Sunday, March 30, 2008

A testing weekend

Oh'la peeps...

Well the forecast was for spring showers all weekend so why not make it a test weekend... turns out the weather forecast was about 70% wrong (today was supposed to rain all day and in fact it's been lovely)... Still....

Got up EARLY yesterday (yes a saturday.. humm) to make my way to Bushy Park for a 5k time trial... There is a great phenomenon happening here with 5k time trials (which are free) popping up in parks! The "park run" started at Bushy Park (which is where I ran on Saturday) but now exist from Brighton to Leeds and westwards to Cardiff.

This is a weekly event ran for free by athletes for athletes. This weekend was my first one, there were over 300 people and I set a PB (well I was bound to as I've never "raced" 5k before other then in a triathlon)... I expected rain for the 9am start but was relieved to find nothing more then a strongish breeze. Temperature was at about 10 degrees so almost perfect really. The only thing of note which went "wrong" was the fact my Garmin ran out of batteries on the start line so I ran blind to HR, distance and time. The 5k itself was flat, a mixture of grass, gravel and tarmac pathways.

It was HARD work and maybe I should have had something more then a cliff bar for breakfast! The gel 10mins before the start was not a good idea at all, I very nearly saw it again (eugh!) I've read somewhere recently that in doing a 5k well the worst bit is the 3 to 4k.... Despite the fact I didn't know I was in that distance zone I can confirm this is approximately where I was feeling the worst - physically I mean... stitch, shortness of breath and a real "I'm gonna barf any moment" kind of feeling... I managed to ask a kid (yes there were youngsters running too) what the time was and distance to go.... in between puffs of course - he must have thought I was a bit of a wierdo really given I was wearing a watch!!... Made me a little sick that someone, oh blimey, about 25 years younger then me was running with such ease!!.. But now I think of it I am old enough to be the kids Mother (and then some) so why shouldn't he be able to run the distance stronger then me (besides I must be carrying at least an extra 5 stone too.. the weed!).... Humm anyhow.. as you can see from the course map
it was a bit evil at the 4k marker as you can quite clearly see the finish and then you run away from it... blinkin rude if you ask me and it almost ruined me I can tell you.

Still I'm very pleased. My aim for the season is to break the 25mins marker for 5k, I didn't do that but I was quite a bit closer then I thought I would be....


So I'm very very pleased with that time to be honest! I was 212 from 349 runners, and 6 from 16 in my age group (note my age group "winner" did it in 20:29... OMG!). I celebrated my success with a powerade and a spin out on Bianca.

Which leads me to a moment of complaint;

Dear Wokingham Council,
Please note there is a rather large POT HOLE in the road by the Finchampstead Memorial. I was out for a nice cycle ride on Saturday afternoon when lucky for me I spotted it. Just in the nick of time as I managed to jump my front wheel over it. Unfortunately due to my speed and lack of technique my rear wheel slammed into it quite nicely leading to a rather large puncture. I say lucky I spotted it for if I hadn't and my front wheel had gone into the hole I suspect I may have had a rather nasty accident given the breadth and depth of the hole and cars behind me. I may have been a splattered Karen and thus not able to write this note! I know it's been winter, and I know it's been raining. But this hole in the road is a serious danger to anyone on a bike. Please see your way to fixing it before it gets any worse and someone (hopefully not me) falls in it! I pay my council tax so you can fix the roads to a standard where my life is threatened by the other road users alone and not by the hazards of the road itself. If I wanted hazards I'd get on Rockie and go off road! Yours sincerely Karen
PS I enclose a bill for one new inner tube and labour.

Note though this did give me rear wheel roadside tube replacement practice... I must get quicker as it took me 10mins... still I meant this to be a testing weekend so why not get a tube change in too ;o)

So yes I did about 1hr10 + the tube change on Bianca outside then a short 20mins on the turbo... Lucky really that I did just get home before the heavens opened and the rain came down (note the only bit of rain we did get when we were supposed to have it all weekend).

Still took it a bit easy today as to be honest I was a bit sore from the timetrial plus bike... so headed to the pool for a swim test...

Yes those 300m repeats with 30sec rest were back on the menu. Last did these at the end of December. So the idea is to warm up (today I did 200swim, 200 TI drills, 200 pb) then rack up 300m with 30sec rest between each and no more then 15secs between best and worst effort (ie to make sure you don't do the first set too fast).... Here's the results last time versus this;

Set 1:
5:52 Vs 5:40 (-12s)
Set 2: 5:58 Vs 5:43 (-15s)
Set 3: 6:08 Vs 5:45 (-22s)

Yippeeee-ti---doooo.... swim fishy swim! Not only faster but more consistent too, although I do confess that I think my rest time was nearer 40s then 30s... but I still count the above results. YESssssss.... Just gotta keep on at it and see where it takes me. My objective for the year is to clock a sub 7:30 for the 400m (a dream given my first tri about 18months ago I was over 9:30). I'd love to hit around the 28mins mark for Olympic distance, aiming for that in London in August (think May may be a bit early!)

Right so the clocks went forward last night so it's 9pm already and therefore must be nearly bed time as tomorrow I'll be getting up an hour earlier even though it isn't - if you see what I mean.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting back into the habit

Just a short post for now.

Atlanta was great. A surprisingly (as I didn't know) green city - lots of trees! Very nice, with lovely people too. I liked it! I even got through the airport in about 1.5hours - which was about an hour quicker then I reckoned on! :o)

Trouble is, what with work quarter end and the road trip I've got out of the habit of training. Last week at work was b-u-s-y and since I got back Tuesday morning it's been equally b-u-s-y and I've had a bit of jet lag to boot. Still it's a cold but blue sky morning this morning so, as long as Rockie has no punctures, I'm going to break out the MTB and get on the path to work this morning - that will make me feel better!

Gotta get back into that training habit!

Hope you're all well out there :o)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Muntjac's and all that....

Well it's Good Friday which means quite a lot to religious people.... and to me a day off work and weekend trip to

(Atlanta for the uninitiated)

Which is good as the forecast here is for cold, rain and perhaps snow!

It's been quarter end at work so it has been a bit busy (how rude ;o) ..) but I did manage to get out on Rockie and ride to/ from work on Tuesday which was great. The most fabulous thing about it was the journey home. I left work just before 7pm, the sun had just gone down - so with lots of lights and full reflective gear I set off.....

The first 10mins or so I travel off road through a wood - amazing to see one, then two ..oh three no four Muntjac deers.. eyes reflecting brightly from the beam of my headlight. They were just in the path, I don't think they could quite work out what I was, just as I got to them they took off through the forest. Brilliant to have seen such lovely shy creatures, the kind of thing which just makes you smile and know there's more to corporate life!

I cycled on through a small town and went off road again by some lakes, where I saw another one....... then got back on road up the beastly hill to have the pleasure of coming across another couple on the way up. They were in someone's front garden and leapt out across the road in front of me heading in to some woods. They got to the other side and hovered around just through a fence, again eyes reflecting back, almost looking at me with the same wonder that I was looking in. What a glorious journey home. I felt very lucky when I got in on Tuesday evening.

The rest of the week has not been so exciting since! Although I can admit to setting another training pb of sorts on my brick yesterday morning; 35mins on my turbo (including 5*(3-2) intervals) run 10k pace off for 10mins then 5 warm-down jog. So as we know I'm not quite sure what my "10k pace" is. My predicted 10k time based on my half mary time is something like 55:30.00 which makes my pace something like a 5:30 per k.. .humm... so went out and just ran for 10mins... oops made it to the 2k marker which meant I did 5:00 per k pace.... I haven't been that fast, possibly ever but certainly not for quite a few years. But yes I'm not sure there were another 8k at that pace inside me. Still I feel like I'm getting faster therefore I am!! Maybe that winter running has been worth it!!

