Latest posts by mowzer

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Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 17/11/2014 at 10:58

mamafox - what a fantastic race report - descriptive, emotional and humorous and a pb to boot  . I chuckle to myself at some of the things you get up to .

Big G - good idea with the dog as long as you have someone to mind it so that you can go away if you want to. Be careful though - my daughter was given a rescue dog (left outside a pet shop in a cardboard box and only about 6 weeks old) with the words 'We think he might be a Jack Russell'. He grew and grew, now the consensus is he's a lurcher/German Shepherd cross .

LDWA Shillington Shuffle for me yesterday. Met up with lots of the usual suspects and ran/walked with a couple of them. Relaxed atmosphere, lots of chat, good off-road terrain and a little bit more walking than I'm used to but I really enjoyed it . Great aid stations with a gourmet buffet at each . Very foggy - we could see the path ahead but very little of the countryside around. At one point it looked as though the sun would break through but the fog quickly thickened again (good job the instructions were spot on). The temperature was ideal for running though and I was comfortable in a long sleeve top with a vest over. Then just over 2 miles from the finish the heavens opened. I was rather wet before I managed to get my jacket on, but at least it kept me warm and stopped me for getting completely drenched. From then on it was head down and a determined run/march to just get back. Finished in 6:38 and happy with that. After changing into dry clothes and having 2 mugs of tea, beans on toast and bakewell tart and custard I felt cosy. Drive home only 50 mins although it was still foggy. LDWA are always fantastic value for money, well organised, friendly and enjoyable .

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 09/11/2014 at 12:42

mamafox - Fantastic pb . I'd be interested in seeing the splits too.

lily, KK and sk - more parkruns ! and getting faster and faster. They sound like such fun too - I'm annoyed that I have to work Sat mornings (can't really justify using my holiday time if I'd be back home for lunch ).

I actually have a day off today - well, apart from the housework which desperately needs doing . I have an excuse as I did the Kings Forest 50k in Thetford yesterday. There were 4 laps - out round a lake and then through the forest - and on the first lap I almost DNF. We were following a forest path which rapidly deteriorated into knee high brambles. I was reduced to gingerly stepping over them and I could feel myself getting very anxious. Decided if it got any worse that I was going to pull out. Then all the runners in front stopped as they had 'lost' the markers. Finally we all trooped up a wide path until we found a marker again and carried on. Very shortly after we were passed by some very fast runners - one of whom demanded to know what race we were doing. When we finished the first lap we found out that we had taken the wrong (brambly) path and had missed out about one and a half miles, which we could make up at the end. The other 3 (and a bit) laps were much better - found the markers this time - there were still a few narrow, uneven paths but also some good running ones. I ran and walked with a friend, who was really good company and we chatted most of the way round. Weather stayed fine (and even got rather warm), we saw a herd of (big) deer and some cute black & white sheep (Jacobs?). Duly did the extra bit and finished in about 6:20. Stayed chatting to various peeps while I consume a lovely cup of tea and then soup and a roll. Heavens opened as I was driving back. Not one of my favourites, but I wouldn't rule it out again .

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 07/11/2014 at 18:44

Big G - hope you have a good time in London - sounds like you'll be pampered

Shades - re the hopping, I have a friend who skips (with a rope) every day. She stopped for a couple of months earlier this year and that's when she got an achilles niggle. Since starting skipping again she's been ok.

It's not only the big marathons which have got expensive, some of the 'smaller' ones - not even road ones - have also. Personally I'd rather they kept the prices down rather than give out goody bags full of things which go straight in the bin, medals which you can hardly lift or t-shirts which come down to my knees. A friend recently remarked that he'd done so many of x's marathons that he'd paid for x's holidays.

mamafox - good luck for Cognac . I love the Jocelyne idea. Every time you pass a female you can think (or say out loud if you want ) 'this one's mine Jocelyne'. I'm sure you'll do well - you deserve it.

I usually do a short, flat recovery run the day after a race (or 2 days after if I'm driving home or really too tired). Then I'll just do 6 miles or so quite easy each day, with maybe hills one day, until I 'taper' on Saturday . I really must try to get back to doing a bit longer slow run (10/12 miles) mid week as I think I felt fitter when I did.

sk & KK- good luck with your parkruns.

