Splish Splash I was having a….

Run. I was having a run. No that sounds wrong. I was running. Well sort of. I was out there putting one foot in front of the other at varying paces. It looked like it was going to be another of those days where it just doesn’t happen. I have a ton of marking to do – the kind that takes forever because it’s formative so needs even more detailed feedback, we went out for lunch and that took longer than we wanted it to and the weather – urgh.

Anyway, I had ordered some new trainers ridiculously reduced – some Inov8 Roclite 305 gore-tex ones for under 50 quid. I mean it would have been rude not to. So I set myself a target of 5 more essays and then I could/had to go run. I put long pants on – yep time for big girl pants, too cold for 3/4 now I reckon – a long-sleeved top, my rain jacket and then because light was fading fast, a bright neon yellow t-shirt over the top. I looked a right plonker but I wasn’t about to be cold! Then I put the new shoes on and set off.

I can’t really do a proper review because it was only a short plod and I walked the uneven, muddy, trail-y bit because I couldn’t really see where I was putting my feet and my ankles were quite stiff and I am terrified of injuring myself. But  – why the hell did nobody tell me about gore-tex trainers before? I had so much fun not avoiding puddles and splish sploshing around that I started searching  puddles out to jump into them – and I still have dry socks. I can do puddles and have dry feet. It’s magic! I never had gore-tex trainers before. Getting some somehow always felt like a step too far – they’re for proper runners. I don’t really go anywhere where I need them, or for long enough that wet feet really matter… so the complete crap would go in my head.  I tried some once and they felt really tight and inflexible compared to the non gore-tex version so I presumed they were all like that. I was wrong. Love these. Bring on the puddles!

Happy running and splish splash splashing about!

Funny Running Week

Sometimes running weeks are funny aren’t they. On Monday, when I really did need a rest day and me and my body were tired from the weekend I really wanted to run. On Tuesday I had a lovely day out and about but didn’t really have time to run once I got back home. I thought 2 rest days would probably not be a bad thing anyway. Well once I got home yesterday, having looked forward to running all day while in the office, I just could not be bothered. I felt so tired and lazy. Kath suggested going twice today instead. I agreed. I only agreed because I didn’t want to run last night.

This morning I was vaguely aware of being gently nudged and coaxed out of sleep, into


running gear and out of the house. I think I woke up about 2 miles in. My eyes were stinging, I couldn’t really breathe and everything felt puffy. Hello hay fever. I’ve missed you – not. Anyway, let me think – which way did we go? It really is all vague. We headed on our sheep loop but then turned off to go through the wood. I sort of remember this – I was waking up. This is the trail/wood where I first started my proper trail running education. I was quite pleased with how I got through today – never stopped moving and I must have been more relaxed (asleep?) because my feet weren’t sore.

After the wood we turned right along the old golf course road and then we headed back along the canal towpath and home. The hay fever was a pain and I have now started taking tablets which should sort it.

New Shoes!

This afternoon we went for run number 2 of the day and I finally tried

First Ducklings of the year

my new trainers. It’s hot. I’m not quite sure how hot but it was a factor almost immediately. Nonetheless we had a lovely steady 3 mile run until we saw some ducklings, the first ducklings of the year, along the canal and stopped to watch them for a bit. After that we walked the rest of our loop chatting and watching ducks, lambs, little birds and stopping at the Co-op for pizza and beer. Well it is Thursday – practically the weekend.

I just updated my running chart. So this isn’t getting to me at all! Nope, not at all.



More presents, the sales, gait analysis and closing in on 500 miles

I may have got a little over excited about my monorail highlighters on my birthday. So over excited in fact that I forgot to mention that Kath was also buying me a new running watch. We chose it together on my birthday for delivery the next day. I didn’t look at many because Kath has a Garmin Forerunner 235 and I like it. I borrowed it for a run/walk the other day just to be sure but basically I knew that that was the one I wanted.

It arrived the day after my birthday and I set it up that evening (so easy I didn’t even IMG_8259have to find a child to do it for me). It does everything I want it to and more. It also does some things I really don’t want it to. I will see how I go but I suspect the function that tells me to move if I am sitting still for too long will have to be turned off and I’m really not sure I’m made for smart notifications. I don’t think I need my watch to tell me when my phone’s ringing. Old school, I know. I’ll do a proper review when I’ve taken it out a few times but for now I absolutely love it. It’s nice and light so I forget it’s there and it works well as a watch as well as general activity/step tracker and then the running watch. In terms of the running watch, my favourite feature is the run/walk alert features that means I don’t have to programme or set intervals for a run. I can just set the alerts and programme the run time or distance or whatever or not programme it at all and just set it to go when I set off. The beeps are loud enough to hear without being intrusive but there is also a slight vibration which is great because I can imagine that there are situations where you don’t hear the beeps.

