Therapy

Running helps with physical and mental health as you dear reader will know. It helped me and us weather the years as a “step” family, it gave me thinking room, time to work things through on those long runs, finding the way forward.

Occasionally though I have found when my heart is particularly heavy and when that lump in my throat won’t go, running is hard. I have discovered like swimming and laughing, running and crying simultaneously is impossible. Last night was club night and a hill training session, I was torn, I wanted to get out but knew running was going to be tricky, exercise was not going to make me feel better. However I had fixed a friends leggings and was returning them, commitment made, I had to go. I found the session hard, my legs leaden, the signals from my brain to my legs were not getting through, blocked by life events. This was one of those occasions where pounding the streets was not going to help.

Fast forward 12 hours. After my 7 am spinning session, I went for a run. Heavy heart gone, lumpy throat vanished, legs, lungs and brain all felt good. It was the best run in a long time. It was cold, but boy the scenery was amazing.

My heart sang, normal service has been resumed and the world has been righted on its axis!

Posted in Devon, Running | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Dear

Drivers of Devon,

You may encounter me running on the Devon lanes and roads. I’m easy to spot, I wear a Hi Viz top, bright head gear (this will vary from cap, to beanie to buff and is dependent on weather conditions but is always bright!) at night time I will have a head torch to help me see and be seen and flashing lights on my heels. Yes I do everything to help you see me, in fact so much that at this time of year I dare not stop for too long for fear of someone sticking a star on my head and my feet in a bucket!

I don’t wear head phones so will hear you before you see me, even over my steam train breathing. If the road is narrow I will get off the road as soon as I can to let you pass, but will not jump in a ditch, nettles, brambles or cow poo! Just be patient. I have little legs and am no spring chicken and those few extra seconds you are waiting to pass are really not going to make any difference to you getting to work or dropping little Jimmy off at school.

I keep off main roads as much as possible but when I am on them can always tell fellow runners driving by me, they are the ones straddling the central white line rather than trying to nudge me with their wing mirror. If it is safe for you and me please give me lots of room, it is so much kinder to my heart rate. I will be running facing traffic unless on a tight bend and we have many of those here in Devon, the Romans clearly past this county by!

So you see Drivers of Devon, I do all I can to help you and me. All I ask is that you are aware, slow down when you see me (if only to admire the amount of Hi Viz) so we can all proceed with our day unscathed . Just think how bad you would feel if you hit me, (granted not as bad as me or my family but you would feel bad) and believe I am built more like a shot putter than Paula Radcliffe and your car risks extensive damage, so be aware, pass wide, be patient the roads are there for us all.

Courteous drivers will be rewarded with a big smile, nod of the head and a wave of the hand which will also contain a rather damp men size hankie!

With thanks

Shaz

Posted in Devon, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

All Change

Life has changed here in the Shazruns house on many levels.

Work

At the end of September I was made redundant from a job I have been at for 10 years. Not a total surprise, I had known since April and to be fair I had been very lucky to be able to work from home for the past 5 years. I started applying for jobs not really sure what I wanted to do and what’s more not sure what I was qualified to do. I have had a varied working career, I started with nannying, then worked in schools as a teaching assistant,  then a brief spell as a librarian, moving in to night working after little madam arrived stacking shelves and lastly a jump in to the deep end with technology working on an IT help desk. I was amazed to find a job within the month, sadly though after just six days I realised that it wasn’t going to work. The job would have been doable in time but my the people were odd! In fact I was the odd one I didn’t fit, the workers were predominately male, overweight and bearded, although I don’t have an issue with eating cakes to gain weight, the beard growing was always going to be an issue. Not my finest hour but had to be done. So now I am back at the drawing board applying, filling in application forms and surfing the net seeking something that I can do and want to do, it’s not easy!

Home

Middle Madam is back from Oz with BF having found getting sponsored to stay there was not as easy as they hoped. Back in the UK they decided life in Essex was not for them so are currently living with us until employment and a home is found. Fingers crossed for us all that this does not take too long. 

