Bacchus Half Marathon: The one I did for fun

No, really. I know people often say they’ll do an event ‘just for fun’ – I’ve said it a lot in the past, myself. But then it gets closer to race day and we know how it can escalate. Firstly you think, ‘well I don’t want it to be the slowest one ever, so I need to at least do the same time I did in the last one’, and then it’s ‘if I’m going to do that then I can probably push it a bit at the end if I’ve got energy left’, and suddenly it’s ‘I wonder if I could hit that PB I’ve been secretly aiming for?’

… And then you’re secretly disappointed for not hitting a target time in a race you KNOW that you didn’t train hard enough for. Facepalm.

But after a week’s holiday, then a cold that wouldn’t give up, and then a crazy work schedule, my running fell straight off the radar… For about 4 weeks. I’d been cross training a little (spinning and body pump, mainly), but the only runs I managed after the 4-week break were a couple of 5k runches in race week – neither of which went particularly well. (As you’d expect, really).

But this half marathon had the promise of neon face paint, and wine, and chocolate, and looked like it could be a bit of a giggle – ignoring the crazy hills in the course profile, of course.

And I’m SO glad I gave it a go. Because in summary, it went a bit like this:

Hills, wine, biscuits, wine, hills, sunshine, giggles, sing-offs between St Trinians and a bunch of nuns, wine, biscuits, more giggles, photobombs, new friends, more food, more wine, a big fat downhill (seriously, mile 13 was my quickest at 9:32 and the last .36 – I clearly weaved around a bit – was 8:45. This was compared to an average of about 13:30!!) and a big fat medal.

I’m pretty sure this was my favourite event, EVER.

And as words don’t do the atmosphere, the fun, the wine or the views justice, here’s the day in pictures! (Warning – there’s a heck of a lot!)

At the Start of Bacchus Half MarathonLooking composed and sober at the start!

Wine and Biscuits at Bacchus Half MarathonMany wine and biscuits. Might have gone back for seconds with the latter.

Running Solo

There was some running involved…

Cows at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And cows!

View from the Bacchus Half Marathon 1

Stunning views made up for the hills.

Gorgeous Views at the Bacchus Half Marathon

Taking a well-earned break at the top!

Aid Stations at the Bacchus Half Marathon

The best aid stations I’ve ever seen. For real.

Getting Photobombed at the Bacchus Half

‘I totally photobombed that last one!’ Yes, yes you did. And very well, too!

Bubbles at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And there were bubbles.

View from the Bacchus Half Marathon 2

And even more stunning views!

Having a Blast at the Bacchus Half Marathon

Then there was a bit more running…

More Biscuits at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And more biscuits.

Rose at the Bacchus Half Marathon

The rose was pretty good!

Sunshine at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… So was the white.

White Wine at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And the other white.

Cake at the Finish Line - Bacchus Half Marathon

And at the finish line, there was cake!

… And hog roast.

The end 🙂

 

 

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Paris Marathon Training: Long run #3

Yesterday, I managed my first double-digit run since Brighton.

This time, I made sure I went out earlier in the day, so that I could make the most of the river path and the disused railway (now a footpath/bridle path) that stretches from Shalford all the way down towards the south coast. As I had 12 miles on the plan, my turn-around point was just short of Cranleigh.

The river path was a whole lot of this:

run12-0

Somehow, I managed to NOT fall flat on my face – so there’s that!

After about 2 miles, I turned off the river path to join the footpath:

run12-1

Last year, I did almost all of my training runs on pavements along main roads and residential streets. Whilst running off-road is a little tougher on the legs, and takes a bit more concentration, it’s SO worth it. I’ve always been an avid road runner, but the miles and miles of beautiful. peaceful countryside might just convert me! It’s a shame that it’s too dark to run this route during the week 😦

I was extremely lucky this weekend, as I managed to convince my boyfriend to cycle (well ok, there was quite a lot of free-wheeling…) alongside me for company. What a difference it makes when you have someone smiley and chatty to keep you going on a long run! Plus, it meant highlights like him accidentally squirting one of my gels down his front when I offered him some 😉 However, it’s worth noting that when a very tired runner says ‘are we nearly back to the road?’ a better response than ‘eeerm, probably?’ is something like, ‘YEP! Also, you’re super awesome!’ (P.S., you’re allowed to lie).

The first half flew by, especially as the river path was so slippery and muddy – good distraction! It was also surprisingly busy – I spent the first mile or so dodging walkers and cyclists and dogs (one dog ran right into me, though luckily that was on the footpath rather than inches from the river…), and trying to keep my footing in the mud and puddles. (Good practice for the Brutal 10! Eeek!)

run12-2

I’d stashed some dark chocolate along with a second water bottle in my boyfriend’s rucksack, and had some at half-way. It was a brilliant little treat after 6 cold miles! And I think my body is still getting used to the gels. I made the mistake last week of taking one in a single go, forgetting that I need to take them in small doses over about half a mile to prevent a stitch. Luckily, I tend to only make mistakes like that once!

I’ve been taking it easy on the long runs so far, as I’m still trying to adjust to the training volume after having 2 weeks off over Christmas (boo, cold!) But I’m feeling stronger every run, and the post-run recovery is going well – though I should probably foam roll and stretch a bit more! I managed to keep my splits fairly consistent yesterday:

12m

Check out the average moving pace for miles 9 and 10! Skills!

Whilst I want to eventually get my long runs back down to the 10:30-11:00/mile mark, for now I’m happy to leave the speedier miles for the mid-week sessions 🙂

Race Report: Bushy Park 10k

As I mentioned previously, Bushy Park was my first ever 10k race (and, until today, the only one!) My previous time was 1:02:49, and today I reeeally wanted to get under 1:02:00, as I’m trying really hard to push for a 9:xx pace.

I got up at 7, and it was dark, windy, and raining heavily. I would have LOVED to have gone straight back to bed. Instead, I had some toast and peanut butter, grabbed some water (with a citrus Zero hydration tablet, yum) and got into my running gear. By the time we left at 7:45, it was still dark. And cold. And windy. And rainy. I was starting to regret the whole thing, if I’m honest!

We got to Bushy Park at about 9:15, and the rain was just beginning to ease off. It was still wet and muddy underfoot, with occasional showers, and it was a bit breezy – but the sun was trying to push through the clouds:

b22
I’ll say one thing, Bushy Park is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And once the race started, the conditions were perfect; it was bright, sunny, and cool. Lovely. There were loads of deer and huge stags, too – we got very close at a couple of points on the course! One of the stags warned us off during the first half, making a loud noise that sounded a bit like a cow (I’m clearly an expert!)

I felt really strong for the first half. Admittedly, I’d forgotten just how tough it can be to run off-road, and my right ankle niggled a bit on the bumpy/muddy/uneven bits. But after about 3k I settled into a comfortable pace, and just enjoyed the scenery. This is the first race I’ve done where I haven’t worn a watch or my iPod, and I really enjoyed it. It took the pressure off, and meant that I simply ran at a pace that felt comfortable. I didn’t check my time at regular intervals, or fuss about how far off the next KM marker was – I just zoned out, and focused on my breathing, my footing, and the surroundings. Starting towards the back meant I was able to pass quite a few people, too, which worked as a bit of a boost!

b3
Overtaking at the half way point

I kind of look like I’m playing a flute or something there. Or the piano, possibly? I have NO idea what my right hand was doing, in any case!

I also didn’t run with any drink this time round. Instead, I grabbed some water at half way (there was a water stop) and took the opportunity to walk for a few metres to break up the distance (not that the distance is all that far, but still), and to have a few sips without spilling it all over myself. This mainly worked – though I did end up with a load of water in my face, too. I had barely wiped it off when a huge, wet leaf fell off a tree and smacked me in the face. More water, yay!

I felt good until about 8k, and then my calves and quads began to feel the strain of the uneven ground. There was one part of the course that was on a tarmac path, up a slight hill, and we were running directly into a strong head wind and had the sun blazing down. On the first loop, this was lovely – a bit of warmth with a much needed breeze – but by this point I was beginning to get a bit tired so I struggled a little. I made a deal with myself NOT to walk though – and to help, I kept picking someone ahead of me to match my pace to, and keep up with. I did this right until the end, where I managed a sprint (ish) finish, before nearly falling on the (mildly alarmed) lady who was removing the timing chips from our shoes. Whoops.

What can I say? Standing on one leg doesn’t work when said leg is nackered! 😀

Despite that little incident, I made it, and got to pick up my shiny new medal and a chocolate bar! (Priorities, people).

b1
My poor shoes 😦

I really loved this event. It was organised by Capital Runners, and went off without a hitch. Race numbers and instructions were posted out in advance, the course was clearly marked, and getting my timing chip barely took 5 seconds. They even had pots of safety pins, which was SUCH A HUGE WIN, as I could only find one at home .. The marshals were so lovely, too. They all smiled and clapped and offered encouragement, and all the supporters near the half way/finish point (same place) clapped and cheered for everyone. This makes me so happy!

To add to it all, in true Lucy style – as with my 5k earlier in the year – I beat my target time by a whole second, coming in at 1:01:59 😀

Hey, at least I’m consistent, right!? And that’s 50 seconds off my previous PB!

