4 mile week to 8 mile Monday

I started a grumpy blog post yesterday but because I was grumpy and unfocused I never actually finished it. It has things in it I want to talk about but not right now. I’m not grumpy today. I finished last week on a grand total of 1 run and 4 miles. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to run as such, I just never made it my priority and then missed my chance. Monday was a genuine rest day and that was fine, Tuesday I thought I’d go at the gym and run as that was the only chance I’d get and I was at the office early and instead of going then I thought I’d use the quiet time to get some work done. Well after the quiet came the crazy and I never got another minute to pee never mind go to the gym.  Wednesday, can’t remember. Wednesday was icy. Thursday we went to London (for work IMG_8375.JPGfor me) so didn’t get chance to run then. Friday though was a day off and we had planned a long tourist run through Hyde Park, St James’ Park and down to the river…. Yeah, well that kind of distance requires getting our arses out of bed and that just didn’t happen. We both felt lazy and content having a cuppa in bed and slowly waking up and then having a slow breakfast… We didn’t run in the morning as planned. We went to see the Winnie The Pooh exhibition at the V&A instead (it is just gorgeous).

However, the weather was stunning, Hyde Park was just there across the road from our hotel really, it was crying out for a run. So at lunchtime we got ourselves out there and plodded our way to 4 miles. Neither of us really feeling great but sort of enjoying running somewhere we didn’t know, stopping to take pictures and hurdling tourists, geese, ducks and pigeons. I also nearly trod on a squirrel who misjudged my pace, or its pace or both. We saw loads of runners, loads, and not one of them said hello or smiled or nodded in acknowledgement. What is that all about. People seemed actually quite freaked out when we said hi. In fact, I think we got most of a response from a couple of herons who at least gave us an acknowledging sort of look.

Saturday was more work and then home and Sunday I really just felt like I had been hit by a truck. I vaguely toyed with idea of a run. Kath went but when Kath went it still looked icy – you know me and icy. When she got back and I thought I might go, I was hungry and by the time we’d eaten and my food had settled enough it was snowing and the road was slushy. Slushy is as bad as icy.

So Monday. I had a research meeting this afternoon. The nice sort, not the admin idiotic sort. I also needed to deal with my once again almost full mailbox and prepare for a pretty important thing I have in London tomorrow. I was trying to figure out how to get a run into what was promising to be a slightly mad Monday in terms of work. Then it occurred to me that I have to travel to the meeting and that actually it wouldn’t take *that* much longer to run the 6 ish miles there than it would to walk down the hill and get a bus or drive and spend ages finding somewhere to park (which is what happened last time).

So once I dealt with the most urgent crazy in my inbox I transferred what I needed from work laptop to MacBook (so much lighter!), packed the MacBook, lightweight fleece, hairbrush (why???), money and phone into my little backpack and set off. I didn’t pack deodorant – I had it in my hand at one point when I was getting sorted so goodness knows where I put that down. Anyway, the route is, as it turns out, exactly 6 miles and after the initial downhill is flat along the canal towpath. I started running continuously. Silly really! I should have started run/walk. I felt good for mile 1. After mile 1 not so much. It felt like I was running out of fuel (but I’d had porridge) and my legs were heavy and lungs not really playing. I kept going a bit but annoyingly kept stopping to walk. So just after 2 miles I gave in and set my watch to run/walk alerts and kept plodding along at 1 minute runs and 30 seconds walk.

This was not a fun run. It was bloody hard. Every time there was an opportunity to come off the canal and get a bus instead I had to force myself to keep going. At half way I was knackered – in spite of having taken over 40 minutes to get just over 3 miles. I walked down the 5 Rise Locks (because I’m a wimp and because I love my knees) and kept plodding along. 4 mile beep, 5 mile beep. I went through 5 miles in an hour and 8 minutes – slow but I’m not arguing, I was amazed I hadn’t had a tantrum and gone for a bus or gone home. The last mile seemed to pass quite quickly (it didn’t actually) and before I knew it I was there. ‘I enjoyed that’ I thought. WTF? I did not enjoy a single step of that but my brain seemed dead set on telling me that I had. Who am I to argue with my brain. I took a selfie with an Octopus and headed to our meeting place.IMG_8422

So we had a productive few hours and then I heard myself saying that I might set off back now because there was still enough light to get at least part of the way home along the canal towpath. What? When exactly had I decided I was going to run back, at least part way? That was news to me as I said it but there we are. My brain had decided that’s what I was doing. Well if I had known I may not have had the last coffee and I might have eaten fewer chips with my baguette. Anyway, I set off on run/walk and was actually having a nice time until I started needing the loo, badly. I made it to just over 2 miles before running became so uncomfortable that I decided to call it a day – no real toilet stop options on the route. I was also running out of light and unusually for me I was feeling cold. I walked the last half mile with a few little jogs thrown in, jumped on a bus and walked up the hill home. Total miles today 8.66.


