Kirsty Reade

Runner, Publisher, Writer

Author: kirstyreade (page 2 of 3)

Taper Torture

This chair is not my friend

This chair is not my friend

I’m currently in the grip of tapering for the SDW100 on Saturday and, as ever, I’m finding it a painful business for several reasons:

  1. After weeks of doing lots of running it feels like the running/sitting/eating equation is now all wrong.
  2. The older I get the more convinced I am that I seize up if I’m not active (I’m 41, not 80, just to be clear).
  3. Running is often what stops me from thinking/worrying too much so this equation is now all wrong too.
  4. I’ve recently become convinced that my hamstring niggle is caused not by running but by working. All week, when I’m pretty much either sat at a desk or in a car, it becomes more and more tight (but eases off when I run in the evenings). At the weekend, when I’m pretty much running, walking the dog or doing stuff all the time, it magically cures itself. Every Monday it’s fine again; by every Tuesday it’s sore again. Ellie Greenwood wrote about this phenomenon (here). So lots of working and little running this week isn’t great but hopefully a 100 mile run will cure it forever.

So I don’t like tapering but I know it’s what I need to do. My coach, Mimi Anderson, is right about everything else and, as I’ve been sticking to my plan to the letter, it’ll be a textbook taper.

Trail Team 2014

I’m immensely proud and thankful for the opportunity to be on the Trail Team 2014 but a couple of things happened recently that made me even more glad to be part of it.

Firstly I was sat by the pool in La Palma, recovering from running Transvulcania the previous day, when an English woman of a certain age started chatting to me, and I mentioned I was there for the race. She replied ‘oh, your husband ran the race’. Sigh. ‘No, I ran the race.’ Cue much incredulity that a small female person runs long trail races and typical talk of ‘I couldn’t even run to the end of the road’ etc. I have had this conversation hundreds of times. It would be great not to keep having it anymore.

Then a female friend from my running club, an amazing woman who is about to dip her toe into ultras despite only starting running about 18 months ago, said ‘I’ve been looking at some websites for ultras and they’re very, well, male-oriented.’. I’d never really thought about it but I suppose they are. But I know tons of women who run ultras and tough trail races, I met some very inspiring ones at the Trail Team day, and this is a sport where women often finish in the top 10 overall. I’d hate to think that women were put off getting into trail running or ultras by getting the very wrong impression that it’s male-dominated.

The Trail Team is a great opportunity to encourage men and women of all ages and abilities to get into the sport, go further, faster, higher, plan adventures and ruin a lot of socks. I can’t wait.

Hill training #Trailteam2014

Living in Berkshire, where we enjoy nice gentle rolling hills, isn’t always great preparation for races where the hills are of a much more murderous incline. But I have some excellent strategies beyond the obvious hill reps to ensure that my legs do their vertical homework.

  1.  Tyre training.
  2. Steps
  3. A Secret weapon

Read full article at Run247.

Rocking three finish lines at Transvulcania

Like all good trips this one had a soundtrack. Unfortunately it was provided by a local band at the expo belting out rock covers to make your ears bleed at 11pm the night before the race. We had to be up at 2am to board a bus to the start at 3am. How I was regretting choosing that oh so convenient race hotel now. So with ‘We Will Rock You’ still reverberating round my head I dragged myself out of bed, tried to force down some toast and climbed on the bus.

La Palma is a spectacular island, formed of volcanic rock, with beaches of black sand, interesting looking flora wherever you look and lots of big hills with enough beautiful trails criss-crossing them to make grown runners weep. It’s just a perfect venue for a race and, like many of the European trail races, it’s a huge deal here. While I wasn’t crazy about the late night live band it was great that the expo was a big party, complete with a choreographed running-related mass dance routine in the afternoon. It was more like ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ than a running trade fair.

Read full article at Run247.

Coach Trip

Just like Gary Lineker I like a good goal, and this year I’ve got one very good goal – to finish the UTMB. It’s my ultimate race, I’ve worked up to it over 4 years, serving my apprenticeship running the CCC and TDS and doing increasingly hilly and long races and now I’m finally doing the big one.

When I got my place in the race I decided I was going to do everything I possibly could to give myself the best chance of completing it, short of chucking my job in and moving to the Alps, which was ruled out quite quickly on account of strangely not having amassed a huge personal fortune while working in publishing. I made a big decision to try something I’ve always wanted to try – I got a coach.

Read full article at Run247.

A special year for the London Marathon

In many ways my London Marathon experience was pretty much the same as most years. There was the same nervous excitement on the morning, which never seems to fade no matter how many you do. Then there was the annual celeb-spotting at the green start and unfortunately the ability to do this does seem to fade, the further I get from the Heat magazine demographic. There was the fact that ‘it was all going really well until about 20’ that will be familiar to many, with my personal post-20 mile derailment of pukiness (all too familiar). Yes, it was all very similar to most other years.

Read full article at Run247.

Desert Runners – 1000km across the world’s most treacherous terrain

I am a self-confessed running geek and will excitedly watch any sort of running documentary. However, once in a while a really special documentary, which isn’t just about running but also has a strong human element, will come along and blow me away. Desert Runners comes under this category and I can’t recommend it highly enough (but I will try).

Read full article at Run247.

All ages all abilities all in it together at the Grizzly

After many years and hundreds of races my worst fear was finally realised in the 2014 Grizzly: I lost my shoe. I’ve seen it happen to other people at the cross country or in boggy off-road races and I’ve always laced up tight and prayed it didn’t happen to me. But, alas, as I crossed a field which looked muddy but fairly harmless, but actually turned out to be a shoe-sucking, liquid pit of hell, made up of 90% cow excrement, the thing I’ve always dreaded happened. Before I realised it, sock met boggy ground for a couple of steps, then I had to turn around to find my lost shoe.

Read full article at Run247.

‘Having’ a good time v ‘getting’ a good time

OK, hands up, I’ve got an admission which will be like swearing to many runners – I seem to have mislaid my competitive spirit. It was definitely there last year – I cared about PBs, I wanted to do the best I could in every race, I’d try to estimate from behind whether other women were in my age category (complaint: it’s impossible to age you superfit runners from the front, let alone from the rear) and if so try to catch them – but this year it’s gone. And to misquote REM, it’s not the end of the world and I feel fine.

I was never particularly competitive. I’ve troubled a few podiums on the really long stuff and I’m very proud of the few trophies I’ve won. I’m a pretty average runner and I do ok on my day. But I never felt the ‘grr, bring it on, smackdown with my fellow runners’ thing, unless they were particularly annoying/not wearing proper running shoes. Instead I was very competitive with myself. I wanted to do the best I could do, I wanted to push myself, to beat last year’s time, to do x minute miles, to feel like I’d left everything on the course, I was an occasional puker. But I’ve always really hated the ‘being competitive with friends/club mates’ thing – that was never me. One of the reasons I like running ultras and 24 hour races is the feeling that you’re all in it together. There’s a mutual respect that you’re all doing something quite hard and you’re much more likely to have a nice chat and help each other along than to try to crush your opposition. And if you end up finishing in the top three then that’s what you deserved on the day and other runners are likely to be happy for you.

Read full article at Run247.

When it’s not your day – there’s help at hand

I’m not sure who said it but I read a good running quote the other day which, for me, sort of sums up ultras: ‘first you feel like dying, then you feel reborn’. As much as you try to stop your brain (or sometimes, maddeningly, fellow runners) doing the maths – ‘only’ 40 miles to go! – there’s always that little voice in your head saying ‘if I’m this tired/if my knee hurts this much/if I’ve got blisters already then how bad will things be in another 20 miles?’.

But then somewhere along the way you reach some sort of tipping point and you find reserves you didn’t know you had, and you know that the elation you’re going to feel when you finish is going to far outweigh the sore feet.

Read full article at Run247.

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