A Night To Remember

What makes a memory for you? What special event or moment sticks itself to you and never lets go? Good or bad?

A few weeks ago we had the Perth Road Runners Awards night. Now, being the organised person I am (who coughed?!) I already knew what I had achieved. Plus, you know, writing about every race you do kind of helps jog your memory. So yes, I knew what to expect.

Andyes, I asked my other half to come along. Why wouldn’t I? Ha ha

We are not big on nights out, can probably count on 2 fingers how many times we ‘were out’ in 2017. In fact. Make that one finger. And make it the small one. So I was looking forward to it. My mum was looking after the kids for us until 10pm so we had a good few hours of freedom.

Both of our wardrobes are about 95% Lycra so we had to make a trip into town. Naturally I found nothing so ended up with a tshirt and jeans and Joe was jeans and a shirt. About half an hour before leaving I glanced through social media.

Panic set in.

Everyone was dressed up!! I’m talking going out, sparkly, dresses with 4 hours at the hairdresser and a professional make up artist doing the finishing touches. And that was just the guys!

I was straight on the phone to my friends.

‘What the actual hell, who wears a dress over the age of 16 nowadays?!?! I can’t go in jeans! I’m going to look SO out place! Oh my god their not even jeans, they are jeggings! How the hell did I end up with jeggings?!?’

‘You don’t wear dresses Ella. I’m surprised you even wore a wedding dress. Why do you even care? Everyone knows you’re a jeans and tshirt person. Be comfortable. Oh, and FYI, normal people wear dresses over the age of 16. Normal people.’

I had nothing. They had a point. Not that I would tell them that. I threw the tshirt in the wardrobe and found a top that was a ‘bit more dressy’ and swapped my flats for heels (after covering my entire feet in plasters to try and prevent the inevitable blisters).

Joe didn’t care.

Tantrum almost over we headed out and managed to find a seat as soon as we went in. We chatted to Gillian about all the awards and how training was going. Joe almost had a heart attack when he realised he wasn’t getting fed until after all the awards were given. He definitely went a very pale shade of white.

First up for me was the Hills Series. The one I’m most proud of. If ever I was to take myself out of my comfort zone it would be running (cough) up and down a hill. The only female to run every one of them. And I still only came second ha ha. I really don’t care though. I finished them. That was my success. Oh, and not dying. Kind of important.

I also picked up my Bronze Club Standards. I didn’t get that half marathon time I was after but I gave it everything I had. Hopefully 2018 brings with it that goal.

Third in the Championship. ‘You almost kicked me out of that one by suddenly deciding to run a marathon!’ I joked with Gillian. She just laughed as she went to pick up her second place.

Next was the fastest distances in the Championship. These ones got trophies. ‘If I get a trophy there’s no chance in hell I’m giving that back, Ronnie will have to catch me!’. ‘Same here!’ said Gillian. ‘Pretty sure he can run faster than both of you.’ Joe tried to say under his breath.

Fair point.

‘The fastest female half marathon was Ella Webley.’

‘Did you know you were getting that?’

‘Something was mentioned but I didn’t really understand it.’

The person who was actually the fastest in the Championship was also fastest overall so according to the rules it goes to the next person.

I don’t care, it’s not getting handed back!

Sitting in front of me was proof I had worked my ass off for the last year. I had pushed myself and I had achieved something. I may not have London yet, but I have this.

‘Well done love, is the buffet open yet?’.

To be fair, the chilli was worth the wait. It was delicious.

Back at home and my awards are pride of place on the windowsill. And yes it just so happens everyone can see them ha ha.

Oh, I wasn’t the only one in jeans. At least 1 other women was.

Ella Webley. Jeans and t-shirt.

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It’s Over – For Now

It’s Over – For Now

I’m sitting in the back row at the clubs AGM. They are doing the London Ballot places. This is it. This is my last chance to get in to London next year. I can’t look. But I have to look.

The first name is announced.

It’s not mine. But the owner of the name doesn’t want the place so another is read out.

It’s not mine again.

One more.