Exercise

I am trying to work hard to get my fitness back and some speed with it. The treadmill and I are getting reacquainted and I have spent sometime running fast then slow, fast the slow etc around the village. This week saw me return to Metafit with middle Madam, then followed this up two days later with a spinning session at 7 am with both of the Oz returnees! (Just for female relics benefit before she envisions the three of us doing an impression of Rumplestilskin, the spinning I refer to is the kind that involves a stationary bike a great deal of pedalling and a certain amount is sweating !) We were all spinning virgins but are now converted and hope to return this week. This morning the three of us did parkrun at Seaton. ( yes I am being the hostess with the mostest! Come and stay if you want to get fit!) Happy to report that both of them did well and might even go back next week, they enjoyed the low key atmosphere and friendliness.

So that brings you up to date on events here, this week I am hoping I get invited for an interview, get some good running sessions in and maybe a swim. 

Posted in parkrun, Running | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Appearances can be deceiving

This year I have completed five Ultra Marathons, competed in numerous trail events, ran numerous parkruns and according  to Strava ran 1,212 miles so far this year (although this is likely to more due to battery and technology fails). You would think that this would mean that the running has gone well this year, however on reflection this has not really been the case. I might read back through 2017 blogs when I’m struggling to sleep to see if that’s really the case or maybe just how I am feeling at the moment. I do have tendency to recall the bad rather than the good.

I have lost speed, a bit like a rolling stone hitting mud! Now don’t get me wrong I don’t measure how well my running is going by speed, this would be silly, unless you are Mo Farah, which I’m not obviously as I am female, with short legs and white curly hair he is lucky enough not to be or have any of those attributes.

More importantly it’s not felt right on the whole. Not due to aches and pains or injuries ( although there has been some of that!) but due to feeling really hot, followed my nausea. I am hoping the magic that is HRT will sort out the over heating and the nausea will abate also, only time will tell. 

Last weekend running buddy and I did a trail marathon, just over the Devon border in Somerset. I complained constantly the first six miles about how it was ridiculously warm for the end of October, but maybe that heat had more to do with the elevation profile!


The reason the first six miles felt like they were up hill, were because they were! 

By mile 10 I was looking for the end, fortunately running buddy is a patient man, although I am sure he was tempted to stop and dig a whole to bury me in, he certainly had time! All was not lost though, no bling to hang in the cupboard under the stairs, no tshirt to put at the bottom of the drawer, nope instead a lovely engraved glass, was given at the end.


Away from running life is about to get interesting, I’ve started a new job and middle Madam is returning from Oz and moving in with us with BF, the stress levels will no doubt rise and I am hoping that running will ease this and along with that improve my performance, kind of like a mental and physical BOGOF offer!

Posted in Running, trail running, ultra running | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The best thing after long run?

  • Is it when you get a PB
  • Is it the lovely achy tired feeling
  • Is it the guilt free cake consumption 
  • Is it the new bling or tshirt
  • Is it post run healthy glow
  • Is it the sense of achievement 
  • Is it the popping of blisters

While all of the above are great, for me (especially this week) it has been the soaking and subsequent removal of my dodgy toe nail. Unfortunately the nail underneath is not quite “cooked” and I am left with something that could be hired out to scare small children at Halloween but I’m cool with that. At least now I can put jeans/socks/trainers on without wincing. Yep for me it’s the best thing.

Posted in Marathons, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Salcombe Coastal Marathon-sort of

This week in the run up to the booked in marathon, I was full of doubts. I had not run since Saltmarsh75 (two weeks) and was wondering if I could remember how, irrational? yes maybe but factual. Maybe entering a marathon to run two weeks after 78 miles was ambitious (ok read insane) but the word ‘coastal’ lured me in before my brain considered the practicalities. Once entered there is no going back, money had been exchanged and plans had been made and beside which maybe it would help my love of running to return (or kill it off permanently). At no point was I not going to be on the start line how it would pan out would remain to be seen.

Friday I went for a run with a couple of friends from club. 6 miles round the lanes of East Devon, should be a breeze, but I struggled. Seriously I had to walk, absolutely ridiculous. I felt ill, almost like car sickness, exactly how I felt during Saltmarsh. Frustrating and not a good sign for the marathon.

Storm Brian was on its way to Devon set to land Saturday morning, this created a headache for the run organisers, always tricky, do they put the run on? do they re route or postpone. With wind gusts of 57mph having 100 participants making their way along a narrow coastal path close to cliff edges was clearly not an option. For those of you who know the area it was meant to start at Torcross on to East Portlemouth catch the ferry across the estuary to Salcombe and then follow the path to Bantham the finish.

Thursday a new plan was put in place the start was moved to the end, Bantham to Salcombe and back and add a little on at the end should you desire to make it up to the 26.2 miles! My running buddy and I were in two/three/four minds of what to do. Should we run? Him with his dodgy knee, me with my lost running love. Should we ditch the run and run somewhere else on Sunday. Should we run just half? Oh the decisions are tough. In the end we opted to do the run, try and do the whole route in the adverse conditions with the option to bail at the turnaround point.

Saturday morning dawned and they were spot on with the weather, storm Brian had landed. We arrived at Bantham and watched walkers pass by the car looking more like Artic Explorers than Devon walkers. Eventually after much procrastination we exited the car and headed to registration battling against the wind that was blowing right in to us. We received a stern talking to when we registered about the route and the conditions and how they were set to get worse at 2pm. It was hard to imagine what worse could look like but apparently it contained more precipitation.

Off we set towards Hope Cove and the check point. The wind was interesting, it would hit us from all directions, from behind it enabled me to reach top speed and to get up the hills, mostly it came off the sea, literally blowing us off the path, staying upright was tricky, we were very lucky though that rarely was it a head wind. Every step was a battle, fighting to make progress. The buff head band was in danger of being blown off my head so I tied a knot in the end which I assume made me resemble a cross between Papa Smurf and Noddy but I was fine with that! I was trying hard not to get too warm, by Hope Cove I had taken off my rain jacket and my long sleeve top, this might have been a mistake! A mile out of Hope Cove the wind blew harder, the sky got darker, the air cooler. My running buddy who still had all his layers on asked if I wanted to put a layer back on, I declined. Then within seconds the heavens opened, I am not sure if it was hail or rain mixed with the gusting wind off the sea that made it feel like hail, but what I do know is it hurt and it was cold. There followed a manic few minutes with me trying to get my Mac back on, I tried to keep running also, I didn’t want to get cold. It was the worse weather I have been out in. Fortunately it stopped but it left us soaked and sore, the pelting left our skin feeling raw, the decision was made then that this was going to be a one way run, the thought of more of those conditions and possibly worse was not one either of us relished the thought of.

I loved the run itself, the challenge of it in those conditions, the scenery was amazing and the sea foam added to the bizarreness of it all, making it look like it was snowing at times.

 

The last two miles were very pleasant, good underfoot, sheltered from the wind and the sun came out. On arrival at the turn around point we notified the organisers that we would not be continuing, though I think as we sat in the sun we both questioned if this was the right decision but running buddy’s knee was sore and had been since the start. This was a blessing in disguise as neither of us are known for out sensibleness and I think without this we would have turned around and headed back in to the 100 mph winds that came later in the day, this might well have blown away my recently returned running mojo.

We got a lift back to the start, getting out of the mini bus straight in to that wind was not nice at all, making headway in to the wind was almost impossible and by the time we reached the car my brain was frozen solid in my skull like I had eaten too much ice cream. Putting on dry clothes was absolute bliss.

Challenge done, unfortunately not the full distance. I love the medal but do feel like I haven’t earned it so will not be one I shall be keeping unless of course I cross out the word marathon and replace it with 10 miles!

 

 

Posted in Marathons, Photography, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Struck Down

Yes dear reader, since Saltmarsh75 I’ve been struck down by a strange affliction that can only be the lesser known “nodesiretorunitus”. The symptoms are

  • Feeling no desire to run!
  • Finding feeble excuses not to run which have included-it’s too windy and my toe is sore (it was windy and my toe is sore, but usually tougher than that!)
  • Enjoying the non washing of kit
  • Relishing the pong free hallway
  • Experiencing no envy whatsoever when seeing others out running
  • Avoiding all running related social media in particular future Ultra events

Having made the diagnosis without the help of Dr Google, I have decided to prescribe REST until the desire returns.

The question is dear reader can one run a marathon without the desire to run and with the forecast gale force winds? Tune in next week to find out!

Posted in Marathons, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments