Holiday Running

Right, cards on the table: I am half a stone (pretty much exactly) heavier than I was before my holiday. I can feel it. My pants are tight, I feel heavier and our run today was evidence that booze, Mickey waffles, puddings and Disney World sized portions for 10 days plus jet lag make running when you’re back home pretty miserable. Still, no regrets, not really. Just need to refocus on moving my butt more now.

August was a high mileage month. I clocked up 84.05 miles and the plan was always for the first half of September to be a bit of a rest. We wanted to run in Florida but shorter distances and not every day. Well, we did run. We managed 4 short runs. I was hoping for a few more miles but it was hard going. So, run 1 was on the 7th September, we got up early and headed out in the dark. We left the hotel and headed towards the Magic Kingdom. We were hoping to pick up the path towards the Grand Floridian Hotel but as we got level with the Magic Kingdom entrance we were turned back by some self-important Disney employee who insisted it wasn’t safe for us to be running there. It was annoying but we just headed back and went round the hotel running loop instead. The loop is only 0.9miles long but it’s not an unpleasant route. It was hot and humid – oh goodness the humidity. Running in that was hard, harder than I’d imagined. Anyway – here’s run number one on Relive – and me hot and sweaty at the end of it.

IMG_7110 copy

The second run was another early morning run and the humidity was again intense. I did two loops of the running loop. Kath did a bit more. Then I was done. It was just too hard to breathe. How do people run in that? I was soaked in sweat before I even started running and basically just a giant puddle within a few steps. Still, going out for 1.8 miles was better than no miles! Here’s the loop.

Runs 3 and 4 were either side of hurricane Irma. We had watched the news coverage of the hurricane making its way towards Florida and into Southern Florida. It looked scary. We were being told that we were in the safest place around and the hotel were great at reassuring us and giving us information on what to do. We were under curfew from 7pm on Sunday to 6pm on Monday. So on Sunday afternoon we went for a little trot round the hotel loop before the curfew kicked in. It was already very windy and there had been a significant amount of rain already. It was raining a little while we ran but it wasn’t anything compared to what we saw later in the day, overnight and on Monday. It was still hot but not as humid so actually the 2.25 miles felt much easier than the previous 2 runs. Just at the end of this run I hit my 350 miles year to date milestone too so it felt pretty good and the towels at the door came in handy!

Once we were allowed out again on Monday we went for a walk round the hotel grounds and surveyed the damage. There was surprisingly little damage and the clear-up had already started.

Tuesday morning we set out again. We’d celebrated Irma passing the evening before with a bottle of wine and more pudding so we both felt sluggish and bleurgh and the humidity was back so I just managed 1.25 miles but I did run a little stretch of it with a squirrel who seemed to have forgotten that stepping off the path was an option for it.

Now we’re back home and today I went for my first run. I was actually supposed to run on Friday after landing but jet lag is a bitch and there was no way I was running anywhere, I was barely functioning. Kath ran yesterday but I was in London for work so today I just had to get it over with. It was fairly horrible. I managed to run the first mile, then I ran walked the second and then walked the third. My ankles tightened up really badly and my feet were achey. Still, it feels good to have the first one out of the way and I am sure the next run will be better. Here’s a reminder that actually, mostly, we do enjoy running!

IMG_7217 copy

Hating it

I hated running today. No reason at all really. I slept quite well. I was a little reluctant to get up but it was a gorgeous, sunny day and I wasn’t too concerned about 10 miles. We set off and unlike last time I attempted the 10 miles, I settled almost immediately. I found my ploddy pace and it all felt fine. Except that I hated it. From the first few steps I was really not enjoying myself. It felt like a colonoscopy, or as I put on Facebook, a colonoscopy while having my teeth pulled without anaesthetic, would be more enjoyable. Running, even though it didn’t feel particularly hard, was absolutely the last thing I wanted to be doing.

Eventually a mile was done. Hm, still hating it. At about one and 3/4 miles we got to the end of the footpath and walked a little to cross the road. Hating it. I tried not to show it. I didn’t want to let Kath down. I managed to run the slope (I walked most of it last time) and eventually we started the downhill. Easy running. Hated it. 2 miles done, 3 miles done. Hating it. I thought I’d try and run to 4 miles and then have a little walk break but for some reason – I can’t even remember why – we walked a little earlier at just over 3.5 miles. I’d been trying so hard to not let Kath know that I was hating it but somehow I blurted it out. We tried running a bit more but I couldn’t make myself go any further. Maybe if I hadn’t walked I would have slogged it out, hating every step but slogging –  but I couldn’t bring myself to start again and go back to each stupid f-ing step being so f-ing bloody awful (except it wasn’t really awful, running had been relatively easy actually, just not in any way enjoyable). I gave up, I stopped the watch at 4 miles and walked the additional mile home.