Again not mine. But again there’s rumours that person doesn’t want the place either! What is going on! I can safely say my heart is definitely beating right now! No slow heart rate here! In fact this is probably the fastest my heart rates ever been!

One more name, as a back up, just in case.

Not mine.

My hopes of London 2018 are now completely over.

I won’t lie, I am desperately disappointed by this. I struggle to plaster a smile on my face after that, thankful only of my choice to sit in the back row.

So what does this mean? Other than the obvious of no such run in London in April next year.

Am I the first person to be disappointed they didn’t ‘win’ something? No. Am I the only person who has ever wanted to run the London Marathon? Definitely not!

What’s that saying? ‘Earned, never given’.

So how do I ‘earn’ it?

Well my love you have to run faster!! Plain and simple! Earn that sucker! 11 minutes. 11 minutes is all you need to get that GFA then you can proudly say to yourself ‘You bloody earned that!’. And won’t it feel so much better – and so much more fitting – if you earn it? If you actually have to work for it rather than rely on luck?

I know what I need to do. My hill sprints, my track sessions, my long runs. If I do them then I will get that time. I will do this.

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last but I know my goal for 2018. It’s fine to be disappointed with something but it’s not fine to let it beat you.

Road Runners Do Tri

It’s been quite a week.

First the Perth Half last Saturday – let’s not say anything more about that. But I have picked my next half where I will get my club standards time or die trying! Speaking of ‘Tri’, the day after Perth Half was the Relay Wild Triathlon. I did this last year  but this year I was in the Road Runners team. Tuesday after that was a race at Knockhill (Tuesday, not the Wednesday that I thought) and finally last night was the clubs duathlon. So yeah, pretty busy.

Relay Wild Triathlon

This year in the team was myself, Scott and Debbie (2 road runners) and my other half. It’s a fun event rather than a serious one but that doesn’t make it easy. The distances are short which means you don’t get in to your stride before you move on to the next discipline. Each member of the team completes all 3 before passing the timing chip to the next member.

The weather was very sporadic throughout the day which was unfortunate as last year it was great and we could sit out on the grass. A few from the club came out to support as well which is always great to see. Shows how friendly a club it is. Debbie has done a few triathlons before but this was to be Scott’s first and he had joked he was going to wear his speedos as he didn’t have a Tri suit.

We were joking about before hand – Stuart had his sons (fake) swords and daggers so we were debating about taking out some of the very serious looking competition with them. At least 50% of the field was half my age and there were a lot of club Tri suits. I didn’t care, I had my HUUB suit, and it has pink on it!

Debbie went first and we waved her off and made sure we were there to shout her on. She looked like she was loving it! Before long she was out and back in on the bike then off for her run. She passed the chip to Scott. Turns out, he wasn’t joking about the speedos! There’s not many almost 50 year old guys that can pull that look off. Hats off to him though, he raised a few eyebrows. Just a shame most of the females there were young enough to be his teenage daughter ha ha. (Just kidding Scott).

It wasn’t long before he was back and I was off. True to form no matter how ‘relaxed’ the race is meant to be I stood waiting for the chip saying to myself ‘why am I doing this’. I’m fine once I get going but every time before the start I get that exasperated feeling of ‘what are you doing?!?’. Also true enough I messed up my swim. I had a pre-pubescent boy continuously stroke me up the very first length. You only need to tap me once to let me know you’re there! Good thing I didn’t have Stuart’s sons dagger that’s all I’m saying. On to the bike and I felt ok. I’m still embarrassed by my bike time at Edinburgh Half Ironman so haven’t been on it since then. I wasn’t expecting much here and that’s what I did – ‘ok’.

On to the run and I remembered how bad I felt running at last years event. I’m surprised I even got round the course then! This year was different though. It was still hard and I was still breathing heavily but I was keeping pace not too bad. Stuart had come down to the run route to ‘encourage’ me on (or shout abuse, pretty sure it’s the same thing). That did stop me from slowing down though.

I passed the timing chip to Joe and as he’s now part of the Tri club and another member was in another team it was clear from the get go they were racing! Joes just a ‘little’ competitive shall we say.

His challenger finished the swim first. He wasn’t happy. I on the other hand took great delight in telling him his friend was in front of him. Until I remembered Joe was actually on my team and we needed him to win.

Whilst waiting for Joe to come back from his cycle I went and got a print out of my times. I knew my swim had been bad and wanted to see just how bad.

”7 minutes 55?!? I don’t bloody think so!! What the hell!!’.

There was no way my time was as long as that! I had it down to 4m 5 in the pool. Absolutely no way! It did not take me almost 4 minutes to walk from the pool to the door!! (You weren’t allowed to run for safety reasons).

‘Can you get it checked?’ Asked Steph. ‘I’m bloody going to!’ I’m pretty sure I replied before she had even finished. I was raging. Livid! Who do I speak to!! How dare they! Steam was actually coming out of my ears! I can’t put this in my scrap book!

Then it was pointed out to me I had asked for the wrong number on the print out. I had someone else’s times.

Tail firmly between my legs I went back to the van and with my head hanging in shame asked for the correct number.

When Joe came back from the cycle he was still behind his friend so I ran down to the run route to coax him on. I was at the side shouting and taking photos when another runner on the route apologised to me for ruining my photos. ‘Don’t be daft no you’re not love’ I shouted to her. Then she said I could help her by running with her.

How do you say no to that?

Why would I say no to that?!

So I did. I found out she had started running but hadn’t really enjoyed it so was mixing it up by doing triathlon. Her first one had been in April. I told her to keep going and that the biggest cheer is always at the end and always worth it. I ran with her until we reached her husband who got her to the end.

Lovely Woman
Lovely Woman

I went back to the others and to see how Joe had done. He had overtaken his challenger on the run and beaten him overall (he too had been quick to the van to check, although with the right number the first time…) so he was happy. Looking at the teams overall time we had done really well so looked like we were in a good position to place in the top 3 – wa hey!

We stuck about for the food and the presentation – after all, you can’t go home without picking up your prizes, that’s just rude. Debbie kept us entertained with her Yoda impression too.

The rain started again so we went in to the hall as they read out the results. The all males and all females teams were read out first. The prizes were mostly beer and yes, we did have a joke about whether they were old enough to drink it (some non alcoholic prizes were handed out, I’m sure they didn’t give underage kids alcohol!). Then came the team prize. Ok, we are up for this! I was thinking second. Hopefully first but it was quite competitive so may have just missed it. The results were read out in reverse order along with times.

We didn’t win.

I’m putting my money on the winning team being a mum, dad and their two kids! Thought this was supposed to be a fun event? Yes I’ve done a half ironman but you would never have guessed it with my performance ha ha. Joe pointed out that would quite likely be us – especially when our youngest is old enough. Fair point.

There was a prize for fastest swimmer and whilst I was under no illusion it would be me I was hopeful it may be Joe. There were two people with the exact same time. They read out the first name and there was a loud cheer. The guy went up. ‘If its you I’m cheering way louder than them’ I said to Joe.

It was Joe.

He didn’t hear it though because I was screaming. Yes, that’s me, the overexcitable supportive wife. I do like a good cheer! Just wait until your next race!

‘Slightly’ disgruntled at no team prize we still had a great day. All jokes aside it is a fun day and I would do it again. Hopefully we will get another team from the road runners next year, possibly even two. Its fantastic that some people from the club come out and support too – definitely tells me I chose the right club.

School Holidays

Every year my daughter begs me to be on holiday for the entire time she is off school. Unfortunately this just isn't possible. My job doesn't allow for 6 week sabbaticals and my tendency to enter event after event – and her addiction to the most expensive trends going – kind of means I need my job. 2 weeks is the best I can do.

And naturally the very first day I am off I ask her what she wants to do and she tells me she's made plans with friends! Last thing on her mind is spending time with her mum! Hmmf.

2 weeks off work also means disruption to my routine. This I dislike very much. I love routine. I need routine. I can't tell you how many times I've had a hissy fit in the changing rooms at work because someone is in my spot. I am in there everyday at 12:02pm and I use the same locker next to the same spot on the same bench every bloody day. Completely puts me off when someone else gets there first!

Image result for my spot

However. I have to work with this. I have to change some things (not my spot in the changing rooms, it's mine). So gone are the lunch runs for 2 weeks and in come the early morning alarms so I can get it done before he is off to work. Gone are the lovely field runs with fresh air and wildlife and in come the loops round and round my house beside a road, dodging the kid on the scooter who is clearly aiming for me (so much self control it took not to push him over) all to get it done.

Gone also is my 'lunch'. As in actual food. It's 3pm before I realise I haven't eaten and by 4pm my Jekyll and Hyde impression is Oscar worthy. Half past 4 and I'm crashing out for a nap. Yup, got to love being off work….

And now lastly, it's beginning to feel like my speed is threatening to go. Yes ok I've never exactly been in the league of Laura Muir but I like to think I have at least a chance of getting my GFA time for London. What if that's all it is though? Something I like to think? And not something that is a reality?

'That' Saturdays long run threw me a little. Last Saturday was definitely better. Marginally longer but no 'bathroom' issues, just a bit of a hip issue. But now I've figured out I need to run 8min 30 splits. That's a bloody huge challenge. Kind of wish I hadn't looked that up. 26.2 miles at that pace? Hmmm.

It's what's driving me though. So when I was doing park run to finish my long run and I wanted to slow down…. I didn't. Pushed on by realising someone was using me as a pacer I kept at it. Took me a while to realise I knew her, spending the first 2 miles trying to figure out who's voice it was. Of course I could have just turned round and looked but it's more fun to play the guessing game! So when I started increasing my pace near the end and I felt her slow, I shouted at her to keep going. She was truly doing amazing and came so close to getting a PB. I'm sure she was only a few seconds off.

Same again last night at the club run. After a pitiful attempt at an excuse not to go from my friend (looks like thunder she said – barely a cloud in the sky, I'm picking you up) I agreed to run with her group. Near the end though and I was slightly a bit ahead with another roadrunner. 'Heading straight back or the long way round with strides?' He asked. 'Long way round, definitely.'

I hadn't heard him say 'strides'.

'Ok, bin to bin. GO!!'

I very quickly discovered I did not have that in me. But he kept going, kept pushing, and although it was quite a pitiful attempt on my part, I got it done. No way in hell I would have done it if there hadn't been someone shouting me on!

And so that just leaves this mornings run. Whilst my youngest was at nursery, my daughter who had begged me to be off work still lay in bed (I am NOT getting up mum!), and the myth that is my eldest was also in bed (obvs, duh), I took off for my run.

6 miles.

At a MUCH better pace!

Finally!

I got home and went straight in to a cold bath. I know some people say this does nothing for you but I certainly feel better for it and even if it's only mentally, I don't care. There's a lot to be said for placebos.

Saturday is my local half marathon. And shock horror I have another challenge (because obviously the marathon isn't quite challenging enough! *cough,cough). I want my club standards time. 1hour 48mins. I didn't get it at Loch Leven and I was disappointed, those 38 seconds still haunt me.  I want it this Saturday. The last 3 miles have you go past the finish for a loop out and back. Horrendous route. So I will make sure the other half – and hopefully my mum and dad – are placed to shout at me to keep moving. It's going to be needed.

Fingers crossed! (But not toes, because I wouldn't be able to run then).

Looks like thunder my arse!

Lost, but not yet found.

You know that saying ‘she could get lost in her own back yard’?  Well that’s me.  True story.

I have the most incredulous ability to get lost in a place I have lived all my life.  It’s an amazing skill.  Not necessarily a useful one but a skill none the less.  Run a favourite route backwards and I’m screwed.  Cut the trees down from one of my favourite tracks and that’s it, to me I have never been there before.  If they close a road I usually take on my way to work you’re guaranteed I’m phoning in sick that day, unable to make it there.


