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!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Under the weather this week ..... both physically and metaphorically!

In bed on Sunday night the OB and I had the following conversation .....

The OB 'Are you training tomorrow?'

Me 'Yes'

The OB 'Have you had your training email yet?'

Me ' No, but I reckon there'll be a seven miler on it so I'll do seven miles tomorrow. Probably Petrockstowe to Meeth, which must be about seven miles'

How romantic is that ....... We have such exciting pillow talk?!

Now bearing in mind that the wet and windy weather was with us
 ....... storm Abigail and hurricane Kate, both of which have been with us all week meant that running could prove to be dodgy!

I also need to add that I woke up with a bit of a sore throat but as I don't suffer from colds just put it down to sleeping with the window shut due to the wind! (Outside I hasten to add)

Sooooooooo .........  after doing all my day job prep for the afternoon we (the woofers who make out they haven't been for a run in months) and the OB and I went to Petrockstowe .......

We went in opposite directions ....... Jess doesn't like my chosen route ..... and  is quite diva ish so I do wonder by her reaction what danger I'm running into!

Almost at mile one,  I jumped out of my skin as a cyclist behind me dinged his bell ....... I was so far in La La land and with the wind hadn't heard him approach so leapt in the air and shrieked, making him assure me it was ok ......... think he was more scared than me!!

Into mile two and my chest started to feel really tight, and my nose started to run .......
.......... no tissue and no sleeves either!!!
Then my legs felt like lead and I just got slower and slower ......

I ran 5.87 miles ...... thank goodness it wasn't 7 miles because it was an awful time ....
The OB and doggens came to meet me as I  struggled  back  ....... unheard off as I'm as always back before them.

On the way home I felt really ill, although didn't let on to the OB because I'd never felt like this before and didn't want to frighten him but bloody hell, I thought I might be on my third wake up call ( you know the 'your time is up one'!!)

Once home I was so cold but the water wasn't hot enough for me to have a bath so I had to sit in my puffa jacket to try to get warm whilst we ate scrambled egg ...........

I had a bath and  went to work ....... where my legs ached, ill ache,  not exercise ache for the next four hours. 

Whilst I was at work the training email arrived ........ and yay ........ There was a seven mile run,,, plus a 30 minute enjoy yourself job plus 45 minutes of strides and running to oblivion run .....
.........well to be fair, 10 mins warm up ... the usual 5 mins strides including recovery and then five minutes of easy, medium, hard and very hard and 10 mins warm down!

And still my legs ached .......  all night and again in the morning during my four hour milk recording stint.

I decided to join the cycling group and we cycled 23 miles and I felt absolutely fine, so it must have been a blip then?

On Wednesday I felt absolutely awful and training went on hold ..........
Obviously not a blip then!

Now I'm sure you're thinking by now that I should just put training on the back burner  ...............

Of course I should, however on Thursday I felt fine and so we went to Puffing Billy as the doggens needed their run and so did I .........  

......... the agreement was (with no one in particular) that if I felt fine at mile two I'd carry on and do seven miles and if not I'd do the thirty minute run or definitely stop if I felt ill. Yes honestly, no messing. 

I was also hoping to get a photo of the landslip which had occurred overnight on the A386 which runs along side the TT.

The bad news is that the landslip was on the bit of Road that doesn't run alongside the TT, however the good news is ............ I ran seven miles ....... 

I've never run seven miles before .........

......and  I was amazed to see that I'd done it at race pace, although that wasn't in the training plan, but I'm now going to blow my own trumpet and announce how chuffed I am at running this pace and time .......

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

My plan for the 30 minute run was do it at Parkrun and then do the stride/hard run one on Sunday as I was away teaching on Monday so would have the day off.

Best laid plans and all that ......

On Saturday morning I woke up to the back door trots .... 
Not a good idea to go to Parkrun then! The OB was time keeper so had to go but my frequent trots to the loo meant I had to stay behind. ( No! no idea what caused it)

Yesterday morning the OB and I had the following conversation in bed ...... bearing in mind the wet and blustery weather ...

The OB ' Are you running today, it doesn't sound very good out there'

Me 'I'll see what it's like later, but I'm hoping to. I don't know which one I'll do though, depends how I feel and where we go'

That was the dilemma ...... which part of the TT was least likely to chuck bits of tree at me?

Off to Watersmeet then!

Oh dear God ..... why the road closures? After driving half way round the county and introducing the OB to a new road we arrived......

The warm up was fine, the TT at this point is down in the valley and so very sheltered The first four strides/recovery were text book but then into my fifth stride I had to plough through a load of shit/piss/mud where the cows cross  the TT. Well actually I pussy footed through it.......

Oh come on I've managed to keep my lovely running shoes clean for the last eleven months, why would I want them covered in shit now?
So after prancing through this quagmire and feeling the shit seeping into my socks I redid the fifth stride/recovery. This took me to the Puffing Billy where I started the five minute bits and the gusty wind came for me, I turned back half way through the medium five minutes and found it hard battling the wind. I kept at it but doubting that I was really doing it properly. So into the 'very hard' five minutes where we needed to 'dig in' and would you believe I managed to swallow a fly which made me cough, retch, spit and swear ...... but not necessarily in that order, and then I had to negotiate the shit pit again..........  Miss Pussyfoot did her stuff and then ran very slowly for the ten minute warm down wondering how Thursday's run had been so brilliant!

*OB - Old bloke
*TT - Tarka Trail

Sunday, 8 November 2015

I did this weeks training but not necessarily in the right order!!!

Monday was a gloriously sunny day and unseasonal 17C, so I just had to take advantage of it and run, especially as the forecast for the rest of the week was for wall to wall rain!

I hadn't had a training email from Coach Steph for the week so decided to do 5 miles and just run for the love of being able to run and  hoping that when it arrived there was something similar I could match it up with and tick off!

