Sunday, 4 September 2016

First post.... so a bit long.....

If you've come and visited it's probably because you've heard about 'OutRun September' in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
If you've donated - have a huge hug from me! (Feel free to collect in person)
If you're just here to enjoy the photos of pain...... I get it, but consider donating by clicking the link on the right!

If you fancy seeing even more pain you can go back through old posts to see my 2007 ergo marathon for Orchid.......

So what am I doing? I'm aiming to beat a self-imposed target of running 75km during the month of September. That's an average of 5km every other day. It's pretty easy for some - but I'm unfit, overweight and have what we shall call 'logistical issues' to organise my running around, so it's achievable, but on the (outside) edge of my current comfort zone. That fits OutRun's intention of pushing your boundaries.

My rules:
All logged distances will be rounded down to the nearest 0.5km - so I'll ignore the odd .02km type bits that appear on my running watch.
All runs will be logged here with either phone screenshot or Garmin screenshot. I will post regular selfies - you have been warned........

The first run was on 1st Sept. It was very very slow & not very pretty at all - witness the photo. That one on 1min run:1min walk ('run' is generous....). I sweated. A lot.

The second run was earlier today & I tried 2min jog : 1 min walk.... big mistake. Huge. I am even less fit than I feared.... heigh ho..... the only way is up (or level.... I think level may be better....)

So at least that's 10km in the bag! Yey - go me! I may get adventurous & try running elsewhere - in which case more pretty photos may happen..... tune in for the next exciting adventures.....

Saturday, 29 September 2007


First up has to be an update for the total raised so far:
The website is still open for donations & I have yet to clear the collection tin from school office so there may be more to come in. I think I have good reason to be rather satisfied with that effort!

I haven't been on the erg this week, but tomorrow I'm going to do a 10k for the CTC - not aiming for a PB! Then Monday off (that's the most loaded teaching day - I only finish at 7pm) and start with the Pete Plan on Tuesday. I think I'm fully recovered now, my shoulders started aching a bit in the days following the marathon and I can still 'feel' my upper back, but I should really start erging again now! The next aim is to get the weight down to lightweight; at 5ft2 I should really be in that class to be healthy, so it's on to the shakes during the day & some good regular erging sessions to burn off those calories.

Reasons for not erging.... It's been a busy week! Last Sunday Chris & I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary, which was followed by an 'all clear' for him on Monday (relief all round!). I finally retrieved my erg on Wednesday so it's now settling back in the spare bedroom.

Monday, 24 September 2007

A Ballsy Marathon

This report is very similar to the ones on the Free Spirits and Concept II websites - with a bit of extra detail and some extremely unflattering photos thrown in....... Click on them & you get the larger view - if you dare!

The day started inauspiciously as I pranged hubby's car on the way out of the drive. Then I taught two lessons while all the time getting more & more nervous. I finished the second lesson at 10:30 then went off to the Badminton Hall to set up carrying my little wooden table with me.....

Hubby & one of the gym staff were there to assist so we got out my erg, flanked by 4 others on each side for the boys to join in later. Mine was opposite the double door to outside. The posters went up, my little table got stocked with pints of water & bananas and collecting tins were placed by the door. My stomach really started churning at this point.

I started at 11:01, still assisting hubby with sorting out where to put up posters & where to place leaflets. I'd thought that the first 90mins would be hard as I was on my own ergo wise - but in fact by the time hubby had finished putting stuff out and started shaking tins the first half hour had already gone. It was really hard to stick to pace for the first half. I kept glancing at the display to find that the split was too low, so I'd throttle back, but then someone else would drop by to say 'hi' & by the time they left the split was 5-6s/500m lower again. I paid for that later..... Plenty of friends & colleagues showed up & at this point I was still able to have a chat.

12:20 and the boys started arriving; all of them members of the school Boat Club organised into five teams of eight, each boy rowing one eighth of a marathon (5275m) starting at 30min intervals so as to finish about the same time as me. I was still fine at this point & really enjoyed the first of their relays - the noise in the hall was great, one of them 'off games' took the tins & I could see him doing a sterling job of persuading passers by to donate ("do you know what that woman is doing? a whole marathon, all by herself! Do you know why?...... etc") This helped hugely. he kept popping in to see how far I had left & one of the coaches took on the task of updating the ‘meters to go’ board outside.

Halfway came & went - I was still feeling fine, smiling at the punters to get more money, still able to chat to visitors, still finding it hard to stick to pace. My rating varied between 22 & 25spm - lifting when the boys were doing their pieces alongside. I'd been taking in water at 30min intervals, but then around the 15km to go mark - which was my first 'nearly home' point - I started to feel a bit crampy in my thighs & a bit of pain in my knees - Pete Marston on the C2 site had suggested changing the height of the feet in such circumstances so I paused to do that & take on some water. It definitely helped & I decided to take water every 5k from that point. Hubby & kids had reappeared by now and even Jasper had a go on a spare machine - coached by Oscar!

