Friday, 24 April 2015

I am Tricurious - Crandon Runs Friday Photo #30

A round up of Crandon Runs in one weekly photo

Big news this week, I am pleased (and just a little bit scared) to announce that I will be undertaking my first triathlon this August. Yes, a mere 105 days away - eek!

I am really excited as I've been lucky enough to be selected by Laura and Katie to be part of their 'Team Tricurious' - featuring six novice triathletes who will be taking part in different distances at the London Triathlon

I have opted for the Sprint distance - 750m open water swim, 20k bike and 5k run. 

You can meet the whole team here, and follow our journeys to triumph (I hope) over on the blog. It's going to be a very exciting few months. 

As I don't know my tri-suit from my wetsuit I think I'd better get reading the Tricurious book, which will basically become my new bible to lead the way on this journey...I think I'm going to need it! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

WIN Spartan Race Entry

Are you looking for a new challenge? Fancy entering an obstacle race? Well you're in the right place! The people over at Reebok Spartan Race have given Crandon Runs a free entry in to any of their UK races, and it could be yours!

You could tackle the bleachers, traverse walls and experience a rugby stadium like never before in the Allianz Stadium race in London, or maybe you'd rather combat fire, mud and water in a country estate in South Wales. There are plenty of locations to choose from as well as three different obstacle races, the Sprint, Super or the Beast.

To be in with a chance of winning free entry into any UK Spartan race you just need to drop me an email at or you can leave a comment below. A winner will be picked at random on Monday 27th April.

If you aren't lucky enough to win you can still get 10% off your entry into a Spartan race using code 'BLOGGER15'  

Visit the Spartan website for details of all locations, distances and entry info.

Good luck and here's a little something to whet your appetite. NB new trainers are not advised.

Manchester Marathon Half & Half Relay

My mate Sheila ran her first half marathon at the Great North Run last year and was keen to do another. In my year of non-marathon running we spotted that the Manchester Marathon allowed teams of two (or four) to run the marathon as a relay. We thought this would be just the ticket for us both, and so signed up and booked an amazing brunch as our post-run reward. Priorities set.

Waiting for someone to run a half marathon before you can start your leg is a strange experience. I woke up at the normal time for a race feeling the usual excitement and nerves, but didn't know what to do with myself. I felt like I was missing something, worried I would miss Sheila - what if she did run it in 20 mins and I wasn't there?! I felt like all the fun was happening without me. I did what any normal runner would do; paced the house, went to the loo about 20 times just in case, then arrived way too early.

MCR Marathon Relay changeover
At the halfway mark the route had a small section cordoned off for the relay teams. You needed to wait here, spot your partner then run over the halfway timing mats together - ending their run and starting yours. This was all told to us on the day by volunteers and not before hand which would have been helpful. I would say the communication and info about the relay teams before the race could have been much better. But hey ho! 

The atmosphere here at the halfway mark was brilliant. A great band kept everyone entertained and it was fun cheering on all the marathon runners knowing you were soon going to be a part of it. 
After spotting and chatting to Jayne from the brilliant Veggie Runners, I spotted Sheila coming down the hill. She did AMAZINGLY and we were full of excitement as we ran down the chute together, gabbling and holding hands all the way over the mats. And then I was off. 
Running like a lunatic
(photo thanks to Chris March on route)
The 30 minute later start for the relay teams meant that I started my run with people who were on for about a 5 hour 30 marathon finish. I felt a bit like an impostor picking all these full marathon runners off with my fresh legs and towards the end of the run at miles 22 -24 it was difficult to keep my speed up amid walkers who were having a tough time. But I soon caught up with the 4.5 hour marathoners and the crowd on course was amazing. It was a good route with a mix of countryside in parts and little villages as well as the huge support heading back in to Old Trafford and the finish. I was spotted and cheered on by a few of the harriers which was a huge boost, along with some blogger friends which was a lovely and unexpected surprise. Jamie was waiting for me at about mile 25 so after a quick kiss I dug deep and kept up the pace to mile 26, turned the corner into the final funnel, cheered on by Sheila and Steve in the final stretch and thankfully over the finish line. 
Team mates extraordinaire 
After achieving my new PB in Wilmslow a few weeks ago, I was happy to not try and beat my time and really wanted to just do a good run and enjoy it. And I did. There is a lot to be said for running in your adopted town - it's so much fun. Great atmosphere, great support and so lovely to see so many people on the route. And running with your mate as part of a team is just brilliant. We were so happy and chuffed afterwards and so proud of each other. We are already plotting our team for next year.

