Kaiser Half Training: Week 12

Before I start, thanks for all your sweet comments about Wednesday’s CT scan. Got the results and all is GOOD! No real change in four years, which is a totally brilliant result!

Anyway…we’re just one week out from Kaiser, it’s this coming Sunday! Despite 12 weeks of training, I am not feeling at all ready. I know I have the endurance but the speed? I’m not feeling the speed.

A quick rundown on what happened this week


Monday: Rest Day

I was mildly jet lagged and just not in the mood to exercise, so I didn’t.

Tuesday: 6 miles of long intervals

I really liked this early morning run. Ten minutes warm up and then 13 repetitions of 2 minutes ‘fast’ and one minute recovery. That recovery minute goes SO fast. 8.52 pace overall. 

Wednesday: Rest. 

Should have run today but I had my CT scan whilst the Dude was at school and the Husband was away with work so I didn’t get to run.

Thursday: 6 mile tempo.

One mile warm up and 5 miles at tempo. The tempo miles averaged about 8.28 but the latter miles were in the 8.30s and it felt HARD. I honestly don’t see how I can hold this pace or anything like it for 13 miles next week. Race Day Magic may be the only answer. 8.38 overall pace. 

Friday: LOOOONG run

My massive, long, crazy run. 16 miles!! My longest run since I was 29 (which wasn’t recently). I was supposed to run the last 1.5 miles faster but really didn’t have it in me but I managed to run all those miles fairly comfortably. It was WARM…I ended up running in a sleeveless top and being pretty comfortable! And I listened to ‘This American Life’ which basically sounds like Serial! I was really happy to finish this run though. Didn’t have much more in me.

I saw Jess on Saturday and she queried such a long run so soon before the race. She’s right – the 80/20 plan allows for a 2 week taper which I shortened due to me missing the first few weeks of the plan by accident. So I should have run this long run two weeks before the race, not one week. Ooops. I’m going to rework the last week’s taper plan based on how my legs feel on Monday and hope I didn’t overcook them.  10.16 pace overall.

  Saturday: Rest I really wanted (and planned) to run the inaugural Crissy Field parkrun this morning but my legs told me in no uncertain terms that they would cry if I tried that. So I made flapjack and went to a book exchange! And then we went to see Paddington and it was so good.


If this doesn’t win Oscars for utter perfection, there will be no justice in the world

Sunday: Easy Run

4 very easy, slow miles in the gorgeous sunshine. Tested out my new arm warmers for Kaiser – I like them. Mainly because they’re neon. My legs were definitely still tired. Aaaagh. 4 miles at 10.21 pace.


Lots of musings this week. Overall, this was a good week. Plenty of distance (32 miles) and good amounts of speed, if not as fast as I would like. Next week, I taper and next Sunday I race.

Being honest with myself (and you guys), I don’t have 1.49 in me. I might just squeak a PR (1.52 or less) as it’s a very PR friendly course but I don’t feel in PR shape. Or is that just the inner voice draining away my confidence before the race? I’ve trained long and hard, I’m proud of the training I’ve done. But is it enough?

Kaiser 2012!

Kaiser 2012!

Having said that, I am SO ready to not be training for this raceMy college courses started this week – one online course started and I had one lecture. My third course starts next week. So far, so super-exciting. The class had me totally geeking out – the lecture theatre, the new stationery, the awesome professor. I am so hugely excited about this new chapter of my life. But the workload is daunting me a little and I am hugely relieved not to be doing such long runs in the future. I am really excited to run Kaiser, hopefully crush it and then to focus on 10ks and shorter distances for the next four or five months whilst I’m a student! I think the change will be really good for me.

And a quick note on my Hokas. I love them. Initially, I loved them but had some concerns – my knees ached after every run. Not knee pain (ever) but a muscular ache. I think it is because the heel-toe drop is less than I was used to and my muscles were working differently. But now I’m used to them, I REALLY love them. No shin pain. No ITB pain. And they’re really cute. I’m definitely becoming a Hoka girl although I will not risk such stack height on the trails!!

Bright, beautiful, bouncy and beloved

Bright, beautiful, bouncy and beloved

So this coming week is Taper Week and Sunday is Race Day! Let’s do this.

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CT scans for dummies

As ever, I’m not a doctor and I know nothing about medical things. I’m just a girl with a heart condition who likes running. 

One of my goals for this blog was to be honest about my heart condition and to encourage runners with ‘interesting’ hearts to live healthy, active lives. As such, I think it’s important that I talk about my own heart where applicable! Thus today’s post.

Today I went for a CT scan. This was purely a routine check, nothing to be worried about. My checkup in December went well but it’s been four years since my last scan – we’ve relied on echocardiograms in the meantime and scans give better, clearer pictures of things. I would ideally have had a MRI scan but I have a big titanium pin in one leg due to a skiing accident, so a CT scan it would be. Bring on the radiation, baby!

I was very nervous for my first CT scan. In the end it turned out to be much less scary than I’d anticipated so I thought it might be useful to outline the procedure for anyone else who might be having a CT scan and might be worried.

Beforehand, you’re supposed to not eat or drink for three hours beforehand because the drugs administered can cause nausea. No-one told me this so I enjoyed my two cups of Earl Grey and my bowl of muesli as usual. No vomiting here though – stomach of steel, this girl.

Firstly, I had to take off all my clothes above my waist (including jewellery) and put on a delightful blue gown. I got to keep on my jeans but rolled them down to my knees and I got to keep my boots on too. Then I was escorted into the room and I saw this beast.

CT scan

Freaky, eh? I hadn’t been at all nervous beforehand but seeing the machine unnerved me a little. Someone described it as a portal into another world and it kind of looks like that. The three ladies who were managing my appointment bustled about me. They were lovely and made me comfortable and as at ease as I could be. I lay down on the bed as one lady put the patches on my body. Two on my chest, just where the chest joins the shoulders, and two on my body, at the bottom of my ribs. The other lady put in an IV feed. This was pretty much painless – bring your best veins, people!

After this, they retreated to the safety of the little room attached, where they could see me through the giant glass window and press all the buttons. They left me slightly freaked out, IV arm in the air and the bed slid towards the scanner. I am not claustrophobic and, if you are, I don’t think there’s any real need to worry about this scan. You’re never enclosed and the machine doesn’t get too close. It’s a bit weird though. There was some whirring and a voice told me to hold my breath. Some preparatory photos were taken.

Then the ladies came back in and administered the iodine into my system before retreating to their room. The iodine feed is the weirdest. You literally feel it work round your body with your bloodstream. It starts in your IV arm and this lovely warmth creeps down your body and your leg, back up into your lady bits (a rather nice sensation, got to be honest), down your other leg, up the side and round to your heart. Then a few moments later, your eyeballs go ever-so-slightly warm too.  It feels crazy but it’s not unpleasant and I felt delightfully warm and glowy, like the Ready Brek man!

A few more photos and the job is done. Once you’re wired up, the whole thing takes about ten minutes and is completely painless. Within minutes, I was outside holding my well-deserved coffee. I felt a little shaken, but there was no need to feel that way. It was all very easy.

So there you go. You’re now ready for your CT scans!!

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Kaiser Half training: week 11

Last week was different in that I went back to the UK for a few days. It was utterly delightful to be home, even for a sad reason. I flew on Tuesday night and got back to California on Sunday evening. Five days without my little man. I got lots of cuddles last night.

In terms of training, it impacted my Kaiser training to some degree. I got my long run in before I left and managed to run on 2 of the 3 full days I was in the UK but I didn’t do any speed work which was really what I needed to do. But that’s life, sometimes.


Monday: Long Run

This week’s long run was 14 miles with a ‘fast finish’. (Ha). The first 12 miles were roughly 10 minute miles and the final two miles came in at 8.51 and 8.59 which I was quite happy with actually. 14 miles at 9.39 pace.

Tuesday: Recovery run

4.5 very easy miles before getting on a plane. 10.04 pace.

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Hill repeats and easy run

I ran 10 repeats up and down Mum and Dad’s hilly road before cruising round the village checking out my favourite spots. Had to change my route when my little path turned into a sea of mud.

Friday: 3.7 mile hike

I wanted to run today but we were all a little drained so we went for a lovely family hike. Dad steered us onto a bridle path that I’ve been meaning to hunt out for years so that was great. Lots of thatched cottages, lots of ivy-strewn trees and an 11th century church. Pretty great.

The parents head off into the woods

The parents head off into the woods

Out of the woods into the fields

Out of the woods into the fields

The surprising thing I miss about the UK. Fields of sheep.

The surprising thing I miss about the UK. Fields of sheep.

For sale. 3 beds next to a stream and a mile from the parents. 425,000 GBP (about $650,000)

For sale. 425k GBP (about $650k)

Saturday: Easy Run

6 chilly miles in the afternoon at 9.54 pace.

Sunday: Rest Day as I flew home.