Not 8 miles but not all bad either

Well that 8 mile loop isn’t meant to be is it. First there was the ice, then Kath was going to recce it after an appointment in Skipton but forgot her trainers and today my right quad didn’t want to play. It was a bit tight yesterday but I gently introduced it to the foam roller and stretched and it seemed on again then.

We set off at Bolton Abbey on a run/walk. I could feel my quad from the start but it wasn’t really painful. We just kept plodding along, still really nursing my legs generally and walking the steepest bits and taking it easy. Barden Bridge came easily and we IMG_8363crossed and headed back along the Wharfe. I enjoyed running that stretch. We ran a few more of the hills once back in the wood and that was probably a mistake. Once we’d walked my nemesis hill and run down the other side my quad niggle had developed into a deep achey pain and I had to admit defeat. We ran/walked the rest of the way to the Pavilion and I knew it was the right call because my quad no longer recovered in-between run segments. Still frustrating though.

I am trying not to be too annoyed and upset. I have still clocked up a total of just over 19 miles this week (I only ran a total of 22 ish in all of January last year) and there are lots of positives to take from today:

  1. Bolton Abbey was gorgeous this morning. It was still and calm. The Wharfe was moving slowly like it was recovering from the franticness that was Christmas and New Year. It was meandering leisurely like it didn’t have a care in the world.
  2. The ducks seemed to have adjusted their pace to that of the Wharfe, they seemed content in the slow moving water and happy to just be.
  3. There were nuthatches, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, robins, woodpeckers and herons
  4. There were excitable but friendly dogs taking their humans for a walk
  5. The Barden Bridge loop now feels normal – it no longer feels like the longer route or the extension to the normal loop. The 4.6 miles really was quite easy. I know I was walking some but then I used to do that on the Aqueduct loop too and there was a time I couldn’t have contemplated going further
  6. 4.6 miles is 4.6 miles. It’s not nothing
  7. Sunday Weigh-In. I’m down a pound. Again better than nothing. Also not actually a positive from the run today, I got on the scales before we went but it seems to fit here anyway

So another week of running. I have now run nearly 32 miles this year. A little behind the #run1000miles challenge schedule but close enough and roughly where I wanted to be at this point. Some of you may also know that the Bolton Abbey Estate challenged me to run 100 of my 1000 miles on the Estate and I, of course, accepted that challenge.


So my Bolton Abbey miles are 4.6/100. 95.4 to go. That’s doable, right? Well as long as I can get coffee and a bacon sarnie or cake at the end of my Bolton Abbey runs I’m there.

Happy Sunday

Hills and speed and some continuous running

So I managed to get out in spite of the ice the other day but then Monday and Tuesday there were the usual excuses – to dark, too tired, too late now, too full from food.

Wednesday I got home earlier so we went for a run. We went uphill. Up up up towards Ilkley Moor. I forget how relentless it is but Kath took us from landmark to landmark run/walking. My calves held up ok but were tight by the time we got to the top. We turned round and ran all the way back down. It’s a lovely run down. It’s undulating but down all the way if that makes sense. It means that I can run faster than I usually do and sustain it for longer which helps me get used to what a higher pace actually feels like. It was a good session.

Thursday we did our speed work for the week. I don’t like speed work. I find it mentally really hard. I’m actually sure I could physically run faster but somehow I can’t make myself sustain it. Most types of speed work make me really miserable and grumpy. However, the runners world fartlek session which I have blogged about before is sort of ok. This was the 4th time I’ve done it. I could feel the hills in my legs from the day before and I was quite tired. I was fairly sure my pace would be awful. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that I was actually in line with previous attempts. With some more consistent running, hill, speed and strength work I may even improve a bit! (previous attempts in brackets)

  • 10 minute warm up:  12.46 (12.27,12.20, 12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes: 10.35 (10.37,10.26, 10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.09 (10.30, 10.11, 10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 10.23 (11.03, 9.56, 10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 9.37 (10.17, 8.56, 9.52);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute 30 secs: 9.05 (9.41, 9.09 ,9.47) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute: 8.50 (8.41, 9.28, 9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.54 (7.39, 9.17, 8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.36 (7.38, 8.28, 7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 18.38 (14.23, 14.17,15.16) pace

The worst section of this is always the 3 minute run, always. It’s when I nearly give up every time. 3 silly little minutes. Well, I’ll have another go in a couple of weeks or so.

