I’m outta here

Well it has been ages since I have blogged. Not really sure why I’ve stopped, I’m still running, still racing, still lolloping over the Devon countryside but just don’t have the inclination to tap out a tale on the keyboard.

Recently WordPress wrote to me informing me at the end of this month I was due to make a payment so seems a good idea to draw a line under Shazruns and step away from blogging.

It’s been fun, I’ve met some great people and been fortunate enough to meet some in person. Thanks for being part of my life. Hugs to you all.

Shaz

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Two cracking runs in South Devon taking in the South West Coast path, two first in age places!

Race The Tide

This run was a billed as a Long Marathon, I like that they warn you before you sign up rather than slip in three rude miles at the end which would guarantee me to throw my toys out of the pram at 26 miles, demanding to see the finish! As the title indicates you need to get to a certain point by a certain time to cross over the beach, this is at mile 20 and with a generous time limit, I love a run along the South West Coastal Path so did not hesitate in signing up, though maybe should have checked the calendar first, two weeks after the tough Hellstone was probably not a great idea!

The run starts at Mothecombe and is on a mix of private footpaths, coastal path, bridle paths, country fields and Woodland,  the marathon incorporates the South West Coast Path on both sides of the estuary including a beach section at Bigbury-on-Sea and a run across the causeway to the privately owned Burgh Island.

The first 14 miles are a breeze, not too many hills, terrain not too torturous but then after a long beach section to Burgh Island and then after Burgh Island (that’s the trouble with islands they tend to be surrounded but sand!) the proverbial hits the fan and the mountainous coastal path continues for the next 8  miles, steep ups followed by steep downs. I got to the crossing with an hour to spare but was horrified to see I was going to get wet. The water was knee deep at times and running was hard, I wasn’t expecting that. Of course the next beach I crossed meant the sand then stuck to my trainers and my feet soon looked like sugared doughnuts.

Soon after this I began to struggle a bit the realisation that I still had a long way to go wasn’t helping. My spirits slightly raised when I met a pack of cubs out for a walk, I suggested a high five with them and they were all brilliant but after 150 I was wishing I hadn’t thought it was a good idea. I do hope other runners behind me got the same treatment!

The miles continued, my legs kept going but I am not going to lie, I was finding it tough going.

On passing a couple of males I was amused to hear one turn to the other, when he thought I was out of ear shot and say “It must give the older woman a boost to pass us and to be running well at this point'” This older woman has excellent hearing and was amused by his comment. Needless to say I was so darn thankful to get to the finish.

It was a simply stunning route and as ever Pure Trail put on an excellent event, but I am really not sure I would want to do this again!

I was thrilled to receive this information in an email this week, although a nice fat trophy would have been better!

Coleton Footacher

The Start point

I did not decide to enter this run until Friday night and even then was ‘weather permitting’, but with Madam at work hubby and I hatched a plan which would involve a 10k run for me and a Fish n Chip Dinner at Brixham afterwards, yes that is how we rock on a Saturday night! The run itself started at Coleton Fishacre, a National Trust property before a big loop taking in yet more of the coast path! This run featured an up hill start and an up hill finish, infact this is the only time I have ever walked at any point in any run in the last half a mile! To be fair at this point when presented by a steep hill I was tempted to crawl! Fortunately the middle bit although featured yet more hills had some stunning scenery and I loved it. Nice to give the legs a break from the long stuff and give them a short sharp burst! I had hoped for under an hour but with over a 1000 ft of elevation I was pleased with the 1:04 time and over the moon to receive my first ever running award for first (and maybe only) old lady across the line.

The Loot

The evening was topped off nicely with dinner, with these views

 

Next up a half marathon on Father’s Day in Dorset!

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Hellstone Marathon

Yesterday I headed East to Dorset to partake in The Hellstone Marathon. This was a bit of a last minute entry for me, ideally I wanted to do the half but this was sadly sold out so I thought what the Hell and submitted my £1 per mile entry fee and entered the marathon- although now I’m slightly worried that they will want an extra £1 from me seeing as the route was 27.2 miles!

The morning did not start off so well, stomach issues, followed by having to scrape the frost off the car in 2 degree temperature and more issues on arrival in the port-a-loo! I was concerned that this would be like the Ex to Axe run a couple of years ago and in an attempt to stop that occurring again I ate a peanut butter wrap and hoped for the best.

I knew it was going to be a tough event but really wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew when I saw the start……

it wasn’t long before we were off, and shortly after the walking commenced up that Mountain!

Despite the cool morning, the sky was clear and soon warmed up and I regretted wearing my long sleeve. Now you will know I love off road running and I was really looking forward to running in a different county, as far as I was concerned this was a day out in the countryside and it did not disappoint. There was some cute animals

a variety of terrain, rocky paths, long lush grass, narrow sheep tracks, road, forest paths oh and some incredible scenery…

and some glimpses of the sea

of course there was a small matter of 3000 feet of elevation, but I love hills, right?

On one hand this was a day out exploring the countryside but on the other hand I wanted to do this in under 5 hours, hard not to be gutted to finish in 5:00:51 but in my defence there was the extra mile I haven’t paid for! Overall I was pleased with how it went and how I coped and especially pleased with the  last mile completed at a 8 minute mile pace due to that lush down hill!

Recovery going well-just as well really with the next Long Marathon (28 miles) in two weeks!

 

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It was going so well!

On the 10th of March I ran The Grizzly. This is a local event 20 ish miles of hills, bogs and pebble beaches. It is extremely popular and people travel from all over to partake. Before the day I was far from confident, due to lack of miles in legs and even contemplated dropping down to the shorter cub run which is 9 miles. The day arrived along with some mad high winds, I went prepared for the long run and for the fact that it was not going to be pretty!

Is it possible to enjoy a run that included long stretches on pebbles, running through freezing cold water, trudging through knee-deep mud and crawling up mountainous hills? It is! I have to admit I enjoyed every single minute of it. (ok maybe not the bit where I sat in the bog and if it hadn’t been for the person behind me heaving me up I am sure I would still be there!) The miles simply flew by. At the top of the Stair Way to Heaven I glimpsed at my Garmin, there followed a quick calculation and I realised that I could be on for a PB, a total surprise and not what I had been aiming for at all, survival was my mind-set! Another mile passed and another calculation, not really believing what I was seeing I wondered if the mud had stopped the Garmin functioning properly! I pushed on and was stunned to cross the finish line not only under 4 hours but with a PB by 10 minutes. Safe to say I was walking on air for the rest of the day.

How is it even possible to run that well with not enough miles in training? There began analysis……..I came up with these contributing factors:-

  • Slight weight loss
  • HITT training 4/5 times a week
  • Walking on average 7 miles a day 4 days a week
  • Not focussing on the time, but just running and enjoying

I wish I knew what the secret was to how this run went so well, then I would repeat, repeat, repeat!

It then looked like I was set for a good run on my next planned event – The Ex to Ax but sadly a week later I was struck down with some kind of virus and did not run for two weeks, instead I gave my stomach muscles a good work out by coughing morning, noon and night. I am happy to report that finally it seems to have left the building but now I’m not confident enough to run 22 miles along the Devon coast, it is a shame but it will be there next year. However this leaves me with no focus so I best start researching.

 

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The New Job

Those of you who are regular readers will know that October 2017 I was made redundant from a job I had grown to love and had been in for 10 years. There followed 6 months of unemployment, hundreds of job applications filled in and numerous interviews attended, before gaining a position within the NHS. The job itself was fine, varied and not too taxing, but the atmosphere and staff within the unit was toxic so it wasn’t long before I was casting my eye over the ‘situations vacant’ websites!

After three attempts I managed to get a job as a Postie! Not everyone’s cup of tea, early mornings, out in all weather etc but for me it is perfect and to cliche it completely I am living the dream, helped of course by some amazing weather lately, I might fill differently when it is pouring with rain!

Six weeks in and I am beginning to get to grips with it all, I have rural routes, drive about 45 miles a day and walk between 6 and 9 miles a day, lots of farms, farm tracks and narrow Devon lanes. It’s a new job so obviously it has not been without its challenges and disasters……

  • I lent on a gate to reach a postbox and promptly broke a rib, now I open the gate!
  • The van key literally came apart in my hands, leaving me with just the metal part, did a running repair with two elastic bands
  • One red post box would not open for me to collect the post, fortunately having given my best Damsel in distress performance a local resident and a can of WD40 rescued me
  • I have been nibbled by two dogs and terrorised by one
  • I had the pleasure of delivering a letter from HRH Queen Elizabeth
  • On greeting some calves outside a barn with the words ‘good morning beautifuls‘ a reply came from inside the barn ‘Good Morning‘ I’m assuming it wasn’t one of the four legged creatures but didn’t hang around to find out!

Daily I talk to cows, sheep, dogs, cats, pheasants, squirrels and once a fox’s tail as it disappeared under a gate.

I deliver post in to various receptacles, wooden boxes, metal boxes, plastic storage containers, ammunition boxes, up ended milk churns and occasionally normal letter boxes in doors, but even these vary. Some boxes are like vices seizing your fingers, others are so small everything has to be folded to get anything through them, some come apart in your hands (!), yes the struggle is real!

Here are some pics taken while out on my rounds, next blog post will be about running!

 

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The Plan for 2019 is………..

After great deliberation, much googling and head scratching I have decided that the plan for 2019 is to not have a plan! Each year I like something to aim for, to train for, it keeps me going, keeps me pounding the streets and the trails, but I don’t think this will work this year-well not yet anyway, maybe later in the year.

Originally I wanted the main event to be in May-sadly May is not so far away and is fast approaching not giving me a enough time to train for that, I am trying to source something similar for later in the year, but as yet have not found any that appeal and if you are going to attempt a 100 miler then it has to appeal right?

I have entered a couple of events that are coming up, The Dursley Dozen (will be my third time), The Grizzly (also be my third time) and hopefully the Ex to Ax (mmm a theme here-also my third time!) but as the new job (more soon on that I promise) involves Saturday working it seems a bit unfair on the family if I disappear on the Sunday to do events meaning I am not around the whole weekend, so 2019 will not only have no plan it will also feature less events, all change.

This morning I needed to do a LSR before taking Madam to work at 10.30, this meant an early start. Whilst prepping my hydration pack the bladder came apart in my hands, not a great start but a wise move on the bladder’s part as it was minus 5! After much faffing I filled the soft bottles and put them in my pack. I hate running with these, they sit on my chest and as I ‘bounce’ so do they, occasionally banging me on the chin, can’t even begin to tell you how darn annoying this is. In the end it was absolutely pointless taking them out with me anyway as the Ribena froze and I maybe sipped once! Yes it was cold this morning, definitely my coldest ever run, long sleeve, gloves and hat worn for the whole 15 miles. I never got warm but kept going, frightened if I stopped that I would turn in to an ice statue! I opted to head to the nearest town and run on the paths there, as lots of ice on the country lanes, not something Ive done before so it was nice to run a different route.

It was a crips, cold, clear morning that rewarded my efforts with a great sunrise.

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DHHM- Edition 4

33 of us have attended each of DHHM we were told at the start line on Sunday. I spent the first five miles contemplating (oh and cursing) as to why we keep going back as I trudged up the hills and slip slided all over the place in the sloppy mud, the sticky mud and the trainer sucking mud. Safe to say I had a complete sense of humour failure when directed to go through a quagmire when there was a perfectly quagmire free route that could so easily have been taken, not helped by me sinking knee deep in it and then sitting down in the freezing cold goo. Everyone from then on looked like they were running in wellies due to the mud socks they were wearing, oh except for those who cheated and climbed out early-surely this should be punishable by disqualification? CHEATS

Mile 6 onwards I found my happy running self, due to hills diminishing, the mud being less muddy and the intake of an energy gel and some coke. The second half was definitely better and I even managed to pass quite a few people.

So why do I keep going back? DHHM is so well organised and a fun event, the organisers just improve it year on year, rather than resting on their laurels. Apparently 2020 DHHM is 11% likely to go ahead, I for one so hope that percentage goes up. The attention to detail by the organisers is second to none and other race put er on ers would do well to take a leaf from their books. Things that make this a great run

  1. Mud
  2. Each Marshal has a sign with their name on it- so you can thank them personally.
  3. A clothes line on the course so you can remove a layer if need be and this item of clothing will be taken to the end.
  4. A goody bag with a mud face pack-the irony!
  5. Great technical t-shirt in male and female styles
  6. A race number with your name on
  7. New for this year – a fortune cookie complete with apt fortune and the possibility of free entry next year
  8. No water stops but 4 pubs on the way round-offering water, alcohol free beer and coke
  9. Free after event photos
  10. A varied and challenging route
  11. Transport to start from dry hard standing parking (an improvement from last year so well done to them for finding a solution to an issue from the previous year and one that worked so well)
  12. Cake stall at the end
  13. Reasonably priced entry fee
  14. Great communication prior to event
  15. PA announcements at the finish line, greeting you personally to the end
  16. A sense of humour, the best pre event instructions.

 

Each year I swear I will train for this run, just to make the first part easier on my self and to feature less swearing, but sadly this has yet to work out. This year I was pleased to record my second fastest time (the fastest one being recorded when the mud was frozen so not sure that should count) and as ever it has given me the kick up the *&£@ to get out there and run, so thanks Doynton and Emerson Green for doing that again and I have everything crossed for 2020.

Running in mud wellies

 

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