Tuesday, 22 March 2016

It's been a long time.....

....... well, the virus lingered and I became disillusioned with ever running again.

Ok, so that may seem dramatic  ......
but having three months out with shingles last summer and then taking an equal amount of time to get my fitness back, to only  be ill again two months later and unable to run really pissed me off.

I know, I know, in the grand scheme of things it's nothing really and of course some of my fellow runners have injuries or had operations that have curtailed their running so they are in the same boat too but ........

Anyway this is just to let you know if you were wondering, I am running again and it has taken until this week to get my fitness back to how it was the week before Christmas.

So in other news, I'm planning to run the Bideford 10k again on 15th May but have decided not to blog about my training again so as

a) Not to bore you


b) Not to tempt fate ........ as it seems as soon as I crow about how well my training is going I come down to earth with a crashing fall and illness and if it's not going well its just plain depressing.

Anyway the plan is to run the race (that I haven't even entered yet) in an hour and knock one minute 20 seconds off last year's time .....

I'll let you know .......

Sunday, 24 January 2016

No Braunton 10 miler for me today ....

Ok, I'm sorry I've been rather neglectful over the last month and not kept you up to date, but after my last post my health and running just went further down hill ........ and I haven't been able to use my Christmas present either!

My Christmas present

On the Monday after Christmas I set off on a 30 minute 'easy' run and if you look at my time it all looks great .... 10 minute miles! However what it doesn't show is that I had to stop after 15 minutes to catch my breath and stopped the clock for a minute or so!

Me stopping???

Yes, I know ..... unheard of (the only other occasion being the day before I was diagnosed with shingles).

Two days later I tackled the hill training on my favourite hill ...... 10 minute warm up which coincided with a hail storm then 3 x 3 minute hill reps at hard pace ....... oh dear God, I couldn't get out of first gear, no matter how much I tried. What a struggle!

What to do?

I ran slowly uphill for another 10 minutes .....

Now you'd think that running back down hill for 20 minutes would be easy peasy ............


............ and so I came to a decision .......

As I passed the OB and woofers I managed to gasp 'I can't run it, there's no way I can run 10 miles .......'

Once we were all back in the truck the OB asked whether I was giving up on the Braunton 10 altogether or just the recce run four days later.

Well a few minutes previously I had meant the actual race but of course you know me, I started to wobble and decided it would be the recce but would run on the Friday to see if by some miracle I was a runner again!

I didn't run on the Friday nor the recce on the Sunday, nor for another 10 days  ....... I really didn't feel well at all. At one stage I thought the shingles was back with itchy spots and feeling exhausted as I had in the summer.

I'm sure you're wondering why I hadn't been to the quacks, but I assumed it was a 'virus' and as I learnt many years ago you just have to let them take their course. Pills don't work!

I did however make a doctor's appointment after trying to run again and not even managing 3 miles and the real crunch was the next day walking with a friend for just 1.5 miles and finding I was breathless all the way back and being pressured by said friend and the OB.

After listening to all the above Dr. Fernandez said ' as I've been saying five times a day for weeks to people it's a virus and I can't prescribe anything for it' (yeah I know!) 'You have your goals even if you're disappointed .... mine is to walk up the hill out of Shebbear without getting breathless'.  I did however have a blood test for everything imaginable and he'd be on the phone that evening if there was anything untoward with it. As I was on my way out he did mention that it could be cancer, lymes disease, vitamin D deficiency (as 'we don't get much sun in North Devon' ..... I think it's his Spanish sense of humour)

There was no phone call!!

Good news then!

Today ten days later and the day of the Braunton 10 mile I put my running clothes on and my new TomTom watch and ran 3 miles on the TT .......
My aim and of course pep talk to myself was 11 minute miles ..... no pressure ..... you're not training, just see if you can run 3 miles without stopping .........

So the first mile was my usual straight out the traps sub 10 minutes!

Slow down, slow down .............

Second mile 10.03 ......

You've guessed it ..... the third mile despite being the long slow hill I hate (or as I gasped on my way passed the OB and doggens 'I hate this fucking hill!!!)  10.58!!

I couldn't have run further but didn't need to stop to catch my breath along the way either so fingers crossed I'm on my way to recovery ........

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Of course I was due a fall .......

As I wrote about how well my training was going a few weeks ago and how much I was enjoying it I knew as I pressed send I was heading for a fall ....... the voice in my head was taunting me with it .......

