Saturday, 6 June 2015

Harvel Five Mile Run - 2015 4.18

Hello blog lovers.

Today was the last race in my clubs Grand Prix.  I really love taking part in this event,  and it's good that maybe, after todays race, some of the group 1 will be up for it!  This run is just so relaxed and friendly, and it is not that far to run in the gist of things!  As I said some of my running buddies in group 1 were taking part in this race too, I also know that they have also taken part in a couple of other events that are part of our Grand Prix (all though they probably didn't realise it)! But it is good that some of the others are on board, not that I am being competitive or anything,, honest really!  I just love this run!

Hels SingstarJo and me

SingstarJo was driving tthere, she picked up me, Hels and Jan and we headed to Meopham, where the race begins. We parked the car walked up to the village hall to use the loo. J just outside the hall is this wooden seat carved from a tree.  aA great first of my photo shots!  The race head quarters is on the green, Havel green, and there is such a great friendly, party type atmosphere going on.  With ice cream vans, cake stalls, burgers, and of course beer tents! I took a couple of pictures of the PWR's as they chilled before the race. here look

The Gang

More of the Gang

It was soon time to take the short walk to the start, just a very short walk up the road.  I remembered the last time I did this race, although I was started off with my running buddies, for most of the run I was by myself once they found their zone. Of course there was all the other runners, but no-one that I knew that I  ran along with.  However, today J.J. was running with me, she managed to get a last minute entry from one of the other PWR ladies.

Just some of our runners that ran
(others were in the loo queue!)

The Hash Harriers sure do no how to have fun, because of this! This amused me big time!  They decorated the portaloos, they had a competition to see which designer of each loo won a prize!  Fantastic!

From left to right,
The stink hole, the steamer, ?, the Sheik and the Skid Lid

We started our run from the back, just so that we don't get caught up in the rush!  J.J. and I started out over the mats at a nice steady pace.  The weather was just perfect, perfect for those sat back at the green waiting, it really was quite warm!  I was looking forward to getting to the shaded area in the woods.

With every step however, I could feel 'aches' in my shins, my right shin in particular.  I know I do run more heavily on the right side, but my left shin does have a very slight ache too.  I was beginning to think that I should start listening to my own advice that I give to people!  And also to listen to all other people that have said that resting after a marathon is essential!

But I so do love this race, in fact I just so do love running end of!  But I think I really do need to give this old body of mine a break!  Anyway, the first mile and a bit is on the road, the sun was beating down and the breeze that kept us cool on the green seems to have stopped or maybe even stayed on the green when really it is now that we need it!

The marshals were all very enthusiastic and encouraged us along our way.  The woody part of the run was a welcome relief from the sunshine, but I was totally amazed that already we could hear the marshal, just to the left of us, on another path saying "Runners coming!" as he called out for people along the path to make way!  That was just amazing!  They could be finished in 20 odd minutes!

Me and J.J. just took our time, I felt at though that I was holding her back, as I had to take a walking break....again.... But J.J. was quite happy to plod along.  This is her second race, and it was just lovely to be running with her.

There was to be two water stations or beer stations, which ever you fancied having, on this race.  We were half way round before we came to the first water station!  Boy was I looking forward to a nice glass of....water!  I know, it's unusual that I had the water!, If there is beer to be had, then I would normally be in there in front, but I am also aware, that it was blooming warm and I was still only half way round, I thought I would be sensible.
Half way 

We had our drink and then continued on our way, and if I am not mistaken we seemed to pass by a pub! There seemed to be quite a lot of people sitting outside enjoying beer cheering us all on!  J.J. got right into the spirit "Half way, yay!!" she called out as her hands raised in the air in excitement! That bought about another rousing cheer!
A gratuitous selfie

On the way round we were chatting to another runner, he was using us a pacing.  He ran to us, over took us then we over took him, each time chatting.  On the way up to the third mile marker we started to chat to young lady who only had been running for a couple of months, "There's the 3 mile sign" she said.  I encouraged her to run up to it "It's tradition, always run up to the markers"  I said.  It's something that I have done, it's my tradition really.  I always feel like I need to run the last bit of any mile!  Just like running the last bit of a hill! (again a tradition of mine)

And talking of hills!  The cheeky little blighter of a hill was about three quarters of a mile from the third marker!  I hadn't forgotten about that I knew it was coming up, but it is such a steep and short little hill, I just tried to ignore it! But I just couldn't run the last bit of it!

