Tummy Trouble & Yoga Love…

Hmmmm, I better just add before anyone reads this (if they do of course!) that nobody has asked me to write this/not being sponsored etc, I just purely wanted to express my love for what has become a very special place for me in the last few weeks…. 

Random title I know, but this is what has seemed to dominate my last few weeks & its been amazing & debilitating.

I am not really sure what has been going on with me, but although I experienced a few days of this back in September, since the Beachy Head Marathon, I have been plagued with digestive issues shall we say with upset stomach and severe pain on and off which has left me scared to eat, unable to run and even confined to bed on a couple of occasions. I diagnosed myself with IBS trying to work out what i had become intolerant to, or if my usual stress and anxiety levels had got the better of me, but this week things appear to have improved and I have even managed 2 curry nights without major discomfort (yay!). What I had noticed was that I was able to eat Cheese Feast stuffed crust pizza’s without any problems!! (so i guess cheese is still on the menu :))!

I managed a 4 mile dreadmill run this week and with the Downland Devil 9 miler just a week away, i need to keep the old mileage going and hope that I can comfortably run this distance.

Although the mileage has slipped big time and normally this would really get me down, what has come back in to my life big time is yoga. I have always loved yoga and dabbled with it sporadically for the best part of 20 years, but have never found a class that i was comfortable in or particularly enjoyed, or an environment conducive to yoga. Most of my yoga has either been on a DVD at home or in luke warm (sometimes smelly & not always very clean) studios, crammed in like a sardine and constantly hitting the person next to you with arms & legs. That all changed at the beginning of November and I have found my sanctuary…..

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The oil diffuser (that I love!) and practice studio at Be-yoga..

 

This is the Yoga studio at Be-yoga based in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. They opened in September but it took me just over a month to discover them and now i am taking at least 3 classes a week. They mainly have hot yoga classes at the moment, which I had never tried but OH MY GOODNESS, they are amazing!! I had wanted to try hot yoga or Bikram but the nearest classes were in Brighton and I didn’t fancy the trip down there and didn’t really have the time to fit it in, so when i discovered this place which is 10 minutes drive from home and 2 minutes walk from my work, I just had to try.

Well, when i walked in i immediately felt at home and knew this was going to be a special place for me. It was light, airy but also with a homely feel, smelt just wonderful and the people as i almost already knew they would be, were so friendly and welcoming. You take your shoes off at the entrance and even just doing this starts the unwind process, but the real magic for me is when I walk in to the practice studio itself….

The warmth envelopes you as you walk in, not in a ‘phew this is a bit warm’ way but in a ‘and relax’ kind of way. The floor is heated and there are essential oils being diffused in to the air with the faint sound of water trickling in the background. The lighting is low and you just roll out your mat and relax until the beginning of the class. I always try and get there at least 15 minutes before the class so i can chill out on my mat and feel the tension/anxieties leave my body.

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Chilling out on my mat..

 

 

I was curious to see how my body would react taking part in yoga in a hot studio, but because the heat is comfortable (i believe they keep it around 32 degrees C) and not stifling as some hot yoga can be, it was just right for me. You do sweat (sometimes more than other times) but for me, this is sweating out the stresses of the day and I feel revived and almost trance like after a class. Not only is it benefiting me physically as I am essentially having a cardio workout, feeling stronger and working my core, which I was guilty of not doing, but mentally it has been a godsend. I love the flow of the classes and how i am challenging myself physically, but also challenging myself mentally to keep in the moment and not to let my mind wander to those nasty worries that I always have. The classes are so relaxed and calming in the most amazing environment, they have really had a major affect on me which also includes improving my yoga and making me realise that I am not all that bad at it and eager to improve as much as I can. It is going to be a fantastic compliment to my running and will help keep me calm when/if i cant run for whatever reason.   I have been told that i can get easily obsessed with things, but as with running, this is certainly an obsession that I intend to keep in my life as the benefits are just so so immense for me.

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My Teeki ‘Awakening’ leggings, another obsession!

