Ice 1 – 0.5 Jess

I hate slippery conditions. Doesn’t even have to be ice, just a bit greasy will do to freak me out completely. It’s getting worse too. I hate it. But I hate being defeated more. Today I really wanted to try the 8 mile ish loop at Bolton Abbey that forms part of the half marathon course on the 4th February. I was more than happy for it to be a slow run/walk to take in the bits of the route we’ve not run before and to just enjoy being out.

It was cold this morning with a thick frost on the car. The pavements looked icy. Hm. I figured the paths at Bolton Abbey would be fine though, ice doesn’t stick to the gravely paths… Well the car park defeated me. I was in tears with a heart rate well above where it should be before we even made it to the loos. But the paths would be better.

They were better. Much better so we set of running and then hit a couple of patches were it was a little slippery. Nothing at all to worry about really. I managed the first bit by committing and keeping moving but I was irrationally terrified, the sort of fear that you know makes no sense. I knew what to do logically, I could even see a clear path through the next little section but my legs and rational part of my brain couldn’t override the other bit. The bit that was making everything tense and was screaming STOP. Kath stopped us. She said I was just going to hurt myself and she was right so I sobbed my way back to the car and home. I felt like I had lost myself what would no doubt have been a gorgeous run. If only I could just have got my butt through those patches….

I was sulky. I hate being defeated like that. My weekly total was still in single figures, I hadn’t done a long run, it was still cold out, it was gorgeous out… Kath asked if she was ok to go for a run (obviously yes) and said she was tempted to go ‘up’. I was tempted. I thought that maybe she could simply pick me up on her way back down if I plodded along following her up the hill. I got changed and we set off.

IMG_8337We walked the first bit together and there were some icy patches which I whimpered my way through. It’s all about relentless forward motion. I know this. As the road levels a bit before the next climb, Kath set off running (there she is disappearing off into the distance) and I kept walking – the plan was to conserve energy and run the later hills which are more undulating though overall up. I stopped briefly to chat to our neighbour who was walking his dog. Then I crossed the road to set off on my running bit – but the road was slippery. Not icy as such but that sort of funny frosty. I took a few steps and realised that everything was tense and my feet were already starting to hurt. Not sensible.

I turned round, sent Kath a text to confirm I was turning back but she was fine to carry on and set off on a slow jog. I got back to the road and really didn’t want to go back down, it felt like giving up so instead I turned right and followed the road. It was mostly in the full sun so just a few wet patches. It’s a bugger of a pull, always seemed fairly flat

More of a pull than it looks!

in the car – it’s not. Further along there were a couple of sheltered patches where I picked my way through on the grass verge – ‘look ahead, relax, keep moving’. A left turn took me back down into the village. I wasn’t looking forward to the down because I’m not great with down at the best of times and add slipperiness to that… well. But it was ok. I kept to the sunny side and in spite of a few patches of ice I only stopped a couple of times to stand in for cars and take a few pictures. I was about to stop once, running out of mental strength to keep going through an icy patch so I said out loud ‘Stupid girl, you’re fine!’ before realising that there was someone walking just in front (hadn’t seen her because of the bend in the road). I got a bit of an odd look as I went past. At the bottom of this slope I was back on part of our sheep loop and I felt more confident – more like I knew the road and which bits to avoid. I even ran most of the way up Ilkley Road.

Me Stopping for a deep breath and mind re-set before tackling the next section 

So, not the 8 miles I wanted but still 3.12 miles. Slow miles but purposeful miles. I hate icy, it did win today but it didn’t defeat me completely. I feel much better for having gone out again! Tomorrow is another day, maybe with another run!

Week 1 of #Run1000Miles: 12.47 miles and Sunday Weigh in – I’m exactly the same as last week

Aaaaargh Body Image

Aaaaaargh, body image. I am struggling with that. Of course I have my moments and my insecurities but generally I don’t actually pay much attention to body image. Particularly since Dopey training it’s been about what my body can do not about what it looks like. Before that I didn’t even think about that – my brain was always more important and powerful. But at the minute…. wow.

It’s that time of year maybe – lots of ‘party wear’ in the shops and advertised, the fashion, diet and fitness industries are ramping up their campaigns and even the models used to advertise more realistically sized underwear look remarkably skinny as far as I can see. So there’s that and then there’s some other stuff I won’t bore you with including my sense of just not being able to run at all. So if I can’t run and I’m struggling with some of the yoga sequences I could easily do not so long ago then focusing on what my body can do is actually not very helpful because the answer is: not much. I can’t measure myself by number of miles I run because I’ve hardly run any through November and into December so the dominant measure, the number that suddenly becomes important is the one on the scales. I know it’s not important, I know, I know, I know. But….

I have actually lost weight and I actually fit into some jeans I haven’t worn for ages (and I don’t even have to lie down to fasten them) so it should be all good. But there I go again equating lighter and slimmer with better. Urgh. Actually I want to be fitter and stronger; lighter and slimmer may (or not) be a side effect of that. So why the niggle, why the doubts, why the insecurities? Why can’t I get slim = good and therefore I am not good enough out of my head at the minute?

