Run 2 of Week 2

Happy International Cat Day from our 4 boys. I did run 2 of week 2 with Kath early this morning before it got too hot. Bloody hell 3 minutes is a long time when you’re unfit and trying to run uphill. Even thinking of it as an upwards flat section which usually makes me giggle didn’t really help. But there we are, run done. When we got back we figured we might as well do our other exercises while we were already sweaty.

I had a 30 minute endurance workout and it didn’t really go to plan. Well it did, in that I did a 30 minute workout. But my music app stop working after 2 songs leaving me with no music and just my outrageous breathing to listen to. I don’t run with music – I like the sounds around me, particularly the bird song etc and I like to hear others coming. But the idea of doing a strength or endurance workout without music is just miserable. I could have paused the workout I think and sorted the music but that didn’t occur to me until later. Then my arms did not want to play at all. Does that just mean I used them properly during my run? I nearly face planted after 15 seconds of high plank which I am sure would have been hilarious for anyone watching. My legs were also a bit tired so the workout was a struggle and had I had the energy I might have sworn quite a lot. I have a rest day tomorrow although if I am awake early I might like to do the next run on the list.

After a shower and a delicious breakfast of griddled nectarines, asparagus, parma ham and burrata we enjoyed the morning sun with a coffee before springing into action. Kath washed and polished the car and I cleaned our BBQ ready for lunch. Kath made a lovely apple coleslaw to go with some pork steaks and we sat on our patio soaking up the sun and having lunch using our Disney picnic set. It cheered me up. With the January Disney trip cancelled I am missing the planning, the booking restaurants, the anticipation and the coming together of plans as the holiday draws nearer. We would be in full blown restaurant booking mode now, possibly hunting for particular time slots in particular places – like a California Grill reservation that ensures we can watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from the roof terrace. Anyway, going full Disney for lunch was nice.

We’ve been trying new food ideas out this week. Mostly they come from the Joe Wicks books. This isn’t about dieting or losing weight but about getting the food right to feel healthy and strong. We have both been dipping in energy levels massively in the afternoon and Kath in particular noticed that her fuelling isn’t right for her running. So we have tried to plan food for the week to link to the exercise we’re doing and see if that helps. So far the recipes we have tried have been really good and not difficult or time consuming to make. It’ll be good to add some new things to our usual list. I’ll let you know how we get on.

So overall today has felt like an overall positive day. No major slumps in energy or in mood. I am tired now but a normal sort of tired, not a crap day sort of tired. I’m not saying I have settled into being on leave fully but I do think I am winding down properly. And I also think running first thing helps. And maybe sleeping outside in the summer house adds to the feeling of adventure and relaxation – hedgehogs certainly do!

Week 3 of marathon training

Well week three of marathon training didn’t go to plan. Nothing happened to de-rail the plan, I just didn’t go out to run. I started off ok with a loop out on Tuesday for my 30 minute run. Painfully slow and not exactly fun but done on the right day and ticked off. On Thursday for run two my anxiety levels were through the roof and I decided not to go because it was the sort of anxiety that would just make a run miserable and counter-productive. There was always Friday.

Odin – just over 8 weeks old

Well Friday there was but I was dead on my feet. I felt absolutely knackered and could barely keep my eyes open. Ok, I thought, well I can go out Saturday and Sunday and still get the runs in. The gap and then back to back is a bit inconsistent and annoying but it’s ok. Well Saturday was such as non day. I struggled. It was one of those quite physical depression days. I barely moved off the sofa and everything I did just didn’t seem to turn our right. The lunch I made wasn’t very nice, the bread I made slightly overdone and then while playing with Odin he scratched me on across my eye. What I should have done on any of these days is get up and just get the running bit done. The longer I am awake, the less likely it is I will get out – but of course depression also means that getting out of bed early is just impossible. So let’s try and remember that going out for a run as soon as I am awake enough to do so is a good plan and see if that helps a little for week 4!

I managed to go out this morning. I managed to haul my arse round 4 miles. It was painfully slow and looking at the stats afterwards just makes me miserable and grumpy (so let’s not look). But it’s done. I’m down one run this week and I will try and catch it up in week 4. It’ll make me feel better. So for this coming week I would like to run my 30minute ish runs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and then my long run of 5.5 miles on Saturday or Sunday. That should be do-able. I’d quite like the rain to stay actually because there was hardly anyone out and about today and I’d sort of forgotten that I actually quite like running in the rain.

As for cross-training, I am really conscious that I have hardly done anything and that I should. However, I am also conscious that having a plan of stuff to do seems to stress me out. I need to find a better way of doing some strength work and stretching without it feeling like it is too much or freaking me out. So maybe for this coming week I’ll just say I’d like to do something, let’s say twice. Yes something twice sounds ok. I’ll go with that.

I’ve been doing the Sunday (now Monday) weigh-ins and the scales are not moving at all. I guess that means they’re not going up and of course I am not really surprised they’re not going down. I have not changed anything for any weight to actually come off. I do think making our own treats – like these yummy Mickey Ears scones Kath made – helps. There is something nice and more mindful about eating stuff we’ve made (and there is generally less crap in home made stuff). Cooking from scratch also helps, being bored, not moving much and not drinking enough water doesn’t help. It’ll come eventually, as I get back into running (well, presuming this iteration of my running journey mirrors the last) my relationship with food will also change again. I will crave fresh fruit and crunchy veg (broccoli mostly) where I now crave the comfort of mashed potato made with loads of butter and I will inevitably start drinking much more water. I’ll keep you posted.