13.1 miles each followed by 4 plates of brunch plus one amazing medal. This is my favourite running maths. 
Manchester Marathon Relay Medal

Friday, 17 April 2015

Joining a Running club - Crandon Runs Friday Photo #29

It's official, I am a Harrier!

Manchester YMCA Harrier

Sick of running alone, I'd been thinking about joining a running club for a long time and as one of my New Year Runolutions, this was top of my list. It's no secret that I find running with other people way more fun than heading out alone, and I wanted to get to know more people who were in to running. 

Like lots of people I was a little scared of joining a running club and worried that I wasn't 'pro' enough. But I decided to man up when I saw that the Manchester YMCA Harriers were having a new members night to try out the club, and so I popped down to see what it was like. After going along to the club run on a Thursday night a few times I knew that this was the club for me. 

Joining a club really lets you get involved in the local running scene, gain wisdom from coaches and other local runners as well as do different sessions/races that you might not do alone; cross country, track sessions and hill training along with various club championships.

I've now been a proper Harrier since January and I absolutely LOVE IT. The people are really friendly, welcoming and encouraging. There are all kinds of levels within the club too - there's no pressure to be the best, and you are just encouraged to get involved as much as you want to. There is also a great social side to the club. Running with them has already seen me improve my race times and I genuinely look forward to Thursday nights. Now I just need to get myself down to track...

I've had a few conversations via twitter with people who are considering joining a club but are a little anxious - I say 'go for it!'. Yes it can seem really daunting and scary but you needn't worry. Pop down one night and just give it a go - if they are too snooty (which they won't be) then try somewhere else until you find the right fit for you. Your running (and social life) will definitely improve and you will totally love it. 

I got my new vest yesterday and think the Manchester Marathon half and half relay this weekend might be the perfect time to take it out for a spin.

Don't forget to subscribe via email top right to get Crandon Runs straight to your inbox!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Marathon Mania is here - Crandon Runs Friday Photo #28

A round up of Crandon Runs in one weekly photo

There is nothing like this stark reminder which I stumbled across during a morning run this week, to announce that marathon time is well and truly here.

Manchester Marathon - it's almost time
Kicking off with Brighton and Paris marathons this weekend, Manchester marathon the next (wahoo!) followed by London in a couple of weeks, it is well and truly marathon season and I for one cannot wait. The nerves, the atmosphere, the emotions and the huge huge achievement for everyone taking part. I love it all and am known to shed a tear or two just watching. 

After tackling two marathons last year, I am running Manchester marathon in a couple of weeks as a half and half relay team. I figure this is a good way to suss out the course in prep for potentially running it next year, whilst also giving me an excuse to run a relay with my running buddy and all round awesome person Sheila, and go for a well earned mega brunch afterwards. Priorities set.

My plan for the race is to have fun, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy running part of a marathon in my adopted city. This will be a great warm up for heading to London the following week to shout and cheer like a total loon for all the runners tackling the marathon there.  

If you're gearing up for a full marathon then you are more than aware that big day is almost here. Good luck and remember not to poo your pants. 

Are you running this year? Let me know in the comments below and I'll be sure to cheer you on!

Remember to subscribe top right and get Crandon Runs straight into your inbox!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Eating right for your run

Pre-run smoothie
It's no secret that I love food. Like really really love it. Like plan-my-next-meal-whilst-eating-my-current-meal love it. But nutrition and how to fuel for a run is something different, and something I tend to steer clear of on the blog as it’s such a personal thing. What works for one doesn't work for another; it’s very much trial and error and quite frankly, I think some things are better left to the experts.
But I was lucky enough to be invited to speak to the head Nutritionist Emma at Science in Sport this week and I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about what I should and shouldn't be doing.