We were soon running the last mile but before that there was another water stop, "Water, beer?" asked the marshal, "No, just water please" said J.J.  "Does anyone actually have the beer?" she asked and then she turned around and looked at me just as I was sipping my beer!  Well, there is only one more mile to go" I said with a smile!

I'm not sure if it was my imagination or not but we did seem to pick up the pace slightly as we hit the road back.  That mile seemed to disappear quite quickly, I was looking forward to getting a nice cool beer at the end!  With the village green in sight J.J. seemed to find 'that extra bit' that is always left over as she stepped up a gear, I kept pace with her, maybe we could have a little bit of a race, just me and her as we head for the finishing mats.  Of course I didn't tell her.......she may have even gone faster!

Just a few yards left and she stepped it up another gear!  "Where did she find that?" I thought to myself, I stepped up a gear as I tried to keep pace with her.  Her legs seemed like that had all of a sudden grown about a foot as she sprinted to the mats, my little legs just wouldn't stretch out that far as I pushed to try and keep side by side with her!  She just touched the mats just half a second or so before me!  A good race! Although she didn't know!

And the Bling!  Its useful too! It's a bottle open!
Now where's me beer!

My legs were ok, but I can feel that they really need a break!  So I am going to take all the advice I hear and what I give out and I am going to have a break from any exercises!  Maybe I cant start writing a novel!  But whatever I do, I feel it is best I take a break, just for a week or two!

I have just looked back at my last Harvel 5 and I am a lot slower than I was back then!  I deffo need a break!  Get my head together, and start all over again!

Geeky stats, and J.J.'s and my official result in the Harvel 5 is.....  1:04:08, both of us, but my time is under J.J.'s time, as it should be!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Back To The Play Ground!

Hello blog lovers.

Can you believe that I am writing another blog....for today!  I still have to write one more, it was for yesterday, my cycle ride with the Old Boy!  But we got back late and things today was inundated with running, housework kids more running!

Today it was Sherrys session, and she had some games planned for us!  Playground games.  But as usual we had the two lap jog of the ground first!  I only did one lap, as I am taking it easy before the Harvel 5 on Saturday!

Then it was a a case of 'kicking butt' as we all kicked butt to the cricket crease and jogged back.  With a few other drills thrown in we were totally warmed up for our playground session!  The first game was Fruit Salad.  I was thinking "that sounds delicious"  But of course this is a training session, so there was no eating involved just running around.  We were each given a fruit, orange apple or pear.  When Sherry called out the fruit we had to run around the whole circle and get back to our spot, sometimes she called two out at the same time, just after I got back to my spot actually!

When she called fruit salad we all took off at the same time!  A great game and it got our heart rates up.

After that it was a brilliant game of British Bull Dog!  I used to love that game when I was growing up.  I felt good to be playing it again!  You can imagine the chaps in the group were last to get caught!  It took all of us to pick them off!

Of course then it was time to train those core muscles.  With planks, sit ups and side bendy things. Along with some lunges and stuff!  With one more game of British Bull dog to finish off the session of speed running and then into the cool down stretches!

A good session, a fun session, and I did take it easy!  The Old Boy came to the park just as we had finished the last game of Bull Dog, we were just going to ride to the pub for a well earned pint.  But the pub he chose was in Chislehurst, The tigers Head, and then after that he said we were going to go home via Summer Hill!  Oh well, I guess it will work off the pint!

Into The Veil!

Hello blog lovers.

You may want a a bucket standing by, its a bit of a romantic feel this one!