Well I'd better go and pack my bag! Wes and Akshaye - I'll email about the run on Sunday... if I can't make it for a run then maybe I can catch up with you for a quick post run Gatorade?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The week that was

So this will just be a short training recap from last week - I may then do another post about this week, so don't be surprised to be missing the excitement of two posts in two days or something ;o)

Here was my programme;
Mon: Swim
Tue: Run (45mins hill session, including 5*3' intervals with 2' recovery)
Weds: Swim (Tri Club)
Thurs: Body Balance or Yogalates etc
Fri: Rest up and relax
Sat: Bike 1.5hrs; 60' easy then 15*1' intervals with 1' recovery
Run off bike; 5' PDQ then 5' easy/ warmdown
Sun: Bike 2.5hrs easy
Run off bike 15' easy

Humm how do you think I did?!... Well started the week with a cold so was dosing myself with decongestant/ Beechams-all-in-one (which actually seemed to work!).... Pleased to say though that I did the lot, although swapped Tuesday and Thursday around (thought running would be better done later given the lurgy I was getting over). The yogalates was funny - followed 60mins of a programme on DVD at home... how on earth do those people get so flexible ;oO

Saturday's ride was very sweet, despite the fact that the heavens opened 15' out and remained open through the remaining hour or so. Still my brick showed surprising results. I went out for 5mins as fast as I could and cracked just over the 1k mark in the time - brilliant and the best I've done in years.

Sunday however was a slightly different story.... The heavens were heaving again, it stayed grey and dark through the whole day and the wind was up. Now I've done well recently riding in these conditions (even the odd hail storm), but going out in it to start with, knowing it's not going to get any brighter and frankly thinking it was probably a little dangerous, made me have second thoughts.. and third and fourth. Eventually therefore I concluded that the indoor turbo trainer was the only option. Yes a 2.5 hour turbo session... I MUST HAVE BEEN CRAZY!.... I put "the road to perdition" on the DVD and settled down (on the saddle).

Now - take a look at this...
per·di·tion [per-dish-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.a state of final spiritual ruin; loss of the soul; damnation.
2.the future state of the wicked.
3.hell (def. 1).
4.utter destruction or ruin.
5.Obsolete. loss.

Obviously in selecting this DVD I was having some form of psychic moment... for some 2 hours later I was indeed in a state of destruction and ruin... mentally I mean. OMG. It was awful. Just being inside, I think, was the problem. Even now I'm shuddering at the memory. Never again. If I have a 2+hour ride to do in future, well come hail or shine I shall go outside (i draw the line at snow - although considering it I could do it on the old mountain bike even in the snow). I didn't quite make the 2.5hours, fitting in 2.25 instead. The 15minute run after the bike was welcome relief (as I went outside into the wind and rain!)

So in summary the week was a good one. Total of just over 8 hours as follows;
Swim: 1:57:00 for 3.1k
Bike: 3:54:21 for 84.67k (estimated turbo at slow 20kph)
Run: 1:11:08 for 11.73k
Other: 1:03:00

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Strange things you see...

...when you're out riding on a Sunday afternoon.. I'll get to that in a mo but first let me tell you of my "incident" yesterday.

All wrapped up and ready to get out on Bianca, winter leggings, gloves, rain jacket and extra arms tucked in my pocket... you can picture the scene right... Had a 1.5hour session planned; 30min W-Up and W-Down with 2' intervals (1' rest) in the middle 30. .... so all keen and ready to go right... lock up the right foot, push off the left.. hear the rear brake rubbing a bit... best to sort that out before you start right..... YEAH RIGHT AS LONG AS YOU TAKE YOUR RIGHT FOOT OUT BEFORE YOU PUT IN DOWN....


Needless to say I did the inevitably shoulder roll as I hit the floor with a bang, a whole 1.2meters (according to Garmin) from my front door!.... Me; a bit battered and bruised - you should see the bruising on my derriere ... how I hear you cry... can you possibly bruise (big, deep purple about 2inches long) ones arse falling side ways off a bike.... yes good question, I'd like to know too .. I suspect it had something to do with the saddle which came off worse then me... well with 70ks of Karen falling on a part of it (I guess) I created enough torsion to pop the top of the saddle off of the metal bit (which attaches to the seat post retainer thing!).... Ouch and Oh! So spent the next hour with a neighbour having a cup of tea waiting for her husband (the local fixer!) to see if he could fix it. He couldn't.... but after visiting two bike shops someone could! I'm not sure if anyone saw me to it - I must have look really quite funny!!