So first the blisters .....

No problem I now have shares in Compeed plasters .......

Oh and new running shoes! Although I've only run in them once!

Apparently purple is the new pink!!!!

Then I struggled with my training  sessions, not helped by this continuous wet and windy weather .... horizontal rain and gale force winds really don't do it for me .......

No problem, there's always tomorrow ......

....... except of course there isn't when the day job and business get in the way .....

So I'm a bit behind.

'Well how far behind?' I hear you ask ...... errr
ummm sort of 2x interval training and a 5k run.

'So it's only Saturday surely you can fit two in (including Parkrun) before coach Steph sends the next training plan'

Ok, in theory no problem, but ........

I'll just rewind a bit though

Since my last blog post and the hill training involving angry chainsaw man I've managed a 5k run down the lane and back with the doggens which should have been easy peasey, unfortunately the whole way I felt like I was going to break down like an old nag!   Three days later a 6 mile session on the TT which should have involved a negative split but I just about managed to crawl around ........ my body seemed to be on a go slow! Not helped by the wind and horizontal rain or a dry/chesty cough that I've developed. (A contradiction I know)

On Wednesday it was windy but dry so when the OB asked my plans I announced that it was going to be an 8 miler from the Puffing Billy to the river bridge and back! I didn't mention that the tops of my legs ached and that really I wanted to stay at home, although he did say 'you're not looking forward to this'
'No I know it sounds silly but actually I'm getting nervous about it. I know I can do it but at the moment I feel like I'm going to break down like an old nag'

As I set off there was a shout of 'Hello Sarah' from the cycle hire place ....... so a lovely surprise and quick chat with Ali who was buying a bike there and off I went!

Of course I then wanted a wee ..... do you know I get so mad with this ......I always go (about 3 times before we leave the house) and still want to go at our destination. As you know this is the busy bit of the TT but in the end I nipped up some steps that lead to path alongside the river and had a squat! Relief ...

My legs ached, it was a struggle, the ache moved down my legs, more so in my left leg  ..... by mile 6 (bearing in mind I should be running faster than at the start)  I could hardly run. The worst pain ran down the front of my left leg and at the knee shot around the back and down it.

In the end I had to stop and tried stretching ......yay!
It worked ....  briefly

So it was stop, stretch, hobble, stop, stretch hobble to the end! I wasn't going to walk even if it killed me and despite the little voice in my head ' with your third wake-up call you may not be so lucky'

 Stubborn I know!

Then came the analysis ...... we decided I must be dehydrated ..... this conclusion was from the fact that I'd done three milk recordings back to back and so don't drink too much due to not being able to go to the loo (other than in with the cows or behind a hedge when noone is looking.

To make up for it I've now  been drinking gallons of water .........

The result?

Well apart from constantly having to wee, my legs don't ache so much but I still have a cough and this morning a sore throat and what felt like the beginnings of a cold .......

The thing is I don't suffer from colds!

OB - Old bloke
TT - Tarka Trail

Update ...... since the last post when the OB complained to DCC about angry chainsaw man, they completed their enquiries on 23rd December and apparently could find no record of contractors working on this part of the TT so closed the case! The OB has made a complaint about this so it's now going further up the line!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

I was verbally abused by a workman on the Tarka Trail!

As you know I love the Tarka Trail and am so pleased that we've finally ventured onto it after all the years we've been here. Different parts of it suit my training sessions and with the cycling group we've had some lovely days out and gone further afield!

On Monday I went to Petrockstowe to do the previous weeks interval training. (As mentioned in the previous post I only had time to do two training sessions last week)

It was one of those after 10 minutes warm up, bloody strides jobs again ......
The usual 5x 20 secs strides with 40 secs easy......

.....Ok no problem that's 5 minutes

Then 10x 30secs easy ..20secs medium ... 10secs full out ...

Simples you'd think!

Nope!  this dozy mare who as some of you know is hopeless at maths calculated it as 50 minutes......

.......... look just don't ask ..... I was getting confused with the above 5 minutes and then multiplying! Just blame it on Miss. Young at Hurstbourne Tarrant, Primary School who put me in English classes when I couldn't grasp maths!

Anyway I set off, telling the OB, who was walking the dogs in the opposite direction that I'd be just over an hour! Ha ha what a silly arse I am?

On the 10 minute warm up I was reassured to hear the sound of chain sawing ..... my lumberjacks were on the trail!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but at times the TT can be very busy and on others very isolated so on the latter occasions thats why I like to see these guys!