When I turned up at the recreation ground I found that I was the only one going to be running in my group.  Although the members of group 2 encouraged me to go with them, I know my capabilities.  "Maybe next time" I thought, although I didn't really believe I would be ready any time soon.

It was a gloriously sunny morning, and the talk on facebook was all about how perfect it was for a run, we have been too long waiting through the winter and spring months, all eagerly waiting for our warm summer days to start.  It was time for us to start our run and just to clarify, in my own mind, I started to run along with group 2.  DiscoRich's group had grown over the winter, with  some of group 1 fledging to join group 2.  I wondered again if ever I would get fit enough to join them.

Just by the short run up to the entrance of the woods, at Dog Poo Ally, I knew that I was right...this time...! not to continue on the run with them.  I was already out of breath and they were still on their warm up mile!  We parted ways as soon as we got through the other side of the ally.

From that moment on it was like a switched had been turned off from the 'outside world'.  The noise of the streets, the radios in cars and lorries, the children in their nursery at the rec, had all been switched off.  I waited for a few seconds more for the plane overhead to disappear and then just listened.  As the sound of the engines faded so the noises of the woods turned up.  The birds, the rustle from animals in the bushes, all heightened by the silence they were en captured by, that is the only way I can describe it. I knew this was going to be a wonderful run.  A run where I can just free my mind, not think about anything, just enjoy the total experience of solo running, a time where you can just drift off to far flung places, imagine different places, countries, times!.........

Running through the woods I had wondered if I would see the 'Woodman'.  I remembered the first time I saw him as he worked on some signposts at the top of the woods near his house.  I was with some girl friends as we enjoyed our Thursday morning run.  We all noticed him as he busied himself with the signposts that he was making, with the sweat just visible on his brow he  brushed it away as he stood to say good morning to us.  It totally threw me seeing him there, I don't know why and I ended up going the wrong way, but I didn't mind as we turned around and went back again, to use the other path, behind the woodman. Another chance to see him'  The other girls didn't see to mind either.

I smiled as I thought about that day.  I was running along the wooden path, the evidence that the he had been busy was plain to see.  The broken plank that had been there for what seemed like years had been replaced, along with a few others that needed replacing.  There would be no need to shout "Hole!" when I bring a group through here any more.

By the railway track I saw a couple walking with their dog, I slowed down to a walk.  I am always dubious about running towards dogs and their owners.  Either the dog may think you want to attack them or they will just think you are playing, but in either case the animal could still jump up at you!  "Morning" I said to the couple politely "Morning" they replied.  I think summer bring the best out in people, or maybe 'dog' people are particularly friendly.  I've never known a dog walker not to say good morning to me if I pass them through the woods.

I wanted to take another walking break, the morning sun was doing it's job perfectly, bringing me out in a sweat, but I decided to keep going.  The song birds filled my ears again and I was glad that no trains had come along to take that away from me.  The sky looked so blue and the clouds as white as white could be, just hanging in the sky like cotton wool.  I remember as a child wondering what it would be like to stand on a cloud, not knowing back then that they are just big clumps of.....of......gas?  But to me right at that moment, they were places where you could stand on, sleep on, bounce on, like huge cotton wool balls as you watch the world and the people underneath!

I smiled.  By this time I was at the little river. I stopped for just a few moments and peered into the river to see if I could see any wildlife.  No, nothing.  My hubby, the Old Boy, now he has a fisherman's eye, he could spot a carp or pike twenty foot away in a pond. Just a dark shadow in a dark pond.  He would point it out to me "There, there, just there, going into the Lily pads" I would peer into the pond, trying to make my eyes adjust as I followed the line his eager wagging finger points.  Very few occasions I managed to see what he was pointing at.

I carried on with my solo run, feeling totally free and invigorated, I needed to feel like that at least invigorated,  as I looked up at the hill. "One go, no stopping"  I said to myself you can do this.  I started up the hill, trying to remember everything that anyone has ever told me, and what I tell those in group 0 on Tuesday nights.  My worst thing is always my head, I have got to keep my head up.  As I was running up the hill another lone lady runner was running down, ear phones in.  I couldn't help feel sorry for her for missing the most important part of solo running through the woods.

Why would you want to miss out on the whole experience of our beautiful woods.  Even the sound of the running water is just music to your ears.  In that silence of being away from the bricks and mortar of noisy homes and businesses, and the tarmacked roads full of traffic, to listen to the flow of water running through a meadow is all the music you need and so very relaxing.  I got to the top of the hill and stepped through the gate to be greeted by a most unusual site! A Peacock! It was just a shock to see it wondering about, freely, pecking here, pecking there, looking as if it owned the place.  Of course he owned the place, everyone owns this place! It's just to beautiful to keep to oneself.  I reached into where I normally keep my Iphone, and searched frantically for it!

I stopped suddenly and couldn't help smiling to myself as I realised I had forgotten to bring it with me!  You see, I keep my phone....very close to my heart, and so my hand when into the top of the running shirt, 'feeling' around for my phone!  What if the woodman had been around, or anyone for that matter,  what if they had seen me with my hand inside my.....bra! I laughed out loud, and giggled to my self as I ran up to the top of the road.

I came out on to the road, and already I could feel the mood change from peaceful serenity to hustle and bustle.  The vans and cars sitting along side the kerbs, with their engines running, drivers busy talking with the passenger.  The fumes from the exhausts filled my nostrils, I could feel myself 'making a face' as I tried to turn away from them.

"Just this bit of road to do, and then I can get back to my beloved woods" I thought.  Running along to the main road I passed the entrance to the private estate.  Illustrious leader has taken us down here before.  I am going to do this now.  I turned right and ran through the estate.  The beautiful house towards the end of the road is simply stunning. It reminds me of houses and homes of a bygone era.

I daydreamed of what life would have been like in there during times before cars and planes.  Would the house have been for just one family, one very well off family.  Maybe they would have had staff to work for them.  I could image the children of the house playing hide and seek, the house seemed huge and I could imagine there were quite few rooms to hide in. Maybe it even had a secret room, or a basement, with tunnels!  My mind went into over drive thinking of the lovely huge house.

At the end of the road was where the entrance of the woods is, it was hidden behind two parked lorries.  Two different 'worlds' just a foot apart from each other.  The noise and fumes of the outside world and the peace and tranquillity of  inside world.  I squeezed my way past the park vehicles and entered again into the woods.

Which way should I go.  Should I stick with the same way the Illustrious leader went or shall I venture off somewhere different, albeit in the general direction of where I needed to be.  I opted for 'the adventure' and who knows, maybe the woodman would be repairing paths and fences along here.  I knew that he had already made safe a place near by where the stream was.  Just a little wooden structure that bridges across the stream, it hadn't been there for that long.

I ran past the backs of the house, the spiders had been very busy as I felt the soft almost invisible threads of the webs across my face.  I looked up through the trees and saw the sun light just reaching through and lighting up the thin strands as the spiders floated from tree to tree. Like a very fine lacy veil for a waiting bridge to be, ready to worn, it seemed as if the woods themselves lacing a the veil.  I felt more threads across my face as I ran along a narrowing pathway.  I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake, Maybe this path will just suddenly stop and go no further.

It  didn't get much narrower and I came to the end of the path, which then tuned left or right.  Going left wasn't an option as that looked as if it lead out into the private housing estate.  I could hear the main road, I knew my time in the woods would soon be over.  I turned right running along a wider path, keeping the noise of the traffic on my left I stayed as close as I could to the left hand side of the woods.

I saw the same couple I had seen earlier, down by the railway, walking along.  I greeted them with a smile again as I ran past them.  I was still on a path I hadn't ran along before, just taking pot luck with which way to go as the options of left or right came before me.  I hadn't seen the 'woodman' as yet, just the tyre tracks he had left behind at some point.

I saw a path that went to the left of me and I darted into there, again my face felt the fine gossamer threads of webs as I passed under the trees. I looked ahead of me and I saw another clearing, a clearing I knew well.  In the middle of this clearing is the sundial.  I turned left along the path and followed it through.  I would be passing by the Woodmans cottage soon, the  place me and the girls first saw him.  I smiled again to my self, there seemed to be a lot of smiling on this run.

Just then I had a mills and boon moment. I could see it all unfolding in my minds eye, of young love.  The well to do family in the big house at the top.  Her parents wanting her to marry the son the rich landowner in a neighbouring borough.  But on her daily walks through the woods she had met up secretly with her handsome woodman who lived and worked on the estate her father owned.

She would met him a midday by his cottage, and then one day they promised themselves to each other.  One day he will be able to marry her.  The woods seemed to come alive for them at just that moment, the birds sang sweetly as she made her way through the trees, which some formed an arch over her.  The spiders floated back and forth covering her with a beautiful lacy veil that shone like silver as the rays of sunlight breached through the trees drenched her in golden sunlight.  The animals scurried around in front of her dropping flowers at her feet as she walked towards her handsome woodman.

And back in the room!  I got to dog poo ally, the smell of the 'doggie bin' filled my nostrils and the moment was gone!

How I have really enjoyed my solo run today, it was amazing. As I started to run back to the rec  I thought  of why I was here, not in any universal  or spiritual way, this day was not about deep heavy thinking like that.  But why I was here, running through the woods.

It was seven years ago that the female section of my family all got together and walked our very first Race for Life, some of them that is the only time that have run or walked a race.  Yet here I am now, running, on my own for fun.  What if mum had never got cancer, what if mum was still here!  Would I have been running, would I have been cycling? Seven years and seven months ago she was cruelly taken from us, and yet here I am, running through these beautiful woods.

It is excruciatingly hard to say this, but I am fitter because 'the wind came and took' my mum , but that is a fact.  I would never have thought it was possible for me to run.  I always thought I was too fat, too unfit, weak ankles!   Yet, here I am seven years and seven months later, two marathons under my belt, quite a few finishers  medal's and even a couple of trophies for coming first place in club competitions (although not first in races, just in points accumulated!)  I can't say "If it wasn't for mum leaving us" but what I can say is "every cloud has a silver lining" but the cloud that has my mum sitting on is has diamonds around it!

Back at the rec I stretched and bent, and twisted my muscles back and forth,  I felt really good.  Is it because it is summer, has the great vibes of the woods done is magic, or was it because I left my 'brain' in the car while I took a solo run through the woods.  Who knows!

Geeky stats.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Club Tuesday! A Windy Day

Hello blog lovers.

Batton down the hatches, lash yourself to the wheel and splice the mainbrace!  It's a windy one! My goodness, what a very windy day!  And the bloomin rain!

Group 0

I wasn't sure what route to take for group 0, this risk assessment malarkey! Do I go through the woods and risk twigs and leaves falling on us from the winds, or shall I stick to the roads, with the possibility of dustbin lids flying at us, or other debris!  

You see, a bit of wind don't stop us runners, very occasionally we have cancelled when its been just to icy out side, but wind? No that wasn't going to stop us.  I sent out the email saying that we would stick to the road.  It took one text message back to bring me to my senses and realise what a silly idea that is when the woods are a much safer, nicer and in fact probably a less windier in the woods, as the (an this is a Wendimoo saying) "The trees break wind"......we we all though it was amusing.

Oh sorry forgot to tell you who was with me today, we had Kim and Wendimoo running today.  Wendimoo is coming back from injury.  She also though that going through the woods would be tons better.  We went in through the usual ally and turned left.  I was taking them up Botany Bay Lane.  Of course there is no getting away from hills.  Even if we do loops around the park, there is a slight incline, make it bigger and the are hills.  The woods are not different!  We just have to learn to love those hills!  I still haven't!

I have noticed that I can run to the top of them now!  I think I will try Goss hill again on Thursday!  Anyway I digress.  Both Wendimoo and Kim attacked the hill, they did well!  We took a break at the house before starting the other half of the hill!  From there it was just along the top of the woods and then back down, but after I took them just a little further along so that we can run past the sundial.