IMG_8257Also for my birthday I got a new yoga mat. I needed one. My old one was baby pink, full of holes where cats have stretched with their claws out, and it may have survived a lamb incident or two earlier this year. It was in a state. The new one is pretty. It’s much thinner that the one I had before so I wondered how my knees would do. It feels great though – supporting, non-slip but more stable and easier to balance on than the one I had before. Again, full review to follow when I’ve used it a bit more. It’s a Bionix Professional Support one. I can’t find a link to a site that isn’t just a selling site so no link for now.

Today we went into Leeds. It wasn’t as bad as that sounds. We went early enough for it to still feel relatively calm when we got there. After breakfast (Weatherspoons Bagel – yummy) and a close encounter with a former student (ribs still slightly sore from the unexpected hug) we headed for Up & Running. We were heading for a gait analysis. Yep, finally I had decided to be brave enough. I made Kath go first and she is completely neutral in her running. She just runs on her toes quite a bit. So that was her done and off looking at the gorgeous trainers all around us. My turn. It was fine. I ran maybe a little slower than I would usually but then I always do on a treadmill. Hate treadmill running. Hates it! The first neutral shoe showed a slight overpronation on my right. We tried a different neutral show that supposedly offered more support but that didn’t seem to work for me – it was worse. Then we tried some more supportive ones and went for a few pairs some of which made it worse, others worked but then were wrong for my foot shape. Eventually we tried a pair of men’s Brooks Adrenaline and they felt really nice as soon as I put them on and seemed to work for the running too. I quite like the idea that the shoes are expecting me to take them on adventures – I just hope they’re not expecting too much. I also like the idea of ‘Run Happy’. They were in the sale. Sold.

As we were there and I actually need to start thinking about new trail shoes as that’s IMG_8264really where I do most of my miles, (although a lot of the canal towpath would be fine with road shoes) we asked to see what trail shoes they had in our sizes in the sale. They had a pair of Hoka Speedgoat and something else I now can’t remember in my size. I tried them both but the Speedgoat felt comfy – a bit weird – but comfy. So at 30% off I thought ‘what the hell’. Kath bought some Hoka Vanquish 3s for the road which she is now wearing sitting on the sofa  – not sure if it’s love or she just can’t be bothered to move. She also bought some trail shoes – they were definitely love at first wear: Saucony Peregrine. We’ve been for a little run and I think Kath thinks they’re magic go faster shoes because she left me plodding along at my run/walk to put down a fairly blistering (for us anyway) 9 minute something mile. I wore my new Hokas – see mud on them and everything – and I think IMG_8263they’ll be great. I didn’t tie them tight enough at the beginning and realised about a mile in that I was moving around in the shoe too much and it was making my feet hurt a bit. I re-tied them and did them too tight so then my feet were in agony. I did my first hill repeat and then stopped to re-do the laces again. I seemed to get it pretty much right then because the pain eased and I managed the remaining 4 hill repeats (the heart rate data is interesting!) and then run/walked the rest of the 4.8 mile loop with Kath who had just finished her hill sprints when I arrived at the hill – she did another 4 with me… There’s always one!

So, I have 12.66 miles left to hit 500 for the year. I have 3 days. The weather may of course have other ideas but let’s see!

To Run Every Day – or Not

Thought I’d posted this on Sunday – obviously not!

Today marks the start of the Ronhill #RunEveryDay October Challenge. We’d talked about this a while ago and thought it might be fun to see how we get on with it. We’ve never really done a run streak and there are of course some pretty good reasons for that – mostly that rest days are pretty important for recovery and for getting stronger and staying injury free. I also don’t think I have the motivation or discipline. While the initial attraction wore off and I’d forgotten all about it, the temptation has sneaked back in now that October is here.