In terms of running, it wasn’t a great week but obviously as I said earlier, that’s life. It was good to be home and good to run some different streets. I mentioned last week that I was fed up with the same old streets and there was a lot of agreement in the comments, so just running elsewhere was delightful. I had forgotten how hard it is to run in cold weather – not so much the actual running as the psyching up beforehand to get out the door. I wore a LOT of clothes running and let’s just say I didn’t look chic and elegant!

This week, I have one mega-long run on Friday and I’ll be focussing on speed work. I’m aiming to get some intervals and a decent tempo run in, as well as some foundation runs. This is my last big week training before Kaiser. My training cycle has definitely not been perfect, far from it, but I’m starting to think about the race itself and get excited!

And finally, L’Equipe newspaper has done a 25 minute film about Anton Krupicka, which is definitely worth seeing. A lot of it is in French but even if your French n’existe pas, the pictures are VERY pretty. Click HERE to watch. Enjoy.

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Two cool things

Hello from the sunny UK. Actually, hello from a grey, cold, wintry UK which is making me me rethink my love of Winter. Four years in Califoria has turned me into a Winter Wimp. I’m here for my Grandad’s funeral and although it’s been tougher than I expected and pretty sad, it’s also really nice to be home and to see my wonderful family and so many friends.

Also…flying without children is just a delight!

Anyway. This is just a quick blog post to say two things.

1) Parkrun is coming to San Francisco

I’ve mentioned parkrun several times before and finally got to run my first, in Leeds, back in the summer. It’s a series of free, weekly 5k races held around the UK – pretty much every sizeable UK town has a race. The impact of parkrun on UK sport and UK running has been significant. It has brought so many people into running.

There are a few parkruns in the States but none near me, so when my friend Dan emailed me to say that it’s finally coming to San Francisco, I was pretty much beside myself. The race will take place on Crissy Field, under the Golden Gate Bridge every Saturday at 9am. I’m not yet sure if I can get to the inaugural race on January 24th but I’m definitely planning to be there as soon as I can. My little 5k-running monster will be so excited about it! If you’re local, DO go and support it. It’s a brilliant addition to the SF running scene.

Crissy Field. Park Run with a view.

Crissy Field. parkrun with a view.

1) #thisgirlcan

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this campaign or hashtag on Twitter but if you haven’t, you should check it out. It’s a new campaign here in the UK to get women working out and it is just brilliant. So down to earth, so much fun. It challenges women to just get into it despite their wobbly bits and their physical flaws. To have fun in the body they’re currently in, not waiting till they’re thinner before trying exercise. It encourages women to try something different and new. It’s exciting and empowering.

Most people reading this blog will probably already be into exercise in some shape or form, and we probably don’t remember or understand how intimidating it can be to try exercise for the first time.  But I’ve already seen friends on FB getting back into exercise and hashtagging it #thisgirlcan. Just brilliant. Watch the ads here.

And that’s it. I’m off for a walk with the parents. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Kaiser Half Training: Week 10

This week was Distance Week. Long Run week. Three long runs in 6 days. Maybe unwise but so far, so good. I missed Week 9’s long run so I’d run those 12 miles on Tuesday. I’d run Week’s 10’s 14-mile long run on Friday and then today (Monday), I’ll run Week 11’s long run, also 14 miles, before I head to the UK on Tuesday. Not ideal but let’s give it a shot!

Monday: 14. 7 Bike Ride

This was technically a rest day but I seized the opportunity to do my first decent bike ride for a couple of years actually. I dropped the Dude at school, drove up to Canada Road (a road hugely popular with local cyclists), unloaded Liesl and set out. I was surprisingly nervous, mainly of getting a mechanical issue and not getting back for the Dude on time. It was pretty cold, about 5 C/41 F so I wrapped up warm and set off.

It was a lot of fun. I thought it would be about 10 miles each way to the town of Woodside where I promised myself a coffee and a cake at the little cafe there but turned out to be about 7.5 miles each way – so hardly an epic ride. But it went smoothly and I found myself relaxing back into the rhythm of cycling. The ride back to the car was a little warmer and I got back buzzing and happy. 14.7 miles at 11.6 mph. Speedy, eh? JK. 

crystal springs

Not a bad starting point to my bike ride

Tuesday: Long Run 1

Plugged on my audio book and ran 12 miles in the surprisingly warm sunshine. After a mile warm-up, I ran each mile with 1/4 mile ‘tempo’ and 3/4 mile recovery. Fairly uneventful but got it done. 12.07 miles at 9.25 pace. 

Wednesday:  Easy run

Easy run. Should have done 6 miles but I needed to be home for 6.45 and I couldn’t get myself out the door before 6am. 4.7 miles at 9.36 pace. 

Thursday: Abs Class

Technically a rest day but in the evening I decided to do an abs class as I haven’t been to the gym for 2 weeks and I felt guilty. 30 minutes of abs, that wouldn’t hurt would it? Alas, the woman nearly killed me. Everything was burning within the first five minutes. I dreaded to think of the agony I’d wake up to.

Friday: Long Run 2.

Surprisingly, the only pain this morning was in my arms. So I set out on 14 miles. 14 miles is a LONG way. Same thing – warm up and then 13 x (0.25 mile fast, 0.75 mile recovery). My definition of ‘fast’ was slower than usual but I finished my audiobook and felt pretty decent at the end. I felt pretty ropey an hour later as I seized up. 14.4 miles at 9.44 pace. 

Saturday: 7 mile bike ride

Today we tried geocaching for the first time. It turns out that there are lots of caches around where we live, so we got on the bikes and set off. It was a LOAD of fun. We couldn’t find the first two caches, which was depressing but there was much jubilation when we found number three. All in all, we managed to find five caches, had lunch out, climbed UNDER a bridge in search of something we didn’t find and notched up seven miles of cycling without a single grumble from the Dude! Success. New family hobby.

Our first find!

Our first find!

Sunday: 4.5 mile bike ride

I meant to do a short easy run today but it never happened. Instead, we went out geocaching again. 4.5 very easy, fun cycled miles with much stopping to delve under bridges and clamber through trees. I’m convinced we’ll find a body one day, doing this.


I’m pretty happy with 31 miles this week and I’m not dreading Monday’s long run either. And bearing in mind that I technically didn’t have a rest day this week, I feel pretty fresh. I don’t feel fast though. There’s been no speed work this week apart from the faster sections of my long runs and I feel a little sluggish.

The cross-training has been good, the cycling especially. I know that it was all fairly low-key but I really enjoyed my time on the bike.

Mentally, I’m a little fed up with the running. I think it’s more to do with running the same routes and same streets a LOT over the past month or two. Some new roads would be nice…and some trails would be perfection! (Name that Friends episode we re-watched on Netflix). 

However, new roads and maybe some trails are in my near future as I leave my boys this Tuesday and head to the UK for 5 days. I’m going for a funeral but I am still very excited about seeing the parents and my family.

But first…my final long run beckons!!

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Racing in 2015

Last year, I had my 2014 race plan all mapped out in advance. Of the 13 races I said I would run, I ran 6 so the clear learning is…let’s not make too many plans too far in advance.

Whatever! Let’s make too many plans too far in advance!


All these are signed up for. Money has been handed over.

January: 10k, Race To End World Hunger, Mountain View. Done!

February: 1/2M Kaiser Half Marathon, San Francisco.

March: Red Rock Canyon 1/2M , Las Vegas.

Race One = Done

Race One = Done


Then I launch ‘The Spring of 10ks’ :)   My college courses are likely to be pretty full-on by now, so I’m going to scale down the distances and try and improve my 10k.

March:   Oakland Marathon Relay – I’ll be running one leg of roughly 6.5 miles.

April:      Road 10k. Maybe Santa Cruz?

May:       Trail 10k. Maybe Wild Cat Canyon. I have a Brazen credit and I want to use it!

June:      Road 10k. And maybe a trail 10k at the Truckee Running Festival because I’m crazy in love with that little mountain town. And no-one needs oxygen anyway!

Truckee. I want to move there but the Husband says his commute would be too long.

Truckee. I want to move there but the Husband says his commute would be too long.



The one big race I want to do this year is Berry Creek. This was the race I wanted to run in 2014 but it clashed with one of the Husband’s Ironman test races. This year, I’m definitely in.

July:        5k PR attempt. Redwood City Parade Run 5k – without the Dude in the stroller!

July:         Berry Creek Falls 15k or 25k, Big Basin. Prob the 25k :)

August:    Trail 10k

Take me back to Big Basin, please!

Take me back to Big Basin, please!



To end the year, I’ve got some big Autumn plans.

September:     A Century Bike Ride. Maybe the Tour d’Organics in Sebastopol?

October:          Half Marathon PR attempt, Healdsburg

November:    Trail 10k

December:     TNF Endurance Challenge. This is a massive deal locally, our big trail race and loads of amazing runners turn up to run it. I’d either do the half-marathon or the marathon relay if I can find a buddy. I just want to be a part of it!

I have very fond memories of this race!

I have very fond memories of this race!

Clearly, this will change. You can never predict what a year will bring but I firmly believe that a girl needs a plan. So this is mine!

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Kaiser Half Training: Week 9

I can see why races are not recommended during a training cycle. They muck things up. They incur extra days of rest in the interests of tapering. They incur extra days of rest in the interests of  recovery. They interfere with your mojo. I get it.

But they’re fun, aren’t they!


Monday: Rest.    My knee was still sore so I decided to rest it.

Tuesday: 6 miles easy.     

My last Zero Dark Thirty run of 2014. Super easy before Thursday’s race. 6.1 miles at 9.58 pace. 

Wednesday: Rest/Taper

Thursday:  Race to End World Hunger 10k.

Friday: 5.6 mile Bike Ride

We headed over to Coyote Hills in the East Bay, packing 2 1/2 bikes in the back of a Honda Fit! It was pretty chilly even in the sunshine. We cycled 5.6 miles in about a million hours. The Dude moaned all the way up hills, stopped for numerous drink stops, fueling stops, bench stops, animal spotting stops, falling-off stops and then he hurtled downhill squealing non-stop. This wasn’t exactly a ‘workout’ but it was fun!

See the boys anywhere?

See the boys anywhere?

Saturday: Long Run  The Triple Challenge

I was all set to run long this morning. My clothes were set out ready to go when the alarm went off at 5.30. It was dark, it was very cold and I just went back to sleep. I feel a bit guilty as this was my only long-run opportunity all weekend. Bearing in mind last week’s ‘long run’ was only 9 miles, this missed run might prove decisive in my PR attempt. However, I rectified the situation as best I could.  I decided to do a Triple! I’d run in the morning and the evening today, and then run again tomorrow morning. Three 6-milers within 25 hours. I could do that.

So at 7am I was out the door. It was FREEZING cold (well, about 4 deg C) and there was frost on the grass and on roofs, which never happens here. I ran 6 easy miles. I wasn’t too chilly when running although I probably should have worn a hat. 6 miles at 9.54 pace.



That evening, I was out again. I used our complex’s treadmill because it was VERY dark and pretty cold again and I just couldn’t face running outside. I plugged in to my new audiobook and ground those miles out. 6 miles at 9.41 pace.

Sunday: Final Triple Challenge Run

6.30am and I’m out the door. I had more clothes on so I wasn’t not as cold as yesterday. It was warmer anyway. It was totally worth getting out so early as I ran through the most beautiful sunrise. I took so many photos that I had to cut my run slightly short to get back in time for the Husband’s bike ride with friends. 5.6 miles at 9.58 pace.

The first glimmers of dawn.

The first glimmers of dawn.



This week, I got enough miles in (30 altogether) and ironically I hit the magical 80/20 mark but that missed long run kind of rankles me. I’ve worked through my training plan for the next few weeks and I think I can recover from it.

One fun thing that happened was that I inadvertently bought some new shoes. The Dude and I went to a museum in San Jose and, in our family, ice-creams always follow museums. The closest ice-cream place was in lovely Willow Glen and opposite it was a running store. So we casually wandered in to have a look. And there, on the bargain table outside, was the pinkest pair of shoes I have ever seen…in my size. Asics GT 1000. I think they’re a Breast Cancer campaign pair as they came with ribbon laces (!). Apparently they’re neutral and they felt fine in the shop and for $50, who was I to say no? So I didn’t. I ran in them on Saturday morning. They’re fine.  They are pretty uncushioned, especially for a girl who loves her cushioning, but they were comfy enough. I’ll use them for runs of up to 6 miles but not for speed work. They’ll be good for the gym. They’ll also be good for people to see me coming.

I've named them the Pink Ladies

I’ve named them the Pink Ladies

One of my 2015 goals is to get back into cycling and do a century ride. (I have no secret plans to go to the dark side of triathlon, let me make that clear). As such I’ve been loitering in bike shops, eyeing up new carbon beauties (just in the interest of research, clearly) and I bought a new helmet as mine was about 8 years old. It may be new and sleek but it still makes me look like an alien! Tomorrow (Monday) I’m going out for my first decent bike ride for probably a couple of years!!!

This coming week, I’m aiming to get two good long runs in and be a little more disciplined. The Dude is back at school, so that will help. I’ve lost 2 lbs since Christmas so I just need to keep that momentum going.