It’s going to go one of two ways. I start off and almost instantly take the wrong turn. I spot a runner in the distance so chase them down before realising they aren’t in fact a road runner and now I’m completely off course so I hide under a bush trying to decide what to do until I see a clown further down the road just staring at me so I take off in the wrong direction again and somehow make it back to the start but the start is the finish so everyone thinks I am just finishing until someone checks my Strava and then everyone thinks I cheated and I can’t handle people thinking I cheated so I stop going to the roadrunners and because I’m not going to the roadrunners I stop running completely and I end up back on the couch never leaving the house.

Welcome to how my mind works – even my therapist is impressed with it.

Or, I put my big girl pants on (as well as my hat and gloves – it’s cold), and I manage to run the 9.4 mile route round the place I have lived for 34years and 11 months and go home happy with the no doubt hilarious secret santa gift.

It will be a good night.  The races the roadrunners put on are always good.  Everyone’s friendly and it’s a bit of fun.  It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

But my god I’m convinced I’m getting lost.

Im going to be that person running with google maps on to tell me where to go.

‘At the next roundabout, take the second exit’.

Big girl pants Ella, big girl pants.

The Hills are Alive – but I’m Dying!

Drum roll please…………

So I finally got up the courage to go and check out the local road runners.  Only took a few months of back and forward and a few debates on tri vs running (we won’t mention the tears, pretty sure I’ve covered them in previous posts!).

After my first failed attempt of going down I arranged to meet a women I met through the Alexis Rose Trail Race there.  Not believing I would actually do it I went for my usual run at lunch time that day too.  This left me with slightly tired legs but not too bad.  Anyway, I headed down not too sure what to expect.

Fiona spotted me and introduced me to a few people, none of whom I can remember the names of as my stomach was in absolute turmoil.  I was put in a group based on my park run time and when it hit half past off we went.  They explained the route briefly and the first half of it is one I do on a regular basis so I was very comfortable knowing where I was going.  We then went through tracks I haven’t been since I was really a little girl! I say really because even now I’m only just over 5foot ha ha.  I loved going through them and then discovering new ones.  We did a good 7 miles and they told me there was a Thursday session up Kinnoull Hill.


On Thursday I had quite a stressful day so I went out for a short lunch run to chase it away.  I’ve run hills before and I’ve ran up Kinnoull Hill so although I knew it would be hard I didn’t think it would be that bad.

Could not have been more wrong.

We did a short warm up, all was good.  The guy that leads it explained we were aiming for 8 laps of the zig zag route with 1 minute rest – cue a few groans and raised eyebrows.  My first sign this was not going to be what I maybe anticipated.  He then explained there was a fork in the route and we were to go left not right.  I distinctly heard someone say the right was easier.  My second sign.

As we lined up to start I recognised the faster guys.  They went naturally to the front, I hung about nearer the back.  I may not have been expecting to be last but I’m comfortable being at the back. Off we went and the first lap was ‘OK’.  I didn’t really feel I needed the 1 minute rest and it’s not something I’m used to.  Think I took 45 seconds, possibly less.  Near the top of the second one and it was tougher but I carried on.  This time I took nearer the full minute rest, it was hot and my legs were showing signs of being grumpy.  Sure enough when I got half way up the third I was beginning to feel my quads.  Not great.  Definitely the full rest after that one.  I managed to get to 4 before the fastest guy came past me.  And on the 5th the next one.  By 6 my quads were in full toddler tantrum mode.  That solid lead balloon feeling that just says ‘nope, I’m not moving’.  Pretty sure I was going backwards at one point.  One of the faster runners asked me if this was my first time doing hill repeats.  The only thing stopping me saying yes and never again was the fact I could barely breathe! 


However.  We aimed for 8 and I managed 8.  Not well but I did it.   I was a sweaty, tired mess after it but oddly enough I did enjoy it.  People were friendly, there was no pressure just encouragement and I didn’t feel like I wasn’t ‘good enough’.  


After speaking to a few people I headed home (windows down in the car to try and cool off!).  Lesson learned not to run during the day if I’m doing that at night! The bootcamp sounds great fun though, can’t wait to do that next week.  I’ve also got my local half marathon in 2 weeks and a 10k over the Forth Road Bridge the day after. 

Don’t think my legs are going to be talking to me for a while!