Toronto Half – the morning after

I feel good about yesterday. I have had a few ‘should have pushed harder up that hill, could have taken a walk break out down this or that slope, should have pushed on through the mental doubts a bit more, could have run just that little faster on the slower miles’ sort of thoughts but actually, I’m happy.

I fell asleep about 8.15pm. I slept really well until 11pm and woke up thinking I’d had a right good night’s sleep. Hm. I dozed off again and slept in fits and starts until 5.30am ish. Still, I feel quite rested this morning and I’m a big fan of afternoon naps! So, let’s see where we are after running 13.1 miles faster than I ever have before

  1. Nothing is injured, nothing really hurts or is really sore
  2. My hip flexors are tight
  3. My calves are tight
  4. My hamstrings are tight
  5. But none of them are ridiculously tight. I’ve had far far worse – it’s what I call smug tightness  – reminds you you achieved something
  6. My feet feel a bit tired and I got one little blister but it doesn’t hurt – it must have popped during the race anyway
  7. Vaseline will have to be my friend for a few days and undergarments will have to be carefully chosen for exactly how they fit and where exactly they sit- should have used bodyglide for bra and knicker line!
  8. I haven’t had any post long run/race cravings and I’m also not eating everything in sight like is normal post running
  9. I’m looking forward to a day of being a tourist

Looking back at the race, we got lots of things right. Having porridge about 3.5 hours before race start works. It could probably be a bit closer, maybe 3 hours but I think previously I have eaten too close to the start – like 90 minutes before and then I get tummy issues. I obviously need longer and yesterday that time frame of 3 hours plus worked. I was beginning to get a little nibblish when we set off but that was fine, that, I think, is the feeling I am aiming for.

I reviewed tailwind for fuel the other day. We used that again yesterday and it worked. I had two 125ml bottles and didn’t actually drink it all. I’d made it up on the strong side. It definitely helped and caused no tummy issues at all. Towards the end –  in the last 5k, my calves were beginning to just be a bit crampy and I had a couple of big sips and it stopped. I think we also got the water stations right – in that we ignored them mostly. I stopped at one because I felt thirsty. I have to walk to drink the water though and then walk a little longer for it to settle. I don’t get the same with sips of tailwind  – I can easily get my bottle out of my pocket, have a sip and put the bottle back within a 30 second walk break. I suspect I could sip it on the run. I think when I focus on water stations I drink more than I need and risk upsetting my tummy. I’m much better with slightly more frequent little sips of tailwind.

With our last order of tailwind we got 4 stick packs of their Rebuild recovery drink. I had packed them so immediately after we finished we picked up our bag and sat down, stretched a little and I made up the recovery drinks. We had one of each flavour. I poured the powder into the water bottles we’d packed and gave the bottles a good shake –  it mixed well. Kath had the chocolate one. She said it was quite nice and that I’d probably like it (safe bet, it’s chocolate). I had the vanilla one. Well. The smell is terrible. As I went to take my first sip I breathed in and nearly gave it up as a bad job. It smells absolutely vile. It’s hard to explain but the smell turned my stomach. I took a sip anyway. It actually tastes better than it smells. It’s drinkable but it wasn’t exactly pleasant. I got it down and at least it doesn’t have a lingering after taste. I do think the recovery drink helped though. Kath did not go flakey like she often does straight after a long run so there was no rush or stress to find somewhere for food and for both of us it stopped the post run cravings and munchies. I also think the lack of any real soreness is due to having it and of course due to keeping moving. It seems Rebuild does exactly what it says on the tin (well packet and website) and I really do think it helped repair muscles and restore energy.

Today is all about active recovery. We’re going to explore the Distillery District and when we get tired later we might come back to the hotel and have a swim – we may also have to venture to the Eaton centre – we never go shopping unless we’re away somewhere. Somehow it seems more fun when on holiday.

Happy Monday!

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.


7 miles – mostly awesome with a little bit of awful

I am actually sort of sticking to our training plan at the moment. Not always exactly but I am getting the runs in, I am stretching fairly consistently and I’ve done the strength exercises several times this last week. Today’s run was to be 7 miles. Well, I haven’t run 7 miles in one go since last September at the Disneyland Paris half marathon. I have run more than 7 miles in a day three times since then I think but split into several runs (like at Endure 24). I am a bugger for avoiding hills so my instinct is always to go for my long runs along the canal. Kath, sensibly, has other ideas. Running on the flat will not prepare me for the Lakeland Trails events! I need to do some undulations at least. With that in mind we headed to Bolton Abbey for the 7 miles today.

It was nice running weather, not too warm but not cold and it stayed dry. The recent rain means that there was a lot of river coming down the river (as it were) and the noise from the Wharfe was quite deafening in places and sat in contrast to the still sections we passed later on where the dominant sound was birdsong. We walked up the first slope to get going and then set off. We’d agreed to go for intervals and while my default has been 2 minute runs with 1 minute walks for ages I know that I can do better than that and have just fallen into the habit of having 1 minute walk breaks. We therefore settled on 30 seconds walks. That was absolutely fine and in spite of hills I felt strong until just after 4 miles when I began to feel it a little. At just before mile 5 there was a short sharp downhill that is steep. It’s also concrete rather than the gravel-y path you find in most places there and it felt slippery. I went into wimp mode and walked very tentatively (idiot!), then I slipped slightly and panicked and froze completely. I physically couldn’t move. Kath had to come back and manoeuvre me onto the verge where my trail shoes could do their thing. Safely down and somewhat calmer we continued our run/walk (with a bit of extra ‘walk’) until just about 6 miles. The last mile we ran non-stop. We looped round the car park a couple of times to get to the 7 miles but it felt good to finish strong. Even though my legs were tired at the end they’ve recovered well throughout the day and I am looking forward to our 1 hour run tomorrow.

I was tuned into sound today rather than anything else. Kath saw the back end of a deer disappear into the wood, I missed it. I also missed other things she saw but I seemed to spend most of the loop listening the changing sounds coming from the river. The stillness in some sections, the gentle lapping of little waves in others and the thunder of the choppy sections. I was obviously in listening rather than seeing mode.

I ran on empty this morning. I did take a little water bottle and a porridge bar just in case but didn’t feel like I needed either. So 7 miles on empty is fine (I did eat sensibly and hydrate quite well yesterday I think). Anyway, good running day which we followed with good pub grub and cake for Mum’s birthday!

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