Actually there was only one of them but as usual we exchanged pleasantries and I felt safe!

I did the first set of strides and then as I started the 30 secs easy I realised my maths error...........


Ten minutes then!

Much cursing followed but I kept running ....

On my way back I waved at the lumberjack, stopped at the car for some water and then ran to meet the OB and the woofers.

Wednesday was a 6 mile run so I did the Puffing Billy to the tunnel and back.

After 5 minutes it was to build to race pace and then steady miles 2-6.

Looks like mile one was totally beyond  race pace ...... I've never run that fast and as usual I had a problem getting to steady Pace! I really wish I could run this fast at parkrun.

Friday was Yarde towards Watersmeet for hill training in the pouring rain with the OB and woofers coming the same way for a change.

After stretching I still hadn't got a gps signal which isn't unusual but as I was getting soaked and my run didn't need to rely on it I gave up and started on the 10 minute warm up, having to keep my head down due to the driving rain but I could see a red sign ahead. It crossed my mind that perhaps the Trail was closed but as I got closer saw that it was a Devon County Council keeping Devon safe emergency phone number. I assumed that it was due to the wet and windy weather and in case a tree came down as it's quite a regular occurrence.

Then I saw I was right ..... sawn up trees on either side.

A couple of minutes later there was a truck with a shredder blocking the path ....... there was no more than a foot of verge either side and logs to negotiate, as I walked past a truck in front that I hadn't seen started to pull away and then drove slower than I was running. I didn't know if the driver had seen me so I ran in view of his offside mirror. Whether he had or not it stopped and I walked past.

So back to the hill training ....... 5x 20 secs strides etc etc then before the 7x 2 min hard, I had to have a quick squat. ...... guess I'll just have to do a Paula on race day!!!

As soon as I started the first 2 mins hard I had the same feeling that I get at Parkrun on the hill to the finish, that of
wanting to be sick and losing my bowels simultaneously ...... so had to ease off ......
I also found I was running into the wind uphill and getting plastered in mud! (I know, I'm really selling this to you!!!!)
Anyway suffice to say I completed it, wishing that I'd got long sleeves as the cold rain stung my arms but knowing  that I'd regret it if I had as I'd be too hot!


I could now run back easy ......

Ok, so the two trucks were still blocking the trail and I could hear the chipper working and a chain saw, sawing.

I edged past the vehicle's and then was faced with a bloke feeding the chipper and another bloke with his back to me chain sawing the upper branches of some ash spread across the trail.

The bloke on chipper duty shouted something, the bloke on the chain saw stopped it and I picked my way through the ash tree .......


'Ok' and I raised my arm in acknowledgement as I continued to pick my way through the tree and thought blimey he sounds angry!


So I turned round to face angry chainsaw man, who according to his jacket was called David, and said 'ok' again and at the same time saw his mate behind him gobbing on the ground and edging away ...... lovely!

'IF YOU DON'T, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?' He continued to shout

By this time I wanted to laugh and shout fuck you but just turned round and said 'you'll get sued!' and started running ....


Yeah whatever .........

He continued to shout after me but I didn't hear what it was, as by now I was running hard, intent on putting some distance between us.

Back at the car park I told the OB about my encounter, who offered to go and speak to him but as I thought he might punch Mr. Angry or worse still, end up with a chain saw wrapped around his head it was best to leave it. Anyway I was already writing my email of complaint to DCC in my head as there were no signs telling the TT users to stop and wait to be let through. There were no signs about the dangers of the chipper and if we'd been cycling we'd have had to walk through the ditch of running water to get past the trucks. There weren't even any men at work signs which are always displayed at Petrockstowe.

Also the OB said he and the woofers clambered through the ash tree five minutes before me and neither bloke uttered a word.  David must have a problem with women or runners or women runners, and whether he has or not he certainly needs to attend anger management classes! What a complete tosser!

At home I had a bath and when I got downstairs the OB was on the phone to DCC making a complaint! They've taken it seriously enough to send it up the line .......

Normally I shy away from confrontation and just put things down to experience but on this occasion I can't believe that a workman on the Tarka Trail verbally abused me. I don't want it to happen to any one else so hopefully DCC will make sure it doesn't.

*TT =Tarka trail
*OB = Old bloke
*DCC = Devon County Council

Friday, 11 December 2015

Compeed plasters for blisters

Yes I know I've neglected you with my updates but I bet you're really rather secretly pleased that you haven't had to plough through my waffle!!!

