Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Turning it around with teamwork...

I knew I needed to give myself a kick up the backside and so I decided to enter a 10K in Carlisle to see just how far off the pace I'd drifted. I was really dreading it, and, if I'm totally honest, I wasn't looking forward to being well and truly beaten by people that I've become used to finishing ahead of. Still.....I don't believe in only racing when you feel right at the peak of your game, so off I headed. It had been really cold, icy and snowy in the preceding few days, so I had half expected (ie hoped) that the race would have been called off, but when I checked t
he website 30mins before registration opened, they said that there was a possible 30minute delay as there might be a course alteration.

Arriving at the venue (a 40 mile drive later), it turned out that they had decided to cancel the event 20minutes after their original delay notification. I can completely understand cancelling an event for safety reasons, but their organisational skills left something to be desired. Not only was the original message inappropriate, but there were no signs or information on display at the venue, and so I only found out about the cancellation by word of mouth from other runners.....rather a wasted morning and drive. I may have been quietly pleased not to show myself up, but I having actually forced myself to enter and turn up, I was strangely disappointed.
The next weekend brought the Scottish Masters' Relay Championships up at Strathclyde Park. Along with my teammates (and fellow medics) Sian and Lisa Finlay, we had won this event back in 2012. I declined to put myself forward for the team this year, as I knew I was lacking in speed (the race is <3.7miles/leg) and another (rather speedy) clubmate Mhairi had passed the magic age of 35 and so was eligible to run.
The Flying Doctors ride again!
Unfortunately, Mhairi had a foot niggle and so was forced to pull out at the start of the weekend and so I was drafted in. Although really worried about letting the girls down, I was actually looking forward to a club day out and a good catchup. Lisa, Sian and I drove up together - and none of us seemed to be feeling very confident (though it is rather early in the year to be racing). Lisa set off with a good strong first leg, and handed over to Sian who moved us up in pole position, leaving me to hang for the anchor leg.  When I started running, I couldn't see any other ladies just in front or behind Sian, so I wasn't sure if we were in the lead. As I ran round the lake, I passed about 10 men, but no ladies came into sight. I thought that I'd failed the girls and so, although I realised that I had to keep going as hard as possible to the end as I'd watched them both put in a hard effort, the first thing I did when I crossed the line was apologise!

Scottish Masters' Champions
As it turns out there was no need, as we were almost 3 and a half minutes ahead of the second placed team! It gave us all a boost of confidence and made me realise how fun it is to be part of a team, and how much relay races spur you on, as you're running for others rather than just for yourself. Even our cooldown lap passed before I realised, as we chatted all the way round.
Lisa commented afterwards that the result had spurred her on to start training hard again, whereas I found my body convincing me that after racing a rest day was really what the doctor ordered......still, it was great to be out enjoying running again...and I have the girls to thank for that (and Mhairi's foot, even though we missed her!).

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Failure to Launch?

I know that everyone finds it hard to restart running after a break, but this time it seems to have be especially tough.......and I'm still struggling!

Last year started off (well, the first few weeks were good) rather badly and I thought that the rest if the year would probably be a write-off, but ended up so much better than I could possibly have dreamed of. I'm still not sure how I went from being trampled and broken in February, to competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, the World Mountain Running Championships, the World 50k and then for GB at the World 100K Champs over the course of the same year. I still have to pinch myself, and check my photos and medals are real rather than just dreamt up!

I had a good few weeks off after the second Doha trip and caught up with family and friends, thinking I would be able to get back into it over the Christmas and New Year period. Unfortunately, when I tried, the "get up and go" just seemed to have "got up and gone".

Sun and sea!
A lovely sunset...implies there's sun!
I thought that the miserable British weather might have something to do with it, and so went away for a few days of winter sun with my friend Mark. Mark and I have been friends since we met climbing Aconcagua 8 years ago.....which seemed deal as it meant that we could happily do our own things during the day and just meet up at beer o'clock (waiting for dinner o'clock). Unfortunately, it also meant that while Mark was out on his bike, I had to motivate myself to go out running. I did manage this most of the time, but also tried some alternative options......insanity (I wouldn't recommend that straight after breakfast), Pilates, and Aerial Yoga (that was certainly an experience unlike any other as you got a massive blood rush to the head whilst hanging upside down with silk twisted round your legs to support you!).

My favourite pose ;-)
A good stretch?

Blood rush?
It was great being away, but unfortunately the weather back home hasn't improved at all, so I'm still struggling to actually get started this year. No point worrying about it though, as I'm actually lucky to be uninjured and able to run if I want to, as I know plenty of people who can't, but it may be a sign that I should be trying out something new....hopefully (after I've faced a few demons this Spring) I'll take heed and do just that!