Archive for the ‘Race reports’ Category

The (Minorly) Delayed Race Report

Wednesday, 15th February 2012. Filed in Race reportsNo Comments »

You know when life just picks you up and sweeps you away and then you realize it’s been three and a half months since your race and you haven’t written your race report? Well, maybe you don’t know, but I know.

The Noodle is napping, the sick-at-home Crunchy husband is napping, and I (being pretty much recovered from being sick at home) was thinking “what should I do now?” And before I could glimpse my chore list to remind me what I should be doing, I thought, “maybe I should blog.”

So here I am. It seemed such a foreign thought, but then reminded me of good times, so here I am.

The Great South Run went great. Standing at the start line with thousands of runners, most of which are running passionately for their own causes, makes you feel human and alive. It is such a happy and rewarding place to be. As is making it to the finish line intact, which I did. I finished in 1:40.14, bang on 10 minute miles which I am really pleased with.  My Noodle wasn’t awake to see me at the finish, but he was cheering me on at the beginning and at about mile 6, so that helped to get me through!

I was very pleased to have raised £400, plus another £30 in Gift Aid for the NCT.  Everyone was very generous in sponsorship and well-wishes, and I can’t thank you enough.

As for the running and the blogging, I’ve got to find myself another race to train for, as I’ve allowed other things in life to invade this space. (However, most of those things involve paid hours at work, spending time with my boy and sleep so I don’t feel too bad about those choices. The paid hours are short-lived so I am hoping to return to the blog with some regularity by the beginning of April.)

Now, onto that chore list…

Kent Christmas Cracker 5

Sunday, 14th December 2008. Filed in Race reports5 Comments »

Yesterday was the Kent Christmas Cracker 5 out at Fowlmead Country Park. The night before, I watched the weather forecast and then went upstairs and pulled out every layer I own that keeps me warm on a run, determined not to let any numbness spoil my fun.

I woke up to the wind howling and the rain hitting the window panes and I added some cold weather wear from Crunchy husband’s drawers to the pile as well.

See me in this picture.

Kent Christmas Cracker 5 - Brrr

You may not be able to tell, but there are four layers there, two layers on my hands. There was supposed to be another ‘layer’ on my head, but the wind kept blowing the antlers off so they just didn’t happen.  (In the end, I did have two layers on my head when I pulled my hood over my hat.)

And you know what? The rain wasn’t as hard as it had been all night, and only started shooting icy drops the last couple miles of my race. I ended up being nice and toasty. Except for my face. The wind was blowing from the south-ish and it left half of my face frozen. But, you know, I could feel my hands and feet, so it was all good. I did feel kind of wussy – people out there in short sleeves-GAH! – but I don’t care. I am what I am!

So the race went well. It was fun and I ran about 3-5 minutes faster than I planned to. I didn’t really check my paces until mile 3 (after I had stripped off the top layer of woolly gloves) and saw that I was running way too fast, so slowed down a bit for the last two miles. Almost to mile 4, I heard this lady with jingle bells approach from behind, but she never quite passed me. I have to say, I really wouldn’t have minded if she did, but since she didn’t, I wasn’t really up for being passed on the sprint into the finish, so I got my game on for the last bit and was thankful for the bells because it was an easy way to tell how close or far she was to me.

In the end, I was really pleased with my race.

Kent Christmas Cracker 5 - I've got to stop being so serious about these things

Race stats:

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 44:20
Pace: 8:52 min/mile

I dig placebo runner’s high

Monday, 6th October 2008. Filed in Race reports3 Comments »

Is it possible to get runner’s high when you haven’t even run?

I’m sitting here trying to remember if I’ve ever watched a running race I could have participated in, and I believe today was the first time I cheered from the sidelines.

I made my plans to come to California for my niece’s birthday and my friend’s baby shower too late to register (at a reasonable price) and train for San Jose’s Rock n’ Roll half marathon, so after brief delusions of a 5 week training plan and an inappropriate use of cash, I decided cheering on my friends would be the best course of action. I thought assigning myself the role of “team photographer” would help, but I also thought I’d feel a bit sad, a bit envious.

Nope. It is really strange how I don’t even have to be running to have that “oh my god, I love fun races” feeling.  It shouldn’t surprise me though because I love being the cheerleader – go team! It was a beautiful day in downtown San Jose and it was just positive energy all over.

Erika's glory shot This is Erika. She began running 4 months ago. I could tell before the race when I gave her a good race hug and told her I was proud of her she was very excited but very nervous.

The woman kicked butt. I mean, we all knew she would but really she did! And the old pro CaliSeaStar kicked some booty too, despite not having a gold star run. The only thing that didn’t go exactly to plan was the photography. I took loads of pictures of people I don’t know, but well, I didn’t get very good pictures of my friends because every time I saw them I was too concerned with jumping up and down and cheering them on to allow the camera to stay in focus.

I know I don’t really have runner’s high since I don’t even get it when I run, but wow, I’m proud of these girls and everyone I saw out there!

Nike+ Human Race – Soggy, soggy London

Wednesday, 3rd September 2008. Filed in Family and friends, Race reports5 Comments »

Usain Bolt has his chicken nuggets. Apparently, I have Graham’s Sunday Roast.

Last weekend, we combined socializing, which means eating, with running the Nike+ Human Race in London. The night before the race, we gorged on Indian curry. The next day, four hours before the race, we tucked in to a lovely Sunday roast. I tried to eat daintily, knowing beef, red wine, Bailey’s birthday cake, and Phish food would not make for the best combination in my tummy at mile 5. Or even mile 2. (As it turned out, I ate too sparingly and was STARVING by the time wave 2 was finally let loose on the course, but oh well. I made it.)

The race was fun-ish, but I don’t know if I would do it again. It’s a nice idea, coming together to race against the world. (London came in second. It probably helped that Paula Radcliffe was chasing me…uh, running it in a later wave!) And yeah, leaving from Wembley Stadium sounded cool at the time we signed up. But, logistically, it’s really hard to run with 20,000 people in the dark down a narrow course with sharp bends (who thought that was a good idea?). It is especially challenging when it’s also pouring down rain and everyone is dodging puddles. And really, the area around Wembley, it’s not all that picturesque. So, it was fun, but not a total blast.

However, running-wise the race was a success. My official time is pretty far off my watch time, so I am sticking with my watch time (58:38). Our theory is that perhaps the chip did not log in at the first mat and my official time is actually the gun time and not the chip time. Who knows? I’m not worried. With my watch time, I finished with a pace of 9:26 min/mile, and I am a-okay with that considering I haven’t had the most rigorous of training regimes lately.

And yeah, there was all that beef.

Pauline's birthday feast

I kept asking, how many people are joining us? (We were five all together.)

Eating my 'nana on the tube before the race

Eating my ‘nana on the tube before the race

Nike+ Human Race- London

Wet, but don’t I look cute in my running skirt?

Sport Relief Mile- London

Monday, 17th March 2008. Filed in Race reports4 Comments »

I hear the chuckles as I try to poke my head through the opening in the garbage bag before I suffocate. I wiggle to get the bag down my body and then look to the mirror on the wall to my right. “What? Perfectly normal” I say, red and white feathers poking out from the boas around my neck.

If anyone asks, she’s American…

It was gray and misty, but it didn’t full on rain during our Sport Relief mile yesterday in London so we were lucky. The run was fun. Not exactly a sprint because of the crowds and little kiddos around, but good to see so many people out and embracing the day. And an excellent opportunity to break out the red and white boas!

Unfortunately, no Mark Ramprakash sightings. Too bad!

Getting lined up and ready to go

Phew, we made it!

BBC to wire up runners for the Great Edinburgh Run

Monday, 4th February 2008. Filed in Race reports, RunningNo Comments »

How fun does this sound? The BBC’s going to attach audio equipment to volunteers to capture the sounds of the race down where the action is taking place.

Mike, over at Complete Running, just posted an article about how chatty the back of the pack is. I wonder if we’ll be able to recognize the differences between the front and the back from this.

This reminds me, I never posted the video I took during the Paris-Versailles 10 mile road race I did back in September. I’d just like you to know I’ve struggled with youtube and cannot get the thing to upload right (really folks, there’s hair all over the floor here), so don’t hold your breath. Sorry. But really, you’re not missing much. It was shaky and horrible. Maybe the next time, I can wrangle a steady-cam out of the ‘beeb!

Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay 2007

Tuesday, 11th December 2007. Filed in Race reports3 Comments »

Once upon a time, there was a half-marathon in Monterey. It feels like ages ago, but it’s only been four weeks. However, that means I am four weeks deficient on the promised race report. Time to get cracking!

In a word, the race was awesome. But, I think you might be looking for more words, so I’ll continue from where I left off.

We drove down to Monterey Saturday afternoon to collect our numbers and chips and to get ourselves settled. After dropping the gear off in the motel, we headed to the aquarium to see the young white shark and the otters. The jellyfish, however, stole the show for me. Their fluidity and diversity in color and form mesmerize me. They have such grace.

Lights out, as anticipated, was around 9 am, after the girls had their fill of TV time. (They don’t have one.) I fell right to sleep. As I do when I am really, really scared the 3 alarms I have set will not go off, I woke up several times during the night. The last time was 4:54, five minutes before the alarms were due to go off, so out I tumbled, bright-eyed and ready to go. I had slept better than I thought because I didn’t even realize it had been raining all night.

The rain didn’t last past dawn and we had a beautiful day at the coast. I started the race with CaliSeaStar because it’s important to me to start with my friends. Neither of us really warmed up before-hand (bad, I know), so we took the first bit pretty chill.

The race course wound its way out and then back through a bit of Monterey before sending us into the tunnel and out onto Cannery Row. If you’ve never been cheered on by the bark of a sea lion, let me tell you, you’re missing out. It’s great!


We headed down Cannery Row and then out along the coast toward Pacific Grove. Of the two half marathons I did this year, the coastal views on this one come in tops. For sure. Sorry Bournemouth, you’ve got nothing on Monterey. The sky was clear, the ocean was vividly blue, and the atmosphere was energizing.


Can I just say thank you to all the lovely folks with cow bells and warm spirits cheering us on? You make all the difference. It would be a lonely road without people like this:


(I only wish I had taken a better picture. Can you tell I never actually stop when I take these shots from the course?)

It also totally jazzed me to hear the taiko drummers at the turn around point. That was awesome!


At about mile 11, I could totally feel the non-training kicking in. I was so ready to be done. But, thanks to our #1 support crew, I had apples to see me through the last couple miles. I could have had more if I’d stopped– bananas, mangoes, gummy bears, but I get pretty focused when I run and just want to keep pushing on. Or maybe my mind turns to mush. I didn’t even remember the gummy bears.

I heard the sirens just as I came back onto Cannery Row, and saw a man collapsed just after Mile 12. I get a little emotional during long races anyway, especially towards the end, because hey, it’s something to be proud of, right? But, this struck right in. My thoughts were with him, and I hope that he is now all right.

The race ended along the rec trail just before Fisherman’s Wharf. I finished in 2:05.09, which was faster than I thought I would do considering my training issues in the month leading up. My heel did not hurt the entire run. It was a success!

In lieu of an actual race report (for now)

Sunday, 11th November 2007. Filed in Race reports2 Comments »

“You just ran 13.1 miles in two hours, five minutes and nine seconds. What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to Disneyland!”

Race stats:

Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 2:05.09 (chip); 2:08.33 (gun)
Pace: 9:33 min/mile

Paris-Versailles 10 miler: I have NEVER had THAT happen!

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007. Filed in Race reports10 Comments »

100_4679If you’ve run in a popular road race, you know the usual drill. You stand, packed in anticipation, waiting for the start gun. You hear the “go!” and then, depending on where you’re situated in the crowd, it takes you five, ten, twenty minutes to edge your way up to the start line to begin your personal race. When you cross the start line, you are probably still elbow to elbow with other runners and it usually takes a few minutes for things to spread out.

But, spread it does and you are usually running freely by the middle to last quarter of the race. By the end, you may be challenging another fellow runner to the finish, but you can run unimpeded across that line, grab your medal or t-shirt, and do your celebratory “touchdown” dance without too many congestion problems. (Or, collapse on the ground thanking god that’s all over, and wondering why in the world you committed yourself to that in the first place. Whichever takes your fancy on the day.)

That is how I anticipated Sunday’s Paris-Versailles 10 mile run to go. With around 20,000 entrants, I knew it would be crowded at the start. We deliberately hung to the back. Since it was chipped, it didn’t matter when we actually crossed the start line. But, I expected the flow of runners would spread out eventually and everyone would be happy.

Au contraire, mon frere!

The first strike against my expectations came at the beginning, but in a positive way. They funneled us through start chutes at the beginning so crossing the start line was uncrowded and easy. Way cool! That was very refreshing. But even so, the race never really spread out. Because it was a free-for-all line up, everyone was pretty much leap frogging and being passed the entire 10 miles. That was kind of hard, but hey! It was Paris and I was on my way to Versailles, so whatever!

The hill out of Paris was killer. I studied this map beforehand and I knew it would be a challenge. And yeah, it was TOUGH. But really you just kind of had to climb on the “horse” and go. (And go. And go.) So that’s what I did. When I got to the food station, I knew the worst of it was over. I have never been so happy to see an orange in my life. That sucker tasted go-OD! I grabbed a couple wedges and kept the wheels turning.

100_4716The last half of the race wound through woodland and villages, with lots of “waves” and “allez! allez!”s . I loved it! It was awesome. Even though it’s hard to run in a crowd and I had expected it to have thinned out, it was so fun to be immersed in the good vibes. You just get carried away with the motion of the group and keep moving forward. I was amazed when I saw the Versailles sign. I couldn’t really believe I was there already. The Avenue de Paris (leading to the Chateau de Versailles) was probably one of the widest parts of the course, and at 15k I was so ready for the finish. I love running races because of the feelings at the end: the accomplishment, the happiness, the knowledge that you’ve done something good with yourself. Something almost magical happens inside you when you cross that line. You feel great.

I was robbed of my magic.

Trotting along, I saw the finish line ahead. I was like, “yeah baby, I am almost there! Wee-hoooo!” Fire up the jets, I’m sprinting in. It was still a bit crowded, so I couldn’t see what was coming until it was staring me in the unbelieving face: a crowd of people standing on the WRONG SIDE of the finish, WAITING to cross the finish line.

Wait, what?!

100_4726I was stopped short by about, I don’t know, twenty strides by a wall of other runners waiting to edge their way across the line. I don’t think many people could believe what was happening. It was so bizarre, unreal. I seriously considered removing the shoe with the chip tied to it and throwing it over the line. But, that’s kind of dumb. How was I going to get my shoe back and how could I do it without hitting someone in the head? It was a childish thought. All you could do was stand there and move with the herd and accept what was. There was no way out except to wait and shuffle along with the crowd. Thank god, I don’t get claustrophobic. It was pretty stifling. I could feel my muscles crying for a cool down and stretch; yet, all I could do was dance in place and will the crowd forward. Once I crossed the line, it took me about 30 minutes to get through the medal and chip queues and out. I was really bummed I wasn’t able to cheer Crunchy husband on to the finish. It was disappointing in so many ways.

In all my years of running races, I have never had that happen before. Has anyone? Apparently it screwed up about 5,000 runners’ official chip times. I’m not exactly sure what they’re saying the problem was. (I’ll have to work hard to translate the bit we found in yesterday’s newspaper.) But, I got through. And so did Crunchy husband, his first race at this type of distance, hooray!! (He’s feeling a bit disappointed because he walked a few kilometers, but I think he did A-OK!) And we even managed to find each other without too much problem at the end.


Race stats:

Distance: 10 miles (16 km)

Time: 1:36:15 (based on watch time, everything else is wildly inaccurate!)
Pace: 9:37 min/mile

Crunchy husband
Time: 1:53:14
Pace: 11:19 min/mile

[Stayed tuned for video footage of the race, if I can get the clips pieced together the way I want them.]

Paris-Versailles warm up

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007. Filed in I am a goofball, Race reports3 Comments »