The Lakes Day Four

The weather forecast was rainy. As sensible British holiday makers we had a wet weather plan so put it in to action.

We headed off to Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter. The house is just as she left it and was where she started her writing and drawing. As a child I had the book Samuel Whiskers which to be honest scared me a bit, but I was thrilled to stand on the spot where one of the illustrations was done.

Apparently the Japanese are taught to read English by using the Peter Rabbit book which granted isn’t wordy but the language used is very dated. So when they use the word soporific I will know why! There was certainly a lot of then at the house today.

The Peter Rabbit crossing sign was a great touch

I’m glad I went but was ever so slightly underwhelmed.

From there we headed to Coniston Water and found a lovely cafe on the Lake for lunch.

We then meandered up to Bowness on Windermere passing swiftly as it was heaving with people.

At Ambleside we stopped though, had a potter about before heading back to our Pod and having chicken meatball korma with rive cooked on our stove. Gourmet cooking at its finest!

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The Lakes Day Three

This morning the cloud was down, in fact we could not see the lake when we were eating breakfast. Out mood soon matched this bit we decided like true Brits to carry on regardless!

Once Facebook was aware we were in the Lakes the recommendations rolled in, top of the list was a walk up Catbells, so that’s where we headed this morning. Having done my research I was aware it was a popular walk with not very much parking, fortunately for us we got there in time to grab the last spot. Now the sign post told us it was 1 mile to Catbells -IT LIED! In fact the sign should have read 1.5 vertical miles to Catbells with mountaineering required! But my the views were worth it!

It was very much a scramble at the end to get to the top. The sun even made an appearance a couple of times in celebration of our conquest.

Hubby declared there would be no afternoon walk, instead we wandered around Keswick before retiring to the Pod for a kip!

Tomorrow Beatrix Potters House #excitedshaz!

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The Lakes Day 2

This morning we woke on the floor. Granted as we were sleeping on a blow up bed this was not much difference than when we retired the night before, except for the fact that the air bed had a slow leak and from 2am we were practically on the hard floor!

We started the day off with a drive along Ullswater

Then Derwentwater

Before arriving at Buttermere for our walk around it. The car park in the village is £9 for the day, which is obviously why it is also the location of the Defibrillator! Needless to say we found an alternative parking venue! The walk around the lake was lovely

And we rewarded ourselves with a pub lunch at the end. The weather was and continues to be very lake districty -eg DAMP, I am trying to not let it get to me, but a little annoyed as the weather has been so lovely this year-till now! I do keep saying it could be worse and at least it’s not cold but the photos would be incredible if a tad brighter!

After Buttermere we headed to Ennerdale a quieter venue for a brief 2 mile walk,

We have secured a new blow up mattress so am hoping for an amazing sleep as we are a little tired from today’s exertions!

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Hols 2018

Day One

For those of you who want to read about running please look away, the hubby and I are on our holiday, that coupled with a nasty limp means running adventures will be scarce for at least the next 6 days.

Mini madam is away in sunny Cannes with BF in a villa with a pool and we have snuck away to cloudy Lake District for 5 nights in a shed pod!

Last night we stayed in Warrington-mmmm not sure we will return!

This morning we started at Lakeland Motor Museum, which to be fair is not my cup of tea but its the price I had to pay to be able to go to Beatrix Potters house later in the week. It actually was quite good and hubby loved it. All things to do with motoring. All cars were polished within an inch of their life and had been lovingly restored. To think at some point you could buy a new car for £230 and there was even one that went on water and land! Very Chitty Chiity Bang Bangesque

There was also an exhibit on The Bluebird which was very interesting-amazing how much people risk in the name of speed.

After lunch we headed on to a view point along the side of Lake Windermere. At this point the sun decided to make an appearance. The Lake is endless and beautiful.

We then proceeded along Kirkstone Pass heading towards The Pod, managing to pull over a couple of times to take photos. I even ventured in to a farmers field to take a snap of a Highland Cow

Quite happy with The Pod although it certainly wasn’t a cheap option but the view is amazing and the site is nice, but no it’s not a Villa in the south of France!

Tomorrow’s activity is a walk around Buttermere Lake.

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Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon

Wow, just wow!

That was an incredible experience.

After two lovely days travelling in Wales with hubby it was time for the main event. As normal at the start I checked out the other runners and my they were an intimidating bunch, lots of lithe athletic young bodies, was I out of my depth? Had I trained enough? The usual mind sabotage! Arriving 90 minutes before the start time does not help pre event nerves! Too many thoughts buzzing through my head.

