Meltdown, 3 loops and 8 miles

I had a running meltdown this morning. We were going to do a long run up on Ilkley Moor this morning. A loop of about 7 miles. That’s a fair bit further than I have been for quite a while but with some walk breaks and photo stops etc perfectly within reach. It is a gorgeous morning, the sun is out, it’s not too warm or cold for running and yesterday I was really looking forward to it. In fact when I woke up this morning I was looking forward to it. Kath brought me a cup of tea and breakfast (bagel and peanut butter) in bed and went to feed the lambs. I got up, put our slow roast dinner in the oven, went to the loo, drank some water, went to the loo again…

Then, quite suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to run away and hide, to not leave the house, crawl back into bed and forget the whole running thing. I couldn’t breathe. Once the little panic attack had passed, we changed plans and Kath suggested instead doing a route we know and do several runs today to start training for the Endure24 race where we will be doing several 5 mile loops in a 24 hour period. So below is a quick review of each of our loops today written pretty much immediately after the loop.

Loop one: Home – sheep – wood trail – Scott Lane – Kiln Bank – Home

This was horrible. With every step my mind was screaming at me that it was all totally pointless because I couldn’t do it anyway. Every step was a mental battle. I never settled but I did keep going. I ran to the wood without stopping, then walked a few steps to find the start of the trail and then slowly made my way through the trail with a few little panics and stops and then we walked up the slope, jogged along Scott Lane and walked up the hill. Once up the hill we jogged to the bottom of Ilkley Road and then run/walked lamp post to lamp post home. Roughly 16 minute mile pace. Awful, just awful!

Loop two: Home – sheep – wood trail – Scott Lane – Kiln Bank – Home

This was slightly less horrible for me. We had about 2 hours between finishing loop one and starting loop 2 and I just had a coffee and water and a bit of home made chewy bar crumbs in that gap. I sat with my feet up watching the London Marathon coverage on tv. I ran until just before the slope up to the hill, walked a little and then ran up to the wood, found the trail and ran most of it. Slowly but with fewer stops and starts. Enjoyed it more this time and my feet hurt less. At the end of the trail we walked up the slope, jogged the road to the bottom of the big hill, walked up, jogged down and went post to post again up Ilkley Road. Almost a minute a mile quicker than loop 1. Poor Kath learned that coffee and fruit doesn’t work so well for her in terms of fuelling. She’s recovered now but don’t think she had a very pleasant run on loop 2.

Lap three: Sheep loop backwards (Home, down Kiln Bank, along canal, up golf course…)

After lap two I watched more Marathon coverage, made and had lunch and faffed around on Facebook and Twitter and didn’t do much other than randomly burst into tears. Lunch wasn’t the best choice but it was planned as a post run lunch not as lunch to have with more running to come. We had slow roast lamb, carrots, potatoes and spring cabbage. We ate about 12.30 and were planning to go again about 4pm ish or when we felt like it would be ok to run. We both felt ok ish to go again just before 4pm so off we set. Well, ready my body was not, not at all. I felt about a stone heavier than I had in the morning. Still on I went. I ran all the way down to the canal and most of the canal with a two little short walks because I got a stitch. Then we walked up the golf course and ran down the slope past our sheep and pushed to Kath’s mum’s house. We stopped our watches there, she made us some milk for the lambs and we fed them and all the sheep and then set off to run home from there. My legs felt tight and I had a little walk break before the Western Avenue slope, then we ran to the bottom of Ilkley Road and went home from there run/walking post to post. Again the Garmin said about a minute a mile faster than the other loops but this is obviously a different loop.

I have now uploaded the runs to Strava and Strava adjusts for moving time rather than time overall so the first loop was actually 14.51 minute mile pace when I was moving – I just had a couple of stops on the trail where I was actually standing still – a couple of hugs after tricky sections and a short stop to admire the bluebells. I also stopped ‘to admire the view’ half way up Kiln Bank. Lap two was therefore not actually much faster when I was moving – at 14.30 mile pace – I just had fewer actual stops and lap 3 was 13.40 pace.  The first two laps were 2.5 miles and then final was 3.2 so I have run 8.2 miles today (or 8.4 according to Kath’s Garmin which seems to think we went further than mine does). We learned quite a lot about hydrating and fuelling today too and I learned that using my memories from running the London Marathon is not a good way to help me on my runs. I just remember the total emptiness. Better to think of all those other amazing people running it  – that kept me going today, thoughts about last year just made me want to stop. I’ll stick to visualising the Magic Kingdom run up to the castle or running around the World Showcase in Epcot to get me through I think.

Sunday Weigh In is back

I stopped getting on the scales a while ago initially for positive reasons – I didn’t care at all what the number said, I knew I was getting fitter and stronger and healthier so the actual weight didn’t matter. Then the running got patchy and we fell off the food and booze wagon a bit – which is silly because when we were making the effort we were eating really yummy healthy food that we were both really enjoying. In the run up to Christmas I knew my weight was sneaking up again and just after I suddenly worried that it might even be getting as high as it was 2 years ago before I started running. Clothes don’t fit properly, running is so much harder than it needs to be. A good few pounds need to come off.