Yarde towards Petrockstowe then .............  turning at the second white post in the middle of the track and hoping it would be the halfway mark!

Of course most of you reading this will have absolutely no idea what white post I'm talking about but just indulge me!

It was blooming hot, but lovely to be just running and taking in the sights and sounds of autumn, although the last mile is uphill and I hate it ......

Yes, yes, I know I've declared my love for running up hills and I do, but just not this one! It's a gentle incline and seems to go on for ever ........ give me a steep hill any day!

I finally got to the top and and the car park to find I'd only run 4.8 miles ..... well what's 0.2 of a mile anyway? Oh, and to find Coach Stephs training email in my inbox!

Guess what?

There was a 5 mile run on it!
 The only snag was that miles 2,3 and 4 should be as close to race pace as possible.

Do you think miles 1 and 2 at race pace would count instead??

I bet you're dying to know what the other two runs are aren't you?

First up hill reps and the other a 30 minute easy run, focusing on form, foot placement and stride.

I was dying to get stuck into the hill reps but due to time constraints on Wednesday I opted for the 30 minute easy run, taking the opportunity to stop off at Petrockstowe on my way back from one of my farms.

It was pouring with raining when I set off but eased a bit and under the tree canopy I stayed fairly dry.

My first mile was 9.57 ......whoops! Better slow down then, this is meant to be an easy run!

As I was about to turn on a bend at roughly halfway I met a lady running towards me with her dogs so we stopped for a quick discussion as to who was running the fastest and needed to go in front.......  It seemed this was me!

Despite all this I clearly hadn't slowed down as my second mile was  9.59 .......

I knew that I was still running quite fast as I went into my third mile, spurred on mainly by the thought that I might be holding up the other lady and her training, however I was amazed that my time was 9.28!!!!

And yes, the bird on my phone was actually being reliable for a change!

I might not have done three miles at race pace during my run on Monday but I sure made up for it here!!

Back at the car park I had a lovely chat with the other lady who it turns out wasn't training but runs with Okehampton running club.

The rain continued ........

On Friday morning I had a rather frustrating time with gridlocked traffic on single track roads on my way to and from a farm due to road closures and an accident so it was almost lunchtime when I got home BUT I had hill reps to do and as I don't run well in the afternoon ....  we set off to Yarde and my favourite hill (the opposite direction to Monday)

It was pouring with rain and I couldn't get GPS , no matter as the run was by time not miles and I had the stop watch for time ..... so off I went.

Apart from the OB and the woofers the only other mad people I met were a lady with a bog brush on a lead and a bloke who seemed to be lurking and taking photos of the ground ..... presumably the leaves but who knows. ( which reminds me I really must take some photo's for this blog!) I don't think he really knew what to make of me running backwards and forwards ....... however if you're reading this Mr. Lurker, this is what I was doing ....

10 minute warm up ( the first time I past you!)
5 x 20 sec strides with 40 sec recovery (you hadn't caught up)
5 x 3 minute hill reps with easy jog back (that's why I was running hard up hill and then jogging back past you!)
5 minute cool down.

I loved the whole session and didn't even notice that I'd got drenched until I dripped all over the OB's truck!!!!

*OB - Old bloke

Monday, 2 November 2015


Sooooooooo, having run six miles on Sunday and ticked it off this week's training plan I had two more runs to do but which one should I choose to do on Wednesday?

Ok, so you're sitting there saying 'yeah there's only two, just  get on with it!'

Yup, fair comment!

But .............

Well here they are, and both aren't that appealing!

First up 10 mins easy warm up then 2 x 20 sec strides (full on) with 40 secs easy
 then 4 mins hard, 1 min easy, 3 min hard. 2 easy, 2 hard, 3 easy, 1 hard, 4 easy, then back up the scale before finishing with 5 mins cool down.

That'll be 52 minutes of hell then!

Second run, run on feel  ........ NAKED RUN


My initial thoughts were well, firstly I'll get black eyes and secondly there's nothing like doing something to get arrested on the Tarka Trail during half term!!!

I read on ........

Start off easy for 10 minutes then do 1 mile on feel at what you think is race pace ....... time this but DO NOT look at the time whilst doing so ... cool down for the rest.

Ah so it was to see if running on feel was the same as running with a watch .......

Phew ...... I can run with clothes on then!!

As you know I don't run with a watch and rely on the app on my phone which is the bird in my back pocket when I run so I always have to wait for her to pipe up with my time at each mile, and as we both know by now she can be quite unreliable.

Anyway I went for option one on Wednesday .......

The bird on my phone lived up to her reputation .......... according to her I ran 16 seconds slower on my race pace mile than the warm up mile and then 15 seconds slower than that on my cool down mile ...... she definitely got it wrong!

......... Anyway I've started my letter to Father Christmas and first on the list is a reliable timing gadget for running!!

On Thursday I really didn't feel like running, my legs still ached from Sunday's hills, and I wasn't looking forward to all the running hard bits ....... I couldn't find an excuse to give it a miss though, especially as the OB and woofers were sitting in the truck waiting ...... soooooooo

Back to Petrockstowe then, via two diversions as SW Highways in their wisdom had decided to close most of the roads round here ........ Ah yes, it must be half term, not just road closures but hoards of people on the TT too. The trouble with other people wanting to use the TT at the same time as me when I'm trying to follow coach Stephs training plan is that I always seem to be on a run easy bit when I pass them.

'Speed up, speed up, do some more strides, look like you're a proper runner' says competitive Sarah, as I gasp 'hello' on passing them!

Oh and then there are the lumberjacks  ........ Well the two blokes chopping down trees. They're currently half a mile or around five minutes run from  Petrockstowe station so I run past them on my warm up, looking all fresh and like a proper runner and then on my way back I pass them on my warm down but gasping and huffing and puffing like a huffing and puffing type person, with a face the colour of my shirt ....... trying to look cool but failing miserably!!

I think we'll be seeing quite a lot of each other over the coming months as they have another three miles or so of trees to deal with!

Anyway back to Thursday's run. It was a struggle ....... the warm up and strides were fine but the running hard bits were difficult and I wanted to give up ...... of course I didn't I just cursed coach Steph then cursed myself for signing up to this running lark, but I did it, even if it was 52 minutes of hell!

Monday, 26 October 2015

There are hills and there are hills

I know, I know my blog posts are like buses .... you don't see one and then three come along at once!

On Saturday evening  the OB and I decided that on Sunday morning he'd cycle, with the dogs whilst I'd run a circular route complete with a hill that I've been wanting to have a go at for a while, before we went to meet friends for a pub  lunch. (For this read, must include chips!!!)

By the way, Coach Steph has said that there hills on the Braunton 10 so I'm looking for different hills to run.

It all started well, especially with the stunning weather for October then at a mile in Tilly started limping. Checked her paw for thorns etc but found nothing so we set off again and she stopped the dot and carry one attention seeking.

We started the hill climb, and the OBOAB had to get off and walk, announcing almost simultaneously that he had a puncture........ and guess where the puncture repair kit was?
Correct! At home!

This was at mile two!

So he and the woofers turned for home and I continued running up the hill. I then turned onto a lane that I've probably only ever been down three times in the eighteen years we've been here, once on a horse and the others in a car but it's been sometime ...... and I'd forgotten what it involved .........

A gentle bit down hill ...... lovely!

......... and then a really steep, potholed descent ...... definitely a first in my running career. I actually found it quite difficult to negotiate ......

Then it was back up hill, which was quite a relief to be able to get a good pace going again before another steep descent where I felt like I was almost sitting on my heels to get down without toppling over!

Then it was back up hill but this time I realised I'd made a mistake in leaving my rope and crampons at home ....... I kid you not it was so steep that I was literally crawling up it and able to walk up the last bit faster than run but failed to get up to 30mph as per the sign at the top!!!!!!

I then ran through Black Torrington, up hill again to lanes that I'm familiar with but having being spoilt with running on the TT for so many months I'd forgotten about the moron drivers ....... Oh yes, even on a Sunday they were out to get me, and I hate to say it but the women were the worst ....... Clearly no idea where the brake is (the middle peddle love!) and four times I had to dive into the bank.
The men on the other hand still kept coming but drove on the verge so that I didn't have to stop. Thanks guys!

Three quarters of a mile from home the OB and woofers met me (they'd got back to the ranch and then come back out in the truck) bearing water and encouragement which was lovely.

So, how far did you run I hear you cry?

Y'er tiz

And here are the hills ......

I didn't pause the bird on my phone whilst looking for thorns, checking the OB's tyre, grabbing dogs, or leaping out of the way for traffic and I'd gone out on this run to enjoy it and see if I could run up the hill (not knowing there were other hills) so I was very pleased with how I ran....... and then I had fish and chips for lunch!!!

Today Coach Steph sent out this weeks training email and one of the runs is a 6 miler where we need to 'work on a moderate pace and be consistent and work on any hill so that our overall pace is even' ........

......... I think I may have just got away with it yesterday!

Oh, and by the way, I really enjoyed it!!!

*OB - Old bloke
*OBOAB - Old bloke on a bike
*TT -Tarka Trail

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I think I need a Garmin

Whilst I was doing my 'favourite hill run' on Monday, Coach Steph was sending out our first training email .......

My first reaction when I read it ......... oh no I'd forgotten about strides!

Yes, two of the three runs involved strides ........ but still it could be worse, we could be doing hill sprints!!! (Ha ha they're probably on next week's menu!)

So there's no time like the present to get out training, however, which one to go for?
Well I learnt my lesson before, never go for the easy option first, you never know what may happen during the week.
Strides then!

Yes, but which run? There are two with strides. Oh ok, the perceived hard one then!

The plan was to get the OBOAB* out again with the dodgy stopwatch, shouting times at me,  however this is where the plan starts to go down hill!

Normally when I run the OB*, walks the dogs, who travel in the back of the van to our start point.

So far so good, but we don't have a vehicle bike rack. This means that Tilly, Jess, and the bike would have to travel together. Not so good! The last time they travelled with company was to Parkrun in August with the apple press that we were lending to someone and when it went flying I suddenly had a collie on my lap in the front seat digging its claws in for two miles.

Leave them behind said the OB!

Not fair said I!

The dogs came and the bike stayed at home.

So on Tuesday morning I set off from Petrockstowe station on the Tarka Trail (TT) with the stop watch in one hand and a bit of paper with my instructions in the other, along with the bird on my phone in my back pocket....... Well I only have two hands and I have previous for forgetting the training plan.
Funnily enough I've never run on this bit of the TT before and only walked it a couple of times but it is flat and stone free so ideal for sprints and running hard.

I ran the ten minute warm up and then straight into 5x20sec strides with 40 secs recovery in between. Now  I thought this would either kill me or I'd mess up trying to look at the stop watch but actually it all went according to plan. Next was 2 x 1k repeats at hard but constant pace. Mmmmmmm The bird on the phone is doing miles, is in my back pocket and my hands are full!
No probs  ....... it's  .62 miles (I googled it)  ok so this is where it all goes to pot as I'm rubbish at maths and so did a Sarah mathematical  equation. I ran hard for five minutes with one minute recovery and then repeated it. As per my bit of paper I then did 2 x 10 strides with 40 secs recovery and five minute cool down and ended up back at the station almost to the second (hooray my maths works)!!!!

But ...... I think I need a Garmin!

On Thursday we were back at Petrockstowe station for the second strides session, but with the OB and woofers going the opposite way as Jess doesn't seem to like this part of the TT.

Armed again with the stop watch and run notes I set of on the warm up.........

It was almost text book other than the bird in my pocket announcing that I'd run the first mile in 8.32 mins ........... yeah right love, in my dreams!!

 Oh and  my doing an extra set of strides as I lost count/got confused with the time. (I know, I'm hopeless) I did manage to put the notes in my pocket after that and run as planned and although obviously the bird on my phone can't be trusted it looks like I was sub 10 min/miles.

I think I need a Garmin!

The third run this week was to be a 30 minute one, thinking about form, cadence and stride.

 Parkrun then!

What a soggy run this was ....... too wet to take my phone so I had no idea of how I was doing. During the third mile Shirley ran with me and said 'shall we do some strides?' Do you know what? There's no getting away from strides in this running lark!!!!

The great thing about Parkrun is everyone hangs around at the end chatting and cheering the other runners in and despite the rain, today was no exception. During one of the conversations about the winding hill to the finish I mentioned that it always makes me feel like I'm going to be sick and lose my bowels at the same time ....... seems I'm not the only one!! What a relief to hear others thought they were the only ones too!!,

On the way home the OB said ' Do we need to get you a Garmin?'

'Yes, I'm hoping Father Christmas will bring me one!' I replied!

I think he's on the case .....

*OBOAB - Old bloke on a bike
*OB - Old bloke
*TT - Tarka Trail

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's taken eleven weeks .....

Now, you can be forgiven for thinking that after my last post when I chucked teddy in the corner and took my ball home after having a bad Parkrun that I'd given up running and blogging.

Sorry, but I'm still here doing both ......

Well neglecting the blog but running and slowly building my fitness back up, although any hope of running the Bideford 10 or any race for that matter has had to be put on the back burner.

It's been hard and on more than one occasion I considered chucking the towel in and giving up for good, especially after returning from holiday having not run for two weeks and having my legs ache for ten days ......... I had thought all the swimming I did instead would help but clearly my muscles didn't!

So what made you keep running I hear you ask?

Well competitive Sarah is always somewhere in the background.........

 Seeing how my friends have improved whilst and since I was ill, running pb's at Parkrun and running half marathons means that she isn't going to let me give up that easily.

Running on different parts of the Tarka Trail (yes we're still regularly visiting, and making up for not using it over the last eighteen years!) and varying the distance is all well and good but I realised I need something to aim for in my training ......

........enter coach Steph, who suggested the Torrington Christmas Caper and/or the Braunton 10 in January. Well, the first one was out, running 10 miles through streams and mud wearing a tutu and Santa hat doesn't float my boat! However, although there are some hills I've decided to train for the Braunton race which is 10 miles.

On Saturday I ran my 20th Parkrun and had my fourth best time, which made me feel that I was getting back to form.

Yesterday I ran one of my favourite routes on the Tarka Trail (TT) 2.3 miles up hill (yes I know, hill and favourite in the same sentence!!!) and then back down again. It was a good run and Saturday obviously wasn't a fluke!

Today I checked how long it's been since I started running after Shingles and would you believe its eleven weeks!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

I'm almost back in the land of the living!

Hellooooooo .......

I'm sure you've forgotten about me as it's so long since we last  talked ....... well eleven weeks infact ......

From my last post and subsequent silence you may have realised that I was  poorly! (Or just thought I'd given up blogging!)

Actually the understatement of the year ....... For those of you who know me , I don't do ill but this shingles shit was something else ...... and no I'm still not one hundred percent but I'm gradually getting there ............ however it has taken it out of me.

After my visit and subsequent diagnosis by my GP I assumed I'd be back up and running after a couple of weeks and certainly running the Bude RNLI race ........ my dreams!

All I could manage was to drink wine and cheer everyone on!

It was the most awful feeling not being able to do it and the crap wine didn't help!!!

Still another couple of weeks and I'd be back training and at parkrun....

........ ha ha it seems my body had other ideas .......

But body listen there's the Bideford 10 on 1st November and coach Steph is giving us fab training advice! Oh and the Tavy 7 just before it.

My body clearly isn't listening or is it I'm not listening to my body???

Actually yes, I have listened to my body, I might have been very angry with it, but realised it must be very angry with me and in the end that I must rest to get better .....but it's gone on for what seems infinity!

So here we are eleven weeks on ......

Last Monday I trotted down the lane just to show myself that I was better and could do it! And I finally got back to Parkrun on Saturday and was chuffed with my time considering my lack of training! When I looked back on the app I was still faster than this time last year ...... result!

Yesterday I had another trot down the lane with the dogs and today rocked up to Parkrun expecting to do better than last week ........

Ok so let's not talk about it ........ it was hot and as I kept reminding myself on the way round, I am eleven weeks behind everyone and more importantly I have eleven weeks of fitness to catch up on so my worst time evvverrr at Parkrun is just a blip .........

........ it better be otherwise I'm not playing anymore!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Two weeks to go and there's a spanner in the works .....

I had a fairly sleepless night on Friday (even more so than usual) due to my painful ribs and not being able to get comfortable.

On Saturday morning I was a slow pacer volunteer at Parkrun and luckily running didn't irritate the ribs. Phew!!!!!!

After another uncomfortable night I discovered on Sunday morning that I had a rash across my ribs but at least the ribs had stopped hurting, however it felt like someone was trying to push my ribcage out all night on Sunday .......
So another uncomfortable night resulted in a stiff back. When I did sleep it was obviously awkwardly.

No matter I had an appointment with a 45 minute interval training session with the OB on his bike.

Down to Yarde then with the world and his wife and the OBOAB  ..... it was Bank Holiday Monday after all.........

