Head II Head

I have spent most of the week, thinking about VLM, remembering how I was feeling last year and kind of feeling blue that I am not involved at all this year, other than a watcher and supporter.

Yesterday I headed to South Devon to take part in Trail Events Head II Head run. Last October a group of us did one of their runs, East Portelmouth to Little Dartmouth along the coastal path, (click here to read about it), the same adventurers were returning for this one also. This run was on the other side of the Kingsbridge Estuary and promised to be as scenic.

It did not disappoint! Judge for yourself………

I was loving every second of it. I was having one of those thankful moments. Thanksful that after a week of heavy mileage my body was still able to cope with a tough run, thankful that it was perfect running weather, thankful that I am able to run, thankful that I live so close to such amazing scenery. Yes safe to say I was having a runners high! Then Karma bit me in the back side, to teach me not to be so dam cocky.

SPLAT, down I went like a very large bag of potatoes-baking ones. Oooooooooffffffffffffffffff. I had just past some birdwatchers going the other way and they must have heard my cry out or my landing moved the earth for them, not sure which, anyway they were kind enough to ask was I okay to continue. This was at 8 miles, in the middle of no where! Little choice but to pick myself up and keep going. My hand was sore, dirty and bleeding. My chest had taken the full force, I cursed my small boobs, had I been built like eldest Madam I might well have bounced back up on my feet! My knees hurt, it took all my will power not to look at them to check out the damage. Just keep going Shaz! Keep going I did after I rescued the unlucky number 99 which had ripped off and was in danger of flying over the cliff in to the sea!

Fortunately the run was not as long as billed (oh I like them like that) and 4 miles later I was at the finish, where I found a nice first aider to clean me up. Glad to see the knees where a little scraped, but no major problem.

For those of you who stop by often and know my desire for a trophy, I am delighted to announce that as one of the first 25 women to get to the end I got a bottle of beer!

Its not a trophy as such, although I am sure I could make it in to one, but it will do for now! Of course it would be better if I drank beer!

The drive home was interesting, one handed, a very bad nights sleep but I am still in one piece and managed an hour on the treadmill, whilst watching VLM this morning.

Posted in cross country, Devon, half marathon, Photography, Running, trail running | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Joining up the dots

Thursday was the last day of my Easter holidays. Granted I don’t go back to work till Tuesday, but hubby off Friday through Tuesday so this in my mind was my last day of freedom. The Teenager was given notice that the taxi service was not available and she would have to use her limbs to get places, oh the horror of it, Worse Mother of the Year Award on its way! A long run was planned.

Where to go? Oh the choice is endless.

I decided to try to join a few routes I have done previously, mostly off road.

I have run 1 to 2 before, Newton Poppleford to Budleigh Salteton along the river, it is nice and flat. I have run 2 to 3, Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth along the coastal path, it is not flat. I have run 3 to 4, Exmouth and away from Exmouth, along the Exe Estuary trail. I have run 4 to 5 Exmouth to Woodbury Common along the start of the East Devon Way whilst training last year. The unknown territory was Woodbury Common back to Newton Poppleford, but quick study of my East Devon Way booklet and I realised I could keep on this most of the way back to the car. The plan was created.

It turned out to be a great route, with a variety of terrain, plenty of public loos and places to purchase supplies on the way. I learnt some things……

  1. Despite not be able to eat jelly babies and run without becoming snotty mess, I CAN run and eat a bagel and peanut butter-result
  2. A banana helps an energy gel go down (alternative song for Mary Poppins?)
  3. Exmouth has a Marks and Spencers Foodhall (It wasn’t there last year!)
  4. A bottle of diet coke will fit in the hydration pack pocket, with a bit of persuasion, granted opening the bottle after a few miles of jiggling, but is doable
  5. I can run 26 miles without it featuring a start line, finish line, tshirt and medal, but don’t tell anyone!

I managed to join the dots and make it back to my car, without getting lost. Result


Posted in cross country, Devon, Marathons, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Public Service Announcement 

It is possible to run 26 miles with your knickers on back to front, without any adverse effects. I’m thinking this might be the way forward!

You are welcome!

Posted in Devon, Marathons, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Shall I, shan’t I

With the slightly hugely disastrous Ex to Axe my thoughts have turned to the Jurassic 100k which is far too near for my liking. The internal arguments started about whether I should partake or not of this little adventure.

I consulted hubby. Not that I would listen to his advice to be honest but thought I would get some feedback. Surprisingly his answer was to see how things go. There is no life insurance policy so I don’t think he is trying to kill me off, maybe he just wants shot of me for the day!

So despite my instinct to sell my place and run for the hills elsewhere, I have decided for once to do as hubby suggest and ‘wait and see’, plenty of time to change my mind.

With Cardiff break over it was time to turn my attention to some miles and with the nice weather there was no excuse.

Friday I set off for a long run, time to experiment with fueling. I had a gel after an hour, mini cheddars after 2, a diet coke and a piece of cake after 3. The gel was nice (new one for me, raspberry flavour), mini cheddars were consumed, sat admiring my surroundings the stomach coped well with these and the legs did not object to the sit and then run. The cake was delicious but probably not such a good idea! (Thank you to the nice young man who must have seen the expression on my face when he said £5.20 and I only had £5, he let me off the 20p) So you live and learn. Not a bad run, easy to enjoy with these surroundings!


Cake-Delicious, but NO

Friday, I added up the weekly mileage, Sunday to Friday, (so including the Ex to Axe), it came to 51. Not bad.