 

 

 

I don’t know if the yoga has improved my digestive issues. I have never experienced pain whilst practising, but it has taught me about my breathing and maybe the calming nature and positivity has had an effect to help bring it under control for now. We can only hope so! So….thank you Be-yoga for bringing yoga back in to my life….. Long may it continue 🙂

On a Beachy High!!!

What a rubbish blogger I have been! Lots of races in the last 8 months that could have made good reading, but I just haven’t been able to get it down in writing. I am going to do a bit of a recap on the last 8 months in brief so that I can see what i have achieved, then I can hopefully keep it going to record my journey.

The thing that has given me a kick up the backside is the massive high that I have felt all this week after completing Beachy Head Marathon last weekend. There have been 3 events in particular that have had that effect this year. Firstly Brighton Half because it was my first half marathon and a huge personal achievement for me. Second was the Weald Challenge Trail Marathon back in May (my 1st marathon) and thirdly, Beachy Head, my second marathon and just the best day out ever! I have known for a while that my heart lies in off road running and the longer distances, but I have set myself a few challenges for next year which are going to see me have to up my game and get a bit speedier, so this week I am going to start my new training regime and try and make it count by losing the ‘junk miles’ and setting out with a purpose for everything that I do.

I think I will keep the rest of this post about Beachy Head and then work on a brief recap of 2014 blog after this…..

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These were my running buddies for the majority of the Marathon. The lovely pink haired Tony and Hannah who was running her 1st marathon.  Hannah and I had decided going back a few months that we would run together as we are similarly paced and do quite a few training runs together. Tony is an old pro at Beachy Head ( I think this was his 9th one) and he ‘picked us up’ along the way, stuck with us and literally (one on each arm) dragged us round the last 3 miles! He knew so much about the course and I think this helped a lot to keep my mind off of how tired I was feeling but also so we knew what bits were coming next and how to approach them.

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Jay and I were both embarking on our 2nd marathons and with the reputation that goes with Beachy Head Marathon, I think its fair to say we were both a little apprehensive and it had been keeping both of us awake for a few days before. Even though it was a little scary it was also a race that I had been massively excited about since I booked to enter, as I knew for this first time it would be about just getting round and enjoying the experience.

The weather was perfect! People have since said that it may well be the best weather that this event has ever had. Good temperature, dry and no wind! Not even up on the cliffs, it was eerily calm and still which i was pleased about but by the time we had all scrambled up the ridiculous hill at the start, I was sweating buckets and was stripping down to my running vest!

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Jay and I had decided that we would not run this together as he is a speedier chap than me and wanted to see what he could do at his pace for a marathon, as he had run the Weald Challenge with me and so was definitely up for beating that time.

Once we got up ‘that’ hill (which we would have to negotiate in a downwards direction at the end) we were off and running and attempting to get in to some sort of pace, which wasn’t easy as there were a fair few ‘ups’ to deal with and so a fair bit of walking. What i was loving about it all was the scenery and the varying terrains that you had to run on. Beautiful open fields with sea views, cliff tops, woods, it was all just stunning!

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I don’t want this post to drag on, so i will fast forward to about 18 miles where we hit the first lot of the 300 steps that we would have to climb. Steps after 18 miles of tough walk/running are not good for the old legs and all 3 of us struggled up these with the air turning bluer with each step as the language got decidedly worse!

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Once we had dragged ourselves up here, I knew that a good friend of ours, Neil, would be at the 19 mile point taking photos of the Burgess Hill Runners. I am not one for enjoying massive crowds of support in races, but it is lovely to see a few familiar faces on an event like this and it really gave us all a boost to see him!

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Photo by Neil Dawson…

I actually felt quite sprightly at this point and had had a little jump in the air…..that was short-lived because as we left Neil, we began our descent to the legendary cliffs called The Seven Sisters!

These delightful ladies consist of 8 (the erosion of the sea created the 8th) chalk cliff peaks and dips which are incredibly steep going up and down and after one of them, you have to muster all your mental and physical strength to get your head around the fact you have to do that over and over again on incredibly tired and crampy legs!  Lets put it this way, they were referred to in a far ruder way than ‘sisters!’