So the usual 10 mins warm up followed by 25 mins of hard and steady pace ......  11 minutes into this hard/steady bit I thought I was going to be sick and actually had to stop for water and a breather (and much swearing - the OB has decided I'm RBWT -running bird with tourettes!!!!  presumably for his blog whenever he gets around to writing it)  ....... first time ever I've stopped ...... I did feel awful though and when I resumed it was at a much slower pace! Hey ho!! ....... still split pace was 10.40 mins/mile so not too horrendous!

Another uncomfortable night with the pain down my spine this time and a worsening rash meant I was held at gun point by the OBOAB until I phoned the surgery, at 9am, despite it being his Birthday and my messing up our going out plans.

I managed to get a Doctors appointment this morning and have been diagnosed with  shingles........

Bugger, bugger, bugger ..........

There's a spanner in the works now ..........

 I'm not sure if I'll be able to run the Bude RNLI 6 mile race ....

Dr. Fernandez was diplomatic and just said 'maybe not' when I asked

....... the OBOAB isn't happy

........ there's hope yet!!!!!!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A new strategy

As last week was a recovery one and only involved a couple of easy runs I thought I better get my entry in for the Bude RNLI run!

So with just over three weeks to go, training has started again, and I have gone for a new strategy ........... get the run I least want to do over and done with ........ that'll be the sprints/strides one then!!!

It seemed quite strange last week not doing any training and I have to say I was looking forward to starting it again!!

I can't believe I'm even saying that!!!

On Monday we put the OB's bike in the van and popped down to Yarde to do the run I wasn't relishing .......

10 mins warm up ..... 5 x 20 sec strides ..... 5 x 2 mins building pace ... 10 mins easy.

It was chucking it down with rain as we set off but luckily didn't last long and we had the place to ourselves! It all went according to plan and was so much easier having the OBOAB shouting out the time so I could concentrate on running rather than the last time when I had to faff with my phone and run holding it and the time before that when the OBOAB fell off his bike and stopped shouting!!!

On Tuesday I decided that I really needed to do another run as otherwise it would be Friday before I could get out again.

It was to be the 4 mile steady one ...... 5 mins easy ...... build to race pace and hold until last 0.5 mile.

So back to Yarde again, however this time I went across the road and ran towards Torrington ...........I discovered the first half mile was uphill ....... however it then flattened out and was beautiful.
At mile one I thought the bird on my phone had gone mad when she announced 8.37 mins then at mile two it was 8.59 mins! I then turned around and found the next mile and a half was a steady uphill climb! The thing is it hadn't appeared to be downhill on the way out but explains my fast time. I did 10.40mins and 10.20 mins respectively for the other two miles!

Contrary to the diary schedule I managed to get out on Thursday and trot down the lane with the dogs whilst the OB finished off the cheesemaking. It was the 30 mins easy run with instructions from Coach Steph to enjoy and relax ringing in my ears ........

I actually ran slowly from the start and although I had to stop three times in an attempt to get a thorn out of Tilly's paw and then stop for a car, and cyclists, it was just lovely listening to the bird song and trying to identify all the wild flowers in the banks!!!

My strategy worked ......... thank goodness as on Friday my ribs started to hurt. They felt like they did after my riding accident a few years ago when I smashed them up. I have no idea why they should suddenly feel like this as I haven't done anything to irritate them! It's the same side that I had radiotherapy two years ago so perhaps that's something to do with it as it can be a side effect even after all this time down the line!!

Oh yes by the way you may have noticed I've decided to continue with the blog ...............

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

In case you were wondering .........

After our awesome performances on Sunday at the Bideford 10K Coach Steph advised that we walk, cycle or swim on Monday to get our legs going and to eat well, including plenty of protein for muscle repair. Then have a steady 30 minute run on Tuesday or Wednesday, followed by another 30 minute run later in the week if we couldn't make training group or Parkrun!!

On Monday I expect you like me thought that I'd be hobbling around like a hobbling around person .............

but ................. against all the odds I didn't have any stiffness at all!!! Rather surprising but .......


Anyway the OB and I had our first day off for three weeks and although it was scheduled in the diary to lie down in a darkened room we fought the urge and went for a five mile walk on Dartmoor to sort my legs out and then have a lovely protein lunch at The Ring Of Bells!

Yesterday I didn't have time to run so today after cheesemaking and before lunch I trotted down the lane with the OB wobbling along on his bike. The moment I started my calf made itself known ........ I don't recall feeling it on Sunday (but maybe that was the adrenaline) and it had felt normal since with no ill effects  from the run ........ bloody buggers, why now?

It eased during the 34 minutes I was out and didn't niggle once I was home ...... So hopefully it was just sorting itself out!

It was lovely to be out enjoying the surroundings and just jogging along with no pressure, however I can't wait to start training next week for the Bude RNLI 6 miles .........

Apparently I have the running bug ........ in case you were wondering!!

Monday, 11 May 2015

I did it!

My last two training runs were the 20 minute ones as mentioned in my last post. Due to a busy week I had to do them on Thursday and Friday and just ran down the lane ......... I'd actually forgotten about the hills after all my runs on the Tarka Trail!!! Anyway they passed without incident!!

At the start of training for this 10K coach Steph had told us to write down the time we expected to do it in. I didn't write it down or tell you but 1 hour 10 minutes was my goal. This week I decided to aim for 1 hour 6 minutes after looking at all my training times.

So suddenly it was race day .........

Hanging around waiting to leave was the worst bit .......

With my knee support on and k tape on my other knee .......( I didn't mention it in dispatches but it had been niggling for a week or so.) and vaseline on my feet we set off at 10am, just as well really as the car park was heaving and there was a long queue for the loo when we arrived!!

Waiting for the Bideford 10K to start

                            My fellow training group runners with coach Steph!

