Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A week of distance PBs!

On Saturday I swam in the brilliantly organised (thanks Kev!) Lengths4Leeds, which was a sponsored swim at the inspiring Aquatics Centre in Leeds.  We were raising money for three charities, Shelter, Lineham Farm and Forget-Me-Not.  In all there were about 18 swimmers and we ranged in age from 4 to 48!

We were joined by 2012 Olympic swimmer, Rebecca Turner, who was absolutely charming and a very positive role model for young aspiring swimmers. 

I had pledged to swim 1 mile (64 lengths) with a plan to increase this distance to 2km (80 lengths) if I felt good during the swim.  I actually swam 2.5km (100 lengths) and would have swam a little further had my 7 year old son, who was lap-counting, hadn't got bored!  I am really pleased with this, I never thought I was capable of swimming this kind of distance and it has made me seriously consider enering a two mile distance event in 2013....

My 8 year old daughter did an excellent job too, managing to swim 40 lengths, with Dylan!  She raised more in sponsorship than I did, as most people sponsored her per length (and I expected her to swim 6-10 lengths!)

The Aquatics Centre at Leeds

Rebeccca Turner signing swimming hats
Rebecca Turner and a couple of younger swimmers
Isla with her signed hat

Rebecca Turner

The British Gas Team with Rebecca Turner


Transitioning to running update!  It is now 6 weeks and 1 day since I started running, following the couch to 5km running plan.  Today I reached my target and ran continously to 5km!  I am overjoyed, as I really never saw myself running, and I have loved every second of it.  My 5km time was a very respectable 34 minutes and 10 seconds. 

What next?  Not sure.  I found 5km hard going, so I have no plans to increase my distance again for a while.  I have neglected my bike and I need to find some time to get back into the saddle, so I shall be reducing the number of runs per week to free up a bit more time. 

I was trying to decide the other day how to compare cycling and running and the difference beween the two, in terms of how they make you feel and the enjoyment factor.  It has surprised me how much I have enjoyed running, yet there is none of the adrenalin-big-grin-wahoooooo-feeling you get when you blast along a smooth bit of tarmac on your slicks, chasing 30mph!  Cycling doesn't hurt my legs and doesn't make me have to think about my breathing, and I can get pretty far (escapism?!) in a short space of time.  I hate doing the same route over and over and absolutely, never do out and back routes.  This is pretty much the opposite of how I feel about running in every sense, yet I still love it and have very much chosen it over cycling in recent weeks.  I don't like cycling in the cold, dark, wet... and I am very much a fair weather cyclist.  I LOVE ambling along on a sunny evening, along the farm roads, watching the wildlife and the farmers tend to their crops.  I love seeing the rabbits scurrying away as I approach and there is something so very enjoyable about being out on the road, by myself, on my bike. 

I wonder if I will enjoy running as much when Summer approaches and it becomes hot, thirsty work.  I haven't reached a conclusion on these musings, but I hope I can find a comfortable way to enjoy both at the same time(well, within the same week!) so my dream of doing a triathlon, can become a reality. 

Then there is swimming.  Doesn't really fall into comparison with cycling and running.  Swimming allows you freedom in water, allows you to relax and mend aching muscles and it challenges you, every time you go for a new PB in either distance or speed.  Swimming is my default. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

5 weeks and 5 days of Running

It is six weeks since Dylan took part in the Leeds Triathlon at Roundhay Park.  Five weeks and five days since I decided to start running using the couch to 5km (c25k) plan.

I have gone from being very vocal about how the idea of running would never (ever!) be for me, to running 4km+ ever other day and LOVING it.  What a turn around!

I am currently running with the week 8 podcast, which means I run for 28 minutes without stopping.  The final week is within reach (week 9) and I have a few niggling thoughts.

The plan promises 0-5km in 9 weeks.  It is aimed a non-runners, who are perhaps completely unfit.  I was a non-runner before I started, but I wasn't too unfit.  I looks doubtful I will manage 5km within the 30 minute run I do next week, during the week 9 podcast.  My current distance is 4.2km within 28 minutes which is an average of about 6.4km/hour.  Adding another two minutes to my running time will not allow me to get to 5km.

I had wondered if my pace is way off, but looking at other runners who are new to running and who run 5km or less, my pace is pretty similar.

Like I said, a niggle.  I have no doubt now that I AM capable of running 5km, though I guess it will take me  about 35-40 minutes.

Also, what do I do when I have finished the plan?  There are a number of options:

  • Improve my speed over 5km

  • Improve my distance up to ? km

  • Both of the above (hmm sounds good, but *how*?)

There are a number of podcasts aimed at c25k graduates, but I think I want to run without coaching for a while, with my own playlist and my own agenda BUT I am a little worried that I won't push myself enough doing this though.  Still looking forward to pounding the tarmac to my own music, rather than the drivel which accompanies the c25k!

My local running club runs courses for beginners (they define a 'beginner' as someone who has yet to run 5 miles), and this appeals to me.  This won't be until April though, which is when the courses run.

