Road trip planned

Recently I wrote about needing a focus (here in case you missed that exciting post). In 2017 I had 100k run as a focus, in 2016 it was VLM and my first Ultra. 2018 I have been aimless and running performance has suffered, its hard to get out the door without something to get fit for.

I believe in fate. For example, when we were beginning to look to move to Devon, the house we now live in was under offer and we could not view it. This sale fell through and a subsequent  one also, when it was eventually re-listed we had just sold our house. This was fate, we were meant to live here, well that’s what I think.

Pre little Madam, hubby and I had a weekend away in Wales at the base of Snowdon. We walked to the top, I got scared and we got the train down. Back then they did not accept credit/debit cards and as luck (or was that fate) would have it, I had just enough cash to get the train tickets saving us from a tough walk down, me with my fear of heights and him with his blisters! We had such a lovely weekend having left Essex in rain and flooding, Wales was bathed in sunshine, since then we have been wanting to go back and more recently I have wanted to run there.

Many events are held there. I have looked at them all.

  • Road marathon-nope
  • Ultra-better not
  • Event held in October-weather could be horrendous
  • Snowdon, this word could mean Snowdonia National Park event, I want one that goes up and over Snowdon, not round the bottom.
  • Trail Marathon – SOLD OUT

Yes, I have done my research and had pencilled in the one in October once the course details were released and then per chance and yes with a sprinkling of fate…..I saw someone advertising a place for Scott Trail Marathon in July WITH accommodation! Within 24 hours I had transferred the marathon place to my name, amended the accommodation reservation to be in our name, booked time off work to make a long weekend of it and booked an Airbnb room for another night.

So there you have it my focus for this year, my road trip, may the training begin! I really can’t wait, so very excited about this one!

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Underwear

With myself recently returning to work and out of the house, hubby has started to assist me with the laundry duties. By assist I mean he takes the wet washing from the machine and hangs it on the drying rack, it’s a small contribution but I am grateful for this input. Of course it would be amazing if said wet washing when dry could find itself ironed and put away but I realise two things 1) Rome wasn’t built-in a day and 2) Miracles are not likely to occur in my corner of East Devon. Hubby has made two observations during this new activity for him…

  1. My sports bras are like something a three-legged man would wear. Mmmmmmm
  2. Madams underwear that consist of many strips of ribbon and a centimetre of fabric are apparently like solving a Rubik’s cube in detangling them before hanging to dry.

This got me thinking and not for the first time that men have it easy don’t they? Hubby wears boxers and that’s it, simple. Sure he has different colour ones but that’s where the variety ends, I don’t suppose for a minute he contemplates which colour to put on as he drags a pair out of the drawer. Nope I would guarantee that it is the pair on the top, simples.

Meanwhile in the right side of the bed in my underwear drawer there is a positive array of knickers. Each day I have factors to consider before grabbing a pair.

  • The skimpy, sexy, thong (granted these are a rare breed these days with my a*** and my age advancing they are not quite in such demand these days!)
  • Mini briefs my everyday go to style, pull on, comfortable and sit there
  • The lace back ones, not to be worn if sat all day as that lace can chaff a bit
  • Non VPL pairs, comfy and sensible and in theory not making their appearance known to on lookers
  • Suck it in knickers-when wearing that tight fitting outfit, these are essential for holding it all in and have the added benefit of just moving the excess flesh up in to my chest! Win win. Except breathing is tricky and they are damn uncomfortable.
  • Running knickers – nothing sexy or appealing about these, but hey who needs that when wearing lycra, one word for these SENSIBLE oh and another BORING
  • Short style undies – now this is a new style on me, but I love them and wear them for running now, no disappearing up your nether regions whilst running causing you in a very unlady like way to oik them out. These have the added bonus of hiding everything enabling me to strip off in car parks after running an event to put dry trousers on. No danger of flashing anything with these, Madam has smaller Nike running shorts than these. Thank you Reebok for creating these beauts. Sadly hubby not so keen, but hey can’t win them all.

With so much choice it’s a wonder I get out the door in the mornings.

 

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Yeovil Half Marathon

Sunday March 25th the clocks went forwards an hour. Note to self, don’t enter an early start event an hour away from home on the day the clocks spring forward. Running buddy and I worked out we needed to leave my house at 6:45 BUT that was 5:45 am, ON A SUNDAY, needless to say we were both very bleary eyed as we set off. We arrived early if not very bright, found the start and the portaloos before returning to the car for breakfast. God we know how to rock on Sundays.

