22 October 2014

The UK driving test experience

The dreaded L plates

Another expat rite of passage is done and dusted finally--I am now in possession of a UK driving licence!  It's been a very stressful (and expensive) process because Great Britain has one of the most difficult tests and I had nearly 3 decades of US driving habits to overcome.  The theory and hazard perception exams required as much studying as the written portions of the CDL and the practical (driving) section was far and above more intensive than my car, truck, and motorcycle tests combined.  

The US doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with the UK but you do have one year to drive on your state issued driver's licence without having to display L plates (magnetic or sticky emblems that are placed on the front and rear of the vehicle), being restricted from the Motorways (interstates), and having to have a licensed driver with you.  True to form I procrastinated and didn't apply for my provisional until right before my year was up which made the process slightly more rushed than it should have been (don't do what I did!).  On the plus side, my partner trained as an ADI (approved driving instructor) so I didn't have to pay for lessons--I highly recommend at least taking a couple of lessons so that you know what is expected for the test.  

I would like to say that I passed my first time but alas that wasn't the case...A bad case of test nerves that wasn't helped by a cranky partner resulted in me pulling out of the centre and going on the wrong side of the road, something I hadn't done since the first month of moving here. Yes, that's right I failed my test in the first minute of driving! Muscle memory is a hard thing to overcome.  The most frustrating thing? Knowing I'd failed yet still having to continue on with the test for the remaining 37 minutes and only garnering 2 minor faults after that.  

As soon as I got home from the first practical test I logged onto the DVLA site to schedule another appointment--the time span that you have to wait has changed from 6 weeks to 10 business days--but the earliest date I could get was the first week of November from all the test sites within a 20 mile radius of our location.  Not ideal since that meant I couldn't drive anywhere without a licensed driver with me during that time and my partner is most definitely not a morning person! A trick most people aren't aware of is that you can reschedule free of charge and there are almost always last minute cancellations.  By checking the site 2-3x per day I was able to change my date from November to the 29th, the 24th, and then finally the 22nd which was the 11th day after my first test! I also made sure it was later than my partner's normal wake-up time in order to avoid the 'not enough coffee' grouchiness, lol.  

So that brings us to today...the 22nd, and I'm sure you're asking yourself "Come on, how did it go????" No? Well, I managed to pass this time around and again only garnered two minor faults (minus the one big major that failed me the first time). Whew!!!!!!!! The average pass rate at the centre I tested at is 12 minors so I'm well pleased.  One of the minors was related to my truck driving days--while performing the reverse around the corner maneuver I didn't use the back window as much as I should have.  Fortunately the examiner and I had been having a good chat and he knew that I'd driven a big truck for over a decade and he'd driven lorry in the military so he realized why.  It was a gorgeous reverse other than that--perfectly positioned and smoothly executed--I hadn't done that well on all of my weeks of practice! The second fault came in when I became confused by one sign and markings on the road that offered slightly contradictory (in my opinion) information and positioned myself in the incorrect lane for going straight across the junction.  According to the examiner that sort of mistake happens at least twice per day during their tests so it's no big deal unless you panic.  

There's my UK driving test experience, please feel free to comment if you would like any more information or clarification--hope this has been informative and not too terribly boring :-).  

17 October 2014

Today's Earworm

Stumbled upon today's earworm this morning and I've listened to it far more times than what's probably healthy. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Gallery 47

12 October 2014

US/UK words and the BDL blues

Autumn colours

I don't think I've had any word difference conversations lately but I did get to help out at a pub quiz by correctly spelling "Massachusetts" for the group during a running club member's leaving do last night. Score one for the 'murican! I love pub quizzes, we should attend them more often but they do get quite competitive.  I do want to share the following infographic though.

Image via Anglotopia facebook page

A few of these are interchangeable in the states, ie taxi/cab are both used as is fall/autumn.  The picture of drapes/curtains is most definitely showing curtains, the closet/wardrobe is representing a standalone unit so that would also be called a wardrobe or alternatively, armoire.  They also left out a third option for gasoline/petrol--those of us who are or were truck drivers (lorry drivers) across the pond commonly refer to both gasoline and diesel as fuel, granted that's a smaller segment of the population but I am throwing it in there anyways.

