Sunday, 24 June 2012

Endurance Life Real Realy of Great Britain

'''The Endurancelife Real Relay is an exciting attempt to follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous non-stop journey, running every step of the way.  Starting out from Land’s End at midnight on Monday 28 May, ten days behind the official Olympic Torch, the Real Relay will involve hundreds of runners from across the British Isles running through the day and night on an 8000 mile mission to reach London in time for the Olympic Games opening ceremony.'''

Saturday 23rd June.  Stage 308 Foulden to Lindisfarne via Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Luckily my stage was due to start middle of the afternoon with Les Turnbull (Norham)  doing an earlier stage and a former Wooler man, Brian Singleton, a later leg.  Word came through from Brian early on Saturday morning that the baton was running approximately an hour behind time overnight but a message a bit later from Les showed that it was making up good time. 

There was a certain buzz during the morning with text messages coming to and fro from previous runners to those running later in the day, and I couldn't help but feel really excited about being part of something so big.  I know quite a few runners who have secured stages further down the country and I enjoyed that I was bringing the baton into England and sending it on the way to them 

Jane Holmes arrived at Foulden 4 minutes early piped in by her husband and accompanied by Les Turnbull and another couple of runners.  There was something very emotional about Jane approaching with the sound of the pipes traveling over the open countryside.  Shishi Mason had kindly offered to run the 15 miles to Lindisfarne with me and Caroline Tyser and Hannah Humpries from Norham were joining me to Goswick.

A chance for photos of the change over from Jane to myself before heading off East towards the Border.

Jane Holmes, Pauline Aitchison at Foulden

The baton is fitted with a tracking device so its journey can be tracked live on the internet.  Someone up in Scotland had added the Scottish flag so my parents were sent ahead to purchase an England one to join it!

A quick stop at the Border for a photoshoot.

We took the road from Foulden, crossed the A1 and down Castle Drive before picking up the riverside just north of the Royal Border Bridge. 

 Under that and the Royal Tweed Bridge before crossing the river via the Old Bridge.  We'd had lots of toots from cars along the way and encouragement from walkers.  A very enthusiatic lady stopped us on the Old Bridge and was so pleased to have seen the baton after reading a lot about it.  Another photoshoot!!

Through Tweedmouth and Spittal where we met Claire and Jane and a chance to add the England flag to the baton

From here we headed off road down the coastal path with the North Sea on the left and the Railway line on the right.  This was beautiful.  The stong wind of the morning had died to a warm breeze and the sun was out as we headed along the rugged coastline towards Holy Island.  We had the paths to ourselves apart from the odd walker and occasional train passed us.  Caroline and Hannah peeled off here after 10 miles and it was left to the Wooler posse to make sure the baton arrived safely in the hands of the next runner, Jamie Williams. 

As the miles past the ground underfoot got much wetter and although we'd made good time on the road section I was getting slightly anxious that I wouldn't arrive at the change over point on time.  Time to push on but as I approached 14 miles I knew I was still a fair way off the causeway.  Through mud and sea water and almost a mile later it came in sight.  

I spotted the group waiting for the baton and the emotions I felt earlier in the day came back and I had to flight the urge to cry!  It was such a great feeling to pass the baton on and watch it head away on its journey to London.  I hope the England flag makes it!

 Pauline Aitchison, Jamie Williams at Lindisfarne Causeway

A big thank you to Caroline and Hannah and a huge thank you to my fellow Wooler runners, Claire, Jane and Shishi for helping make this day so memorable.  A great way for me to spend my birthday!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Virgin London Marathon 2012

Race report.

I felt confident going into this marathon.  I knew I’d done everything to get myself in the best possible shape so all I needed was for everything to go well on the day.

I’d turned off auto lap on my garmin so relied on remembering to press lap at the end of each mile.  Looking back over the data is interesting.  Lots of miles measured long and I have a pace per m/m for each lap but not sure how this relates to my finished time.  

The walk from the train to the green start gave me an indication of how warm it was going to be out on the course - so much for cold and rain! 

I don’t remember the green start being so busy and I quickly got held up giving me my first mile in 7:50.  This was fine and I was pleased I hadn’t gone off too fast.   I’d already lost my reserve gel by this point when a big hole appeared in the side of my gel belt.  I made the time up over the next couple of miles and reached the first 5k in 23:00.  Almost bang on.  I was determined not to get carried away and go too fast but it is difficult in some of the miles. 

Hit 10k in 23:07 and was feeling comfortable.  I had to keep a check on the garmin because I could feel myself being dragged along and often had to slow down a bit.