Following the Wilmslow Half marathon recently, I felt beaten and exhausted for the whole week afterwards. Yes, I raced hard to get a new PB and put in a lot of effort, but I had run plenty of long runs before hand and not felt like I did the following week. So during my chat I wanted to see what could have caused this and if I should have done something differently to fuel pre, during or post running.

Emma was able to give me lots of great advice, some of which is common sense but having a real life person spell it out for you is such a help. We know we should all hydrate before race day and that we should eat some protein and carbs as soon as we can after exercising – but having someone really discuss it with you really opened my eyes. I realised that while I've been paying attention to my training, my running form and my new trainers, I've been neglecting my nutrition - the most important aspect of training. Even though I know the basics and know what I should be doing, for some reason it seems to have fallen by the wayside. I realised that the reason I felt so shattered was because of my bad planning. I dutifully carb loaded and concentrated on what to eat BEFORE the race, but I hadn't planned to eat the correct things after the race, and didn't have the right foods and certainly not enough food, in the days following to refuel my body. 
Leading to the feeling of having been run over by a bus. Not good.
So after a pep talk form Emma, I know what I need to be eating and drinking but I now need to put this in to action. I’ll give it a whirl for the Manchester marathon which I'm running as a half and half relay in a couple of weeks. And hopefully I will feel much better for it.
A lot of you will have marathons coming up in the next couple of weeks, so in the midst of all the taper madness, race planning and dreaming of the finish line, make sure you take some time to think about what you're eating and drinking as well.

Friday, 3 April 2015

The right running shoe - Crandon Runs Friday Photo #27

A round up of Crandon Runs in one weekly photo

After the Wilmslow Half a couple of weeks ago, and my recent run with Radcliffe I realised my legs were hurting. I don't mean normal or expected post-run muscle aches and pains, but something else. Something was amiss and I'd experienced it before. 

When I first started running I was in the wrong trainers, leading to painful and tender shins along with other odd aches and pains. It only took a few trips to the doctors, x-rays and physio sessions to tell me I had flat feet, weak ankles and unsuitable trainers which I needed to sort. Oh the shame! 

So when these niggles showed up again recently I realised that whilst I'd been paying a lot of attention to my running and training, I'd completely forgotten to keep a check on what I was running in - my beloved trainers. I'd been running in them for almost a year, including a marathon! Whoops, that's way too long and too many miles for one little pair to cope with. Happily I knew I just needed some new kicks and took to one of my favourite past times with glee, an actual bone-fide reason to be shopping for new kit. Hallelujah. 

Box fresh - Nike+ Zoom Structure

If you're in the market for new trainers, before you do anything get yourself to a Sweatshop and get your gait analysed to make sure you get the right support you need. It's not time consuming, there is no pressure to purchase and it will change your running life. And you'll get to chat about running - happy days!

After a quick chat with Rick at my local Sweatshop I opted for the newest version of my old faithful Nike Zoom Structure, but this time I went for the men's range, literally because they were £30 cheaper and Rick assured me the fit would be fine. I'm cheap, what can I say. I had a little run on the treadmill to test them out and watched back the video to see how my foot fell in them. Lovely, and right for me and my weak ankles. 

With barely any normal coloured toenails left (you're most welcome for that mental image) I also opted for a half size bigger than my usual size. When you're clocking up the double digit miles you need to do this. 

Yesterday I took my new shoes out for a spin. The only issue I have with these is that there isn't a little space in the shoe for my nike plus sensor which I thought was standard these days, so I stuck it under the lining instead. Not a full time solution but it worked. 
Spot the Nike+ Sensor

After 9 miles in the evening light yesterday I was very very happy and my funny little aches and pains have gone. And they look pretty too.

Like what you read? Subscribe by email (top right) and get Crandon Runs straight into your inbox.