It's funny how my use of words are changing, yard and garden are both used equally now and I had to laugh at myself today when I was explaining to my partner that the only working pay and display machine was the one with the long queue.  Still having trouble with the whole pants and trousers bit though!  

Today was the first cross country race of the winter for the BDL (Booth Decorators' League) and quite frankly I was not ready for it.  I'm still not feeling back to normal, the only running I did this past week were the club run nights and they were both short but hard effort runs. The weather was beautiful though, so nice having a XC race where we weren't freezing and covered with mud!  

Yes, I'm suffering!

I can tell you that watching a calf muscle twitch while it's trying to decide whether or not to cramp up provides a bit of morbid entertainment as does my cursing about it! My left leg decided to let me know it wasn't one bit happy with what we were doing just a little before halfway through today's race, the last time I had this happen so severely was at the Malta half marathon when it looked like I had a fist sized knot on the backside of my left calf.  The cause that time was dehydration as well so it's time to get my act together when it comes to drinking enough water.

Current status: reeking of bio-freeze, wearing Mary Kay pink leg compression sleeves, chugging tea, and suffering the BDL blues. 

05 October 2014

Lost one, won one

Like so many in the UK running community this past week I received the "Sorry" magazine that I was unsuccessful in the Virgin London Marathon lottery.  Guess that means I should get off my lazy arse and make up a running plan to try and train for a "Good For Age" entry time for next year but that means I would have to knock over an hour off my current marathon times...and try not to get injured in the process (again).

However the next day I noticed a post on the UK Women's Running Magazine facebook page that I'd won an entry into the Red Bull Steeplechase! I'd forgotten even entering the competition! Granted I knew I would get knocked out well before the final stage but who cares, this is an area I've been itching to run in anyways and to get a medal, hoodie, a bag, and a lunch for doing so...hell yeah! Ok, I've gone a little overboard on the exclamation marks, lol.  

Here's where things go a little awry--I've not felt well since Thursday so the nutrition has not exactly been stellar, ie I've not ate or hydrated enough for a hard-core trail run and Friday morning's normal run wiped me out. Not good but there was no way I was passing up the chance to run in the Peak District--did I mention we would get a hoodie as well??? 

Sporting the club colours--represent, y'all.

I've had some calf issues on the hills lately so thought the compression sleeves might be a good idea this time around. Looking at the crowd pics, I was not alone with that train of thought.  They did help but really the only thing is to get out and train on those hellacious inclines.  To me, the above shot also shows how bad I was feeling pre-race.

Wonder what's going on here? And just WHY did my partner take this pic? 

Apparently there was a malfunction with the gun so the guys didn't get the "On your Mark, Get set, Bang!" on their start. Us ladies did though ;-)

Ready to run! 

I think it must be an unwritten law in the UK that the majority of fell races must start with an evil uphill climb and this one was no exception.  The difference is that this is this one required the use of all your limbs to get up the steep incline--in between gasping for air, another girl made the comment that it was her first race to require the use of her hands on the ground to get up the hill...Wasn't my first but it doesn't make it any easier! 

And we ran! Until this started, then we hiked

And then we clambered. 

What goes up must come down...Eventually. Before we got to that point though we had to try and find a decent running rhythm on the undulating rock steps.  Which were slippy. And very hard, especially in shoes with no padding and hard plastic studs on the bottom.  

The downhill to match the uphill in the beginning was a doozy.  Slippery wet grass that hadn't dried out from the morning's frost made me appreciate the shoes I was cursing metres before. I was able to grip in and make my way down sideways fairly fast(ish)--speed is all relative when it comes to fell running.  Of course the moment I didn't grip in quite well enough and slid down a foot or two on my bum was probably the fastest part of that descent. Grass is nice and soft and I didn't find any rocky speed humps so no blood this time around.  