The next 5k seemed to take ages..... I stuck out that bit, but by 10k to go when I paused for another water & a bite of banana I knew that 5k until the next was too long so decided to go for 2.5k before the next swig. The area between my shoulder blades was really starting to ache by now. By 7.5k out I was really suffering. It actually helped having been warned that the last 7k could be a b*stard - at least I knew others had finished while still feeling that. I remember thinking "OK, this must be what the runners call 'the wall' doesn't it get better eventually?" I went on for the next 2.5k - took another swig of water & plodded on. I had a wobble at this point - wondering if I could actually finish. My split was very slow indeed at this point

With 3k to go the last batch of boys arrived and some of the previous batch hung around - I had one in particular at my shoulder talking me through - the words didn't mean much, but the presence did! The lad next to me set his display to 5275m and looked across - "I reckon you'll finish first ma'am" - I wasn’t convinced! More and more stared gathering behind – and gave me huge encouragement – I had to pause again at 1.5k to go then managed to find a rhythm to take me through to the last 500m. Glancing across at the next ergo's display I saw that there was a distinct danger that I might not finish ahead - no way could I let that happen! Finally I believed I was going to complete it & so I went for a final burst – taking the split down to 2:03 by the end – helped by the applause starting at about the 500m mark and getting louder to the finish. I was aware of the crowd outside and inside the hall growing & the relief when I finally saw 0m on the display was indescribable.

I managed to turn round to say thanks to the supporters – then felt really sick…… Rather than give in to the nausea in front of the boys I rolled inelegantly from the erg & lay on the floor for a while. 3hrs46:56.1 - better than my prediction of 3hrs50 so I was happy! I had a little chat with a few people while still on the floor and eventually I got up.

I helped pack everything away & we came home. Chris took the Jasper & Oscar off to a colleague’s party once he was happy I was OK – which meant I could have a massively long, hot bath… but only after I’d counted the cash - £317.81 into the tins! Excellent!

This brings the current total to £2031.54 – and on top of that a lot of the boys and other visitors were taking the leaflets and cards – which was the other aim of the exercise – to raise awareness.
Two days on and I haven't been very achy. I am 'aware' of the muscles between my shoulder blades and my glutes & stomach muscles feel as though they've been used - but surprisingly there's been no stiffness. I'm still not going to do that again in a hurry though! I now have to catch up on all the marking & stuff that I neglected this past weekend...... I'll be back again soon - and thank you to everyone who supported in any capacity - it all kept me going!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Chill, calm, deep breathing.......

OK - I confess that I'm definitely starting to stress a bit about Saturday. The organisation is pretty much there - 9 ergs are being taken to the Badminton Hall tomorrow & are being stored for Saturday, my 12:30 class is covered so I can start at 11am, the J16 & J18 boys have been arranged by their coaches into five teams of 8 - to pull 5275m each so that each team completes a Full Marathon. They're starting at 12:30 and every half hour thereafter - so they should be finishing at about the same time that I do.

Next job is to put together a poster to publicise the marathon further & to draw attention to the shower cards which I'm going to circulate - provided by Orchid........

I also have one last erg session to do - I haven't actually done any erging since my 33k+ session last week - which is causing me some consternation - but that's the beginning of term for you! I've been coaching the boys on the water - does that count?

On a more positive note - so far I've raised just over £700 - and that's without contributions from hubby's work yet!

If you haven't been there yet, here's the link to the charity website: - or click on the picture of the current total

I doubt I'll post again before Saturday - so watch this space for a report!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

It's the final countdown..... it says in the song! Wibbles have been somewhat stifled, all systems go!

Training wise I completed a 3hr session today, covering 33334m. The Free Spirits have been giving plenty of useful advice so today was very conservatively paced and finished without too much of a problem - at least I was able to get straight off the machine, change into dry kit & drive to collect Oscar from nursery - which must mean that I still had something in the tank by the end! I am much happier now that I will complete the distance.
At present it looks like teams of 8 boys will be doing 5k sessions alongside me - so far 5 VIIIs worth, starting at 30min intervals, so that should keep my attention! It's 'just' logistical matters now; liaising with the chap in charge of the badminton hall to get 9 ergos stored there in advance & set up on the day, gettingin touch with Orchid to get 'extra' to publicise etc.....

Please, please, please... if you haven't already then please visit my webpage at Orchid & allow your finger to twitch in the 'donate now' direction:

At time of writing I'm already over the £100 mark and would love to see that go higher as the marathon gets closer!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

A short wibble....

I promise that normal service will be resumed in the near future - in the meantime I bring you a short wibble.....

I'm back at school. Kids arrive back tonight, teaching starts tomorrow, meetings have been had... etc etc.... So far I've been OK... if a bit wobbly. I'm sure things will get better once I'm in the classroom, but until then.... Wibble!

The other bit of news (& excuse for wibble) is that I've been given permission to do my charity marathon on my school's charity fair day (Sat 22nd Sept). I have the OK from the organisers, I have a venue and the school Boat Club seem keen to have some boys doing a relay or some such alongside.... there is one fly in the ointment over timing but I think I can swing that.. which means I'm actually going to have to do it in just less than three week's time..... I say again... WIBBLE!! Start of term is not easy as far as fitting in exercise goes so I've not been on the erg much, although my last 1/2 marathon was good. I also need to get on to the Orchid Cancer Charity to see if they'd be happy for me to do it in their name & if so how to set up a website etc....

So........ Help! I need encouragement.... have I bitten off more than I can chew?!