At last – the final day of Juneathon. Made it, with just a few skin of my teeth moments, no failures and with my sanity intact. I was planning a long run today, after I realised I’ve just been popping out for short runs rather than anything over about 4 miles. Then I remember the challenge I set myself on day 1 of Juneathon, all those blogs ago:- to try and beat my time to run a particular 5K route. This out and back route has a big dip down and back up again near the turning around point, so of course you have to run it twice. It’s not the fastest route but I reckon the ‘dips’ are a good fitness builder.
On day 1 I ran this route in 29:30. I remember the day felt unexpectedly warm (mind you, the month has got hotter since then). Today the temperature was fine, warm but not hot, and I ran it in 27:10 After my race disappointment last week I was delighted with this time, and as long as I haven’t using up my week’s supply of speedy running it bodes well for the 5K River Run on Wednesday.
Today’s effort was a beautiful walk in the sunshine, with my lovely husband. Doesn’t sound like much of an effort for a Juneathon activity? Well, after an evening celebrating my in-laws’ Golden Wedding Anniversary at a lovely hotel, we had to go and fetch our car from the hotel car park where it had spent the night. Perceived wisdom was to get a lift back over there then drive back, but the Juneathon way was to run or walk it.
So a 2 mile walk in 41 minutes* in the sunshine, along the Cornish Coastal path, hand in hand with my beloved was the way it was. Juneathon’s hard, but someone has to do it.
* I did wear my Garmin, and I did walk around the car park to make it up to 2 miles. These things also make it an official Juneathon activity.
After a pathetic day yesterday, today had to be different. Today had to be a proper Juneathon activity. That I had to put some effort in!
Today also meant running away from a houseful, before an evening ‘do’ involving lots of people. I need my solitude. Today’s run felt rather sneaky, slipping out of the house in my running gear on my own. The sun felt warm on my cold arms, the wind playfully blew drips of water off the trees onto me, I saw and smelt the sea and felt wonderful. Then the rain started for real. Fat heavy drops that soaked me instantly, splashed off the dry earth and made everything smell wonderfully fresh. It was one of those runs that are too short, that make you decide to just go back up that hill and down again, and maybe round the corner.
It was only three miles, but it felt like further. Fantastic – and how much better than how I felt at the end of Thursday’s race.
Another busy day, more putting off Juneathon until later.”As soon as the train stops”. “When the builders have gone”. “I just need to nip to Sainsburys”. “After I’ve made pizzas”. And so on, and so on.
The day was coming to a close, it was ten to midnight and I was sat in the car with no prospect of arriving anywhere in the next ten minutes. It was time for my emergency secret weapon – the pelvic floor exercises. These are surprisingly difficult to do sitting in a car, but I did enough that I could call them my Juneathon activity for the day. The words ‘skin’ and ‘teeth’ spring to mind.
A race report shouldn’t start with feelings of disappointment, should it? Shouldn’t end with those feelings, either so I’ll do my best.
A time of 56:39 for a 10K shouldn’t be a disappointment, even if you were hoping for faster, and even hoping to beat last year’s time of 55:20. In this race in 2012 I was delighted to get 59:26 which was my first ‘road’ 10K that was below one hour.
The disappointment is not just because of my time. The race was going well, I started off too fast (doesn’t everyone?!), so slowed myself down, then realised I’d slowed down too much and had to speed up again. This meant overtaking the couple who had just passed me. Sorry – I know how annoying that is. Kept it nice and steady, but with enough effort to know that I was pushing it (it was a race, after all). In the back of my mind I knew that after we passed Great Chalfield Manor (very pretty) at 8K the route then went up a long steady slope. Not steep, but a drag at the end of a race when I was planning on using this stored energy to power up the hill and overtake people on the way up (I can dream).
Just after Great Chalfield Manor however, I got a stitch. In fact not a stitch, but the worst stitch in the history of stitches stitch. I felt like I was being stabbed in the side. I tried my breathing exercises, my ‘pushing-a-fist-into-my-side’ trick and even the ‘arm-in-the-air-looking-like-I’m-asking-for-help’ but nothing helped. As the two ladies behind me overtook me, I slowed to a walk and felt like crying. I walked, breathed on alternate sides, pushed in with my fist and finally felt able to run again – just as the slope started. I felt sluggish and it was slow, hard work but I made it up that slope, and even managed a sprint finish.
Lovely Mr B&T had cycled over to be at the Finish line, and I’m afraid I wasn’t very cheery as I was just so disappointed.
Later on I sat, clean and dry after a lovely shower, with a plate of lasagne, a glass of red wine and a medal around my neck and tried to think of what I’d learnt from this race.
I learnt a 10K is hard if you haven’t run much over 4 miles for the last couple of weeks. Any race is tough going when you’ve not slept properly all week. And lasagne, red wine and a medal make many things much better.
So now I’m feeling more positive, does anyone have any foolproof ways to sort out an awful stitch mid-race?
My daughter told me at breakfast that she needed her skort for sports day today. I pointed at the washing machine, at that point full of water, bubbles, and sports gear (including her skort). Whoops.
I quickly made a plan that meant as soon as the skort was clean and dry I would cycle over to her school and drop it off. Brilliant – sports day saved AND Juneathon done in one fell swoop.
I was still congratulating myself on this cunning plan an hour later when my daughter rang from school to say her best friend was going to lend her her skort to save me the trip. Nice idea but grrrrr!
So Juneathon today was another trip to the allotment. I cycled despite planning on digging potatoes, and picking mange tout and lettuce. I watered, I picked, I dug. I cycled bank home with half a hundredweight of mange tout peas. A win-win situation.