My legs welcomed rest day Friday!

Today we were originally going to do 8 miles at Bolton Abbey but we had a lazy morning instead. We switched our days around and did our 1 hour run today. We set off at the same time but went in different directions – Kath turned back because she wasn’t feeling great – I think I must have passed on my non-distinct crappy feeling from yesterday. I had been running for about 15 minutes when my ankles seemed to just set and my calves went tight. I kept going a little bit but then stopped to walk a little bit. It didn’t ease so I stopped at a bridge and stretched my legs out a bit. Running continuously obviously wasn’t a good plan. I re-set my watch to run/walk and to 5k. That went fine, in fact I was pleased with the relative ease of that run/walk. At the end of the 5k I reset the watch again and walked the 3/4 mile home. 5.6 in total and I have now done more miles than I did in all of January last year.

Ice 1 – 0.5 Jess

I hate slippery conditions. Doesn’t even have to be ice, just a bit greasy will do to freak me out completely. It’s getting worse too. I hate it. But I hate being defeated more. Today I really wanted to try the 8 mile ish loop at Bolton Abbey that forms part of the half marathon course on the 4th February. I was more than happy for it to be a slow run/walk to take in the bits of the route we’ve not run before and to just enjoy being out.

It was cold this morning with a thick frost on the car. The pavements looked icy. Hm. I figured the paths at Bolton Abbey would be fine though, ice doesn’t stick to the gravely paths… Well the car park defeated me. I was in tears with a heart rate well above where it should be before we even made it to the loos. But the paths would be better.

They were better. Much better so we set of running and then hit a couple of patches were it was a little slippery. Nothing at all to worry about really. I managed the first bit by committing and keeping moving but I was irrationally terrified, the sort of fear that you know makes no sense. I knew what to do logically, I could even see a clear path through the next little section but my legs and rational part of my brain couldn’t override the other bit. The bit that was making everything tense and was screaming STOP. Kath stopped us. She said I was just going to hurt myself and she was right so I sobbed my way back to the car and home. I felt like I had lost myself what would no doubt have been a gorgeous run. If only I could just have got my butt through those patches….

I was sulky. I hate being defeated like that. My weekly total was still in single figures, I hadn’t done a long run, it was still cold out, it was gorgeous out… Kath asked if she was ok to go for a run (obviously yes) and said she was tempted to go ‘up’. I was tempted. I thought that maybe she could simply pick me up on her way back down if I plodded along following her up the hill. I got changed and we set off.

IMG_8337We walked the first bit together and there were some icy patches which I whimpered my way through. It’s all about relentless forward motion. I know this. As the road levels a bit before the next climb, Kath set off running (there she is disappearing off into the distance) and I kept walking – the plan was to conserve energy and run the later hills which are more undulating though overall up. I stopped briefly to chat to our neighbour who was walking his dog. Then I crossed the road to set off on my running bit – but the road was slippery. Not icy as such but that sort of funny frosty. I took a few steps and realised that everything was tense and my feet were already starting to hurt. Not sensible.

I turned round, sent Kath a text to confirm I was turning back but she was fine to carry on and set off on a slow jog. I got back to the road and really didn’t want to go back down, it felt like giving up so instead I turned right and followed the road. It was mostly in the full sun so just a few wet patches. It’s a bugger of a pull, always seemed fairly flat

More of a pull than it looks!

in the car – it’s not. Further along there were a couple of sheltered patches where I picked my way through on the grass verge – ‘look ahead, relax, keep moving’. A left turn took me back down into the village. I wasn’t looking forward to the down because I’m not great with down at the best of times and add slipperiness to that… well. But it was ok. I kept to the sunny side and in spite of a few patches of ice I only stopped a couple of times to stand in for cars and take a few pictures. I was about to stop once, running out of mental strength to keep going through an icy patch so I said out loud ‘Stupid girl, you’re fine!’ before realising that there was someone walking just in front (hadn’t seen her because of the bend in the road). I got a bit of an odd look as I went past. At the bottom of this slope I was back on part of our sheep loop and I felt more confident – more like I knew the road and which bits to avoid. I even ran most of the way up Ilkley Road.