This post was going to be two weeks worth of news but after an incident today I'm going to split it into two separate ones!

After my last blog post I was overwhelmed by the response to my blisters!

'Compeed' plasters for blisters was the message!

Ok, so I'd never heard of them but as you know I really need to get out more!

The OB was duly dispatched to Lloyds pharmacy clutching a £10 note and returned with 10 of these plasters and 42p change ......... this running lark really isn't cheap!!!!

On Monday I decided to go for the shorter, easier run, to test drive the plasters despite having a busy week and knowing that I would only be able to do two runs but I didn't want to aggravate the blisters either!

It took me a while to work out how to open the container and get them out though, despite having my contact lenses in ....... the arrow at the top was minute (and I'm quite thick at times!)

Whilst running I wasn't aware of two of the blisters but I could feel the one on my right foot niggling, which was a bit disappointing, but I was glad that I'd opted for the short run.

When I got home I found that the plaster on this foot was coming off despite the blurb in the box saying they would stay on for a few days! Perhaps trying to cover two blisters with one plaster was asking too much!

Wednesday was a nine miler so I covered the two blisters on my right foot with individual plasters this time, the one on the left was still sticking well!

It was only towards the end that I was aware of the worst blister on my my right foot but it was a mild niggle.

I'm not sure whether they are helping to heal my feet as on Monday when I changed the plasters the blisters were still there, however there were no niggles during the interval training ....... the final training session for last week!

......... and the conclusion on Compeed plasters for blisters?

I'm impressed!

*OB = Old bloke

Sunday, 29 November 2015

I have four blisters and a weak bladder this week!

Just as we were going to bed on Sunday night, this weeks training email arrived .......

Yes, I know I shouldn't be checking emails/social media/ the price of stuff in my Amazon shopping basket, let alone having my phone in the bedroom but unfortunately I can't help it.

At least I went to sleep knowing that there was hill training, a 9 miler and a 5k run in store.

Tuesday was a running day, but which session to do?
Normally I'd have gone for the 9 miler ....... but I had to collect something from Hatherleigh at 1pm and so time constraints ruled.

Hill training then on my favourite hill .....

......... of course I should have been champing at the bit,  but actually I really didn't want to do it ...... it was cold and windy and my va va voom had deserted me but .......

I got on with it!

About five minutes into my ten minute warm up I really needed a wee, but the trouble with the TT is there aren't any hedges to nip behind and all the gateway's were quagmires. Ok Sarah ..... think about something else, take your mind off it ..... and so into the 5 x 20 strides...... not my best effort as I didn't seem to be able to get out of first gear but don't dwell on it ..... get on with the hill reps!
After running hard uphill for 1 minutes and then trotting back to the start I decided that I'd just have to squat and hope for the best, however it was a bit breezy and I didn't really want wet legs so I ran hard up hill for 2 minutes and then went to drop my drawers ..... but a bloody lycra lout hovered into view. Oh bugger ...... just keep running .....

Once we'd exchanged plesantries and he was out of sight I did it ....... phew! What a relief! 

I'd be lying if I said I then ran better because actually I still couldn't seem to get out of first gear BUT ....... I did the hill training! One down two to go!

Now my plan for the 9 miler was to go to Petrockstowe and run to half a mile past Yarde and then back incorporating the long drawn out hill I hate. However the OB had to stay behind as the boiler was being serviced and the Puffing Billy to Bideford route is slightly more populated which I prefer when I'm on my own but infact in hindsight it worked against me!

The instructions were vary the pace so one mile hard, the next easy .....

I set off and would you believe almost immediately I needed a bloody wee ..... well absolutely no chance to squat on this highly populated bit of the TT so I just had to cross my legs!!! (Makes it difficult to run!)

I was also back to feeling like I couldn't get out of first gear again ... but the first mile was race pace so what do I know?
I wasn't going to show you the workout details but rather than bore you with a step by step narrative you can see for yourself that I didn't manage the race pace/easy thing...... one gear and one speed Sarah it seems!!!

Going into mile six the plantar facilities in my left foot decided to make itself known ......... 

It got short shrift ... I wasn't going to walk the four miles back. Luckily it got the message after a mile of niggling!

Then two miles from home I could feel the blister on my right foot rubbing, despite the Vaseline and padding......

