Sunday, June 30, 2019

Unexpected SBs and PBs

Abingdon Marathon Training 

Week 3 - 16 weeks to go

Both of us - Blue 
Kelly -Purple 
John - Orange 

Monday 24th June 2019 

Rest day today so I decided to cycle to work. Haven't done this for a couple of weeks while I wasn't  feeling great and the weather has been hideous for ages...I'm definitely a fair-weather cyclist! My cycle to work is brilliant; it's petty much entirely cycle paths and 3 miles door to door. So a total of 6 miles cycling for today. 

Usually a rest day for me - but weather was too good/tempting - 5 Mile Recovery Run @ 9MM 

Tuesday 25th June 2019 

Today was the Pomphrey 5k mob match. A 'mob match' is basically a team event for running clubs. The first 20 for each club across the line count for the team. GWR didn't quite manage to get 20 runners together but it was still a good race. 

I was feeling pretty good so wanted to try and beat my time for last two races - 19:36 and 19:21. The race got off to a fast start and I was running neck and neck with Ellen from Bristol and West. After the first mile, I was still feeling strong so I pushed on past her and tried to keep the pace up. The benefit of marathon training is that, suddenly, a 5k feels really short! I managed to finish in 5th place with a time of 19:18 - a season's best! 

It's interesting that my best times in shorter distances come when I'm marathon training. 

Bit of a strange one... I ran a PB! After feeling poorly last week, going on a stag do on the weekend, horrendously hot & humid conditions etc blah etc I really wasn't expecting much. Just wanted to bank a decent 3miles at lactate threshold and tick the speed training box for the week... Mile 1 beeped on my watch... 5:17... WOW - that's unexpected and felt strangely easy... I'm either gonna blow up shortly or run a great time... I'm part of a pack of 5/6 and we're all working well together... Mile 2 beeps... 5:19... Another WOW - Not as easy as the first mile but by no means am I in any world of pain yet... I do some maths and realise a Sub17 minute 5K is a possibility. The group breaks up a bit and I feel like who's left is starting to slow down... there's about half a mile to go and I'm still feeling pretty good - I decide now is the time to put the hammer down, throw everything at it, go for it... etc blah... Now I'm in a world of pain! I get overtaken near the end by a Southville runner who has been training a lot harder/better than me the past couple of years - no major embarrassment there... Mile 3 - 5:27 - considerably slower than the first two but who cares - a good enough finish and surely I've finished with a Sub17 minute 5K? AND SOME - Official time 16:53! Woohoo - well chuffed - I celebrate with a beer. I had no idea at the time and it didn't even really occur to me for a few hours... I was looking back at my time and have a quick look at Po10... 16:56 was my quickest 5K time... a 3 second improvement - PB!! Mental - a terrible week of poorliness, eating and drinking and I went into the race with no expectations whatsoever - amazing result and more evidence of how much of a role the mind plays in these things! Onwards and upwards for the rest of the campaign.

Wednesday 26th June 2019 

We made it to our running club this week after missing a few weeks. It was lovely to be back and catch up with everyone. We ran the alternative 10 mile route which had a good selection of hills and lots of grass - hayfever is a nightmare at the moment. 

A nice run with the gang through the woods - 10Miles / 8:11MM - Lush!

Thursday 27th June 2019 

I cycled to work again today and then did a steady 5 mile recovery run in the evening. Nice and chilled. 

Ditto - 5Miles / 9MM :-)

Friday 28th June 2019 

Running club with the kids at lunchtime today. It was mega hot so we just did 1.12 miles. 

Up early before work and running solo up and down the Portway - 8Miles / 7:30MM - felt good throughout and earned my naughty food at work!

Saturday 29th June 2019 

As we had a busy and exciting weekend ahead, we were both keen to get out early and get our long run done for the weekend. 16 miles was the goal - 2 more than last week's 14. We weren't going to do any at marathon pace but I did want to do more miles at sub 8 minute mile pace. 

We set off at 8am and planned to get to Ashton Court by 9am for parkrun. After a steady 8:09 first mile to warm up, we picked up the pace as we headed out on the Portway and made the second mile in 7:36. After 8 miles, we arrived at Ashton Court and, as John expected, it was the dreaded 'B course'. I was feeling pretty tired after the first 8 miles so decided to take it steady initially - until the downhill of course when I sped up and overtook a good handful of men! 

I finished parkrun as 5th lady with a time of 22:30 which isn't too bad for the B course in the middle of a long run! We waited to cheer in Nat who completed her 50th parkrun (congrats Nat!) before heading off to do our final 5 miles to round us up to 16 for the day. We headed out and back on the towpath this time. It was nice to be in the shade, as the temperature was pretty high by this point, but the pollen down there was hideous - some serious snot! 

After the run, we got changed and headed off to Nottingham...I'll let John tell you more about the evening...

John (in orange) at the front as confident as ever...Kelly is being slightly more cautious (in yellow) further back.

An awesome long run banked 16 Miles / 7:30MM - with Ashton Court parkrun in the middle. The run felt strong and controlled throughout. My longest run of the year and a good improvement on from 14 miles a couple of weeks ago. I turned up to parkrun with the success of a first finish at Blackpool last week lingering in the back of my mind alongside the 5K PB on Tuesday and really wanted to give the run a good go... No chance... half a mile or so in my legs were just not spinning. I cancelled the plan and backed off to roughly marathon pace/effort and decided the bigger picture was definitely the long run and banking decent time on feet. 14th with 20:31 - still pretty cool! Spent the rest of the day/evening with work friends up in Nottingham - all paid for food and drinks with the rest of the company - 300+ people - good times celebrating a great week of running!

Sunday 30th June 2019 

We had a lie in today! It was rather nice not to be planning to get up and run. Instead we made the most of our free hotel breakfast - I had a full 3 courses! On the way back home, we popped in to see my friend (and her new baby daughter)  who lives nearby. 

Once we got home, we made the mistake of lying down...oh dear. When we eventually managed to drag ourselves up, we got ready and headed off planning to do 5 miles. It didn't take long to realised that our legs were pretty trashed from the weekend's events so we cut the run short to 3 miles. We have 3 races next week so the rest will do us good!

We travelled to Nottingham without any running gear -  Very unusual! Was lush to have a lie in and a morning doing nothing. As KD says - when we got home it was hard work feeling inspired to run but we got out and plodded a 5K recovery run around the block - probably did the legs some good after nearly 3 hours sat in the car - it also brought up 50 Miles for the week!

Kelly's Weekly Total = 39.9 miles 

John's Weekly Total = 52.6 miles

17 year old Max Burgin breaks 30 year old U20 800M record with 1:45! (That's 3:31MM pace and only 4 seconds off the world record!! No sound sadly - awesome pace - one for the future!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Week 2 - Training in sickness and in health

Abingdon Marathon Training 

17 weeks to go 

 Training in sickness and in health

Kelly - Purple 
John - Orange 
Both of us - Blue 

Monday 17th June 2019 

Having spent most of the weekend unwell, I wasn't feeling much better on Monday. I hadn't eaten much so was feeling quite weak and dizzy. Should I have taken the day off?...probably but fellow teachers will appreciate that it's almost more effort to take the day off and organise supply cover and planning that just go in and power through! I was greeted with lots of kind words from my colleagues who had read last week's blog. Interestingly, lots of members of staff had also had the same thing as me over the last few days...leading me to conclude that I didn't in fact eat gluten (hooray I can still eat chocolate buttons!) but was instead plagued a virus - and a nasty one at that. 

Unsurprisingly, I didn't do any exercise today. My stomach felt very fragile and was incredibly bloated. I didn't feel hungry all day but managed to eat a small portion of curry in the evening. 

Rest day for me - the usual commute to and from work but other than that a very easy day.

