Up Up and Away

According to our training plan I was supposed to run for an hour yesterday but I felt tired, the sort of tired that starts in your bones and spreads outwards. I put it off all day and eventually decided to swap rest days and just, well, rest. So this morning I got my moomin butt out of bed and we headed out for a run. We went up. Yes, you heard, up. We ran/walked up the hill towards Ikley Moor. Wow. I am unfit. Even with lots and lots and lots of walking and just short little bits of ‘running’ (ahem – ‘waddling’ might be a more appropriate term) my legs were screaming and my lungs were protesting very early on. Still, nothing gets you fit quite like running uphill. So on we went.

We passed a very noisy jay and slowed to have a good look at it and then a little further there was a curlew circling above the fields. We saw more later on our way back down. The road is sort of undulating but relentlessly up at the same time. I tried to remember to look around and enjoy the views (which are stunning). There were some sleepy sheep just getting up and stretching and some gold finches and other small birds. Just as I was beginning to think I couldn’t go any further Kath pointed out our turn around point for this run. I made it there, turned round and then we set off on our descent. I’m scared of downhill. So really, other than on the flat, I am totally useless – too unfit to go up and too scared to go down. I suppose that makes this run really good practice for me. Anyway, we ran down. All the way, no walks needed because although there are a few undulations, it’s as relentlessly downhill as the other way was uphill (obviously). I tried to go fast – apart from the bit where we had to sort of hop our way through a load of tiny little frogs on the road that I’m sure weren’t there on the way up.

When going downhill I suddenly become terrified of slipping and falling. It doesn’t really matter what the surface is – this was road so no tricky uneven terrain or tree roots or mud to worry about. As I was running, pictures of me slipping and falling kept popping in my head. I worried about horrendously complicated breaks of my legs, that neither of us had taken a phone, how long I’d not be able to run, whether a broken ankle really ever heals right, how much it would hurt… But I kept running. I think I started to learn something on our little adventure on Saturday – trust your shoes. If you have the right shoes for the terrain you’re on you can trust your shoes. I was on a road which was wet in places and I was wearing road shoes. In fact I was wearing my trusted New Balance road shoes which carried me round the Dopey Challenge Marathon and the London Marathon last year. I could trust my shoes. So instead of slowing every time I thought of possible injuries or disasters, I went a little bit faster. It was fine. It was better than fine. I actually enjoyed the run downhill. There is something nice about learning what it feels like to go fast with the assistance of a long downhill because you can concentrate on form and balance and how it feels rather than labouring to push the pace. It feels a little bit like flying. As we turned into our road I even managed a little sprint finish to the driveway.

That 50 minute run was a great start to the day and I’ve been pretty productive since! The view from towards the top wasn’t bad either – the picture is actually one that Kath took a few days ago when she went up for a run but it looked pretty similar today – a little less cloud maybe.

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In other news – in spite of cake, booze, fish and chips and sitting on my arse for most of last week I somehow managed to lose another pound in yesterday’s Sunday Weigh-In.

Moomin Butt Moving again

Right, let’s try this running lark again. I finally feel better so wanted to see if I’m better enough to start the 10k programme. It seems I am. The first run is a 40 minute slow run so we set the watch to 2minute run/1 minute walk intervals and trotted off. We stopped to feed the sheep and once that was done carried on – so it’s a bit of a cheat because I did get a little rest just before mile 1 – if sliding around in the mud covered in hay counts as a rest that is.

Anyway, it was uneventful. It was slow (just under 14 minute per mile pace I think) but I just plodded along happily until the end. 40 minutes didn’t fit with the intervals so we went for 42 minutes. We covered just about 3 miles I think. That’s it really, that’s all there is. No drama, not battle, just a slow uneventful little trot.

I wore my new trail shoes for the first time- they’re New Balance ones. I bought them in the sale together with another road pair (I am dreading having to retire my current road ones – they came through two marathons with me, how can I possibly retire them?!?). I’ll review the new trail ones properly in a bit but so far so good – much better than my others. After the last run I decided I really didn’t want to persevere with the Salomon trail ones because they really do make my feet ache. They’re great for walking in but whenever I run in them my arches start aching really quickly.

Happy to have made a start on the plan, tomorrow is rest or a core gym session. I definitely won’t have time for the gym but am hoping to do a strength yoga class from the Yoga Studio tomorrow evening. Next run Wednesday!

New Shoes – Salomon Trail Running Trainers

As you know I don’t really care about what my trainers look like, I’m all about comfort and support. I have had several pairs of Salomon trainers for running as well as for every day use. Quite a while ago now I saw the Salomon XA Pro 3D Mountain Trail running shoes in a sale somewhere online. Or actually I think Kath saw them and they were stupidly reduced (I cant remember to what – maybe 50 quid or so). I got a pair even though I was still perfectly happy with my old ones. Yesterday I wore the new ones for the first time for a run. I’ve worn them round the house once or twice and once to got for a short walk.

