Race Report Bristol 10k 2018

I’ve been running the Bristol 10k every year since 2013.  I woke up feeling awful, either a cold or hayfever.  I nearly caved.  Ten minutes to go before the bus would be due I changed my mind.  I donned my gear and ran for the bus.

It was a brilliantly bright day.  I had my heart set on that elusive sub 55 minutes that I’d been aiming for since I started running 10ks.  I’d talked myself out of it in early morning mental gloom thinking why bother if I cannot reach it due to this illness?  The answer was simple.  It’d at least be a nice long run with a medal at the end.

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Each Bristol 10k story is different.  That first year I raised over £200 for Wallace and Gromit, finishing a Couch to 10k program, starting out in my training to run my first marathon at Porstmouth that December.  This year the goal was just to enjoy it and have some fun.  Bristol 10k 2018 wasn’t part of a larger training plan because I’d already done the Frenchay 10k in April.  I’ll be trying to run Athens again in November so this years goal is simply getting back into racing more.

 

I finished in 1:06:15, 1 minute slower than Frenchay (not a PB, boo!). I had a great r

Image may contain: drinkace and enjoyed it despite feeling rough.  So I sensibly didn’t push speed and just got into a comfortable zone. Enjoyed victory PieMinister with friends and a free pint at the Hatchet in the sun with partner afterwards.  I’m glad I got up and did it – I’ve not missed one since I started running!

Next up – running leg of a family triathon on June 2.

Happy running,

xxx

Eleanor

 

Race Report: Frenchay 10k – A Return To Racing

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After a year out of racing I planned to do the Frenchay 10k on Sunday 15th of April. It was spur of the moment as I registered last Sunday.  I spent the first half of the weekend exploring humid and sunny Nottingham doing six miles of walking each day.  Then travelled back down to Bristol for the race.  I woke up to a typical cloudy (and later on, drizzly) Bristolian weather Sunday feeling rather groggy.  Two days of six mile walks had indeed caught up.  Yet that night my mantra had been, ‘I will not find an excuse to cop out today. I will not.  I will not.’  I couldn’t let another race pass me by due to my own nerves and horrendous levels of self-doubt.

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I made the decision that if I could manage a few runs per week perhaps I could switch up those runs into a race on the weekend.  I’d run what felt good training wise during the week, most of my runs ended up on weekends recently anyway due to having more time to get out.  I’d try not to obsess over plans that would see me exhausted and beat before I got to the start line.  With CFS and a slipped disc I need to be very aware of my body when doing fitness.  I only had one new medal to hang up last year.  I needed a comeback race.

Since I was 7lbs over my old race weight I tried to carboload by not necessarily adding in any extra food.  I just changed the proportion of carbs in my snacks and meals.  For weekday lunches I made a ridiculously hot veggie chilli as I find rice less stodgy than pasta and left Italian type meals to the evening.  I ordered a new set of Gaze boxes in bulk to try out to keep snacking controlled.

It was a great choice.  A race ran by a local club for charity.  The registration, start and finish were in the Glenside Campus, only about a mile from home.  This meant that travelling was no reason to cause any anxiety.  Inside race HQ it was completely packed out.  It was quick and easy to get my race number. I’d forgotten how long the queues for toilets get at racing!  I’d forgotten to bring spare pins and had to run with two pins due to a lack of them.  Next time I’ll remember to bring my own pins, something I used to always do when running races was a frequent habit.  I even have a small decorative pot of them somewhere at home just for races.

Despite not being at events for so long I could still recognise a lot of faces from local running clubs past and present.  This was a nice feeling.  Things hadn’t moved on so far in my absence that the field was completely unrecognisable.  I wore my Southville colours to shouts of ‘Go on Southville!’. There were wonderful pockets of support.  The race looped the Glenside campus, went down to Oldbury Court (where I’d done a lot of my winter training long runs) through the fields to Frenchay and back down to then finish with Blackberry hill in the last mile, a beast of a finish.  I only stopped to fix my race number in the field after it got too hot in my waterproof jacket.  Throughout I kept a steady pace with no walking to manage 10-12 minute miles.

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Incredibly I even managed a sprint finish to lots of cheers at the end.  The race gift was a red Frenchay 10k mug.  It’s not always about the medal. I’ve had all sorts of things other than medals in the past like coasters, bottles of signature beer, ice creams.  Those moments will always be in your head regardless of what you get given afterwards.

Perhaps, I needed this time out to give myself a year’s rest.  After battering my body with a schedule in three years that included nine marathons, multiple halfs and 10ks with no prior fitness base. 1 hour 5 mins. 7.19 mins over my last 2017 flat Bristol 10k race and only 10 minutes over my 2016 10k PB, I think if I try hard on the day for the Bristol 10k in May I might be able to beat my PB set in 2016.

Afterwards I ached but only in that I needed to take breaks to walk around and have the odd paracetamol.  It didn’t completely destroy me.  I walked in the drizzle which promptly turned into torrential rain to Grounded for a lovely lunch of Spanish Potatoes.  Then I slept for a solid two hours.

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I’m looking forward to putting more races on the calendar across the distances.

PS: Remember to stretch and foam roll!

PSS: Try not to go off too fast in the first mile!

Happy running,

Xxx

Eleanor

A mile to inspiration

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It finally feels like winter is starting to lose it’s dramatic battle with spring.

On the first day that felt a little spring-ish I dashed out for a run during my work from home lunch break.  Just a mile along my home road in the clear air with bright sunshine.  Warm sunshine would have been better.  The weather was such that if I had gone another mile then the tedious extra layers of the winter season training gear would not have been needed.

The mile had to be quick enough to get home in time to scoff a bacon sarnie before getting back to the computer for a meeting.  10:30m.  A mile is all it takes, isn’t it?

Just like sometimes a date is all it takes to fan a spark into romance a mile is all it takes to ignite a runner.  To free that runner from the darkness of winter training and propel them into what could be considered proper spring training.  Having only managed a few miles a week since New Year I felt I needed a push of inspiration especially since I’ve been feeling fatigue free of late.

That first spring mile logged on Strava was all it took.  It’ll become easier to be motivated as the light returns.  Easier to tie those shoes up in the morning.  Time begins to free up as nights are brighter.  As someone that presently has no time or cash for a comfortable treadmill this has deeply effected my training abilities which has meant my only options have been dark drizzly mornings or weekends.  I’m looking forward to the bountiful fitness options that spring and more time in natural light offer.

XXX

Eleanor

Recreation and Resolutions

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2018 has been pretty good to me so far.  In January I started a temporary position with the Forestry Commission for HR Events running 20 transitional events across England’s woods and forests.  It’s a lovely environment to be in and I really hope that the job lasts long term.  It’s refreshing to be working within recreation.

The funny thing is working in recreation doesn’t mean one has all the time for the world for it.  I often leave early and come back late.  This means my activity has fallen by the wayside a little.  I do have to focus on making the best of this assignment though as I know it’ll be beneficial in my future.  They liked my like with parkrun and that I run events in my spare time.

I love events because I’m passionate about bringing something to peoples lives that will leave an impression.  A slice of time that people will walk away with that you helped personally deliver in their timeline.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know something that you’ve put together can have that affect on a person.

I’ve managed the odd morning run since, I’m still running one run a week.  Last week was an exception because a bad fall on the weekend meant it took my arm a long time to get back into running shape again.  I know it’ll be easier to get back into it once the light returns.

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At the very least I’ve been managing to eat right.  Nutrition is something that can fall by the wayside in office jobs with all that cake.  I’ve been bringing in fresh fruit salads, yogurt and Graze snacks.  I’ve made a habit of Sunday or Monday meal prep lunches.  Please feel free to share your favourite recipes for meal prep in the comments! Above Moroccan Mushrooms and couscous.  Below Greek Salad.

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Another of my favourite Sunday tasks is to Bullet Journal for the week ahead.  I like Bullet Journaling because it blends art with lists.  One of my resolutions for 2018 is to parkrun once a month.  I made this parkrun tracker to help me keep note of my parkruns.

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Happy running,

xxx

Eleanor

2017 in Review

I’d hoped to finish 2017 with Portsmouth Marathon.  However, due to being let go the week before Christmas I had to shelve the idea of a weekend away which was emotionally battering for me.  I’d spent so much time planning Portsmouth even down to the trial race day and I knew that if I spent 26.2 miles worrying about whether I would get paid the following week that my head would not be in the game.  Being in a positive mindset is so important for a marathon.  The decision did not come easily as I’ve ran a marathon every year since I started running.

2017 was a year of fair weather running.  Running when it suited my pain levels.  The big benefit was getting Acupuncture in November which has removed the pain from my slipped disc allowing my long runs this half of the year to progress from 6 miles to 11 miles.  I just know I could go marathon distance in the right mindset.  I spent the lighter parts of the year on 6 mile runs creating a good endurance base. With more long runs than any other year despite the pain.

The only race I did, the Bristol 10k, was sadly not a Personal Best but I did finish it.  There were also more parkrun’s than any other year.  Another parkrun highlight was helping set up Eastville junior parkrun.

2017 has been a bit of a mixed bag.  Yet the base I kept up will hopefully help me reach for better efforts in 2018 with a pain free body to work with again.

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The Strava year in sport feature is lovely and includes all the stats I’d usually type up.

Distance 314.2 mi
Time 62h 7m
Elev Gain 17,014 ft
Runs 106

Lots to build on in the next year!

Happy running

Eleanor

xxx

Trial Race Day For Portsmouth Marathon

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Evaluating other attempts at running marathons I decided to change things up a bit and throw in a trial race day.  Not just a long run.  Basically, just a long run in which I pretended it was the Marathon.

It was the last long run before Portsmouth Marathon.  The morning of December 3rd (yeah, this blog is late).  It was the second longest run of 2017.  The run totalled 9.11 miles.

It went like so;

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Woke up at 8am to breakfast and drink coffee,
9am volunteering as time keeper at Junior parkrun,
9:30am set off from that start line of sorts to run along the Snuff Mills trails,
2.5 miles in turned back due to a steepass muddy as fudge decline at a tremendous height that made brain nope,
5 miles in stopped at the fuel station known as the house for hydrate,
7.5 miles in best run snacks of Jelly Beans by the mega handful,
8.6 miles in … 8 point … 6 … fudge 8.6. Keep at it!
9 miles in. 9 miles. Sprint finish home. HELL YES.

I felt fantastic.  When I got home for a cup of tea, a hot lunch and a steaming bubble bath after showering all the mud off it was a relief having done it.  I know it wasn’t 26. miles.  Nearly 10 is a good bench mark of how I will feel on race day.  I felt like I could do more, indeed I considered a second lap but didn’t want to over do it too soon.

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I found Jelly Beans as a running snack worked better than gels with my stomach so I’ve stocked up on lots of these.

Now to rest and carboload before Portsmouth Marathon.  I’ve done nothing but walking and yoga in the evenings.  I’ve bulk bought soups and healthy snacks for my workday lunches.  Of course, the odd Cherry Bakewell is unavoidable this time of year.  However, it’s still easy to eat balanced and just add the Minced Pies in as your afternoon snack instead of because of it.

As I write this Portsmouth looms at the end of Sunday.  I haven’t chickened out yet.  There are no health excuses worth cancelling for.  The weather might be a bit of mischief.  Yet, adventure calls.  The coast and it’s gales, the roses and their dew, the Pyramid Center and it’s Expo.  The runners and their lycra.

This will now be a staple before any race taper going forward in 2018.  It’s helpful to find the zone that gets missed sometimes with ‘just another long run.’  Make your long run work for you.  Make it special.

Happy running,

Eleanor

xxx

Becoming Eleanorsendeavour.com

This website has been on such a journey with me since it started one Christmas Eve as a side project.  It’s now also my Freelance writing landing page as well as a place to document and share my running adventures/race reviews.  I decided to celebrate reaching 1000 + hits with a Domain name.

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I’m still surprised every time someone I don’t know likes or shares this page. It’s easy to forget there is an audience out there when speaking about your own experience.  Thank you to those who have enjoyed my blogging.  To those who’ve liked, shared, Tweeted and even returned for more because you’re all the reason I kept this going even through stages I’ve not run as much.

It goes to show how great a community running is whether that’s online or on the street we are all passionate about running together.

