Germs.

So my ear’s have been infected for the last week and a bit, and whilst they now finally seem to be on the mend, today my throat has been feeling rather scratchy instead. And this has got me worrying…. what if I GET SICK!! I know there is still 38 days to go till the half marathon, but that’s 38 days of key training which needs to be accomplished! I can’t get sick right now. Getting sick is not an option! And so i’ve started to slightly obsess over germs and how can I stop them. What can I do to make sure I don’t end up with a cold (or worse THE FLU) for the race?!? And what if I pick something up on the plane out to Florida…. this might be a time where obsessive use of antibacterial hand gel is warranted (thankfully they come in plane sized bottles)!!!

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So todays sore throat has ended in me buying large amounts of fruit and orange juice and horrible herbal tea’s with lemon in that are bound to taste vile but which google says might prevent a cold from taking hold (ahh google). And i’ve even tried to de- crystallise the pot of honey in the back of the cupboard using a bowl of hot water so I can eat a spoonful to soothe my sore throat!

And then I remember that my only winter coat lost half its buttons last year and that I should probably fix that NOW before it get’s cold so that I have something warm to wear to stop me from catching a chill! And then I think that it’s probably time to replace my toothbrush because of all the EVIL BACTERIA it might be harbouring!!!!!!

And then I realise that i’m starting to get a bit ridiculous and that if I stop obsessing over my (slightly) sore throat and the fact that it may turn into something worse I actually hardly even notice its hurting! It really is all in the mind sometimes!

Do you freak out a bit if you have a race due and you start to feel a bit under the weather…. what are your ways of coping? Would love to hear in the comments!

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Weekly training recap: Mon 21st – Sun 27th Sept

So after last weekends 10k race a total of 0 miles were run until this weekends 11 mile training run. I know I know –  it’s naughty to miss out the mid week runs, and is probably why are legs are so stiff today, but a combination of work, travel and illness has just meant we didn’t get any mid weeks in this week. We are really going to try to work on this in the next few weeks leading up to the wine and dine half as the mid week run’s really are helpful to us – we just need to find a time and stick to it.

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Missed today’s mid week run as I was away on a university study school for my masters course.

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

Missed this maintenance run as had been feeling under the weather with quite a nasty earache. Turns out it’s infected so have got some antibiotics for it now and am starting to feel much better.

Friday:

Rest day

Saturday:

Ran 11 miles using run/walk intervals of 2 minutes running 1 minute walking. Average pace 12’59” per mile.

Sunday:

3 mile walk (to & from the ice cream parlour lol)

Beautiful day for an ice-cream!
Beautiful day for an ice-cream!

So next week is a “rest” week with only 3 miles to run at the weekend. We plan to do all our scheduled run’s this week (she says) and as we are away in Devon at the weekend we are hoping to fit in our 3 miles somewhere down there which should be nice and scenic!

Have a lovely week everyone 🙂

The 11 mile struggle.

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And a struggle it was… from the very start. You know it’s not going to be a great run when you are already gasping for air at the first walk interval. But it’s done, and i’m pretty pleased about that as it means I can spend the rest of the day eating guilt free nachos (my current go-to run reward)!

Yesterday I went to the doctors because i’ve had a horrible ear ache all week. Turns out it’s a little infected so the doc gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my way. However, this coupled with the fact that i’ve been away for a study school for part of this week and quite busy at work for the other part meant I have been feeling a tad run down. Running 11 miles didn’t seem like a fun thing to do but it had to be done!

So it started out horribly… there was a lot of gasping for breath, some feeling sorry for myself, a bit of huffing and puffing and many general thoughts of ‘why am I doing this/ I can’t do this/ I feel like shit/ I wish I was still in bed/ what’s the point?’ There was almost a cry but I managed to man up and get through that!

It took a lot longer to get into the swing things because of this. I’m usually feeling pretty comfortable by mile 1 or 2 but today it took until past mile 3 for me to really settle into a rhythm. At mile 3 a small dog decided to try to attack Gideon. It was pretty hilarious to be honest as it was trying to jump up a little wall from the beach onto the path. We had a good laugh at that and that cheered me up a bit and I managed the next few miles feeling a bit happier.

The run took us right to the very end of the bay up to mumbles pier which is as far as you can go. Next time we’ll have to tag some extra on somewhere else. Not really sure how we are going to do that yet, we will probably need to run around the marina as well as up the promenade either at the beginning or end of the run, but that’s a problem that doesn’t need dwelling on today!

We turned around and began our journey back. I still wasn’t feeling too bad and thankfully the ear ache had decided to lay off a bit today which was good. At about mile 8 the legs just died. I have never really had bad stiff or achy legs whilst running, that usually comes after we stop, but oh my gosh they hurt today. It was effort to put one leg in front of the other right through until the end even in the walking sections. I felt so stiff! I’m hoping this will mean my legs won’t ache for the next few days…. but considering the time it took me to walk up the stairs when we got home I can’t see that being the case!!!

Anyway, 2hrs and 23mins after we started we were done. 11 miles accomplished… and despite the horribleness of the last few miles I still feel like I probably could have hobbled on for another 2 if needed, which is reassuring for the half marathon!

Oh, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. Beautiful blue skies but not to hot temperatures and a lovely breeze. Just perfect really. Shame I couldn’t really appreciate it at the time… but I shall certainly enjoy it for the rest of the day (along with my nachos)!

Swansea 10k Race Report

Phew so i’ve had 24 hours to get over yesterdays emotional rollercoaster and have a proper reflection on the race. To anybody who is thinking of doing the Swansea 10k in the future I would definitely encourage you to sign up. It was such a well organised day with a fantastic atmosphere and a beautiful (and more importantly flat) course!

Another medal for the collection!
Another medal for the collection!

The race kicked off at 1pm which is an odd time for a race in my opinion. Gideon and I picked up our free race t-shirts the day before which meant one less thing to do on race day. We had our usual fueling meal of chicken and rice the night before so that we would both hopefully have some energy stored. The plan for the morning was to have a late breakfast (around 10am-11am) and then head down to the race area before the roads were shut at noon.

I slept very badly the night before. I don’t know whether it was just pre-race jitters but my brain would not switch off. I was just tossing and turning all night which was so frustrating. We got up at about 8.30 and had an apple to keep us going till 10ish when we had some toast with jam and peanut butter.

After this it was time to get our race gear ready and head down to the seafront where the race was being staged. We were aiming to park in the recreation ground opposite the start line that was doubling as a car park but it was already full when we arrived. Luckily we managed to snag a space on the road right outside where I used to live as a student (ahh memories) and which is only about a 2 minute walk from the front. It was perfect really.

It was quite windy and a little chilly when we initially got to the race starting area. There were already plenty of people around as some kids events had been happening earlier in the day in the run up to the main 10k. We walked around a bit and used the porta loos before the queues descended on them. Then after bumping into and chatting with a few people that we knew we headed over to the start line and got in our assigned section (60+ mins – the back)!

Starting from the back!
Starting from the back!

Before long they had started the gun and we slowly made our way to the start line where we broke into a steady jog joined by hundreds of other runners. We were taking it slow and steady at the beginning. Once the initial start line crowds had dispersed a bit it was earily quiet for a while and I latched on to the sound of hundreds of feet pounding the pavement which was weirdly beautiful.

There were more crowds around the 2k-3k mark cheering and one guy ringing bells egging everyone on! It was quite fun. Gid and I had been running together until this point but the pace was gradually getting a bit tiring for me so I slowed a bit and he went on ahead. More running…. I could still see Gid not far up ahead until we got to about 5k when I finally lost him. I had been running continuously up to this point but I decided to have a little walk after the water station as I was starting to really overheat.

The wind had died right down as we turned onto the promenade to start the return and with it now behind us I was really starting to feel warm. My energy was dropping so I decided to have a clif shot for an energy boost and once i’d fumbled around a bit trying to get it out of my running belt and into my mouth I began to run again.

