I don’t like Mondays

I particularly don’t like Mondays after a week off, going back to work was not pleasant this week, but then rarely is. However it was going to get worse!

Lunch time I had a physio appointment, more heat, more massage, more pain inflicted on my legs all to sort out a slight issue I have been having with my knee. Nothing major, just a niggle that wasn’t going away. It is fine when running only making itself known after a few miles and then nothing major and certainly not painful enough to stop running. Mr physio was pleased with my progress and only wanted to see me before the Grizzly to loosen off my legs. All good. Happy Shaz.

That night when getting out of the car, I twisted my knee, it hurt. I swore. I managed Metafit the next day, followed by five miles run in the evening. To be honest it wasn’t great on the run, not painful really just not comfortable but I did manage negative splits as it seemed to ease as the run went on.

Since then however it has gone down hill, painful and stiff even when walking. The ice pack and I are now firm friends, rarely parted and I am currently looking in to buying shares in Ibuprofen!

The Grizzly is not looking likely, the Jurassic Coast 100 is in jeopardy and I am miserable.

Posted in Devon, injured, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Too many miles?

This week was half term, it soon became apparent that I would spend my week taxi-ing Madam to various meeting points with friends so I decided early on to do as much running as I could. By Friday I learnt what too many miles felt like!

With The Grizzly only three weeks away, it was surely time for some panic miles!

Monday I took these snaps


it was a lovely morning with fierce head wind on the beach, running along the beach I played a game of ‘catch me if you can’ with the sea as it tried to clean my trainers for me. Pleased to say I won!

Wednesday was club handicap, where I managed a 5K PB by a massive 1 second!

Thursday was my normal 8 miles around the lanes, so nice it is light at 7 am now.

Friday I saw the sun come up


such a special moment. At 8 miles I began to struggle, the wheels came off my wagon rolled down the hill and burst in to flames! The trouble with this was I had 8 miles to get back to the car. Miserable to say the least. I can only assume I had overdone things.

Saturday was parkrun day of course, but I did take it easy-honest. The worse part was driving there in horrendous fog.

Today the adults in the family opted for a walk in Dorset. Madam having, like most teenagers, lost the use of her legs at 13, was dragged along with the promise of a pub lunch at the end. We omitted to tell her that we would be scaling the highest peak on the South coast, a administrative error, honest.

Golden Cap

Golden Cap

It was a lovely 4 mile walk (this was not a unanimous opinion!) with some amazing scenery. (Although I spent most of it wondering how in a couple of months am I going to run this route?)


and as promised there was food at the finish!

Back to work tomorrow, such a shame as do feel it gets in the way of my running adventures, though I would imagine for my body’s sake after this week, it is just as well!




Posted in cross country, Devon, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dursley dozen

When I first moved to Devon I did a half marathon in the New Forest. The 13.1 miles were described as flat. I was not impressed when that was a big fat lie (press here to read about it) I realised then that unless the course description contained the words ‘pancake flat’ then it was more than likely to have hills.

Fast forward four years and things are very different.

I read the course description for the Dursley Dozen and it contained the words steeply, hill, undulating, steep descent, steep ascent, For the final climb “THE PRECIPICE” ropes are provided and mud, oh my kind of event, where is the credit card let me sign up!

Sunday morning I headed up the M5, wondering if it was going to ever get light, it was as though someone had put one of those energy saving lightbulbs in and it was taking for ever to reach full outage. Dreary.

Car parked, number collected, cake stall checked out (lots there I can take my time), serious 4×4 trainers on, hat, buff, hanky and gloves, all set. I followed the stream of runners to the start, all trying to keep warm.

10:30 we were off, downhill, yay, then 200 metres steeply up, is it too early to walk? No according to my calf muscles, walking was the only way forward. Fortunately a majority of those around me did the same. I was pleased to get off the road in to the woods, as it levelled out a bit, but it was still tough going due to the mud and then another climb.

The run basically went like this down, up, down, steep up, golf course, steep down, mud, muddy mud, up hill, gold course, road, slippy mud, rocks, road, mountain, snow, road, down hill. Every hill I came too I thought oh this must be the precipice they mentioned, but they haven’t added the rope this year. Each hill was tough and surely could not get any harder. Wrong. The precipice comes in the last quarter of the run, just when every leg muscle is screaming in pain. The rope was much needed for the first bit of the climb and then due to very poor arm strength (think T-rex) I opted to let the legs to the work and found it easier proceed without pulling. When the rope finishes I assumed wrongly that, that was the end of the hill, oh no we still had another climb up to the golf course.  Then it was all down hill to the finish. Phew.

Another great event, with some very enthusiastic marshals and great support on the course. I got to the end without the body complaining too much and without falling over in any of the mud, so that must count as a success. Hills, mud and a sprinkling of snow, a great way to spend a Sunday.

Oh and a great t-shirt




Posted in Devon, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chi Running

2017 is going to be a tough one, running wise and because of this I have decided to try and ensure I get to the end of the year in one piece by doing a few things differently. I am foam rolling more, stretching more, doing strength exercises three times a week and today went to learn how to run properly!

Now running consists of putting one foot in front of the other in a quicker pace than walking, this I know and this I do, but I wanted to run more effectively, more economically and in way to ward of injury, hence signing up for a Chi Running workshop at Exeter University today run by Blue Sky Running.

Chi – pronounced like Tai Chi not Ch-eye (like I was doing) is a revolutionary approach to effortless injury free running according to the front cover of the book I read the first 32 pages of!.

