Put your mats away

No amount of prayer or voodoo or anything else is going to have me ready to run this Saturday. Sadly the ankle has turned out to be badly sprained, and in the process of doing that a tendon pulled hard enough to fracture the knobby ankle bone.

I’m now getting around in a fairly speedy fashion wearing a sexy protective boot. Not fast enough (or indeed far enough) to trouble the organisers of the half I planned to run.

No running for me for some weeks.

Bye for now ūüė≠

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Grumping

I know. I don’t show up for ages and then when I do it is just for a whinge. It just isn’t cricket.

I enjoyed a week of light activity after my efforts at the Edinburgh Half Marathon but knew I was going to have to pick up pretty quickly as I had entered the Birmingham Black Country Half just in case I didn’t run Edinburgh. I was hedging my bets all the way to the line so a back up plan seemed like a good idea – another half four weeks after Edinburgh. That would give me the extra time I needed to get over the surgery if I didn’t feel ready for Edinburgh – and Lindsay was running this too.

All was going well until last Saturday when I tail ran (walked) at Parkrun. The last couple round the course were taking it very steady. So steady I think I had zoned out a bit. And ended up flat on my nose having stood oddly on a stone. Bugger.

Thankfully I was very close to Bills marshal point and he made sure I could still actually walk (yes) and then took over as tail. I caught them up just before the finish at a hobble.

Going through the finish I was accused of fighting with the Wyre Forest Gruffalo by our delightful timekeeper Lisa. I think he came off best this time! I have got a scabby knee that wouldn’t look out of place on Just William, scrapes on my arm/elbow, and an ankle that is stiff and swollen and is now bruised from about half way up my calf down to just above the sole of my foot (It looks like I have a filthy tide mark on the outside of my foot!). Walking down stairs is a bit tricky, and before today I would have said just walking generally wasn’t going too well. I’m hoping that when the bruising is all out and the swelling gone down it will be ok. But will that be in time?

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Prayer mats out for me please – and all advice gratefully accepted. The half is on the 1st July. Will I make it!?!

Hello, only me – I’ve been running….

WordPress Monster: What? Humph?? Who’s that?

Old Bat: Only me. I thought I would do a post. It’s been a while I know….

WM: Oh – you. Where have you been? Have you done something then?

OB : Oh, I’ve been getting over surgery but I’m better now and I went to Edinburgh last weekend for the half marathon I had entered. I even ran it.¬† Sort of …….

WM: What possessed you to go that far … it’s hardly local is it?

OB: Lovely Lindsay was going up as part of her ‘Run five half marathons this year’ thing – and she told me it was flat so I assumed I was safe to try.

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Pre start selfie – blue with cold.

WM: And was it? Was it a good run?

OB: Not flat exactly….. but not Cleobury hilly either. My¬†start was in Regent Road, in a freezing cold wind tunnel with a great view of Arthurs Seat. It wasn’t cold for long though. By the time we had run a mile the sun had come out and it was starting to get very warm. No shade to speak of either…

WM: You don’t do well when it’s hot. Still the views must have been good.

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Spotted The Management!

OB: Yes. We ran through Edinburgh a bit before hugging the coast to run to Musselburgh. I was very happy to see The Management at about mile 10. I was struggling a bit by then, it’s never good to have a socking great hole in your training but I think surgery was probably a good excuse. It might have been better to have had a picture of him at this point because he looked shocked/terrified as I deviated from the course to give him a sweaty hug. I think it did me good but I don’t think he would say the same ¬†ūüôā

WM: Silly man – that’ll teach him. How were the last few miles if you were already struggling?

OB: Never ending. I walked a fair bit but knew I would have to run the last bit …. it doesn’t look good walking to the finish. I had passed a few people who had already pulled up and it looked as though the first aiders/paramedics were being kept fairly busy with people who were really struggling in the conditions. I can’t ¬†say just how happy I was to see the finish line. And yes, I did the best I could to run to the end – although it wasn’t a particularly impressive finish.

WM: Nice to have a sit down and rehydrate at the finish though. Was the bag collection good?

 

OB: Brilliant. Five trucks full of bags and they still had mine in seconds after I got there. Fabulous organisation. It was good to see Lindsay again – she got a better time than me despite her sore shins – as she had the post run drink. A bottle of Bollinger!

WM: SHEWOT! That’s not recommended rehydrating fluid!

OB: Particularly when you try to drink straight from the bottle! I don’t think that went terribly well but at least the bubbles didn’t come down her nose!