At 8:30 we reluctantly left the warmth of the car and headed to the start, I opted to put the onesie on after my last minute trip to the loos, figuring this was a safer option. I slipped the giraffe on, oh my and it was toasty. As I stood there at the start watching running buddy shiver I was SMUG, it was lush inside that fleece, no goosebumps for me!

It wasn’t long before we were off and running buddy and I parted company, he is a speedster.

It was a nice route up and down and back around the town of Yeovil before heading out to Montacute House. The support along the route was amazing. Many times I was called a cow. Really people of Yeovil? Get yourselves to Spec Savers or to animal identifying classes, how many cows have beige skin, with masses of brown spots? One child got totally confused and shouted ‘look Mummy a zebra’!!! No hope for them! The hood stayed up for the first two miles and then the sweat began to drip, I then took this off and undid the front of the onesie. This did help but boy it was hot. Occasionally we caught some breeze and this was most welcome.

A friend had warned that at mile 8 there was a hill. Let me correct her there was a hill at mile 7, mile 8, mile 9 and 10! Thankfully at mile 11 there was a nice long down, off I went flying as only giraffes can downwards. Sadly I peaked way too soon with mile 12 being my fastest mile, by the thirteenth mile I felt quite ill, was hot and cold all at the same time, starting to shiver. Where was the finish?

I very pleased to get to the end……….

Very pleased with a half marathon time faster than some I have run in full running gear. Maybe this is the way forward, but only in very cool conditions.

Great way to spend a Sunday morning and £400 raised for South Western Ambulance Services.

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Thought I would try something different…………

  1. Yoga? – No too stiff and sleepy
  2. Triathlon?-  No I swim like a drowning person
  3. Duathlon?-  No, not yet, but not ruling this out
  4. Swimming the channel?-  see point 2
  5. Mountain climbing? – terrified of heights wouldn’t get off the floor
  6. Pot holing?- god no, too dark, wet and terrifying
  7. Coasteering? – see point 2
  8. Orienteering? – map reading skills of very lost person, can take the wrong turning out of public toilets and usually end up trying the cleaning cupboard door!
  9. Golf?- zzzzzzzzzz
  10. Canoeing?- having capsized several times as a teenager without being taught to right myself, this is a resounding no.

Tomorrow I am trying something new, but no none of the above. Tomorrow I shall run 13.1 miles, nothing new in that really. Tomorrow I shall run Yeovil Half Marathon, I haven’t done this one before but this is not the something new. Tomorrow I shall run Yeovil Half Marathon in a Giraffe Onesie, now that is something new, for me anyway. I have never dressed in anything other than running kit, when running. I don’t really like ‘dress up’!!! So how did this come about and what is the rationale behind this if any?

Several weeks ago, a friend from running club sent out an email, asking for Volunteers to run Bath Half in aid of the Charity she works for South West Ambulance Services, I stuck my hand up, slooooooowly! Being not very half marathon fit at the moment, I needed an excuse to run it, but run it badly! Light bulb moment. Fancy dress! Much time was spent on the WWW researching costumes to wear, I ruled out the skimpily dressed bar maid out fit (you are welcome) the Rhino costume and carrying a washing machine on my back! Eventually came up the Giraffe Onesie idea. That way I would be a Giraffe in Bath!!!!!

I was very aware that many friends and family have sponsored me before and club members should be donating to the club runner who is doing VLM this year, so I came up with the idea that if I would run in the onesie ONLY if I got 20 donations of £5. Needless to say due some lovely (mmmmm) people I was soon bidding on a onesie on Ebay.

Sadly due to some non UK type weather, (Snow snow and more snow) Bath Half was cancelled. Shame really as freezing cold temperatures would have meant I would have been snug and smug all at once.

Having raised over £300 I felt the need to book in on something else QUICK and to notify the sponsors, so that is why I am heading out to Yeovil tomorrow at the crack of dawn (the clock change plus a 9 am start is not a great combination!)

The day is set to be dry, thank goodness, but warmer than I would like. The onesie is made for someone of Giraffe stature rather than my Hippoesque one, this means the crotch is down by knees and running is going to more of a waddle. Think penguin! BUT I have my body glide packed and my smile so what could go wrong?!

 

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Running like a car

Not a finely tuned sleek, brand spanking new sports car, more like a very old, clapped out Reliant Robin. I’ve not blown a gasket, (yet) or sprung an oil leak, I don’t have a slow puncture, I’ve not run out of petrol or back fired, nope none of that. In fact I have listened to my engine intently but cannot pin point where the issue lies. The suspension is playing up and the boot must be full of building supplies as the auto is dragging. My dashboard is flashing a tiny warning light, I might just get hubby to hook me to his machine to see what is causing the error message is (mind out of the gutter please this is a PG rated blog!) the one that is saying  ‘hang up your trainers this is feeling awful’.

Two bad runs this week, truly @£$%^ awful runs, they were both meant to be over 9 miles and neither of them were. Two bad runs where I was up at before 5 am. Should have stayed in bed.

I have consulted the service manual, if I am reading the symptoms correctly the book indicates a rest (I’m sure it says on a tropical island) followed by a focus. I am not talking Ford Focus either!

Yes I think that is it. I don’t have an aim, I need a challenge. I need to take this old wagon on a road trip.

To be continued………………………………………….

 

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SNOW

Last week was mainly spent obsessively watching the weather. Enviously admiring others snow photos and doing the snow dance hoping that we too here in Devon would be able to enjoy some white stuff. We have been living down here for 5 years and in that time have only had a sprinkle, I was feeling snow deprived!

Thursday was the day it was all meant to be happen. I was up at 2 am to check. Nothing. Would it all come to nothing, all those weather warnings? Finally at 6:30 the snow began to fall. Hooray. Shortly after schools started to close. I was off work anyway with two days Annual Leave to use up before 1 April so snow day it was then for Madam and I. But by 9:30 it had stopped. Noooooooo. I didn’t just want some snow, I wanted loads, cutting off chaos causing snow. I know greedy.

Finally after lunch, big flakes started to fall and the wind started to blow, we were soon in the middle of a red weather warning. Hubby was home by 2:30 pm, we had bread, milk and electricity so happy to hibernate.

Friday morning dawned and we had a decent amount of snow. I contained myself till 9 am then dragged hubby out for a winter wonderland walk.

Everything was magical. Having had freezing rain at some point in the night the snow was covered in a layer of us and was very crunchy to walk on. All the trees were covered in ice also like they had been touched by the Ice Queen. The wind had created some very odd snow shapes on the bushes. It was truly wonderful. I even managed a bit of sledding. Oh yes I love the snow and refuse to be grumpy about it, just relished having it whilst it was here. Enough photos taken to create next years Christmas Card, what more could I want?

36 hours of snow and then it started to melt. See you in 5 years.

(No running since Tuesday night, tried today but seems my back had other ideas am hoping it eases soon or life this week will be very unpleasant for me and everyone close to me!)

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Up Hill Starts

Who wants to start a race in to an immediate up hill? Any takers? Me neither! Looking at my last three events you would think I love them.

And then there was todays event which really takes the biscuit to be fair! This is the elevation profile for that run

yep the first three miles up hill. We started at 860ft elevation and at three miles were at 1.702ft. Safe to say it was not a fast start. Of course as you can see the rest of the run was not really flat, but we did have some nice downs including one on the road and the last two miles were down hill to the finish. The last mile was my fastest so am claiming this as a negative split.

Now I know you are all desperate to enter this run now with the fantastic start so let me tell you more about it. It was the Hameldown Hammer Half marathon (the Devon race organisers love a bit of alliteration!) The start was from Widddicombe on the Moor, on Dartmoor. This is why it is called The Hammer…..(well that and the need for a word beginning with H of course!)

Today in Devon, like most of the UK it was bright but very cold, seems Siberia has sent their cold front this way. I love winter days with bright blue skies so really wasn’t terribly worried by the cold temperatures.

Whats not to love?

The run started at 11, we stayed in the car till 10:56, it was THAT cold.

After we got the first miles out of the way (that was a never ending up!) we of course had some stunning views. Dartmoor is truly beautiful especially on a day like today and for a pleasant change the ground underfoot was hard and for the most part dry, no knee deep mud today, but frozen ankle jarring terrain but least you can run on that albeit with some caution.

As you can imagine up on the top with no shelter whatsoever, it was very breezy and very cold. At one point I lost all feeling in my chin and lip, I daren’t talk for risk of slurring my words, it really felt like I had been to the dentist, fortunately I had a Buff round my neck that I soon pulled up over my face.

I tried really hard to run as much as I could just to keep warm, also concerned for my running buddy as he is very much a cold-blooded creature who runs most times resembling Scott of the Antarctic, and it would be my fault if he got cold as A) I am slow B) I gave fashion advice on what to wear before we left the car, but I did reprieve things a bit by giving him my gloves to wear on top of his ones, AND I had pre heated them for him by running 8 miles with them stuffed in my bra!

I loved the run (maybe not the first part) and will certainly add it to my to do list for next year.

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Dursley Dozen the second edition

Last Sunday I travelled north up the M5 to partake in a 12 mile run up and down and up and down and up and down the countryside around Dursley. Unlike the year before when the weather was dull and miserable, this year it was a lovely winter’s morning with clear blue skies and sunshine.

The plan was to get a PB, but I knew this was going to be tough given two factors, 1) I’m not as fit as I would like 2) Conditions underfoot are horrendous when off road at the moment due to a wet winter

Its funny what you remember about a route from one year to another. I remembered the up hill start and the rope you needed to use to get up the last hill at mile 10, but I did not recall much else in between which is why I was at the start line again! Maybe it would be an idea to record each run on a Go Pro but there again if I did that I would probably never do any run twice!

The mud was as expected, I tried to adopt a new approach and that was a role of ‘mud slayer’ and instead of avoiding it trying to find my way around the edge, I waded through the middle, swearing and sliding as I went.

The Precipice with the rope at mile 10 was so much harder than recalled, my legs, arms and lungs were screaming by the time I got to the top and the photography who wanted me to run so he could take my photo got a terse but polite response (the desire to say **** off at this point was great!) Fortunately at this point it is pretty much all down hill to the end and I tried to leg it to make up some time.

My time was two minutes slower than last year, but I was fine with that, after all who could not be fine with this as a finishing time…..

another great event, with another great t-shirt

Last year it snowed whilst I was running and this year snowed when I had finished and as this is pretty much the only time I have seen snow since moving to the South West I can only assume it always snows in Dursley, going to return next year just to check!

 

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That four letter word

Yep there are many

  • work
  • kids
  • rest
  • hill
  • cook
  • cash
  • £@%&

these are a few of the four letter words but this blog is about the four letter word ‘only’. This week I read something on social media, written by a runner and when referring to a new pair of trainers (that she had no doubt been sent free to review) she used the phrase ‘only £100’

Personally I would not use the word ‘only’ in front of £100 at any point, unless of course it was referring to maybe a car and then I would want it followed by the phrase ‘and it had four tyres’!

My beloved Invo8 Trailtalons have sprung two large ventilation holes,

handy to help with the stench but can be draughty. I have spent a lot of time this week surfing the net trying to avoid spending ‘only £100‘, granted this pair cost this much but it was my birthday gift from the hubby (I am sure he would not like me to point out that he ‘only’ spent £100 on my birthday gift) but I am keen not to spend ‘only’ this much again, especially as they have not lasted a year!

Buying off road trainers is a nightmare, some are good on mud, others on rocks, some can go on road and trail, some are cushioned and others like glorified flip flops. Seriously I think I need four pairs to cope with all terrains but no way am I going to get that past the trainer police AKA Madam! I know my feet pretty well by now,  they have been with me for a while and we have had a few adventures together. If you have been a long time reader you will also know my feet are wide (think flattened by a steam roller) so a wide toe box is the most important thing, after the cost of course! It is no exaggeration to say I have spent hours googling, perusing on line auction sites, reading reviews and comparing prices. Finally I settled on a pair of New Balance wide fit trainers, not pretty but they were ONLY £40!

Tomorrow I am running a dozen (A Dursley Dozen) miles round the Gloucestershire countryside and these babies will stay at home, instead I will wear my well ventilated Inov8’s with my waterproof socks, these I will save for when the trails dry up a bit which at the rate things are going is likely to be July!

Friday my back went, not sure where it went but it has definitely gone, so the aim tomorrow is to medicate, stay upright before during and after the run and enjoy.

 

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Back on it!

This week I got back out there making the most of my last weeks of unemployment (yes good news on the job front-at last)

Monday – I headed up to the coastal path for a 10 mile jolly. The conditions under foot were not great and after the 16 miles two days before most of which were off road in mud and other nasty stuff I soon became fed up with the strain of trying to stay upright so adjusted the route to take in more road.

Great views

A peacock

and a sign of spring, what more could you want except maybe less mud!

Wednesday– club pub run. Run to pub, place dinner order, run, return to pub, eat and drink a cider. Pretty much a perfect scenario, oh and we had the super moon as company. 8 miles

Thursday-my legs demanded flat and mud free so off to the Exe Estuary Trail I went. 10 miles done and only one pic, not sure why he looks blue but do love his reflection!

Saturday– Parkrun sandwich at Seaton. Damp drizzly 4 miles pre parkrun, 3 miles of parkrun followed by 1.5 miles back up the hill to the car.

Sunday– A nice trot round the Green Circle path in Exeter with my running buddy. It was cold in the wind but least the sun was out and it was dry, a rarity of late here in Devon!

 

So that brings me to 50 miles this week, the body is creaking a bit, but thats to be expected and this week I shall be treating it to less miles, but I am pleased I’ve done it and can do it, the fitness is there lurking beneath, now I just need to work on the speed.

 

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