However, the wheels have come off a little in our house. Work has been busy. I know how this works – the terms starts and insanity kicks in for a couple of weeks and everything seems chaotic and too busy and a bit silly. This year is no different but it always gets me. So I’ve been tired and working long hours and Kath, who had been making great progress, has been floored by nothing in particular. So between us making time and finding the headspace and motivation to run has been difficult. I didn’t run all week and I think that is having an impact on my mental health. I need to get out there, it helps me cope.

Last Sunday we went for a run at Bolton Abbey after the 9 mile up and down of the day before, doing one 4 mile loop slowly and with a fair bit of walking was quite enough and I felt quite sore after. On Monday I made it to the gym and stretched loads. That was it for the week. We were thinking about going yesterday but spent most of the day asleep.

This morning we watched the Aussie Rugby League Grand Final and then we went for our run. We were going to go the sheep loop and the first mile was ok but then my feet started hurting, it didn’t really ease with walking either. I’ve tried the Mizuno trail shoes several times now and I keep thinking they’ll be ok but I think I just need to accept that they are too tight for my feet. So 2.2 miles in I gave up and we walked back. Goodness it was nice to take the shoes off and massage my feet!

We had lunch and watched something on telly – can’t even remember what – and then we went out again. We had to nip to the shop to get something for tea and for in the morning because we haven’t been shopping, we weren’t going to be at home this weekend, and thought we might as well run. It was a good 3 mile run at a decent pace. Mile 1 and 3 are pretty even at just under 12 minute mile pace and mile 2 was a bit slower  – probably because it included the downhill where I go a bit bambi-ish. It felt good to go out again and finish on a positive.

We grabbed some crusty bread, smoked salmon and hummus and walked back up the hill. So we covered a total of 8.05 miles today. I actually have some time to run tomorrow and probably on Tuesday, too so I may have a mini run streak. I don’t think I’ll run every day though, I need rest and I need to not be injured. Maybe my October can be #RunMoreDaysThanOtherMonthsButDon’tGoSilly. Catchy that.

Sunday Weigh in News: Last week I’d lost 3 pounds. This week, well if you take my weight this morning it was up by a pound but I couldn’t resist sneaking back on after the second run and if you take that I am the same as last week.


Getting over 270 miles this year

Well I did something slightly odd for me today – which is why I am writing a second post. I decided that I couldn’t leave my mileage total for the year on 268.97 overnight. That was far too close to 270 miles. I therefore decided to run again – just a short one. An out and back to go feed Dino. That would be just over a mile and a half there and back so would get me over the 270 miles. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try the New Balance Minimus shoes I bought second hand a little while ago. I haven’t tried them yet because I didn’t want to wear them on a long run or on a route I wasn’t used to so somehow there hasn’t been an opportunity.

Anyway, I set off after work. I felt pretty good in spite of this morning’s run. I felt fairly comfortable going down the road and turned right up the hill and also still felt pretty good. I pushed up the hill happily and kept running. Just before I got to the field I had to stand in and let a car through so I just stopped the watch there and looked at it, and looked at it some more. I had just run .8 of a mile at about 10 minute mile pace  – I never run that pace. I think I’ve run that route once at 10.24 pace but that felt hard and I was pushing. This run felt almost effortless.

Screenshot 2017-08-07 17.04.58

I fed Dino and set off back. I knew the way back would be slower – more of this is uphill but I tried really hard to just run and not look at my watch. I struggled when I got to the final slope. Ilkley Road always always gets me. I got about half way up and then had to walk a few steps. I glanced at my watch and saw that I was under 12 minute mile pace. Again I was stunned. That never happens on this stretch. I started running again and pushed up the hill as fast as I could. This is the hardest I’ve ever run uphill. I managed the return in 11.40 pace – the return wasn’t effortless, it was bloody hard but it felt great to have done it. I also achieved the first ever Strava goal I’d set just for fun.

So the shoes must be magic shoes. There really isn’t another explanation, the shoes are magic. Maybe they’re laced with pixie dust or maybe their previous owner sent some of her speed with them (I must ask her if she’s suddenly got slower). More seriously though, I think this shows how much of a difference running consistently coupled with strength exercises and some hill and speed work can do. After finding this morning’s run so hard, it was really exciting to go out, run hard, manage it and enjoy it. While I won’t make 1000 miles this year, being part of the Trail Running Magazine Run 1000 Miles in 2017 challenge is making me get out and run more frequently and for longer –  my bid for 500 miles this year is on – I’m on 270.6 year to date.

Screenshot 2017-08-07 17.04.26