It’s hard to believe that it’s only two months since Abbey, Stephanie and I met with the Woman’s Running team on Wimbledon Common for the launch of the 2016 Project Trail! Although I was absolutely delighted to hear I’d been selected, I was really nervous on the drive to London for the photoshoot. However it was an amazing day and, when I left five hours later, I felt extremely privileged to be part of the team and ready to do what it takes to be ready for the Bath Hilly Half Marathon in November! I certainly cannot use lack of kit as an excuse for poor preparation as we have been provided with great Columbia running gear, including brilliant yellow trail shoes, a TomTom watch, that can measure almost everything as well as play music (very snazzy), adidas sunglasses and lots of High5 energy and protein bars, gels and tablets!
It was great to have time with Anne-Marie Lategan, who seemed to understand immediately what my worries were and what would and wouldn’t work for me in training. As a result she has given me the ‘No Time To Train’ training plan! Perfect! In addition I am using my weekly parkrun as a more focused and faster session and doing two or three longer trail runs, including a hill session each week! I also like the motivation of trail races so I am going to continue to book a trail race every month!
The July trail run was the Cotswold All Runners Summer Sizzler – a fantastic five-mile hilly trail run! Starting times were based on individual’s recent trail race times to give everyone a chance of winning. However, as a result of this, of the 46 runners, I was first to go! Actually this was a great incentive to get running and keep running knowing everyone else was trying to catch me! In the end, I was 11th home, which was pretty encouraging. My son won and my brother was second!
Overall this month I have been really encouraged and pleased with my progress, particularly the improvements I have seen in my hill running. Having the TomTom watch is a great way of tracking every move I make! I’ve never measured heart rate before and it fascinates me to see how it fluctuates (and how high it goes!), and I love how it now says at the end, ‘Good recovery’! I also like the fact it tells you the elevation – vitally important in preparing for the Bath Hilly Half!
In terms of support and training partners I am really lucky that my brother and eldest son both run with me. We all do the weekly parkrun and I was thrilled that I recently got a new PB of 28mins 9secs. I’m sure the High5 energy bar helped! Running gives me so much pleasure – we have just had a week’s holiday in Madeira and to be able to put on my trainers and go for a run along the sea front and up and down some very steep hills was just amazing. Unfortunately what I haven’t cracked yet, and I must work harder at, is the training exercises Anne-Marie has given me. I am frequently talking about pains in my ankles and my knees and I always have some ‘magic’ gel at hand to rub in at the first twinge, but I know if I just did as I was told I would have less to worry about. So this month I am going to focus on my ‘teeth brushing’, ‘shower stretching’, ‘tea time’ and ‘office stretches’ to try and improve my flexibility – oh yes and a bit of foam rolling!