Sunday, 31 August 2014

Runstreak Day #274 - the crash after the long run

Day 274... and I had a really really fab run with a couple of lovely Notts Women Runners... and it totally reminded me about how fab running is.

We ran 11 miles together, chatting away just about the whole time, did a completely new route... managed a decent consistent pace and I definitely feel like a sub-2 half marathon is comfortably possible in a few weeks time provided I keep myself from panicking / doing something stupid / injuring myself!  Although obviously I have now massively tempted fate and it'll all go pear shaped in the next few weeks... *touches wood quickly*

However, about an hour or so after coming home... having a shower and a nice cuppa cha (naturally!), I crashed completely.  Terrible headache... stomach feeling awful... and it's never happened to me before.  How weird is that??  I guess I could probably have done to drunk water while I was running as it was pretty warm, but I absolutely hate carrying anything with me so didn't have anything.  I had a bottle of water and a banana as soon as I finished running, but I'm not sure how much it helped.


Ah well.  It was still a really nice run and I enjoyed it lots.  Pretty countryside.  Saw other friendly runners.  Good to have company on a longish run.  And finished not feeling too wrecked.  Just crashed later on.  Soooo... gotta get my head around fixing the last bit and all will be well!

Right... more headache tablets and another cuppa required! :D

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:11.02 mi
Avg Pace:8:43 min/mi
Elevation Gain:101 ft

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Runstreak Day #273 - my daughter's first parkrun!

Hooray!  Today I did my slowest ever parkrun!!  Only it wasn't just me... it was 'we'... because I ran it with my 11 year old and it was brilliant to run with her.

And she's survived to tell the tale... and even says she'll go again.  Which is excellent.  Weirdly she'd got it in her head that it was 2k rather than 5... and only realised it was 5 as we were driving home and I said it to her!

So... things I've learned about running with my daughter...

1.  It's a roller coaster.  She can go from excited and happy to 'this is the worst thing ever' within the blink of an eye.
2.  Even when she's really finding it hard work, she'll still have breath enough to go 'I want to waa-a-a-a-a-alk'... and then manage to carry on running anyway (go figure!)
3.  She doesn't care whether she's passed by massive people or teensy people, she's completely in her own little world as she's running - there is no side of her that is at all competitive
4.  Her hands get REALLY sweaty when she runs. Or rather, they get really sweaty when she's running hand in hand with me
5.  It's like running with all the thoughts you have ever had in your head being spoken aloud by a small person.  Every bit of 'I can do this, I can't do this, this is too hard, I'm nearly there, when am I there, my legs are tired, ooh a hill' blather pops out of your child's head.

I've also learned that she can run 5k!  We only had a couple of small walk breaks and I did have to bribe her with a piggy back ride back to the car once she finished (which nearly did me in!).  And it was ace to see a couple of others that I know marshalling... and people are super dooper supportive of children running parkruns... and I didn't care in the slightest about my own time, so didn't get that normal nervous adrenalin rush beforehand.

So... absolutely no PBs today.  But a very very proud mummy run instead!  :o)

Day 273 (I think!)... and it was a goodie!

*slurps tea*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.17 mi
Avg Pace:11:26 min/mi
Elevation Gain:31 ft

Friday, 29 August 2014

Runstreak Day #272 - hilly happiness

I think I may need to invent the 'I conquered the stupidly long hill' dance.

Because that's what I did this evening.  Almost three miles of uphill in a 5.5 mile run.  Get me!  It wasn't particularly fast, but I do love the fact that I *can* run up long hills these days without collapsing or dying.  I put on my determined face and decide to give them a go.  There's nothing else you can really think about when running up a hill other than running.  It's kind of intense in a funny way.  You have to concentrate on your rhythm.  On your breathing.  On landmarks which you bargain with yourself to reach and carry on past.  It's one of those things that's hard work but completely absorbing.

You know what?  I have a weird love of hills these days.  They're interesting.  They're challenging.  You feel brilliant when you manage one that's eluded you.  And you never quite know if you're going to be able to manage a new and tricky one.  Which makes it a bit of a game when you give them a go.  I know lots of people avoid hills or are scared of them.  But you can't really be scared of them.  They're just, well... there.  You do what you can do, you give them a go.

And today, I just ran 'em.

Obviously my legs now hate me ever so slightly.  But the other good thing about hills is that you get to run down them.  And that was flippin' brilliant!

Tomorrow, I'm taking it easy.  And running with my daughter on her first 'grown up' parkrun!  It'll be a slow affair, but I'm SO looking forward to it!

I bloody love running!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:5.47 mi
Avg Pace:8:37 min/mi
Elevation Gain:316 ft

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Runstreak Day #271 - first run of my 40s!

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
I have now reached forty
And I got to drink tea.  :o)

I also got to run with my daughter which made for a slow run, but she did a great job and I really enjoyed the fact that I had her company today.

I made a whole heap of changes when I realised that 40 was starting to loom in January 2013... and now that 40's here, I got to reap the benefit of a load of those changes.  I ran... and I didn't feel pressured to do a 'proper' run, I'm comfortable about *not* always pushing myself... and after over a year of my running, my daughter actually wants to come running with me!  How brilliant is that!  I didn't quite see that change coming, some how.  My son's just started running.  My daughter's going to give parkrun a go soon.  I love that my changes have rippled into the rest of my family.  I'm so proud of them!

So, a short run to mark the start of my 40s.  The day was filled with birthday stuff, but I still wanted to run.  My daughter says that I'm a very good runner and I've nothing to improve.  It tickles me that she thinks that (even if it's completely not true!).  I said to her that there's lots of stuff I want to do with my running... but my most important thing is to carry on enjoying it.