Eleven o'clock finally arrived and .......... we were off ........... loads of people surged past me, well hundreds actually ........ even though I felt I was running a good pace. I knew I'd set off too fast (I always do) especially with so many other runners but thought I'd wait for the bird on my phone to tell me at mile one and then I'd adjust accordingly. I didn't hear her, nor at mile two ....... infact for the whole race she was silent. I thought my fat arse must have switched her off ...... oh well just keep running and hope for the best!! It was hot as well and the car fumes weren't nice either. (There was a steady stream of cars passing us). Getting near Instow between 4 and 5k I felt sick and realised that I had definitely set off too fast ....... oh god not even half way and I may have to stop. I slowed a bit and grabbed some water at the water station and swilled it around my mouth and chucked it in my face!! It's amazing how much this helped and now on the Tarka Trail there was a lovely breeze which was a blessing.

On the Tarka Trail

The lady behind me in this photo, a member of Okehampton running club ran alongside me for a bit and we had a conversation ....... unbelievable me running and talking .........then I followed her all the way home!! 

At 400m I could see the finish ........ but it looked miles away .... to sprint or not?


The same question at 300m and 200m.


At 100m ...... YES ..... go, go, go......... The beastings by coach Steph had paid off ..... I still had enough fuel in the tank and sprinted to the finish!!

The look of surprise  on the OB's face as I ran over the finish was to behold.......


Well apparently he hadn't expected to see me so soon .......

My 100m sprint

What I was thinking!!!

The look says it all ..... never again!!
 When he told me my time 1:01 I thought he was joking. My first words were 'never again!!' I took my phone out and saw the bird had been doing her bit as well and although a few seconds out due to not stopping it straight away...... but as you can see my split pace was awesome!!!

My official time was 1:01:20 and I can't tell you how chuffed I am with that, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd get a time like that!!

Having never run a race before I didn't know what to expect, however the organisation by Bideford ACC was excellent and all the marshalls were friendly, helpful and encouraging and the atmosphere was brilliant ...... you may all be lying down in a darkened room now but thank you it was a great event.

Sooooooooo what's next??

Well the OB told me the other day when I was hobbling around with injury number twenty two that I wasn't to enter any more races ...... we'd just get back to me trotting down the lane and him wobbling along on his bike!!

Yeah right. .........

............. So as my fellow training group and I had an appointment with copious amounts of prosecco and gin yesterday afternoon ....... oh come on we needed to rehydrate!! We came to the conclusion that our next event would be the Bude Rats RNLI 6mile run in Bude on 10th June. It's an evening event so all the OB's have realised that they can wait in the pub for us!


....... and coach Steph has agreed to coach us again!


And just before I go the best news is that to date I've raised £432 for Children's Hospice Southwest!!!
Thank you to everyone who has donated.

Thank you also to all of you for your kind words and encouragement over the last five months. It has really kept me going!

I also wouldn't have done it without the support of our little training group ...... we've all had our ups and downs, doubted ourselves, wanted to give up, screamed and shouted but everyone was there to support each other and bloody hell weren't we awesome yesterday? You guys rock!

Last but not least a huge thank you goes to coach Steph who over the last five months has given up her own time to train us (and put up with our moaning and groaning)  ........ what a star you are!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Only five days to go ........

On Saturday morning I got out of bed to shut the window before going to make the tea ....... Well I was the one who wanted to go to Parkrun!

'Its not nice out there, raining and blowy'

'You don't want to run in that do you? Get back into bed' came the reply from beneath the duvet.

I climbed back into bed and after laying there for a couple of minutes, climbed back out! The weather may have cleared in two hours time. It may not be so bad at Tamar Lakes. All the fantastic volunteers who make it possible for us to run won't climb back into bed.

I made the tea!

And the weather had indeed cleared by the start of Parkrun.

With only a week to go to the Bideford 10K and being almost injury free I wasn't going to risk hurting myself for a PB, just a steady run was the order of the day! I even managed to sprint up the last part of the hill and into the tunnel, getting a time of 31.03. Maybe all this sprint training is worthwhile!!!!!!!

This week on the menu there is ....

3 mile easy run

20 min run ... 10 min easy ...5 mins building pace each minute .... 5 mins cool down

20 min run..... 5 min easy .... 5 mins build to race pace .... 10 mins cruise and feel strong.

Due to my busy schedule this week I did contemplate counting Parkrun as my 3 mile easy run but decided that it was probably cheating!!!

So to Yarde today, just before lunchtime......

Starting off I felt really sluggish and stiff and almost stopped, especially as there was a strong side wind however after giving myself a good talking to I carried on. I then met some friends walking so had a quick chat before continuing on my merry way. It then suddenly felt better!
The third mile wasn't much fun as the horizontal rain started and along with the side wind it was hard work especially the uphill bit but I kept going.

So two more runs ........ and then it's the real thing!!!!

Friday, 1 May 2015

It's all getting a bit scary ......

The Tarka Trail at Yarde

Well I think this week is the first time since starting the training for the Bideford 10K that I've actually managed all the runs, on the right days and in the right order!!

Yesterday (yes sorry I had a long day so no time to report in) I managed to fit in the strides and sprints training........... Oh yes, contrary to what you thought! I know I'm full of surprises!!

Due to the day job ...... a 5am start, then cheesemaking when I got home .......  I finally got to Yarde at 12.50, on my own as I had to leave the OB in charge of cheesemaking.

The plan was to run easy to the gates which is a mile then do the strides back and forth followed by the sprints!

The mile was fine ...... 10.35 or something! Oh and my calf is still niggling.

I then faffed with my phone to find the timer and set for 30 seconds for the 5 x strides .......

Yup ...... So I started the strides and then wondered why I was running further than I thought I should .....doh!!! What a prat .... I'd set the timer for 30 mins and 30 secs.
So reset it and managed the 5 x strides with jog back along with an audience from a couple walking by who lingered at the statue thingy near the gates and then seemed to be identifying wild flowers alongside my training ground.

