Tailwind: Tummy Friendly Fuel

Right, rest day today. Just as well really. My legs felt quite tired walking up to the office this morning and back up the hill this afternoon. So I thought I’d catch up on some the the things I’ve been meaning to write. First on the list is a review of Tailwind Nutrition.

I have tried various things for fuelling on long runs. It’s odd. I have a pretty cast iron stomach generally but that does not carry through to running. When it comes to running I have the most ridiculously sensitive tummy. So any sort of gels and blocs are out unless I am actually sitting on a toilet. I also really can’t stand the artificial taste and the texture just freaks me out. I tried some cliff bars for fuel and for recovery – apart from the pretty artificial taste, they didn’t do anything for recovery other than pile on calories and fuelling is pointless when the only place the fuel makes you run is to the loo.

I tried porridge bars which I do like but they’re quite dry and I can only eat a little bit and need water with them and they’re just a bit of a pain to carry and then repack if you’ve had a little bit and also I probably need more than one bar if I’m doing over half marathon distance and it was all getting complicated. That said, Stoats porridge bars are awesome and I love them for long walks, picnics or a well needed boost at work. They powered me round two marathons but the downside is having to stop and walk for quite a bit to eat, drink some water, wait till it’s all settled…. It was sort of fine for what I’ve done and the lots of walking approach to long distance but I don’t think it works well for trying to run a bit more or at least keep the walking intervals consistently short.

Then we tried some torq energy drink which was used at an event we volunteered at. That just gave me horrible tummy cramps – I mentioned it here. Kath’s experiences are similar. We get on best with home made things and real food like dried apricots and nuts but they’re not always easy to carry on a run unless carrying a pack and not practical to take/make if we’re travelling abroad for a run/race (and we do always have half an eye in the Dopey Challenge!). So we’d pretty much given up on finding something easy, convenient and effective that would travel well. Then we kept seeing comments about tailwind. Lots of people were saying that it really worked for them and that it was nice to tummies.

We ordered a starter pack. It can contain 1 stick pack of each of their flavours  – 7 packs in total – but we decided not to get any of their caffeine containing flavours  (Green Tea Buzz, Raspberry Buzz and Tropical Buzz) because Kath is really sensitive to caffeine.

So the stick packs are dead simple to make up – just add water, give it a stir and/or a shake. Done. I tried it on a couple of short runs – you can never be too careful! First the lemon flavour and then the naked unflavoured one. On both occasions there was no ill effect on my tummy at all. From those runs I can’t really say whether the fuelling is good or not because I didn’t go far enough. They were just a tummy test. I then used another lemon one at the Lakeland Trails event where I was out for 2 hours and taking little sips throughout did I think help. I had some more the day after on a longer run and it definitely helped there – maybe I felt it more because I already had tired legs. I tried the mandarin orange flavour on the 10 mile adventure to Haworth last weekend and from that experience I think I can say it works – when I was feeling really flakey I had a good few sips and then kept sipping at more regular intervals and felt better and then fine for the rest of the run. I don’t think just water would have done that.

According to the instructions though I am possibly not actually having enough (which is presumably why I went flakey in the first place) – they suggest one stick pack in 500-700 ml of water to sip over an hour. I don’t drink that much when running, ever. I made up 500 ml and had about 2/3 of that over the two hours we were out on Haworth Moor. I’m still experimenting with what really works over the longer distances/durations and in different conditions but I am really excited to have found something to fuel with that is easy, convenient, seemingly effective and that is nice to my tummy. I’m sure I’ll get the mix right for me over time.

Here’s what’s in tailwind for those science, nutrition, whatever geeks among you (from their website)

Screenshot 2018-04-23 20.10.37

The flavours are all quite nice – they’re subtle and not in your face artificial. They don’t leave an aftertaste and I found all them refreshing. I think I actually most like the naked one. Kath’s favourite is the berry flavour and we’ve just ordered a multi-serving bag of that (they come in 30 or 50 serving bags). In addition we’ve ordered more stick packs to take with us on our travels – we’ve ordered lemon, berry and naked ones; too much of a risk having the mandarin ones because it’s really just a matter of time before we get water bottles mixed up and it all goes horribly wrong (Kath is allergic).

So tailwind gets a big thumbs up from me for ease, for taste, for effectiveness and also for non stickiness and non messiness. Water bottles just rinse out easily and there’s no residue or aftertaste or anything. There’s no gooey or sticky consistency that you feel like you can’t wash off your hands or out of your bottle. Really it’s all just as it should be.

It’s not the cheapest but it doesn’t compare badly at all to other products out there  and honestly, I’d rather pay a pound or two more (on a 50 serving bag for example) for something that doesn’t give me tummy cramps! There’s something else though. It’s a gimmick in a way but my sort of gimmick and it feels like a genuine gimmick (yes yes I know). The customer service is lovely. There’s always a personal touch and if you tell them what your next event is, they may just email you to say well done. Here’s what I got from Tracy at Tailwind checking on me after the weekend she thought I was running in the Lakes

Hi Jessica,

I cannot find your results on line 😦  How did you get on?

As it turned out – she was a week early and after we’d had a little email exchange and she checked my Hawkshead 10k result I got another one:

Hello!!! Congratulations you were not last on the list 😉 as you suspected!!!  Well done you!

Now maybe I am just a sucker for marketing gimmicks but that really did make me smile!


London Marathon (on the TV)

It’s London Marathon Day and I am back where I belong – on the sofa watching it on television. I’m not sorry I deferred to next year. I’m not ready but somehow watching the scenes from the start – watching the women run consistent 16 minute 5ks and the men just do a ‘pedestrian 4.37 mile’ for the 4th mile is pulling at my heart strings. I definitely have unfinished business on that course. I want to run across tower bridge. I couldn’t do it last time, I felt faint and poorly. So next year I have a date with that bridge and I will run it all even if I walk lots of the rest of the course! I like seeing the marathon on tv, it’s just a reminder that the impossible is possible.

We’ve just been talking about how much stronger we are now than we were before we 31124271_961599730686842_1635462050975055872_nstarted Dopey training in summer 2015 and how that puts us in a great position for having another go in 2019. I have no real after effects from yesterday’s 10 mile adventure. I just have tired knees and tired ankles. I meant to write about this yesterday but somehow it didn’t fit into the blog post. It’s an odd sensation. They are not at all painful or even niggly, they are just tired. I have obviously had tired legs before but never so specifically tired knees and ankles. Odd. We wanted to do our second weekend run before the marathon started today so we got up and headed out – after yesterday’s joint adventure, we went separately this morning. Kath set off before me and I got going a few minutes later.

After yesterday I thought I’d go relatively flat and not technical. I went the long way through the estate and then dropped onto the canal. I had turned off my run/walk intervals because I wanted to run by feel and enjoy being out and not have the beeps interrupt the gorgeous morning. I felt a bit sluggish and my legs felt heavy. I had no fixed idea of what I would do and as I set off I thought ‘Oh hell, this might involve more walking than I wanted’. As I kept plodding downhill I started to move better and settle in so I thought I would run the first mile and then see how I was. The first mile came and I still felt pretty good. I decided to keep going to 1.5 and then maybe walk a little. 1.5 came and I was fine so I thought that actually getting to 2 miles would be nice and take me to

Hard to see ducklings

my favourite stretch of canal where I could walk a little and see if there were more ducklings. Just before I hit the 2 miles I started to feel it a bit but then I saw Kath coming the other way on the opposite side of the canal and she signalled for me to keep going and she’d catch up and we could run the rest together. She caught me just as I started walking. We looked around, saw some pretty new lambs, more ducklings and lots of different shades of green.

After a few minutes we started jogging again and my aim was to run the rest of mile 3 – did it, just. But was now feeling the warmth of the sun and the 10 miles in my legs. We walked a few minutes, picked up the barrier placed to block the canal towpath for the section they are working on this summer  – it must have fallen over – turned round and IMG_9041jogged back to the golf course bridge and then walked up the golf course, jogged down the track to our old sheep fields and then walked a bit more. So miles 1 and 2 were about consistent running, mile 3 was about seeing who was around on the canal and saying hi to lambs and ducklings, mile 4 was about walking up and enjoying the views and mile 5 and the final stretch, to be honest, was just about nursing tired legs  and niggly hips home. I am however very excited to have recorded over 70 miles for April so far – 3rd highest monthly mileage ever and still 8 days left. I’m enjoying my running and I am looking forward to building on this. My fitness is definitely improving, my endurance is improving, I’m getting physically and mentally stronger. I’m also getting slower it seems but I’m not concerned about pace at the moment. It’ll come, or not. I’m just happy to be enjoying it.

Happy Sunday! Go turn your dreams into reality.


Brontë Running

What a lovely day it’s been. Our training plan suggests 10 miles today. We planned to repeat the Haworth run Kath did on Wednesday. We woke up early, made porridge and took it back to bed. After getting up and pottering about for a little bit we set off to walk to the station. We had a bit of a discussion about what miles to count for this adventure and decided that it’s about time on our feet and a decent striding out sort of walk would count. After a mile and a half we arrived at Keighley Station and proudly presented our local resident’s passes at the Worth Valley Railway ticket booth. If you’re local, buy yourself one of these, they’re a fiver and give you 50% off tickets.