Me Stopping for a deep breath and mind re-set before tackling the next section 

So, not the 8 miles I wanted but still 3.12 miles. Slow miles but purposeful miles. I hate icy, it did win today but it didn’t defeat me completely. I feel much better for having gone out again! Tomorrow is another day, maybe with another run!

Week 1 of #Run1000Miles: 12.47 miles and Sunday Weigh in – I’m exactly the same as last week

Hello 2018

Well hello 2018. I’m not sure what to expect from 2018. I don’t know if it will be different, better, worse than 2017. Nothing’s changed from one day to the next, it’s just a change in calendar, diary or filofax insert and if you’ve gone all electronic it’s not even that. But still I quite like the reflection that often comes with a new year. I like the looking back at the year that’s gone, cherishing the memories, laughing at some of the dramas and raising an eyebrow at some of the tantrums. I also like the promise that a new year brings, a whole range of what ifs, new challenges, new adventures or old adventures revisited. There’s something magical about that.

I hope I can continue my running adventure through 2018. I’ve made a good start. After having managed 500 miles in 2017, I would like to have a go at cracking 1000 this year. So I have again signed up to the Trail Running Magazine‘s #Run1000Miles Challenge, as has Kath.

We kicked off our 2018 running year with separate runs and I did just over 5km run/walk with quite niggly calves and sore feet following on from the New Year’s eve 7 miler. It was good to be out though and it was good to get started! After a rest day my legs felt much better. I was also getting anxious about a team building trip I was going

Drowned Rat at 5km Face

Thursday/Friday so I needed to get out and run off some crazy. I managed to run consistently for the first time in quite a while – the driving and cold rain was an incentive. Things started getting niggly just before 5km so I ran to 5km (slowly but lovely to see a time under 40 minutes for that for the first time since I’ve had to run/walk) and then I ran/walked the rest of the flat section and walked up the hill home to complete about 4.5 miles.

Thursday I set off to the Lake District for the outdoorsy team building days I had to go to for work. We weren’t told exactly what we were doing so anxiety levels were high. Day 1 was really just a little walk with some team building problem solving game type activities along the way (yay my favourite – not) and then an abseil. I didn’t relish the thought of the abseil but it was fine. Day 2 was completely not my thing. We went ghyll scrambling at a beck at Coniston. I don’t like

Moody at Windermere

scrambling. I’m not really bothered about being in the water, even fast moving water but I just don’t like scrambling. My ankles are pretty weak (although getting stronger with running off road more) and my core strength is non-existent and I was in so much gear that I felt like I had no range of movement at all. I’m not confident in my footing and I hate slipping etc. So each step, little climb and scramble was just taking me further out of my comfort zone. I was actually relieved when we got to the first pool and I could do a trust fall backwards into a pool and again relieved when we got to the first jump and I could do that and take my mind off the actual scrambling. I quite liked the look of the final jump too but not of the scramble up to it so I didn’t do that one. I was pretty close to a sense of humour fail. But at some point I just disappeared into my own world, counted my steps, forced myself to keep moving forward as if it was mile 19 of a marathon and started to sort of enjoy the physical exertion. I actually started going for more physically demanding routes through the deeper water rather than the slippery exposed rocks. I used my running mantras when I was ready to pack it in and as I got more tired I started smiling more – fools my brain and everyone else.

Today I have been tired. I thought I might have a few achey muscles but nothing actually

Tired me today

aches, I’ve just been tired. When Kath went for her run I actually went up to get changed too, sat down on the bed and fell asleep. Then I’d sort of decided that I was just going to rest today but there was something niggling me and eventually I got my kit on and ran to Kath’s mum’s to drop something off. It’s only just under a mile and a half round trip. I had said that I would see how I was when I got there and would carry on if I felt fine but my legs are soooo tired. Still running a mile and a half is better than nothing at all!

Tomorrow we’re having a look at the Bolton Abbey half marathon route and are planning on running the 8 mile loop which is the first loop of the course. I’ll see how that goes and then make a decision as to whether I’ve missed too much distance running because of my feet or whether I’ll give it a go on the 4th Feb. I’ll probably come last by some way but that’s ok. So the running adventure continues and if I can get round the 8ish miles tomorrow my first January running week will give me a great start to the #Run1000miles challenge.