Plus, there was tea!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.54 mi
Avg Pace:10:01 min/mi
Elevation Gain:29 ft

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Runstreak Day #270 - last run of my 30s!

Day 270 - a day completely unremarkable to anyone else... but for me... it was my last run of my 30s.  Because tomorrow I'm 40.

And today's run reminded me that the present I chose to give myself for my 40th was a long time coming, but well worth it.  About 18 months ago, I decided that with 40 looming, I needed to sort my life and health out.  And along with getting to grips with my diet, I took up running.  At first, almost to prove that I *couldn't* run... that c25k wouldn't work for everyone.  And then, I surprised myself by starting to enjoy it.  Someone told me to give it 6 months - and they were right.  The first 6 months were hard.  I was obese.  And progress was VERY slow.  I definitely didn't feel like I could run... and it's only really been since starting my runstreak last December that I've finally got the confidence that I actually can run.  My first 5k took me over 40 minutes.  I can now run 5k in just over 23 minutes.

So, tonight, I ran with the Sweatshop Running Community, didn't really run *with* anyone other than vaguely kept pace for the first couple of miles with the couple of blokes who went storming off ahead.  Ran up a 2 mile long hill... ran down the other side with a MASSIVE grin on my chops.  As I was running up the hill I realised that although we can't afford presents / going out or anything like that for my birthday, I've given myself my life back.  I've given myself my fitness.  I can run up big eff-off hills and carry on running straight down the other side and have a conversation at the end of it all.

Tomorrow, I'm 40.  I wasn't a runner for most of my 30s.  But tomorrow I start a brand new decade as a runner.

Aren't I a lucky old me?

*happy dances around the kitchen*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.06 mi
Avg Pace:8:17 min/mi
Elevation Gain:251 ft

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Runstreak Day #269 - a 'fit it in' run

Today's run was a bit of a 'fit it in' run.

That's often the way when you're running every day.  There is no waiting for the perfect opportunity to run.  There is no perfect weather.  No perfect feeling of health.  You just grab the opportunities which come along and jam a run into the space which is left.

Which was exactly what today's run was like.  I had a half hour in which a run could be squeezed, so I did just over 3 miles.  And played 'dodge the weeds in the nature reserve' while I was at it.

In fact, that could well be a 'thing'.  You don't exactly see track runners / pavement warriors do it, do you?  The little jiggety jig thing as you attempt to skirt around nettles so as not to get stung.  Or high knee your way through brambles.  Or run like a crab as you attempt not to get caught up in teasels hanging over the trail.  The latter, I managed least successfully and earned myself a scratched and slightly bloody leg as a result.  Aaargh!

I did put on my best big brave girl face and not check out the damage as I ran.  Which would probably have put me off completely and left me in a weeping huddle in the hedgerow!

Still... I fitted in my run before heading off for a day in London.  So... result!

No time for tea though.  Boo hiss!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.34 mi
Avg Pace:8:32 min/mi
Elevation Gain:26 ft

Monday, 25 August 2014

Runstreak Day #268 - first world running problems

And that's Day 268 all done and dusted.

Bloomin' heck it is HORRIBLE out there.  That fine soaky bleurghy grim cold rain.  With added wind.  Because that's exactly what you need when you're already soggy and running up a hill - a headwind to chill everything off nicely.


At least I'm not stubborn enough to carry on wearing a t-shirt and shorts to run in when the weather's like this.

Ah... hang on... I am.  It is *still* summer.  What is going on with the weather?!?!?!

Anyhoo, enough moaning.  Actually, no, I don't think I've done enough moaning.  Here is my list of first world running problems:

1.  Shoe laces slightly loosening while you're running... not enough to come undone, but just enough to be annoying.
2.  A teeny tiny stone in your shoe which occasionally ends up right up under your foot, then disappears to the side again
3.  Sweat in your eyes - it stings.  How can your own body attack you in this way!?!?!?  Huh?
4.  A little bit of hair which escapes your ponytail and keeps touching the side of your face as you run
5.  Running self-wedgie.  'Nuff said.
6.  Any kind of chaffing.  Any kind.  Even the thought of chaffing is enough to make you run like you've pooped yourself so that no body part can touch any other body part.
7.  Runny nose. Especially if you are also being rained on and have absolutely nothing dry with which to wipe your runny nose.
8.  Dog poo smeared across the pavement - almost impossible to avoid without breakdancing your way around it
9.  Any mud which splats into the back of your sock and squelches its way towards your heel
10. Choking on a fly, going to spit it out... and ending up spitting on yourself... all over your top, arm and anywhere else you manage to spray in the process.
11.  And last but very not least... anything toilet related.  WHY CAN YOU NEVER GO TO THE TOILET ENOUGH BEFORE RUNNING?!?!  I mean... seriously?  Why?  I go at least three or four times... and *still* need a pee while I'm out.  And don't get me started on the brown headed turtle of doom...

Okay.  And.  Better.

A hilly wet windy 5k today.  And now I'm baking focaccia with roasted peppers for lunch.  Because I earned it!

*slurps tea and glares at the weather*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.12 mi
Avg Pace:8:23 min/mi
Elevation Gain:206 ft

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Runstreak Day #267 - nice 'n' easy does it

You know what?  After a really rubbish run there is always a good run.  Or at least, your rubbish run was so rubbish that short of your feet falling off and someone pushing you in the canal while you attempted to rescue your trainers and then realised that you'd forgotten to stop your Garmin... well, compared to that, anything would be better.