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The Dude’s First 5k

In case you missed it, my race recap is here. This one is cuter. So yesterday, the Dude ran his first ever 5k. His first proper race, the Ironkid, was about a kilometer, so I was a little concerned that he’d bitten off more than he could chew. However it was his own idea, he was very excited about the whole thing and we were just proud he was even doing it.

Being a total sucker of a parent, I took him to buy a new outfit the day before. Sounds a little extravagant but he didn’t have anything he could really run 5k in without the danger of chafing. That was my justification anyway. He chose a blue Nike top and some New Balance running tights. He thought he looked the bees’ knees!

New running clothes, an Ironman cap and his Dad's spare sunglasses.

New running clothes, an Ironman cap and his Dad’s spare sunglasses.

I mentioned a little about his performance yesterday. He ran it in a time of 38.04 and came third in his AG after 2 9-year olds.  There were 15 kids in his age-group and only one of them was younger than he was. (I know,  I know, I’m sorry, I am so horribly proud of him). I managed to get a few moments with the athlete himself and he graciously granted me an interview, in between rounds of Clash of Clans.

Additional Info supplied by his pacer, as some answers were slightly monosyllabic.

So, Dude. Why did you want to do the 5k?

Because Mummy and Daddy were doing it.

IMG_6636 family race hunger Were you worried it was a little far?

At the beginning of the race, I was.

What was the weather like on race day?

Chilly chilly chilly

How did you feel at the start line?

Excited. I think no-one else was in my age-group.

Just before the race began. Can't see any nerves, can you?

Just before the race began. Can’t see any nerves, can you?

What were your race goals?

I wanted to beat David

* David is our lovely friend who ran the 5k.

How was the race itself?

Good. dude Pacer, can you expand?

He ran the whole first mile. David shot off, but the Dude didn’t – he knows the story of the hare and the tortoise. We passed David at about half a mile and the Dude’s running was steady after that. He did keep stopping to look back and check that David wasn’t catching him and he took walking breaks as needed. The other runners were very surprised when he passed them but they were very encouraging, and the lady who went on to win the 5k yelled encouragement as he passed!

dude Did you fuel at all?

I had one gel. Not the whole thing. I liked the taste and I think it gave me energy. I drank apple juice too. I picked up some water (at the aid station) with my hand when I was running. I managed to drink it because I walked for a bit.

How did you feel when you saw the finish line?

Excited. I couldn’t hold myself back.

Sprinting to the finish line

Sprinting to the finish line

How did you feel at the end?

‘Woooaaaahhhh!’ and then ‘makes panting sounds’.

Were you happy with your race? Yes

How did you feel when you heard your name and realized you’d come third in your AG?

Woooaaaahhh! (Clearly the word of the day)


Third third, flew like a bird

Third third, flew like a bird

Would you like to do another 5k?


My Heart’s Content blog would like to thank Mr Ramsden for his time and congratulate him on his splendid inaugural 5k. He clearly has excellent parents. 

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Race Recap: Race to End World Hunger 10k

New Year’s Day saw my first race of 2015 – the ambitiously named Race to End World Hunger in nearby Mountain View. It was a bargain at $35. The Husband signed up to race the 10k as well, but when the Dude said he wanted to run the 5k last week, he dropped down to do the 5k with him. This would be the Dude’s first 5k. I was a little concerned he was underestimating the distance, but he was definitely excited about running.

I was unashamedly out for a PR. My current PR is 50.37 at Bay Breeze. The course there was short and, extrapolated up to the full 6.2, it would be 50.53. But I was out for 49.59. I wasn’t sure I could do it (I’ve put on 4 lbs this Christmas and pounds equal seconds) but I’d give it my best shot.

The morning of the race was bright, sunny and pretty chilly. There was plenty of free parking when we got there. The 10k started at 9.30 and we got there at about 8.45. We had to sign a waiver, we sorted out the Husband’s race switching and picked up our numbers. Plenty of loos and then I ran a 1/2 mile warm-up. I felt heavy (Christmas food) and slow. Not encouraging. Our friend David arrived. The 10k-ers lined up, I kissed my boys and wished the Dude luck. The klaxon sounded and I was off.

I'm somewhere in the photo, honestly! It's like Where's Cat?

I’m somewhere in the photo, honestly! It’s like Where’s Cat?

The course was excellent. Pretty flat, with only a few little hills. Mainly out-and-back with a loop and an additional out-and-back. There was minimal breeze and it was paved, with the exception of the first and last 0.2 miles.

I started fast. There’s no point not starting fast in a 10k, is there? I tried to keep my heart- rate steady and followed the people in front. There was never any crowding so I managed to stick to my own pace all the way. I felt like I was working a little too hard – when I got to about a mile and a half, I felt much more tired than I should do.  I was concerned.