Sometimes running is just crap.

Planning September and October

I’m having a rest day today. Kath’s been out for just over 3 miles but I do think I need a bit of a rest. It’s a bank holiday here so I have done bank holiday things – taking time over breakfast, sipping coffee, contemplating life, getting excited about our holiday… that sort of thing.

The other day Kath was planning the next few months of running keeping in mind our IMG_6954goals and planned races etc. Here I’ll share the next couple of months with you (any further out than that and it’s too liable to change). So for August I have two runs left really – they are the usual 45 minute ‘maintenance’ runs (to use Galloway speak). Hm. They may have to be a bit longer because if I can cover 10.35 miles before Friday I will have covered 90 miles this month. I’d also like to get to 350 year to date miles before we go to Disney which, with another 10 miler planned on Saturday should be in the bag.

Then we go to Disney World for 10 nights and don’t have a plan as such. We’re taking running gear and we want to get out for a few little runs, just a couple of miles round the resort maybe. We’ll see how it goes. The whole point is to have a couple of low mileage weeks seeing as both of us have recorded higher mileage than, possibly, ever before in August. So the plan really kicks off on the day we land: 15th September: 10k easy (it won’t be easy but it will help kick the jetlag into touch). So here’s the plan starting this week. I’ve used the 12 week Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse template.

Sept/October training plan

So Mondays are generally complete rest days and Wednesday is generally strength yoga day and Friday is a general yoga day – plenty to chose from on the Yoga Studio app we have. We do try and do some stretches/yoga after every run as well as some strength exercises most days. Our next races are mid October – the Lakeland Trails Dirty Double (Helvellyn and Ullswater challenges). I was really nervous about these but the last couple of weeks of running have shown that I should be fine. The time is generous and I’m not running them for a PB – just to have fun and hopefully enjoy some spectacular views and/or bracing Lake District weather.

There isn’t anything on this plan I’m worried about. I think the hardest bit might be getting ourselves out for a 10k on the day we get back from Florida. I think we land about 7.30 in the morning so if all goes to plan should be home by 10.30-11am ish depending on how long luggage takes and what the traffic is like. I’m not sure what’s best, short cat nap and then run?

I like that the plan takes into account real life. That we have weekends away which don’t involve running and that that’s fine. I read something the other day (can’t remember where – some online thing) about running completely dominating and everything else having to be organised around that and I don’t think I’d like that. But then I suppose I am more flexible than many in terms of when I can run during the week. Anyway – that’s the plan. As the sayings go, if you don’t plan, you plan to fail and rules are there to be broken so these are our running rules for the next couple of months and they can (and probably will) be broken, moved, stretched and re-written.

Tentative Ten and Accidental Five

I didn’t set out to run 5 miles today. But I did. Well I ran some of the 5 mile outing, possibly most of it but I had a great time. But let’s start at the beginning. I put off running all week. Somehow I never really quite got round to getting my butt out the door. I did go to the gym on Thursday and did a bit on the bike and some strength work but my hip was a bit niggly so I spent time stretching and then walked on a fairly steep incline on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I wanted to be sure I could manage the planned 10 miler at the weekend. Eeek. On Friday I finally got my butt out for a little run. I used the Too Fat to Run? Clubhouse training run which was a Take 5 run. So you run to cover 5k, take 5 pictures and note 5 things you’ve enjoyed about the run. Here are 5 photos from that run: First bit of proper trail on the run (and a bugger of a slope but you can’t tell on the picture), blackberries, downhill across the old golf course, heron by the canal, me.

Then came the 10 miler. We’d thought about Bolton Abbey and doing our extended plus normal loop but then we were awake early and thought we could go closer to home rather than wait for Bolton Abbey to open. Then we had an argument about the route (mainly because I got canal bridges muddled in my head so we argued about distances), got grumpy, bitched at each other a bit, got over it and had breakfast. We decided to do our 1 hour run instead and the ten miler the day after. At lunchtime we decided we could try for the 10 miles after all, agreed the route (now that wasn’t so hard was it!) and set off.