So, today's run was better.  Felt grumpily unprepared for it.  And nearly didn't bother going as my brain was busy telling my legs that if they could scarcely manage 3 miles yesterday then there was no chance at all that they could manage 10.  But, I chose to ignore my stupid brain and went anyway.

And I'm glad I did.  My pacing was a bit all over the place as it was a Sweatshop Running Community run and I ran the first few miles with a runner I was chatting to last week.  We were in that weird territory of me slowing to her pace and her feeling that she needed to keep up with me.  In the end, she dropped back and slowed right down - which was fine, but I wouldn't honestly have minded running slower.  Then, another guy started chatting to me.  He was aiming for 9 - 9:30 minute miles, but didn't mind going at 8:45s.  Which wasn't what I was aiming for really, I just wanted to run at a nice gentle consistent pace!  So, he ran with me for the next few miles until he started to flag and then I realised that I was running behind another guy who was running at exactly my comfortable pace.  

I've never had that happen before.  He was running step for step the exact same pace as me.  To the extent where I was being a bit weirded out by the fact that I could only hear one set of footsteps between the two of us!  The next few miles pattered away quite happily, completely in sync, until he too dropped back.  By this point, I was starting to feel like the Duracell Bunny.  Keeping on keeping on whilst the other bunnies conked out!!  Then, I acquired my 4th running partner who started chatting to me... but embarrassingly I couldn't remember that I'd already run with him before.  And he'd done all of the Sunday runs, which I've done too.  But it just hadn't registered in my brain!  Whoops!

Anyway... all this boils down to the fact that it was a nice Sunday run.  Didn't feel like I was on the verge of stopping at any point (hooray!), and managed a nice even pace which, if I keep my act together should comfortably get me under the 2 hour mark for the Robin Hood half, which is my only goal for the rest of the year!

Just goes to show, doesn't it?  You can't judge today's run by yesterday's disaster!

Oh, and the other thing I discovered today was that the thirstier you get, the more likely you are to see other people drinking water.  That is a brand new fact that I've donated just for you.  Fact.  :o)


Geeky stats stuff

Distance:9.83 mi
Avg Pace:8:53 min/mi
Elevation Gain:56 ft

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Runstreak Day #266 - braving out a crap run

Bloody hell tonight's run was a bag of cack!!

Some days you just know it's going to be like that.  I was thinking about doing a parkrun this morning... and then didn't because I just couldn't get my act together.  Then I spent the afternoon avoiding going running.  And when the evening came, there was no more avoiding to be done.

I asked my husband if he'd come with me on his bike.  No joy.  I asked my son.  Nada.  I asked my daughter.  Nothing.  I put my best sad face on and mooched about doing my trainers up and going to the loo approximately 3,000,000 times.  'Are you sure you don't want to come with me?' I ask everyone and no-one in particular.  It's just me.

I ambled out of the house, into the car and headed to the park for a nice easy run.  Only when I got to the park, it turned out that I couldn't seem to get myself out of the car.  I sat and listened to the radio instead.  Eventually, I prised myself out of the car.  And ran.  Slowly.

The first mile went by.  I was freezing.  I cursed myself for stubbornly wearing shorts and a t-shirt until the end of August.  I plodded on.  My watch bleeped that the first mile had gone.  I decided to get myself in a better mood by looking at the view.  The clouds were going all sorts of crazy colours... but all my head would do was go 'it's going to rain... you know that sulphurous yellow sky means rain... you're going to get wet... and colder... and your feet will squelch...'

So I stopped looking at the view.  And after about 70 miles*, my Garmin bleeped for 2 miles.  I stopped and shouted at myself a bit.  'For f*ck's sake, get it together... what *is* the matter with you?!?!?!?'.  Because that always helps.  I reached an agreement.  I would run to the car and stop being a big baby.

I almost stopped again... only I couldn't stop where the fishers on the bank would see me stopping.  And then I ran past some guy who'd heckled me earlier as I looped around the lake... and couldn't stop or slow down and lose face with him either.

And finally, I got back to the car.  And promptly steamed up the car with my sweaty revoltingness.

Cold.  Reluctant.  Grumpy.  Sweary.  Knackered.

In your face, Day 266.  Game, set and match... me!

* grumpy 'I don't want to run' miles are always a lot further than real miles

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.75 mi
Avg Pace:8:19 min/mi
Elevation Gain:14 ft

Friday, 22 August 2014

Runstreak Day #265 - 100 days away from a year

Oooooh!  Guess what?!  I just realised... it's day 265... which means... in 100 days I'll have been doing this for a full year!

Wonder if I'll make 365?!  Mind you, I didn't think I'd make day 6 let alone 265... so who can say?  A few more runs like this evening I can completely handle though.  Out with a few others for a pootle along the river... and no Friday evening soaking either!!  

First part run with everyone... second part running for a bit with another of our lovely Notts runners... last bit a leg stretch on my own.  A run of three lovely parts.  That's not bad going, is it?  And then a 'putting the world to rights' chat to round it all off.  Whilst wearing our beetroot sweaty faces with pride. 

I ran for so long on my own that I thought I was running on my own because I wanted to.  Because I needed the space.  And then I was too frightened to run with other people because I wasn't a 'proper' runner.  And the first few times I did it, I was terrified!  And now, I feel like I'm lucky to have choice.  To run with others.  To run on my own.  To feel comfortable with either.  And I love how quickly the time passes when I run with others.  And I'm chatting.  And it's just nice an' relaxed.  Even with the obligatory red face afterwards.  It's a whole different take on running.

I am a lucky bunny, aren't I?