I ran on, picking people off one by one. At about mile 3, I noticed a guy who I was running pretty much next to. He kept checking over his shoulder to see if I was there or catching me up if I passed him. It didn’t bother me overly but I assumed he didn’t want to be beaten by a girl. I used him as a rabbit and tried to keep up. It was only at mile 4, when I’d evened out my effort and was running fairly well, that he spoke to me, saying ‘Good effort, keep going’ and I realized he was pacing me. I breathlessly replied I was going to try and keep up and we ran on.

I took a Gu at Mile 4 (Salted Watermelon, disgusting)  and tried to push the pace but I was struggling. I have a policy of NOT looking at my watch during races so I had no idea how I was doing, but my pacer was starting to put some distance between us and I couldn’t catch him. I got to mile 5, he was about 100 mtrs ahead, and I just put my head down and tried to keep pushing. I pumped my arms and focussed on my arms instead of my legs.

The final stretch went up a hill (brutal) and then there was about 0.2 miles on the dirt path  to the finish line. I could see it ahead. ‘Let It Go‘ magically kicked in on my iPod and somehow I found a little extra energy. I was one with the wind and sky. I let the storm rage on and I crossed the line.

race end world hunger me



Only momentarily gutted because my boys were on the sidelines, grinning like loons. The Dude had had an excellent race, finishing in 38.04. I was so proud of him that my disappointment didn’t really matter. And then the RD called out the names of the 0-9 AG winners and the Dude had come third. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT. He got a ribbon and it made his day. The boys who came 1st and 2nd were both 9 so he did flipping well.

me dude race end world hunger

I sought out Pacer Guy to thank him. He’d been aiming to go sub-50 but just missed it – I felt a bit guilty as I suspect I was the cause of that fail. I checked the race results and couldn’t see my name either on the list of runners OR on the AG results, but the Husband was delighted to see his name as the overall 10k winner.

Soaking in the glory whilst it lasts

Soaking in the glory whilst it lasts

Bearing in mind he ran the 5k, we knew there was an issue. So we went to see the RD and the timekeepers to rectify the matter. They hadn’t switched him to the 5k, even though we did the necessary steps at packet pickup. So then, suspicious of the time-keeping, I rechecked the AG results for 30 – 39 and saw that the 1st place lady got 52 mins. I’d run faster. I asked them to recheck and I was down as a 5k runner. When they rejigged the numbers, I came out in 2nd place in my AG. I can’t deny that my red ribbon softened the blow of missing a PR!



I also got a $10 Sports Basement voucher. My first race winnings. This basically makes me a professional runner, doesn’t it?

I checked the 40 – 49 age-group to see how I’d fare…and the winner there ran it in 41 minutes. So this will probably be my last prize ever :)

Thoughts on the race itself

In terms of race logistics, overall, the race was good.

  • Plenty of free parking
  • Enough loos
  • Excellent course, very PR friendly.
  • Timekeeping had a few issues but volunteers were very friendly.
  • No medals but we got a nice t-shirt.
  • The course got a little crowded in the last 2 miles 10k-ers were running back against 5k runners, but nothing silly.

Reflections on my race

Firstly, I hereby admit that ‘Let it go‘ might be my second favourite song ever. I’m kind of ashamed about this…and kind of not! (My first favourite).

Secondly,when I checked my splits in the car, I just laughed.

  1. 7.46
  2. 8.06
  3. 8.10
  4. 8.20
  5. 8.19
  6. 8.25

My first mile (7.46) was my fastest mile EVER! I’ve run two miles at 7.59 and 7.58 but nothing like this. Clearly I went out WAAAAY too fast, which was why I felt knackered so early on. I pretty much scuppered my own race. I can’t decide whether to celebrate (7.46, I was basically flying) or mope (missed my goal time). Also, how’s that as a progression run in the wrong direction???

I can’t decide about whether or not to check my pace throughout the race. I’ve chosen not to since Half Moon Bay where I checked at M10, was disappointed and basically gave up the fight. And it’s worked very well in the past. But today, monitoring my pace better might  have saved my race and I felt the same way after RnR SJ. Any thoughts?  

Thirdly, when I got home, I did some calculations and found some encouragement in the data. Remember I said that my PR was on a short course? Well this course measured a little long.

Bay Breeze.  6.18 miles in 50.37 at 8.11 pace. That would make 6.2 miles in 50.53.