All I could think was 'bollocks, bollocks, bollocks .........  
I don't want any set backs!'

The result was I ran 9 miles and gained four blisters, one of which burst.

So no Parkrun for me yesterday,  which was going to be the 5k session.

The question  ' is it socks, shoes or trench foot?' and 'how many miles have your shoes done?'

Now back in January when we all signed up to the Bideford 10k Coach Steph mentioned that our running shoes should be changed every 300-500 miles. I felt smug because of course I'd only just got mine and the OB worked out that I'd need to change them in September and of course not taking into account that they'd be redundant for 3 months whilst I was ill.

Initially I've put it down to socks but after Belinda's prompt I got the calculator out and went through my runs 

The answer is 387 miles.

Looks like a trip to HTP Sport is on the cards for new running shoes!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

What ever the weather ....... I had to run!

As you know I was having a rare Monday off from training this week as I was working away in South Devon.

This wasn't a problem as it meant I would have a day off before going out on Tuesday!!

Ha ha ...... Barney had other ideas!!!


Yes, the Met. Office in their wisdom have decided to name the weather, so the latest storm was called Barney!
Yes, really!

On Tuesday we battened down the hatches and training was put on hold and cycling group was cancelled.

Apparently the wind was meant to drop over night, and then we would have a calm spell before the wind and rain returned at midday, so the plan was for a run fairly early on, on Wednesday morning, then a session on Friday and as I can't make parkrun on Saturday, a run on Sunday!

Well! The Met office got it wrong ..... it was still very windy on Wednesday morning, but ......... I had to run.

Now I don't mean that I was champing at the bit, the opposite really ....... it was windy and not appealing but I had to run.

Oh! I've just realised that I haven't told you what this weeks training plan is .....

Sooooooooo ..........

1) 8 miles at steady pace

2) 10 minute warm up then an up and down the scale hard and easy five minute segments for 20 minutes, some strides and a five minute cool down

3) 10 minutes easy, 10 minutes strong, 10 minutes harder pace

I decided to do the 8 miler ....... reasoning that on the day of the race the weather may be similar and I'd have to just get on with it! No wimping out on the day is an option!

Back to the Puffing Billy then! It was like rush hour though as I set off ....... I think everyone like us felt the need to get out ........walkers,  lots of dog walkers, a tandem, cyclists (with no bells .... grrrrrrr!! The old blokes in lycra are the worst!)

Well, it wasn't as sheltered as I'd thought and immediately
I was being buffeted by the wind. My immediate thoughts were ' Oh bugger, I better get my excuses in early with this wind so my time doesn't look too bad' bearing in mind this was to be at a steady pace! There was no way I could repeat last weeks seven mile time ......
Anyway you know me by now, after my initial wingeing and swearing I get on with it ....
........... so I got on with it!
 Running over the riverbridge at Landcross before turning round (when the bird on the phone told me I'd done four miles) to run back ........

I've since found out that this wind and running thing is called resistance training!!!

....... and yes I'm as surprised as you at my time!!!

The only downside was that despite smearing on the Vaseline I got a blister on each foot.

On Thursday evening I found out the date for the Braunton 10 miler .... 24th January 2016.

When Coach Steph sold this race to me she said there were a couple of hills.

Eerrrrrrr just wondering how '2 infamous climbs designed to test the legs and spirit' escaped the conversation!!!

Petrockstowe on Friday was my next date to do the hard and easy up and down the scale run (not necessarily in that order!)

There was a bit of faffing/fannying on my part before we left as, as soon as I walked out to the truck I could feel the blister on my right foot rubbing despite having plastered both feet in Vaseline ..........

Sooooooooo, back indoors to tape on a wapping great big pad ....... and then we were off!

There's a new sign there, which is brilliant because it gives the miles between 'Stations'

Eh voila!

I digress ....... mainly because I hate interval training .......

but ........ I have to say it does what it says on the tin and I have to admit (grudgingly) that because of it my running has improved as you can see!

I won't bore you ..... I did it, the stopwatch was being tempermental, it was hard but I felt good afterwards (Sssshhhh don't tell anyone I said that especially Coach Steph!) and my blisters held up!

Today it seemed very strange to be running for just 30 minutes and strange to think that this is what I did day in  and day out before I discovered the Bideford 10k earlier this year.
There was no specification as to what terrain it should be done on and as I was missing my hill I decided to go and pay it a visit and make the run a bit harder!

I loved it!