I think Kim is getting used to all these paths and routes as she said to Wendimoo "I think there is a bit of a hill just along here" as we turned right to run along the bridal path after reaching the top of  the hill!

We walked some, we ran some, and then we got to the flat bit by the sign in the woods.  I took them just a little further along till we got to the sundial and then ran past there to rejoin the middle path.

A much needed and welcomed run down all the way to Dog Poo Ally and back to the rec.  Fantastic run, and I'm glad I was persuaded to abandon my risk assessment and head for the woods.!  Wind! What wind?

Geeky stats

Group 1

SingstarJo was leading group 1 today!  This lady is totally on fire lately, Every time I switch on the computer she has smashed a PB, she has done this run, she has done that run!  Totally having having fun with races!  It's just brill to see!  Her next race is Saturday, The Harvel 5, which I will be joining her as well as a huge group of other PWR's.

Again I digress! So SingstarJo had this lovely route planned, Southborough, Blackbrook and finish off by going through Jubilee Park, over the bridge and then out of Little Thrift and back to the rec.  It will soon be time to keep all our running in the woods, but for now we just have to have little bits of the lighter parts of the woods and parks.  

I remember doing this route before.  On a Thursday when I didn't have any other group 1 runners, so I went along with DiscoRich and his crew (group 2's and 3s).  DiscoRich said they would do loop backs so that I wouldn't be running by myself! That time the route was in the opposite direction, and when we got to Blackbrook Lane I said to DiscoRich that his group was just way to fast, and I couldn't keep up, so I would continue on my own back to the rec.  That's how I know it was about 4 miles!  

Still, I know we can do it, we have done 4 miles with in the allocated time before in group 1.  We were running along Hazlemere, Great Thrift and on to Woodside, me and Illustrious Leader were sweeping,  Tendai was struggling a little, and we fell a little behind the main group.  Illustrious Leader was just up ahead encouraging DottieKat along who was also behind the main group.  It's the hills that does us!  Hills try and stop us in our tracks, but we plodded along and kept going.

Tendai hadn't been running for a a few weeks, so I suggested that if she wants I could take her via Jubilee park first and then run on to meet the main group along Blackbrook lane and then we can turn around and run along with them.  It seemed a great alternative, and we will actually get to run through the park twice!

I suggested this SingstarJo and I said that we will see her on route!  DottieKat also wanted to do the slightly shorter route too, so the three of us turned right on to Crestview Drive while the main group ran down Southborough Lane.  We ran along at our own pace, I think I was feeling fortunate that I was getting to run through the park twice instead of inhaling car fumes along the main road!

We ran all the way down to Blackbrook Lane and saw group 2 running up Thornet Wood lane.  They must have come up from Summer Hill! We turned left to start our run towards our group 1.  I said that as soon as we see them, we take a quick break and then do a U turn and start our run back to the rec.  We didn't get to far up the lane when we saw them, we took a short break and then I said "Run away, run away!" and we started running back to where we come.  

We got to Thornet Wood Lane again and carried on running, we then heard a call from the main group, we noticed that they were taking a catchup stop, so we took a break too.  Just then group 3 came from around the corner, also they also must have come up Summer Hill!  I think I am so glad that I am in Group 1.

As soon as our main group started running we ran as well.  They caught us up just as we got passed the Hotel and along the main path to Jubilee Park.  Tendai had, by now got into her zone and kept up with the main group as they ran through the park and back to the rec.  DottieKat was struggling with some niggling aches!  It's such a nuisance when your body starts to complain, because usually that is all it is!  It's just like my old body, my legs and shins and feet!  My feet! Well one in particular, cramping up!  Why is that tut.  I just stretched it out and carried on!

Anyway, we all got back to the rec, and I think everyone had a great run!  Group 1, those who ran with SingstarJo ran 3.95 miles and us in the breakaway group did 3.65 miles! So only just a little shorter!  

Geeky stats.