Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quest for Speed!

This morning arrived at 4.30am for me and with it came the 1st test of whether all the hard work I'm putting in on the track was in fact producing the desired result - SPEED!

I left at 6:15am and  travelled up to the Luke's Locker 5k in the Woodlands. I have only run 2 previous 5k's and managed a 25:?? back in Jan 2011, and 19:58 in Feb 2012 (both at Bridgefest here in Kingwood). I  really wanted my time on this occasion to start with 18, 3rd times a charm after all! 

I have been suffering for over a week with a stomach issue that is definitely on the way out but has left my very crampy and bloated. This morning was no different but I just hoped it wouldn't affect my run. I decided to try to hold back in the 1st mile as I have a habit of starting off too fast and paying for it. 
There was a decent crowd there and on the start line we got chatting to a guy who told us 'see that girl in the yellow, she'll do around 17:40', ok I won't be running with her then!! He also pointed out another guy who would do around 18:50 - 19mins so someone I could potentially hang onto. 

My 1st mile felt good 6:07 and in 5th place behind girl in yellow and 18:50ish guy amongst others. Maybe should have tried to be more conservative and this is definitely something I want to experiment with. I aim to do a few of these 5k's over the summer, they are run the 2nd and 4th Sat of the month and I can use them as a nice gauge for how I'm going speed wise. 
Mile 2 6:24, tried to relax, maybe a bit too much and found myself in 3rd place, 18:50ish wasn't up for it today so I passed him and 1st and 2nd place were a good bit ahead so I found myself in my usual no mans land.
Mile 3 6:19, now this is progress, I did struggle during this mile but didn't do what I have been up until now and die a horrible death. My last mile wasn't my slowest and I'm very happy with that! 

My final time 19:30 (PR), definitely doesn't start with 18 but I'll take my new 28s PR and be happy(ish). My stomach was sore but I don't think it affected me during the race, the same cannot be said of later that morning, whilst watching my 5 year olds soccer game (cramp city :s)!

I have put in a few weeks now with 2 track sessions and have been working hard on trying to get some speed into these legs. I have a very strong feeling that the faster I can get over 800, 1500, 5k the faster I will run in the marathon. So my target, and I admit it's a tough one is to reach 18:30 or as close to it as I can over the course of the summer then maybe, just maybe that sub 3 hour will be a reality come Houston 2013. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Up and Running!

I feel compelled to begin with the fact that I am a reluctant blogger which makes me by rights infinitely less of a geek than all of those willing bloggers out there.....right? Ok, not reluctant enough not to actually have taken the plunge but just for the record, I am reluctant. 

I have been a bit sucked into the world of runners blogs after googling a fellow competitors name with whom I chatted during the start of a half marathon and find I LOVE reading about other addicts track sessions, tempo runs, race anecdotes etc etc etc. Also, I have noticed (and I am unashamedly going to admit to an ulterior motive here) that there are a select few of the most inspiring amongst you who have Brooks Sponsorship......which I would LIKE....very very very much :D I am nothing if not honest and unashamedly ambitious (possibly brazen). Is having a blog a prerequisite for such a deal, probably not but it can't hurt!

Ok, here goes, my story! I have always loved to run from as early as I can remember and joined my first athletics club aged 6, in my native Scotland. I ran competitively until I was 17, representing my nation on a number of occasions at international cross country events and have run more 800's than I've had hot dinners. I also chucked the javelin but that's by the by. 

Then I stopped and with the exception of a few stints in the gym of the 'I'm going to run and be fabulously slim and therefore gorgeous and happy!' variety I hadn't run since. Roll on 16 years, 2 kids in quick succession, 3 continents, both hemispheres and I found myself 33 years old living in Houston, Texas pregnant with number 3 and DESPERATE to run. 
I promised myself that when baby 3 was born I would use the child care at my local YMCA (Y) and hit the treadmill. I had never left my kids with anyone so to leave a very young baby was a big deal for me but I did it and haven't looked back! 

January 2011 My first run was torture, (I cried in the toilet after 'abandoning' my 3 kids in the creche the youngest of whom was only 4 months old) put on my big girls pants (and boy were they BIG, I was around 11 stone 4lbs - so 158lbs) and then plodded on the treadmill for 30 minutes and managed 3 miles. I know that might seem like a lot to some beginner runners but despite it being so long ago I seem to have retained a bit of the runner within! I am also a very determined person and I wanted 3 miles so that's what I did. I stuck at it, 4 times a week just putting in as many miles as I could. At the same time I also signed myself up for some races, I hadn't raced since I was 17 but knew some goals would help to keep me motivated. So I found a local 5k at the end of January, a 10k at the end of February, a half marathon at the end of March and a marathon in Jan 2012. Again, I am nothing if not ambitious! 