IMG_1064.JPGThey are billed as on and off trail and they seem perfect for running round here where I am mostly on the canal towpath in its varying forms and sometimes on paths and tracks and muddy bits. You can read all the spec on the Salomon website if interested. Doesn’t look like they have this colour any more but the spec is pretty much the same I think. I have so far only taken them out on a short run which turned into a walk anyway (see previous post!) but they fit nicely. Initially the way to tongue cover comes over and you sort of have an internal sleeve that hugs your foot for better fit felt a bit weird  but by the time I got to the end of the road I’d forgotten about it and I can really see the benefit of the design as it stops little bits of dirt or branches or little stones from sneaking in at the side of your foot. The laces are sort of fun and easy to do and undo and the release mechanism and ‘spare’ laces can be tucked into the little hud. The grip was great – possibly slightly better than the grip on my previous ones or maybe it just seems that way because the grip on my older ones has worn down a fair bit. No sliding about or feeling like I might slip. Maybe I’ll even be able to run down the golf course in these!

The trainers have what Salomon call a 3D chassis. They say it ‘maximizes security, motion control, energy management and push through protection for a high performance, stable and responsive ride’. Well, it felt pretty stable and secure and comfy but also just a little stiffer than I am used to and my left foot felt a bit achey after a little while. I think they’ll soften though and then they’ll be perfect. I was worried that the tongue cover etc would make them feel tight and I don’t like tight but there is plenty of flexibility in it and it didn’t feel restricting at all.

Sometimes trail running shoes seem clunky and heavy to me and while these are slightly heavier than my road ones, they are not heavy and I don’t think they look or feel to clunky or chunky. I have quite wide feet but these shoes fit well. Kath has some too and she has narrow feet and they fit her well so there is definitely something about the design that really does fit and support different shapes of foot. The laces help with that I think. Kath has hers quite tight whereas I hardly adjust mine from the really loose setting.

So far I like these. We’ll see how we go. Kath really likes her pair and she is a fussy one when it comes to shoes – understandable given how she suffers from blisters and a dodgy ankle.

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Wet weather running

Well it hasn’t really got cold yet  – cooler yes but nothing that swaping short sleeves for long sleeves doesn’t sort. It’s the wet I am struggling to get my head round. Wet means a number of things:

  1. Wet means clothes get properly wet rather than just damp from sweat and wet means clingy and clingy means t-shirts don’t hide my wobbly bits which means I feel stupidly self conscious. Yes I know that when I am running there is actually no hiding anything but I can’t see myself running – I can feel clingy clothes
  2. Wet also means getting cold far more easily. This isn’t a problem while running but it is a problem immediately after as we rarely start and finish at our front door. There is usually some walking back or some walking and then driving home involved so wet is not good.
  3. Wet means slippery surfaces and I am already pertrified of slipping and falling. I am not at all sure-footed when running. Rain soaked paths and tracks make this worse
  4. Wet means mud which I actually don’t mind apart from mud meaning an unpredictable kind of slippery – see above.
  5. Wet means that the temptation to stay in and dry is so much stronger.
  6. Wet means grey, wet means low visibility, wet means muted colours and less to see. Wet means the wildlife is hiding and trying to stay dry…

I could probably go on. Actually the last point may be a bit unfair – there isn’t less to see. What there is to see is just different! I’m sure as I get used to running in the grey and wet I will see more things that I don’t yet see and which are not there or look very different in the sunshine. The things to see argument isn’t really a valid one.

I’m trying to combat the other issues. I usually run in trail running shoes round here. I can’t remember if I have blogged about my trainers before. You may have realised that I am not particularly fashion conscious about anything and that includes running shoes. I buy what is comfortable and does the job. I’ve been lucky so far – I have always been able to find really good shoes in the sale. Currently I have a pair of Salomon trail running shoes (XT Hornet if anyone cares – can’t find them on their website now – probably because they’re not current season but there are others there which are very similar!) which I really like. They are perhaps a little heavy – and noticeably heavier than my New Balance road running shoes – but they make me feel as sure-footed as I probably ever will and nicely support my feet. They have a pretty good grip and running on the wet canal path as well as the grass and mud track in the sections where there is no track has been ok so far. I am always a nervous wreck going downhill in the wet but I don’t think I can blame these trainers for that. I bought another pair of Salomon trainers (X-Scream City Trail) in the sale. I haven’t tried them yet but I am thinking they might work really well for the marathon because they feel like they might give me the same stability as the others but they are slightly lighter. I’ll be starting to use them on a couple of shorter runs if and when it is dry and we’re staying on canal path or road. So the wet = slippery issues I’m just going to have to deal with. Any help or advice?

We had a lovely trip to Saltaire a few weeks ago and were just walking round Salts Mills looking at books and other stuff and also popped into the Trek and Trail shop they have in there. I have got so used to being too large for their largest size that I rarely even bother looking properly. However, that’s no longer the case. On their sale rack they had a Ronhill very light waterproof jacket. It was reduced from £150 – reduced significantly – more than 50%. It was a size smaller than I would have normally even looked at but Kath reckoned it might fit. I tried it on and it fits perfectly. I can zip it up and it’s not tight anywhere. I bought it. Well this week was the first time I used it. I had it on during our Sunday run and it is great. I hate getting too hot when running and jackets often make me too hot and sweaty but not this one. It really is breatheable – yes I was hot and sweaty at the end but no more so than if I hadn’t worn the jacket. You can see it on the website if you’re interested. I’m really happy with it – I think it’ll get me through a wet and even a cold winter and it is so light and packs so small that taking it with me on longer runs in case I need it isn’t going to be an issue! I love the fact that it doesn’t cling and it doesn’t ride up. It’s purple – a bit close to pink for me but other than that, perfect really.

So what are your must haves to get through wet weather running?