6k & 7k passed with some short walk breaks. 8k came at the point where there is very short steep incline (literally the only incline in the whole race). I wanted to walk up this incline as I was starting to flag again but I spotted two of my friends at the top who were cheering us on – well I couldn’t walk with people watching could I? So it was up the incline I ran waving happily and carried on down the path. Seeing friends cheering definitely gave me a small boost at that point… I was really getting tired. I don’t know if it was the heat or because I perhaps didnt eat enough beforehand (it was hard to know when/what to eat for a 1pm race) but I was feeling pretty knackered by 9k.

I walked a little bit at the 9k marker but as the crowds were starting to build again I decided to try to run the rest even if it meant a very very slow plod. I really had no idea of my pace because I couldn’t hear my nike+ app at all for the whole race. 400m to go…. 300m to go…. the finish clock was coming into view. My heart sunk when I was finally close enough to read it…. 1hr 13… something. I was really disappointed in myself. 1hr 13 mins 5 secs was my time at the Caerphilly 10k and I really wanted to beat that. It took me about a minute from when I could read the clock to when I crossed under it at which point it was well over 1hr 14. I didn’t know how long it had taken to cross the start line at the beginning but I didn’t think it had been that long. If I had got a PB it definitely wouldn’t have been by much (and not as much as I wanted).

I walked over to get my goodie bag with medal and Gideon found me as I was walking out of the finishing area. His race had been a much more positive experience than mine and he had definitely set a new PB by a really good amount of time. After I had slowed he had continued to run and managed to run the entire 10k without stopping to walk at all! I am so proud of him! He did amazingly – he was able to quicken his pace and was still feeling strong at the end, but that little selfish part of me was still quite sad about my own race experience. There would be no runners high for me. Not today. I was annoyed at myself and the only thing that would potentially ease my annoyance was knowing if I had in fact got a PB.

We headed home after the race and anxiously awaited the chip results to come online (which seemed to take forever… after Caerphilly they were literally up straight away). It was very annoying having to wait but I passed the time by munching on some of my goodies from my goodie bag (Jacobs cracker crisp things and crasins).

Finally just before we were due to go for our massive post race pig out at our favourite restaurant (the smokehaus – check it out if your ever in Swansea – such good American style bbq) the chip times came online and I finally discovered that I too had got a PB by roughly 2 minutes! My time was 1 hr 11 mins 7 seconds and Gideon smashed his previous PB crossing the line in 1 hr 8 mins and 21 seconds! My massive Kansas fried chicken and caesar salad could be enjoyed at last!

The picture does not do this thing justice. Seriously. Good. Food.
The picture does not do this thing justice. Seriously. Good. Food.

Overall it was obviously a strange race. I enjoyed the actual race itself, it was just the finish that upset me so much. I know it isn’t good to get hung up on these things and you can’t PB in every race but I really really wanted to do well in this one and not knowing whether I did or not for so long was very frustrating.

It was great to have some crowd support from people we knew – which is something we haven’t experienced in previous races as we’ve been away from home. I’m always grateful for any cheering from anyone who comes to watch but there is something especially motivating when it’s your friends cheering you on! If you guys read this – thanks so much!

I’ll definitely do the Swansea 10k again what with it being our local race, hopefully next year i’ll be able to enjoy the finish at the time whatever the result!

Awful awful photo of us sporting our t-shirts and medals.... the things I do for you guys!!
Awful awful photo of us sporting our t-shirts and medals…. the things I do for you guys!!

I’m off away for a few days of study school for my masters course from tomorrow so I won’t be blogging – hope you all have an amazing few days!

Weekly training recap: Mon 14th Aug – Sun 20th Aug

So we did it! We completed the Swansea Bay 10k this afternoon! The race had a really great atmosphere and we enjoyed ourselves – plus there were a few familiar faces in the crowds cheering us on which gave us a boost! Gideon did amazingly and smashed his PB (of 1hr 13mins 6secs) finishing in 1 hr 8 mins and 21 seconds. I’m so incredibly proud of him! He flew through this race and didn’t stop to walk at all.

My race was not quite as good. As I crossed the line the clock said 1hr 14 mins 30ish seconds and I had no idea how long it had taken for us to cross the start line so I wasn’t sure if I had PB’d or not. My nike+ app said I had but I don’t 100% trust it! I remember feeling a real bitter sense of disappointment as I was running up to the finish and the clock came in to view as I really thought my race was going better than that. I had stopped to walk a few times and it was incredibly warm and I did feel very exhausted by the end… but I still thought I was going to beat my time for sure. It turns out I needn’t of worried! After an agonising 5hrs of waiting for the chip times to be posted it turns out I also PB’d with a time of 1 hr 11 minutes and 7 seconds! Yay!! Not quite as fast as I would have liked but I think my goal was slightly unrealistic to begin with so overall I guess this is not to shabby… plus it’s something to beat again next year! I will do a full race recap in the next few days!

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This week has been light on the training in the run up to todays race. We wanted to rest the legs somewhat so we would be able to try for our PB’s in this race, and it appears it worked!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Amy did 20 minutes of a Zumba fitness DVD. The desire to do the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred video was not with me at all this week so I gave something else a go just to give myself a little bit of activity for the day.

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

Rest day

Friday:

Ran 1 mile to loosen the legs a little for the 10k on Sunday. Average pace 11’24” per mile.

Gid would not go near this guy - hates Swans! But he was harmless!
Gid would not go near this guy – hates swans! But he was harmless!

Saturday:

Went for a short walk around the Gower peninsular from Caswell bay along the coastal path. It was a beautiful day

Costal path views - lots of peeps enjoying the beach today! Perfect September weather!
Costal path views – lots of peeps enjoying the beach today! Perfect September weather!
Tide was right out - the water usually goes right up to the rocks but today all the lovely sand was exposed!
Tide was right out – the water usually goes right up to the rocks but yesterday all the lovely sand was exposed!

Sunday:

Race day! Ran 6.2 miles with an average pace of 11’41” per mile (for Amy) and we both set ourselves new PB’s for the 10k distance (1hr 8mins 21sec for Gid and 1hr 11mins 7secs for Amy).

So it’s back to standard Wine and Dine Half Marathon training now after this weeks brief interlude. I cannot believe we have no more races left until the Wine and Dine half. It’s coming round so fast! Next weekend is an 11 mile scheduled long run! Whilst (in my current exhausted state) the thought of that terrifies me… i’m sure that by next weekend i’ll be ready to accomplish it! Wine and Dine half here we come!!

One more sleep until the Swansea Bay 10k!

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So tomorrow is the day of the Swansea Bay 10k! This will be our 2nd ever 10k race and our first race in our home town! We are really excited to run this as it’s along our normal training route, plus several people we know are also running which will make it a fun atmosphere!

The race:

The race is an out and back route along a portion of Swansea bay. It’s a very flat course. They close the main road and runners go up the main road from the start to a turn around point then turn onto the promenade and run back down the promenade to the finish.

Course map - Swansea Bay 10k
                                         Course map – Swansea Bay 10k

It starts at 1pm which i’ve always thought is a bit of an odd time to start a race (especially one that is disrupting traffic), however the whether is looking fair for tomorrow and providing we try to fuel correctly today and tomorrow morning the start time shouldn’t have to much of a negative effect.

The views along the course are spectacular (much of which I have photographed extensively for this blog during our training runs). There is a water stop at 5k. Gideon is in two minds at the moment about taking his hand held water bottle but I will definitely be taking mine as I like having water with me to sip as and when I need it.

We drove down the main road today and all the km marker signs were up ready for tomorrow. When we do our training runs (which have now gone considerably longer than 10k) we always start about 2 miles further down the bay before the start line for the race so it’s hopefully going to feel pretty short compared to what we are used to on that route and therefore leave us feeling good.