Jan 2011 The 5k was hell on Earth, I started off like I thought I could run and my lungs and thighs screamed at me, after the 1st magnificent 50m, otherwise. I wanted 8 min/miles and did a little better finishing in 24 and change. 
Feb 2011 The 10k (Rodeo) was not much better, it was hot and very undulating and I failed in my quest for 8 min/miles finishing in 50:??. Down but not out.
March 2011 Angie's 'totally and utterly out of my mind' half, FIRST EVER HALF!!! Guess what pace I wanted? 8 min/miles of course. FAIL. BIG HUGE FAIL! I had only done one long run in preparation, 10 miles the weekend before. Despite all those years of training I really had zero idea what I was doing and was just doing 5/6 miles on the treadmill 4 times a week. No weekend long runs, no tempo, no speed, just slogging on the treadmill. I had also been having problems with my 'stomach' and by stomach I mean bowels (whut?! I'm Scottish we love to talk about these things over the pond!) and boy oh boy did I have problems in this race! I finished a broken women in 1:57, still a PR though! 

Then I decided I was ready to find a group to run with. I heard on the grape vine about a group that met on a Saturday morning at my local Starbucks so after sweet talking my husband, who would now find himself solo and at the mercy of our 3 cherubs, I went along. The 1st Saturday I found myself running with a lovely group of women who I quickly realized were more about being social than running, we stopped to WALK and when we were moving it was around 10min/mile pace so I left feeling I hadn't found my group. I went along the next week and saw what looked like a more serious group of runners. 

They all wore big, strange looking watches, had water strapped round their waists and had bodies that suggested walking wasn't an option. One guy saw me approach and asked if I was coming, they were already starting to run, I panicked and asked 'how far are you going?', I was now running with them, 'I don't know, around 10'. AROUND 10, what the hell does that mean, is 7 around 10, I can do 7 even 8, hell I can run 10 but how fast do they go, ARGH too late I'm running with them!!!!!!!!! It was GREAT. I struggled to keep with them but did, some were tapering for Boston (which I gathered was a big deal, although neither Boston nor tapering meant much to me). 
I bought myself a water belt, found a cheap Garmin (that's what the big watch was called, oh wait you knew that!) and turned up every Saturday, getting faster and faster and being pushed further and further by the guy who had first asked if I was coming, my Mexican friend who has since left Kingwood. 
Then in July this casual group morphed into 'KingwoodFit' and I was again faced with a dilemma, blue or green? I ran with the greens for the 1st week and then decided that maybe the faster blues would be a better fit and that's where I've been ever since. 

Wow, I am a really reluctant blogger, perhaps I should write a novel! Ok long story short, I now run with a couple of different groups here in Kingwood, I know what threshold/tempo runs are, do 2 track session a week, try to squeeze in some core work and have acquired a COACH!!! 
My times have progressed thus:

May Super Sprint tri Deussen Park(1st 1st timer, would have won age group (AG) too!)
August Sprint tri that became duathlon (1st in AG, 4th overall)
August Memorial Hermann Harbor 10k 45:??
October Huntsville half 1:34 (2nd female, 1st in AG)
December Rungirl half 1:29 PR (3rd overall, 1st in age group)
January Texas Marathon (here in Kingwood) 3:13 PR (2nd overall, 1st female)
Feb Bridgfest 5k 19:58 PR (1st in AG)
March Woodlands half (qualified as an elite :s) 1:31 (very disappointing wanted a PR but I struggled the whole of March with high pollen levels. I now pop a Claritin and it really helps!)

I really wanted a sub 3:10 for my 1st marathon but am happy with 3:13. I was leading until just before the end of the 3rd loop (4 loop course), how cool would an overall win have ben in my 1st ever marathon but it wasn't to be! 


My number one goal is to keep my love of running as my number one goal. I lost sight of that 17 years ago and now I have rediscovered it I won't allow that to happen again. I feel like I am cheating on my husband with my fist love and I don't care who knows it!!! You see I love to run, it represents complete and utter freedom for me. I am a wife and mother 99% of the time but when I run I am just me. Ok, I'm still a wife and mum but mostly I am ME! I jokingly(?) say when i got married I lost my surname when I had kids I lost my first name (x's mum, y's mum, z's mum!!!!) but when I run I feel like I get my identity back. 
I am also a role model to my kids and that's a job I take pretty seriously. I feel it most strongly with my daughter (3 year old, middle cherub) and I LOVE that she gets to come see her mum run a marathon, swim in a lake, jump on a bike etc etc etc and it's no big deal. I hope she will grow up knowing there's nothing she can't do. I feel the need to add at this point that I am NOT a triathlete, I just dabbled a little. I love to run and find the bike and swim just get in the way but kudos to those who do, those transitions hurt my brain! 

Ok, I think we're up to speed. I am looking forward to some track races, 5 and 10ks over the summer before building some serious miles for next years Houston marathon where I am shooting for sub 3 hours. I also really like the half marathon distance (I think it will become a firm favourite) and want that nice juicy PR I missed out on in the Woodlands come autumn, 1:24 would do nicely! I would ultimately like an Olympic Trial qualifying time, just need to get a green a card and then citizenship and I could actually run in one :D Did I mention I'd like Brook's Sponsorship too?! (see brazen) :D

I have a 5k race tomorrow in the Woodlands where I am shooting for 6min/mile pace, not sure I'll manage that but I like to set goals that are tough to achieve, does tend to lead to mostly disappointment but it keeps me working hard and that's what makes me tick it would appear, I am most definitely a 'stick' not a 'carrot' kind of a girl!

Apologies for the haphazard layout of this blog/post but I'm a beginner! 

ok, how do I post this and does anyone care??????