At 9 we were off, through the town of Llanberis before heading up the first hill. The first three miles were pretty much a climb. I walked a bit but not as much as others, my mantra was “run while you can Shaz” aware that there would be a lot of walking towards the end. It was a huge boost to run whilst others were walking, those hill sessions seemed to have paid off.

Difficult to describe the next 24 miles. The scenery was simply stunning and I will let the pics do the talking. The terrain varied from nice pine needled forest paths, to brief road sections, to rocky tracks, to loose shingle, to dust tracks, to marshy bogs, to mini ladders up and over stone walls, to stone boulders. Water, fruit, sweets were available at pretty much every 4 miles, my strategy was to make sure I had a gel at every feed station, I forced myself knowing from experience things turn nasty if I don’t fuel right! Fortunately I also managed to grab a couple of cokes en route to keep me going which also cut down stoppage time to fill hydration bladder.

I met so many lovely people on the way

  • The lady from Hull whose hill training consisted of running over a flyover!
  • A lady from Fowey who ran the event last year and told stories of knee deep bogs
  • The man from Cornwall in the red Tutu who is running 64 miles on the Cornwall coast in four weeks
  • A guy from Norfolk who was running his first marathon
  • The man who had a beer on order for himself at home who took my photo on the mountain!

At 18 miles the climb began, gently at first, in front you could see the track snaking it’s way up the hill, I tried not too look, instead concentrated on where I was putting my feet -the terrain was unforgiving. Soon the hills got steeper and the scenery more breathtaking. Each time you thought you must almost be at the top you would turn the corner and yet another precipice would be looming. At times I was crawling up over the rocks, the path not really noticeable. Last time I was up Snowdon some 18 years ago, my fear of heights kicked in and we had to get off the top quick. I knew this could cause me an issue again, so I concentrated on looking ahead, hugging the inside of the path and kept going. I’ve got to say the last mile was hard, well I hope it was it took me 35 mins! Granted I stopped and sat a while with some other runners, admiring the view and generally chatting mainly about “were we nearly there!” I pushed on and as I got to the top the cloud descended and a marshal in a high viz told me to head to the next marshal in high viz whom I could just see. That was it. I had made it, now a small matter of getting down! Mile 24 was over 1000 feet drop! With female relics words “be careful of the down” ringing in my ears I trotted on gently. I did see a couple of casualties and one lady tripped in front of me but managed to save herself which scared both her and I! It felt like I was flying but the stats say otherwise! I was very glad to get off the track, without a disaster. The next down was on road and I picked up momentum. One runner advised I zig zag to reduce pressure on my knees, was he mad this would mean more miles! No thanks, I knew the course was long anyway and no way did I want to run even more! A quick glance at my watch and I could see if I pushed on I could come in under 7 hours, I made it.

Without a doubt this was one of the toughest and scenic runs I have done. I absolutely loved it and am still buzzing. Now for the pics!

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Mmm whats better?

26.2 miles of 5441ft of up down, down up, up down, up down or and repeat (Tsunami marathon elevation)


or 26.2 miles of 5,256ft with a little up then some nice flattish miles before hitting a 4 mile hill at 18 miles? (Snowdon Trail Marathon)

Mmmmm, I am not sure, but will let you know next week!

I think it must be like taking a plaster off where clearly there are just two types of people…..the rip it off get it over with in one go (with the bonus hair removal system thrown in) person or the one who gently eases each corner of the plaster up screwing their face up in pain with each tug. Trouble is I cant remember how I remove a plaster! Personally I am hoping with every fibre of my being that I am a second option kind of gal.

(Plaster = Band Aid depending which side of the pond you are on!)

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Catch up

Grab a cup of tea and a large packet of digestives this is a catch up post as I seem to have been missing in action for the whole of June! Where did that month go?

I might not have been blogging but you will be pleased to know that that slacking has not spread over in to my running.

The beginning of the month say myself and my long suffering running buddy take on the Tsunami, 26 miles along the North Devon Coast, Clovelly to Bude. We knew it was going to be tough when we checked the elevation profile and last years results, when the winner takes 5 hours you just know you are in trouble. Sadly I under estimated how much trouble! The start was a Clovelly Harbour and was the first ever mass walking start that I have ever seen, which was a great relief as we had spent a great deal of time wondering if everyone else would run up the very large slope that is Clovelly’s only street.

After some research I knew that after the first 10 miles was the tough stretch, unfortunately I interpreted that as the first 10 would be easy miles, STUPID, they were hilly also. I struggled early on, too early on, but on reflection it was early on in miles but not in time as progress was slow. I should have taken on board more fuel and water, Kudos to running buddy fo just gently encouraging he to get that gel down my neck, rather than alternative wrestling me to the floor and shoving it down my throat, which I know he just wanted to do! Second kudos for not giving me a gentle shove off a cliff en route (it wouldn’t have taken much, just a nudge) I was not running happy, it was hot and I was on empty. Although I did smile a little when. fellow runner poured a jug of juice of his head, (he thought it was water) wonder how the rest of his run was! It was a marathon distance that took an Ultra time, I was very glad to get to the end.

These were a few of the ascents in case you think I am exaggerating! The scenery how ever was to die for……..

As we recovered with our feet in the Canal, we unaminously agreed that this was one not to be repeated. As I sat in the back of RB’s car on the journey back, with my eyes firmly shut trying to leave the contents of my stomach on his leather seats, I thought never again. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday my quads screamed at me NEVER AGAIN, fast forward a month and I am thinking about signing up next year. I need to do this one better. (I know, will get measured up for a straight jacket soon!)

Two weeks past and it was time for another marathon, this time North Devon AONB  (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Marathon. This one started at Woolacombe went West along the coast for 6 miles then inland back to start and the East for 6 miles and then back inland. It was another hot day, it was very dry and dusty underfoot too. Simply the most stunning start of an event.

Despite feeding better and drinking loads at the checkpoints that were every two miles, I struggled yet again, for many reasons, 1) it was warm 2) having your team mates pass you even though they started 15 minutes after you is a real confidence knock and rude on their part too! 3)having that option to bail at half way was always going to be tempting for me especially with the threat that the second half was harder, but bottom line was my heart was not in it, so my marathon became a half and I waved RB off as he set about spending the next 13 miles passing 63 runners and collapsed in a sweaty heap on the grass.

Hate not doing what I set out to do, but really did not want another miserable run so soon after the Tsunami, it was the right decision but not one that sits well with me.

As Snowdon Marathon is around the corner these knocks have come at a bad time. Hills seemed to be my nemesis, time to address that so twice a week since the Marathon that became a half I have gone to the coastal path and run up and down the hills like a lunatic. Twice I dragged family members along to share the joy, why suffer alone and they only had to do the mountain once. Who knows if it is helping but I am actually quite enjoy it.

Yesterday I went back and did the Charmouth Challenge. I did this last year and had a shocking run really, it was hot oh and obviously there was hills, when is there not? This year it was also hot and yes the hills were still there, but I did manage to knock 7 mins off last years time, I will take that. It is a lovely run with a great goody bag oh and fireman that hose you down at the end, what more could you want? Less hills? Yes!

So that’s me all caught up with you. Next is Snowdon Marathon, I am really looking forward to four days away and if England are in the World Cup finals I will need to get those 26.2 miles done in under 7 hours! Nothing like an incentive!


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Too Much

I have a tendency to try and do everything, after all why not cram everyday full and run around like a headless chicken? I come by this tendency honestly from female relic but now am at an age (maybe growing up) that I realise that maybe it’s not always a good thing to live life in fifth gear, once in a while I manage to see when I have taken on too much, it is however a work in progress. Last week I saved myself once and then totally blew it three days later!

As you know Saturday is parkrun day, but it also the only day we could go to the Devon County Show. No problem, was my first, I can do it all thought, parkrun, jump in the car, drive to the Show, meet hubby there and change in the back of his car. Sorted. By Friday the temperature had started to soar and the thought of wrestling my sports bra off my sweaty body in the back of a car was not an enticing one. Time to re think. Parkrun was shelved but we did have lovely time at the Show admiring all things fluffy and sampling copious amounts of flavoured cheeses, cider and caramel vodka!

A common sense win.

Fast forward to Wednesday and club was running one of my favourite routes along the coast, I had to go. The trouble was I wanted to cycle home from work. After careful consideration (total time taken 30 seconds) I worked out that time wise this was a feasible plan, (I overlooked the small matter of my legs cycling 13 miles and then running 6 miles!) Disaster occurred at two miles in to the ride home when the chain came off.

No problem, I have fixed a derailed chain masses of times. However this one was wedged and would not come free.

No problem, running buddies house was just up the hill he would save a damsel in distress. However he had gone to the beach!

No problem, older madam is not far away, emergency call for a screwdriver and 10 mins later the chain was free and my journey could continue.

I arrived home looking a bit like a mechanic or a blackberry picker! 5 minutes to change, clean up and get out of the house, but I made it to club.

Maybe I should have shelved the cycle ride or the run to give myself some breathing space, but where is the fun in that! Mission accomplished but might not try this again!