Iain - how are track sessions geared for xc runners?! Our club xc runners (not me anymore ) need to practise running through a thigh deep stream (don't - you just fall over), how to find your shoe under 6 inches of sloppy mud and what to do when you start to sink in the middle of the newly ploughed pea field.

I've just got back from Shropshire. Did 2 of the November Nightmare marathons (Wed & Thurs). Low key, a few peeps I knew and a flat course of 3 x out and backs along a railway line. 4:50 and 4:56 but couldn't go any faster. Bit stony but nice countryside with fields, woods, the river, farm animals and lovely old houses. Had to step aside for tractors a couple of times and on Wed I stood off the path while the hunt passed! Civilised start time of 10am and I stayed in the local YHA at Coalport which was 5/10 mins walk from the start. Nice break .

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 03/11/2014 at 13:47

Well, I can summarise Stevenage Marathon in one word - GRIM. It was only relieved by meeting up with loads of the usual suspects (including Emmy).

It started badly as I got drenched just dashing from my house to the car. Rain cleared up a bit and I arrived for registration quite early so had plenty of time for chat . Queues for the loo were very long and slow moving so at least half the runners were still making their way to the start when we saw the front runners speeding off into the distance. Probably good though as they started both the marathon and the half at the same time along a very narrow path (and anyway we had chip timing). The first few miles were very crowded with lots of slower runners wandering from side to side. I went off far too fast really but knowing that if I wanted to get a decent time then that was the mile splits I needed. It started to drizzle, then suddenly half-way through the first lap the heavens opened. I kept thinking if I wanted to do a triathlon I'd swim in the sea. A couple of girls near me remarked that if anyone wet themselves then no one would notice . (I noted that there were no loos on route and precious few bushes - unusually I didn't need either!). It was also quite windy at this point although not cold. Eventually the rain ceased and it remained cloudy.

There's not much to say about the actual course - cycle paths and more cycle paths that just went up, down, flat, up, down ...... Just two short sections through the park so there was nothing to look at and I lost all sense of direction. The turnaround for the 2nd lap was on a short grass bit and then off we went again, except that this time, without the half marathoners, it seemed rather lonely. Most crowd supporters had gone home - couldn't blame them - and even the marshalls seemed a bit thinner on the ground. I slowed down a lot in the second half - my legs just ached so much with all those ups (I found it even harder than Snowdonia!). I stopped at a couple of water stops - I still can't manage to drink and run - stupidly it turned out even at the one just half a mile from the finish, but I just wanted some cold water by then. Eventually the finish line appeared - on the grassy bit which had now become quite slippery - and I crossed over in 4:01:21 (gun time) and 4:00:02 (chip) - cursing the final water stop.

There were no foil blankets at the finish and I got very cold (kit still being soaking wet) as I walked back to the sports centre. Thankfully the showers were nice and hot, but the ladies doing the refreshments decided to pack up early and I just managed to get a cup of luke-warm tea. Felt rather sorry for later finishers - few supporters/ officials at the finish, no one checking if runners were ok, long cold walk back to HQ and then nothing to eat or drink. I can see why they only do it every ten years - no one would return year after year .

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 13:34

KK - as Shades says re your stepdaughter - not much in terms of distance. How about taking her off-road then she/you can take a walk break / climb a tree/ paddle in a stream/ slosh in the mud. Should help with general strength and fitness and with her x-country.

Emmy - will be at Stevenage this Sunday. See you there.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 29/10/2014 at 15:07

Keith - congrats on your 50th and good luck for tomorrow

Emmy - I've never done Beachy although I did enter it once (against my better judgement). It was the year I'd fallen off the stile and my back was still bad. I decided to go anyway and try to walk a bit of it. However I got lost on the way there (didn't have a sat-nav then and couldn't see my AA instructions in the dark), then gone completely lost in Eastbourne. Couldn't find the start, which had been and gone about an hour before, so just had an enjoyable, gentle - and flat - run along the coast in the opposite direction. I think it was a lucky escape as I'm sure I would be the one to get blown off the cliff .

Shades - I'm hoping (and praying) to avoid my annual, enforced, injury related holiday this winter, but there aren't that many marathons around then anyway. I have just one for January and two for February. My bank balance tells me that I need to cut down, especially as I seem to be booking more and more overnight stays, but there are so many I want to do - many of them now 'favourites'.

Don't think I want to try Hokas - I'd have to lift my feet up even more

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 13:00

race report cont....

I knew that I was going to walk up the 'big hill' at mile 22 but was looking forward to the downhill into Llanberis (and the finish). As soon as the hill started getting steep I walked/marched and whenever it flattened slightly I jogged a few strides so my knees wouldn't seize up. I think I only saw 2 or 3 people jogging up this hill, all others were walking/staggering and a few were leaning on walls or stretching their legs. The views opened right out as we climbed but the path soon deteriorated into broken stony ground and I had to keep my eyes on the way ahead. A couple of watery trickles across the path also gave me wet feet. At last we reached the top and this was where I was really disappointed. Steeply downhill now, the path became much worse with lots of rocks sticking up. WD' passed me here and advised 'just take it easy' - I couldn't do anything else. I was reduced to a walk, carefully tiptoeing over rocks and around trippy holes, even going sideways to keep my foothold. I felt such a wimp as others (including SA and VR) skipped past, floating and bouncing down the hill. A large guy right behind me slipped on a wet rock and sat down heavily. I stopped to see if he was ok, along with a few others, but he was cursing and already getting to his feet. I continued warily, offering up silent prayers of the 'please don't let me fall over' variety. Eventually tarmac returned, I was able to get running again and even managed to pass a couple of people on the last bit of path and onto the road into Llanberis. Here the crowds were out in force, cheering and yelling, so there was no alternative but to 'sprint' to the line. I was given my slate coaster and wrapped up in foil before I had a welcome cup of tea and a biscuit.

Initially I thought 'I didn't really like that' for a variety of reasons. I found the mountains in part to be overbearing - I like my scenery soft and gentle - and I'm not that good on hills. Mainly though I think it was because of the off-road bits (fine if you're doing a trail run and you expect to walk , but not so good when you are trying to run). I think I must have lost 3 or 4 minutes in time on this part (and I missed out on my age group place by just 3 mins). Originally I had wanted just to get round, but I actually ran 'how I felt' and was very pleased with a time of 4:20. I was actually very anxious and nervous on the stony downhill and I think this really coloured my judgement of the race. There were parts that I really enjoyed and my muscles certainly felt that they had had a hard but worthwhile day. Judgement is reserved - but I'm already thinking 'maybe next year...'

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 12:28

Snowdonia race report:

Put on vest and shorts first thing, but after some rain, wind and lots of cloud changed to tights and t-shirt under vest with light-weight jacket on top. Met up with lots of the usual suspects before the race - all saying this was their favourite race - and eventually meandered along the road towards the start.

The first half mile didn't seem too bad but then we started climbing. Not a particularly steep hill but it just went on and on for (literally) miles - and you could see the runners ahead going up even further. The mountains are quite close to the road here with lots of massive rocks having fallen down into the pass, (hopefully) a long time ago. I found it quite claustrophobic and feeling like 'boil in the bag' didn't help. Didn't want to stop to take off jacket as I thought I might just start sliding back down the hill. Got stuck in and passed a couple of friends (including VR) as I battled to the top but also got passed by a runner in full dog costume. Just as I thought my lungs would burst the road flattened out and then we had a nice downhill bit. Took my jacket off and eventually managed to stuff it into its apple sized bag which I had attached to my waist belt. For the rest of the race it annoyingly bumped up and down against my hip.

We then came to the first off-road bit. It was downhill, quite gravelly with stones sticking out but I was able to still run/jog. However every few metres there were drainage channels. Most runners just strode/leapt over them, but I stuttered towards each one like a steeplechaser coming up to the water jump - then gingerly stepped over before continuing. VR and SA passed me easily. Thankfully the tarmac soon returned and I think the bit between 8 and 13 miles was the bit I enjoyed most. The mountains had retreated back from the road a bit and there was a lovely lake on our left. Supporters were out everywhere and as we had our names boldly printed on our numbers they all called out to us as we ran past. I went past VR and SA again on this stretch.

