Roll up, roll up, bring out your finest panda puns


Pandamonium on the Running Channel

With a couple of big race days looming on the horizon, my thoughts have turned to the important questions: Where do pandas store their gels if they don't have pockets? What are the panda puns that are going to haunt me round 26.2 miles of London streets? Will it be hot like last year, and will I therefore be parboiled panda by mile 10? Can one carb-load on bamboo? Will I terrify any more small children like the one in the park when we were filming, who hid in her pushchair from me? Can I start regularly commuting in that costume, because actually that trip across London was really fun ... Yes, like I said, the big questions that haunt us all before race day.

Of course, I do have to get a small race in Boston out of the way first, but this is the big one. Quite literally, in the case of that panda head. In all seriousness, if anyone does have a cunning method of carrying gels when you don't have pockets and a race belt might be tricky to get round that furry tummy (*sits back and awaits charges of panda body-shaming*) please let me know below.

Anyway, it was a big weekend for races - marathons, at least - with Manchester, Rotterdam and Milan and others. Well done to anyone resting on their laurels today - along with mega kudos to anyone who managed to get the utterly useless Manchester marathon "live tracker" to work. What's the point of even having one if it never, ever works? No one necessarily thinks they are a must on race day, but knowing there is one, and it doesn't work, is infinitely more annoying than not having one at all. At any rate, I was personally delighted to see the lovely Jenny Spink win, set a new PB and a course record. Jenny works at Mike Gratton's 2:09 training camp every year where, in between her own training, she tirelessly helps others with their own goals. Well, and usually tortures us with a hardcore hour long core session, but we'll forgive her that as its good for us really.

So, over to you and your panda puns. Prepare me for what faces me on the streets of London please. I cannot be bamboozled by any excuses. Etc, etc, and sorry. Oh, and a note on next week - the Monday Debrief will be a Tuesday Debrief, due to me being otherwise occupied on the streets of Boston.

Ps Oh - and if you do want to sponsor me, the link can be found here - and thank you.





Comments

  1. I love your panda outfit Kate, I just hope it'll be a cool day for you. As for Boston, have a great race, I'll be very interested to hear your views about the race and the city. Given that I go through the city regularly visiting my daughter, I'm biased and love it!

    On Saturday I tackled the brick session that I've been the most apprehensive about, a 50 mile ride at race pace followed immediately by a 75 minute run. My biggest fear was that I might not complete it, and actually I didn't because I cut the run down to 70 minutes, but more of that later.
    The bike leg went well and I did my best to protect my legs at every opportunity. My fuel was High 5 in two 800ml bottles, some biscuits I eat on the first part of long rides and SIS gels for the last 20miles. I did the 50 miles in 2:55, or 17.2mph and I was happy about that, maybe 5 minutes faster than I’d expected. However, I arrived home with 500ml of fluid left in one bottle, which I now realise was a mistake that had serious effects in the run.
    I quickly changed and was out again on an A to B run, with Mrs B to meet me 75 minutes later. Like the beginning of all brick runs it started off with all the peculiar sensations, but mostly my back not feeling very stable. Anyway, you go slowly, or at least, that’s what it feels like, but it turns out that my pace in the first 2 miles was quicker than I wanted, so I slowed down. I was tired and warm, and my body was aching. I was telling myself “This is tough” but I reckoned that if i could run smoothly I could do the 75 minutes. Ha! At about 3.5 miles, after going around some sharp turns and then going uphill, my right hamstring decided to cramp and I stopped to stretch it out. Feeling that it wouldn’t cramp again, I started up again but only to realise that both legs had turned into painful concrete limbs! From this point on it became a battle between mind and body and I’ve got to admit I decided to stop twice after that, the first was because I saw clumps of new cowslips and they just made me feel happy, but the second time was because I felt knackered! I decided to stop at 70 minutes with 8 miles done, though at the time I’m not sure I could have done more.
    That was probably the hardest 4 hours and 5 minutes of exercise I’ve ever done, but I’ve learned a lot about what went well and what I need to change, which is just as well as I’ve got the same session again in 4 weeks time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blimey Pete, 70 minutes instead of 75 is basically zero difference at all, well done! I always think sessions like that - where it feels crappy but you do it anyway - is actually the "real" training. When it flows and its easy, that's the icing on the cake. But the tough ones build not only physical but mental resilience as well, which when it comes to ultra endurance evennts might even be more valuable?