The hubby asked if I was doing parkrun. I hadn’t planned to, but in the end did a parkrun sandwich 3miles before, parkrun, then three miles after. 60 miles in the bag for the week!

Sunday I did very little, when I did move it was slowly!

The plan now is to increase the weekly mileage over the next 4 weeks, experiment with fueling and to avoid cake (but only during a run)

Posted in Devon, parkrun, Photography, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Welsh Wales

Last week we sloped off to Cardiff for a couple of days. Wales is not far for us, up the M5 across the Severn Bridge pay £6.70 and we are in.

Day one we went to Cardiff Castle

The ‘apartments’ were amazing

Ornate flooring, ceiling and a stairwell any princess would be proud of! (Can you spot the crocodile on the banister?) The clock tower was lovely too and built as a bachelor pad, but it took so long to build that by the time it was ready, the bachelor was married!

Day two

Double decker open top bus tour, always the best was to see get to way to see a city I think. We got off down at the harbour  so I could go visit the Norwegian Church. Now I am neither religious nor  Nowegian but after seeing this building whilst running the Cardiff half marathon three times, I have always wanted to investigate further.

Hot drink and cake consumed, after all it was half an hour since brekkie! Then time to explore, I was very excited to discover that Roald Dahl was christened there. A nice little building, glad to have ticked that off my ‘must visit’ list

Unfortunately we had left the Hotel in the sun, now it was cold and threatening to rain, so our walk around the quay was brief. Rookie mistake we had no jumpers or coats, what were we thinking?



The afternoon was spent in the shops, hubby and I checked out the indoor market and then the lovely arcades and Madam went more mainstream..

That evening we partook of some Greek food, looking forward to our hols in 114 days.

Day three-last day

On the way out we stopped at Castle Coch. The Victorians rebuilt the Castle and apparently it is very like the original that stood on the spot.

Inside was very beautiful and decorative, such a shame it was rarely used due to the lack of guest bedrooms.

Bunny carving on the fireplace

Shaz size bed

The sun, then the stars in the sky, down to the hedgerows

Aesop’s fables depicted on the walls-Hare and the tortoise

Then it was home. Good little break away for family of three.

Apologies for typos, rubbish photo layout or anything else done of this post, but written it on my iPad, safe to say I won’t be doing that again, ready to pitch it out the window! (Edits to be made later, safer for me to just hit post at this point) Grrrrr

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Ex to Axe II

Last year I did this run along the coast, I recall enjoying it, oh the difference a year makes! I should have read last years blog before entering, the last line says ‘A huge sense of accomplishment that I have managed this one, but I am not sure it is one to be done twice!’ 

Excuses? I have plenty.

  • I have been fighting a cold all week
  • Little sleep two nights in a row due to barking teenager in next bedroom, (pillow will be administered firmly over head if this goes on for third night!)
  • Major stomach issues, all week, so bad this morning, that I took Imodium, to avoid disaster en route
  • It was hot
  • It was muddier than last year

In brief though, I am not fit enough and should never have entered. STUPID. I would like to say that I enjoyed it, but the truth is I hated most of it. Struggled first 6, took a gel and picked up. Then the mountains started, mountains with stairs. There followed a spate of nausea and then some vomitting. If I had a mobile phone on me I would have called someone, anyone, to get me out of there. Stubborness took over and I made it to the end. It was far from pretty!

At this moment in time I don’t think stubborness is a good thing!

On the upside, I got to the end (40 minutes slower!), it’s my longest run this year AND the legs did not grumble at all, probably because they could not be heard of everything else’s moans!

Posted in Devon, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Life is on the up

This week was the Running Club AGM. I wasn’t going to go as not feeling very social but an email came out saying they were voting on a new committee and there were more volunteers than posts, so thought best I go along to place my vote, never one to shy away from voting after all is that not what the suffragettes fought for!?

The AGM coincides with the yearly prize giving. Most Improved Runner, Cross Country Award, Monthly Handicap winner, etc,

Truly amazed and somewhat embarrassed to receive Captains Women’s Best Performance Trophy.

NEVER been awarded anything before. AND its got me name on it! Just goes to show its never too late to achieve great things!!!!!!

On the running front. Things are improving. Running itself is actually not too bad, its the recovery that I am struggling with a bit. Serious DOMS. I have been very frustrated and grumpy, in fact even my Grumps have been grumpy. Then it occurred to me that the achy leg/calf thing that was happening might be due to the new insoles. The lady in the shop said to introduce them slowly. Slowly is such a relative word. After all slowly means something different to a tortoise than to a cheetah. Maybe 20 miles over two days last weekend could not be classified as ‘slow’! Having had this Eureka moment I felt better about the legs and have opted to run every other day, with lots of stretching in between.

Friday I went to the physio to contribute towards his next mortgage payment. He ran the laser over my legs looking for a trigger point. Its a bit like a metal detector, he runs it over my limbs and if it finds an injury it omits a loud noise, the louder the noise the worse it is. A couple of minor bleeps but nothing too bad. Good news.

Saturday I did a sunrise run

18 miles along the coast. A real test on the legs as tough terrain.

I drank a banana protein shake directly after the run and stretched before I jumped in the car. Today the legs are not too bad, they know they have done a long run, but can still move. Its going to be slow, its not going to be pretty, but I will get there.

To me Daffodils are a sign of better things to come, very apt that I include this pic of the lovely yellow flowers taken in Seaton yesterday. (right after I discovered the public loos were not yet open-alternative arrangements were made!)

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