100 day countdown begins?!  Whaddya reckon?  Have I got a full year in my legs?  Let's see...   :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.86 mi
Avg Pace:9:14 min/mi
Elevation Gain:23 ft

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Runstreak Day #264 - great excuse for being lazy

Slowest run yet as part of my runstreak... but there was a good reason for it.  It wasn't just that I'm being a lazy arse today, no siree...

The reason?

My 8 year old wanted to come running with me!  WOOOO HOOO!!!!!

We ran-walked and he managed just over 3 miles at a 12 minute mile pace... which was fab.  What was good was that he didn't just blast off and exhaust himself within the first mile.  He was counting under his breath as he went to keep his rhythm steady.  And he kept on keeping on which was great.

I do like that he enjoyed himself.  I enjoyed having his company too.  Not least because I really didn't feel like running very fast today and running with him gave me a great excuse not to!

Win.  Win!  :o)

Plus, he made me a cuppa when we got home!

Yeah, not bad at all!  And yeah, I was being a bit of a lazy arse.  264 days, I think I'm allowed a lazy arse day!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.33 mi
Avg Pace:12:00 min/mi
Elevation Gain:97 ft

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Runstreak Day #263 - the angry run

Day 263... otherwise known as 'the angry run'.

Where I left the house in a terrible mood and ran until I felt better.  I didn't stop on any of the hills.  I didn't want to stop at any road crossings.  I hadn't planned a route... I just wanted to run and run and run.

It came off the back of a rotten day... and then hearing that people had been talking about me behind my back saying that I was 'too thin' and that I was taking it too far with my running pushed me right over the edge.  I absolutely hate the way that women are judged.  You're too fat.  You're too thin.  You're too lazy.  You do too much.  You don't do this.  You should do that.

You know, I get that people don't understand why I love running.  I wouldn't have understood it at first either.  I worked at it long enough that I moved beyond the hook that is the surprise that you can run at all... and started to find that it brought me more than just the reward of movement.  I find it soothing.  I've made friends through my running.  I'm inspired by other runners.  I love the space and freedom.  I love how strong and capable it makes me feel.  I love the feeling that I've achieved something just for me every day.  I love the rhythm of my breathing and the pattering of my feet.  It makes me love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like.

And I get that this isn't something other people know.  I imagine they think I run to 'stay thin' or for some other superficial reason.  Personally, I couldn't give a sh*t about what my body looks like any more.  I have strong, powerful legs that can carry me for miles.  I have lungs that no longer get chest infections.  I have a mind that is freed from stress and migraines.

And they just don't get it.

I ran over 10k this evening.  I could happily have run more.

Oh, and if any of the 'too thin / taking it too far' brigade are reading this... it might interest you to know that since starting my runstreak I haven't gained or lost a single pound.  Not one.  I look after my body, I look after my diet... and I can run a damn sight further and faster than you.  And I don't collapse in a heap afterwards.  So there.

Now... tea.  I NEED tea.  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:6.39 mi
Avg Pace:8:47 min/mi
Elevation Gain:252 ft

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Runstreak Day #262 - relaxing about running

Day 262... is it?  I have a feeling it is.

Let me check...


Yup.  262 days of this running malarky.  I wasn't aiming for that.  I wasn't aiming for anything other than the original Advent Streak of running from December 1st to Christmas Day.  And now most of my goals are of that kind of vague nature.  I wanted to run a 5k in under 30 minutes... then under 25 minutes.  A 10k in under an hour seemed like a nice target.  Then one under 55 minutes.  And now, whatever happens, happens!  When it comes to next month's half marathon, I'd kinda like to get a time under 2 hours, but I really don't care that much.

I think that relaxing about running is the thing that's changed most in my running streak.  Running isn't an activity to be 'done'.  It just is.  Like walking.  Eating.  Sleeping.  You just do it.  Without too much thought, and it gets done.  I don't stress about 'fuelling' before a run.  Or what I eat afterwards.  I don't get worried about needing to rest, I just do the run that feels right on whatever day.

And at the start of my run streak, I'd never run with anyone else.  I was far far too nervous about it.  I'd been running for a matter of months and didn't think I was a 'proper runner'.  And now?  Now, as with tonight, I get to have lovely chatty runs with friends I've made through my running.  I don't worry about what pace we're doing when we run together, I just enjoy running with them.  It strikes me that I'm in a really happy place with my running these days.  I can do more than I realise, I can hold my own in a group of runners... and I've really learned how to enjoy it for what it is.  Not what I might want it to be.

Anyhoo... 262 days in a row of this whole running stuff.  Tackled plenty of hills without feeling any anxiety about it.  The aeroplane arms came out.  Finished 5 miles with nice fresh happy legs.

Celebratory cuppa anyone?  ;o)

Geeky stats stuff

Monday, 18 August 2014

Runstreak Day #261 - passing it on...

Thank goodness for running.  Thank.  Goodness.  My feet are brilliant for allowing me to escape and get a *much* needed bit of space!

Didn't go far.  Didn't go fast.  Went with my youngest coming with me on his bike.  But boy oh boy did I need the space.  Even though he chatted most of the way, so it wasn't exactly a quiet space, it was still fresh air and outdoor space!  We ended up chatting about parkrun as we went along.  I think he might give it a go in a few weeks.  He's decided that I am an 'expert runner' and is prepared to run with me.  He's so gracious!!  :D

Am looking forward to running with him... even if he doesn't run most of it and it turns into a whinge fest, at the moment, I'm looking forward to it!  I don't want to be one of those 'COME ON, PUSH IT!!  PUSH... PUSH!!!  GO!!!!  DO IT!!!' parents who stand on the sidelines, trying to live their athletic dreams through their offspring.  But I would love it if he decided he wanted to have a go and found he enjoyed it, just because he wanted to.