Not long after the steep downhill and before the halfway point of the first stage is where I started to get into trouble though.  I had already dialed down the speed I would usually do something like this at because of not feeling well but then I started to get dizzy spells. There was one mile where I'm not sure how I even made it through because it was so technical and I was having trouble focusing on the trail, I do know I stepped aside for several runners to allow them by but the rest of is a blur.  Fortunately I'd packed a 9bar in my spibelt and was able to swallow three bites of it, that seemed to help but I knew at that point I was done for the day even though I had a comfortable margin to continue on for the 2nd stage.  

I had a bit of a nice surprise at Bamford, walking up one of the last inclines I started getting heckled by my partner who had driven over to visit his mate while waiting on me.  It perked me up but I still didn't run that damn hill, lol.  As a matter of fact it energised me so much that once I reached the chutes and saw I was 71st female (cutoff was 85) I thought I would go ahead and run the second stage...that lasted right up to the point where we turned out of the field to go upwards again and I started feeling light-headed once more.  At that point I turned around and walked back to call it quits and catch a ride to the finish line on the shuttle bus, there was no need in endangering me, the others around me, and worse case scenario having to utilise the rescue services.  To continue on in an easily accessible road race is one thing, to do it on something like this would have been completely irresponsible on my part.  

This overall was a brilliantly organised event and I would definitely do it again--hopefully under better personal circumstances.  The marshalls were excellent and VERY encouraging (except for the one bloke who was more interested in his phone), the scenery is gorgeous, and it's extremely challenging.  The only complaint I could make would be the stewards not being aware of the amount of parking left at the top before sending several cars on up, that created some snafus because there wasn't a good turn-around place at the top.  Another tiny complaint is non-race organisation related but more other runner related--the British love of queues goes out the door when it comes to races!  I was practically shoved out of the way several times at the registration table...lol, I'm supposed to be the rude one being American and all (stereotypes, eh?). 

The bling

The swag was top-notch as well, we received a drawstring bag to put our gear in at the start, a medal, a canvas bag, a hooded sweatshirt, lunch, all the Red Bull you could drink as well as beer or cider if you wanted.  I had to say no to the beer tent though, I was feeling too ill.  

The obligatory aftermath pic

I have to talk about the hoodie some more, it's AMAZING. Very good quality, nice drawstring, the hood itself is lined with thermal type fabric, it's not the typical black, the graphics on the front and back are nice and it has THUMBHOLES!!!! Yes, I'm gushing about thumbholes, it's a female runner thing I think. 

03 October 2014

Busy Busy

Whew, the last two weeks have been busy.  I have to take my practical driving test soon so most afternoons involve getting out and practicing my driving for at least two hours. Tuesday ended up being a very long day of it with 4 hours behind the wheel and most of it being on Sheffield streets--not very fun.  That might not sound like much considering I used to be a truckdriver but imagine spending your entire driving shift focusing on getting the procedure perfect, with big city style traffic, on narrow streets (think Philadelphia), being on the opposite side of the road than you spent 30 plus years driving on, in a car that is less than stellar in the smooth ride department, and having someone next to you judging your every single move down to the most minuscule--yes, I'm stressed, lol.

Hopefully the next pic like this will be me next to the Mini holding my UK licence

In other news, I am now an INWA qualified Nordic Walking Instructor! I attended a British Nordic Walking instructor course last weekend and wow, was it intensive! Very fun though, I loved meeting the others who were attending and hearing about the varied backgrounds and why each was going for the NW qualification.  Part of the course is that you are filmed so that you can see how your form is progressing and there was quite an improvement in mine from when I took the leader course last spring and now. I think I managed to get all 10 steps into my last evaluation even--although the rotation is still hard for me to attain much less maintain for very long.

At the Bristol Challenge Event

Running has been sporadic but I did get myself out for an early(ish) run this morning.  If I hadn't shattered the screen on my phone I could have taken a beautiful pic of the sunrise and a covey of grouse pecking about in a freshly plowed field.  I ended up taking an unexpected detour though, one of my favourite paths is closed for maintenance until March 2015.  A cheeky dog walker was still using it this morning but I suppose I'm too much of a rule follower so I went the opposite direction...which ended up being alongside a major route during morning rush hour. Ugh, how the exhaust fumes burnt my nose and throat, I've gotten spoiled to not having to deal with that very much over the past year.  Today was also my first fasted run in quite a while, couldn't figure out why I was flagging at 4 miles in and then I remembered, no food in over 12 hours! Small issues aside, it was still a good run.  

The current state of my phone :-(

21 September 2014

Stanage Struggle 2014

I do love a good fell race. Even more so if I finish feeling better than I did at the start.  The Stanage Struggle was a last minute decision and I almost backed out of it when I woke up at 4am this morning and couldn't fall back asleep properly.  Even at the start line I was standing there thinking why the hell am I doing this...Once we started moving though I settled in to a comfortable place within my head and just made up my mind to enjoy it.

Bargain race of the year, £5! 

And enjoy it I did.  The disgruntled sheep who leapt through the pack of runners provided a laugh, at least from 10 runners back it did. I'm sure those who were right there didn't think it was quite as amusing but I don't think I've ever seen a sheep catch that much air in a jump before.

The relentless climb where most of us in the middle of the pack were reduced to walking didn't even kill my mood although my calves were on the verge of cramping. Instead I channeled my inner Jens Voigt and repeated (silently, talking took too much effort) "Shut up legs", I wonder if anyone else was doing the same? 

Once we reached the top I took a moment (while still running) to admire the view...Next thing I knew I was doing a World Series worthy home run slider head first! Adrenalin rocks though, I popped back up as fast as I went down and didn't even lose a position. Yes, Miss Whoops strikes again! 

The steep downhill ascent lost me time and several spots though.  My ankles are still not as flexible as they should be after the sprains earlier in the year so I was taking that far more cautiously than I normally would.  It doesn't help that I'm woefully out of practise with running technical (aka too damn rocky) trails.  

The aftermath

I made up for it once we reached the gentler sloping areas, bombed through mile 5 at 7:37, then mile 6 at 8:50--we started climbing up again and there was a boggy area to cross through that was ankle deep and a bit shoe-sucking.  When I say boggy, I mean not just the fact that it was wet and muddy but it was also that I think it was the preferred sheep toilet area--it stunk!!!! 

Heading for the finish

Gaining on the guy in blue

Oh, hello there! Smile for the partner and both feet in the air. No, those two things are not necessarily connected but it did make my day to see him at the end. 

Hair, tattoos, and laughter.

The Stanage Struggle is on my list to run again, actually I would love to do the entire Outdoor Challenge race series next year.  Hathersage is a beautiful village and the race was well-managed, very well marshaled and the people on the trails were very supportive, lots of cheers and well-dones.  There was even a water stop at the top before the turn around point which I didn't expect but was a nice touch.  

What I need to work on: 
  • Calf strength--I'm doing well with deadlifts, squats, and lunges but need to start adding in some calf specific strength exercises to combat the trying to cramp tendency while climbing the uphills
  • Technical trails--I used to be quite good with rocky and uneven terrain but have gotten out of the habit of running over technical ground the past couple of years
  • Ankle flexibility--again, have gotten out of the habit of doing the ankle mobility work.  Need to get back with that
  • Speed--self-explanatory, need to get faster
After the race, you gotta refuel! The past few times we'd been up to the Peak District we had just missed Grindleford Station Cafe being open but we lucked out today :-).  Post run reward was a full English and a huge cup of coffee.

I ate everything except the sausages. 

Check out the pics from a previous visit (2011) to Hathersage when we visited Little John's Grave

19 September 2014


Named but not shamed...the tyre has now been christened Treadnought.  

Random musings

Random musings tonight.

I *like* running hills. It might not always be fun but tonight was one of the good ones once my legs got over feeling dead from the past two days of being sat at a desk.

If you like seventies style, you gotta watch "Rush", I'm more NASCAR than F1 but Ron Howard made a very entertaining movie that was a feast for the eyes--and I'm not just talking about Chris Hemsworth aka Thor.  The wardrobe in this movie is AMAZING.

Finally remembered to submit my picture for the INKnBURN #MondayMontage!

I love living in England but that fondness ends at all the pay to park areas.  This is a selection of the parking ticket receipts I fished out of my car before taking it in to be MOT'd yesterday. It passed by the way :-)

Speaking of passing, I passed my Theory and Hazard Perception tests on Tuesday. Just missed one on the former and got through the latter with more than enough points despite scoring a big fat zero on one of the clips where I apparently clicked the mouse button too many times.  Some of the questions are common sense but for the majority of it you need to know the Highway Code book inside and out. It should also be the latest version, my book from AA was from 2011 and I had one question that wasn't anywhere in my copy.

Blackberries are still ripening although we are getting to the last of them.  Someone decided to bring out the camera when I was on the step ladder trying to reach over the fence and into the hedge trying to pick as many as I could to freeze for later.  I do appreciate getting to admire how awesome those boots are though. 

I'm being assimilated.  Yesterday I was struggling to say dollar rather than pound when discussing American/Canadian/British money.  

After joining an American expat women's group on facebook I was reminded about how lucky I am to be a runner and how much I appreciate the running club.  It has made the transition to living here so much easier than it would have been otherwise because it has introduced me to so many awesome people.  I still get homesick and miss my friends back home but I don't have the sense of isolation that so many others have.  

Today was the Scotland vote for independence, as of yet we don't know the outcome and I'm not going to share my feelings about it here but it does make me sad to think that any future visits I take to our neighbouring country up north might require a passport check.  

18 September 2014

Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a Nordic run

Sunday I was invited to tag along with Catherine as she recce'ed a route for a Nordic Walking away day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park...All I can say is wow!!! It's such a brilliant concept, combining various works of art with a trail in the countryside.  Most of the pieces are interactive, you can walk on it, around it, in it--there were only a few that were barricaded off to protect from damage.  Some of it left me shaking my head wondering why it would be considered art but like beauty, it's definitely in the eyes of the beholder and it sparked a conversation so therefore the purpose was served.  However the interior of the Deer Shelter Skyspace reminded me of the tornado shelters at the rest areas near Jarrell, Texas but with a hole in the roof, fairly sure that is not the intended effect! 

Yes, you get to share the trail with sheep and cows

We also ended up being a part of the "scenery".  there are always comments and smiles whenever people see you out walking with the poles but we ran most of the route on Sunday with them so there were even more than usual! It was quite fun though, it's the first time I'd went for an extended time Nordic running (we covered just over 4 miles).  There were frequent stops to read the information plaques, take a few pics and to debate various works.  

One particular piece that I didn't get the significance of until after Monday's class, was the Ha-Ha Bridge.  A re-grouping and catch our breath stop was near a ha-ha wall and when it was pointed out to me and the purpose explained, it was an "Ohhhhhhhh! So that's what the bridge was all about" moment. A ha-ha would be built to keep livestock and deer away from an estate's gardens yet preserve the view across the grounds, sort of like an infinity pool only without the pool. You can see the sunken stone wall better in the pic on the right

My partner took several great photos of the sculptures nearer the main visitor centre and of one of the exhibits but he's not finished editing them yet. Hopefully I will have permission to share those in a later post.  YSP is well worth visiting more than once because the exhibitions do change every so often.  Parking is a bit steep at £8 per day but once you factor in that there's no other entry fee and you can pack in a lunch that doesn't seem to be so expensive after all especially if you car-share or have a large family.  There is a cafe on site and a coffee shop is also available at Longside Gallery (approximately 2km away from the main centre) so even packing a meal is optional and if you are like me, a cheeky slice of cake is the perfect way to end a walk. 

So tranquil

13 September 2014

Little Miss Whoops

My klutziness is somewhat infamous and last night at our running club's awards ceremony I even snagged an award for it! 

This "Little Miss Whoops" book was presented after an absolutely hilarious speech that had all of us laughing our heads off and it couldn't be more perfect.  Thank you! 

10 September 2014

More of the tyre

We were being a bit silly yesterday evening before I left for the Tuesday night club run so combined the running outfit of the day pics with "admiring" the new tyre--which needs a name by the way, any suggestions? My theory on naming things is that if it causes some discomfort then it needs to have a name you can intersperse amongst the cursing...for example, my foam roller is called Sven.

I seem to have developed a halo...