I never really settled down properly. I ran the first mile, walked a little in the second, then ran the third and most of the 4th although I wondered whether I should just do the 1 hour and have another go at the ten another time. I felt like I was cheating, not doing it right – but then I thought that as I was out, I might as well try and do it now. Seemed silly to have to worry about it all over again. Towards the end of the 4th mile we walked a little and I had a couple of sips of the torque energy drink we had in our bottles. When we set off running again at about 5 miles I got really nasty tummy cramps and nearly threw up everywhere. I walked a bit, tried again and felt very very uncomfortable. We walked a bit more and then sat on a little wall watching a heron on the opposite side of the canal. Here he is just before he crossed over to where we watched him.


I’d pretty much decided to give up and walk to the golf course bridge and up towards home but as Kath pointed out, I’d done 6 miles, seemed silly not to carry on. I tried running a little and while uncomfortable, I was no longer in pain and no longer felt sick so I settled back into running very slowly for mile 7 where we saw another heron and a little further on a group of swallows seemingly playing around two moored canal boats.  Then we turned back towards home run/walking mile 8 and 9 trying to walk up hill as fast as I could and stopping briefly to say hello to Dino – the last time we’d ever run past him as he was being picked up by his new owner later.

The we walked most of mile 10. My hips and lower back were tight, as were my calves and I was now feeling the lack of fuel but otherwise I didn’t feel too bad and I recovered really well once I had some water and food in me. I was grumpy initially for having walked so much but that grumpiness has gone. I did 10 miles. I learned a bit and I’m looking forward to having another go. I also did pretty well on a number of strava segments in spite of my walk breaks and the distance. I am excited about the distance and doing it without it being a massive big deal – which it was the first time I attempted double figures.

Today we were supposed to do an hour. I woke up feeling a few after effects of the 10 miles but nothing too bad. Calves a little tight maybe but they soon got moving. I did want to be careful though so decided not to run first thing and wait until everything had got moving and I was sure nothing hurt. Then it got hot and then we thought it might be busy and we didn’t want people so we ended up going late afternoon after having had a curry for lunch. To make her miles up to this week Kath wanted 6 miles. I’d thought about an hour gentle, slow plod with walking to look at things and thought maybe 4 ish miles for me, max. Really I just wanted to go for a walk with the odd little run thrown in. 3 miles would have been fine!

So we set off at the same time, going the same route. Kath went ahead and when she got to 3 miles she was going to turn round and collect me on the way back. I figured that if I was going about 13.5 minute miles and she was going about 10 minute miles we wouldn’t be too far off and it’d be close enough to an hour. I was so proud of her as she sped away down Ilkley Road into the distance. By the time I got the the end of the road and turned left she’d gone. I didn’t see her again until she came back to meet me.

I was going too fast. I didn’t mean to. I felt quite comfortable for the first mile and a bit

Where the Weasel Wasn’t (ok, Mink)

and then I was suddenly aware of the sun and felt hot so at a mile and a half I walked for a minute and then set off again. I still felt good and even though I was consciously trying to slow down, I didn’t by much. At two miles I decided to walk because I didn’t want to suddenly feel tired when Kath came back. I also didn’t really want to go much further. I wanted this to be an easy run. I walked and as I did I saw movement in the water. ‘Cool’, I thought, ‘a water vole’ but it was the wrong shape and size. I swam straight at me and I got a good look. It was a mink. It hadn’t seen me. It moved gracefully through the water, totally unconcerned and I marvelled at how absorbed it was in doing what it was doing (which may have been just swimming for the fun of it). As soon as I moved to get my phone for a picture though, it clocked me and disappeared. Kath had seen it too it turned out.

At 3.36 miles I decided to run slowly to the next bridge because I’d got bored walking.


I thought I could wait there for Kath. She was going fast when I last saw her so she couldn’t be far off (Yes that was over 2 miles ago but still). I didn’t have to wait long at all but while I did I watched some cows and their calves in the field opposite and then as we started back we saw the little calf frolicking in another field. Lovely to watch.

We ran about a mile and I was finding it harder now but just as I was getting a bit grumpy about finding it hard, there was the now so familiar (but always exciting) flash of blue and orange and a kingfisher came past, stopped on a branch as if gently teasing us, before flying off again, flying a couple of loops over the canal and disappearing into the distance. I managed a bit further and then walked for a bit to let my tummy settle. Curry for lunch pre run was turning out not to be the best idea I’ve ever had. We ran walked to the end of the canal section and then ran up the short sharp hill into a little housing estate, walked up through a snicket and up and up and up home. I did run a bit of the slope (it’s a f-ing hill) but I felt no need to push on past the pub or up our road. I felt really happy with my weekend running and wanted to finish with that feeling. 5 miles. 5 really easy miles. Yes I walked and yes my tummy wasn’t great towards the end but it was a lovely 5 miles and it wasn’t a big deal. My ‘not a big deal’ numbers are going up and I’m quite excited about that! I’m also excited that I am now fit enough to accidentally run/walk 5 miles the day after completing 10!

Oh – Sunday Weigh-in. Same as last week.


Running with (a) purpose

I’ve had a few good runs but haven’t blogged about them yet. I’ve been busy working on my book, clearing out the study, moving furniture and organising the sale of remaining sheep equipment. I feel like running has been good really. After the Simon’s Seat adventure last weekend, the next run was awesome. It was meant to be our long slow run. Initially we were meant to do back to back runs but I needed a rest day so we went out on Tuesday. I quickly settled into a really nice steady paced rhythm and just kept plodding. We saw 6 herons along the way and a kingfisher at the end. When we saw the first two herons I thought ‘I’ll run a non-stop mile for each heron I see’ and then I kept bloody seeing them! I didn’t stop plodding though until I had reached the bridge to come off the canal and walk up the hill. I even managed to speed up a little in the last half mile and I never felt like I wanted to or needed to stop. We did a total of about 7.3 miles and I ran 6.6 miles of that without stopping. I was (still am) excited about that.

We then had another couple of rest days (well I did, I think Kath went out) and on Friday went out for a little potter round after work. We ran down to the canal, along the canal bank and then up the golf course and home. 3.6 miles I think. Saturday got busy with IMG_6910sorting furniture and books so I didn’t run. We’d got all geared up to do parkrun with our new bar code thingies (technical term that!)  but in the end we didn’t go to parkrun because the fair was in town in the park making the course narrower in places and just not very nice. So today the plan had the fartlek session on it. I don’t really like any sort of pressure of having to try and go fast but I was also sort of intrigued to see if I’d improved at all. We took some furniture on to a friend’s in Bingley yesterday and forgot the screws, nuts and bolts so I suggested we could run on this morning and drop them off. So the plan was to do the Fartlek session going towards Bingley, drop the stuff off and then run/walk back.

So here are the Fartlek stats from this morning – 4.08 miles at 12.37 minutes per mile average. Last time’s pace in brackets. I’m pretty pleased with that and as an added bonus I have earned myself the 3rd of the RunDisney virtual run series medal with that

  • 10 minute warm up:  12.20 pace (12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes: 10.26 (10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.11 (10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 9.56 (10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 8.56 (9.52 – I think, deleted it by mistake and can’t be bothered to check);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1.5 minutes: 9.09 (9.47) pace;IMG_6943
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute:  9.28 (9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 9.17 (8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 8.28 (7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 14.17 (15.16) pace

The first 5 minute faster run felt good, the 4 minutes was hell, the 3 minutes was doable, I needed the rest but recovered well, I liked the 2 minutes, I really struggled for the 90 second run, the 1 minute was ok and then I realised with complete terror that some of the next 30 sec run would be down the steep hill at 5 Rise Locks. Absolutely terrified I sort of flung myself down the hill for the last 15 seconds of the run. The next and final 30 seconds I felt like I was going really really fast so I’m bemused (and a little disappointed) to see that it was a fair bit slower than last time on that one. Oh well. The cool down took us right to where we needed to be and then we set off back.

The way back was 3.78 miles in 1 hour 6 minutes and 5 seconds. We walked lots -watching ducks, fieldfares, swifts, gold finches, sparrows and a blue tit. We also tried out a new footpath so came up off the canal earlier than we would and made our way along the path which is perfectly runnable with just a few tricky bits which might need a few walk steps.

I’m running purposefully and happy at the minute. Hope you are too!

Oh Sunday Weigh-In: I have lost just a smidge under 2 pounds.