Sunday, 19 December 2010

Footprints in the snow.....

It has been quite a good week this week and I have run a total of 26.25 miles including a long cross country today of 10.74 miles... It was very cold and started snowing at one point, luckily not the whole route is that exposed. Funnily enough I didn't see that many other people whilst running... Some weeks I meet loads of other walkers, runners and cyclists, a few lost people, people with dogs and children but today there was hardly anyone.

When the weather is like this I think that the cross country routes are safer than the pavements. While the main roads round here are quite clear the pavements have become sheet ice... The fields aren't walked through as much and in general on the paths the snow isn't as compact. I'm still not that good with the hills, I can see I am getting better but some days it just seems like hard work...

Next Saturday is Christmas so I don't think I will get to do the same mileage I have this week, hopeful the ice will clear a bit off the pavements so in can do my road routes in the evenings... And I will have to see if I can rearrange my running to fit in a long run or two mid week.... I know that Christmas and the new year will come and go and then it wont be that many weeks until the half marathon. I still have a lot to do.

These photos were taken on my iPhone over the last two days running...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Still muddy !

It may be muddy but at least we have lost the treacherous Ice from the pavements making it a bit easier to get out running in the evenings. I must admit I'm really looking forward to the light summer evenings.. I also never know what to wear when it is cold.. I start off feeling cold but the I warm up quite quickly and feel hot... But as soon as I stop I feel cold again.

I'm still trying to find the best way of avoiding blisters... I've been getting them on the arches of my feet since switching to orthotics insoles. I don't know how long it normally take to run them in and for your feet to get used to them... Vie found taping my feet with elastic plaster tape the best solution so far, I can run without getting the enormous blisters I had been getting, at the end of a long run they feel sore but I can still walk on them.

Somedays I do wonder if running will ever start to feel any easier, I know it will if I stick at it but somedays it just seems hard work ! I'm currently trying to run 20 miles a week and then gradually increase it so I'm running 30-40 miles a week by the time I come to run the half marathon in March..... With Christmas, the New Year and a few work commitments in January I know it is going to be difficult to keep up with the mileage. I have been having my long run on a Sunday but may need to change this over Christmas... The difficulty is then hours of daylight and fitting it in round work... I guess it is a case of watch this space !

Anyway, this week has been quite a good week. I have managed a total of 22.57 miles split over 4 runs with my long run today of 10.65 miles.. I ran a slightly different route today and had to stop a couple of time to look at the maps on the GPS to make sure I hadn't gone wrong and try and workout which way I should be going. I know I went bit wrong at one point but managed to pick up the right path and carry on :) it was still incredibly muddy and some parts I ended up walking becuase of the amount and depth of the mud, and that is without anymore rain or snow all week. Some other parts were still frozen solid and the snow was still filling some of the ditches... But with blue sky and sunshine it really was a great day for a run !

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Still muddy !

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Running safely....

I am always slightly surprised by some peoples reactions when they find out I run, primarily on my own, over the South Downs or *gasp* in the dark.... and they tell me I shouldn't do this...

With everything you do in life there are risks and you do always have to consider your personal safety but it shouldn't stop you doing what you really want, just be aware of the risks and plan properly.

99% of the population are really wonderful people that will go out of their way to help someone else. The 1% who are not most probably won't be in the middle of the South Downs !

Then you can use technology, I use a great app called runmeter for my iPhone, it not only talks to me and tells me how far I have run and how long it has taken, it also emails my husband every 10 mins with the same info and a map link showing where I am. So, if I hurt myself he knows where to start looking and I know that within 10 mins he will know something is wrong.... And hopefully phone me !

I also plan the routes that I run.. On each long run there are a couple of points accessible by car so I can always phone for a lift if need be :) I also have routes that can be shortened so if the weather changes I can cut the run short..... I also make sure that someone also knows the route I'm planning on running.

It is all common sense really.

A bit like running with a bum bag that contains a wind proof / waterproof jacket, snack bars, blister plasters, water etc... Plus money just in case !

I love the area that I live in and have seen far more of it since I started running. The breathtaking scenery and watching the countryside grow and change throughout the seasons is worth more than anything money can buy. It is exhilarating and relaxing, it is also cheaper than gym membership !

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A difficult week....

Well due to the weather this week I have only managed two runs totalling 10.85 miles.... Only just over half of my target of 20 miles. The weather really has been too bad for me, a mix of icy pavements and very deep snow in the fields. I did a short 2.5 mile run through the fields in the snow and found it quite hard going, it is a route I haven't run for a couple of months and I was pleased that despite the snow I did manage to run more of it than I ever had before, sometimes I don't seem to see any improvement for weeks at a a time then all of a sudden I will notice an improvement....

Today's run was over the South Downs, I was planning 10 miles but cut it short to 8.4 miles because a mix of deteriorating weather conditions, the temperature started to drop quite quickly and I could see fog coming in, whilst I know the area quite well I also know how disorientating fog can be and how easily you can get lost... I also started to get a pain in the back of my right calf and thought that continuing to run on it may be foolish.. Today also has to be the worst conditions I have ever run in. Ankle deep slushy mud that mad it difficult to keep your footing when walking yet alone running... Mixed with the wet ice on some of the steeper slopes made it a very interesting run ! A million miles from the warm sunny summer evenings.....

This is a photo taken on my iPhone at the point I decided to cut the run short.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow !

Well, I shouldn't be here today, I should be in Leamington Spa but after nearly 3 hrs for a journey that normally takes 40 mins I turned round and headed for home.... 5 1/2 hrs after leaving I was back where I started.

When I woke up this morning it was snowing... And it has been snowing all day... So I thought wouldn't it be great to go for a run ! I suppose it is the child in me, any excuse to play in the snow so innate just got back from a 2.5 mile run through the fields at the foot of the South Downs. It is fair to say didn't appreciate how hard running in snow can be, especially when it is more than ankle deep. As well as the practicalities of having to really puck your feet up you can't see where the paths are... Or the rabbit holes.... Or the ice covered puddles that break as soon as you run on them...

I'm glad I went out running. It has made me appreciate how much easier the road runs that I have been doing are compared to the cross country routes... And how much more training I still need to do.

This photo was taken with my iPhone and converted to black and white on the phone...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 29 November 2010

A week of training.....

Well, now in to week 2 of a 16 week plan to train for the Steyning Stinger half marathon on the 6th March 2011.

I find it quite hard working out what training I should be doing.... There is so much conflicting advice online and so many different training plans you can follow... I have developed my own mix based on what I have read online and what I know of the terrain of the race. The race isn't a normal half marathon.. Last year it was -4C and includes climbs of 240m primarily cross country over the South Downs.. So I am expecting my time to be quite slow compared to lots of half marathons. I believe the current women's record for the half marathon is 1:46. Based on the fact that in last weeks 10k I was about twice as slow as the fastest runner this gives me an approximate time of 3 1/2 hrs ! I do think I can do better than that and My run yesterday was similar terrain, 10.25 miles in 2:07 so I hope to complete the half marathon in 2:30 to 3:00.

This week I have run a total of 20.96 miles, split over 4 runs... I did two shorter 2.5 mile runs, one 5.5 mile run (all on roads) and yesterday's 10.25 mile run...

Yesterdays run was a bit tough at times.. I found the hills hard going, it was below freezing all the way and when I reached the highest point of the run the winds increased at it started to snow. I also think I didn't eat the right things before running (just toast) and ate too soon to running. I did try a new drink thing... Some fizzy tablets added to water to replace salts etc I think this did make a difference to plain water but I still haven't really mastered the art of drinking whilst running !

I also took my Canon G10 with me on a separate pouch on my waist pack. This is something I won't do again.. It just seemed too much in the way and in the wrong place wherever I put it, next time I'll take my really tiny camera that will fit in my normal bumbag.

I think I am also getting on top of the blisters I have been getting on the arches of my feet. I stopped a couple of times yesterday to adjust my trainers and think I have just not had them down up tight enough. It seemed to make a real difference, I did also tape my feet up before I started with zinc oxide tape over the bits that have blistered. It would be great to have blister free running, not something I have managed to date !

Anyway, these are a few of the photos from my run yesterday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A few photos....

Just thought I would post a few photos taken of me this year... I have run three races so far and each photo was taken at the end of a race..

This photo was taken just after the Stanmer Park 5k race for life in July.... At the time it was the furthest I had ever run... I completed the race in 32:29 and raised nearly £500 for Cancer Research.

As a challenge and to make sure I kept running I then entered a 10k race and started training towards it...

The next photo was taken just after the Alf Shrubbs memorial 5 mile race, this is mainly cross country and was held on the 24th October 2010... I completed it in 50:30

The last photo was taken on 21st November 2010 just after I completed the Brooks Brighton 10k in 1:00:15 and at the moment this is the furthest I have ever run non stop !

Since I have started running I have lost about 2 1/2 stone in weight......

My next target is a half marathon on 6th March 2011... I'll post some more details about that soon :)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hello :)

Just thought I would write a bit about why I have started this blog....

I started running in April this year, I'm not a runner, I was always useless at sports at school and didn't enjoy them... My main aim was to lose some weight and get a bit healthier, then I started enjoying running. Running for me is quite personal, it is freedom and gives me time outside to clear my head, I find it relaxing, exhilarating and exhausting at times.

I havent joined a running club, I've thought about it, but have never been sure if that would in some way spoil my enjoyment of what I do... So, I have started this blog really as a place to record what I do and what I learn along the way.

I'm lucky in that I live at the foot of the South Downs so cross country running is an obvious choice, the downside at this time of year is that the only real change that I get to do this is weekends or other days off... Bring on the summer and the lighter evenings !
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