Dursley Dozen the second edition

Last Sunday I travelled north up the M5 to partake in a 12 mile run up and down and up and down and up and down the countryside around Dursley. Unlike the year before when the weather was dull and miserable, this year it was a lovely winter’s morning with clear blue skies and sunshine.

The plan was to get a PB, but I knew this was going to be tough given two factors, 1) I’m not as fit as I would like 2) Conditions underfoot are horrendous when off road at the moment due to a wet winter

Its funny what you remember about a route from one year to another. I remembered the up hill start and the rope you needed to use to get up the last hill at mile 10, but I did not recall much else in between which is why I was at the start line again! Maybe it would be an idea to record each run on a Go Pro but there again if I did that I would probably never do any run twice!

The mud was as expected, I tried to adopt a new approach and that was a role of ‘mud slayer’ and instead of avoiding it trying to find my way around the edge, I waded through the middle, swearing and sliding as I went.

The Precipice with the rope at mile 10 was so much harder than recalled, my legs, arms and lungs were screaming by the time I got to the top and the photography who wanted me to run so he could take my photo got a terse but polite response (the desire to say **** off at this point was great!) Fortunately at this point it is pretty much all down hill to the end and I tried to leg it to make up some time.

My time was two minutes slower than last year, but I was fine with that, after all who could not be fine with this as a finishing time…..

another great event, with another great t-shirt

Last year it snowed whilst I was running and this year snowed when I had finished and as this is pretty much the only time I have seen snow since moving to the South West I can only assume it always snows in Dursley, going to return next year just to check!

 

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That four letter word

Yep there are many

  • work
  • kids
  • rest
  • hill
  • cook
  • cash
  • £@%&

these are a few of the four letter words but this blog is about the four letter word ‘only’. This week I read something on social media, written by a runner and when referring to a new pair of trainers (that she had no doubt been sent free to review) she used the phrase ‘only £100’

Personally I would not use the word ‘only’ in front of £100 at any point, unless of course it was referring to maybe a car and then I would want it followed by the phrase ‘and it had four tyres’!

My beloved Invo8 Trailtalons have sprung two large ventilation holes,

handy to help with the stench but can be draughty. I have spent a lot of time this week surfing the net trying to avoid spending ‘only £100‘, granted this pair cost this much but it was my birthday gift from the hubby (I am sure he would not like me to point out that he ‘only’ spent £100 on my birthday gift) but I am keen not to spend ‘only’ this much again, especially as they have not lasted a year!

Buying off road trainers is a nightmare, some are good on mud, others on rocks, some can go on road and trail, some are cushioned and others like glorified flip flops. Seriously I think I need four pairs to cope with all terrains but no way am I going to get that past the trainer police AKA Madam! I know my feet pretty well by now,  they have been with me for a while and we have had a few adventures together. If you have been a long time reader you will also know my feet are wide (think flattened by a steam roller) so a wide toe box is the most important thing, after the cost of course! It is no exaggeration to say I have spent hours googling, perusing on line auction sites, reading reviews and comparing prices. Finally I settled on a pair of New Balance wide fit trainers, not pretty but they were ONLY £40!

Tomorrow I am running a dozen (A Dursley Dozen) miles round the Gloucestershire countryside and these babies will stay at home, instead I will wear my well ventilated Inov8’s with my waterproof socks, these I will save for when the trails dry up a bit which at the rate things are going is likely to be July!

Friday my back went, not sure where it went but it has definitely gone, so the aim tomorrow is to medicate, stay upright before during and after the run and enjoy.

 

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Back on it!

This week I got back out there making the most of my last weeks of unemployment (yes good news on the job front-at last)

Monday – I headed up to the coastal path for a 10 mile jolly. The conditions under foot were not great and after the 16 miles two days before most of which were off road in mud and other nasty stuff I soon became fed up with the strain of trying to stay upright so adjusted the route to take in more road.

Great views

A peacock

and a sign of spring, what more could you want except maybe less mud!

Wednesday– club pub run. Run to pub, place dinner order, run, return to pub, eat and drink a cider. Pretty much a perfect scenario, oh and we had the super moon as company. 8 miles

Thursday-my legs demanded flat and mud free so off to the Exe Estuary Trail I went. 10 miles done and only one pic, not sure why he looks blue but do love his reflection!

Saturday– Parkrun sandwich at Seaton. Damp drizzly 4 miles pre parkrun, 3 miles of parkrun followed by 1.5 miles back up the hill to the car.

Sunday– A nice trot round the Green Circle path in Exeter with my running buddy. It was cold in the wind but least the sun was out and it was dry, a rarity of late here in Devon!

 

So that brings me to 50 miles this week, the body is creaking a bit, but thats to be expected and this week I shall be treating it to less miles, but I am pleased I’ve done it and can do it, the fitness is there lurking beneath, now I just need to work on the speed.

 

Posted in cross country, Devon, Photography, trail running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Doynton Hard Half Third Edition

Sunday morning I headed up the M5 in the pouring rain, the Norther I went the colder it got. I left Devon with a balmy 8 degrees and arrived in Doynton just over 90 minutes later in a flipping cold 2 degrees. Two scenarios worry me when driving 1) flooded roads where you can’t make out if the puddle is passable 2) getting stuck in mud. By 10 am I had encountered both stresses and the wet conditions looked set to stay so I knew I would have tackle both again to get home! Aaaahhhhh

This is the third time I have done this Half, (here are the first two accounts 1 2 ) this year they had made it harder, hillier and muddier, oh joy, like I thought that was even possible. This took the pressure off me trying to do a faster time which was just as well really, because in all honesty I had no business doing this event, generally unfitedness (!) and a lingering virus meant it was going to be a struggle. A sensible person would have stayed clear, but what can I say I love this event and was not going to miss out.

Why do I love this run so much, after all there is plenty to hate about it, mud and great big hills mostly?

I love it because in my eyes it represents all that is good in the  ‘running community’………..

  • Whats not to love about an event that has an Order of Service
  • Amazing organisation, marshals, signage, water stations
  • A cake stall, hot drinks, hot food for afterwards
  • Runners who don’t take the event too seriously, this guy came prepared with his flotation device!
  • Participants who look after each other, I was checked on after I fell and during the water crossings where the water was flowing very fast, I was offered a helping hand as we crossed both helping each other to stay upright
  • Designated marshals to push your car out of the mud at the end of the day, so grateful for this!

Despite this being my third time at this event for me there were many firsts

  • First time Ive lingered in a portoloo to keep warm and dry a bit longer
  • First time I have fallen twice on the same run
  • First time I have run with a long sleeve and a rain coat and not felt the need to remove either
  • First time wearing a Buff on my ears AND a cap on my head
  • First time Garmin seized up (his days might be numbered)
  • First time I have taken my wellies to a run to get from car to start (seriously a smart move on my part, Shaz you genius)
  • First time I have waded through water so deep that my knickers got wet

I had a great trot round the countryside. My time is embarrassingly Sloooooooowwwww but thats fine, next year I hope to be fitter. Edition 4 I can’t wait!

 

 

 

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London Trip

Madam and I headed East last week for a couple of days, a trip to London was something we did yearly to see the lights when in Essex but since moving to Devon this is obviously trickier. When travelling with a 15 year old girl there is only one thing to do whilst in the City and that obviously is SHOP and as said child has designs way above her station there was only one place to start……….

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Yep thats Harrods and the reason Brompton Road is deserted is NOTHING to do with us! We spent some time wandering round and round and round (we got lost) the designer clothes and Madam even tried on a dress which fortunately didn’t fit! I was glad to get out of there to be honest not just because the £3000 price tags scare me but because it was so warm.

Pleased to be out in the fresh air we headed up over Hyde Park to Oxford Street where the shop fest began! We didn’t shop till we dropped but it was darn close! Oxford Street (with detour to Bond Street) to Oxford Circus then down Regents Street where we jumped on the tube to Covent Garden. Now I know that we could have walked instead of going underground but seriously by this time I was already two inches shorter that I had been when I set out and had no desire to shrink anymore, besides which the Covent Garden underground station is an experience, as unlike other stations it does not have an escalator to get to the surface but a rather dodgy lift! We spent some time in CG wandering around, checking out the lights and me showing Madam places her Great Grandfather is connected to. The Mistletoe Lights were amazing and the tree on par with the one at the Rockefeller Centre in New York so well done Covent Garden.

From there we cut down to The Strand

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and along to Trafalgar Square to see The tree. The trouble with having taken Madam to New York last year is that she was totally underwhelmed by The Tree, as a child I would have been overwhelmed as it is massive but I can see her point that the one in NY was better, fatter and prettier, but the sky was beautiful. Magical.

 

The final slog was up to Regents Street to see the lights there which were amazing!

It was a great day if a tad tiring! It included some major stresses due to the complexities of travelling on public transport (a whole blog on this to come!) and some big laughs………

  • Whilst at a well know sandwich shop ordering lunch Madam was given the choice of 1 foot or 6 inch but asked for the alternative 6ft sub!
  • After finishing serving us and probably still recovering from this the employee turned to the person behind us and asked “what can I get you Sir?” to which the reply came “I’m not a Sir I’m a woman“. Suffice to say it was an awkward moment but I can totally understand how the mistake was made!
  • A lovely young man with impeccable English offered me a seat on the tube, don’t let the white hair fool you sir I run Ultra Marathons for fun! Next time I shall wear a big hat!

 

 

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Out with a pffff 2017

I would write one of them round up recap 2017 blogs but seeing as I struggle to remember what I did this past month, recalling beyond that is always going to be a stretch!

Suffice to say it was I think it was a year full of running highs and lows and I’m not just talking about the elevation profile. Running as ever has taught me many things this year…….

  • I can achieve beyond what I thought was possible for this plodder of advancing years
  • Running five Ultras in six months was over doing it! (Stop and think Shaz)
  • When the body weakens the mind takes over
  • When the mind crumbles somewhere the drive to complete a task overrides everything
  • Sometimes it is detrimental to keep going and takes the joy out of running
  • Before attempting any further challenge I need to sort out the fueling
  • My feet can get uglier, loosing 7 toe nails does this!

On a personal level, 2017 was tricky, being made redundant has been more of a blow than I anticipated but 2018 will I’m sure hold new challenges and adventures. Having been struck down with the lurgy on Boxing Day my first challenge will be to get to New Years Day parkrun at Killerton, complete the 5k and not die in the process!

Happy New Year everyone x

Posted in parkrun, Running, trail running, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Job hunting

Yes dear reader, sadly I am still looking for a job. Don’t get me wrong I love not working, boredom does not occur, I can always find something to do, however this will not pay the bills. I am getting fed up with constantly applying, searching, calling agencies for very little back. Then there is the Interviews, I have had three of late, all very different experiences which is not so surprising as all for a variety of roles.

Interview one was with a well known telecom company, I was asked various questions by a child (!) and was then notified that I had not made it through to the next round. To be fair my heart wasn’t in it, the job entailed working 6 Saturdays out of 10 and 2 Sunday’s, and so when I was asked what my career ambitions were I answered “I am 52 years old and just want to work till retirement, other than that I have no ambition ” I think that’s what they call interview suicide, but C”est Le vie!

Interview two was for a job I really, really, really wanted. I was asked a series of questions, these were written down sent off to the HR department who subsequently let me know another candidate scored higher. Now I don’t have a problem with that other than being gutted by not getting the job, but it irks somewhat that someone has the job I wanted all because he/she said they would check the wiper blades in a pre vehicle check, whereas I didn’t! Who decided that points should dictate who gets a job rather than a human, the world is mad.

Just when I thought things could not get any more bizarre, interview three happened! It was a group interview, 9 of us in total, question 1……….

“If you were a coffee, what coffee would you be and why? (Answers in comments please!) I don’t drink coffee so this was not easy for me!

Then:-Take a toilet roll, tear off as many squares as you want and give us a fact about yourself for each square! Followed by tell everyone three things, two true, one false. (Assume these were ice breaking activities)

Then we were split in to threes, activity one was to build a construction out of newspaper, that would hold a book. (Teamwork)

Role play-dealing with a difficult customer, (I hate role play, but granted this is relevant)

What makes excellent customer service!

The whole process took three hours! Honestly three hours? I’ve not applied to be CEO, this is a minimum wage job, a three hour interview someone is having a laugh!

Anyway I run Ultras, this will not get me down, I will not be beat, I will persevere like I do whilst on those Ultras, I will dig deep, I will succeed and 2018 will be a year with a new career adventure!

Posted in Devon, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments