Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quick Update...

I´m in Madrid, and just logging on quickly to say


Sub 4 hours!!!

Get in.

More to follow once I´ve got more internet time...

Friday, May 25, 2007

That's it then...

I did my last, 2 mile, run this evening. Next time I lace up my trainers it will be for real. I did the same 2 mile run I did on the Friday before Berlin. I like it because it really does remind me where I have come from. I also like it because even at a really easy pace I ran it over a minute per mile faster than I did that day. I feel so much more prepared this time round, so fingers crossed it all comes together on Sunday.

Anyway, this is just a quick note to say that I will be posting times and reports and photos eventually, but possibly not for a while. I'm off to Spain straight from the race, and while I might have time to sneak a quick update of my time on here, the full report might need to wait until I'm back at home. Unless of course the furthest I can manage to walk when I get to my parents' house is from the bed to the computer, on the basis it doesn't involve negotiating the stairs...

Say hello if you see me, I'll be that purple blur heading off into the distance. OK, I won't. But hopefully I'll have a nice big smile on my face by 1pm on Sunday.

Right, it's time to go and nibble on another bagel and get an early night. mmm carbs...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I'm really looking forward to the weekend now. It's not just the marathon bit, it's the whole long weekend in Edinburgh, shopping trip to Madrid, week in Gran Canaria, but I will admit that the marathon bit is the most exciting. Well, except birthday sky diving, possibly.

The funny thing round is that I'm not at all nervous. I just know that I've done enough training, I've worked hard, and I deserve to run well, so I'm not stressing about it. I'm more worried about the drive up there than about the race itself!

I just want to be on with it now. This week at work just seems to be dragging. I want to run, and I can't, I want to cycle and I can't. All this pent up energy is good, because I can use it on Sunday, but I dread to think what state I'll be in by the weekend!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I have my bike, and it's all MINE. In the past I've riden my mother's bike (1970s vintage), my sister's bike (14 year old girl's mountain bike), and exercise bikes at the gym. But now I have a shiny bike all of my own. Woo hoo!!!

I feel like I ought to follow Dietgirl's example and come up with a name for my bike. She's definitely a girlie, complete with pink helmet to ride her in. Maybe I should put ribbons on the handlebars? (Joking aside, I quite fancy a basket on the front, although I've got proper panier racks for a slightly more "bikey" solution to carrying my junk to work).

Anyway, yesterday I had a brief frisson of excitement at 1.30 when I realised she was ready, but I couldn't actually pick her up til this morning because I was out last night at the rugby. So this morning, when the shop opened at 10am I was there, ready and waiting. I handed over my credit card, picked up my free bike maintenance CD (realistically I suspect that my idea of bike maintenance will be "find nearest bike shop, drop bike off" at least for a while, although they do do maintenance courses which I might go on if that's proving too expensive and annoying). I bought my helmet and a big f*ck off lock to secure it to the bike racks at work. We do have CCTV too, but we're also opposite a really scabby job centre. My office window overlooks it, and I don't want to trust my bike near that lot without a huge lock.

Then I set off back home. In hindsight, although it didn't involve much pedal power, starting at the top of a hill and lifting my feet off the floor probably wasn't a good idea until I got used to the brakes... But I made it to the bottom without flying over the handlebars, and started off uphill. A bit of fiddling to try to get used to the gears took place, together with a bit of a wobbling as I got used to balancing on two wheels at speed. Well, when I say speed... And the traffic, and the pot holes. And the two right turns I needed to do when I was too scared to release the grip of death on the handlebars to do arm signals.

But I made it home safely, and I'd guess that what I did was nearly half my commute to work, which gives me confidence that when I'm a bit more used to the bike it will be a piece of cake to get in and out of work on the bike. To be honest, my main concerns are the safety ones (for the bike and for me), and carrying the stuff I need rather than whether I'm fit enough to do it. By the time I got home I was really enjoying it, a bit of light exertion, the wind whistling past my ears, the exhaust fumes (OK, not that bit). I think I'm in love.

So now she's propped up in the hallway (no way am I putting her in my scabby garage just yet) so I can look at her all week and remember I'm not allowed to ride her.

Although there's something I need to pop out to the shops for later...



It seems that after the marathon I will be making my way to this pub/hotel for some food/drink/talk about running with some people from the RW website. If anyone is in the Edinburgh area next Sunday afternoon and wants to come and say hello, you're invited too. I can't guarantee what state I'll be in, but even if my feet hurt hopefully the medal round my neck will more than make up for it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yes, this is running stuff, but I can't think about much else at the moment so you'll have to put up with it. I'm tapering and it's already doing my head in. I can't exercise as much, but my appetite doesn't seem to be dropping as much as my mileage. And then I feel guilty that I'm not burning it off. I need to remind myself that in the short term it doesn't matter, and I am just doing this short term, until I get the chance to burn it off.

This time round I'm amazed at how much more prepared and focussed I feel. I know what I'm doing it and why I'm doing it, and I'm not scared in the slightest about the prospect of doing a marathon. It's just another race really, just a bit longer and a bit more of a target, but all I need to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep going...

I really do believe that anyone can do a marathon. It's not that special. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work, but if you're prepared to put the time and effort in, you'll come out the other side with a medal. it's a lot like weight loss, really. It's not a short term commitment, and there are times when you wonder whether it's really worth it, but when the end is in sight, and at the end when you get to stroke your shiny new medal, or feel your flat(ish) stomach, it really is worth it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

2 years

This is what I wrote 2 years ago.

I didn't run Leeds half last year because I was on holiday, but this year I made it to the start line. I don't think I expected it to end up being my 7th half marathon, or a taper run for a full, but I made it round in 1:45.

I don't think I ever expected to be vaguely disapointed with 1:45 either. It wasn't a PB, but I'd already decided that I wouldn't shoot for a PB this time out. It was still my second fastest half, on a much harder course than most of my other runs. So I can't complain.

I also can't complain because I've heard a rumour that we won the womens team prize, and that I might have been a scorer. I don't know whether it's true, but if it is, I've won something! By running! I'm scouring the internet for any sign of the results at the moment...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fantastic Day

I've had a really good day today. I'm really enjoying life at the moment, I seem to have got things ticking over nicely and have the time and money to be able to do fun stuff rather than always feeling like I'm just trying to keep on top of things.

First of all, I went to the Proper Bike Shop. I went on a couple of scouting missions during the week to get more of an idea what I was looking for, and convinced myself that I'd be better of going into a proper bike shop where, even if I felt out of place, the staff would have some idea what they were talking about, rather than a non-specialist shop where the staff might not have any more idea than me.

Anyway, I had a budget in my head, and I managed to stick to it. No pressure to buy anything more than I needed, in fact, the guy seemed to work me down the price range rather than up it. I put a deposit on this. I'm not saying it's the best, flashiest bike ever, but it will do what I need, it's got a rack so I can carry stuff, it's not so expensive that I'll panic about it being locked up outside work all day (although we do have bike racks in the car park which is covered by CCTV which should help), and it's enough to get me back into cycling after nearly 10 years off.

I get to pick it up next weekend. This gives me a dilemma. I'll be a week out from my marathon. The temptation with any new toy is to use it as soon as possible, but I'm not sure that commuting to work on the bike, using entirely different muscles, in the week before the marathon is the best idea. So I think I'll have to have a short ride round at the weekend to get used to it, and then make myself put it away until I get back from Spain, then break it in properly when I get home.

After that I headed over to Headingley. First of all I went to the Olive Tree for lunch. This is pretty much my favourite restaurant in Leeds, and their saturday lunch menu is a bargain - basically the same as Sunday lunch but a fraction of the price. I had olives, potato keftedes, pitta bread, spinach and cheese filo pie, rice, and bits of salad garnish. Delicious, as ever. I was also proud of myself for not finishing everything, the olives, pitta bread and rice seemed to come in two person sized portions despite there being only me, and I resisted the temptation to carb load too much on them.

I had a bit of time to kill after that, so sat snuggled up in a pub with a glass of red wine and a book. I'm not the sort of person who gets worried about eating or drinking alone, I will quite happily ask for a table for one in a restaurant if that's what I want to do.

Then on to the rugby. A fantastic game, and what's becoming the now traditional Wigan victory. I love beating Leeds in Leeds, particularly when it involves knocking them out of the cup! The rain even held off pretty much for most of the game.

Back home, and I must be disciplined. I have a victory to savour, and Eurovision to watch. But I must resist the red wine in the kitchen. I've got Leeds Half in the morning, and I really don't want to have to run up stonegate road hungover, particularly when I have a real chance of being spotted by people I know from work on this one!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Action Girl

he decision is made and communicated. I'm staying. I'm feeling a bit more positive about sticking to this job for a while longer now I've actually been in the position where I've had to think about what I actually want out of my career, so I suppose it's been a good thing in a way. Still, I'm glad that it's over and I can get back to normality.

Part of that normality seems to involve planning more sporty things to do. There are loads of things that I've often planned to do but never got round to, but this year things seem to be coming back together. I'm quite surprised how I'm taking to this action girl lifestyle.

1. White Water Rafting - done.

2. Sky diving - in the pipeline. My parents know the people who run the sky diving place on GC (in typical Spanish multi-sport crossover fashion the family also run a dive shop). My sister and her boyfriend have said that they want to try it before they come back to the UK in autumn. I wanted to do a charity parachute jump last year but it was the week before Berlin so I decided against it. My sister and her boyfriend both have birthdays over summer, as do I, when I'm out there at the end of the month. So, my parents have suggested getting in touch with Paco to see how much they'll charge for all three of us to do it as a combined birthday treat. I let out a little shriek when I got the email from mum suggesting this. Of course I'm up for it!!!

3. Rock climbing/abseiling. Not only did I find a weekend course for beginners, but I found someone who wants to do it with me! So it's booked, paid for and happening in July. I wasn't even filled with horror when I read the email which suggested wearing something like running tights to do it in, because I'm so used to wearing lycra now that it holds no fear. I also own an increasingly large selection to choose from...