Tuesday 18th June 2019 

Today was one of those crazy know the ones where you have about 15 things planned that all start straight after each other. I still wasn't feeling great but I had to take my class on a trip to Wells Cathedral. 45 minutes in a coach driving down winding roads wasn't exactly what my stomach wasn't helped with a child being sick half way there either...

The rest of the day was actually quite enjoyable. I managed to eat a little bit of lunch and we made it back to school without any more episodes! Straight after school I had the book fair to organise followed by a meeting at another school. After that, I had to pop home and get changed ready for the Eastville 5k. 

Time was going to be really tight. I made it home and had about 2 minutes to get changed before I had to head out again. I still wasn't feeling great - physically or mentally now after literally not having any time to pause for breath all day! I was just having that last minute 'where did I put race number' panic, when John (who was supposed to be running there) came in the door. He wasn't looking great and said his stomach hurt...oh dear...

That was just the excuse I needed. Another days rest would probably do me good anyway. 

As KD explains - Tuesday is when I started to feel poorly... I was running to Eastville park when about half a mile into the run things didn't feel right. 10MM/pace felt more like 6 and I had to keep stopping to walk! Disappointed and a little down - I threw in the towel and wrote off the evenings running and indeed the potential of a series win at the Eastville Sri Chimnoy Series (having won the first race!)

Wednesday 19th June 2019 

Having not ran for 3 days now, I was starting to get itchy feet. John was not in a good way and went to bed so I decided to go out for a steady few miles. My stomach didn't hurt anymore but I was still very bloated as I hadn't really been digesting properly...

As I was running, my stomach felt very uncomfortable, full and tight but my legs felt pretty fresh. I managed a steady 5 miles and spend most of the run planning how I was going to get my weekly mileage back up to where it should be. 

Things were 10 times worse today - other than work I spent all my time in bed sleeping and my diet consisted of tomato soup and chicken soup - Meh!

Thursday 20th June 2019 

I set my alarm for 5:30 am and was out of the door by 5:45. I wanted to try and do 10 miles today. I decided to run the 5 mile route twice, like we did last week, partly so I could see if I could do it a bit quicker and also partly so I would be close to home if I need to make an emergency pit-stop! 

I set off and instantly felt pretty good. My stomach still didn't feel right and I was quite gassy...luckily at 5:45 there wasn't anyone around to hear! My first mile was 8:09mm which I knew was quicker than my first mile last week - the challenge was on! 

All of the other miles were sub 8mm and I managed the full 10 miles in a time of 1 hour 16 minutes at an average page of 7:41 mm. Really pleased with that - no fitness lost to illness, ready to get back into proper training. 

Still feeling pants.... another day off! Double Meh!

Friday 21st June 2019 

No major running for me today. Just running club - 1 mile with the kids at lunchtime. It has been really wet the last couple of weeks so was lovely to get out in the sun and run around our local woodland. 

With John away at his friend's stag do, I decided to get an early night so I could be up early tomorrow morning to get my long run done. 

Today was a day off of work and having had a decent dinner the night before and some good sleep - I was starting to feel a lot better! I decided to go for a run - my intention was a mile steady round the block... a mile in and I was feeling great - relieved to be back running again... Let's up it to 3miles - still feeling good - 5!! After 3 days off I finished 5 steady miles at around 9MM pace - a great way to start the day and my weekend away in Blackpool celebrating my friend Phil's upcoming wedding :-)

Saturday 22nd June 2019 

I had a busy day today so I was up and out of the door at 7:15 am. My mission - 14 miles. I was feeling a lot better but I didn't want to push myself too hard so the plan was to run really steady without worrying about the pace. I was wanted to get the miles done for my first long run of this plan. 14 miles at an average page of 8:16 mm. 

It was a beautiful day and the miles passed really quickly. Before I knew it, I'd reached half way and my turnaround point. I felt comfortable and strong the whole way and finished with a huge smile on my face. 

I spent the rest of the day in school doing the scenery for our school production. In the evening, I went out for drinks with some friends - so lovely to be able to relax and enjoy the evening without having to worry about getting up and having a long run to do! 