As a base line for my marathon training, I’m really chuffed with this. It’s a steady 10min/mile pace, which was comfortable to maintain, and gives me a predicted marathon time of 4:44:51. Obviously, the goal for Brighton is simply to finish – but anything under 5 hours would be awesome, and knowing that I have the ability to do that is great.

Today was a real confidence booster, and although I know that I probably could have done better had I trained more thoroughly, this is a starting point. And I’m excited for the journey ahead 😀

Race Review: Bushy Park 10k 2013

As I mentioned previously, Bushy Park was my first ever 10k race (and, until today, the only one!) My previous time was 1:02:49, and today I reeeally wanted to get under 1:02:00, as I’m trying really hard to push for a 9:xx pace.

I got up at 7, and it was dark, windy, and raining heavily. I would have LOVED to have gone straight back to bed. Instead, I had some toast and peanut butter, grabbed some water (with a citrus Zero hydration tablet, yum) and got into my running gear. By the time we left at 7:45, it was still dark. And cold. And windy. And rainy. I was starting to regret the whole thing, if I’m honest!

We got to Bushy Park at about 9:15, and the rain was just beginning to ease off. It was still wet and muddy underfoot, with occasional showers, and it was a bit breezy – but the sun was trying to push through the clouds:

b22
I’ll say one thing, Bushy Park is stunning. Absolutely stunning. And once the race started, the conditions were perfect; it was bright, sunny, and cool. Lovely. There were loads of deer and huge stags, too – we got very close at a couple of points on the course! One of the stags warned us off during the first half, making a loud noise that sounded a bit like a cow (I’m clearly an expert!)

I felt really strong for the first half. Admittedly, I’d forgotten just how tough it can be to run off-road, and my right ankle niggled a bit on the bumpy/muddy/uneven bits. But after about 3k I settled into a comfortable pace, and just enjoyed the scenery. This is the first race I’ve done where I haven’t worn a watch or my iPod, and I really enjoyed it. It took the pressure off, and meant that I simply ran at a pace that felt comfortable. I didn’t check my time at regular intervals, or fuss about how far off the next KM marker was – I just zoned out, and focused on my breathing, my footing, and the surroundings. Starting towards the back meant I was able to pass quite a few people, too, which worked as a bit of a boost!

b3
Overtaking at the half way point

I kind of look like I’m playing a flute or something there. Or the piano, possibly? I have NO idea what my right hand was doing, in any case!

I also didn’t run with any drink this time round. Instead, I grabbed some water at half way (there was a water stop) and took the opportunity to walk for a few metres to break up the distance (not that the distance is all that far, but still), and to have a few sips without spilling it all over myself. This mainly worked – though I did end up with a load of water in my face, too. I had barely wiped it off when a huge, wet leaf fell off a tree and smacked me in the face. More water, yay!

I felt good until about 8k, and then my calves and quads began to feel the strain of the uneven ground. There was one part of the course that was on a tarmac path, up a slight hill, and we were running directly into a strong head wind and had the sun blazing down. On the first loop, this was lovely – a bit of warmth with a much needed breeze – but by this point I was beginning to get a bit tired so I struggled a little. I made a deal with myself NOT to walk though – and to help, I kept picking someone ahead of me to match my pace to, and keep up with. I did this right until the end, where I managed a sprint (ish) finish, before nearly falling on the (mildly alarmed) lady who was removing the timing chips from our shoes. Whoops.

What can I say? Standing on one leg doesn’t work when said leg is nackered! 😀

Despite that little incident, I made it, and got to pick up my shiny new medal and a chocolate bar! (Priorities, people).

b1
My poor shoes 😦

I really loved this event. It was organised by Capital Runners, and went off without a hitch. Race numbers and instructions were posted out in advance, the course was clearly marked, and getting my timing chip barely took 5 seconds. They even had pots of safety pins, which was SUCH A HUGE WIN, as I could only find one at home .. The marshals were so lovely, too. They all smiled and clapped and offered encouragement, and all the supporters near the half way/finish point (same place) clapped and cheered for everyone. This makes me so happy!

To add to it all, in true Lucy style – as with my 5k earlier in the year – I beat my target time by a whole second, coming in at 1:01:59 😀

Hey, at least I’m consistent, right!? And that’s 50 seconds off my previous PB!

As a base line for my marathon training, I’m really chuffed with this. It’s a steady 10min/mile pace, which was comfortable to maintain, and gives me a predicted marathon time of 4:44:51. Obviously, the goal for Brighton is simply to finish – but anything under 5 hours would be awesome, and knowing that I have the ability to do that is great.

Today was a real confidence booster, and although I know that I probably could have done better had I trained more thoroughly, this is a starting point. And I’m excited for the journey ahead 😀