This I can do everything attitude spills in to running and the prime example of this is next weeks running event. Next week my running buddy and I are doing The Tsunami, a run along the Northern South West coast, starting in Clovelly and ending in Bude. When I signed up I did not really check the run out, it was on the coast, it was a marathon what else did I need to know? Now I read it is ‘a tortuous coastal trail, a Rottweiler of a race‘, it took 5 hours for the winner to complete the course last year and has 2000m (6500ft) of ascent! Will this be too much? Who knows, come back in 7 days to find out!


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365 Days Lovelier

Yes, it is official I am 365 days lovelier, well according to this birthday card I am.


To celebrate this momentous occasion hubby and I took the day off work and headed to South Devon and a place called Beesands.

Why Beesands? Well, the previous week the cat had brought a mouse in to our bedroom at 3 am, this is no mean feat given the size of the mouse as he had to catch it, jump up on the fence, up on to the garage roof and then up in through a side window. Quite impressive, although obviously at the time we didn’t praise him too much. Two nights of interrupted sleep and the mouse was caught with the help of peanut butter and a bagel! Anyway I digress a bit. Two positives that came out of this scenario were that everything under the bed was moved out and then the carpet was hovered (make that three positives as hubby did this!) and during this huge task I found the well hidden, much forgotten ‘Devon Pub Walk’ book. I adopted a foreman role and sat on the bed whilst the cleaning was being done and chose a birthday Pub Walk.

Beesands is a fishing village on the south coast and not somewhere we have been before or so I thought until we got there and then I realised I have run through it last year!


First things first a coffee and a coke and a comfort break once the public loos had been serviced bu their male cleaner who decided to go in there just as I was about to, cue drink stop!

The weather was fabulous, in fact perfect. We walked along the coast for a way before heading inland up over the hills with some stunning views. It was a route that had it all, hills, flat coastal path, fields, cows, sheep, mud, sea views, woodlands, a WW2 bunker, bluebells and the best thing not another soul!

Fortunately we were back at Beesands at lunch time and as it was the only Pub available we opted to go in to The Cricketer, from the outside it looked like a bog standard pub and a fully expected to be greeted with ugly red floral carpet with an oak bar, but how wrong `I was. The decor was seaside/fisherman themed and really tastefully done and the food was as good.

Altogether a great day celebrating being lovelier (it is a skill), full of my favourite things: sunshine, countryside, Devon, hubby and sticky toffee pudding!

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Adaptation of a runner.

14 years ago when I started this running lark I used to run in the afternoon when hubby got in from work. These started off as brief outings so no planning involved, out the door for half an hour try not to die or see anyone I knew which of course would cause instant death by embarrassment obviously.

Then I moved from working nights to a full-time 9 to 5 job. I was worried, how was I going to fit in my running? 4 am alarm calls were implemented and much pounding round the streets of the city whilst the drunks made their way home. When I travelled away on courses, the trainers were packed and many adventures in far-flung cities were had.

Early morning excursions came to an abrupt halt when we moved to Devon, dark mornings on country lanes didn’t appeal. As I was lucky enough to work from home, fitting in a decent run before hitting the lap top was not too hard, many a day I sat at work smelling less than sweet till I could shower at lunch time. Alternatively if the sun was out off I toddled at lunch time, being sun seeker, to lollop over the fields in the brightness.

Sadly after 5 years that came to a halt. Hard to find a job let alone one that fits in around running and maybe this shouldn’t be a priority?

February saw me start work at the NHS, full-time hours. Adaptation time again. Finally after two months I have settled in to a new routine Monday to Friday of sorts.

  • Monday-club run if I fancy it, rest if not
  • Tuesday-Track training -yes you have read that right, I have been let loose on the track. Each week I fully expect someone to haul me off the asphalt telling me it is for young, lithe, fast athletes only and can the elderly lady with the white hair and plodding style please vacate the premises! Not something I enjoy if I am honest, makes me feel much like a Polar Bear must do in captivity, round and round and round and round. Kudos to Coach M for putting up with my grumpiness
  • Wednesday-1 mile effort session x 3 round the village at 6 am OR club run if it appeals after work.
  • Thursday-Catch train to Exeter, work all day, long run home, 13 miles in the bag. Not sure what I will do in the winter but this is a great way to fit the miles in at the moment.
  • Friday-REST day

Happy to report that the new regime seems to be working, whether it’s the track session, the extra miles during the week, the 1 mile efforts or a combination of everything I have no idea but I did manage a parkrun PB this past weekend.

Now I just need to sort out the recurring stomach issues!


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