Speaking of running gear, how cool is my Ink n Burn top???  My partner bought it for me right after they were released but somehow managed to omit the American flag version of the top from the order, one of my running club mates said it was because he was staking his claim, lol. I do love INB's run or die themed gear mostly because of the skulls--yeah, it's a weird thing I have. 

The shorts are from Brooks, another style that is no longer available, the Versatile 3.5" woven shorts, but they are comfy and flattering with a wide waistband (no muffin top!). My only complaint about them is that there is no usable key pocket but the two front pockets on the outside are useful for things like tissue which comes in very handy when a tiny bug flies up your nose* (that may have happened on last night's run). 

Umm, did I remember my deodorant? 

Told you we were being silly, but ignore my "sniff test" pose for a moment and check out the sky in the background, it's gorgeous. Oh, please ignore the overgrown hedge as well, we need to do some gardening but I am sort of lazy when it comes to that, besides there are blackberries in there. We wouldn't want to chop them down before they are done producing (my excuse anyhow).  

Obligatory mutts pic

Last night I opted for the easy run option because I noticed during Nordic Walking class that my quads were still sore from Sunday's 10k so I guess I pushed harder than I realized.  Kind of removes the sting from putting my last 5k pace into the McMillan running calculator and being told that the 10k should have been 48:28, ouch.  

*The real question is did the bug fly up my nose or did it get hoovered in forcefully due to the fact I was breathing so heavily after an impromptu fartlek around the lake...

09 September 2014

What I wore, a flipping tyre, and fried bologna

After the recent discussions about how much workout gear I own and then coming to the realisation that I only wear a small percentage of it, I've decided to start documenting the outfit du jour.  Race days will be the exception because in order to get points for the club championship or if it's a league race then I obviously am in the club singlet or shirt and that gets a bit boring--the only variation of those is exactly what horrendous expression of agony will be on my face.  Speaking of finish line photos despite my trying for a decent one at the Wilne 10k, the photographer managed to completely miss my arms in the air and beaming smile as I crossed the mats only to snap this one just after when I was recovering from the sprint in and turning my garmin off...sigh, even when I try I can't get good race face.

However I digress--last night's recovery/stress management/I've-gotta-get-away-from-the-computer-before-I-toss-it-out-the-window run outfit consisted of mostly Brooks Running gear, "Live Love Run" tee, Nightlife essential (?) shorts, Ghost 6 trainers and the jog bra by a huge sportswear corporation that I no longer buy products from in protest of their overbearing attitudes at track meets.

The shorts are brilliant, they are reflective/bright without being the usual fluorescent yellow and they have two back pockets which fasten shut with velcro that are the perfect size for gels if you use those.  Unfortunately it looks like they have been discontinued because the only version available on the Brooks site are the blue ID Elite shorts.  Guessing it's because they run slightly shorter than most of the other styles.  

Thanks to a running club friend I had a delivery of a huge tyre to my front garden this morning!  Why would I ever want such a thing you ask? For tyre flipping of course...and perhaps a bit of sledgehammering or equivalent for those nights when I can't get out for a stress relief run.  Pressups, planks, mountain climbers, and crunch variations can also be done with the tyre as the platform.  Can't wait to try it out! 

On the unhealthy side of things I read about Hardee's Fried Bologna and Velveeta Cheese Biscuit on one of the expat facebook groups this afternoon and that got me to reminiscing about my truck driving days.  Southfork truckstop in Gurdon, Arkansas was always a regular stop (huge parking lot, a couple of great running routes and a decent restaurant where the waitresses learned your name) and one of their menu items was the "Big R Sandwich", a thick slice of bologna fried and served in between slices of Texas toast.  Heart attack on a plate but sometimes it just hit the spot, the rest of the time it was just gross to think about.  

07 September 2014

Ramble, rant, and race

It was shaping up to be an excellent week of running and nordic walking but a third workout in the minimalist trail shoes cooled the jets for two days.  I knew within a few steps of running Thursday night that I'd pushed it too far but since it was an away club run and I didn't pack a different pair of trainers I was kind of stuck with it.  It is probably just a bit of bruising from going over some rocky areas and pavement but my left forefoot was killing me on the downhills. The route was gorgeous, mostly off-road and I'm not sure I could find my way around part of it without a guide again--speaking of guides, ours was Colin (Brinsley Runner) from the running club and he did a great job of explaining where we were in relation to various landmarks and even giving us a bit of history, good stuff.  It was getting dark towards the end of the run so it's time to charge up the head torches and unpack the reflective gear (sigh, sure sign of summer being over).

I also managed a pb on the summer course Tuesday night, 5k in 23:20, hoping I can carve that time down to sub 23 on some parkruns soon.  There was no getting lost this time but they started me off with a couple of other runners to make sure it didn't happen again, lol.

Today was the Wilne 10k, I debated skipping it because I wasn't in the mood to race and I wasn't sure how the foot would hold up but went ahead because I didn't want it to be another wasted race entry like back in the spring when I sprained my ankle.  As my usual, I was in the loo queue until the last possible moment and once I got to the start I couldn't be bothered to elbow my way up closer to the front so just started almost in the very back.  I did start my garmin right after we heard the "go" and it took 56.8 seconds to reach the timing mat (at least it had one).  Yes, it is frustrating both to me and the people I'm zig-zagging through when I do that but it also prevents me from jack-rabbiting the first mile (8:00 on the dot by the way).

Once I got into a clear area where I could settle down into a steady pace I realized that I actually felt good and was sure I could get sub 51, what I didn't expect was that I would keep consistently clicking off (just barely) sub 8 minute miles.  I almost always flub up 10k pacing but for once got it right.  What was funny was I could see one of the club members up in front of me for most of the race that I'm close to the same speed as but every time I would try to surge up to catch him, he'd do the same and the gap never lessened, lol.

Click to view

Could I have pushed harder? Yes, I could have, I wasn't totally wiped out at the finish line, it was a comfortably hard pace rather than pushing to the puke zone. I said thank you to the marshalls and to the people spectating who was cheering us on.  I smiled whenever I saw a camera (even smiled several times when it was just me) but on the other hand I wouldn't have been able to carry on a conversation.  My foot did start aching in the last couple of miles but it wasn't unbearable. Final stats: gun time 50:26, 470th overall/chip time 49:03, 440th overall out of 858 finishers. Yes chip time has me up 30 places! Stoked! Middle of the pack territory but there were a LOT of speedy people at this one.

As far as the race goes, I quite enjoyed the course, didn't even mind that it was 2 loops.  It kind of reminded me of the Capitol City Classic 10k in that it was flat, had shady areas, and while not uber scenic, it was pretty enough.  I would definitely do this one again.  Oh and we got a banana in our goody bag! Yes, I'm still holding a grudge against the Derby 10k for not providing the participants with bananas at the end, call me petty if you must but it's all about giving me some kind of food at the end. Some people want a medal, I want my banana. 

Goody bag contents, yay for a non-white tee! 

04 September 2014

Another word for...

The latest adventure in my UK versus US word/terminology is levee.  Today's Nordic walking class was split up into two groups today and I was with the faster one when we discovered this difference in terminology, I said to cut left (that phrase is another one but it's more of a regional thing in the states as well) once we reached the levee (US) AKA embankment or dike (UK). Either way it's a floodbank in both countries :-)

My question is what was Led Zeppelin referring to in "When the Levee Breaks", a dam, a floodbank, or something else entirely? While pondering please enjoy this cover by Zepparella.

03 September 2014

Superficial? Maybe not.

It comes as absolutely no surprise that feeling comfortable with how you look has an impact on your performance so why shouldn't that apply to our fitness gear as well? I found this article about a study of teenage girls in the UK discussing their feelings about the sport kit and how it could be improved.  At first I was perturbed by the statistics--28% saying they they "avoid sport as their PE kit makes them feel ugly" but then I thought about how I feel when what I'm wearing to work out in doesn't perform well or looks horrible and it totally made sense.  Good on Virgin Active, Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, Lexie Sport, the school and the girls involved for taking action with this.  By the way, whoever thought that v-neck shirts for adolescent girl sport kit would be a good idea???

Active Inspiration: My Kit and Me