I then had to do 2 x 400m sprints with 90secs jog back 

After last weeks beasting I had a fair idea of how far 400m was but realised that I could change the bird on my phone to km so I'd know where 400m was. I then set the timer to 90secs for the easy jog back. Then I started the sprint which actually seemed the same speed as my strides  ........ and I sprinted and I sprinted but then the bloody bird on the phone didn't tell me where I was.

I jogged back for 90 seconds and was exactly on time to the gates .......

I sprinted again but still no notification from the bloody bird on the phone .......before jogging back I checked the bird on the phone for my sprint time and discovered that I'd  obviously fannied about so much with the timer,  changing the app from miles to km and  pausing it and then starting the timer and forgetting to restart the app that I'll never know my sprint time. Bloody technology! I then jogged  back to the car park passing the lingering couple on their return who looked totally bemused!!

So in other news .......... In yesterday's post this arrived ............. 

Enough to focus the mind ........ Oh bloody hell what have I done?

Today I had to make a delivery to Instow and two and a half miles of the trip involves part of the Bideford 10K ........ can you believe my stomach started to churn and I started to feel nervous just driving it.

Bloody buggers!

What have I done?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Running five miles needing a pee isn't easy!

If you were paying attention last time you'd know that today I was scheduled to run 5 miles ...........

Well the day didn't start well and for one reason and another I was completely stressed to the eyeballs by the time we set off to Yarde! (I know eighteen years of never setting foot on the Tarka trail and now you can't get us off it!!!!)

Incidentally the stress isn't related to running or the 10K!

Not long after I set off I needed a pee (and yes I had gone before we left home) so during the easy mile I was on the look out for a bush, there weren't any! I did consider 'doing a Paula' but decided to hang on and hopefully find somewhere suitable further on.

At the start of the second mile I had to open and shut a gate, cross a road and open and shut another gate then I went up a gear as the next three miles were going to be race pace ......... then my lace came undone ...... bloody buggers! I've had these running shoes for four months and the laces have never come undone! Well until today!

I carried on in second gear, still looking for a bush!

Coach Steph had suggested I try for 9.30 min/mile race pace after Sunday's feel mile!

Then came another two gates to open and close with a road to cross in between. This is still mile two!!

Mile three was straight forward although it seems I was a second slower than the obstacle course mile, then the stress stuff started in my head and I took my mind off the running .....................

Oh and still no bush!

Somewhere along the line on the return trip I opened and closed the four gates and then ran easy for the fifth mile. This one was like I was running through treacle and my legs felt like they were going to come unscrewed, and I thought someone had moved the car park it took so long!

Looking back at my previous times recently all I can say is at least I'm pretty consistent on my pace as well as starting out too fast as well!!!!
Maybe if I hadn't wanted a pee or lost concentration then I'd have been faster today ......... who knows! It's done and tomorrow is another day!

So roll on Thursday for the sprints and strides!!!!!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Almost niggle free .......

Can you believe it, the big day is two weeks today?? aaaarrrggghhh don't panic, don't panic ........ (visions of Cpl Jones in Dad's army!!!!)

According to Coach Steph the mantra is 'I have the fitness and form and don't panic'

Due to my niggling injuries I've recently been a bit behind with the training menu or missed some of it out completely but now with two weeks to go I need to stick rigidly to it.

So 1. 2.5 mile run .... first easy ..... second mile run on feel of what is race pace ..... last bit easy

2.  5 mile run ..... first easy ..... next three race pace seeing if can hold the pace from running on feel ...... last mile easy.

3) strides and sprints (oh joy!)

I still have slight stiffness in my calf but it's nothing compared to what it was and I can walk fairly normally again.


Well I haven't run since Thursday evening so this morning was scheduled as a training day. Now I had planned to do the 5 mile run as we were going out to the Tarka trail and had a lovely breakfast in preparation.

A genius combo I heard about yesterday!! Marmite on toast with avocado ....... go on try it, it's lush!!

After re reading the training menu (I think the first reading when it popped into my inbox was through a bottle of wine!) I realised that the 2.5 miler had to be run before the 5 mile one. So 2.5 miles today, 5 miles on Tuesday and the joyous sprints and strides on Thursday ...... oooohhhh and Parkrun on Saturday, hooray!!!

So we ...... that is the OB not on a bike and the doggens went to Yarde for a 11.20 am start .........

No k tape on the knee, just the support!

After running for a while I had an inkling that the bird on my phone hadn't started.


However it actually worked out well as the delay meant I started the second mile after I'd had to open and shut two gates. For the first time in several runs I managed to get out of first gear too although I think I was a bit over enthusiastic and will have difficulty maintaining it for three miles on Tuesday .......
I then trotted back to the car park, with the thought that in two weeks time I'd be nearing the end of the Bideford 10K but obviously
running a bit faster!!!

Now, if you're paying attention you'll see that I actually trotted back for a mile and if you're really hanging off every word you'll know it's because of operator error at the start ....... but hey it was on the flat, no potholes and no inconsiderate motorists!!

How are the niggles? I hear you ask

Well my knee is feeling almost back to normal, so 99% there!

My calf felt fine during the run and didn't stiffen up the moment I stopped. It's still a bit stiff but definitely on the mend!

So there's still hope for a pain free run on 10th May!!

Friday, 24 April 2015

A year ago today ........

Sooooooooo, a year ago today I pulled my ancient trainers out from under the stairs, hoovered the spiders and cobwebs off them, put them on and then tried running down the lane with the dogs, running to a tree and then walking to get my breath and then running to a  bush and so on ........... I quite enjoyed it and so went out the following week a few times and increased the running bit .......

