Everyone Else’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day as it was in most of the world except it seems down under where they celebrate at a different time. Hubby has been referring to it all week as Father’s weekend, this pushing of the boundaries ended up biting him in the bum.

The original plan was to take him to Weston-Super-Mare where there was a Airshow, featuring the Red Arrows, with temperatures soaring this plan was abandoned in favour of a day at the Beach. Hubby made the sandwiches (first time in 15 years!), drove us to North Cornwall (he has the bigger car) and purchased Madam a new wet suit on the way. (He offered and I did not argue!) So you see Father’s Day soon became known as ‘Everyone Else’s Day in the Shazruns household.

We left Devon early and headed west, accompanied by clear blue skies and empty roads. En route there is a surf supplies shop, the idea was to pull in quick grab Madam a wet suit before continuing on to the beach, it should be easy right? A wet suit is a wet suit, usually black, made of neoprene sometimes a logo on the front. However I forgot to factor that the item was for Madam. Half an hour later we leave with a wet suit that makes Madam look like a Bond Girl and makes me feel old.

Windbreak, three chairs, an umbrella, three wet suits, towels, a picnic, two body boards and reading material, by the time we arrived at a suitable spot on the sand my arms were screaming out for the days of ‘here carry this bucket and spade’ beach excursions.

Madam had a mini melt down when she realised there was no signal on the beach, but soon got over this when the sun began to tan her body which hopefully will mean she will step away from the bottled one. A nice day was spent, some body boarding, some paddling, a bit of bat and ball, much eating and laying in the sun.

A lovely Everyone Else’s Day!



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The long slow run, with pitstops.

This week work has been slow, it is very much the calm before the storm, so I decided that to prevent another day staring at a lap top, I would take the day off to fit in a long slow run. The forecast was good and I was looking forward to it.

The run soon turned in to ‘How many Public toilets can I utilise during my run?‘, the answer is 5! Still can’t believe that I am full of that much ****!

I have come to the conclusion public toilets are like Ploughmans (yes really wait for it), some are all singing all dancing, with loo roll, clean, flushing, water, soap, dryers, door locks others are sparse on all. I love a Ploughmans but these too can vary some pubs you get a huge piece of fresh bread, a slab of cheese, home made chutney, fresh salad, and it looks like this

simply the best ploughmans I’ve had. Other pubs the portions are meagre, produce far from fresh and the chutney tasteless.

Todays loos were a varied bunch in order of usage they are

  • Newton Poppleford Car Park Ladies
  • Otterton Mill disabled toilet (I know I couldn’t find the ladies and things were tricky at this stage and it was before 9 so thought it would be ok)
  • Budleigh Salteron Ladies – half way up the hill
  • Exmouth Ladies by the Lifeboat station
  • Exmouth Ladies in the bus station

In order of good I recommend a visit, to bad avoid if you can, which clearly I couldn’t!

  • Otterton Mill:- Very clean, large cubicle, soap, hot and cold water and hand towels, yes a nice spot to place your bum if required
  • Budleigh Salteron:- The upside was if was half way up a hill which meant I had to running, the downside were the steps down in to the ladies. Clean, good flush.
  • Newton Poppleford:- Bit dark in these ones and the loo roll took some finding, but if you are taller than 5ft 3″ this won’t be a problem
  • Exmouth Ladies, bus station:- I was in this one so long I am surprised they did not charge me rent. There was no cold water for my hydration pack, I was past caring and couldn’t see a ‘not fit for drinking sign’ and things couldn’t get worse. Otherwise not too bad
  • Exmouth Ladies by Lifeboat station:-First two loos blocked, no paper, and once of those silly press button for soap/water/air things that I always mess up and end up drying my hands with soap.

So there you have it the inside information on the loos in East Devon.

I did manage 23 miles, it did take me forever mainly because I spent a lot of time sitting! That’s it now, I am going to be mainly running short for the next three weeks. Here are some pics from today, just be thankful they are of the countryside!




Posted in Devon, Photography, Running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Operation MFYOC Kicked off

I’m not a lover of acronyms, working in education I find they are overused, probably due to the shortage of time people have due to an extensive curriculum and assessment strategies, but that’s a discussion for another time not the day before a General Election. Anyway I find it hard to work them out and am forever asking their meaning. I find some acronyms have different meanings depending on context, when I stocked shelves at Sainsbury’s the abbreviation BWS stood for Beer Wines and Spirits, strangely enough within education this has a totally different meaning, but it might well be a good idea to use the Supermarket one.

You might notice an acronym in todays blog title, is it driving you mad yet trying to work it out? Wait for it……

2017 has seen me run almost 700 miles so far, but I have done absolutely no speedwork. (sorry I haven’t done any speedwork) No fartleks, no tempo sessions, no sprint 200m recover 200m. Lots of miles logged, but all slow. The unsurprising outcome from this is – I’m slower than I’d like to be.

So Move Faster You Old Cow was born. My new training plan. This was reinforced at Killerton parkrun this past week when marshal number 4 shouted just those words at me! Not really part of parkrun ethos is it, but it is ok as this particular marshal was just throwing the words back at me that, that I had messaged her in the week. I’m just hoping no one else thought it was directed at them! The greeting didn’t make me faster though but did make me laugh.

So last night I kicked off MFYOC by trying out a city run 5k in Exeter. This is a series of 6 5k’s held on a ‘A great traffic free and pancake flat run on footpaths and cycle tracks’, I am late to this party as this was the third round. The weather all day had been pretty bad but thankfully eased in time for me to register and run. As I limbered up (I use the term loosely!) I was very aware that the area was overrun with runners in club vests. Now I have a club vest specially created for VLM last year, but I had not even thought about wearing it, I was beginning to regret opting for my Little Miss Naughty vest, not exactly the look of a serious runner and believe me everyone else was a serious runner. Gulp. The start was adjacent to where I had parked, I was tempted to bolt but instead womaned up (or old cowed up) and joined the back of the select 100 runners!

The course is two laps, and yes pretty much pancake flat except for four ramps

not going to ever get much flatter than that in Devon!

Mile one, went ok, Mile two a slight deterioration, Mile three someone jumped on my back, my legs buckled under the extra weight and I slowed by 17 seconds. At the finish line I hurt. But on the upside I was two seconds off my Exeter parkrun (which has a similar elevation) PB, so not a bad start to MFYOC. Now to work out how to avoid picking up a passenger on that last mile.


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Umborne Ug Second Edition

Umborne is a little village in East Devon located deep within one of the many mountain ranges we have here.

In June 2014 I did my first Unborne Ug, you can read about that here, last night I did my second Umborne Ug and you can read about it below!

Running is like child birth, with the passing of time you forget how tough something was and you sign up again. Unfortunately as I document things here it is easy for me to be reminded. I read the first Edition and gulped, all I remembered was that it was hilly, and contained cider I forgot it was muddy and contained a hill that was easier to crawl up.

Being a very local run it was well supported by the running club, it soon became evident that I would be the official club sweeper! The weather had been mixed in the afternoon, but the sun came out for the duration of the run, it really was a lovely evening. Official team photo was taken and then we were off.

The first part is up hill on the road and then more hill across the fields, then more hill up to the woods, then it flattens but gets muddy through the woods, then its mountain number one! Walking the only option. Then there is the most glorious down hill across the fields with simply incredible views, time for me to make up some time.

As I trekked up the last hill, I took solace in the fact that this was the last tough one and things would get easier, the down came but it was rocky and leafy and it was tricky to work out what was what and where to put your foot. With my ability to fall easily on a flat surface I ran this part scared witless with the mantra ‘stay up right shaz’. Very pleased to get to the bottom in one piece and the ankles not complaining too much. I could see a club member just in front of me and did my level best to catch him but alas he finished 10 seconds ahead of me, but least my role as club sweeper was full filled.

The main aim was to get a better time, happy to report that I knocked 4 minutes and 8 seconds off my 2014 time. And the Achilles issue that plagued by run this week had disappeared.

A PB, a nice evening, cake, BBQ and another shoe bag – cant get much better than that can it?

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Cat antics

Both Madams slept through the night as babies by the time they were six weeks old. Some people would say I was lucky that this happened. I would argue that luck had nothing to do with it, it was sheer survival instinct on their part. I like my sleep, I need my sleep. Disturb my sleep and you live dangerously.

Unfortunately for me and soon to be unfortunate for the cat, Oscar has yet to learn this.

Now the warmer weather is here we leave a window open for him, the idea is that he can come and go as he pleases without waking us up to let him in or out. This  would work just nicely if he did just that, but reality is very different.

He goes out and does his ‘I once was a Ginger Tom’ thing and then lands back in the hallway at ungodly o’clock. If the thud from this does not wake us, the meowing that follows does, this coupled with the stomping all over the bed. Recently however he has really upped his game. Last week following the thud, meow and stomping, came much scurrying around the room, accompanied with a lot of vocal activity. Light on, dead mouse retrieved and disposed of. Thank you hubby. This week he went for a different approach, he flew through the window, charged through the room, like a bat out of hell. Light on, and a tiny bat was discovered by the wardrobe. I was detailed to get a container, whilst hubby stood guard. Container delivered, I seized the chance of a pit stop, shortly after there came a knock ‘you want to see the bat?’ the reply I gave contained the word ‘No’ and several others that I can’t print here. Apparently it was very cute and very small.

I am currently working on a ‘Cat Free to a Good Home’ Poster containing this angelic photo

while his lordship is sleeping soundly!

Anyways this blog is meant to be about the ups and downs of running, not feline antics. The running has been very much up and down this week not just because of the undulations here in Devon but what I assume is my body still recovering. It is odd, I feel fine, I feel I can run, I run and it is harder than I would like it to be and it certainly hurt yesterday more than it should. With the next Ultra (26.2+ miles is my definition of an Ultra) looming, the panic is setting in!


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How to run and train for an Ultra

Obviously now have I completed and trained for two Ultra’s, I am an expert, so thought I would share with you what I think worked and what didn’t, for me.


  • Back to back long runs in training, time consuming, but essential
  • Train on similar terrain to course
  • Changing my trainers and socks at the half way point was tricky (could not reach my feet) but words can not express the absolute joy my feet felt. Dry socks, dry trainers, bliss.
  • Set an alarm on your phone for every 50 minute, this will remind you to eat. Warning it may annoy those running near you.
  • Eat early on, when you don’t feel the need, later on you will need to but wont be able to.
  • Experiment with food on training, what can you chew, what sits nicely in your stomach and lets you run, with out pits stops or comfort breaks!
  • Mini cheddars, peanut butter wraps, battenburg cake, babybel cheese, coke, diet coke all worked for me
  • Stop for five minutes to eat, running and chewing towards the end is impossible, and very messy.
  • Pack a change of clothes, dry sweat free clothes are worth their weight in gold
  • Fill your hydration pack up at every point you can, you can guarantee else that you will run out of water mid way between check points and this can be a long way.
  • Commandeer friends and family to be at designated support with supplies
  • Find someone brave, that is also good company to run sections with you. Be nice to them.
  • Buy these when your mouth feels like the bottom of a budgie cage they revive it and your tastes buds.

Not recommended

  • Creating a training plan in January, then looking at it after to see you have missed so many runs due to injury and tumbles.
  • Getting your feet out in front of your family ‘your feet are minging Mum’ are not words you do not want to hear with 30 miles to go.
  • Changing in to your road trainers from you off roaders before the muddiest part of the course!
  • Swapping the Buff on your head for a cap just at the point the wind picks up
  • Assuming the water in your pack is enough and not checking
  • Sit down at any point other than on the toilet
  • Trying to squat behind a tree, your legs will collapse
  • Telling support crew you will see them at the next point and not giving them a time. Otherwise you will be greeted with phrases such as ‘we have been sat in this car park for 4 hours’ and ‘don’t ask me to do this again, I would rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick’. At 55 miles you don’t want to hear about their pain, all you can feel is your own!

So there you have it, things to do and not to do, now take that knowledge go forth and enter an Ultra.


Posted in Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Giving Back

Today was the first Women Can Marathon, held just 10 minutes away from my house. When I first heard of it I obviously wanted to run it, but then the 100k came up which threw in to doubt as to whether I would be fit enough to run. I sat on the fence so long that entries were closed. Sometimes I think these things happen for a reason, so although I was disappointed I decided to get involved by marshalling.

Let me first tell you about Women Can.

Back in the 1960’s the furthest women could run in the Olympics was 800 metres. We could bare (or is it bear?) children, run a household and have careers, but deemed not strong enough to run more than two laps on a track. In 1967 Katherine Switzer, completed the Boston Marathon, but officials tried to drag her off the course. It took a further 17 years for women to be able to run a marathon in the Olympics. The thing I find most shocking about this is it happened in my life time. Not in the time of suffragettes, no nearly 50 years after we got the vote we were still considered as ‘fragile’ . This Women Can marathon was created to celebrate the 50 year anniversary and to raise money for a local playing field. Full, half and 10k options were available, Women only! (incidentally Katherine re ran Boston marathon just 20 minutes slower than she did 50 years ago!)

Today I gave back to a running community that I get so much from.

Back last December a lovely runner from Cornwall, took me from the end of a run to the start, a perfect stranger. Today I repaid that favour by picking up a perfect stranger who had come down for this marathon from Skye! I took her to the start, ensured she was registered and at the start, I cheered her on from my garden chair and deposited her back to her B&B. Debt paid in full.

The lovely lady from Cornwall was also on the run today, so pleased to see her, exchange a hug and send her on her way for the final 7 miles. Running community I love you.

Last week I was joined on my epic run, by fellow club members, their support was invaluable. Today I was support, I provided the jelly babies, carried the gels, did the cheering, took the photos and posted on social media. Support reciprocated.

This little blog reaches all kinds of people, some I know, most I don’t. Some are friends, some are friends of friends. The support I have received cyberley both before and after events, through good times and bad times has always been fantastic. I was totally thrilled to be greeted in the woods today by “Its Shazruns” totally stunned but so over the moon to receive a sweaty VLM Finisher 2017 (love that shirt) hug. Fantastic to meet a reader. Lovely to encourage her on to the second part of her half.

All in all I have had a lovely day, sat on a chair in the woods, telling people where to go! I am sure I would have loved the run, but it is important to give back, and today I have to say I had a blast.



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