Now I could go in depth about what was covered on the course but the trouble with this would be A) I would get it wrong B) It would take me too long to write C) Would be an unexciting read and after my last post about bunions I don’t wish to loose any more readers! More importantly I think if you want to know about it, you should  go and book yourself on a course you wont be disappointed. Or you could buy the book, but it is lacking in plot and suspense!

Our day consisted of an introduction to the fundamentals, then we were all filmed running (aahhhh), then we moved on to some practical work using our core and correct posture and movement, lunch, watching of said videos examining our form and looking how it needed to improve and finally putting all we learnt in to action.

Being filmed was daunting, but actually invaluable, (so painful to watch) and we could all see where the adjustments needed to be made. Putting this all in to place at the end of the day certainly showed us how ‘effortless’ running should feel.

Now all I need to do is remember all that was covered and to put it in place a little at a time. Fortunately Hannah sent us home with some notes, failing that I may pick the book up again and try and read past page 32!

It was a great day, I’ve learnt so much and cant wait to try and put it in place. So if like me this has been on your radar for a while, don’t delay sign up now, check out where your local expert is by clicking here


Posted in Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Now for something different

This post contains, whingeing, moaning, possibly swearing and general venting, please feel free to tune out NOW, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

I am the proud owner of a bunion, ok this might be an exaggeration (the proud bit) but a large bunion I possess on my right foot. I don’t and never have worn stilettoes, I wore ugly Clarke shoes till I was 16 years old so its not down to poor footware. The reason I’ve got this attachment to my foot is genetics -thanks Mum, not helped by wide feet.

Despite my Doctor in Essex wanting to remove it I have always stated I would not go under the knife until it started to hurt. Unfortunately that time might have come.

Since Christmas its started to hurt. It took me a while to work out what the pain was as it seems to manifest itself further down by the big toe, firstly I thought it was some kind of nail infection. Then I worked out what was causing the issue, the bunion. Running is uncomfortable, but not too bad, running down hill is worse, up is fine.

I realised that going to the Doctors would mean a referral to surgery and with three Ultras booked this year, that is not going to happen. A hastily made podiatrist appointment was obtained.

Today was appointment day. I really wish I hadn’t bothered.

It was a total waste of time.

She seemed to fixate herself with the boots that I had worn to the appointment. Now I normally would have popped trainers on, but as it had been pouring all day I opted for boots. She decided that these are too small for me and that was the problem. Now I wore these boots most of the three days in New York where we walked continually, all was fine then. Now they hurt yes, but all shoes hurt, socks, bare feet all is well with the world, put shoes on and I’m in trouble.  She told me I had feet of a much older person (thanks!) and nothing could be done. I needed to buy bigger shoes, end of.

Now I can understand what she is saying and take this on board, BUT it is unrealistic to ask me to replace all my shoes and trainers with new bigger ones, especially when a month ago they were fine. She mentioned biomechanic issues but could not help me with those!

Now before I went I had done a bit of research on what can be done. Take NSAIDS, use ibuprofen gel, ice the area, get in soles, use spacers and there are some really nifty bunion socks available on the web to relieve pressure and swelling. Not once did she mention any one of these to help, nope, change your shoes and that’s it, oh and £35 payment please! I did not make a scene but must admit it came close, toys thrown around the pram but not out. Safe to say I will not be going back.

All in all, very fed up and now supping a very large amaretto!

The way forward?

Ice, painkillers, look in to bunion padding, new insoles, new trainers (any excuse – got to cheer myself up) physio, but no not surgery till Christmas and no I’m not going to accept this is the way it is going to be from now on.

Thanks for listening. X




Posted in Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments


Now I love a Rollercoaster. Oh except The Kraken at Sea World Florida, my first and last feet dangling Rollercoaster

kraken_0310_3once was enough, then I made big Madam at 11 years go on it on her own, great parenting! Then there was Stealth at Thorpe Park, never been so scared in my life!

captureNever again. So darn high.

Anyway, on the whole I enjoy a coaster, but what I don’t like is when life becomes like one and I have come to the conclusion in 2017 that I really don’t like when my running becomes like a coaster ride. At the moment I have great runs, where I am rocking, it feels good and all is right in the world or I have awful, miserable, everything hurts, I hate running runs, nothing in between, just the extremes and to be honest it’s not much fun.

  • Club handicap, boy it was cold that night, awful run how can 5k feel so dam hard?
  • Seaton parkrun, coldest event ever,  Iran with wings and got a 30 second course PB and very near by 2017 target time
  • Doynton Hard Half- tough but pleased with the result
  • Seaton parkrun followed by 4 miles up in to Beer and back, 7 miles should not feel that tough and those hills should not have felt like darn great mountains.
  • Todays Green Circle Half Marathon, was very pleasant, the legs did not groan, the foot mumbled a little but was felt better than on yesterdays run.

As I head in to Ultra training mode this week I am hoping for more consistency with my running. Failing that I will have to utilise plan B, trouble is not really sure what that is yet!

Posted in Devon, half marathon, parkrun, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Tale of Two Doyntons

Last January I completed my first Cross Country half marathon, I did this at the inaugural Doynton Hard Half Marathon (in case you missed that exciting blog you can catch up with it here) This year I was contacted by the organisers and invited back – it happens to all top athletes you know! I was planning on signing up but as ever was sitting on the fence. As I headed north on the M5 I watched the temperature drop, along with my bottom lip-I don’t like the cold.

Now if I was clever there would be a nice little Venn diagram here comparing the 1st and 2nd event, I’m not so here is a chart instead, squint a bit and use some imagination and the info might populate three circles


Not going to lie, I found this tougher than I remembered, the legs had decided they would have preferred to stay in the warm, but I will certainly enter again next year, first I need to forget about those hills!


Posted in half marathon, Running, trail running | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments