What can possibly go wrong??? Race Day Disasters

Most people plan ‘Race Day’ with military precision. It’s vital that everything runs smoothly. We follow training plans to ensure that we peak at the right moment, we practice our routines; pre-race food, nutrition during the race, the pace at which we are going to run. We know our travel arrangements, the same way an expectant fathers knows the route to the local hospital. With all the planning, things still go wrong! So let me share one of my race day disasters

So, firstly let me set the scene. This was my first EVER race, and let’s just say that the above didn’t apply to me, so much of what I am going to recall is totally my own doing!

I was still playing basketball, so any running that I did, was purely to get fit for my sport. A teammate asked our whole team if we would like to get involved in a ‘Fun Run’ as she was raising money for a charity. “It’s only 5k”, she said. “We won’t have to train for it, we’ll all be ok with that!”

So my friend Stacey and I agreed to do it. On the day of the run, we made our way up to London, as the run was taking place in Victoria Park. We had left nice and early, just in case we got lost, but our navigation skills were good, and we got to the edge of the park early.

So, what do you do when you are early? Well, we thought it was a good idea to sit in the pub opposite the park. Not a bad idea, but the 2 pints of lager I consumed, was probably not my best idea.

Photo Credit: www.unsplash.com Paloma A @speakandfun

Time passed quickly as we chatted away, and before we knew it, there were only 15 minutes until the run started. That’s fine we thought, it’s just across the road. We could see the park entrance from where we were sitting! So, off we trundle to the entrance, through the gate, and…

Where was the start? The park was huge, I’d never been to Victoria Park before, and for some reason thought it was a going to be a small park. We started walking, then a little faster, then a jog, we could see everyone lined up ready to start in the distance, but they were all facing us; cue sprint! We ran into the hall chucked our bags down, picked up the race bib. Why does it say 5-mile race? Yep, that’s right, it’s a 5-mile race, not 5K!

We frantically tried to attach our bib numbers to our tops, as we ran out to the start. I was puffing and panting as we stopped at the back, seconds later the gun went and we were off! I was shattered before we had even started the race!

We completed the run, and I can still remember the runners high I got after the race, and even though I was shattered, I can recall telling Stacey, I want to do more races, I want to do a half marathon, one day I want to run the London Marathon! Little did I know then, I would and I would be part of a running club too.

So, what are your race days disasters? Comment below and let me know. 

The best running decision I ever made…joining a running club.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, and now that it is beginners month with @ukrunchat, it seemed very apt to finally finish and publish it.

If you are thinking of taking up running, or you want to take your running to the next level, join a club. It seems like the scariest thing in the world; How can you join when you are not a proper runner? Will you be too slow? What if no-one speaks to you? The negative thoughts go on and on. But seriously it is the best thing that I ever did. I’m not saying joining a run club works for everyone, but finding the right running club for you will increase your enjoyment of running x 100.

Training session with TB

I had tried a running club when I lived in Surrey, and even though I enjoyed it at the time, I got injured as I was trying to keep up with a very fast paced group and had to stop going after the third week. When I had recovered I didn’t go back, I just preferred plodding on my own, at my own pace.

Now that I have joined Team Balancise, it is awesome. Definitely, the best decision I have made for my running. From day one, I have enjoyed every session. I have met a wonderful group of people and I look forward to training every week.

YMCA??? Anyone? Photo Credit @AndyBrayford

So, what are the benefits of joining a club? Here are just a few I can think of:

  1. You meet like-minded people. Runners are a special type, and at a running club, everyone is that same ‘type’ as you! There is no such thing as TMI when it comes to runners, we share all sorts of information with each other, that any Muggles (non-runners) just wouldn’t understand!
  2. You can talk about running until your heart’s content, and your club mates will join in too! They actually like your running status on social media, and are really pleased for you when your run goes well! They understand when you are excited about the PB you got, and they are often just as excited for you.
  3. Training runs are always so much more fun as you have people to run with. My training cycle for London this year was so much more enjoyable as I chatted my way around most of my long runs, and then was pushed to work harder through all of my speed sessions.
  4. My club mates are so supportive. If I ever had a wobble during the lead up to London, they always gave sensible advice and gave me the belief that I could do it. Seeing them on the sideline at London gave me a huge boost.
  5. Being part of a club also helps you to find out about local races. I know most races are advertised all over the internet, but I have found out about so many local races through my club. I would have never competed in the Peterborough Half Marathon had it not been for TB, but I loved it and will be doing it again!
  6. The coaches push you harder than you would push yourself on your own, but they also are able to adapt the session for all abilities, so you never feel out of your depth.
  7. The sessions are always varied. Running the same route, the same pace and at the same time, each week can quickly become boring. Being part of a club means you run a variety of routes, lots of different types of sessions and quite often all the sessions you try to avoid when on your own!
  8. In the correct club, your running improves. I have definitely become a better runner since joining a club. I am better at pacing, I am better at training, and I love my running SO much more.
  9. On the days you really don’t feel like running, but you have made arrangements to meet a club mate, you go and you always feel better afterwards.
  10. Clubs are full of so much experience. For most people, there will always be people faster than you, runs longer than you and vice versa. You can learn from all of them!
Team Balancise 2019

I am sure that there are many, many more reasons to join a club, so feel free to add your reasons below. If you are not part of a club, and you are thinking about it, my advice; do it! If it’s not the right club for you, find another because when you find the right club, you’ll love running just that little bit more.

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What would be your ideal event?

I was recently introduced to www.eventbrite.co.uk, a website for finding and planning events. It was then suggested, I could write a blog post on my favourite moments from races and what my ideal race would be. So, if you could run your perfect race, what would it be? It doesn’t have to already be established, we are talking hypothetical here. Some people would love hills, others the mud, and obstacle races; being covered in paint or a night. What distance would it be? I really have no idea.

If I pick out some of my favourite race moments, this may help me design a perfect race for me. My first ever half marathon, was the Royal Park Half Marathon, and I LOVED it. There is something special to me about running in London. Running along the Embankment, looking at the River Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben and all the amazing architecture and history in the buildings, is something quite special. I don’t think you could ever beat running in front of Buckingham Palace too.

But the other great thing about RPH, is that after running through the hassle and bustle of a big City, you turn into the tranquil Hyde Park and run in the beautiful park.

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will already know about my love of running in London from my participation in three London Marathons! You could think that by the 3rd time, the excitement of seeing all the famous landmarks might have diminished, but this just isn’t the case. I never tire of the noise and excitement around Cutty Sark, and the butterflies you get as you run across Tower Bridge.

During my first marathon, Tower Bridge seemed to appear out of nowhere and I don’t think it really sunk in  until after I had crossed it. I think I probably crossed it with the largest grin on my face and was slightly dazed too. The second year, I was struggling with injury and didn’t really soak up the atmosphere as I was concentrating too hard on my injury! This year, I knew it was coming, I was running strongly and I tried to inhale the atmosphere. I looked around at the cheering crowds, I listened to their shouts, tried to read some banners, it was amazing. I still think I ran across it with the hugest of grins.

I have also been lucky enough to cycle across Tower Bridge, when I took part in the Nightrider Event and it really is just so special.

Nightrider 2013

Nightrider 2013

So back to my ideal race, looking at the above I think it would have to include some famous landmarks. Not necessarily in London, but who wouldn’t want to run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Eiffel Tower, through Times Square, past the Disney Castle in Disneyland. It would have to be flat too, a chance of getting a PB always helps. It would also have to be well supported, as the crowds really help make an event. The calling of your name, the signs they post that put a smile on your face.

It looks as though my dream races have already been established, but if you had a blank canvas, what would yours be? Comment below and let me know.

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Now London is over for this year, What’s next?

I have spent so long training and thinking about the London Marathon 2016, what now?? Well, if you had asked me this question during my training for London, I would have immediately said, I want to train for a sub 2 hour half marathon in the Autumn. A half marathon training programme seemed much less time-consuming and I was kind of craving that around week 13 of 16.

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So back to today. I still really want to get a sub 2 hour half marathon, but something keeps making me look at Autumn marathons too! Some of my club mates are running Bournemouth Marathon, my cousin is running Abingdon Marathon, and I know come the Autumn I’ll be jealous of everyone running marathons!

I signed up for Bournemouth immediately after completing London back in 2014, but didn’t end up running it. I just didn’t training for it. So would this happen again?

