Happy New Year

First things first, you will probably have noticed a time delay between my blog updates lately. As training increases, spare time decreases which means less time to sit and write blogs.  As I am heading out to Kenya for a training camp soon, internet access will be limited so I have decided to just do a blog every 2 weeks rather than try and get one out every week.  Of course if I have anything really interesting or exciting to tell you all I will try and get it up ASAP.

Now the formalities are out of the way, Happy New Year everyone!

My year has started the way last year ended. I’ve basically spent my time lately following the same routine – run, eat, work, eat, run, eat, sleep, repeat the next day…  Great for my fitness and bank balance but not so good for my social life –not that I’ve ever got one, but it was the ‘party’ season!

Full flow near the end of the Durham Cathedral Relays

Full flow near the end of the Durham Cathedral Relays

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair for me, in bed for 10pm with a 6am alarm set for a nice easy 5miles at 6.30am before driving up to Morpeth for the New Year’s day road race.

This was the first time that I have run this race.  The weather was quite kind to us – a bit chilly but no strong winds which we’ve had the previous few days.  At the end of my warm up I bumped into Jim Alder (Morpeth and NE running legend and ‘tough of the track’) he asked if I’d done the race before and when I said no he described it for me ‘2miles flat, 2miles up hill, 2miles downhill’ then added ‘and when I say uphill I mean UPHILL!’ When Jim says that it scares you!! Mind as the race is 11k I was curious as to what the other 0.75 of a mile was like!

As it turned out I really enjoyed the course –Jim was right about the first bit – a nice flat start and then we started to climb gently.  I was running along thinking ‘this is going to get bad any second’ but before I knew it we were at the top and turning for home.  The hill wasn’t as bad as Jim had made it out to be. Either that or I’m a lot stronger than I realised just now! Jim was right about the last 2 miles, nice gentle downhill.  I finished 1st female in 14th position overall in a time of 37.47 which is one of the fastest females times ran around that course (until a few years ago the race was held in the summer) A good solid run out once again keeping the heart rate in the tempo zone.

Today (Sunday 12th Jan) I ran the Durham Cathedral cross country relays.  These are always a great event with a buzzing atmosphere of all the teams supporting their runners.  With it being a small compact course (2x1mile laps) everyone can get right on top of the action and make a lot of noise! I never quite know how I am going to perform at these relays as they always come at the end of a big mileage week and this year was no exception.  Up to this morning I had already ran 84 miles this week so trying to blast out a 2mile fast cross country could be dangerous.

Start of the second lap at the Durham Cathedral Relays

Start of the second lap at the Durham Cathedral Relays

I was on last leg and set off in about 23rd position.  Its hard to judge your pace as you try to chase all the runners down and there is a big danger of redlining very early on! Luckily I managed to control myself, went out hard but at a pace which I could sustain.  I came back in 9th (8th senior) position after a good sprint finish with close friend and often training partner Tracy Millmore – she held me off!

I’m not yet sure of my individual time as the times are not out yet.  I originally thought that the course was 3k (as advertised) but most people measured it at 1.99 so I’m taking that.  With that in mind I will be happy if my time comes out around 10.20ish.

After the race and a short warm down I changed my shoes and gathered a few club mates together and set off to run the 14 miles home. A great way to warm down from a ‘sprint’ race and to round off my first week over 100 miles in a while.

What’s up next? Another 10 days training at home in the cold and then I board a flight to take me off to Kenya for a 1 month training camp to prepare for Reading Half Marathon where I will attempt to make the GB team for the forthcoming World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen at the end of March.

I’ve also started the year by linking up with some great new supporters.  I’m very lucky to have a good network of supporters covering all areas of things I need to assist my training and recovery (see right-hand side for more details).  I’m very lucky to recently add to that list Creative Nature and Cherry Active.

Creative Nature make snacks bars from 100% natural and raw materials and are GMO, dairy and soya free with no added sugar so basically very healthy and best of all they taste great.  The guys at Creative Nature have very kindly offered to supply me with bars every month to help fuel my training.  I find that the bars very handy to keep in my kit bag to snack on after a hard gym session or to boost my energy levels prior to a workout. Try them out here (they are currently on special offer!) my favourites are Tropical Treat and Heavenly Cacao.

Creative Nature snack bars. Yummy and healthy, now there's a combo you don't get too often!

Creative Nature snack bars. Yummy and healthy, now there’s a combo you don’t get too often!

Cherry Active has many good properties.  It is proven to speed recovery and reduce soreness after hard training, is full of antioxidants and is a natural source of melatonin which helps to improve your sleep quality.  I take Cherry Active after hard workouts and then again just before bed to help me sleep and I honestly wake up the next morning feeling more refreshed and with limited soreness.  Try it yourself here.  Again the lovely guys at Cherry Active have sent me a lovely parcel of sachets and capsules for me to take away to Kenya with me to help me recovery from my training out there.

Cherry Active package to help me recover from hard training

Cherry Active package to help me recover from hard training

Of course, as ever, I am extremely grateful for all of the support I receive from these two companies and all of the other companies who are kind enough to support me with products.  Without the help of these companies I would have to sacrifice a lot more in order to train and perform at the level I do.  THANK YOU

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