And in the meantime, I'll appreciate having done day 261 in his company!

Plus, he made me a cup of tea when we got home.  So I have hu-u-u-u-u-uge love for my son right now!!  ^_^

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.36 mi
Avg Pace:8:40 min/mi
Elevation Gain:17 ft

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Runstreak Day #260 - I hate headwinds!!!

Had a really good run in loads of ways today. It was a Sweatshop Running Community long Sunday run which is normally just dandy.  I've now managed to get myself past the point where I'm excruciatingly nervous about it and instead am okay with just showing up and giving it a go.  Which is kinda miraculous considering how nervous I was of group runs at first.

Anyway, it was good. Met another Notts Women Runners / RMR runner and ran with her (and her gorgeous dog!) the whole way... we managed a decent pace and still chatted almost the whole way. In fact, the first three miles just whizzed by.  Chat, chat, run, chat.  Mile four disappeared nicely.  More chatting.  A stop for me to sort my shoe laces. One for a dog poop incident.  And it was all fine.  Until we rounded the bend at the top of Holme Pierrepont's rowing lake. 

And then the headwind hit.  At first, a refreshing novelty.  Then, a nuisance.  And still the wind seemed to pick up until it felt like we were barely moving.  I managed to stop to yell 'for goodness sake, give us a break!' At the wind (because that always works!)... and we carried on running into an endless wind tunnel of ick.  Like wading through invisible treacle! It was too windy even to have a conversation the bloody wind was so damn strong!  After a couple of miles of relentless buffeting, we escaped the wind and the blissful silence of not having our faces blown off was lovely.  Until we rounded a bend and got smacked in the face by icy gusts.  Again!!

Fortunately, the last couple of miles weren't so bad and altogether I managed just over 9... but blimey, running into a headwind for several miles is a form of pure evil.

On my list of weather I hate? Wind is taking its rightful place along with hail!  Urgh!!

Tea... earned!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:9.19 mi
Avg Pace:8:36 min/mi
Elevation Gain:66 ft

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Runstreak Day #259 - parkrun PB, sub-24... woo hoooo!

A bit of a late update given that my run for day 259 was a parkrun this morning... but I'm still all happy and skippy about it... because today I managed to get a sub-24 minute parkrun time!!!! 23:43... Get in! 5th female finisher and 1st in my age category!  Am ridiculously chuffed because when my time has been sub-24 before it's been just me recording it. Some how it being recorded on a parkrun makes it legit!

It didn't start out too great though. I haven't done a parkrun since the RMR one in July through a combination of a sore knee and dread! That last parkrun was awful.  I stopped to walk three times and although my time wasn't terrible, I just couldn't get my head around the fact that I'd allowed myself to stop... and the fear that it would happen again wouldn't easily shift.

So, this morning I had the full compliment of nervous stomach. A million loo visits. Nearly bottling out at the last minute.  But then, just as I was about to leave the house I had a text from my older brother. After some arm twisting he'd agreed to run the Stroud Trail half marathon with me next year in memory of my Dad. The thought that I'm going to run that with both of my brothers on the anniversary of Dad's death was really emotional. I never did run when he was alive, but we'll all be together on *that* day, remembering him and doing something brilliant for him.  I suddenly realised that today's parkrun was the first run in preparation for Dad's half marathon.  And pulled myself together.

And then... when the usual almost overwhelming feeling that I should stop came over me, I thought about Dad. I kept going for him.  I didn't ease up because of him.  I ran because he's not here and I am... and I get to make something of me and make him proud. 

Today's run was amazing. Not just because of the PB (7:30 minute miles though - yay!!!), but because I didn't let my head stop my body from giving it a good go.

Thank you, Dad. xxx

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.16 mi
Avg Pace:7:31 min/mi
Elevation Gain:6 ft

Friday, 15 August 2014

Runstreak Day #258 - running's surprising loveliness

Today was a big ol' day.  Last day at work before I'm on leave.  Last day in my current job.  Last working day of my thirties!

And dragging yourself out for a run when you've had a big day, it's dark, threatening rain and kinda cool... well, that's not exactly inspiring stuff.  Still, I did it.  My littlest came with me on his bike because he had more energy than sense and chatted and chatted the whole way.  Topics of conversation?  Lego.  You could build a bike from Lego.  And it would be great because you could make it into other things too.  And then you could make a bike that could fly.  And one that could float.  And... and... and...

Sometimes having a distraction or 50 is kinda good when your brain is fighting enjoying your run.  And all of a sudden, you discover that you're almost back to the car, the time has whizzed by.  You got to see mist rising off the river... see a double rainbow... laughed at the cows almost falling in the Trent... saw the most delicious golden light... together with fearsome, breathtakingly dark and foreboding storm clouds... and suddenly you realise that going for a run wasn't about the act of just going for a run.  You got to spend time with your 8 year old where he didn't sulk, he chatted, laughed and was a happy bunny.  You got time to draw a line under the big, crazy day.  And you got to be outside in the fresh air and see all the things you'd never have seen had you stayed tucked up inside.

And running whisked you along through all of that loveliness and kept you going just long enough to really appreciate it.

Yeah.  After 238 days straight of doing this, I've still never regretted a single run.  Nice.  :o)

*happy dances off to make a cuppa*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.39 mi
Avg Pace:8:15 min/mi
Elevation Gain:31 ft

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Runstreak Day #257 - running with my daughter

If there were a suitable song for me to be singing about running, I'd be singing it.  I had a completely and utterly happy run this evening... which surprised me completely as, to be honest, I wasn't feeling it in the slightest and other than day 257 being stupid number to finish on, I was struggling to find a reason to get out there.

In the end, I decided just to do a short run, and asked my daughter if she'd like to come with me.  She agreed... and my husband decided to come as well, with my littlest and him coming on bikes.  They rode together.  We ran.

It was bloomin' fab.  I can't tell you how happy I felt running along with her.  We ran hand in hand, her chatting away and managing a pace of just over 9 minute miles, which for an 11 year old who hasn't done that much running, was brilliant.  She said she was running as fast as she could at one point... until I pointed out that she'd been in full conversation with me and if she had been running full pelt, she wouldn't have had the breath to chat!  I love that she can do more than she realises.  And I've sown the seed of doing parkrun with her as we did most of the route this evening together!  HOORAY!!!!

I love that she ran with me.  I love that she wants to run with me again.  I love her.  I love running.  I love my feet.  I love my trainers.  I love the park.  I love yelling hello to the ducks as I run past.  I love my running shorts.  I love that I can run.  I love that she can run.  I love EVERYTHING!  Because running just made everything a-a-a-a-a-a-a-alright with the world!!  :o)

*hugs everyone in sight*

Oh, and I also signed up for another half marathon next year.  Which I've managed to persuade my younger brother to run with me.  I'm dragging my whole family into the crazy with me.

*evil cackle*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.38 mi
Avg Pace:9:21 min/mi
Elevation Gain:13 ft

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Runstreak Day #256 - hill love

Dear Hills

I thought it was time that I wrote to you.  You see, I think that you and I got off on the wrong foot.  I'll admit it.  You scared me.  You were just so big.  And, well, dominating.  You made me go weak at the knees, and, I'm afraid to say, not in a good way.  For a long while I did all I could do to avoid you.  When I saw you coming, I'd run the other way.  It was all I could do to even think about heading in your direction, you were, well, so, terrifying.  And yet so ever present.  You just never went away.  You knew it was meant to be, even if I didn't.

Now, I know this poor start wasn't your fault.  It was me, not you.  You were just doing your thing.  I was the one who had the issue.  If ever I said that I hated hills, I apologise.  I was wrong.  I don't hate you.  Little by little we've made friends.  First, there was the gentle slope from the bottom of the hill to my house.  I'd steal myself to run part of the way, taking a big deep breath to do so... then I'd walk a bit, then run the last bit.  Just the bit in front of the houses where people would see me.  Neither you nor I would want the curtain twitchers to gossip about issues in our relationship, would we?

Where was I?  Oh, that's right.  The day I faced you.  That was a big day, wasn't it?  I thought my lungs would explode... you made my heart race.  When I got to the top, my knees were still weak but you did something to me, hills.  You made me feel alive.  Special.  Like I could do more than I thought I could do.  You took my breath away.  And yes, I gasped.

Dearest hills... from that sad start, we've developed a beautiful relationship.  And tonight when I ran up one of you.  Volunteering to do the steeper hillier route, and feeling that excitement of challenge quicken my step.  I knew that we were right for each other.  When I got to the top, I could have hugged you... and running down the other side, I wasn't running away from you this time... I was boinging with happiness.

You've made my legs strong.  You've made my head strong.  You're a beautiful sleeping giant.

I think I may be in love.

Or clinically insane.  I haven't decided which.


Sarah (on Day 256 of running craziness) xxx

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.05 mi
Avg Pace:8:29 min/mi
Elevation Gain:257 ft

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Runstreak Day #255 - misleading routes and new friends

Let me see... what day is it?  255 I think!


I'm at that stage with my runstreak (and my age!) where I have to think and do a bit of working out to remember what number should be attached to it.  Today's run was a goodie though.  I met up with another couple of runners for a run (we have our own Notts Women Runners FB group and it's been brilliant for making running friends!) and because someone wanted to do 5 miles, I dutifully planned a 5 mile run.  I remember describing it as being 'flat and a bit hilly in parts'.

I think that was a bit of a lie.  It's more like 'hilly with a bit of flat very occasionally'. In fact, looking at the route on Strava, it's just a complete fib.    I can't actually see a single bit that was actually flat.  Seems like my recollection of that area has flattened most of it out!  Whoops!

So, having unintentionally misled my new running buddies, I was relieved that neither of them wanted to hunt me down and hit me with my trainers.  Not that they'd have had the energy left after all those hills, mind you.  There's method in my madness!  Plus, it was really nice to have their company.  And that's from me, the person who back in January this year had never run with anyone else and was an 'I like my own company' runner.  Well, 'I like my own company' probably just meant I don't know anyone to run with and I don't have the confidence to try it anyway!  It's funny how we tell ourselves what feels like a convincing reason when actually it's an excuse for not giving something a bash.

Anyhoo... 5 miles of hilly deliciousness.  The sun came out to play.  It was windy but not ridiculously so.  And I made a couple of new running buddies.

Today's run was made of pure win.

(and a minor pelvic floor incident (PFI) which we will never speak of again)  ;)

*happy dances to blot out the memory of the PFI*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:5.01 mi
Avg Pace:9:17 min/mi
Elevation Gain:274 ft

Monday, 11 August 2014

Runstreak Day #254 - kids, bikes and chaos

It always feels like a great idea, y'know... doing stuff with the kids.  Especially when it comes to doing active stuff with them.  What could be better?  Healthy, fit... you know... worthy of a parental halo or two.

Until you actually attempt it.  And then it's like seven shades of hell.  Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it's definitely never magazine spread perfect.

Take tonight's run.  I think to myself 'it would be nice to go for a run with the kids'.  Only my daughter doesn't want to run.  So I think, 'well, maybe the whole family could come on their bikes with me'... which takes a bit of negotiating and persuading.  Until people start to get ready.  Then, my son irritates my daughter.  She drives him mad.  He's rude and then refuses to go for a bike ride at all.  Which leaves me with one child who may come with me.  Only she won't run, so bike it is.

Eventually we get out.  She rides her bike, grumbles about it being a bit slow and it turns out her brakes are jamming.  I wiggle them free.  We carry on.  She manages another mile.  It's okay.  A bit windy, but okay.  They jam again.  I wiggle.  We carry on.  Jam.  Wiggle.  Carry on.  Jam.  Wiggle.  Carry on.  It sounds like the script for a smutty 1970s comedy!  Only a lot less funny.  And sitcoms in the seventies weren't even that funny!!

By the time we're nearly done, her pedals decide to get in on the action.  And they jam.  I shove them into life.  And then the chain then feels like it's missing out.  And promptly falls off.  I flip her bike over to get the chain back on... and hit myself with the pedal in my right knee.  Grazing it beautifully.  Under breath swearing and the chain's on again.

She carries on a bit.  Chain falls off.  The brakes jam.  Chain on.  Brakes again.

In the end, there we are with her jogging along pushing her bike while I run ahead, stop, adjust the bike, run on a bit more.  By the time we get back to the car, she's still being brave and not sulking.  My hands are black with fixing the bike umpteen times.  And I hate all things wheeled just a bit.

Yeah.  That whole 'let's go for a family run / bike ride, it'll be fun' thing?  Next time I think that's a good idea?  Remind me of today.  Day 254?  Pah!

Right.  I need tea.  A LOT of tea!!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.90 mi
Avg Pace:8:00 min/mi
Elevation Gain:14 ft

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Runstreak Day #253 - another proper soaking!

Just when you think you can't get any wetter.  The weather decides to prove that it's possible.  Your feet are soaked, you've run through puddles sufficient that you can feel the water sloshing in the toes of your trainers... and you jokingly say 'this is a wet as it's going to get'... then promptly have to run through an ankle deep puddle and experience the delight of water entering your shoe via the tops of your socks.


There are advantages to running in the rain though.  I thought of these as I ran this morning when I was running with the Sweatshop Running Community group and chatting to a friend (I am nothing if not a multi-tasker!)...

1.  Sweat doesn't run into your eyes
2.  If you peed yourself, no-one could tell (no, I didn't if you're wondering!)
3.  Every other runner who's out gives you a 'yes, this is crazy' smile
4.  You know that if you can run in those conditions, you can cope with just about anything
5.  If you smile and bellow hello at everyone you pass, you'll generally get a positive, happy response as a) they're mad enough to be outdoors in the wet and b) they think it's funny!
6.  Once you've got over the whole 'being soaked' thing, running through puddles is kinda fun
7.  You don't overheat
8.  It feels slightly naughty

Disadvantages?  Well, I discovered one this morning that I've not had before.  Chaffing!  Not leg rubbing against leg... but soaked shorts rubbing my leg into red sadness.  Yowch!  Hooray for Sudacrem, I say!

Didn't do the 10 miles I was going to do today.  7.5 was enough.  My trainers had only just dried from Friday's soaking and even I have my limits!  At least I've proved to myself that I wouldn't bottle out of going for a run when it's pouring with rain.  And when we got back to the Sweatshop store where we run from, everyone was in surprisingly good moods - far more smiles and laughing than normal.  It takes a certain kind of crazy to do a long run on a Sunday morning in torrential rain with added thunder!  Hooray for crazy runners!!

And hooray for tea.  It took me two big cups of tea to be able to feel my fingers again!

Day 253.  You have been run.  Yay!!   :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:7.49 mi
Avg Pace:9:50 min/mi
Elevation Gain:48 ft

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Runstreak Day #252 - rules of runstreaking

Almost too tired to run today.  But, that's not an excuse not to run.  In fact... while I think of it, here are my 'rules for runstreaking'

1.  Focus only on the day in hand, but try to stay fit enough to run tomorrow
2.  Do not slavishly follow a training plan, if you don't feel like doing a certain distance, don't do it
3.  Vary your routes
4.  Listen to your body
5.  There are no valid excuses for not running, if there's a genuine reason, you'll know it
6.  The weather doesn't matter
7.  The light doesn't matter
8.  Don't get hung up on pace - there's always another day to try to go faster
9.  Focus on your form. Sloppy running = more risk of injury = not worth it
10. Take 'active rest days' where you run slower, easier routes

Straight forward!  Well, sometimes you don't really feel like it, and then, like today, I just end up doing a 'make it up on the spot' route and seeing where I feel like going - a combination of rules 3, 4 and 5 today!.  I ended up braving a steep hill again and that wasn't too terrible.  And running down it I concentrated on staying relaxed as I ran so as not to strain my 'please don't get bad again' knee.  If you'd been near me, you'd have heard me chanting under my breath 'relax, relax, relax' as I ran down it!!

Plus, I had the added bonus of seeing a slightly-worse-for-wear bloke wandering into someone else's garden and peeing up their wall.  It's those kind of quality experiences that make a random run such a pleasure!

And then I got home and sweated so much that I was walking around the house in my own puddle.  Day 252... a thing of beauty.

Which is why I've earned my lovely cuppa cha!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.36 mi
Avg Pace:8:20 min/mi
Elevation Gain:155 ft

Friday, 8 August 2014

Runstreak Day #251 - marathon sign up and other crazy stuff

Day 251... or... the day where madness was afoot...

Things that probably aren't sensible?

1.  Running in torrential rain
2.  Running in torrential rain while thunder booms overhead
3.  Running in torrential rain while thunder booms overhead and lightning flashes in front of you
4.  Signing up for a marathon.

So, if you're not going to be sensible, you might as well be a whole lotta 'not sensible' and have done with it.  So I did.  :o)

Let's deal with the running bit first.  It was absolutely crackers... but LOADS of fun.  Met up with some of my lovely Notts running buddies for a run.  The sky was looking mildly threatening while we stood and chatted, waiting for everyone to arrive.  By the time the fifth member of our little slice of running happy arrived, it was looking just a tad on the 'more than threatening' side of dark.  And virtually the instant that our Garmins beeped into life the first rain drops started.

Nothing terrible in that.  In fact, there were still people outside the pub next to the canal path as we ran past... but... not for long.  Within a few minutes the rain was no longer kidding.  It absolutely bucketed down!  Big splatty sheets of rain so that within seconds we were soaked.  And discovered the delights of shoes and knickers / shorts / bras filling with water.  And then obviously the thunder and lightning joined in, because the rain was clearly having such a good time that they thought they'd joined in.  And all I could do was laugh as I ran with the ridiculousness of it all!  We passed one other runner who gave us the official 'I know this is mental but yay!!!' face and splooshed our way through almost 4 miles of soggy.

I was still dripping wet by the time I got home.  In fact, today is the first time I've ever had clothes which are drier *after* they've come out of the washing machine than when they went in!!

In fact, even thinking about it now is making me smile!  That's how running should be, I guess.  Just the right side of insanity.  And if you can feel like a naughty child while you're doing it, then it's all a recipe for happiness!!

Okay... so... that's that bit.  The other bit of 'not sensible'?  I signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Liverpool marathon for next year!  I am stupidly excited about it and obviously sh*tting myself.  I wonder what the me from 2 years ago would think?  The one who was obese and hadn't run in her whole adult life??  I hope she'd like the fact that the 40 year old version of her had finally got her act together and decided to do things that scared her enough that she knew what it was to really feel alive!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.87 mi
Avg Pace:9:39 min/mi
Elevation Gain:7 ft

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Runstreak Day #250 - 250 days of running! Get in!!

DAY 250 BABY!!!!

Two hundred and fifty on the trot
Two hundred and fifty's quite a lot
Two hundred and fifty days where I
Didn't rest, not once, no lie.

I've swallowed flies
And blinked them too
Peed in woodlands
(Nature's loo)

I've lost my pride
So many times
Light grey shorts?
*cringe* Wet patch crime.  :o)

I've yelled hello
At passing cars
I'm often heckled
By pricks in bars

I've run up hills
And down them too
Done airplane arms
And looked a fool

I've found new routes
Got lost on paths
I've done some races
(and a secret half!)

I've run in rain
A soggy sight
Through wind and hail
Which was plain shite

Run with my kids
Or all alone
Made running friends
To call my own

I've drunk at least
10 baths of tea.
But most of all
I've run for me.

250 days isn't half a lot of running!  I think I've run around about 850+ miles since I started this run streak.  Which is sheer madness!

I don't really know what it is that keeps me running every day other than I can't imagine *not* running every day.  I love the feeling that I've achieved something just for me, no matter what else the day holds.  When you get a brilliant run and everything feels amazing, you can't help but feel all tingly and happy.  And today's stupidly hilly run was enjoyable in a masochistic kinda way.  And the reason it was so hilly?  Because those were the streets where I could run the number '250' with my route and I wasn't about to let the silly hilly bits put me off my ridiculous goal (even if the thought of doing hills again after the whole hurty knee thing was kinda scary!).   :o))

I've had some amazing support from various online running communities including Strava and Run Mummy Run.  They inspire me every day with their running and the warmth of the brilliant community.  And most of all, I love that even if running a stupidly hilly route in order to trace out the number 250 doesn't make sense to anyone else on the planet... a fair few of them will be going 'yeah, that seems logical to me'!

*hugs everyone in sight*

Another run tomorrow?  Don't mind if I do!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.70 mi
Avg Pace:8:34 min/mi
Elevation Gain:252 ft

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Runstreak Day #249 - an everyday run

Today's run was one of those which probably isn't really worth commenting on!  It wasn't too far, it was flat, it was okay.  I did battle with one fly attempting to land in my eye. I passed several runners, none of whom made eye contact (what's with that?!  It doesn't take much to say hello or smile!).  I went a slightly different route to normal just to make it a bit different.  I didn't push it at all because I wasn't feeling it.

You know what though?  That's the thing with running every day.  You learn to accept that every day will be different.  Some days are sparkly and fabulous.  Other days are just okay.  Today was an okay today.  I needed to run.  I needed space.  I needed quiet.  The need to run is sometimes more than the 'want' to run.  Not sure that that makes sense.  But it makes sense to me, which is okay too!!

Positives from today's run?  The sunset was beautiful.  The light through the trees was golden and delicious.  I paused beneath the trees and soaked some of that up.

And then had an almost excruciatingly embarrassing experience where I thought I was going to have to pee (oh how low I've sunk!!), eyed up a suitable tree... and then just as I went to make my move... a family ambled through the wood towards me.  Oh.  My.  Good.  Grief!  That would have been toe curlingly cringeworthy!!

So... there you go.  Bits of today's run were okay.  Bits were lovely.  And bits were just plain weird!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.63 mi
Avg Pace:8:12 min/mi
Elevation Gain:7 ft