15k – 23:18 still feeling ok and starting to settle into a nice pace.   I’d decided to take my first gel at 10m rather than the usual 14m as lots of others do.  I pulled it out my belt and when I did the one next to it fell to the road.  This would only leave me with two but by the time I realised I’d already open the one in my hand.

20k – 23:17 was it just me or was Tower Bridge quieter than usual?  There didn’t seem to be the sudden blast of noise although there were thousands of people.

Halfway in 1:37.46.  I knew this was spot on and I was feeling relaxed.  I made sure I took a bottle of water at almost every water station having a sip and using the rest to cool me down. 

I was looking out for my family at this point and spotted them just after mile 14.  It’s always nice to see them and know the next time I see them it’ll almost be over.

It was also at this point that I was aware another of my gels had fallen to the ground, so this left me with one for the last 12 miles of the marathon.  I decided to take a risk and took a lucozade one at mile 15.  Yuk, but it did seem to give me an uncanny boost.

25k – 23:11 still feeling good at this point and still on target.  But shortly after this I started to feel a bit crampy in my stomach.  I was sure it would pass but a little bit of self doubt was starting to creep in.

30k – 23:50 by the time I hit the 30k I was aware that all was not well.  I was battling to know what to do.  Make a pit stop or carry on and hope all would be well.   I started to slow and knew that if I didn’t make the necessary stop I was going to just continue to slow.     Around mile 21 I made a dash for the portaloo and was glad I did.  Nuff said!  But, the stopping made my legs cease completely and I was worried I wouldn’t get going again. 

35k – 25:49 I knew during the last 5k that 3:15 was definitely off the cards and but was still hopeful of the 3:17-18, which was really what I though was achievable.   However, the pit stop but that in jeopardy.   I took my one remaining gel and was surprised that my legs still seemed to work although not as well as before.  

Not long after my stop I spotted a chap I know who was hoping for sub 3.  It was obvious he was having his own battle and I drew level with him and we both had a bit of a moan.  We ran together for a bit but his leg cramps meant he had to stop again.   I saw the family again and this gave me another boost.  Going through the tunnel I caught up with another sub 3 hopeful who was also going through the mill (although after running 3:20 in Boston in the hear on Monday it wasn’t that surprising!).  Again, had a chat and ran together for a bit. 

I got a bit of a boost knowing that at that point I was stronger than them although its not nice to see someone who is very capable struggling with issues beyond their control. 

The marathon is a cruel beast.   I was feeling the pain and my stomach still wasn’t right.  I knew I was on for a great pb and just concentrated on trying to get sub 3.20.

40k – 24.40 the last mile or so was agony trying to push on.  I got to the 800m to go and realised I needed to run that in about 3 minutes to get under the 3:20 and I knew this was impossible.  I kept pushing to the end and finished in 3:20.40, which is an 8 minute pb.  It gave my 330rd lady and 68th in my age category.

I was so pleased with this.  At the end of the day we all run the very best that we can on the day and I knew I’d given it everything.  If I hadn’t stopped for the ‘comfort break’ I might have been a few minutes quicker but I doubt in because the tummy cramps would still be there.  If I hadn’t lost my gels and had to take a lucozade things might have been different but then it might have been something else.   

This rounds off a brilliant running year for me and I’ve not regretted any of it (well maybe some of the 5ks).    And, I’m looking forward to another year ahead because I still feel there’s more to come.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Yeavering Bell Hill run

A great Winter Hill run today with Pauline, Kenny and John. 13 Crisp under foot miles.

Monday, 30 January 2012


BLAYDON RACES  I have been able to arrange a block entry for this years Blaydon Races, 9th June.    I will be sorting this after running club tomorrow night. (31st Jan)   It is only available for paid up members(!!) but others can still enter in the normal way from 6th Feb.   

I will need your cheque for £18 (payable to WRC) and your UKAA number (this will be the biggest challenge).    I might not be running tomorrow night but will definitely be in the clubhouse after to sort this.

The 9th June falls on a Saturday this year, coosty.  We will be arranging the usual bus and restaurant.    

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Pauline's Marathon Training - Week 4

Two races and just over 40 miles for the week.

Simon set the session for Tuesday night's club run, which involved running up and down lots of hills lots of times.  Thankfully I had a 5k on Wednesday so didn't have to put too much effort in!

The 5k was the third of a series of 4 that I've been doing in Saltwell Park in Newcastle. (Lovely place for anyone who hasn't been).  The first one was in November and this was only my second ever 5k.  Its not a flat course by any means and the hills really got me.  I was in shock when I finished and thought perhaps my running days were over.   But, I managed a pb in 21.41 and was first lady so that gave me the incentive to do the next one.  

