Day 8 – Penultimate pilates

Sounds like lots of Juneathoners got soaked today but I was more fortunate – at 7pm when I left the office for the 2.5 mile walk to my pilates lesson the sun had emerged and it had turned into a glorious evening, perfect for a walk and a bit of gentle Juneathoning.

As I crossed the wobbly Millenium Bridge I could see that Tower Bridge was open, but I wasn’t close enough to get a good picture or see what the big ship was, and by the time I got closer the drawbridge was down again and everyone was getting on with their evening.  But by then I had some more elephants to keep my camera happy.

As I wandered past all the lovely restaurants lining the river it made me feel hungry as it does every week (not surprising since there are such tempting smells and I always go past at dinnertime) and the people having a drink in the sun after work made me want to stop too and just sit down with a glass of wine instead of doing pilates. But (a) its Juneathon and that kind of attitude just won’t wash, and (b) its my penultimate session with my lovely trainer Claire before she disappears back off to Edinburgh for evermore (sob!), so I have to make the most of her. So I kept going and didn’t give in to the temptation (not that I was ever really going to).

Anyway, once there my pilates session was lovely, up in our little observatory on the sixth floor, with floor to ceiling glass and views over the entire city and with a fabulous sunset to boot. Not at all a bad way to unwind from a busy day, and it actually burns calories instead of adding them as wine has a nasty habit of doing. Claire did give us a fairly hard session though and it was warm in the observatory so it felt like a decent workout even in spite of the chilled out setting.

So even though its been the most sedate of all the Juneathon days so far, I suspect I will be feeling it tomorrow.


Day 2 – running off a hangover

As previously mentioned, last night I went to Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley for an extraordinarily yummy meal with some clients. We had the tasting menu and every single course was truly special. They round things off with a silver and crystal trolley of various homemade bonbons to try – mmmmmm!

But with lovely food you (obviously) have to have some lovely wine, and I think we got through three bottles between the five of us, plus a round of gin and tonics to kick things off. Being the consummate professional that I am, I wasn’t really even tipsy when we left, but then in the spirit of Juneathon I decided to walk the 2.5 miles home rather than jumping in a cab. I expected the fresh air to clear my head but it had quite the opposite effect – I don’t know whether maybe the increased heart rate pumps the alcohol to the brain quicker but by the time I reached home I was decidedly addled. I sat down on my bed and promptly passed out, to wake an hour later and put myself to bed properly.

So Day 2 of Juneathon dawned with more than a hint of a hangover.  But self-inflicted symptoms can’t stand in the way of Juneathon, so at 1 o’clock I headed out into the glorious sunshine for a 3 mile run along the Thames.

I love this particular run, a loop from the office by Blackfriars Bridge round to Westminster Bridge via the South Bank and back along the Embankment. On a lovely sunny June day like today the pavements are thronged with tourists which means there’s no PB potential here, but it is great for watching the world go by as you run. Highlights were more elephants and being joined for a short stretch of my jog by an enthusiastic Spiderman – one of the South Bank street performers – who seemed to approve of my running. Low points were having a pigeon try and take off right into my face, and being unceremoniously knocked out of the way on Westminster Bridge by a tourist on a quest to take the best shot of Big Ben. (On Westminster Bridge the (many) lunchtime runners, including myself, tend to take to the cycle lane to avoid the heavy tourist traffic on the pavement. I wonder if the cyclists feel as strongly about us doing that as JogBlog feels about them cycling on the pavement?)

I didn’t have a watch on but the changing room clock said 13:04 when I left and 13:38 when I returned, so allowing a couple of minutes for getting in and out of the building I think that’s 3 miles in approximately 32 minutes, hardly fast but not bad considering the throngs I had to navigate my way through. So Juneathon done for the day, and the hangover has now largely abated too, which is good. But I have developed a hint of some racer-back strap marks across my shoulders, which is bad. Not sure how I’m going to avoid having silly lines visible above my bridesmaid’s dress if we really do have a barbecue summer. Anyone know of any strapless sports bras?

BUPA London 10000 – race report

So today – the eve of Juneathon – was the BUPA London 10000 which this year I ran “with” my Mum. As per yesterday’s post, I was rather concerned that she was going to thrash me, and so it proved. I clocked a disappointing 01:01:25 after picking up the mother of all stitches round the 6K mark, whilst she romped home somewhere between 55 and 58 minutes. (Yes, I do realise that’s pretty vague, but until the results are posted online that’s the best we can do, as it turns out she never bothered to work out how to use the stopwatch I bought her for Christmas! She wears it, but apparently doesn’t really look at it. Sigh.)