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Ok, so we managed to scramble (literally) over the Seven Sisters and by this point it was about 21ish miles. I wasn’t feeling too bad and Tony had told us that we had a checkpoint at 22 miles which I was hoping would stock some of the yummy hot cross buns that i had been virtually inhaling at the 16 mile point. Its amazing what hits the spot on a run of this length and for me it seems to be digestive biscuits and hot cross buns! I did bring an emergency stash of marmite sandwiches but i ended up eating those at the end.

We got through 22 miles where we also saw a few of our Burgess Hill Runner buddies and after a quick chat and said ‘buns’ we set off for our last parkrun and a bit! This last part was a long slow drag up to Beachy Head and it was at about 23 miles that my legs decided they didn’t want to play anymore. Even though i kept shouting out that it was only a parkrun and even counting down the miles and half miles, my legs were having none of it and each step became a real struggle. Luckily Madame Tony stepped in and grabbed Hannah and I by the hands and dragged us up that last hill, telling us all the time that once we got to the top it was all downhill to the finish.

I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to run the downhill, but its amazing what the thought of the finish line can do to you and knowing that you can let the downhill pretty much carry you along. We also saw some familiar supporting Burgess Hill Runner faces as we were about to embark on the steep downhill we had run up at the start and they ran with us and kept us going. I literally couldn’t  believe it when we got to the brow of the hill and there at the bottom was the finish and I could hear people calling our names!! As long as we could get down without falling over!

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Photo by Neil Dawson…

Well we managed to pick our way down, hand in hand and all our Burgess Hill Runner friends that had finished had all congregated around the bottom of the hill and the finish line to cheer us in! It was so lovely to get their support as always at the end of the race. I grabbed Tony’s hand at the bottom of the slope and the 3 of us ran to the finish line! We had made it in a time of 6.44 which was 2 mins faster than my previous marathon and under the 7 hours that i had set myself as not wanting to exceed.  I was ecstatic!! Hannah had completed her first marathon and was overjoyed and Tony had been an absolute Angel, sticking with us, keeping us going and making sure we got over that line. Jay finished in a time of 5.38 knocking a whopping 1 hour 8 mins off his previous time and just showing what he was capable of. It was so lovely to see him at the finish.

That evening, around 28 of us descended on our favourite curry house to celebrate the days achievements. What a fantastic way to finish off a really great day. I couldn’t have asked to spend it with a better bunch of people!

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This was the running highlight of my year (can’t see anything topping this in 2014 now) and an event that I can see being a regular feature on my running calendar!  Its certainly an event that the weather could make or break and I know how lucky we were this year, but all i can say is bring on 2015 Beachy!!!!

The Steyning Stinger Half Marathon

2nd March 2014

3:22:06 

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A little taster of what was to come!

I have to admit, the name of this race was a big attraction and being drawn towards the off road/trail type races, my first thought was that i was going to enter as a walker, but after putting a post on Facebook to my fellow club pals, 100 odd comments later, not only had i been persuaded to enter the half as a runner, I had got a few more people to enter it too!

It is run by Steyning Athletic Club and there is a full and half marathon version. It is set up on the South Downs and the half has 2 stings (climbs) and the full has 4 stings. This was my 2nd half marathon in 2 weeks and couldn’t be any more different from Brighton. I was really looking forward to it!!

It was an early start as this race allowed you to pretty much start when you wanted (there was an earliest start and latest start time) and you just went to the start line when you wanted to, made sure you had shown your number and they sent you on your way! I loved that we could start early and i was planning to run with 3 of the girls from the club. Jay was heading out slightly later with Alan and i knew that some of the runners from the club who were tackling the full marathon were going out early too.

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The girls before the off!

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Helen, Steph, Paula, Alan & Jay

We made our way to the start line around 8am and there was the usual wait for the garmin to click in!

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Once the watches were ready we headed up past the marshals to the start and within a few seconds and with cheers from the marshals, we were off, straight in to a very muddy field! I forgot to mention that the night before on Facebook, some photos from parts of the course had been posted and to say it was muddy was an understatement! We had had a race de-brief which had explained where the particularly muddy parts of the course were, so we knew at what mileage we were likely to encounter issues. I was shattered from trying to negotiate the mud which i find impossible to run in (some people appeared to just glide over it) so when we got on to a quiet lane a few minutes later and not even a mile in, i felt like i was already struggling.  That earlier mud had been nothing compared to what we were about to encounter!

