Adverse Camber

I started this blog to get me through the London Marathon 2011. It was quite a challenge as I only started running on the 3rd of May 2010. I finished the marathon with painful blisters and quite a lot of money for a great charity!

This blog is now taking me on a new journey - to a fitter lifestyle aided by running.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The key to marathon running #1

The marathon man from Aspire called this evening.  It's the time of year when people hear about the ballot for the London Marathon.  People like me already know we're in - we've got a charity place.

Marathon Man said "the key to marathon running is..." and then told me he'd probably tell me there are lots of keys to marathon running over the next few months, so I thought I'd share them with you.

"The key to marathon running," he went on, "is maintaining a steady pace.  You want every mile to be the same and if you can do that all the people who tore off at speed in Greenwich will be on their knees when you pass them at your steady pace at Tower Bridge."

He asked me how I was getting on and I told him my mileage had improved from 16minute miles to 14 and that I could run for two hours now, which he calculated rapidly as an experienced runner as 8 or 9 miles - 7 I corrected him.  He said, there you are - 14 minute miles slipping already.

Seriously have you seen the hills in High Barnet?  My seven mile run is uphill for the first half.  Perhaps I should do it flat to see what I can really do?

So key number one - steady pace and that's what I shall work on.

Good running everyone!

Real runners!

I'm sure you've heard them all.  You're a real runner when:
  • you have black toenails
  • you spend more on a pair of trainers than any other pair of shoes
  • you schedule your life around running, not running around your life 
  • your fridge contains 'energy' products
  • you can never have enough safety pins
  • before you even have children you are considering how much a baby jogger costs and whether you would get dodgy looks propelling your infant around the park
  • your medicine cabinet contains ibuprofen gel, deep heat and stacks of blister plasters
  • you check the weather report so you know what to wear running and when to run
  • you have more running clothes than any others waiting to be washed
  • you growl when someone refers to 'jogging'
  • you have medals and t-shirts from various races that have no purpose, but you can't part with them
  • you know where all the loos are on your running routes (and failing that where the dense foliage is)
  • you can eat like a horse and need to
  • you have as many receipts from running stores as you do supermarkets
There are many more, but I have a new one and it happened to me in the dusky, wet park last night.
  • you know you're a runner when you swallow your first fly
You're definitely a runner if you see this as protein rather than 'ick'.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Something to amuse you

I came across this article via one of the Facebook running groups I 'like'.  It has amused me greatly so I would like to share these nuggets of gold with you.  If you would like to read the article please go to where Mark Remy's article is shown in full.

Running Rules of Thumb

1. If you see a porta potty with no line, use it. Even if you don't need to.
2. If you have to ask yourself, Does this driver see me? The answer is no.
3. If you have to ask yourself, Are these shorts too short? The answer is yes.
4. 1 glazed doughnut = 2 miles
5. You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip.
6. Not everyone who looks fast really is, and not everyone who looks slow really is.
7. Nobody has ever watched Chariots of Fire from beginning to end. Not even the people who made it.
8. You can never have too many safety pins on your gym bag.
9. Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day.
10. If you care even a little about being called a jogger versus a runner, you're a runner.

I find number 10 particularly true; I am a runner not a jogger (even though I often seem to jog!), but I have watched COF many times and in full - I love it!  For me the most important is rule 5 which kept me going in the early days and is true true true and must never be forgotten!
Let's repeat it together, after me now - "You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip".

Off you go then - pick up your running shoes and off you go.  Free your legs!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


It's probably an exaggeration to title this post 'Illness', after all I only have the rampant cold that is going around the staff at school, if not the children.  However, this mild and rritating infection has really hit my training this week.  I have managed to keep going, but very slowly.  

Friends warned me about the strain on the heart (my heart certainly was beating faster than normal) and a running colleague warned that exercising when ill can do more damage than good. I had to keep going though, as I feared doing nothing would be undoing the good progress made so far.  This week I have managed a total of three slow miles.  Today is a sofa day and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A confession

I need to confess.  I have been indulging in a new practice for the last four and a half months.  At first I didn't want to do it, but I kept on going.  Then a funny thing happened - I started to enjoy it.  I enjoyed the endorphins, the sense of achievement and the sense of a place in a community of like minded people.  I think I am hooked.

I now watch every person I see running, I look at their stride, their gait, their pace and often with considerable jealousy.  I watch running on TV and read about it in books and magazines.

My only wish, as I discovered whilst watching the Great North Run on TV today, was why didn't I discover this years ago?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

My second 5k race

I wasn't sure whether to go.  I had a stack of schoolwork to do and the beginning of term cold had just hit me (thanks kids).  Also, as the sun rose and my alarm went off this morning my bed was a warm nest of comfort.

Nevertheless I got myself up, donned my running gear plus ipod (it's not an official race, so there were no anti MP3 people) so I would have a beat to run to,  battered the mud off my running shoes and headed off to the local park.

There were lots of members of the running group already there, with friends and families there to support them.  I had two Lemsip Max capsules and a bottle of Lucozade to support me.

We did a brief warm up, mine was briefer than anyone elses as I took it as an opportunity to go the the toilets.  At ten o'clock we lined up to start. I made my way to the back declaring I might as well start there as that's where I was going to finish (don't say I don't know my limitations!).

It was a beautiful day, my favourite to run in - cool, but sunny and with that magical sunlight making all look wonderous. Up above the sky was blue with only the faintest white clouds floating high above.

I started the race at the back with three other ladies in pink, but despite their all being older than me, they all soon moved off in front.  I was definitely keeping up the rear!  

All I wanted from this race was to beat my Race for Life time from July - surely I must have improved in two months?  That thought kept me moving and kept me breathless all the way.

This race was two big loops of the park and one small one.  I smiled and said hello to the marshals as I slowly ran my way round. When I was halfway I got lapped by the race leader on his way to the finish.  By the time I was near the end I was the only one left running, but as I was racing my last 5k time (46minutes) and not other people it didn't matter to me.  Also, as I neared the last stretch I was able to go into what honestly was an amazing sprint finish.

My time?  42minutes.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

An accident prone evening

I tried to run further than normal after a day at school.  Before I'd even begun running I caught my foot on an uneven path and twisted my back; then I wandered into stinging nettles (when looking for somewhere to do a 'Paula') and finally I twisted my ankle which also had the consequence of twisting my knee.

After this run of bad luck/clumsiness I walked for a bit and wondered why I was not enjoying my run on what really was a glorious evening in the woods.  The air was fresh, the birds singing and the golden sunlight making all the trees look amazing.  Then I thought back to the last time I had a dreadful run - then I was very tired. 

After the weekend at PGL and several night's bad sleep I was once more shattered and this meant not only was I a rubbish runner, but could not enjoy the beautiful evening.  Our bodies just cannot work without adequate sleep, especially when we ask it to do something like run 6 1/2 miles.  Sleep is the runner's friend!

Ah well, at least I got a couple of hours fresh air in the woods!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A different kind of training

This (long) weekend I left the Big Smoke with 3 teaching colleagues and 25 ten year olds.  We went by coach to Swindon in Wiltshire where there is a PGL activity centre.

For four days we partook in a variety of activities and the children insisted we adults join in a few.  So, instead of running seven miles at the weekend I fenced, abseiled and screamed down a zip wire. I ache in brand new places. 

Jumping down the abseiling tower.
The most terrifying thing was letting go of the rail at the top of the abseiling tower.  My head knew I was attached to a safety wire with an experienced instructor at the other end, but my hand really did not want to let go.  It was a LONG way down.  However, once I had released my hand I could feel my weight safe in my harness and it did not seem so bad.  The children were really supportive and one was behind my camera taking photos.  However, once they knew I could do it they had a little fun with me.  The second time (the only reason I had gone up in the first place was to encourage a girl to have a go, she couldn't do it the first time so we went up for a second go) the children decided to have some fun:

"Miss Walter!  Quick!  The rope is breaking!"

"Quick Miss, it's fraying!"

Needless to say - that time I didn't have so much fun!

Altogether it was a great weekend, although I am very grateful to our headteacher for allowing today off to recover!

One of the instructors said something to one of my colleagues over the weekend that stayed with us all:

"Challenge yourself to do more."
How many of us are complacent with what we can do and do not make the effort to extend ourselves in some way?  Perhaps we should all try to do a little more?

The zip wire - not quite so terrifying after abseiling, but I still had a good scream on the way down!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

4 month anniversary

Yesterday was my four month running anniversary. Can you believe I have been runnng for one third of a year, religiously at least 3 times a week?  It seems incredible to me.

If you had told me on May Day Bank Holiday that in four months time I would run 7 miles this Monday and then again on Saturday I would have laughed.  To the person who was not even running a mile huffing for 45 second runs and then walking this would have seemed impossible.

Today I ran 7 miles, okay they were pretty slow and I did an OAP jog on the uphills - but I did it.

Happy running anniversary me.  It's nice to have something to celebrate.