The second was in December and I arrived late and forgot my garmin so felt completely out of control on the entire run.  I had no idea what pace I was running at and was stunned to find I'd knocked 25 seconds off my previous time finishing in 21:16.  Again first lady.

So this brings me to last week's run.  I decided not to run with my garmin but did wear a stop watch (old habits die hard).  I wasn't too bothered about a time and didn't want to kill myself knowing that I had a half marathon coming up on Sunday.   But a must have a bit of Claire Bagness in me because I just couldn't help trying my best once I got going.  Finish time:  A 10 second pb 21:06.  First lady again.  The final one is in February.

I'm quite tempted to do a flat 5k sometime soon just to see what I can do there.  

Onto Sunday.  Brass Monkey HM in York.  I had set a new half pb in September running 1:32.42 at the GNR but injury followed and I was just getting back into it when I ran my next one, Norwich in November, in 1:36.07.    I wanted to try and get back down to my 1:32 at York but wasn't sure how it would go with the gale force winds.  

Fortunately, I found it to be more of a cross wind and although I'm sure it did affect times slightly I don't think it hindered me too much.  I decided to try to stick to as close to 7 m/m as a I could throughout.  This was fine for the first 5 miles but then I dropped during mile 6 and 7, which were the most exposed.  I then had to work hard for the next 4 miles to get close to where I wanted to be.  I quick time check at mile 11/12 showed I was going to be happy with my time and I crossed the line is 1:33.43.    So only a minute slower than my pb in those conditions shows that the work over the past couple of months is paying off.

My next half is the Meadows in Edinburgh in 6 weeks. 

I few stats:  I was 7 seconds away from 3rd oldish bird (F40) and 26th lady out of 599.  I'm probably more pleased with my placing than my time. 

Also well done to Sarah Robson who ran 1:54, Mark Robson who ran 2:04 and Andrew Aitchison who hobbled in with a sore foot in 2:22.

Now back to some basic training for a few weeks.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Pauline's Marathon Training - Week 3

So week three and just under 56 miles completed.  

There was a fantastic turn out at the club on Tuesday night with probably about 30 runners keen to blow away the cobwebs.  A drill type warm up on the Trading Estate was followed by some figure of 8 loops measuring 1.2m around the town.  The plan was to do 6 but I think some (me included!) cut it a bit short.  

Friday was my speed session, which was sandwiched between domestic chores and work.  Back in the summer I used to dread these sessions but have grown to tolerate them now because, for me, they are  making the difference with my race times.  I was pleased to run the fastest 800m I've ever run in 3:03 but it wasn't easy!

Then today I had a glorious 20 miles in the frozen countryside.  I tried to meet others from the club who were doing various runs:  Rob MJ running to Alnwick and Claire, H and Kenny heading out around Heburn Woods, but the logistics were proving a bit difficult so I went alone.  

I don't mind these long runs on my own occasionally because its a chance to chill but I do like it when I have company.  I did a nice route around Horton, Chillingham, Chatton etc and it was cold!  My water froze in my hydration pack and I couldn't get a drink till 18.5 miles!   But a cracking 20 with an average pace of 8:34 and the last 6 miles all started with a 7!

I have a cutback week next week so not such a high mileage but 2 races slotted in for good measure:  a 5k and a half marathon. 

I must get the debit card out and enter some races.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Pauline's Marathon Training.

I ran my first marathon in 2003 in 3hrs43 and was to spend the next 8 years trying to get under 3:30.  I started to think it might never happen then in November 2010 I took a long hard look at my training, took on board lots of advice, changed my training schedule completely, and finally in April 2011 ran 3:28 in London.

It was as if the penny suddenly dropped and once I'd reached my target I knew that if I continued to train smart I could knock more time off the marathon and other distances.   I signed up with a Coach last April, immediately following the marathon, and this has made a huge difference to my training and my race times.   During 2011 I ran:

1 x marathon pb
1 x half marathon pb
4 x 10k pbs
3 x 5k pbs

The greatest achievement was running 1:32 in the Great North Run and finishing 60th female overall.  I never would have imagined that was possible.

So, throughout 2011 I have gradually built up my weekly mileage, starting the year averaging 40 miles per week and finishing averaging 50.  I now do a weekly speed session and lots of road running rather than hitting the hills.   I reached my target of 2011 miles in 2011 on 30th December!

I am now training for London 2012 and my goal is to run sub 3:15 which will then give me a Championship entry for the 2013.  My training and times indicate this will be possible but I still need to convince my head!  Along the way I need to run a half marathon close to 1:30. 
So, 2 weeks into training and managed to clock up 50 miles week 1 and 60 miles week 2. 

Starting week 3.....