4. Cycling. This has been on the to do list for a couple of years. When I first started this I decided that my reward for reaching goal would be a new bike. When I was at uni 10 years ago I used to cycle a fair bit. I've not really done it since though, and I somehow don't think that the bike I used back then (which was the bike my mother used when she was at university) would cut it. But bikes aren't cheap (particularly not when you add helmet, lock, lights and everything else you need to the list of things to buy), so I've never quite got round to it. Recently I've been getting more and more tempted to do it though. I've seen that even running to work is quicker than getting the bus half the time, so imagine how fast cycling would be, not to mention being good exercise and a good use of time (using previously dead commuting time to work out). It would also get me a step closer to having a go at triathlon, maybe next summer. (That wasn't the original reason for wanting a bike, but it seems to have slipped onto the list of things I want to do). However, I look at bike specs and it's all far too technical for me to understand, and utterly confusing. I don't want anything ultra expensive, but equally I don't want something that's so horrible to ride it will put me off for life.

I've decided that the bike will be this year's birthday present to myself (remember The Jeans from last year? I still wear them all the time, and they were fantastic value for money ;)). My grandparents usually give me a bit of cash, so if I put that in the pot and then top it up with my own money I should be able to afford something decent. Hopefully I can get used to commuting on it over summer, then when it starts getting colder and wetter in the autumn I'll already be hooked and won't end up stashing it away never to be used again.

So, top of the list of things to do this weekend (apart from running the local half marathon, which will just be a minor distraction...) is to get myself to the Proper Bike Shop and see if they can explain what I need in words of one syllable.


I think it's time for a call out to Edinburgh peeps. Dietgirl and Lainey, I mean you in particular, but anyone else in Edinburgh/Scotland is more than welcome. I'm coming up in your direction soon! I've got my number (3408) through, and my club vest (purple, says Kirkstall Harriers on the front, I should be the only person wearing one) is ready and waiting to have it pinned on. Way back when I started planning this marathon thing, I suggested seeing if we could arrange a little meet up while I'm up in Edinburgh for the marathon. I've had two basic ideas - one is to meet up on the afternoon/evening of the marathon itself, either near the finish (Musselburgh) in the afternoon or back in the city centre later on. The other is to meet up for lunch on bank holiday Monday somewhere when I'm less likely to be feeling ill and incapable of doing anything other than lying in a darkened room, which is what happened in Berlin. I have a flight booked from Edinburgh to Madrid late afternoon/early evening on the Monday, but I think I only need to be at the airport at about 4 or 5pm (must get round to checking times...). I will have my car with me, so can (with appropriate directions) make it to wherever is easiest to meet up. Let me know if either idea works for you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's Good to Talk

I spent the weekend thinking about the job situation, and seemed to be no nearer a decision than I was 10 days ago. This whole thing is driving me mad. I wasn't looking for a new job, and there really isn't that much between them to help me choose.

I'm not naturally the sort of person who asks other people for advice, or who unburdens herself. I prefer to make my own decisions, to be self-reliant. But this time I wasn't coming up with any answers, and I decided that it was time to ask for advice.

I spoke to a colleague, and I summoned up the courage to speak to my boss. I kind of knew that she'd try to persuade me to stay, so I knew to take everything she had to say with a pinch of salt, but it was still useful. I didn't want to speak to her before because of the situation (her husband works for the company which headhunted me), but I realised that if I was going to hand in my notice anyway, I'd need to tell her, and if I wasn't... well, it wasn't me who brought this whole situation about.

I'm still not quite sure, but I feel like a load has been lifted a bit. I'm not scared of having to tell her any more, and I can't take the fact that it's an awkward situation into account, because that issue has already been dealt with. It just comes down to whether the job is enough better than the one I have at the moment to make it worth moving. I like my job, I like the people I work with (even if I don't like socialising with them, I like them as colleagues). I know I'm respected and highly thought of. I might get that in the new job too, but if I don't, is it really worth giving up what I've got for? Is it worth taking the risk?

Hopefully I'll come to a decision soon, because I really can't bear stringing this out any longer. I didn't choose to be in this situation though, and I've tried to be open with everyone, so fingers crossed everyone will respect my decision.


So all the job related pondering kind of overshadowed my weekend down in Cardiff for the rugby. I had a good time, I was well entertained, and I ate well. But I kept on going round and round in circles with my thought process, which didn't make it the most relaxing weekend ever.

But I was proud of myself. Despite being officially on holiday, I managed not only a 3 hour run on Sunday, but a 30 minute swim on Saturday, and a 30 minute treadmill session on Monday. I moderated my drinking on Saturday to make sure I was OK for my long run. I made (mainly) good food choices - not bad considering I spent 12 hours over the course of the weekend in the good food dessert that is the Millennium Stadium. In fact I'd go so far as to say that the rugby was more of a test of endurance than the running, and took a similar degree of planning to make sure I had the right food at the right time!

Yet again the majority of the weekend did seem to be spent on the search for food. Scouting around in the morning for potential options seemed to take until lunchtime on Monday! Ah well, at least it paid off with some lovely food, and I got some exercise while I was searching...