Feeling a little sensitive, led in bed the second morning of the stag do I did some Googling - I was only a mile or so from Blackpool parkrun! I had packed my running gear in the hope I'd be able to get a run in and being up at the crack of dawn as usual and not having to meet the rest of the group until 10:30 was perfect! I made my way to Stanley Park - weather was awesome and I was actually feeling OK. After a positive and informative race briefing I was on the start line, near the front - half a mile in and I'm in second place but first is miles ahead and third is miles behind - I was happy taking in the picturesque park and enjoying the flat and straightforward route. A couple of miles in and first place is getting closer and closer... my pace remains consistent and I'm feeling pretty fresh - make sense as I'd had a few days off of running this first week. I up my game and draw level with first place - make sure I'm running strong and with as quiet as possible breathing, I give a respectful grunt and nod - The course is two lap so I knew what lay ahead - flat and easy terrain. I upped the pace and put the hammer down - I pulled away and into first place with about half a mile to go - made sure not to look back and ended up first finisher in 17:43!!! Well chuffed - I said a quick thanks to all the volunteers and made my way back to the stag do! A great day followed - lots of beers and so much fun!

Sunday 23rd June 2019 

With my long run done, I just popped out to do a slow 5 miles today. The first mile was pretty hard work but my legs loosened up quickly. 

Urgh - stag do over... need bed... Instead 6 hours home from Blackpool on a coach with 30+ similarly feeling guys - bliss!! Weather in Bristol was pants when I got back and I was feeling pretty grim - I did a steady 5 Miles out and back to Ashton Court at 8:30MM Pace.

Kelly's Weekly Total = 35 miles 

John's Weekly Total = 17 miles

A tough week and a bit of a disappointment after the success of last week! Luckily enough it's early days with 16 weeks to go... Gonna get over this - quickly hopefully - lots to focus on and look forward to - starting with the Pomphrey 5K this Tuesday - hoping for a good race and 50 miles of good marathon training like Week 1 :-)

Check this out -
You think Alex Honnold is cool - 10 Year Old Girl Scales El Capitan!!!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Week 1 of training - successful races and a gluten attack.

Abingdon Marathon Training
18 weeks to go 

Kelly  - Purple 
John - Orange 
Both us us - Blue 

Monday 10th June 2019 

We started marathon training in the best possible way - with a rest day! 

After both finishing first at Ashton Court parkrun on Saturday, I feel like we deserved it. 

I went to see the Spice Girls tonight! Despite a torrential downpour, we had a great time. Lots of dancing! 

A rest day from running for me also - 10 very wet miles on the bike which included commuting to and from work and going to mum's for dinner. 
Start re-reading Endure by Alex Hutchinson. A book of science and stories from lots of different sports all relating to endurance - appropriate and hopefully helpful education for the marathon campaign.

Tuesday 11th June 2019 

Clevedon 10k today. Wasn't really sure how I would feel today after Spice Girls last night. I was pretty tired but had a large bowl of pasta for lunch in the hope that that would revive me. It wasn't enough for a great performance but I managed a good one. 40:55 was my finish time which I don't think is too bad considering. It is 3 minutes off my PB though...but I'll call it 6 miles at sub marathon pace! 

A good effort from KD after a grueling evening of horrendous weather and time on feat - who knows what damage she did to her ears as well!
Similarly well fuelled throughout the day; overnight (morning!) oats, sweet pots with cheese and salad and a banana a couple of hours before the race. Conditions weren't great with it being wet and a strong (but warm) breeze - but I was feeling good and keen after 10-days-or-so of good running and eating. Previous 10K efforts this year have resulted in 35:42 & 35:43 at Cardiff and Bristol so I was really keen to break the 35:3x mark and get as close to a PB (34:42) as possible.
10th place with 35:27 - well chuffed! A big effort in the first half left me hanging on a bit in the second half, running into a strong headwind solo throughout - glad to cross the line and very happy with the time. A great start to marathon training and a good way of ticking the lactate threshold session box for the week!

Wednesday 12th June 2019 

Proper training started today. We were up at 5:15am to do 10miles. After Clevedon last night, I was expected this to be really painful but actually I felt pretty good; isn't the body strange sometimes!? 
10 miles at an average of 7:58mm chatting the whole time. 
The only negative was that I then felt hungry all day and ate a LOT of food! 

A busy evening planned - we were keen to get this one out the way. 10 steady miles turned into a quicker turn around than expected. Considering we'd raced 12-hours before and it was silly-o'clock in the morning - 10 Miles in Sub80 mins is pretty good going - a great way to start the day and just reward was two pieces of toast as well as the usual porridge.
A pleasant evening of piano lesson, Towpath admin and Killing eve ensued before a much needed early night. Hard-core. 

Thursday 13th June 2019 

Really had to drag myself out of the door today. If John hadn't encouraged it, I definitely wouldn't have ran today - a real benefit of having a partner who runs too. We just did a steady 5 miles recovery. 

Agreed - it would have been very easy to have shrugged this one off - the last few late nights and starting training were starting to catch up... Once we were a couple of miles in, chatting away debriefing the day with one another, we were both glad we did it though. It did the legs and the brain some good to spin the legs for 5 miles Recovery @ 9MM pace.

Friday 14th June 2019 

First 'lie in' of the week - 7am! Had a good healthy day and ate a gluten free lentil curry for lunch; fueling for the Towpath 10k later. 

It rained and rained all day...the last thing I felt like doing was organising and then running a race in the pouring rain. It was so bad at times, during the day, that I wondered if anyone would turn up at all! 
Surprisingly, we had over 110 runners! The Towpath was very puddley and I'd raced earlier that week so I wasn't expecting much from tonight's race. I started off nice and steadily and ran and chatted with Robyn for a bit (she beat me in the last Towpath a couple of weeks ago). After the fist mile, I was actually feeling pretty good so decided to push on - I did joke that Robyn would probably catch me later...(spoiler alert - she did!). 

I've been trying a new race strategy lately: not looking at my watch during each mile and running to feel. This is on John's advice. I'm hoping it will help me to push myself more and also get into more of a rhythm rather than constantly adapting my pace to hit my target. So, I set my watch screen to the home screen and pushed on. I know that Robyn starts slow and then increases pace each mile so I set myself a little challenge: to hold her off for as long as possible. I overtook a few men (always good for the ego) and kept pushing on; I could tell that I was running faster than in the first race of the series. At the turn, I could see that she was close to me - within catching distance - so I put on a little spurt after the turn and overtook a couple more men. I was in second place at the moment which feels so much better than third. With a mile to go, I thought I had it...but no...with only 1/2 a mile to go, she drew level with me. 'Not a problem', I told myself. 'Just relax and let her do the work'. I sat in behind her and relaxed a little. It was actually quite a nice feeling not to be worrying about how close she was but to know where she was (not sure if that makes sense...sorry). I cunningly planned my attack. I knew where I was going to kick. I was visualising the moment: preparing for the victory (well, second place - the leader was way off ahead) when out of the blue, she kicked before me and before I was ready. Balls. Plans thrown out of the window, I pushed as hard as I could and tried to close the gap that had opened. Gritting my teeth I pushed for the line but didn't quite have enough to catch her. She had a fantastic finish beating my by 3  seconds. Well done Robyn - a great race! 

Slightly disappointed yes, but when you put it in to context with the week I've had, it wasn't too shabby. My splits were more consistent than usual and my time 41:30 was quicker than at the last race. 

Nothing for KD to be dissapointed with - a good race to bookmark a good week of training. I wasn't racing so I saw a gritty and determinded sprint finish - I think you'll have her next time!

I did my run early before work. 7Miles Gerneral Aerobic @ 7:34MM pace. Felt strong throughout and very smug with the pace.  