      On Boston - any recommendations for great places to eat/ go/ look at very welcome! I've only been once and it was - terrifyingly - about 25 years ago.

      Delete
    2. I made a list of things and then realised you are running a marathon as well Kate! But here goes anyway.
      Eating-the Italian restaurants in the north end are great, though you'll probably need to book a table as the area is always very busy. There are also lots of restaurants and food stalls at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, it's with going there just for a look around. Also, a Boston favourite is Legal Seafood. They are dotted around the city. Also, Chinatown is another good place to eat.
      Places to go- Boston Common is great to walk around, you get a great feel for the city there. Close to the common is Massachusetts State House, it has a really good self directed tour. But it's also worthwhile to go to the Old State House, it sits amongst high rise and just looks wonderful. They do tours there as well, but I can't remember if I've ever been! The harbour is another good place to walk around, great views. If you are interested in baseball, or just want to see an amazing old stadium, go out to Fenway Park, they do tours. But then again, you should be able to see Fenway at the end of the marathon as you run close to it. And my favourite is to cross the Charles River and walk around MIT. Some of the buildings are so whacky and wonderful.
      If you are interested in shopping, well there are great shops on Newbury Street, which is one over from Boylston and where the marathon finishes, outside the Boston public library. There are also good shops on Boylston near the finish, surprise, surprise, they are mostly running stores! It's already alwato go to the finish area of the marathon, even when it's nowhere near marathon time simply because of the painted finish right across the road, it gives you goosebumps! Bostonians are very, very proud of their marathon, and its run on Patriot's Day, so expect a lot of noise! It's an easy city to get around but you might find yourself on your feet a lot, so try and use the subway of if possible. I could go on and on but the best advice is just enjoy yourself and if it looks interesting, just do it!

      Delete
    3. And.....I know you are running a marathon, but, it's wonderful to run alongside the Charles River and do some sightseeing that way. I did a couple of days running there after a local HM and my legs were in bits, but it was just a great place to be out, running and on your own in a big city. Now I'm getting all an emotional!

      Delete
    4. Ha! One more thing, try an Irish bar! Not for the food but the beer. Happy, happy memories!

      Delete
  2. Throw me the PB klaxon!

    I ran Manchester marathon yesterday, my third (2017 - 4:18, 2018 - 3:50). I had had a good training cycle but very stressful couple of weeks at work leading up to race so not sure what I had to give. I decided to go off comfortably, settle into a pace and that would be my pace. So I did, and ran the first half in 8:0x minute miles. I ran sub 8 for the next few miles and managed to hold on until mile 24 when I slowed a little. Had to stop at mile 25 to count to 5 to give myself a sharp taking too. Actually managed to run, not waddle across the line in 3:34. Over the moon. 1minute positive split which I’ll take.

    Brilliant day as always, great organisation and support.

    Gels strapped to your hands (like the straps you get around the hand held water bottles)? Would save on energy ex-panda-ture getting them into your mouth without faffing around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well done R&B! That's a cracking time. I like the little talk you had with yourself, something we could all do when the going is really tough. Have a great week and gloat as much as is humanly possible!

      Delete
    2. Congrats R&B! What a terrific improvement!

      Delete
    3. Thanks Pete. I’ve just been for a walk around clitheroe castle parkrun and 1) it was blazing sunshine and 2) my gait was normal!

      Thanks squirblej. My youngest is only three so I think some of the improvement is down to extra sleep (relatively) and body recovery (and some hard work).

      Delete
    4. Sun comes out in Clitheroe??? Must be a thing they organise when you go home. Certainly didn't happen for me!

      Delete
    5. That's amazing R&B, you must be so chuffed, what a feeling of self achievement! Well done and congratulations!!

      Delete
    6. Bugger the positive split. What a performance! Congratulations R&B, that's an amazing improvement. Hopefully there's more to come in 2020 :)

      Delete
    7. Fantastic! Congratulations.

      Delete
    8. Great run R&B - and great progression!

      Delete
    9. Fantastic result R&B; and what improvements over the two years! Sets you up very nicely for your next target.

      Delete
    10. Well done, congratulations! I reckon you can call a 1 min positive split a rounding error and say even pace btw...

      Delete
  3. Hello all! I ran Manchester as well. Felt a bit bigger and more chaotic before the start than last couple of years, and perhaps not as much support around the course as I remember.

    I’d hoped I would be in PB shape but as most of you know I’d had a bad cough and then 4 days of gastroenteritis in the last two weeks of build up, so I’d missed a couple of longer runs and tune up speed work sessions. I had a reasonably relaxing last 5 days and managed to sleep well so I got to the start line plotting to run flat 6.40s and hit 2.55 or just under - which would be a mild PB.

    Race started pretty well and I was on track for the first 5-10k basically hitting the splits. It didn’t feel quite as easy as it should have done though and I went through halfway in 1.27.15 a few seconds slower than I’d intended and already feeling I was dragging off the pace. It didn’t help that I was being overtaken by a lot of runners at this point despite still doing 6:45s - I had the sense that I was going backwards.

    By 30k I knew I was going to struggle to hit my target so I refocused on rhythm and tried to keep the miles at or about 6:45-50. As we got towards 35k I started to overtake runners again and this felt good as I was clearly slowing less than other people, though my legs were beginning to feel heavy and I was regretting the lack of some of the endurance training. It was also heating up a bit by now.

    Finally crossed the line in 2:56:11 - a good solid result. I think I would have been in PB shape without the illnesses, but that in some ways is encouraging for later in the year. Not sure which autumn marathon to target yet but I would think there’s a good 3-4 minutes of improvement potential if I get an unbroken training string in place.

    Hope everyone else enjoyed their day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent running squirblej! That's a great performance given the trials and tribulations of the last few weeks. Chester is a good autumn marathon, especially if you want to slice a bit of time off your pb.

      Delete
    2. It was a brilliant run, squirblej, all things considered.

      Delete
    3. Great run given the tough lead into it! Well done for digging deep. I thought the support was great, but yes, a little down on previous years which was odd given the increased number of runners. Well done.

      Delete
    4. Great running Squirb! Finally runs of a different nature! Very impressive!

      Delete
    5. That's still a fantastic time, particularly after what you went through last week (and what went through you). Congratulations.

      Delete
    6. Boggles my brain how quick that is. Sure there's even more speed with a bit of build up luck. Fab!

      Delete
    7. Really great result squirblej considering your recent build up. Another brain here boggling at the speed - and also your even pacing!

      Delete
    8. Thanks all! The legs are definitely telling me to take a few days off today (going down stairs....urggh!). That's another measure of a good run...!

      Delete
  4. Expandable gel belt?

    Great to see Manchester results coming in on Strava. Well done everyone. Lovely day for it too.

    I had a nice weekend of running with Mrs GJ doing her first Parkrun and coming in at 30'33" officially but no doubt under 30 minutes given the congested start (356 people and a very narrow track at the beginning). She didn't want me to run with her as apparently I'm a pain in the arse and would only try and encourage her. When asked at the end if she enjoyed it the reply was "yes, but I could hear people breathing, and I hate it when they do that". Our friend Kath, in fear of her life, ran 1 second outside her PB at 26'04" and I managed 22'45" on the watch and 4th in age category. Humble brags all round (more brags then humbles, sorry).

    The highlight was our daughter returning from University. She'd done C25K in Edinburgh which has obviously been a great place to do it as she invited me for a run and then happily trotted out 7 and a bit km under 40 minutes. All round niceness. Happy running, everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not liking to hear people breathing is a thing?!? You've got your work cut out GJ! Good man for being so game.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like a good weekend all round GJ. Well worth a brag.