Anyhow - after all that I had to rush off so ended up doing my bike later on in the gym (of all places)... not ideal but still got it done!

As a (just) reward I did indulge in a glass of vino bubbly at a 40th party last night.... Alas I indulged perhaps a bit too much. But Nature looked to reek its revenge on me when I went out for my bike today....

Which brings me back to the title.... As I cycled along, minding my own business down this country lane - just me and Bianca and the impending dark clouds... I looked down and saw what I thought was a road kill coming up in the middle of the road.... Getting prepared to avoid it I saw it looked pretty fresh - it was only getting closer to it did I realise it was actually a joint of beef! How strange right... but not as strange as seeing another one (this time less splattered) at the edge of the road about 100m further on. Still all wrapped up and actually looking quite fresh!! So that was doubly strange... until I saw the final one another 100m on. How do you lose 3 beef joints from your car?!

Now I was expecting some things on my ride today... I was expecting to overcome my hangover at some point, I did expect to feel a bit weary at the end, I did expect it to be a bit blowy (we have a weather warning out for gale force winds), I was thinking I may get a bit wet due to the occasional shower.. BUT WHERE DID IT SAY IT WAS GOING TO HAIL!???

Have you ever cycled in hail before? Hummm ok, so hailstones blowing in from the side isn't great, but isn't too bad. Blowing in from behind and on you back isn't good but acceptable... but come on, blowing straight at you, right in to your face... is a bit darn rude - like I need that kinda exfoliation when I'm 35k in to the ride! Not on your nellie do I need it. At this point I started singing "riders in the storm" as that was the only song that came to mind!.... Finally got home having suffered 1 long hailstorm and 1 shorter one (how rude), so my 2:30 ride was shortened slightly to 2:15. Had a swift change and went out for an "easy" trot for 15mins (and 2.5k)!

OK - while I've been blogging I've had Crufts on.... it's the final final - the audience is quiet.... the judge is judging AND THE WINNER IS
The Giant Schnauzer!... nah I never heard of it before now either!... Actually he's not bad looking ...the dog not the owner ;o)

Here's what one looks like;
See you even get the winner of Crufts on line as it happens - all part of my friendly service!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Race Report 2

Where was I ....

The Race Report

So the start as you'd expect was kinda busy. There was a 2hr pacer about 400m in front of me at the start (Akshaye this is the only pacer I saw, may have been one at 1:3ohr and 2:30hr too), so my aim was to keep the guy (well his ballons actually) somewhere visible in the distance to ensure I didn't go off to hard (I was assuming the pacer would pace well!).... I've never run in such a crowd for so long before. In fact now I think of it I've not run in such a crowd for so far - it felt like I was running in the same sea of people the whole time - didn't thin out at all - but then with 17,000 taking part I guess I shouldn't have been surprised!

Anyway, off we started constant beeps of people going over the start mat! Hit the first roundabout where the Reading Royals team mascot (some kind of large lion outfit) was - as I was so close I just had to hit a high five (hand to paw)! I knew we then start winding out way out from the stadium area up through a housing estate (mile 1 was somewhere in there), a gradual incline until we got to a short sharp hill... which was in fact a little bit nasty but not too evil in the scheme of evil hills in half marathons. Got to the top and found a friend in the shape of little Westie (yes I know this is also a breed of dog but also the name of one the girls from hockey!),, where I got a nice big shout.. HURRAH for that.. and HURRAH for the hill being out of the way!

I decided somewhere around this point to have my Garmin set to actual time and distance - that's it. I figured I didn't want to see my HR (as it may scare me if I thought it got too high), and I didn't want to see my average pace as I knew to go sub 2 I needed 10.5 on that - as I wasn't aiming for sub 2 (due to Feb) I didn't want to continually feel negative if I saw the pace outside.

Next milestone was the water station through the university. Funny for that there were people by the side of the road with "warning - hump" signs... to mark where the speed humps in the road were - but this did amuse me quite a bit. Also fab to be running through the university where, some 25 years ago, my Dad finished one of the first Reading half's (it used to start and finish in the University). So that was kind of inspiring for me.

Next stop Dad who was waiting on a street in about another mile or so...... before I got to him I saw a couple more people in the crowd of onlookers who I vaguely knew and/ or recognised so I gave them big grins and a wave. When I got to the down hill section where my Dad was I kept my eyes peeled - finally say him and took off my hat given it a mad wave so he could see me - and just to make sure I stopped and gave him a great big hug!!! That was great! :o)

We then continued down hill towards the town center. I have two big memories here - first off there was a drum band playing under the flyover which we ran past - the noise of the beat of the drums was outstanding! I for one, along with quite a few other runners gave the a clap of gratitude as we ran by. We twisted and turned our way through town to waterstop 2 - which was supposed to also be a lucozade stop - luckily for me I got one of the last bottles - how can they run out it beyond me - bad planning/ assessment I guess? Hit a bit of a dodgey patch around mile 7, not sure why. I was fueling with a gel about every 30mins - so shouldn't have been a fuel problem. Still I got through it ok and onto the next and only other significant hill. The funny thing here was the pub open half way where I saw at least one person stop and half a puff on a ciggy and half a pint! Luckily I was running up the other side of the road ;o)

Next point to aim for was where my friend Pikey was waiting - lucky for me (unlucky for her) she gets locked into her road whilst the half marathon takes place as it kinda loops around the road she lives off of - blocking both ends. Lucky for me as I saw here there and again about a mile or so later (for me - several 100m for her).... where she kindly ran with me for a couple 100 and told me I was "catching up with the camel!" ... and the time I didn't really know what to make of this comment. Next person stop was about 9.5 where another friend was with her charity team - like all other occasions in the race I saw her first too - so got a belated "Run Doris Run!!" shout. It was approaching the jelly-baby pitstop did I realise what the camel comment was when I saw running ahead of me a side on camel... two people running front sharing a camel costume which went to the side - a very bizarre and surreal sight at this stage... but not as surreal as the jelly-baby cemetry which I than ran through... yes or rather no - there were no jelly babies left in the buckets but hundreds upon hundreds lieing on the road!! This inevitably led to jelly-baby massacre as us poor runners wanting one hunted out a bucket (which was empty) only to be treading and squashing the poor souls as we went.

A nice down hill spurred me on towards the end .. Just as I approached the roundabout on to the long drag home I saw another vocal Reading Hockey supporter cheering everyone on - this spurred me on - last 3 miles - last 5k - Go Karen! Go! By now the end was kinda in sight (it's a long straight road towards the "wind turbine" which sits just behind the Madejski stadium.). I passed 11miles completely in the zone. Hit 11.5 and saw my last supporter - with a big smile I conveyed the message... "I'm toast".. and ran on my way heading towards the stadium. Just when you think you are there comes the dawning realisation that there's still a way to go - so within touching distance of the finish you loop back up the start straight, passing the start line, passing where I started from in the group before finally turning again and heading for home. Getting to the stadium again felt good - running around it to get to the entry point felt bad - let's just say it felt a bit cheeky! Still entering the stadium to the high pitched cheer of thousands (I think!) of people was electric - I even managed a final burst for home!

Crossing the line I involuntarily burst in to tears - but had to stop as I couldn't actually breath!! LOL! So it was a highly emotional, highly satisfying and jolly good fun race!

Official time: 2:11:46
Gun position: 7113/11181

Chip time: 2:01:53
Chip position: 6808/11181

Don't have enough detail of category position yet as only the provisional results are showing.

The DOMS have now settled down. Couldn't really walk well on Monday - just by quads in tatters really. But this has now settled.

The funny thing is, when I spoke to another Tri-clubmate on Tuesday evening they said how hilly and windy they found the race. I didn't think either of these were particularly bad or challenging (although I was 15mins slower then her!)... so I can only assume I'm more used to the hills as they were all similar to what I train on at home in the countryside and as for the wind - well maybe my competitors sheltered me. When I finished it was still gusting pretty strongly but I hadn't noticed it much when running - maybe the town sheltered us a bit too... So - given perfect conditions and a flatter course do you think I could go sub-2... you bet yeah I think I can if I train well... after all I've already saved 6% from last October. With continued run focus and improved technique I think I can do it. Next thing I need to figure is some 5 and 10k run goals for the season!

OK here's a recap of a couple other things;

The Race "strategy"
So given my lack of running due to back probs and hols in Feb my tactics were as follows;
1. Not to go off too fast - witnessed a very speedy start at my first half in October and didn't want to get too carried away, particularly given my Feb training
2. Break down the race into bite size chunks, predominately using both water stops and expected supporter spots to do this (there were 3 or 4 waters and pre-race I knew I had 5 people somewhere out on the course). So rather then thinking OMG 13miles to go, it was more like oh only a mile/ two until...
3. Stay relaxed and easy for first 6-7 miles! With the exception of the hill(s) the measure of this was nice relaxed steady deep breathing - I even managed to "nose" breath a bit!!
4. From mile 8 I knew it'd begin to hurt so the stage to mile 10 was just to keep going before I could "let rip" (yeah right) on the last 3miles - after all it's only a 5k run at that stage ;o)

The Race "stats"
Here's my half mile splits etc;

So my heart rate through the race gradually went up (note the "sprint" finish), with an average of 169 (note I do hardly any training with my HR this high let alone having it as an average!). My average pace was 9.20minute miles (5.48mins/km), my slowest pace (over the half mile) was 9:54 - this was up a hill near mile 2, my quickest (excluding the last 0.1mile "sprint") was 8:50mins/mile (which was down a hill somewhere near 10.5miles into the race)!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Race Report 1

In true epic style....

OK so it was a cold and windy day. Gale force winds were blowing across the UK, freight trains had been derailed, flights had been diverted.... I went to bed and hoped the wind would die down and the weather would warm up for race day!

Sleep the night before was disturbed, partly as a result of pre-race nerves, partly as a result of Soros the cat providing midnight loving (in the form of dribbles), but mostly from the raving indegestion from overeating in the evening (that chocolate pudding was a pudding too far). I eventually awoke about 0630, a little early, still feeling full up and nervous. Having written my kit list the night before I set about belaying the feeling of increasing panic my packing kit, checking off the list, finding my lucky charms and feeding the cats! Realised at about 7 that I really ought to try and eat something, settled my tum a bit with some warm water, lemon and honey (usually does the trick), eventually I managed to eat a small bowl of porridge (made with water - no milk in the house - what a mistake)... but the dollup of yogurt and spoon of honey helped!

All the race notes said be there for 8:30 (race started at 10:05 - sounded early to me)... so off we set at 0800 (obviously having double and triple checked that I had everything!).... The journey in was easy, being a relative local I knew the short cuts (those avoiding the masses heading in - did I mention 17,000 raced!). Parking was easy as I had ticket for one of the local carparks and a short walk to the stadium led me to the inevitable - queue for the loo!

I gratefully met up with Leanne and Dan - sharing pre-race nerves is always a blessing I find ;o) eventually after some hanging about we started to make our way with the throng of people to the "start line"... I say start line as it was about half a mile long! Obviously the elites were at the front and us mere mortals found our way to "expected finish time" bandings... Dan joined the queue first, expecting a 1:40ish time, I popped in just behind the 2hr mark and Leanne continued on (she should have come in with me but underestimates what she can do - IMHO!)... This was Leanne's first half marathon and was therefore probably the most nervous - I told her with some hilarity just to think of the next time - she'll probably be starting it having done a 85k bike (yes she's doing a 70.3 this year too)... Ha Ha!

The gun sounded and we were off... well ok so at least the elites were off... 5mins later and we began to go with a cheer from the crowd... only to stop again (we were just being taken up the road a bit)... as the commentator said "and the leaders are passing the two mile mark" we began to move again - this time for real... And so.. over the start line I went, no iPod tunes in my ears, just in my head....

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Oh my..... I am pooped....

.... and I forget to buy my Crunchie reward bar (grrrrr)


I'll write the race report tomorrow......

I mastered both a bit of pacing and a NEGATIVE SPLIT (not that it was a big negative split ... but all the same...)

First 10.5k: 1:01:10
Second 10.5k: 1:00:39



A new PB by nearly 9 mins (well that hill wasn't there on this course!)

My aim was sub 2:05... when I was on tri camp I confessed to Jules that it'd be dead chuffed with a time somewhere 1:58 to 2:02.... GET ME ... in by a whisker!

Will need to confirm this on the official results when they are posted... Obviously this being my "chip time" and not my absolute time (which is how they position you), which timed from when the starters gun goes......which will add about 10min I guess as that's how long it took me to get to the start line!

Right - my eyes are closing so time to dream of the next half marathon which comes at the end of the 70.3... I AM MAD!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Defn: "Thank Crunchie it's Friday"

To all those interested (based on my comment yesterday)...

I'm afraid I'm occasionally a sucker for the TV advert and Cadbury's have this lovely bar of chocolate called a "Crunchie Bar"
Back in the early 90s they ran a advertising campaign where the slogan/ strap line was "Thank Chrunchie it's Friday" with invariably someone chomping on a nice Crunchie bar (which obviously made everything sweet and good in the world, generally making everything better).... and so, being in that category of a marketing/ advertising people's dream, where I retain such stuff it's stuck over the years.... in fact it still invokes warming memories today and if I'm having a bad day you can guarantee a Crunchie just makes everything good, particularly on a Friday!

The bar even has it's own page on wikipedia!

News on the half Mary tomorrow.....

1. Have decided to run without my ipod! The reason for this is two fold; (i) Because Reading Half is the second biggest half marathon in the UK, only beaten by the great north run. So there should be lots of support and I want to hear and feel the vibe, and (ii) When I do my 70.3 I won't be allowed to use an MP3 player so I may as well get used to going the distance without it. I hope I don't regret this decision!
2. I am running in a tri vest top (optional summer underarmour long or short sleeve t underneath depending on weather). The reason; I can fit gels in the side pockets. S'ok - i've worn the top once so I'm sure it'll be ok (gulp)
3. I've decided to wear my Garmin. I've been thinking about that one a lot. Anyhow, have some different screens set up, but think I'm going to go with the screen which shows average speed, time passed and ... err can't remember the third part (possibly HR or current speed). Still don't intend to pay too much attention to it.
4. Apparently they have pacers in the event, so I'm going to find the 2hr runner and see if I can stay with it - I may decide immediately to not bother, I'll leave this decision to the start line!
5. I'm going to run as I feel it. I know from the last time the bit from 11-13 miles is just nasty... so figure I've got to get to 11miles then I'll probably forget about the pain of the last two (give it a week or two)!!
6. Given the WIND today (two freight trains have been blown over - I kid you not!) I'm not going to "plan" to have any race "strategy" as such (what IS one of those anyhow)... I'm just going to enjoy myself and finish those are the main priorities. If I were to say a time I'd say I'm aiming for 2:15 as doable, I'll be happy with 2:07 and ecstatic with anything faster. Tomorrow's forecast is for a sweltering (given it's March) of 10 degrees and winds of 14mph (gulp - that's quite windy - I just hope it's behind me on those last 2 miles of open road - yikes!.. I will be drafting as much as possible)

I think I may have one of these after the race.....

and of course go and see Mum as it's Mother's day tomorrow (note - also because parents are kindly feeding me a roast beef dinner - YUM!)