Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Life, the universe and everything.....

Well, the last week (and this one) has been very hectic with work meaning that I haven't been out running quite as much as I would like...

Sometimes though a break is good... It has certainly given me time to look back and think a bit.

I was listening to some of the Olympic coverage and heard a previous medal winner describe how he felt when he realised he had won.... It was exactly the same as I felt when I crossed the finish line of the marathon this year, it made me realise that it doesn't matter what your ultimate goal is, the feelings when you achieve it are the same. I certainly wasn't anywhere near the first person to cross the line and I know I never will be, but we all have our own goals and ambitions.

I then started thinking about how I have changed since I started running and I have changed. It's not just losing the weight but my whole mental attitude has changed. Being fitter has made work easier ( I have perfected my climbing out of windows on to a roof technique ! ) and I'm no where near as tired all the time as I used to be.

I also know that the apart from any unforeseen accidents or injuries the only thing stopping me from achieving anything I want is me... I just have to want to do it enough !

There has been a knock on effect on the people close to me. By changing my diet I have also changed that of my family (anyone else want to do the cooking ??? ) and both my husband and children have also started running, hopefully this will mean they all have healthier lives and will reduce the risk of illnesses that lack of exercise and ending overweight can bring.

By running more I have ended up drinking less alcohol and this helps save money as well as being better for me so all in all what started as a short term thing that I hated doing but did to help shift a few pounds has turned in to something I love doing that has had some really positive effects on me and my family.

Anyway, this week I managed to get out for a 10 mile run along the river. One short stop to help reunite a lost dog with its owners ( did I mention that carrying a mobile is a good idea ??) and also stopped to take a few photos of the flowers, it looks really lovely with all the colour around at the moment. This week is another busy one so I will have to see what running I can fit in :)

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Why you should carry a mobile....

Well, after a very busy week at work (and another one coming up) I was really looking forward to getting out on the South Downs for my long run yesterday.

I was a bit pushed for time, trying to fit it in between working and family coming over but I had worked out that I had enough time for about 10 miles. The beauty of running over the Downs is that there are so many different routes that you can take depending on quite how many hills you would like to run up and how far you would like to run :)

I haven't actually been up on the Downs for a few weeks, the sheer amount of mud in some sections has put me off a bit, when it gets to the point that you can't run large sections of it then maybe it is time to change the route a bit....

Anyway I set off in the wonderful sunshine we had with plenty of water because I know I get thirsty...

Not far in to my run I came across a mountain biker who had come off his bike. He had been over a low jump, got it wrong and landed on his face. It was obvious he needed an ambulance. Luckily he had been wearing a helmet, it was badly smashed but I hate to think what would have happened if it hadn't been wearing it, he was in a lot of pain and wasn't a pretty sight.

I had my mobile with me so I was able to phone for an ambulance and direct the paramedics to where we were. Luckily I know the area very well and knew where we were.

This brings me to my main point for this post. I am always amazed by the number of lost people I find on the South Downs who don't have maps or phones etc with them. To me this is irresponsible, you never know who or what you may find, and if you get lost you could end up walking for hours before finding a road or people to direct you.

Maybe it was my upbringing, and years spent in the Girl Guides, Air Cadets and then the TA but you should go out prepared. I don't mean taking a full emergency first aid kit with you but adequate and suitable clothing ( white ugg boots don't look so good after a walk over the downs in winter), a map or navigation device so you know where you are (not just a sketch on the back of a bit of paper that covers Eastbourne to Winchester on half an A4 sheet). Depending on how far you are going/how long you plan to be out then water is a good idea, and in our modern society when everyone has their mobiles with them all day don't leave it at home when you go out in to the country, by all means turn it off so you can enjoy the peace and quiet but one day you may be very grateful that you have it with you..

Anyway, instead of 10 miles I ran 7 but enjoyed it, not the fastest I have ever run but it was beautiful up there :)

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Meet Millie

I would like to introduce Millie, she will be coming home with us on the 5th August and when she is old enough she will be coming out running with me :)

We have spent months considering if we should get a dog. As well as the general looking after it considerations we also have a daughter who is asthmatic and allergic to dogs.