A couple of pictures and video to give you the idea…

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I literally did get stuck in the mud and had to be helped out by a kind chap passing by. Throughout all of this we were in hysterics and people were slipping, sliding and falling over around us. Once we were out of the bad mud there were the uphills and downhills to contend with..

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And this wasn’t even a Sting!

The full marathon had a mass start time of 8.30 and the half of 9am, so we knew that just after these times we were likely to encounter a steady stream of people coming through. We were joking that we were ahead of one of the fastest of the BHR who was doing the full marathon as we assumed he was setting off with the 8.30 start and sure enough as we said that he came flying through, cheering us on as he did and showing us just how to negotiate a steep downhill at some speed! We gently tiptoed down it whilst hanging on to tree branches trying to stay upright and laughing our heads off!

Next it was over a field and on to the next mud episode where Helen lost her shoe!

 As we waited for Helen to become re-aquainted with her shoe, another chap came flying through and lost his as well. He was frantically trying to flag runners down to help him but most seemed intent on staying upright themselves.

After that, things calmed down a little and we passed through a checkpoint serving drinks and little mars bar chunks! (Yum!)  We were pretty much walking the uphills and running the rest which suited me fine and i was absolutely loving it! The atmosphere was just so friendly and being out on the downs in the sunshine was perfect. As a long uphill approached, i thought this must be the first sting and we knew that there were a few photographers from Sussex Sport Photography dotted around the course. Quite often they are to be found at the top of a hill and on this occasion, it was halfway up the sting. We walked until we knew we were in shot and then we ran until we got past!

The Steyning Stinger March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com #SSP

Halfway up the first sting! (I love this!!)

Photo courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography

It seemed to go on and on and when we hit the top the wind hit us and it was freezing!! This was one of the worst bits for me as i hate running in the wind and it was literally blasting me from the side. It was here that my knee started to hurt again as it had last week at Henfield. I didn’t want to struggle in this race as i was enjoying it so much and i didn’t want anything to spoil it, so i gritted my teeth and just prayed that we would be out of the wind fairly quickly.

The Steyning Stinger March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com #SSP

Being wind blasted!

Photo courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography

Finally we headed down and out of the full force of the wind and at this point, Darryl (another fast BHR) came almost skipping past ‘Bambi like’ at great speed with a little cheer as he went. I assumed he was doing the half and he was flying! Being out of the wind gave me a chance to have a munch on my peanut bar and a slurp of drink and to assess how the old knee was holding up. It was the same pain as last week, outside of the knee and feeling like it was locking up or giving way and running downhill made it feel even worse. I was still loving being out in the country and strangely enough as it had been relatively flat or downhill, there had been a few miles of uninterrupted running and before i knew it we had hit about 8 miles. Another checkpoint passed with more mars bar and flapjack and it was back on the tracks and on to the next sting! I didn’t really even notice it too much at first as we were walking and chatting and then i realised we were just going up and up and the end was nowhere in sight! As it sort of levelled out a little we started to run again and that hideous wind kicked in. I had my neck scarf pulled up over my head to keep the wind out my ears and must have looked a right fright! Luckily no photos of that!

The Steyning Stinger March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com #SSP

Myself and Paula not too far from home at this point

Photo courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography

When we got to 11 miles we were still on top of the downs, so i figured it wouldn’t be long before we started heading back down again. Normally going downhill is a welcome relief, but with my leg feeling the way it did, every step was fairly torturous. I wasn’t prepared for what was to greet me at 12 miles… a very very steep down hill, again where you were literally hanging on to trees to stop yourself sliding down. Every other step was greeted by an ‘ow’ from me and watching in awe as some people scampered down like rabbits! Even though i was hurting badly now, i was still laughing and soaking up the atmosphere, but really looking forward to getting back and experiencing the free breakfast that everyone got. I was sooooo hungry!!

Through another field and Oh no!!! back in to the horrendously muddy field that we had staggered through on the way out from the start and it was nicely churned up now! I really wanted to run the last bit but it really was impossible, so i just focused on staying upright! I hadn’t gone over yet and i certainly didn’t want to do it right at the end! That breakfast was calling me loudly now! Ant from Sussex Sport Photography was sitting at the finish line and as much as i wanted to pose as i ran past, i could barely manage a grimace!

The Steyning Stinger March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com #SSP

The finish!!

Photo courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography 

We had made it!!! 3 hours 22 minutes odd but it was just the best time!! I really felt like i had been battered around with the mud and the wind, but strangely enough even though my leg hurt, i didn’t feel overwhelmingly tired, just overwhelmingly hungry!!! We headed back to the school where the race had started and peeled off our shoes………uugghhhhh!

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Priorities first, picked up our medals! (yes even before breakfast!!).

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Beauty of a medal this one!

This was the first year that the race had given out medals so i felt so lucky to get this and it has overtaken the Brighton medal as my favourite! In previous years they have issued mugs to the finishers and i fancied one of these too so managed to pick one up for £2. We then headed off to get changed and i really liked that we had one of the classrooms to get changed in as it was warm, roomy and we were able to leave our bags there quite safely. I hate being crammed in to a space trying to get changed so this was really welcome! Now on to breakfast which was free when showing your race number! Full veggie breakfast and a cup of coffee which couldn’t have been more welcome!

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It barely touched the sides i was that hungry! This was also a lovely chance to catch up with some of the other Burgess Hill mob who had run the Half and who had finished earlier than us which included my speedy husband!

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When we had eaten and drunk all we could it was time to make tracks, so we collected our stuff and headed out to the car.  We timed it perfectly as we saw Neil and Jan from the club just getting out of their dirty shoes having just finished the Full marathon! It was really lovely seeing them and hearing a little about it before they headed off for their breakfast!

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Neil and his hat!

Well, i still feel over a week later that I am on a Stinger high!! I am even toying with entering the full marathon next year but we shall see… I absolutely loved this race!!! I didn’t exactly race i guess but everything about it was just fantastic, from the facilities at the school, to the kind volunteers on the course and at the checkpoints,  my running buddy company, the course itself and the mud! Oh the mud!!! and the breakfast!! Just a totally brilliant race which i would recommend to everyone!!!!

Henfield Joggers – Henfield 9

23rd February 2014

1:41:42 (8.85 miles) 

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4 of the Henfield 8 (BHR that is) that started the Henfield 9

I think any race a week after the Brighton Half was going to have to be a pretty special race to trump the highs of the week before, but with another Half Marathon (yes 2 in 2 weeks) looming, i figured this would be a good little warm up! It was off road too although i do believe the course had to be changed quite drastically at the last minute as the previous route was very heavily waterlogged!

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At the start…James looking for some inspiration!

It was only a small race and very reasonably priced and we had signed up on the day.  8 Burgess Hill Runners arrived at the start and I immediately got nervous as i had a feeling i would be very near the back if not right at the back! This is something i battle with every time i run with people and something i have to stop worrying about! Jay gets frustrated with me and i know deep down it doesn’t matter, but it is something i am working on lets just say…

After a short race de-brief we were off. Everyone appeared to speed off but i stuck to my normal pace and let them all shoot past. I knew going off too quick was never going to do me any favours. I think my head let me down a lot in this race as i never got comfortable. I kept adjusting my t-shirt, my waist pack, my earphone kept falling out and my playlist i had set up on my iPod wasn’t working! I was cold and de-motivated. I had one person behind me who i did manage to pull away from but it was a constant battle with my inner voice.

What i did enjoy was the lead runners coming back past which gave me something to focus on. The wind was strong and biting and i was seriously struggling, so it was brilliant to see one of my fellow BHR flying past in 2nd and then the rest of them came streaming through and we cheered each other along. Jay was doing really well and looked so comfortable and it always gives me a boost when i see him. My buddy Hannah was a little way ahead of me so i just focused on her and as we approached the turnaround point, she wasn’t too far away.

