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.

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:

Ingredients

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

Method

  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