Aims:

We wan’t to go out and enjoy this race and we want to try and better our time from the Caerphilly 10k and set a new PB. We ran Caerphilly in 1hr 13 minutes and that was a hilly course so we are fairly confident that providing we are feeling good we should be able to beat this. However we are mindful that our goal race; the Wine and Dine half marathon is only a month and a half away and we do not want to injure ourselves. So whilst we will be pushing for a good time, we won’t be overdoing it!

I have been obsessively checking the weather forecast (as you do) and it’s  looking very positive at the moment, with light cloud, low wind and a mid temp of about 15 degrees. Rain is forecasted but not until the evening so hopefully it will stay dry.

I look forward to briefly recapping our experiences for you all tomorrow in our weekly race recap and then doing a proper race report later in the week. We are feeling very chilled about this race, so I just hope that continues into tomorrow and the nerves don’t show up to much! Wish us luck!

Our Disney Experience: Saratoga Springs Resort.

I realised I haven’t done a Disney post for a while now and with only 49 days left until our next trip to Disney World I thought it was time I changed that! What better way to get even more excited about an upcoming trip than to think back to all the great memories we made on the last one!

So today’s Our Disney Experience blog is all about our experience of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort!

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We stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort in June 2014 during our last trip to Disney World. It is the first (and only) Deluxe classification resort that we have stayed at. We managed to get a great deal on price with the free dining plan which saved us some money elsewhere.

Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club property which means all the rooms are ‘suites’ with kitchen/kitchenette facilities rather than just your standard hotel room. We had booked a studio room which would have had a small kitchenette with microwave and coffee machine etc, however when we arrived we were upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite which had a full kitchen/diner with a separate bedroom area, laundry facilities, jacuzzi bathtub and balcony! It truly was a spectacular surprise!

Kitchen in our one bedroom suite!
Kitchen in our one bedroom suite!
Lovely separate bedroom area
Lovely separate bedroom area
Jacuzzi tub
Jacuzzi tub
Balcony
Balcony

One common complaint that i’ve heard about Saratoga Springs is that it lacks the extensive theming that Disney hotels are famous for, and whilst Saratoga springs may not be as ‘in your face’ with its theme as some of the other hotels, it really was wonderful and had a very subtle equestrian theme throughout that was modelled on the Victorian Era Saratoga Springs in NY which is famous for its horse racing.

One of the many beautiful buildings at Saratoga Springs
One of the many beautiful buildings at Saratoga Springs
Equestrian theming was present throughout - including this lovely statue in the hotels lobby.
Equestrian theming was present throughout – including this lovely statue in the hotels lobby.

The resort itself is very large and sprawling and whilst it was a 5-10 minute stroll to the main complex from our room there was a smaller pool and a bus stop to the parks within about 200m of our building.

The beautiful view from our balcony looking across the lake. This shows only a small part of the resort.
The beautiful view from our balcony looking across the lake. This shows only a small part of the resort.

We also had several meals at the food court in Saratoga springs and had no bad experiences. Whilst the food court was definitely smaller than those at the value resorts, it was still good quality with numerous options.

Some of the arty light fixtures in the food court
Some of the arty light fixtures in the food court
They still serve my beloved Mickey Waffles!
They still serve my beloved Mickey Waffles!

Saratoga Springs was also extremely close to Downtown Disney which is the shopping/dining district. You could walk from the boat dock to the west side of Downtown Disney in about 15 minutes and they have since made a walkway to connect to the Marketplace side which is an even quicker walk. You could also catch a boat to Downtown Disney which we did on several occasions. It made for a nice relaxing journey and was much faster and easier than getting the bus back to the resort.

Overall we found our stay at Saratoga Springs to be really positive! The resort had such a relaxed atmosphere and it was lovely to come back to somewhere nice and peaceful after a long day at the parks. Even though the resort was busy, it didn’t feel that way because of its size and spread out nature. It is also the best location for anyone wishing to spend lots of evenings at the restaurants and bars of Downtown Disney as it’s an easy walk or boat ride back at the end of the evening! We would recommend this hotel to anybody!