      Delete
    3. BHP, the not hearing people breathing thing is a result of doing C25K with headphones, listening to recorded instructions and having never run with more than 1 person (me, holding my breath). Mass participation running can be odd for some people. I find it really difficult to judge my pace, as she did on Saturday, with people accelerating and decelerating around you. Technology helps but getting into a rhythm takes much longer than when solo running. I must also point out that she is very nice and not as scary as I would have you believe.

      Delete
    4. Did she make you type that GJ? :-)

      Well done to her (and daughter), more to come no doubt.

      Delete
  5. I'm looking forward to next weekend's running already as I'll be back in the mountains of Spain for ten days. The plan is to see how high I can get before the snow and cold weather makes me turn back.

    As for this weekend's running, it was a solo 50 km on Saturday followed by a 16 km yesterday. The plan for Saturday's run was to test pace to see how 'fast' I could go while running slowly. I averaged out at 5:36 min/km and felt good for it. The legs felt fine afterwards and the rest of the day wasn't a write off. But - the big question is - could I have done another 50 km at the same pace? Probably not. I reckon somewhere between 5:45 - 5:50 min/km is my sweet spot in terms of being able to run all day. However, let's see what the next few months bring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy the Spanish mountains Mark, it'll be a bit like going home. Hopefully the snow line isn't too low. And thanks again for the advice about tailwind again, I'll be ordering some this week.

      Delete
    2. Cheers, Pete! The village where we are staying is at 1,300 metres above sea level. The snow line was down to there last week after some bad weather. Thankfully, the weather has improved so hopefully I'll be able to get to about 2,500 metres. And good luck with the Tailwind! And as a PS: good result for the Toffees yesterday. Pity we didn't get more goals, though.

      Delete
  6. PB by default klaxon. First marathon for me yesterday at Manchester, conditions were nearly perfect (13 degrees by the end isn't exactly not, but it's probably the warmest I've ran in since September). Finished with 3:04 which I'm happy enough with as a time, bit not happy with how I ran. Did everything I said I wouldn't: Went too fast at the beginning, changed my fuelling from what I trained with. So I was within 3:00 up until around 36K then things got progressively slower. As I said, happy with the time for a first marathon, but a lot to learn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's still a brilliant run for a first time marathon, Chris. You know where you went wrong, so you know what you have to do to make it sub-3. Nice one!

      Delete
    2. Amazing result for a first, with all pointers for improving the next, well done!

      Delete
    3. That's a fantastic time. Well done, you should be really proud. You already know what you could do better next time so I'm sure sub 3 is well within reach.

      Delete
    4. Incredible first, well done!
      Everyone seems to have had a great day at Manchester!

      Delete
    5. Great result Chris - you'll learn a lot from that for next time!

      Delete
    6. Amazing time for your first marathon! I'm aiming for my first, and I'll be delighted if I come home in 4:04! 3:04 is an impossible dream!

      Delete
    7. Terrific run Chris - well done! 40 minutes faster than my first one...

      Delete
    8. Well done, that's a great debut!

      Delete
  7. Trying again, hopefully second time lucky. Not much to report for me. Saturday was chucking it down with rain, which kept me indoors. Sunday on the other hand was a sunny but cool autumn day, so I went out for my normal 10km circuit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kate, can you sew a little pouch on the outside of the panda suit for your gels? Will you have human hands or panda paws? That could be problematic!

    Not a parkrun PB as such, but almost .. I got an age-grading PB. Being a year exactly since my parkrun PB, I came in 12 seconds over that at 20:20 but being that bit older I got my highest WAVA rating so far of 83.44%! I was pleased with the time considering I’ve been training without straining the past few months.

    I’m anxious about Brighton next Sunday, I’m going out cautiously, I hope my home-made training will pay off. Why do we become doubters in the last week?! Weather looks encouragingly dull.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very impressive WAVA rating KYD (and a fabulous time too). I never get above the high 60s.

      Good luck in Brighton next week. A cautious start sounds very wise but I'm sure you'll smash it.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Good luck kyd!! I think running with the right mindset is 80% of the battle. Remember the first half should be easy, else you're going too fast! And enjoy!