What I didn't realise is that you can be allergic to different breeds of dog in different ways. Millie is a rather gorgeous chocolate Cockapoo. Her mum is a working gun dog and her dad an apricot poodle.

Before looking for a dog Holly spent some time with a friends Cockapoo to make sure it didn't trigger her asthma, even though she doesn't live at home anymore I don't want us having a dog to make it difficult for her to pop round...

Anyway, I'm now busy looking at dog beds, bowls, leads etc and getting just a bit excited !

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Monday, 9 July 2012

Without a smile you are not properly dressed....

Well, yesterday was the Wivesfield Wobble. A lovely 4.5 mile run through dabbled woods... Ideal for July..... Except this has not been an ideal summer so far so instead of the slightly dusty trails we were wadding through mud, that horrible trainer grabbing mud that means you go home and need to scrub your toenails to get it out !

It was however almost ideal running weather, warm but not too hot, a slight breeze but not blowing a gale... and when it started raining just after I finished it felt quite pleasant.

The start of the run is round a sports field. This was very squelchy with standing water in places and people were slipping all over the place before we got out to the muddy bits. I must admit I really don't like running round fields in circles but I can see the advantage in starting the race this way because it spreads the field out and avoids the bottlenecks on the narrower parts of the trails. It was always going to be one of those days when you couldn't avoid the mud. So I didn't try. Instead of going round it I went straight through it and managed to overtake a few of the more careful people in the process :) I did see a few people lose a trainer or two (glad I double knotted my laces tightly) and I did see a few people slip over, but no lasting damage was done except maybe to pride...

The last race that I ran that was quite this muddy was the Steyning Stinger in March, I ran that race in road shoes...this one I ran in trail shoes and yes, the difference is worth buying them for. I didn't have that sliding all over the place feeling and was able to run through the mud.

On the last section back round the sports field there were three women in front of me so I increased my pace a bit to overtake them, it is always hard to gauge how fast I can run and keep the same pace going until the finish line ! I overtook the last woman in front with less than 100 yards to the finish, I could here everyone shouting so I knew she was trying to catch me and overtake again but I didn't look back, I just kept going and crossed the finish line a second before her :) yes, it felt good and for the first time ever got a spot prize, quite useful after this run some shower gel !

It is funny how soon you lose inhibitions when running, when I got back to the car I fished out my black bin bag and stripped off to my underwear in the middle of Wivesfield Green so I could put clean dry clothes on for the drive home.

So, 4.5 very muddy miles in 44:24 and 6 points for the club. Not bad for someone who hated all sports as a teenager and just over two years ago couldn't run to the corner :)

PS the socks started out pale blue.... Not sure they ever will be again !

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Sunday, 1 July 2012


Well, I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get some structure in to my running.... Please note the word trying.

I know that if I want to race faster I need to run faster. That, dear friends, is the root of the issue.... I actually don't like running so fast it makes me want to throw up, I don't like the lung burning feeling that I get and the pink "blob" loom at the end is quite unattractive; but it needs to be done.

Also, because of my workload and the number of evenings I'm working at the moment I have switched most of my running to the early mornings. I'm not naturally a morning person and in general I'm not pleasant to know until at least after the first cup of coffee so getting myself straight out of bed, into running gear and running intervals has proved somewhat challenging but I have been doing it. I'm using my heart rate to judge effort so if I am particularly tired and my heart rate is unusually high for the speed I'm running at then I have switched the session to a general tempo session.

I think it is beginning to work, my slow running pace is gradually getting a bit faster for the same amount of effort but my real goals are two particular races towards the end of the year where I will see if a few months of effort have paid off.

I have also started to up the distance of my long run after cutting right back after the marathon, I need to be running 13 miles at least once a fortnight to keep my legs used to the distance and (hopefully) make it easier to run the autumn half marathon a bit faster, it would be fabulous if I could get a PB !

The other thing I haven't done much about is my weight.... I have still been eating the chocolate and buns and know that they now have to go, I don't have too much to shift but have been a bit lax about what I've been eating ;)

So, quite a bit of running going on, I just wish we could lose these strong winds and have some nice gentle summer breezes :)

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