Unfortunately, things went downhill fast after this. At around 5 miles, my knee started giving me jip and feeling like it was going to give way each time i put weight on it. My hamstring decided to join in the party too and so from about 5-8 miles, i was getting mightily frustrated with my music, hated everyone, hurt like hell and Hannah had by now disappeared way into the distance! I knew i had about 4 people behind me and there was no way i was going to let them pass! I plodded on cursing everything and focusing on getting round. The last mile we encountered a very sticky muddy field which did my knee no good at all and by this point, plodding was replaced by walking and negotiating mud. I was totally fed up and by the time i got through this and saw Jay and Sharona waiting for me and cheering, i was fuming and muttered something about my knee and hating the world! The wind hit me as i entered the final part of the race over a field to the finish and i walked over the line in a bit of a sulk and was given my medal. I was cold, fed up and hurting. Not my finest moment shall we say…

However, i think if my head had been right, the wind had been less chilling and slightly less pain in my leg, this would have been a reasonable off roader to do. I would have loved to have seen the original course which i believe was along the river, so who knows..maybe next year!

Brighton Half Marathon (1st ever half!!)

16th February 2014
2:29:18
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My Facebook post the night before the race……
Almost 10 months ago I signed up to run Brighton Half Marathon unable to even run 3 miles at that point. It kickstarted my running journey and what an amazing time it’s been! Met some fantastic people, some of whom have become really good buddies and introduced me to the amazing Burgess Hill Runners and the wonderful Clair parkrun. So good luck to all my fellow BHR’s & Clair parkrunners who are taking part tomorrow, my work colleagues that are running and especially all those for whom it is their very first half! Enjoy it!!

 — feeling emotional.