So on the 2nd January I set a new baseline – a stone lighter than the baseline I set 2 years ago but also over a stone and a half heavier than I was at my lightest during Dopey training. Hmph. I was determined to have a good food and exercise week but as I mentioned I was ill instead. I have lost 6 pounds but I’m not really celebrating that because it’s more due to being poorly than anything else.

We have a food plan for the week with lots of fresh, yummy things but also included comfort food to guard against the cold and grey ‘pass me the biscuits’ kind of feeling. We’re starting today with pancakes (a healthier version K once found a recipe for, possibly in a Runner’s World or from a Running Bug) – a lovely Sunday treat with yoghurt and raspberries. For lunch we’re having cottage pie with a mountain of veg and for tea a salad with a few nuts and seeds sprinkled in for crunch. This week is relatively conservative with food – familiar things to not upset my tummy which is still getting back to normal. Next week I think we will be more adventurous, we’ve seen some lovely recipes that look healthy and delicious. I’ll try and remember to share.

We’re also going to start running again this coming week. I’m not sure about starting the 10k programme – yesterday I was still quite wobbly after my 2 mile walk so I will see how I feel after a walk today and then see if I need a very easy, very short run week or whether I’m ready to have another go at week 1 of the 10k programme. The programme isn’t aligned with a race so it doesn’t really matter.

Happy Sunday

Chocolate Courgette Buns

Instead of doing anything useful I seem to be spending today sitting around playing candy crush, catching up on reading blogs, watching random crap on tv and thinking I should do something. I did do some washing but it started chucking it down with rain the minute I got it on the line. I’ve taken that as a sign from the universe that I’m not to do anything today.

I mentioned the courgette buns and as it happens I have just had the last one with a cuppa and it was delicious- so here’s the recipe:


175g dark chocolate, 225g courgettes, 200g self-raising flour, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 125g caster sugar, 200g sunflower oil, 2eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C and prep bun cases (12 cases)
  2. Grate the courgette finely and squeeze out as much water as you can
  3. Melt the chocolate (in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water) and leave to cool for a minute or two
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl (or processor) and add the sugar and oil, beat until thick and then fold in the chocolate
  5. Pre-mix all the dry ingredients
  6. Add the courgette and dry ingredients to the mixture and mix well
  7. Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 bun cases
  8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes

We often also add some chocolate chips and/or some cranberries. Just chuck them in with the courgettesBuns

Food and that

I did something unusual the other day and ordered the paperback version of a book I already have on kindle. The book is the New Year Same You book by Julie Creffield I already mentioned a little while back. I know I keep going on about it but it is such a lovely antidote to all the diet crap that we seem to be bombarded with at this time of year. I ignore most of it but I can’t escape the adverts; new diets and exercise regimes, new ‘get your dream body in 4 weeks’ type of things are everywhere. Now I am in a pretty good place regarding body image etc at the minute but that’s because I am starting 2016 2.5 stone lighter than I started 2015 and I am about to do something with this slightly wibbly wobbly body of mine that just 12 months ago seemed utterly impossible. But even with all that positivity all this diet and getting slim stuff is still getting to me. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I have done pretty well and that being fitter that I ever have been is far more important than getting in a size 12. Goodness, have I ever fitted in a size 12? Doubt it.

Anyway, the book. I ordered the paperback because I suddenly realised I was thinking about it alot and I wanted to go back to it and highlight and write little notes to myself and also work on some of the tasks Julie suggests and that is all just easier with an actual book. Just having the book won’t change anything at all. Doing stuff with it and engaging with the suggestions in it might well help me get to grips with some of the things I find difficult about this new ‘running feature enabled’ version of me. I’m waiting for the paperback to come but I was looking at the chapter about food again because of all the diet crap that’s around and because I had a not so nice conversation with someone about food recently.

I was asked about my weightloss and the other person simply would not accept that I had not been completely utterly disciplined about food and that my eating habits would change dramatically post marathon. Kath had a similar conversation with someone who refused to believe that she hadn’t been on a diet of some kind. I have done Slimming World in the past and it did work for me for a bit but there was just too much there that I diagreed with fundamentally (like diet/lite drinks to name just one). Julie’s focus on understanding our relationship with food and about making conscious food choices really resonated, as did the idea of disordered eating.

So here are my thoughts on food: I eat very little processed food. I like fruit and veggies  – all of them really apart from leeks. I don’t like leeks. I eat meat, possibly too much but where it comes from is important to me – local and most definitly free range – not necessarily organic – that’s a whole other story… Food miles are evil. I love eating stuff we’ve grown but I am also lazy and not that competent in garden or kitchen. We eat out a lot (see my lazy and competence point) and there are things I could cut out to be really ‘good’ (I don’t really like being ‘good’ though – just the idea of having to be a good girl makes me want to misbehave) but I don’t want to be miserable. I like chocolate, I like a beer and with that a packet of crisps and I like a glass of prosecco here and there. I like cheese and bread and crackers and sometimes only a cup of tea and a ginger nut biscuit will do. So shoot me.

How I eat has changed with running though but it is the running that came first. I didn’t change my eating to lose weight, I changed my eating, and not by much, because I listen to what my body wants. I rarely now eat something for the sake of it – I said rarely, not never. What I want to eat has changed. I crave broccoli, I adore salmon or tuna on quinoa and grains and you can’t beat avocado on toast… I can also eat a jar of peanut butter with a spoon in one sitting.

Reading the chapter about food in Julie’s book made me think about the messages and (mis)information we get fed (pun intended obviously) every day of our lives. No wonder most people are totally confused as to what we should and shouldn’t be eating! As for food labels – don’t get me started, they can make a mars bar look healthier than a piece of fruit. Even adverts I thought were quite funny, like the maltesers adverts about being naughty, assign moral value to food; we talk about ‘being good’ with food; good people have a salad, bad people have the burger and fries… but you can be pretty sure that neither of them will actually sit and enjoy the food. We eat on the run, while doing something else, at our desks (oh that’s me!), while watching TV. Julie’s chapter made me stop and think a bit. I tend to be quite arrogant about food. A bit ‘I know what I’m doing and I am fully aware of what choices I am making…’ But am I? I suspect not. We do food plan our weeks but we tend to just plan main meals. I think we would do well to plan breakfast and snacks etc too. And in the same way that we plan what to eat we should also plan the when and where much more. Julie’s chapter made me think about how to make more time for just enjoying food and the togetherness it could bring. We could cook together, we always enjoy it and yet so rarely do it. Why?

Anyway, one of the The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running running vests says ‘don’t judge just run’ and I really do think we need to take the don’t judge theme into the food arena too. Food and eating are loaded with moral baggage and guilt and pleasure and the complex relationships we have with it and we all need to figure it out for ourselves. So don’t judge, and don’t allow yourself to be judged but do think about what you are putting into your body and why. I do, and will continue to, reach for the biscuits when I feel a bit crap but I know that’s what I am doing and I choose to do it and I no longer ‘accidentally’ eat the whole packet. That has nothing to do with self control or discipline. I am not denying myself anything. I just have what I want as long as I am really sure that I want it.

Anyway, I am sure there will be more musings on specific aspects of Julie’s book but if you’re not quite where you want to be and all the diet stuff around at the minute is getting you down – or you are thinking of going on a diet, I really do think the book might help make sense of it all.

Post-Christmas running

Those of you who have been following the weight loss bit of this journey may have noticed that I’ve been silent on that and have stubbornly ignored my Sunday weigh-ins. Two reasons for this, one I forgot to get on the scales first thing on the Sundays and it just didn’t seem important enough to do it later. Can you see th headline ‘woman doesn’t care about her weight – the end of the world as we know it’… Anyway, then just lately I did start caring because with lower mileage and festive food I felt like I might be piling on pounds which is tthe last thing I should be doing just before a marathon. So I just didn’t get on the scales to avoid that disappointment.But today I hopped on the scales for the first time since the beginning of the month: I am actually half a pound lighter than I was last time I weighed myself. Next weigh in 1st Jan to get the baseline for 2016.

We have been struggling to get our runs in but today we went out together. It felt like ages since we actually went for a run together. The sun was shining, it was ridiculously warm and it was such hard work. I felt heavy, sluggish, unfit and like all the mince pies, sausage rolls and prosecco in the world were congregating in the pit of my stomach. I felt decidedly like I was plodding along slower than ever, but, I kept telling myself, I was plodding not sitting on the sofa stuffing my face.

At about two miles the towpath was blocked by a fallen tree so we had to turn round and go the other way. We’d run roughly the first mile and had then dropped into our run/walk intervals (as planned for marathon, 2 min run,1 min walk) and I needed the walk breaks. We checked our time at 5 km so that we could count that as our December One Big Fat Run and I thought 37 mins, 35 seconds was pretty good going for a post Christmas 5km that’s part of a longer run.

At about 4 miles I started feeling better. The sluggishness was giving way to just enjoying being out. At just under 5 miles we turned again and ran the last mile and a bit back to the ‘home’ bridge. The 6 miles took us an hour, 12 minutes and a few seconds and it was a nice run. We chatted for all but the last few minutes and the sun was lovely.

Walking up the hill to get home I felt a bit dizzy but I think I was dehydrated. I haven’t really been paying attention to drinking enough water. We’ve had some food and I’ve drank about three pints of water and feel great now.

One more 45 minute run and one more 6 mile run left. 6 more sleeps before we travel, 7 more before we fly to Florida. Today I am more excited than terrified. Bring on the marathon!