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!