To say I was slightly emotional about this race is an understatement and it really hit me the night before (once I knew the weather was going to be ok and i could stop panicking about that!). It was the main reason i started my running journey, after a conversation in the kitchen at work with one of my colleagues back In April 2013 when a group of them were planning on signing up. At that point i was undecided about running and even 3 miles felt like a really long way and a big effort that i didn’t particularly enjoy, so the thought of 13.1 miles!!! How ridiculous! However, after consulting my husband that evening with my ridiculous thought, he said to me ‘Why not??’ ‘I’ll do it with you!”  and that was it….it began!
Anyway…..the race. The morning dawned sunny & cold which after the weather of the previous month was almost a miracle! The pebbles from the beach in Brighton had all but engulfed the promenade and it had done nothing but blow a gale and rain pretty much continuously (apart from every Saturday morning at 9am for parkrun with the good old Clair park microclimate!) for weeks.
We set off early to get parked up on the promenade before they closed the road off and we picked up 2 of our running buddies on the way.
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Alan & Mark looking a bit afraid!
Brighton prom was beautiful, clear blue skies and buzzing with people. Our running club were set to have a large contingent out and we bumped in to a few of them as we strolled around. I knew that Jay and i were in the last pen (2:30-3:30hrs) because when we signed up, we really had no idea how long a half marathon would take us and plumped for 2:30. I was still quite comfortable with this and was aiming to go under 2:30, but Jay was way quicker than me and had decided to work his way through the packs and aim for under 2hrs. I just wanted to get going as the nerves were setting in, so we hung out by the bag drop area and slowly started to peel the layers off and then make our way to our respective pens. This was by far the biggest race I had ever been in at around 7000 people and i wasn’t keen on the whole being squashed in around others, but I knew we would soon be off.
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The start of the race
Photo courtesy of Jon Lavis
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I was so pleased to have Jay with me before the off.
8 minutes after the gun went off we crossed the line and Jay zoomed off in to the distance and i settled in to my pace. I was going to stick around the 2:30 pacer and keep her either just in front of me or just behind. I had also worked out a strategy for taking my shot bloks and peanut bar! ( I like to have all this kind of thing organised in my head). I knew where the water stations were and i had my own drink too. I already knew that road running was never going to be my favourite thing (I love the trails!) but you can’t beat Brighton on a sunny day with lots of people cheering you on.
I settled quickly in to my stride as we headed out towards Brighton Marina and Rottingdean. I was finding the pace just right and had my eye on the pacer the whole time. I knew if i kept around the 11 min mile mark i should be fine and this was just right for me. I didn’t want to risk my first half by doing anything silly so i stuck to my plan. As we were running out of Brighton, the faster runners were heading back past us. This happened in the Brighton 10k last year and it is great for distraction and also feeling mightily proud of my BHR and parkrun buddies.  I was shouting and cheering as many of them as I could see and even managed a couple of high fives as we passed!
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Some of the frontrunners from Burgess Hill Runners & Haywards Heath Harriers
Photo courtesy of Jon Lavis 
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Me in the zone!
Photo courtesy of Jon Lavis
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Jay looking totally relaxed
Photo courtesy of Jon Lavis
I couldn’t believe how comfortable the pace was feeling and i had gone ahead of the 2:30 pacer. We had made the turn back in towards Brighton and downhill :). It was at this point that i realised i had pretty much been running just behind one of my work colleagues running her first half so i gave her a tap on the shoulder and we exchanged a few words before going back in to our little zones. As we got back in to Brighton centre the crowds swelled and I could also see the runners coming back along the seafront to the finish. I was only at about 7 miles at this point but still felt good.  Another high five with a BHR buddy as they zoomed back past me and i settled back in to the journey towards Hove.  At about 9 miles fatigue started to kick in and the crowds had dwindled. We were moving a little off of the seafront and in to the shade. I could tell i was slowing as the pacer who had been behind me since about 4 miles had caught me up so i started to have a few words with myself and kept looking for the turn point to start heading for the finish. I forgot to mention (not that I am sure you care too much) but i had needed a wee since the start of the race and it hadn’t eased, but i knew if i stopped and queued for the portaloo that going under 2:30 was off (it was that close) so as i passed a couple of loos at the 10 mile turnaround point, i pretended i didn’t see them and started my run for home!
My work colleague Shiv had been in front of me since the Marina, but i had slowly started to catch her up and by mile 11 i was alongside her. For a brief moment i got a burst of energy and took advantage of it but it didn’t last long. I was looking for one of the guys from BHR who had said he would be around the 11 mile point but i didn’t see him (although apparently i did but i have no recollection! oh dear…). Things were starting to hurt now and cramp had set in on my calves. 12 miles down and the Palace Pier was getting closer but each step hurt more and more and the tears were welling up. Coupled with this i was checking my watch every few seconds and i was fairly confident i had done enough, but i couldn’t afford to slow it down to much now. As i went past the pier, the crowds were amazing and really cheering everyone on. Again, i suddenly had a burst of energy, but when i still couldn’t see the finish i slowed up again and my calves screamed at me and the tears started to flow. I had to get there in under 2:30. Finally i saw the finish and i knew i was going to make it. I was frantically looking for a familiar face but i couldn’t see anyone and i stumbled over the line in a haze of relief, pain and sheer joy! I had just run a half marathon in under 2 hours 30 minutes!! Thats 13.1 miles!!
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Jay had been at the finish cheering me on but i hadn’t heard him!
I got my medal (amazing bit of bling!), some water and one of those silver foil blanket thingys that i had always wanted after seeing them on TV at the London Marathon!  I was trying not to cry and in so much pain and just desperate to find Jay and then in front of me i saw my running buddy Neil and his wife Nick. I just started blubbing again and Neil thought i was upset, but i was just so happy and relieved to have finished and in the time i wanted. Nick had also gone under the 2 hour mark which she had really wanted, so was delighted! Finally, Jay appeared! He had been there cheering me on and i just had not heard him. I told him i got my time and he had also had a cracking run in 1:52:05 which for his first proper race half marathon was amazing!! The obligatory medal photos followed…
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Myself and the boy
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In my foil blanket with Neil and Nick on the floor!
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Here she is……definitely worth the 13.1 miles!!
I was on such a high after this race and loved every minute of it and have got a reminder set already to sign up for 2015. From my own newbie perspective, it was well organised, good marshalling, plenty of drink stations and I couldn’t have asked for more! As i mentioned before, I have already decided in my short running journey that i prefer the trails, however this will be one race I hope to come back to year after year! Thank you Brighton!!