      Delete
    4. Cracking parkrun kyd. Have a great time in Brighton!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations to all the marathoners at Manchester and elsewhere. Some fantastic performances on here.

    Less than a week to go to Paris so just an easy 16kms at the weekend with some light running and a few evenings on the foam roller to look forward to this week. Looks like a fairly cool day is forecast which suits me fine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Feel somewhat shamed by these great tales from Manchester. I had a girls' weekend in Braemar, as there's a few of us who have our birthdays round this time of year. The weather was overcast and cold, so we hunkered down in the cosy bunkhouse and swigged fizz, stuffed our middle aged faces with birthday cakes (note cakes, plural) and laughed like I haven't laughed for ages. Such wonderful therapy!

    Sunday morning was another thing altogether. I'd insisted before going to bed that I'd be up and out running by 0700 hrs.... oh, the fizz-induced bravado..... The headache that hit as I lifted my head off the pillow was not enjoyable. But I would not be beaten. Out of bed and into running gear, and on the road by 0715 hrs. I'd planned to do at least HM distance, and about 2 miles in, realised I'd forgotten t out any gels in my pocket. But reckoned I was well fuelled by the previous day's cakes, so just kept going.

    It was wet. It was cold. It was grey. My head was thumping for the first couple of miles. But running on my own, through upper Deeside, Mar Lodge estate and the Linn of Dee, with so many red deer and red squirrels for company - and one mountain hare wearing its winter coat - was just magical. Did the HM (though it wasn't fast....) cleared my headache and was ready for a hearty breakfast when I got back to base. Joyous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS Deer, squirrels and mountain hares, but not a panda to be seen.

      Delete
    2. I sometimes think the hungover runs are the best. Supreme plaudits for getting out there. What a feeling of achievement!

      Delete
    3. Sounds great. Think you've got inspiring countryside and wildlife to thank - a cold wet grey run in a city/town just not the same somehow.

      Delete
    4. R&R, hope you don't mind me asking - are you followable on Strava at all? If you go to my profile page here, there's a link to my Strava.

      Delete
    5. It's certainly a good hangover cure, squirblej. I felt much improved afterwards.

      PN - yes, I'm on Strava. I'll follow you. I'm Elspeth Macdonald

      Delete
  11. I had a couple of good sessions/workouts last week and some enjoyable easy runs. I was building up to do a track 5km next weekend, but I missed the deadline for some paperwork so I'll have to miss it. Instead I'm doing a mile time trial this Thursday. Looking forward to practicing my pain tolerance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Now where did I put that klaxon? [finds the PW klaxon] Ah there it is... PARP!

    6:08:31 at the Greater Manchester Marathon. I haven't posted on here much this year as I haven't really been running, just struggling with sore knees and getting round parkrun each week somewhere outside of 30 minutes. However, for personal reasons, I didn't want to miss this one and so with a combination of run, walk and shuffle got round. An enjoyable run with great support from the roadside.

    I also ran Stretford parkrun on Saturday, a slightly different parkrun in that it starts and finishes with laps of Longford Park Athletics Track. Good fun and a big turnout with pre-marathon tourists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent - well done! That parkrun sounds good too.

      Delete
    2. That's an epic achievement - hats off and well done!!

      Delete
  14. Kate, did you know that Tom and Harriet Woolley have also entered for a Guinness WR as fastest marathon by a mixed pair of siblings?! They were in Portugal with us last year and I think you ran with Harriet at the Kingston 16 recently?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well done on last weekend's races - some great performances! Good luck to all running this weekend, be it Brighton, Paris or Boston or...

    A little late to this week's debrief - I'm on holiday :-) Into the first week of taper for London - only two double days this week - yay! I had my first gel since September on Sunday's long run - it took me two miles to open the gel, brain-freeze possibly the culprit. I joined up with the local running club on Tuesday night - we had a good hill session. Looking to do a parkrun time trial this weekend on slightly rested legs (if I can find some flat places to do some recovery runs before then).

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to the brave new world

The fight for equality in cross country continues

Iberian sunshine and helado