The rest of the day that followed had way too many biscuits... and too much rain... I was staring out the window all day dreading the Towpath 10K (I help organise it) - but - as soon as I got on my bike and started cycling home, the clouds cleared and we had our window - the sun always shines on the Towpath :-)

Saturday 15th June 2019 

After dropping the van back, I did a little 3 miles jog home. Couldn't do longer as I had a few appointments. 

In the evening, it was one of John's friends 30th party. I was really looking forward to the occasion but wasn't feeling great. I was thinking back through what I'd eaten that day and there wasn't anything new or unusual in my diet. I put it out of my mind and headed out. 

However, as soon as I arrived, I knew I wasn't well. I sipped a drink and tried to forget it but my stomach was cramping painfully. I knew that feeling: I'd eaten gluten. I'm still not sure what it was; possibly the diary milk buttons - they do say on the packet that they are at risk of cross contamination but if I avoided all foods that had that written on the packet, I wouldn't eat! 

It didn't take long before I realised that I was going to/ needed to be sick. I actually felt a bit better after - I guess my body was just trying to get rid of the poison. Each time I was sick, I hoped that that would be it but, after another 30 minutes or so, the feeling would return and I'd go back to the toilet. 9 times in total I was sick and still I didn't feel better. Unfortunately, I was looking forward to leaving and couldn't wait to curl up in bed. It's bad enough feeling ill but even worse when you miss out on a fun night that you've been looking forward to for ages. 

Over sleeping meant no parkrun :-( We did some errands and I banked 5 miles Recovery @ 9MM pace. A chilled day with feet up and lots of napping - subconsciously preparing for tomorrows long run!

Saturday 16th June 2019 

No running for me today. Really frustrated as it would have been our first proper long run of the campaign. My stomach was feeling much better than last night but still cramping every so often. I also felt really lightheaded and dizzy and saw spots whenever I stood up - probably because I've not actually digested food for 24 hours. The problem is, if I eat, I'm worried I'll be sick again and if I don't eat, I won't re-gain any energy. I decide to spend the day resting, drinking water and eating a little bit when I feel I can. Luckily, tomorrow is a planned rest day. Hopefully I'll feel better for Tuesday's Eastville park 5k. 

Tough leaving KD in her sick bed and I felt guilty throughout... but... I got my long run done. A relatively dry 14Miles at 7:30MM pace-ish - Boom! An awesome run where I felt strong throughout and really enjoyed it. My longest run this year and a great way to cap off week 1 of training - 50 miles for the week! 'T was a shame KD had to miss out but these things happen and I'm sure she'll bounce back and have  great week of running next week.

Usual plan for next week - try and up what we did this week by 10% or so!
As stated last week - we are loosely following an 18 week plan - but we are spending the first 6 weeks building our endurance before going into proper training mode and doing marathon pace based training sessions - which we plan to start doing with 12 weeks to go!

(Any radiohead fans out there? Radiohead have released all the OK Computer boot legs - 18 hours of archived recordings from live sessions and general recording in the studios - awesome! Online for a few more days - - £18 - worth every penny!)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Jelly are back!

Abingdon Marathon Training starts next week!

It's been a while (and we've eaten a lot of cake!) but we're back! We have just 18 weeks until the Abingdon Marathon on 20th October. Having taken a season off from marathoning, we're fresh, fit and inspired! 

We plan on following our trusty bible: the P and D plan - specifically the 55-70 miles a week plan. Our mileage this spring has been rather low and we have a lot in our diary for the next few weeks so the first 6 weeks of the plan will be mostly focusing on endurance and building up the mileage once again. With 12 weeks to go, we have cleared our diary (apart from a few tune-up races) and we plan on following the plan to the letter and putting all of our focus into the marathon. 

Our target is sub 3 hours. Based on my result at Chester last October (3:00:51), alongside working together with John, we are both hopeful of (re)gaining entry into the exclusive club. 

We'll be blogging about our progress every week and we welcome you to join us and follow our journey. We've really enjoyed reading the blogs of our fellow runners recently (while eating cake) and it's inspired us to continue blogging ourselves. 

We have had some spring successes: here's us both winning the Eastville park 2 miler a couple of weeks ago!