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.

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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!

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Sunday weigh-in is back

Right, well. You can’t out-train a bad diet. Julie Creffied of Too Fat to Run said this in her recent blog post and I’ve been thinking about this since. It’s absolutely true and in my experience so far running actually isn’t that brilliant for weight loss. Of course when you go from not really doing very much to running regularly chances are you’ll drop a pound or two but after that I’ve found that it’s great for maintaining weight and also for changing shape but not for getting lighter. Particularly when the distances get longer, fuelling becomes so important as does rest. However being lighter makes running easier.

I am about a stone heavier than I was at Dopey. For my next Dopey attempt I’d like to be a stone lighter than I was then. Plenty of time but nonetheless worth thinking about my diet and whether it is actually bad. Well, no, overall it isn’t. We mostly cook from scratch and have very little processed food. We probably eat a little too much meat but overall our 3 meals a day are pretty balanced and generally healthy (without being saintly). I do have a sweet tooth though and I do eat quite mindlessly a lot of the time meaning that sometimes I’ll have something just because it’s lunchtime or tea time or I’ll eat more than I really need because it takes a while to realise I’m full. I do also snack. Mostly healthy snacks though – fruit, nuts… but then the sweet tooth kicks in.

We also eat out a fair bit and I’m not that good at making healthy choices or not having pudding when we go out. The other thing, and I suspect this might be a key thing, is that I don’t drink enough water so I suspect that sometimes when I think I’m hungry, I might actually just be thirsty. So just to focus the mind a little bit, I’m bringing the Sunday weigh-ins back. I’d given up getting on the scales – they’ve resolutely stayed exactly the same since January and I know that the number on there means far less than how I feel and other measurements but I think I need a bit of focus. So baseline set today. Next weigh-in will be next Sunday – we’re away Thurs-Sunday so we’ll see. The aim is to be consistently back to Dopey weight by the time we get to the Lakeland Trails runs in October. That weight is my sort of plateau weight so getting there and then staying there will be  challenge. If I can maintain there for a while I can then push on to loose a little bit more.

As for running – I went yesterday on my own. I ran just under a mile to our sheep, fed them and then carried on to do just under 2.5 miles running and then the half mile walk back up the hill. It felt like hard going really but I was glad I got out. I’m not getting my fuelling quite right at the moment and my tummy isn’t settling well for running but I guess doing some is better than nothing.

Rest Days, Planning and Mad Cyclists

No running today and my legs, hips and lower back are quite pleased about that. After the epic trail running session on Friday, yesterday we planned a roughly 10k Bolton Abbey Loop. That’s double our usual loop.

After the trail run on Friday my legs were tired and I could feel muscles I never normally feel. You definitely use your legs differently when you are running on different surfaces and uneven ground. I was looking forward to running a more familiar loop where I knew where to put my feet. We set off from the top of the first slope and I felt pretty comfortable for a little while. I did however notice that my calf muscles were quite tight, particularly on the right. Still, I was quite happy plodding along. In fact I was happy IMG_4828plodding along for most of the way round but when pushing up the hills I could feel my calf protest and towards the end there was a little niggle in my achilles. Because of those niggles we decided not to do the full 10k but finish at the bridge at the Pavilion which took me to 4.5 miles. Kath decided she wanted 5 miles so she went on a little while I bought breakfast.

It was a nice run with a number of little walk breaks and stops to watch birds. We saw several nuthatches and chaffinches, a wagtail or two and a dipper. It was a lovely run but part of me was still disappointed at the amount of walking, the slow pace and the fact that I cut it short – even though all of those things were perfectly sensible and the right things to be doing. I feel ok about it now but I do IMG_4868have to try really hard to remember that going out and doing 4.5 miles at a slow and steady pace is a perfectly respectably thing to do and nobody is laughing at me.

So today is a rest day which is nice. It’s been quite nice to not worry about exactly when to eat or work out a route and things and it was nice to not get up early and head out. As I said, my body was ready for a day off but the good news is that nothing hurts or even really aches. I’m just aware that things are a bit tired. We had a lovely lunch at the Slow Food Kitchen which has just moved into our local pub and then we walked to the end of the road to watch the cyclists on the Tour De Yorkshire zoom passed. It was quite fun to watch the huge Screenshot 2017-04-30 17.39.20number of police and support motorbikes come down the hill, some looking rather terrified and only one or two taking a hand off to wave. The cyclists themselves zoomed passed in seconds and I really do think I’ll stick to running. Given that I get scared running downhill I can’t really see myself zooming down the hill on two wheels.

Anyway, over the last few days we have been working out a training plan to take us to the Endure24 race at the beginning of July. Here is May mapped out in the lovely planner from the Too Fat To Run Clubhouse:

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It starts with me having another go at the 5.5 mile trail loop tomorrow. Looking forward to it. We’ve also been looking at possible races and are quite tempted by the 14km Ullswater trail run.