I don't have any real desire to enter any running races at the moment (having decided against the Bonfire Night 5k in York - too expensive!), though I am almost certain my long term goal is to enter the Leeds Triathlon a Roundhay Park in Sept 2013, and do the sprint distance.  There, I said it out loud :-)  Goal for Summer 2013 - TRIATHLON! 

So this morning's run saw me up and out of the house by 8am. It was cold and extremely foggy; too foggy for my dark glasses, which are part of my disguise ;-)  It was nice being out in the fresh air, with no one else up and about yet.  I ran through and our village where the streetlights and pavements end.  The fog gathered on my eye lashes and dribbled down my cheeks.  It also collected on the spiders' webs which were picking up the early morning sunlight as it battled to shine through the fog.  (It never won that battle!)  Wished I had my camera....

I use Endomundo to track my run via GPS on my phone, (which also plays my podcasts).  I gives me an update every kilometre, of my total time so far, and my lap time for that kilometre.  I worked out that to do 5km in 30 minutes, I need to be running a 6 minute kilometre.  I am getting closer, sometimes I am close to 6 minutes 20 seconds now, other times I am closer to 7 minutes.  I don't feel as though I can physically make my legs go any faster at the moment.  My breathing is fine, so I assume my fitness/cardiovascular levels are coping.  My legs just can't physically do more though.  I was starting to feel a cramping pain up the inside of one calf today, about 15 minutes into my run.  So, I have decided to have a few days rest.  I am running every other day at the moment, but I shall put a few days now between today's run and the next time I go out.  I think my legs are telling me to ease off a little now.  Especially as the distances are growing and there is no respite of any walking anymore!

But it was a lovely run and a nice, peaceful way to spend a Sunday morning, before the world woke up!

I shall be doing the sponsored swim next weekend (Lengths4Leeds) which has been arranged by my employer.  I am very proud that my 8 year old daughter is swimming with me.  Hoping to swim between 64 and 80 lengths, while raising some money for charity.

After this event, I am going to take a step back from the pool and aim to swim once per fortnight instead.  I think it is time to use the time to get back on my bike and get some miles out of my road tyres before the winter truly sets in!

Have I mentioned that my brother and his fiance run too?  They are doing the Run to the Beat half marathon in London which seems to be half run, half music event,  next weekend and looks pretty cool.  I might have said to him that I will run a half marathon with him one day!  Arrgh, me and my big mouth!  But, hell why not?  I have achieved loads in 5 weeks. :-)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

My Kit (and video!)

Inspired by the lovely Sarah, over at Christie Clan Diaries, I thought I would blog a little about my kit and what I use. 

It was my birthday this week and my Dyan took me out shopping.  He bought me some running leggings, as I really hate feeling flapping clothing when I am running, and Lidl had some for £7.  They are actually really good, so we felt pretty pleased at the bargain!

You can also see my minimalist running shoes, which I blogged about here  
We then went to showroom in York for Rat Race, who stock all things running, swimming and cycling!  Dylan bought me a Ronhill running top, which is BRIGHT!  But should mean cars will see mem when I run on darker evenings!  I discovered my phone can switch the camera lens towards me, so here's a cheesey and BRIGHT picture of my lovely new top!

As you can see I also wear a hat, this started out as a disguise, lol.. but as the sun is getting lower, it is proving quite useful!  (I also wear cycling sunglasses, which are pretty well suited for running as they don't move around on your face.  No pictures, but they really aren't all that exciting!)

I use an armband to hold my phone when I run which was an absolute bargain off Amazon... it cost me £1.32, including delivery, and holds my phone (for the podcast and GPS software) and my door key. 

I was also lucky enough to receive a waterproof MP3 player for my birthday, from my parents.  This is going to make a huge difference to me in the pool as I do struggle with the monotony of swimming lengths for 30-40 minutes at a time, and I tried it out this week and it worked fabulously!  I perhaps need to think about my playlist though.  I put Jimi Hendrix on, and found I swam with good glides and stretches... brilliant for enforcing the prinicples of Shaw Method swimming style, but I think I need something a little more up-tempo!  (Though I confess, swimming along with 'Hey Joe' made me smile!)  It really is quite clever, no wires, great sound, AND it stayed in my ears as I pushed off (wearing the white 'wire' around the back of my head and under my swimming hat!).

My Merlin waterproof MP3 player

In case you are wondering, I swim with Aquasphere Kayenne, small fit goggles, with a dark lens.  I spray them with anti fog every week and they are the best goggles I ever tried.  I swim in a Zoggs legsuit and I wear a silicone swimming hat.  And I now swim plugged into my MP3!

I ran with Dylan this week which is the first time I have run with anyone else.  It was a little unnerving as I struggled to concentrate, but he did take a really useful video of me running, which has given me confidence and allowed me to check my foot strike and posture.  He has a slightly longer one I shall post when editing allows....


You can see my armband in action, the rathe unexciting glasses and that I also carry a small water bottle (about £3 from Wiggle!)

I have completed week 5, run two of the Couch to 5km plan today.  This involved running for two 8 minute strtches, seperated by a 5 minute walk.  The next session involves a 20 minute run.  I am really not sure I can do this, I guess it will be make or break time.....

I haven't been out on my bike for a few weeks now, but I shall update my blog with cyclingstuff another time :-)