Enough of that. Let’s try and focus on what I can do. Today was the second run on the half marathon plan. 3 miles ish with some speed work – 4 sets of 30 second strides in this case (basically accelerating to flat out sprint over the duration). I didn’t exactly feel energetic and bouncy when we set out. I also felt ridiculously self conscious in running gear – running gear I have worn hundreds of times without giving it a second thought. We had a warm up jog down the road and then did the first 30 seconds as we turned slightly uphill on our usual route. 30 seconds is a fucking long time when you’re trying to accelerate to full sprint – uphill. It was ok though and after a short recovery walk we continued on at a slow pace. It was really windy and I was struggling to breathe a little but the second 30 second acceleration was also fine. I tried to keep up with Kath as she pulled ahead but no chance. Next came the slopes which I really struggled on today and then my head went. Why am I so bloody crap at this?!? And given that I am so crap at this why the hell am I still trying? I nearly fell over several times on my way down the former golf course to the canal because I couldn’t really see for tears.

Once on the canal I got my act together and did another 2 lots of 30 seconds acceleration with short recovery walks after each one and then I walked up the hill and slowly ran/walked the last bit home. I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t really get a buzz from the running or even from having done it but it did help clear my head a little. The afternoon was undoubtedly more productive than it would have been without the run.

Next up is a 6 miler at the weekend. I vaguely remember 6 miles being really quite scary. Now 6 miles is just 6 miles. Progress of sorts.





Exploring new places, re-trying old ones

After the beach run on Friday we had planned another run from the Wild Running book for Saturday on our way home: the estate drive loop around Cragside house and gardens just outside Rothbury. We got up and had breakfast (not a full fry-up given we were running but a rather delicious bacon bagel instead) and got on the road. Seahouses to Cragside was a lovely scenic drive, not sure how long it took but it really wasn’t far.

We parked, changed our trainers and sorted our pockets out and headed for the visitor IMG_6606 2centre to use the loos. Then we set off. I knew the route was about 5.5-6 miles long and a road running round the estate. That’s all I knew.  I had no idea how much uphill I was going to have to do but just looking at the estate made clear that it was likely to be significant – for me anyway. It was raining, grey and atmospheric. Gorgeous really. We set off on a slow plod up a slope, stopped to walk as it turned into a steeper slope, ran a little as it evened off, walked as it went steeper, ran a bit, got grumpy because it was so bloody hard, kept it together and ran from tree to tree and walked a bit and ran a bit… the first mile and a quarter were relentlessly uphill and my legs were tired from running on the beach the day before, my calf muscles were tight, I was cross at myself for being so stupidly bloody unfit. Eventually though it levelled out and at 2 miles I got my act together and my head in the game – the view helped.

Miles 3 and 4 were awesome – ok so they were mostly sloping downhill but they were gorgeous. We each had our own personal cloud of flies around us which was a little irritating but I started to remember to look around and take in the colours, all sorts of different greens and browns and the rain felt soft and welcoming somehow. Mile 5 contained a few more ups and I did walk a little again but I was still enjoying it and then IMG_6602 2we saw a deer. She’d been grazing by the side of the road and as we approached skipped away across the road and off into the woodland. We caught another glimpse of her a little further on but then she was gone. We puffed up the final hills to the visitor centre and car park and got out wires crossed resulting in both of us being rather grumpy for a little while. We got changed in the visitor centre toilets and then had a jacket potato and drink in the cafe. – and started talking to each other again. Then we drove home. There are loads and loads of paths and trails to explore on that estate and we will undoubtedly be back!

We thought we might have another little run today and had planned a route which would take in the short wood trail and the uphill golf course track. Yep – I’m determined to get better at trail and at uphill – eventually together and I haven’t run the wood trail for a little while. I decided on my Mizuno trail shoes and off we went. All fine on mile one. Just after the one mile point we turned off onto the trail. I overthink this usually, I’m too hesitant, I don’t trust my feet but this time I just kept going – slowly but going. I didn’t stop once on the trail, just kept moving. My feet were hurting like hell. I don’t think it’s the shoes, I think it’s just different running and I was probably more tense than usual. By the time I got to the end of the trail I was pretty much in tears. We stopped a few minutes and I stretched and wiggled toes and let it pass. Rather than push too hard and risk injury we cut the route short and headed towards home. Still, 2 miles run and half a mile walked up the hill home. Happy with that.

So I have had 3 days of pretty awesome running and for that I am rewarding myself with the RunDisney Shorts virtual run series medal for July  (Bling whore, it’s terrible, I know). Rest day tomorrow and then on with the training plan’s next run on Tuesday.


I brought back Sunday Weigh-In a while back and then haven’t really posted anything on it- it’s because I’m grumpy about it. My weight is resolutely staying the same. Exactly the same. It went down a pound randomly a couple of week’s ago and then went back up to the same number. Quite honestly I am sick of seeing that number. I am going to try and have a saintly week (oh apart from maybe tomorrow where I may be going out for tea) and see if the number shifts. I’ve even made Kath get on just to check that the scales are working!



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