour (until it disappeared- my husband swears he didn’t throw it in the bin but I have my doubts…). It was a product of all of my hard work. Then a second toe nail fell off on Sunday. And suddenly I’m worried.
            Not that I haven’t been working hard, you understand. I have been running. I am currently averaging 14 miles a week of mountain climbing/ hypothermia dodging outdoor runs with a further 8 miles on the dreadmill… but these are hardly record breaking distances. Which means only one thing… I have a severe disease which is causing my toe nails to fall off! Obviously I researched this fully on-line (I googled it- a valid and thorough method of research as we all agree) and there is no mention of a disease of the fallen toe-nail. So I can only surmise that I am the first sufferer the world has ever seen. I am a medical anomaly. A one off. I only hope that a cure can be found before I lose the remaining 8 toe-nails and am banned from ever wearing peep-toe sandals again. It’s a worry. Really it is.
            My dreadmill miles, I have to admit, have not been so dreadful for the past couple of weeks. I have not had to pinch myself repeatedly in order to stay awake whilst doing a vital 4 miles, nor have I resorted to swearing at the machine because it’s only registering 4 miles and it feels like 10. What could the reason be for this change of heart I hear you ask… well, it’s revolutionary… the telly is working in the gym… and someone has set it to a music channel… and I like it!
            It makes all the difference! Last night I wore one earphone and listened to the Archers on Radio 4, whilst, with my other ear, I listened to JLS, Rhianna and Beyonce. It was perfect! Can you imagine the Archers to a backdrop of ‘sucks to be you right now…’ Try it. It’s a revelation. But don’t blame me when you become addicted.
            I promised a couple of weeks ago that I would finish the A-Z but have been terrible at actually getting much done aside from running and writing (work style writing, not fun blog writing) so here is the next instalment. Hope you enjoy R-S. Happy running x

Good things about running- HURRAH!
Bad things about running- BOO!
Relaxing. Some runners manage to achieve something called ‘flow’ which is basically when you are in the moment, your body is working like a well oiled machine and your mind is focussed entirely on running. For one moment, everything else disappears and it’s just you and the track. I experience a similar sensation when my kids lie in on a Sunday morning or I find kit-kats/ flumps on offer at the supermarket.
Runner’s high.
Exhaustion+ endorphins+ energy drinks = runner’s high!
Totally legal, totally free… makes you as giddy as a giddy thing on a giddy day.
Reading. Running gives you an excellent excuse to buy new books about all things running. If my husband is reading though, I haven’t bought any! Scouts honour. I borrowed all ten of them from friends J
(If you’re new to the blog, there is a list of the top running books somewhere in the archive.)
Restless legs
Have you ever been awoken by your legs running- in bed- completely of their own free will?
This tends to happen to me a lot before a race. When I first signed up for the half marathon, I woke up every morning for three weeks convinced that it was the day of the half marathon with my legs thrashing wildly around the bed and pure terror in my heart. I was worried that I needed an exorcist but my husband said I just needed to get a life. Maybe he was right!
Reasons to run
They HAVE to be convincing otherwise, when you’re shattered, you WILL call a taxi rather than running the distance. Make a list and repeat it in your head when you feel tired. (Important note: Enjoying wearing spandex is NOT  a reason to run, it’s a reason to seek psychiatric assessment!)
Sun-tan. Running is a great way to get a deep and even tan since you usually run in circles so, at some point you will be running towards and then away from the sun. Slap on the sunscreen and get glowing girl.
Support team. My children and I are so ‘into’ running that whenever we pass a runner or cyclist we wind down our windows and shout words of support. My 4 year old daughters current favourite is ‘go on with your bad self!’ So if you are traversing the wilds of Yorkshire try not to be afraid (actually, be very afraid because I don’t drive well when I’m shouting. Oops!)
Stretches- do some! The more stupid you look while you’re doing them, the more effective they are!