Tuesday, 25 September 2012

First race highs

On Sunday 9th September I completed my first official 5km since my very first one, 7 years ago.

To say my life has changed since then is somewhat of an understatement, right?!

As I am always playing catchup on my blog, here are some insights and things I learnt about myself, running, life during the course of the 5km race.

Always be sure of the race date.  For weeks before the race I was preparing for the race to be on Saturday 8th.  I'd been on the website, the race was on the 8th right?!  Wrong.  As we were looking up where to park on the Friday, my face fell.  It was actually on the Sunday.  Needless to say I felt really stupid (but secretly pleased as it meant I got a lie in on Saturday which was badly needed.)

Learning new crafts.  I learnt to tie a metal magnetic timer into my shoe laces and feel very sporty in doing so

J had already promised to stay with me for the whole race.  He had not trained at all for it, maybe going out with me 3 times in total, his longest run 20 mins at Emmy pace.  He is just one of those annoying sporty people who is naturally fit and let's face it, he could have ran ahead of me with sure ease.

It was a gorgeous day! (J actually ran ahead to take this not so flattering photo of me. Show off)


We lined up with the other 5km runners at the back as practically everyone in the race was a club runner.  This is another point, although I already kind of knew this with the lack of 5km races in France...

5km is serious business.  Everyone was there to win!  I still am not used to this and I don't think I want to be.  I run because I can, and I am truly humbled every time I watch the marathon and see all the interviews with the amazing people running for charity.  In France, this does not happen.  As a result, the runners were practically all club runners.  Meaning....

I was almost last!  Out of about 90 people doing the 5km, I came a very honourable 82nd!  And I was dam proud!  J came in just in front of me.  I was incredibly proud to say I overtook about 5 people in the last 1km!  It was a killer though. 

I'd totally lost my bearings with how far I had left to run and what with the hill at the end I wanted to give up.  J said it was just round the corner and when I rounded it I heard my name being called out by the compere who had read my race number.  It felt very cool and gave me a huge boost and a buzz!

Never trust an ipod + sensor that's not been calibrated.  I had lost my bearing because I rely heavily on the ipod + app telling me my progress.  I realised during the race that it was waaaay out.  It actually told me I'd finished the 5k soon after we'd gone past the 4km marker.  I was totally gutted and disppointed to think that all those time I thought I'd ran 5km without stopping, the time I almost did it in 30 mins, all those times, all those time I was no where near 5km.  This is why the last 1km was difficult for me.

When I crossed the line and heard my official timer beep merrily at the finish line I had the sense to press the calibrate button on my ipod. 

My official time was 34,24 and I'm ok with that.  I didn't get a stitch which is a miracle in itself and I didn't stop running once and I had enough in me at the end to overtake others and sprint(ish) to the finish line.

My time was about 6 minutes faster than my original 5km race in London 7 years ago so I'm good with that.  I'll never be a fast runner.  After all, I don't call them my dodgy legs for nothing! 

I learnt a lot from the experience and I can't wait to do it again!  In fact, I'm doing another one in the UK this weekend.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

C.H.A Cars, Hills and Apéros

Unfortunately the holidays have already been and gone and I'm already back at work...boooo!

We really did a tour de France this summer and I'm not sure I could do it again to be honest.  By the end I was really not travelling well!  We drove a total of 3000km.

We went from the North to Nantes (7 hours in a car) then to Cap d'agde on the South coast (10 hours in a car - horrible does not do it justice) then to Toulouse (3 hours in a car) then back up to the North (10 hours in a car).

The leg from Nantes to Cap d'agde was awful.  There is no motorway from Nantes to Bordeaux and it took forever.  When we got to Bordeaux there were traffic jams and we headed off the mototrway into Wine Countryside.  It's very pretty, but oh so windy.  I unfortunately to do not have a photo, but I was momentarily cheered up as we passed by the town of 'Condom'.  hehe.  Needless to say I was so glad to arrive in Cap d'agde and to be welcomed by the sun!

I took my running shoes on holiday as previously mentioned and did quite well.  I went running in Nantes in the beautiful countryside twice, and in Cap d'agde twice, early morning before breakfast!  Not bad for 8 days!  (It was way too hot in Toulouse to run, 28oC at 9am, not thanks). 

I was true to my word and I did attempt the hill in Cap d'adge.  I was really hard on myself because it was ridiculously difficult and I admit I walked a great deal up it.  There was a 3 km climb to the hill, then 1km steep climb.  I was worn out before I got to the foot of the steep hill. I was amazed to see quite a few other runners attempting the hill, they seemed to be doing well, gritting their teeth, but going up in a jog all the same.  I couldn't manage a lot in a jog, but I was proud to say I was at the top before 9am! 

At the foot of Mont St Loup
Admiring the view of the misty morning
Coming back was a hell of a lot easier and I managed to run all the 4km home.  :o)  Yea, I deserve no medal there!!

Away from running, our holidays were like any other.  Who says holidays, says aperos!  My healthy eating took a battering during our 10 days away.  I practically had apéro twice a day, lunch time and evening, every day.  yikes!  I love a good glass of muscat and nibbles.  uh hum. When in Rome and all that. I was a little worried getting on the scales the morning after we got back home but hallelujah, someone is looking out for me, as I had only gained half a kilo!  I honestly couldn't believe it!  Maybe this means I can have apéro more often?  hmmm, I don't think so!  ;o) J wasn't so well looked after, the scales were showing 4 kg heavier when he got home.  Opps!

Before we headed North, we spent 3 days in Toulouse to see J's bro and his family.  It was great to see them but I did come to the conclusion that I couldn't live there, ever.  In the summer they have to close the window shutters so the heat doesn't get in the house meaning you live in the dark and have to turn the lights on in the daytime.  I love sunlight and I need it to feel good.  I just couldn't cope in the summer if I lived in the South!  Another point is that when we were there, we had a siesta every afternoon.  I NEVER sleep in the afternoon.  I hate it, it's such a waste of time but the heat (35oC +) really wipes you out and you can't help but nod off for an hour after lunch.  I don't know how people in offices cope!  Finally, and it's a big one for me, I couldn't cope with the mosquitos.  Over the years, I've grown to be frigtened of them because I am severely allergic to them and require steriods to get over the bites.  As soon as night falls, they come out to play and Emmy?  She runs into the house and checks that all windows are closed.  I couldn't spend one evening outside with the others.  Another reason why I will never live in the South, if I can't make the most of the good weather!

On our way home, our air conditioning broke!  And on the day the 'canicule' was in full swing!  It started smoking in the car and we spent the whole 9 hours journey turning it on and off every 2 minutes (the length of time it stayed coldish).  We were lucky to have a can of water vapour to try to cool us off. 

It was nice to get back home to familiar noises and smells.  I really disconnected during this summer holiday, exactly what I needed because the new work year has already started like an Olympic starting pistol!

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