I find summer training really difficult, don’t get me wrong, I love running in the sun, but I just struggle to stick to a plan. Being a teacher means my routines go out the window for at least six weeks of the summer, and common sense would say this is an ideal time to train, as I have more time. But being away and in unfamiliar locations means I struggle to run long distances, being away from home and not having my running buddies, mean I end up skipping runs.

On the plus side, I am now part of a run club, so I know I would be running at least twice a week, and then I’m sure I’ll be enjoying some sunny long runs at the weekend. Decision, decision!!!

I sat down recently and wrote all the races that I have booked or was thinking of booking on a calendar. It worked out that I had a half marathon almost every weekend during October and the first half of November. Whoops! Luckily I hadn’t booked them all!

So what is next? In all honesty I’m still not too sure, I think I need to give it some more thought. Generally I want to get faster, and a better runner.

Hilariously, after writing this blog post, this arrived

So it looks like a 10K might be next! hehehe

What are your running plans? Next race?

Rula Runs is now on Facebook :-)

So, I’ve finally got round to setting up a Facebook page for this blog. It just means I can keep everyone updated a little bit quicker,  if I don’t have a time to write a full blog post. Also, I think it might save my none running friends on FB, from all my running posts!

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So, if you have a Facebook account and want to follow, click the like button, and please feel free to share. As I was told recently, ‘sharing is caring 😉

Running – A cheap sport……

They say that running is a cheap sport (not totally sure who ‘they’ are), which it can be. Get some decent trainers, a good sports bra for the women (well, men if you have moobs, why not ;-)) and off you go!

I, on the other hand, seem to have found an obsession for every expensive brand going. I bought myself a new pair of runners recently. I have been wearing Asics GT range for as long as I can remember. Usually, I pay around £60 for my runners. The last range of GT’s have been a really horrible colour (in my opinion, obviously) so as soon as I saw the new release I wanted them! I thought I was going to have to wait until the price dropped, but my husband gave me money for my christmas present to buy them, so yes I actually paid £100 for my new runners. They are so comfortable and pretty too.

I discover the ashmei brand through twitter and following a few other blogs. When I looked at their website, I really liked the look of their kit, but really couldn’t justify buying more kit, especially when it is on the more expensive side. Then for my birthday, my family suggested putting money together, so I asked them to get me the ashmei socks. They are amazing. I’m finding it hard to say why, but I know they are amazing as I forget I have socks on, and I always opt for these socks when I open the drawer.

I had always seen people wearing the 2XU tights at races, and always thought they looked very flashy. Whoever was wearing them, looked like an athlete. So I saved up last year, and bought a pair of capri tights. Immediately, I wore them, I knew I would be purchasing more. The fit was so comfortable, they didn’t roll down, ride up, or annoy me in any way. So, I saved and bought more. Sports Pursuit had them on offer, and I bought more. Now, I scan the sports pursuit website all the time for the 2XU offers. Marathon training now means I could do with some more, so if anyone knows of any deals, please let me know – my bank manager would really appreciate it!

I am always conscious of making sure I can be seen when running in the dark. Having run 2 spring marathon, where all the training takes place in the dark, I am always on the look out for new Hi Viz kit. Recently, I have seen Proviz jackets advertised, and I was lucky enough to get one for christmas. It is great for being seen, but I find the jacket quite warm – it may be the mild winter we have been having! But I am now pining after the gilet!

Last year at the London Marathon expo, I purchased some runderwear. I had read good reviews, and the staff on the stand were so lovely I bought 2 pairs. I know that everyone tells you not to wear anything new on marathon day, but I couldn’t resist. I wore the pants and they were amazing. No chaffing at all, very comfortable, lightweight; I didn’t really notice I was wearing any!

I daren’t tally up how much I have spent on race entries, but there is always a new race that is a must. This year, I can’t help but be tempted by the inaugural Disneyland Paris half marathon. The Run Disney events always have the most amazing medals, in addition to running through the parks. I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland Paris last christmas, and I went for an early morning run around the resort. There is just something magical about the area.

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The entry is 79€ which is not excessive, but when you add the travel and the accommodation, it could become quite costly. I am tempted…..

I am not being naive, thinking I can’t run unless I have all of the above, but I just thought I’d share with you just a few of my favourites (notice I said few, the list could go on and on!) This is not a sponsored post, and I have not received anything for writing this post.

What running related product is your guilty pleasure?