Today. 6.29 miles in 51.29 at 8.11 pace. That would make 6.2 miles in 50.52.

(Today’s run was FRACTIONALLY faster)


 I fully accept my race results today. I also FULLY accept that I might just be clutching at straws. However, upon reflection, today’s result might be more encouraging than I initially thought. My take-out is that I’m at least as fit as I was before last year’s 13.1 PR. So a PR in February is definitely possible, especially if lose those Christmas pounds. 1.49 may not be mine at Kaiser, but 1.51 might be?

Don’t hold your breath, but you might get another race recap tomorrow…from another AG placer! :)

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2015 Goals and Resolutions

2015 is going to be a big year because at the start of February, I turn 40! It’s also going to be a big year because I’m going back to school. This will take up a massive chunk of my free time, so I’m trying to be realistic about what other goals I’ll set myself. I don’t want to set myself up to fail. But I love setting goals and resolutions each January, even with the knowledge that I won’t achieve them all.

I’ve thought long and hard about 2015’s goals and these are the ones I’ve decided to publicly declare. These resolutions look fairly do-able and yet still they excite me.

The Big Exciting Major One

1) Qualify as a pre-school teacher

This is my big goal. My fabulous new challenge. And I’ll say it here, I want to graduate top of my class. I want to work my socks off and be awesome.


1) 1.49 1/2 Marathon

This is my ridiculous goal for 2015. I honestly think that it is beyond me. I don’t think I can run this fast. But if I told you my goal time was 1.50, I’d be lying. I want to go 1 hr 49…just one time. This may happen at Kaiser, it may not. But it’s there, making my heart beat faster. (Bad analogy for a heart patient, but you know what I mean). This may happen in 2015, it may happen in 2016 but it will be on my list until it happens.

2) Sub 50-min 10k

I think this is more possible. My current PR is 50.37 but that was on a slightly short course. It would be 50.53 on a 6.2 mile course so I’m pretty confident I can knock a minute off it. But it’s still a tough challenge for this slow runner. If I could do a sub-25 min 5k, I’d be pretty chuffed as well.

3) Run in 5 exciting new places

I’m thinking new state parks, running whilst we’re on holiday, cool races…but I want five awesome new running experiences by the end of the year.

Green Lake, Whistler - one of my loveliest 2014 runs

Green Lake, Whistler – one of my loveliest 2014 runs



1) Do a 100 mile bike ride

The Husband is doing a Century Ride in May and frankly, I’d love to join him. But May will be crazy with lectures and exams and I won’t have the time to train – and how two of us train for a long bike ride at the same time, I have no idea. So I’m aiming for September or October.  I might need a new bike (my beloved touring bike is made of steel and weighs a ton) and I will def need to learn to clip in (ugh) but I can do that. 40 year olds can do anything, can’t they?

Me Liesl

2) Learn to swim

My failed 2014 resolution. I’m going to book lessons in June after I do my big goal trail-race.

3) Cross-train weekly

This can be anything. A bike ride, yoga, zumba, rock-climbing, weights…but once a week.



1) Learn the guitar

The Husband and I bought each other half a guitar for Christmas. So far, IT HURTS MY FINGERS SO BADLY! But we’re both going to persevere and I’m hoping to be able to play it decently by the end of the year. We’re going to be like the von Trapp family singers!

Edelweiss, edelweiss...

Edelweiss, edelweiss… Please excuse the Christmas Day mess

2) Clean up my diet

My diet is probably 75 – 80% healthy. And when it’s healthy, it’s SUPER healthy. But I eat a lot of cake. I eat too many second portions. I eat oversized portions. So I’m going to set myself a limit of two sweet treats per week and two drinks per week. I also want to spend January cutting down on/cutting out sugar and I’m not drinking alcohol till after Kaiser. I need to just clear up the mucky edges of my diet.

3) Less time on the iPhone

Another failed but worthwhile 2014 resolution. I’m hoping this will take care of itself due to my college courses, guitar playing, running and the total lack of free time, but I’ll also be working up some ‘guidelines’ to make this happen. I’ve been turning it onto Airplane Mode this week whilst I’m out an about and that’s helping.

4) Travel

Less of a goal and more of a desire…my wish list for 2015 is: Maui/Hawaii, Yellowstone, Oregon (seriously, what’s with the mass obsession about Bend?) and Utah.

Gorgeous Hawaii

Hawaii….I’m coming back for you!

And that’s it! I am really excited about these goals. I actually want to do all of them – none of them are things I just think I should do (like yoga).  I’m very VERY excited about 2015.

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