Just as we came to Beddgelert the heavens opened and we had a heavy downpour. Quite warm still, so the jacket stayed where it was and I quickly dried out. Seemed like the whole of the village had come out to support the runners. After the first hill I had decided to walk the second from 13 to 16 miles, but I found I was running quite strongly and it wasn't as tough as I had thought it would be, so I ploughed on, surprisingly overtaking quite a few male runners who were struggling. MG passed me somewhere along here - he is a very strong runner - doesn't look like he is 'doing' anything but he disappeared into the distance very quickly. I usually have a 'bad patch' at 16 - 18 miles (which I now anticipate and ensure I 'dig in') so it was good that this part was just mildly undulating and a bit downhill. Had a couple of shotbloks but they were too sweet to carry on with and also stopped a couple of times to take on water (I've never mastered the art of drinking and running, or even walking!).

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 11:54

Well done to all our racers over the weekend - marathoners and speedsters 

Shades - glad you still enjoyed Dublin  despite the foot. How is it today?

KK - good that you enjoyed Snowdonia and achieved your targets . Are you going back next year?

I can definitely say that running a marathon is easier (and more pleasurable) than driving to or from. Left a bit too late on Friday and got caught in heavy traffic at various points. Stopped 3 times for loo/coffee but legs and back still felt very stiff by the time I got to Llanberis. Just getting dark so after collecting number etc I headed straight off to hotel just a mile or so outside. Arrived in Llanberis quite early on Saturday to find millions of cars driving round trying to find a parking space. Most car parks were full and I considered driving back to the hotel and walking down, but the thought of the walk back uphill after put me off. Didn't know the town at all so I went for the only big car park (a hotel using its spare capacity)along with the other runners. £7 for the privilege - someone was out to fleece the tourists/ runners/ English .

I've done a separate race report below for anyone interested. Ate in town afterwards, but queuing in a hot coffee shop made me feel a bit dizzy so had to go outside for fresh air just as I got to the front of the queue - but when I went back in a kind lady let me go back to the front. Stayed overnight (extra hour in bed too) and returned on Sunday. Was tempted to take the train up Snowdon but it was a bit misty at the top and looking at the photographs in the brochure made me think that I might feel dizzy/nauseous , and I didn't want to be driving in the dark so I just headed off home. Decided to avoid the motorways on the way back and the journey was more pleasant although just as long. 2 stops but again the knees, legs, back and everything else were screaming by the time I got home. Recovery run yesterday and thankfully all appears to be working again .


Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 23/10/2014 at 16:06

((Big G)) - just keep on doing what you're doing. You will have a lot of conflicting emotions but are coping well. Just make sure you talk - about your feelings, Claire, Jay, the past and the future - don't try to keep things to yourself. Your family, friends, Claire's family and all of us here are all willing to lend an ear.

Good luck to Shades in Dublin this weekend . And to anyone else who is racing.

KK- yes I'm doing Snowdonia (Note I said doing not running, I've seen the profile of those hills  and my last 4 marathons have been flat). First time I've ever run in Wales and I've heard that Snowdonia is a 'must do' so I am. I'm driving up/across tomorrow and hope to pick up my number (3084) then, but depends how long it takes and if I get lost . I'm staying just outside Llanberis and will drive back on Sunday (unlike a couple of runners I know who are driving massive distances after the race so they can race again on Sunday!). Hard to know what to wear - I'm still in shorts and t-shirt at home, took a jacket with me today but tied it round my waist after half a mile. Don't want to get caught wearing too little on those hills though if it turns cold/rainy. ???. Most certainly not a fast time, probably just be thankful to get round and enjoy it. Also have a tiny niggle in my left achilles - not hot/swollen/hurting - I can just 'feel' it. Done when I bounded up some shallow steps over the river yesterday - my life seems to be 'I want to rewind the last couple of minutes', but cross fingers it will be ok.

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