It’s a Sunday in December. It feels cold. It has been grey all day and I am not sure it ever really got light. There’s been wet stuff falling from the sky or just hanging in the air and even our youngest two cats don’t want to go outside. It’s the sort of weather that would usually make me pull the duvet over my head and hide, reach for more mince pies and just alternate mugs of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and hot water until it is time for a hot bath a hot water bottle and bed. In short, it’s a West Yorkshire December Sunday.
A run today certainly would have been, erm, let’s say bracing and actually if fitter I might have quite enjoyed a relatively speedy sheep loop followed by a shower and lounging in front of the fire. But I am not fit and speedy isn’t an option at the moment. But just staying in wasn’t an option either because Kath and I are doing the Lakeland Lapland Festive Virtual Ultra. It started on 7pm on the 10th and runs to the 22nd December and in that time we need to cover a total of 234km between us as Team Double Dopey. It works out at 9.75km each every day for 12 days (with the cushion of a 13th day if we need it because of the activity upload window they allow). My plan was always to walk mostly as I really wasn’t sure how I would be doing at this point. The plan was also for Kath to cover most of the distance and me to contribute as much as I can. And that is pretty much how it is working out.
The challenge has been good for getting us out of the house more than we would have otherwise. We started with a walk round the neighbourhood on the 10th, then we had a run each and a joint walk on the 11th and yesterday we both ran and today we walked together. I spent most of yesterday being disappointed with my run and most of today being quite proud of it. I changed the running intervals from 15 seconds to 30 seconds and thought I would run our sheep loop with an added loop we call the farm loop. It goes along the canal but instead of out and back along the canal it loops round some back streets and through a farm yard.
I managed the intervals quite well. I slowed to slower than slow snail’s pace through the muddy bits down the hills and my feet were getting sore because I tense them too much but it was all fine. I stopped at a canal bridge to chat to one of our friends and while there saw Kath coming back from the farm loop. She stopped too, briefly and then I set off again and she came with me to keep me company on the rest of my run. I’d got cold so getting going again took a bit of effort. I didn’t make the farm loop but did a shorter out and back and kept the intervals going until just after 5km. Then I walked the remaining 2km home to make sure I didn’t injure anything that was niggling. I am happy with that – though I wasn’t yesterday – it’s a good run/walk effort and I keep forgetting just how poorly I was and how much better I am doing. Patience…
We finished yesterday on exactly 50km. Today My legs felt tired but mostly my feet were both quite sore. My right calf muscle also felt tight. That and one look at the weather meant I decided I wasn’t going to run today but would get wrapped up for a walk instead. Kath agreed. So we set off in the grey drizzle that, over the course of our nearly 11km, just got worse and worse. We both grumbled a bit about being cold and my feet were a bit tender in sections but it was also really nice to be outside. Towards the end we started talking about having hot chocolate to warm us up when we got in and somehow just that in itself was lovely. The anticipation of hot chocolate and dry socks is something powerful indeed. The last km or so was quite tough. I was tired. Part of me was grumpy about that. I have no business being tired after a 10km walk that wasn’t even marching or striding out but I am trying to be kind. I am still recovering and slowly slowly building fitness. The last bit was also into a headwind that was driving the now quite heavy rain straight into our faces so it wasn’t much fun. But then we were home and quite soon we were warming up from the inside with hot chocolate (80Noir Ultra of course) and our feet were dry and cozy and the daily distance for the Lakeland Lapland ultra were in the bag. And that feels like a good day.
Late morning today I decided I wanted to head out and add some kms to Team Double Dopey’s efforts in the Lakeland Lapland Festive Ultra which Kath and I signed up to in what must have been a fit of madness. 234km between us over 12 days. Yep fine. Not an issue… aaaargh. Anyway I will do a separate post on that adventure in due course. For now, the plan was simply to add a few miles to our total.
I set off with my 15 second run/45 walk alert set and in spite of the very grey day it felt nice to be out. Sometimes I really like low visibility – it means I can’t see how far I potentially have to go and it pushes me to just stay in the moment. Right there. Not even thinking about the next step, just this one. As I set off I realised I was bored of 15 seconds. I decided I would just slowly run the first part of the route without walking. It’s all downhill. I thought it might be nice to see if I could manage that without being too knackered later on. I know I have a tendency to go too fast or miss too many walk breaks early on so I agreed with myself (it was a conversation, I’m an awkward sod even with myself) that I would run no further than to the point where my route levels off – probably just over half a mile in. I did as I was told (by me).
It was happy running. I gently made my way down the hill and it actually felt good not to be stop-starting. I went very slowly, conscious that I haven’t run for any length of time for quite a while. It felt good. Comfortable, familiar. I got the the bottom of the hill and levelled off and used the walk breaks. So ok I was breathing a little harder but I was hardly really out of breath. That’s so exciting to write. I was not out of breath! I haven’t been able to say that about walking upstairs for some time! So I was on a happy plod and settling into my intervals. All was good and as I turned a corner and headed for another slight downhill I decided to try another couple of minutes of running. Towards the end of that run something didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t work out what, took the next walk break and then set off again and then I realised: My boobs were not as contained as they should be. In fact they were well on their way to escaping completely and given the running, not entirely happy with their new found freedom and bounce.
My breasts had been granted their freedom by the zip on my bra most definitely not staying zipped. It was millimetres from coming undone completely. It was not in a place where it could discreetly be pulled back up, no, that would not have been 2020 enough. My route, deserted until this point had of course also become busy. I stopped to walk and smiled at the runner coming towards me. Once he passed there was a short window of opportunity in which I could unzip my jacket, untuck my top, reach under and re-engage and pull up the zip before a dog walker would round the corner and be in full view. If I got this wrong, the dog walker would get rather more than he bargained for when he set off on his walk. I was also banking on the two cyclists behind me staying put and continuing their conversation rather than setting off again and coming past me and on the couple walking in the same direction in front of me not turning round. Operation ‘put breasts back in place’ was a success and I think the only one who got an eye full was the dog running ahead of its human.
I tried to run a bit more but the zip had clearly had enough of keeping the escapees in and every time I ran more than about 5 steps it gave up a little. So lesson learned: Whatever the marketing crap says – sports bras with a zip at the front should never leave the house. In case you want to know, it was a Sainsbury’s Active Non Wired Sports Bra. I’ve worn it for yoga and for some HIIT workouts too and I actually really liked it before today. It has never shown signs of neglecting its duties before and I haven’t had it long enough or worn it often enough for it to be tired, jaded or bored of its job just yet. I suppose it just doesn’t like running. Well once I have finished sulking with it, it can go on yoga duty. I suppose I should just be grateful that it is December so even if I were the sort of runner who runs in just a sports bra, I wouldn’t have been out in just the bra on a day like today. Although if I had I might have noticed the issue a bit sooner.
Anyway, that didn’t go to plan but the end result is a rather pleasing looking distance.