If you'd told me then that a year on I'd be training for the Bideford 10K I'd have had you admitted to the asylum ....... me? in lycra? run in a race? Noooooooooo ......... you're joking!!!!

Well, as you read this in the asylum I'll update you on this weeks training!

On Tuesday despite the previous days cycling I was still hobbling around ( like a hobbling around person) so just pottered around the garden doing vegetable gardening type things!

I was still dot and carry one on Wednesday and was seriously pissed off of Shebbear ......... I needed to run but ........... Well just but! I have no idea whether I'm buggering myself up forever by continuing to run or whether it's the thing to do.
Anyway after cheesemaking we had to deliver to The Commodore at Instow.

Instow is the half way point of the Bideford 10k and around two and half miles of the return race is on the Tarka Trail so the OBOAB suggested that he drop me off and I run back to East the Water on the Tarka Trail.

So after taking the obligatory photo I set off .........

Having never set foot on here before and only by doing  a rough calculation driving alongside it on the way I was sort of running blind but assumed it was just under three miles. Not that it mattered as yet again I couldn't get out of first gear, not helped by my very stiff calf. The knee was well strapped so only dared to be slightly niggly. Anyway I ended up in the old station (complete with train) but forgot to take a photo as was trying to find my way out ...... I now know I'd run too far for the exit. However it was 2.78 miles and my split pace was 10.14 min/mile.

Now for some reason I wanted to beat myself up about the time but actually after giving myself a good talking to and getting the calculator out I'm pretty consistent with my timings especially as I'm hobbling!!! (I have also reminded myself that this time last year I was  running 3 min/mile slower. ........ Yes I know, I know, you don't need to put your two penny worth in either.........

Once I stopped running my calf seized up and I  was back to hobbling ...... not a good look going past the queue of commuters in their cars as I made my way back to the OBOAB in the car park. Once home I literally hopped across the yard my calf was so stiff.

Yesterday was a date that has been in the diary for some weeks.


What's that then? I hear you ask.

A trip to Bideford with Coach Steph and the Bradworthy running group to familiarise ourselves with the start and finish of the Bideford 10K.

How was the knee and calf I hear you ask?

The knee, still strapped hardly niggled but the calf was really stiff.

So we had a lovely trot out to the Tarka Trail which included one of the two hills.........

Well it was nothing to worry about ........ compared to the hills we all have to endure during our training it was easy!!

Once on the Tarka Trail the beasting started after a gentle jog and a few exercises which showed I'm completely uncoordinated we did sprints!!

Sprinting 300 metres at 75% seemed a breeze initially but clearly I was doing 90% instead so when Coach Steph upped the ante to 90% I was wrecked.

My knee held up but every time we stopped my calf seized, so it was an incentive to keep going!!.

We then trotted back and did some warming down exercises, one of which helped my calf enormously. So much so that when I got home I could actually walk, as it wasn't so stiff.

Today my knee has felt almost normal and initially my calf was its usual stiff self  but then, almost by magic after lunch I stood up from the table and realised that I was walking around pain free!

Long may it last .............

OBOAB = Old bloke on a bike

Monday, 20 April 2015

If I were a horse they'd put me down ........

I managed to get two blisters on the side of one of my big toes on the run last Monday ...... the first time since I started running! ......... just due to sweaty feet I think as I was wearing a pair of my normal running socks and shoes. Luckily they hadn't burst.

Once home my right calf felt very tight ...... I put this down to stupidly dehydrating myself on the run by not taking water and so the muscles were complaining .......... I drank lots of water!!!!

On Tuesday I was hobbling around like a hobbling around person, my knee was niggling and the calf was very stiff, clearly I'd strained it and the lack of water had had nothing to do with it. Walking up and down stairs was a nightmare, both feet on the same stair before I could move up one.

If I were a horse they'd put me down

By Wednesday panic had set in ......... how the hell was I going to be in any fit state to run a race in three and a half weeks time????  One that I was being sponsored for as well. To be honest if I hadn't signed up to run for Children's Hospice Southwest then at this point I would have pulled the plug and given up but as it's not an option I decided to carry on training .........

............. Well the 30 minute easy run anyway!

It had been a very hot day and although I couldn't get out until 5pm it was still pretty warm. The OBOAB wobbled along with the dogs but ended going back with them after half a mile as Jess was limping, so it was just me. I tried to ignore the sore bits ......... the first two miles were relatively easy and in fact my second one which was mainly up hill was 9.31 min/mile ....... 33 seconds faster than the first one! This possibly might have had something to do with my having to run past a couple of lorry drivers twice and trying to appear cool! ( In reality a hot sweaty bird in lycra with a face brighter than her pink top!!!) It then all went to pot on the last .90 mile ....... 13.06 min/mile ...... what a struggle, it didn't help that one of the blisters rubbed raw either.

On Thursday despite everything I decided that I needed to do the 40 minute training run which included hard pace in the middle.
 So with my knee strapped up and padding on the blisters and nothing on the calf, I set off ......... it wasn't good, suffice to say I couldn't get out of first gear at all and ended up ambling for 30.17 minutes.

Yes, yes yes ....... I know what you're saying but as I had a free Saturday I HAD to do Parkrun and of course you're right I should have given it a miss and rested my knackered legs but I didn't!!

The hobbling continued over the weekend!

As I said if I were a horse they'd put me down!!!

This morning the OBOAB got very cross and shouted at me when I mentioned that I was going to run today, so guess what?

I went out on my bike instead ....... infact twice!!!!! Ok it was only a total of nine something miles but I tell you I'd rather run up hills than cycle, however it seems to have helped the knackered knee and calf, so much so that I can now walk up and down stairs normally!!!!

Do you think they'll waive the rules for me on 10th May and let me cycle the 10K instead ????

OBOAB = Old bloke on a bike