Fun Runs….hmmmmm

West Sussex Fun Run League

Worthing Lido 4 miles 26th January 2014

39:02 (VW) =  very wet as Jeremy Clarkson would say for the lap of the ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’  

Totally hideous is about all i can say for this race, it was just disgusting! A 2 mile out 2 mile back jaunt along Worthing seafront in the horizontal wind & rain and so wet i couldn’t even get my camera out!

I went out too fast and wondered why i could barely breathe after the first mile so i then dropped back and let lots of people go past. There was a little slippy slidey bit of mud at the turnaround point and then it was back again in to the elements and i got a stitch! Lets just say i hated every minute of it and I think my time reflects that! Mind you, some of my fellow club runners were going out afterwards for a further 8 mile run as a bit of early marathon training and I had said i would join them…..and i did!!! for another 4 miles, by which point I had totally had enough and stumbled back to my friends minibus, shivering whilst attempting to dry off and stuff my face with my favourite Clif peanut butter bar…. yum!

Horsham Joggers Valentines Run 3.5 miles 2nd February 2014

40:47 & my garmin says 3.75 miles!

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This selfie caused some amusement from my fellow running buddies who seemed to think i looked smug as though i had ‘let one go’ which caused the people behind me to look as though they were gagging or gasping for air!

Now this was a little trot around some country lanes and i enjoyed this race a lot more, but because of the incredibly wet winter we have had, the first mile was literally a case of try and stay on your feet and don’t lose your shoes, as you negotiated a sea of very sticky, slippery mud! I am definitely not used to trying to run in mud as yet (I am sure this will come with practice) but I did stay on my feet unlike some.  The rest of the time was spent on quiet country lanes with a few little undulations and although my mud adventure did tire me out, I was reasonably happy with this one.

Afterwards, as happened in the previous fun run race, some of the club went off for a few more miles along an old disused railway called the Downslink.

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I did another 6.5 miles along here plodding at my own pace and enjoying the beautiful weather and saying hello to other fellow runners, cyclists and horses! I loved the old West Grinstead railway station.

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The Burgess Hill Runners that headed up the Downslink.

Catching Up!!

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 West Sussex Fun Run League (WSFRL) Valentines run 2-2-14

Burgess Hill Runners on tour!!!

I have been very very lazy as far as my blogging is concerned and lots has happened in the last almost 2 months since i last posted! Unfortunately not all good and I have decided that if this blog is going to mean something, then I have to put my heart and soul in to it and also use it as a little bit of therapy! My running buddy Neil just launched his blog and it is such a fantastic read that I knew i had to get back to mine and sort it out before i forgot all the good stuff thats been going on!

Predominantly this will always be about running, my newest passion and something that has become a massive part of everyday life that I never want to end, but there will also be snippets of other parts of my life and my life as Mummy to my gorgeous little girl has not been an easy one these last 2 months..

My daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome 4 years ago and as a family unit, we have learnt to cope and it has just become part of our lives. To be honest, I don’t notice much difference in her until I see her alongside other similar aged children and then it hits me. Anyway, we have got by, it can be limiting and we adapt where we need to, but since about October time we have been having terrible trouble with her and school. Since that time she has been increasingly anxious and upset about going to school resulting in total meltdowns from Sunday afternoon onwards and lasting through most of the week. It has been incredibly upsetting and tiring for us all and throughout this, the running side of my life has been even more important than ever, where I can attempt to focus away from everything else just for a short time and attempt to hold on to my sanity.

Things do seem to have slightly improved as we now have her school fully engaged with how she has been and what they need to do to keep her motivated, positive and to help her confidence. It will be a long, slow journey (bit like most of my runs!) but we will get there and no doubt I will share some of this journey with you if you care to keep reading my ramblings!

So, this was a little catch up piece to say I am still here, thanks Neil for giving me the boost to get back to blogging and 4 belated race posts are about to follow!

Will be back soon i promise 🙂