The day started well when we woke to perfect running conditions – a dry but overcast 15 degrees. The race organisation was as flawless as in previous years, and very soon after getting out of the cab for the short hop from my flat down to the holding area in Green Park we had our bags dropped and had already visited the conveniences (no queues!). We abandoned my dad on the steps of Buckingham Palace and joined our start wave, where we happily bounced along to Abba and Lady Gaga until 6 minutes before the race began, when Mum decided she needed the loo. We joined a queue as the elites set off and were luckily back in our pen by the time Blue B were called forward.

I had warned Mum about the number of people at the start and that she should be prepared to go slowly in traffic for the first couple of kilometres, but clearly she didn’t listen to me as within just a few seconds of starting she was already getting frustrated and was busy trying to cut everyone up. I stuck with her all along the Embankment, apologising to all and sundry as I went, and cheering Mo Farah on the other side of the road on his way to a new British record. But by 3K her pace was starting to take its toll on the rather less fit me, and so when at the first drinks station she very nearly took out a blind runner, oblivious to the effing and blinding of his fairly pissed-off guide, I took the opportunity to pretend I wasn’t with her and let her go. I don’t think she noticed.

After that things felt much better as I ran my own race. I plodded along happily enough until we reached Leadenhall Market, where the cobbles didn’t do any favours for my slight achilles niggle, but it was at St Paul’s that I developed a stitch which just got worse. As we went under Blackfriars Bridge it became a blinding pain that caused me to have to pull over to the kerb and double over for about a minute until the discomfort passed. After that I was fine but was restricted to a fairly slow pace as speeding up just seemed to bring it back.

I ran back along the Embankment side by side with another very impressive blind runner, this one not attached by the wrist to his guide but running strongly by just following the instructions of an equally impressive guide, who appeared to be running the entire race backwards to allow him to keep an eye on his charge. They were going at a very decent pace considering that neither of them could really see what was ahead and I take my hat off to them both  – they were inspirational in the final tough kilometre.  I left them behind as we turned onto the Mall to try to speed up for the end, but I knew by that stage that I wouldn’t get in under the hour, so I had little incentive to really pull out all the stops for my sprint finish.

My Mum was waiting for me a short way after the finish line feeling frustrated that she didn’t know her time, but fairly confident of having achieved a PB. And then it was back to the staging area to pick up our goodie bags, our kit and some very welcome free jelly babies!

I’m pretty disappointed with my time, but all things considered it was a good day out – my brother joined my Dad at the finish line and we had more fun admiring the Green Park elephants before wandering back through Hyde Park in the direction of home. I’ve had a tough few months lately so haven’t been training for this really and though it is a bit rubbish to be beaten so soundly by my mother, 10K in just over an hour isn’t so bad.

So now its home to sit quietly with a DVD and prepare for the next challenge, which starts in just a few hours. In retrospect beginning Juneathon immediately after a tough 10K wasn’t the brightest of moves, but June waits for no man, and so I will just have to suck it up and haul myself out of bed tomorrow for an early morning spinning class to kick things off. The early morning will be a slightly brutal introduction but I have a full work schedule tomorrow and have to go to a client event in the evening, so if the exercise isn’t done by 9am then I’ll have failed Juneathon before it’s even begun. And that would never do.

Bring it on!

Ministry of funny runs

Tuesday is Pilates night so I fled the office at 7.15 for the nice walk from Blackfriars to Tower Bridge, where my cousin’s building has a fab seventh floor observatory that makes a perfect studio for our private lesson. Temperature had dropped a bit and I was in a sleeveless dress so had to layer up with my pilates hoodie – probably not a great look.  But the walk is a simply fab one, especially now that herds of exotic baby elephants line the route! Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me last night but here’s a pic of one of my favourites with a journalist from the Evening Standard.

There were loads of runners out, which was nice to see. I haven’t yet figured out a way of running with my pilates mat or I would have joined them. But was was most interesting was that a lot of them seemed to be cultivating very unique running styles: running with hands tucked under armpits (well it was chilly in the wind); running in a sort of diagonal fashion as if about to take off over a high jump bar; and one chap whose knees were so high I can only assume he had been training with the Thunderbirds boys. Now, I’m far from a graceful runner myself, but the multitude of odd styles did make me wonder whether the Ministry of Funny Walks has been hit by the Chancellor’s budget cuts and turfed all its civil servants out onto the streets…