Sunday, 7 June 2009


Unlike last week when I awoke on race day to glorious sunshine, today I awoke to glorious rain! The race is taking place at the Dorney Lake, which belongs to Eaton College and is the site for the 2012 Olympic rowing events.
I booked this race just after the marathon as one of my runs to keep me on track.

All the way there in the car the rain is chucking it down, even walking from the car to the race start is a hazardous affair, Rob holds a brolly over the two of us and I have two rain coats on, my running one ( which ever really keeps me dry) and my street one I keep stashed in the back of the car for just such emergencies! I am being a bit of a wuss considering I am just about to run in the rain and here I am hiding underneath a brolly, oh well, praise the Lord for natural hair.

It all seems a pretty well organised, a annual affair run by the Dachet Dashers a long established running group, as usual not much colour and I guess being a bit further out of London that some of my usual races not surprising, did see two brothers and one sister, but that's it, really need to encourage some of the runners I know to travel a bit further a field to race.

The rain shows no sign of stopping, so the plan was to run with my jacket for the first 5k, to keep warm then hand it to Rob. To get in under 60 minutes I need to run each kilometre under 6 minutes.

I start at the back again, usual plan, start at the back and work my way through the field, but I may have started a little too far back as I spend a quite bit of time weaving my way around other runners. There are about 700 people running and a lot of congestion at the back, but that’s cool, it is wet,very wet and with a little ache in my achilles I am not looking to blast away.

It takes a while for me to warm up, my body has got used to running in the heat and this wind and the rain is a bit of a shock. I can’t lie I do not find my running rythmn straight away but I keep going, running is now second nature, put one foot in front of the other and move. The course is flat and so great for a good time, we ran along the outside of a lake, but the rain made the whole place look rather bleak.

I am managing to keep up my desired pace in fact I am a little quicker, try not to look at my watch too much, eager not to slip or run into the back of another runner. I get to the 5k mark, hand Rob my jacket, I manage it in 28 minutes, that is two minutes slower than my 5k pace last week, shit I could not even run a 5k in less than 30, look at me now.

It’s hard, I can’t lie and the thought of running the same again is not inviting, but I keep going, I have had my Ipod on from the beginning, to help me keep my pace, today I have Missy Elliot, Alliyah, Beeny Man, Stevie Wonder and others keeping me company, they bring me a little sunshine even if the weather doesn’t.

My pace is good , a bit of a stitch starts to bite at my left side, not my usual right side, but I breathe it out, and tell myself to relax, the rain seems to be getting worse. There are water stations every two and a half km, but I keep sloshing it over my chest, can’t get this drink from a cup thing as I run at the same time right, I either have to stop or not drink at all, now I am sweating, damp and cold, so I give up, and sip on the lucozade bottle I've been holding from the start.

For some reason just before 8k I think I am at 9k and speed up ready to attack the last Kilometre, I soon realise my mistake when I spot the 8k sign, I must have been delirious, I slow down and try not to despair, this is a lot harder than last week’s 5k, I think I prefer 5k’s!

I visualise my boy Rob running on my right hands side encouraging me, and my girl Simone on my left also encouraging me. I chant a little mantra “I can, I do, I will, I am”. Over and over again until I believe it. I focus once more, my breathing becomes easier, my legs and arms are pumping and I am in the running zone, no longer struggling just pushing forward. The magical zone does not last long but it is long enough to drag me close to the finish, I know have no doubts that I will make it. It is still raining and my top keeps riding up exposing my belly, not a good look, I have lost weight but not enough to be showing off
belly,well not yet anyway, but one day…

The finish line is upon me and I am more relieved then happy, the constant wind and rain was very jarring. I finish in 56 minutes dead. Rob is there to greet me, a tiny kid hands me a goodie bag and I receive my medal, it feels like schools sports day. Rob takes some pictures and we head straight back to the car, no need to hang around and anyway I am bloody tired, plus the rain makes it a bit miserable so there seems no point. I quickly change out of my wet clothes in the car, and snuggle down under a blanket, I try hard not to fall asleep as Rob takes me on a mini tour for Slough, pointing out the two houses he grew up in and the nursery and primary school he went to.

It will be a good few weeks before I race again, I have a RACE FOR LIFE 10k on July 5th and a half marathon on the 26th July but that is it for June, unless I do a few 5k time trials which are free timed runs which take place all over the country run by a group called park run, they are a great way to test yourself and free which is even better in these hard times, Plus my left Achilles has started to niggle again, so I need to be very careful and take it a little easy, I am terrified of getting a serious injury.

I am satisfied at the moment as I have recently surprised and surpassed myself with my running, but I still have more to do, so much more. I am not as fit as I would like to be, that is not taking away from what I have achieved, but I feel as if there is a lot more to come. I need to start pumping weights, doing some speed work and doing some yoga a few times a week.

I also need to get on top of my food situation again, I have not been as strict with myself as I should be and with my sisters birthday and my own birthday coming up it would be very easy to let it all go to pot, so as of Monday I will be back on the food and hopefully the scales will start moving again, time to shifting some weight again.

I’m a little tired now, so I think I’ll go and slob out on the sofa for a bit,

Monday, 1 June 2009


Today was a boiling hot day; heat was beating down from the sky like hard rain. I am dressed in my pink and black tutu, pink top, pink legwarmers and pink cap. Dedication on my back to my girl Sarah who has survived a fight with leukaemia after a replapse and a bone marrow transplant.

I'm very excited about the race, hoping to hit under 30 minutes in a 5k for the first time, I feel very strong and powerful at the moment, and thought this would be a great opportunity to see if I can do it. Hook up with my girl Simone she has her tutu on as well so we are two black and pink fairies running the streets. She has a knee injury so will be walking but we hang out until the start.

The warm-up goes on for a bit too long, the race is meant to start at 10:30 but we do not start until 10:50, the heat and the warm up is sapping my strength and I have drunk most of my water already, not a great start.

The atmosphere is great, hundreds of women, and a sea of pink, we are not the only ones dressed in costume, there is lots of other tutu wearing fairies both grown and small. I can see a woman dressed as a nun and also another nutter in a furry rabbit costume, crazy especially in this heat, but each to their own, who am I to criticize when I am dressed in a tutu!

There are many women little girls and women with children in buggies, lining up on the walkers side. There are people with touching dedications on their backs, remembering loved one's lost, or those who have survived their fight with cancer. Men there to support their girlfriend's, wives, daughter's, granddaughter's and friend's are lining the streets. 

When I found out Simone was walking on her own (usually there is a whole group of us doing this race, but today is is just Simone and I, this must be the third time we have run this particular Race For Life) for a moment I think about walking with her, but decide it is important that I am honest with myself about what I want to get out of my running and today I want to run as fast as my leg's and the heat will allow me. I am a little concerned feel a bit light headed, but decide it is just my nerves playing with me and nothing more. I have run in hotter temperatures than this, this is not the heat of the Caribbean, I will not be defeated.

The horn goes off and we part company, I am right at the front, so my path is clear I am not going to get trapped among the masses. I am also aware that I do not want to go too fast or I may burn out. I clutch the rest of my water as if it is made of the finest gold.

Start off at a good pace, in fact I have decided not to look at my watch, my race plan is to run as fast as I can, for as long as I can, being mindful of the heat. Everyone goes off quick I try not to go too wild. All is going well I am running a decent pace, I am running in the 8 minute mile zone  I do not know if I can keep it up but I will try my best. 

I run next to a women and realise we met the week before at the Wokingham half marathon we talk for a while but the fast pace and chatting is using way to much energy, so I tell her to go on run her race as I do not want to hold her back.

After a while I get my breath back and I am able to pick up the pace again, I soon catch up with her once more, this time she slows down saying it is too hot to keep up her pace.

Now I am concerned she is obviously a good runner having finished the London marathon in 4 hours 45 minutes, if she is struggling, will I? I continue, trying not to worry, trying not to guzzle all my water, just taking tiny sips to wet my throat, my pace is steady and strong and my tutu gets the crowd shouting out encouragement,so far so good.

Last mile and I have almost run out of water, I ask a guy who is supporting by the road side, if he can pour some of his bottle into my almost empty one, he does not have much left, but gives me his bottle I thank him profusely touched by his kindness, at this point I do not care if he has lurgies, I need water. I continue running, glad for the extra water, the heat is searing I try to find spots of shade but they are not always forth coming, so I end up zig zagging around hunting for the tiniest shadows.

Body check no stitches, no aches and no pains, it’s a miracle, the old bones are holding together, I am breathing pretty loudly but that is it. I keep pushing myself, happy now that I will be able to make it to the end. 500 metres and I am close to the finish I keep going, keep pushing, keep running, keep telling myself I can do it, I am starting to feel emotional as I realise I will post a very decent time.

I finish in 26 minutes 17 seconds I have never run a 5k faster than 30 minutes today is a big day for me, 9 months of consistent running is starting to pay off. 

The plan was to run then go back find my girl Simone and finish with her, but I am honestly too, too tired to even contemplate that plan. Rob is at the finish to greet me, and is grinning from ear to ear proud of my achievement. He has seen me through all the training I have been done since last September seen the struggles and the tears and is now seeing the joy, the speed the power and strength develop.

I take a breather, lean against a wall for a moment to recover and after some water, I am ready to try and find Simone, but a couple of minutes later she is in front of us, I cannot believe she has completed the race so quickly, considering she has a knee injury, 31 minutes in fact, she said she could not stop herself from running and that her knee held up fine, I am very proud of her. This is a woman who ran until she was 8 months pregnant that alone should tell you how determined she is.

So that is my running story for today, I am enjoying my new found health and fitness, enjoying placing one foot in front of the other and seeing what happens. I am still growing, learning and pushing myself to new heights the journey has only just begun.