The plan from Now until September From March being diagnosed with glandular fever has been my biggest battle yet despite also having capsulitis and also hamstring issues. The list goes on with the band aids over the body and the body is fragile.
Things started to improve in April and the reason I went ahead to run the Anglo Celtic plate which sadly had to retire 75k in due to hamstring and achillies issues. Long and short of it was I thought I could defy my body and it keeps coming back.
In July I went to visit an Olympic doctor to get advice and he basically said you need to get well and in essence all the pills and potions there is no magic fix and you need to take rest. Deep down amongst a long discussion spoke with Norman Wilson who is working alongside my coach Rodger to help build up my endurance and push my ability with the 100k. I know the rest and recoup is on the cards but we agreed one more chase for the World Champs qualifying time in Winschouten. The race is on the 9th Sept, agreed also that after the race to take 4 week’s off running to try and combat the glandular once and for all. So there are now no heavy fast pace work, just what’s needed to get me through the training. I need to sleep more, eat well and do everything I can to get to the start line in 1 piece in just under 8 weeks time.
I have stopped enjoying racing and not achieving what I am capable of so we agreed I need to take away that pressure and focus on training.
2nd July – British Masters 3000m
Running in the area match the same race I ran last year and won comfortably despite having come straight from packing up my race. Another hot one and didn’t feel alert and having got sunburnt knew I may struggle. A few stronger girls this time and had to settle for 3rd in a time of 10.40. Along way for disappointment but needed points scored for the masters.
8th July – Southern Athletics League Battersea 5,000m
My biggest battle is the track again and going slightly longer where I already knew 3000m I was struggling. I put my fighting spirit on and ensured that I just kept going to finish strong. I always wanted to finish with 17 something but realistic with a relapse of Glandular, feeling very emotional that it was a case of focusing on my race. I also didn’t want to be lapped and pushed myself round in 18:26.
A race that wasn’t meant to be! The night before I felt feverish but didn’t consider this could be glandular but felt awful race morning. I still decided to eat breakfast, remain positive and give it ago. For the first 4/5 laps I felt okay at 6.25 pace but on the 7th one I felt awful and made a decision with Alex who was keeping me company to pull out as I had terrible chest pain, dry throat, and burning eyes. After this, I decided to seek medical advice as the doctor locally provided me another glandular test and this came up positive again.
4th June 2017 – UK Womens League ( UWAL) – 3000m
A track I enjoyed last year and was hopeful I could run a reasonable race here again. I managed to finish 2nd in 10.36 which wasn’t the fastest but still a performance I just had to put down to my recovery and multiple factors limiting my speed. Great turn out from the club and nice to see a few faces from the team
17th June 2017 – Southern Athletics League 3,000m
A tough one in heat and also a long training week but the pressure was off being the B string as I knew Sophie would be much quicker. It was not far from 29/30 degrees and with the velodrome around the track made it much warmer. I managed to muscle through but felt unwell, I knew we needed the points. It wasn’t particularly fast but a respectable time in those conditions. My friend Leigh also came and ran as a guest so it was what I put down as “ solid training” in 10:36 and a slight improvement from the UWAL. I really do struggle with speed. Welwyn Report
The Delay in writing my results are normally a sign of how I feel. Sadly my preparation for this race was less from perfect with only a few long runs but enough for me to stand at the start line.
The journey up to Hull was a long one and the place we stayed was positioned very close to a bypass so the sleep was non-existent. With some great friends, planned my drinks and all the race needed. I was lucky to have my friends Jo, Trevor and Phil onboard to help me. In my heart I Just felt the course would be challenging on a camber along with long straights and the feeling of “ no man’s land”. That was just how it was on the day, I was glad it started early which suited me but was deceiving as the sun came through the clouds which made it a sweat fest, hence the need for more fluid and that in turn caused me some discomfort. I had a game plan and stuck to it despite some close encounters with other runners and I felt comfortable at the 7:19 pace I remained. A bit like marathons it’s amazing how hard the distance is and how you can feel okay and then suddenly uncomfortable. My achilles was tightening on the uneven surface along with not being able to lift my leg up comfortable.
Sadly, I just couldn’t hobble another 15 miles and had to stop despite being in the lead for more of the race but the race fared better for team mate Sophie who finished in 2nd place. Tears, disappointment all followed and I also realized that maybe the body hadn’t recovered. After a bit of time out decided to give Boddington 50k a go which would be 4 weeks later
Well, that was a surprise in the bag to win Bracknell Half in my quickest time ever of 1.20.37 and 3rd overall win and also vet category. Especially after fearing earlier in the week that my glandular fever was overcoming me again with a fever temperature. However, having booked the race in a few months back and needing race confidence for the 100k in just under 2 weeks’ time decided to give it ago. The race prior was cold and windy but would suit me keeping my temperature low as possible without burning up.
As the race proceeded it was a solo jaunt with only a few men around me but not closer enough to shelter me from the wind. It’s a tough course with lots of twists/turns, double backs and 2 very long main climbs from 6-9 miles, over 515ft of climb and then a decent before the fun of swinging around more underpasses and on the way home to victory in South Hill Park.
Having considered history when I ran the first event back in 2005 (1:30.34), I have gone onto improving over the years. 2006 (1:28.06), 2009 (2nd place 1:24:52), 2014 (1:21.25), 2015 (1:21:28) and then this year 2017 (1:20.37)
As always a highly organised event with over 150 marshalls, lots of support on the course and great prize ceremony. Not a quick course but will help to build back from Glandular a confident finish and some fun with the mayor at the end.
Bracknell Half in Pictures
Bracknell Half Results 2017
2017 Larking around with the Mayor of Bracknell Half & Sponsor
I really wasn’t up for this race on the day having had a busy weekend and Saturday running also a long training run. Regardless I needed to flyer the race with the local school event and felt this would be good training for me. I went with my friend Trevor due to Alex feeling unwell. Again no high expectations for this due to knowing it was a hilly course and this time last year hadn’t run it due to recovery period from the 100-mile race over that bank holiday weekend. Ran with my dogs in the morning and then a warm up which would equate to 10 miles in total beyond the race. During the race it was a slow start and very congested unfortunately so it meant weaving, feeling tired I was struggling to push 6.50 pace.
I remained consistent and tried not to get frustrated climbing the hill just after 2 miles where my friend was catching me. As the race progressed I managed to come off the hill strong and push forward. I led from the start and finish and not at any point looked behind me, often or not with spectators when the clap or say something you normally have a good idea where the next lady is.
Again this race having felt low on confidence I had no high expectations, also knowing it was a hilly course and this time last year I hadn’t run it due to recovery period from the 100-mile race. I ran with my dogs this morning and then a short warm up which would total today’s run for 10 miles. Also decided to test out my race kit in preparation for the England Championship race.
During the race, it was a weirdly slow start and very congested due to a curved start ( never seen this before !) unfortunately this also meant weaving, feeling tired I was struggling to push 5.50 pace. I remained consistent and tried not to get frustrated climbing the hill just after 2 miles where my friend Trevor was starting to catch me and my lack of hill training was showing.
As the race progressed I managed to come off the hill strong and push forward. I led from the start and finished first lady in 30.18 which isn’t my fasted and averaged 6.02 pace which for a hilly course I’m pleased with.
Again it was progressing and pleased to finish along with a win at a local race. It’s a cruel course and when slightly under the weather takes no prisoners.
Now onto Bracknell half on the 7th May before a rest week and then the focus of the year ACP 100k.
It felt like a lifetime when I first signed up to volunteer for this Centurion event and then the time came and went so quickly.
Knowing I was going to have a heavy year racing and intended to run the South Downs 50 (never happened in the end due to Glandular) and a week after London marathon. Anyway, it would be good to know what it feels like to be on the other side and with John who I regularly run still not on form and my Best pal Jo the best volunteer/marshall you have a good team in place. This is a “runners race” organised by a runner was the feedback I heard many times. With Alex not feeling well Phil joined us to do the timing for the aid station at Cookham. Starting from 1.30pm onwards setting up our aid station with the crew we had Barry, Steph, and Cat onboard.
First runner through was not as expected Mark Denby, he had been leading all the way for at least 30 miles but the man in second place at the time Michael Stocks who eventually went on to win the race in a fantastic time of sub 15hrs. Sadly for Mark he was struggling with an injury in hip/hamstring and had to call time on his racing at mile 38 and our station. We didn’t have time to talk with the steady flow of runners as the hours ticked by. It gives you a realization on how much goes into the race, all walks of life including walkers wanting to make the cut-off, runners looking to improve on their previous race time and then newbies.
As the main Aid station manager, I flittered between 2 main duties which involved filling up competitor’s drinks and then acting as additional support for timing. It became obvious a few hours in that you needed to be out on the path helping direct runners in and taking note of numbers for timing needs. Time did fly by and the gaps became bigger between the runners. The slower runners at the back end of field spent more time in aid stations were longer, chatty and all with personal journeys which I am full admiration for and reminds me how special I felt last year. For all of us as runners who also marshal/support other races but much shorter this was a great experience and I have always respected the marshal role but for me it was good to be part of a very well organised race, meet the runners and the volunteers.
Leading on from this as we packed upon arrival of the last runner and the sweeper we helped send the lorry on its way to the next aid station after the Cut-off had been and gone. Sunday 30th I then did the second sweep to check everything was off the riverfront and picked up to ensure the race can return the following year. All I can say is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, as is always a great event and for all of us positive to give something back. This made me want to get back on the course for next year to break my course record and remind me that a lot goes into event management.
Cat Simpson, John Dooey, Sam Amend, Barry Collins, Jo Smith, Phil Stephens.
Having not started 2017 how I intended too I have missed the opportunity to run a spring marathon sadly. It has been a rocky road to recovery but seeing progress and feeling improvement from Glandular I have gradually increased the miles. Recovery started with Maidenhead 10 and then incorporating a 1 x weekly track session. Also on the weekend of Maidenhead 10 ( 16th April), I managed a 25 mile run around the local track averaging 7:05 pace ( quicker than intended race pace) on what was a long training week with overall miles tallying 90.
Beyond this the week later I upped the anti and again this was to run on the track which was a safety net if I felt unwell, it’s quiet and I could test my running kit, water/drinks strategy. This time I achieved 31 miles ( 50k) at 7.00 min miling pace in 3hrs 38.10 and came off this feeling tired but also positive on the progress having only a month earlier been unable to run a few miles without fatigue. The final long run was the last Saturday in April and 22 miles, this time I wanted slightly shorter after a stacked week of miles a quicker pace. Starting at the race time of 7.30am I ran 20 miles on the track and due to the slower miles running to the track had to pick up pace to complete in a quicker time than the past 2 weekend runs. Last few miles were at 6.40/45 pace with an overall finish pace of 6.58. Helping on an event on Sunday I used the day to then sweep the course and tally up a 14 mile run finishing the week mileage at 95. With time running out and not wanting to be exhausted for the May 100k and no marathon completed this will have to be it.
The final long run was the last Saturday in April and 22 miles, this time I wanted slightly shorter after a stacked week of miles a quicker pace. Starting at the race time of 7.30am I ran 20 miles on the track and due to the slower miles running to the track had to pick up the pace to complete in a quicker time than the past 2 weekend runs. Last few miles were at 6.40/45 pace with an overall finish pace of 6.58. Helping on an event on Sunday I used the day to then sweep the course and tally up a 14 mile run finishing the week mileage at 95. With time running out and not wanting to be exhausted for the May 100k and no marathon completed this will have to be it. I feel in myself better but equally conscious with the last few days suffering dehydration and tiredness that Glandular Fever is lurking in the background.
My first race in double digits this was going to be an interesting run. I did feel some slight pressure especially with it being a local race and half hoped to dip under 60 minutes. A full packed race at the startline and a lot of local recognised faces. I had no other expectations apart from the desire to finish and seeing a rival who I just nipped at the finish line in the Great South 10 miles in October knew she would be strong.
The race felt okay and comfortable running just shy of 6 min miling and progressed nicely into some quicker sections, I was elated to get into the 10k still feeling good although always in sight was the leading lady. Maybe there was no desire to push or part of me felt stick with the plan don’t over do it as this race is about “ progression”. Slipping a few times to 6:10/6:15 pace I did feel frustrated and had to dig deep in particular for the last 2 miles which
Slipping a few times to 6:10/6:15 pace I did feel frustrated and had to dig deep in particular for the last 2 miles which have twists and turns and across an uneven field. I just needed to hang on for 2nd place. Something I managed to achieve and crossing the line with a push in 60:40 which was hard for me but still my best finish at the local race. On reflection the winning time today was slower than my last years time and I also felt dreadful last year but this year in control. Came away feeling positive and that my England 100k may just be back on track.
Theresa May a regular on the marshal circuit and the first year as the Prime Minster hits national news Theresa May