On the way up to Haworth the train was a diesel locomotive and the carriages were more commuter train than sociable and fun seats with a table. We got a seat right at the front though and it was lovely just making our way out of Keighley, to Ingrow West (what happened to Ingrow East? Does it exist? Did it ever?), to Oakworth via Damems. Just after  Damems we stopped for a little while – not quite sure why. Possibly because there were a couple of blokes working on the tracks. We arrived in Haworth, waved the train off and nipped to the Ladies’ Room. I’m never quite sure whether I’m allowed in a Ladies’ Room.

We walked through Haworth Park and up Haworth Main Street (which those of you not local may have seen as it was part of the Tour de France in 2014) and turned left towards the Brontë Parsonage and then started run/walking as we got on a track and through a field just beyond it. My hay fever is not yet under control and my chest felt quite tight and I was struggling to breathe properly. It required focus. That didn’t really change all the way round so I think I probably appeared a bit grumpy at times. I wasn’t it was stunningly beautiful and glorious and I loved it. I just found it even harder than normal!

So after the field there is a short stretch of road which is a steady pull up a slope and we ran/walked that, crossed the road at the end of that section and then made our way along IMG_8940a track hugging a dry stone wall separating a field from Haworth Moor. It’s a well signed route to Brontë Waterfalls and beyond to Top Withens. It’s what you might call undulating. Honestly, I don’t think the hills on the initial stretch are too bad really – certainly not if I could actually breathe. I’m looking forward to having another go. The terrain isn’t too technical really but there were a few bits where I needed to concentrate and it was good to practice and just keep moving. I’m happy with how that went.

We reached the Waterfall – it was a little trickle really. We didn’t take a picture but Kath 31084267_961162334063915_7898002905209241600_ndid on Wednesday  (so here is hers!) and instead we got some on the little stone bridge which led us on our way to Top Withens. As we made our way up here I started to feel a little flakey. I had a bit of tailwind but I think maybe not IMG_8934enough. As we were close to Top Withens I felt a little faint, had some more tailwind and started feeling better. We walked a bit further and then picked a spot to sit for a few minutes and drink in the beauty of the moor. I was trying to spot the grouse – they were there, I could hear them grumbling but I couldn’t see any around us.

After a few minutes we walked up to Top Withens and spent another minute or two in the ruins and looking around. Somehow I don’t imagine Emily and her sisters walking the moors in weather like this. It’s never warm, sunny and dry when I think of them – it’s always wuthering. Always. The Killjoy society (as Kath called them) have added a plaque to Top Withens to inform us all that it is not Wuthering Heights:

We then started to make our way back down. I felt much better, a little rest and more

IMG_8957tailwind had obviously worked wonders. We jogged down the hill – good practice and pushing out of my comfort zone a bit on the steeper bits. On Wednesday Kath did an out an back run but we decided to do a loop instead and head back via Stanbury. The track from Top Withens towards Stanbury is a very runable track with no real technical sections. There are some stones and some loose gravel but it was easy to pick a route, even for me. I tried to run the downhill and run/walk the flat. We must have been around 5 miles in by now. Once we were off the track we ran/walked the road until we got into the village – the road through is narrow and there isn’t really a pavement so we walked. Once the road widened we started run/walking again.

IMG_8956I briefly wondered whether we should do a tiny detour to go visit my grandma’s grave at Stanbury cemetery but I didn’t want to. It felt like it was pointless; she lived and breathed  this landscape, being out in it and enjoying it as we were seemed somehow more appropriate than giving a nod to the grave stone. So we turned right and ran along the reservoir. We chose a more gradual climb back up by turning left along a track and then we were back on the edge of Haworth and retraced our steps through the field, down the track to the Parsonage. 7.61 miles of gorgeous Brontë country.

We stopped in the Haworth Steam Brewery for food and couldn’t resist a cheeky half – I think actually it was the name of the beer that persuaded Kath that she really had to try some – it’s ‘a good pint’ apparently.

Refreshed we made our way down Main Street and had a look in a few shops. I was surprised. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Haworth and the shops are so much better

Sociable Shadows

than I remembered! There’s Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop which is just scrumptious. We saw some lovely things and witty cards in Wave of Nostalgia, some gorgeous artwork and more witty things in Hawksbys Gallery. And then we went to see our friend Sián at her shop Sian Alison Designs where she sells amazing jewellery made with local flowers. I absolutely love her forget-me-not designs but have a look at her Facebook page or if you’re local pop in – the pink heather stuff is lush too.

IMG_9006We walked back through Haworth Park. There seemed to be an abundance of small pug like dogs about today and we had just commented on how the noise of their laboured breathing would get on our nerves when a lad of about 8ish walked past one and exclaimed in a broad Yorkshire accent: ‘They make like they’re dying’. We burst out laughing and were still giggling on the platform as we waited for the train back to Keighley. The return journey was on a steam train with a buffet car so we had another sneaky beer as we watched the familiar landscape choochoo past. In Keighley we watched the steam loco change ends and then popped into the supermarket to get milk, some salad and also a  banana for Kath to eat on the way back. Another 1.5 mile walk and we were home.

A little over 10 and a half miles done today. Year to date – 210.27. And my April mileage is sitting on a very very satisfactory 65 miles, highest monthly mileage so far this year and there’s still a while left! Happy Running!


When the sun comes out…

When the sun comes out, so do the summer clothes, the vest tops, the summer dresses, shorts… Not an easy time for some! So this is just a reminder that whatever shape you are, you have every right to be out in the lovely weather soaking up the Vitamin D (but not getting burnt, that’s silly) wearing whatever the hell you want!

I had a blip earlier and forgot. I was walking from work to the station in Leeds passing all the young, gorgeous, trendy creatures that hang out in Leeds on a Friday late lunch time. I have no idea if they were actually young, gorgeous or trendy but you know, the skinny ones with perfect hair, perfectly fitting outfits that just emphasize the right amount of the right bit, the fun, adored, successful ones… As I walked along in my shoes that aren’t trainers and therefore uncomfortable and wondered whether those perfect creatures also have jeans that won’t stay up and a top that rides up under my backpack to expose a little spare tyre or two, I had a brief moment of feeling crap. Yep, in that moment I couldn’t think of anything positive to think about my hippo hips and thunder thighs, not to mention my tummy and bingo wings. For a fraction of a split second I wanted to be them.

But of course they don’t actually exist. That vision of perfection, is nonsense. Even if the people I saw were all the things I suggest, that would be just one idea of perfection, one among many may possible others. I look the way I look. End of. So does everybody else. I laughed at myself and snapped out of it. Yesterday I went for a run in lycra crop pants and a running vest . Guess what, the world kept turning. Don’t get me wrong. I have my insecurities  – see above re bingo wings for example, hate them, always had them, even the slightly obsessive gym routine of my late teens or the daily horse riding of my early teens didn’t really manage to tone my upper arms even when there was much more muscle underneath – but hey. I’m not that keen on my thunder thighs either to be fair. But the thing is, none of this impacts on other people so other people don’t get to judge.

Go enjoy the sun, enjoy doing your thing, don’t judge others and don’t let others judging you have any power over you. Remember, the way to a beach body is to take your body to the beach!






Funny Running Week

Sometimes running weeks are funny aren’t they. On Monday, when I really did need a rest day and me and my body were tired from the weekend I really wanted to run. On Tuesday I had a lovely day out and about but didn’t really have time to run once I got back home. I thought 2 rest days would probably not be a bad thing anyway. Well once I got home yesterday, having looked forward to running all day while in the office, I just could not be bothered. I felt so tired and lazy. Kath suggested going twice today instead. I agreed. I only agreed because I didn’t want to run last night.

This morning I was vaguely aware of being gently nudged and coaxed out of sleep, into


running gear and out of the house. I think I woke up about 2 miles in. My eyes were stinging, I couldn’t really breathe and everything felt puffy. Hello hay fever. I’ve missed you – not. Anyway, let me think – which way did we go? It really is all vague. We headed on our sheep loop but then turned off to go through the wood. I sort of remember this – I was waking up. This is the trail/wood where I first started my proper trail running education. I was quite pleased with how I got through today – never stopped moving and I must have been more relaxed (asleep?) because my feet weren’t sore.

After the wood we turned right along the old golf course road and then we headed back along the canal towpath and home. The hay fever was a pain and I have now started taking tablets which should sort it.

New Shoes!

This afternoon we went for run number 2 of the day and I finally tried

First Ducklings of the year

my new trainers. It’s hot. I’m not quite sure how hot but it was a factor almost immediately. Nonetheless we had a lovely steady 3 mile run until we saw some ducklings, the first ducklings of the year, along the canal and stopped to watch them for a bit. After that we walked the rest of our loop chatting and watching ducks, lambs, little birds and stopping at the Co-op for pizza and beer. Well it is Thursday – practically the weekend.

I just updated my running chart. So this isn’t getting to me at all! Nope, not at all.