I was worried that a bike ride that started out with me putting my padded cycling shorts on back to front was not going to be a good ride. However, I was completely wrong, and myself and the boy had a lovely ride. Just over 12 miles in just under an hour.
Not far, not long, but enough to clear both our heads and put a smile on our faces. Result!
Many people replied to my rant last week about how sports companies treat women, specifically in running and cycling, After some interesting conversations I thought it was probably time for an update, so here it is.
1. The Proliferation of Pink
I took the above photo at the Nike Store at the Outlet Centre in Swindon last week. This is their Women’s Running section. Black, white, pink. Disappointing, Nike. I tweeted them, but have yet to receive a reply.
@LucyLemonLife who blogs over at ww.LucyLemon.net said “The disappointing one for me recently was the Hind range at Sweatshop. Great idea to have an affordable range but nothing that wasn’t black or pink in the winter range and now the summer range. Ugh.” Exactly, Lucy, exactly.
2. Topless Bib Shorts
Remember how I was upset that @SportPursuit had on offer women’s bibshorts manufactured by Italian firm Giordano, and the photos used to show the shorts featured a topless (female) model? Well Sport Pursuit were obviously not impressed with my arguments about why they shouldn’t use such photographs, because they have another sale of Giordana cycling gear. The topless ladies are there again (sigh), and this time they are joined by topless men. If you want to take a look, here’s the link.
I’m sorry, but adding topless men doesn’t make it okay. However if you loved the film Zoolander you will see a fine array of ‘Blue Steel’ poses. And I’m still wondering how the female models are going to get a bike helmet on over that hairstyle.
3. Trek Bikes and the hidden ‘Best Friends Forever’ sticker
On to my Trek bike, with it’s unexpected frame decoration
Some of the replies I received from Twitter:-
And then, I had a reply from @TrekBikesUK:-
They also replied:-
So basically I need to correct my blog about why we have women specific design of bikes. I also need to stress that I have nothing against Trek bikes themselves – I love my new Trek Lexa SL bike and my husband would have his Trek in the bedroom with us given the chance. (No chance!) I am more than happy to believe they spend a shed load of money on research and design.
I was even impressed with the online magazine they pointed me towards. You can see it here It’s a great read all about women cycling, pictures of women going down amazing trails on MTB bikes, stories of how the bikes are designed and so on. I was very happy that whoever looks after Trek UK’s Twitter account managed to turn my angry rant into a civilised and fun conversation.
BUT I am still not happy with the ‘Best Friends Forever’ sticker on my bike. I liked Alexa’s suggestion of using white elctrical tape to cover it up until I think of a new slogan. (Still thinking of a new slogan).
I am endebted to @Abradypus, who blogs at Abradypus for pointing me in the direction of this awesome blog post at Total Womens Cycling Basically Sarah Connelly, the author, showcases the different approaches four companies making women’s cycling clothing have to how their products are advertised. They range from topless bib shorts again (another company, Assos) through to photos of women actually riding in the clothes, looking like they’re working hard, and out with other women having fun. It’s a good read and is basically echoing some of my rants (but written 9 months ago).
The only problem is I am now looking at a great site with fantastic women’s cycling gear, and I can feel my fingers reaching for my credit card …
After a rubbish night’s sleep (did I mention earlier we have builders at the moment? And roofers due to start stripping the roof this morning? And a man to spray the loft for woodworm?) I was awake at 4am and wide awake at 5am. Can’t think why. Despite trying to get comfortable, trying to relax and get back to sleep, it was no good. I decided to get up (quietly) and have a cup of tea.
As I was tip-toeing around the house sipping my tea I realised I had the chance to go out for my first ever early morning run and still be back in time to shower before everyone else got up. Hmmm, I thought, I might wake Mr B&T by rummaging for running kit in the bedroom drawers. Then I realised my favorite set of kit was all clean and dry in the office waiting to be put away! I was out of the house at 6.30am. It was quiet. There was a little traffic going through the village but no dog walkers or cyclists – my usual running audience. I ran past my allotment to see how my well-watered onions were looking (all fine!), along another lane, down through a field. I was hoping to see some deer here but they were obviously all hiding. I was just taking it easy, not looking at my Garmin, just clearing my head before a busy, noisy day. As I turned onto the lane that goes up a slight hill back home I remembered it was a Strava segment and decided to push up the hill and see how it went. It felt hard but okay and I was keen to get home and upload my data to see how I did. I laughed at my Garmin track which seemed to think I’d run right through the village pond (I’m not Triathalon training thank you very much)…
… and I practically cheered whan I saw I’d taken a new CR on the Strava Segment (That’s a “Course Record” which means I’m the fastest female on that particular stretch of run.)
Busy day here, but not much Juneathoning went on. With the builders being here all week it seems ridiculous doing any sort of cleaning or housework when they’ll just walk through and mess things up again. I’d decided to leave everything and do it at the weekend and so at least stays clean for a day.
Today was that day. Hoovering and mopping (or hovering and moping as a friend refers to it), bathroom cleaning, grass cutting, bed changing, washing – all were done today. Hard work but even I didn’t think I could claim any of that for Juneathon.
As the temperature cooled down in the early evening I took some bean poles up to the allotment. I considering cycling up and counting that as my Juneathon activity, but I’m wobbly enough on a bike without adding 8 foot bean poles into the equation, so I drove. Once up there though, after discussion with one of my allotment neighbours we decided my onions and garlic needed watering. Now I have quite a lot of garlic and onions growing and only one small watering can. That makes for a lot of trips back and forth to the allotment tap, carrying a weighty watering can on half of these trips. So that’s going to be my Juneathon activity. I’m calling it ‘Walking and weigh training’. Hardcore!