Happy running,

Eleanor

Less is more because the mind will see you to the finish

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In a slump of only running very minimally for most of 2017 I felt like a fair weather runner.  Some weeks would only be a 5k run or a 10k run.  I realise that still counts as running.  It still counts as being a runner.  It might not be fast, it might be a once a week visit to Southville Running Club, a few laps around the park and a parkrun but it’s still running.

Runners get so used to seeing elites with high weekly mileage.  Strava feeds full of Sunday long runs, breakfast runs, lunch sprints, distance challenges.  It’s cool to be seen to be busy on the roads and trails.  It can be inspirational at times.  However, it can also feel a bit daunting.  It can also be a tool to evaluate your own running.

Realistically when juggling family and careers or other hobbies there is only so much time the regular person without a sponsorship can put in to running.  We still need sleep.  We still need to eat.  We still need to put our kids to bed.  We still need to commit to other commitments and that to do list will still need to be done by the end of the week.

So, sure carve out that hour or two for your run.  But also don’t feel bad or guilty or less like a runner if you haven’t got out the door this week.  It’s never, ‘only a few miles,’ as a few miles is better than no miles.

When running a race training will only get you so far.  If you’re stressed out from your life balance because you haven’t got that permission slip to the school yet or paid that phone bill on your to do list you may not finish strong.  A race is part a mental battle.  Marathon runners understand this.  26.2 is a long time to spend with yourself and if you’re not happy with things demons will crop up to make that stop at mile 18 really tempting.  Prepare yourself by preparing your mind.

Mindfulness, yoga, priority mind mapping, bullet journal your to do list for extra colour.  Carve out an hour a day just for you.  Don’t let running take that time too.  This is your creative time.  Fill it with joy and make it worthwhile.  During mine I like to write or cross stitch.  I really notice it when I don’t have this hour.  Remember you are your own first priority.

Happy running,

Eleanor

Grazing on the Go

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Running folk lead a busy lifestyle, that much is obvious.  We’re not just runners.  We tend to be trying to fit running around our day jobs, night jobs, weekend jobs, extra jobs, good will efforts, family commitments, friends and, well, eating.  A bunch of articles out there will tell you grazing is better than large meals, but finding a process that suits you is best, regardless of whatever diet is all the rage.

We like to do that.  Eat.  It’s hard to eat healthily though.  A lot of battle an emotional relationship with food.  As an ex bulimic I am no exception.  I have to battle the desire to down a whole packet or eight of Custard Creams in one sitting sometimes.  There are small things that can help such as a hoard of healthy snacks in the cupboard.

Enter the Graze box.  They’ve been sneaking onto the office desks of snack savvy workers for the past few years now.  Standard sized and bulk snack packs have even made their way to the shelves of Sainsbury’s so their popularity is on the rise.  I thought I’d reboot my subscription after another dip in my health meant that regular snacking was the only way I could really eat and I didn’t want it to be all chocolate since I couldn’t run as much.  Just some of it. 20171002_171851_001

I signed up for the Protein Box and it’s frankly lovely getting a box through the post every Monday.  Not a bill or a bit of junk mail.  A box of four snacks that you can carry in your handbag per day for your snack emergencies … we all have them.  That’s when that Kit Kat looks so pleasing.

A few favorites so far;

  • Cocoa and Vanilla Flapjacks – deliciously like rice chocolate crispie cakes with a
  • good blend of chocolate and grains.
  • Mississippi BBQ Pistachios – smoky and perfect for veggies that might miss a meat flavour, eaten in about ten seconds flat.  Shell first if taking for a run.
  • Salted Fudge and Peanut Cookie – suggest eating by the handful with a large cup of tea.  Delightfully moreish.
  • Cherry and Almond Bites with Green Tea – great combination.
  • Peanut Butter Dipper – great snack pack for studying, could use a larger box!
  • Honey and Lemon Protein Balls – fantastic for the on the run, just zip in a zip lock and go!

For the sake of a few quid each week which is, lets face it, the cost of a pint, the delight of having a box of treats isn’t much of a cost.  If you’re low on funds you can always find small packs of mixed fruits and nuts in every good supermarket section and decant into small pots or zip lock bags.  It’s quite nice working your way through all the snacks with Graze as you get to rate them so your box shouldn’t contain any you’re not keen on over time.  It’s all trial and error, it’s going well so far.

Happy Running,

xxx

Eleanor