WM: *speechless*

OB: My legs didn’t ache half as much after we had shared that between us. It might have been an idea to have had a sandwich or something as well though….

WM: So after that just what did you get up to? Tequila shots perhaps?

OB: Nah. Cup of tea and down to the finish to wait for Jess who was running the marathon. Oh, by the way, I saw the elite marathon runners as I was on my way back towards the finish. The timer said 55 minutes and some – I took over 2 hours to get that far – and they looked as though they were barely breaking sweat. Do you think I could ever do that WordPress Monster?

WM: Not a chance – but keep trying. And how did Jess get on?

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Vikings!

OB: Oh, we thought we had missed her after her predicted time had gone by and a load of Vikings ran by with their boat…

WM: Were you hallucinating?

OB: No – there’s a photo! But it turned out that Jess had suffered with the heat too – the marathon started two hours after us so they really copped the heat. Her hip was grumbling too so when she knew she wouldn’t make the time she hoped she just slowed up and enjoyed (?!) the rest of the run. It was really good to see her at the finish for a while. NO booze though.

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Flashing the great medals

WM: So whats next Kim? Anything planned?

OB: Yes! I have entered another event – I had to confirm I could swim!

WM: OMG! Please tell me it isn’t a triathlon!

OB: It isn’t a triathlon. But I will be training like a demon to do better next time.

Mrs 50%!

It’s been a while since I blogged – I haven’t really had a lot to say so in those circumstances I’m inclined to shut up. Anyhoo, now I have!

After three Parkrun PB’s in a row at Wyre Forest (I know!) I have finally reached that elusive 50% age grading that I have been striving for for so long. The previous PB was 37.30 so I am delighted to have knocked 53 seconds off over these three runs. Could I manage under 36 minutes? I can try.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The 50% isn’t shown on these, just photographs of my phone – no I can’t get them onto the computer (don’t ask) – but I know I’m there and it’s on the results page for all to see. Whoopee!

I’m particularly pleased to get this now as I have to take a few weeks off after surgery. It will leave me only 5 -6 weeks to get back on track for the Edinburgh Half marathon. I think I might be expecting a lot of my body to be ready by then but I will be aiming to get there.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone who is running the London marathon this weekend (including my amazing coach Andie) the best run they could wish for. Enjoy the run guys – I will be cheering on from my position on the couch this year. And don’t forget to enjoy the experience – I envy you!

Kim

Nordic walk anyone?

So, anyone who knows me well knows I am always interested in trying something new and possibly a bit different. Over the past two weeks (though only 3 hours in all) I have been having great fun learning how to Nordic Walk.

I found the Mercian Nordic Walking group online and quickly signed  for a free taster session. Yes, I did say free. Ian Northcott was the instructor and gave me an insight as to what I could expect on a course, and what I could do afterwards. Adventure walks with tea and cake beckoned so I signed up for the next convenient course

As usual the weather in January was not perfect – but that’s not needed if you bring plenty of enthusiasm. Sadly the grey wetness also provides slippery conditions underfoot but that meant that we would be prepared for lousy conditions and would be fabulous under good conditions (ever the optimist!).

Those poles have something of a mind of their own at times so it quickly became clear why it was sensible to get good training. We progressed through the ‘gears’ to harder and faster levels, learned how to double pole, change legs (honest), skip, and run. Ian even took video evidence – if you’re feeling brave watch it!

At the end of the course Lynda and I were given our Freedom Passports. All we need to do now is sign up for our first adventure .

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, glasses, grass and outdoor

If you fancy a try at Nordic Walking check out the Nordic Walking UK website and join in. See you with your poles ūüėÉ

 

Photo and video thanks to Ian Northcott.

I’m back – and more determined than ever

Hmm, not exceptional activity through November and December. In fairness along with half the population I spent a lot of that time ill. NO excuse for a tough athlete (hello Andie and Jo) but I’m afraid I wimped out. So when you have nothing to say keep quiet.

I’m entered for another half marathon now so I need to get my big girl panties on and get stuck in again. Sadly I do feel as if I have lost quite a lot of fitness but that isn’t going to stop me!

I’m not one for making great proclamations at the beginning of the year (certainly no ‘New Years Resolutions’ here) but after seeing how I actually covered 750km in 2016 – quite a surprise when I saw that (yes I know, you did that times 10 – I’m impressed so give me my moment in the sun) it would be nice to imagine that I could maybe get up to 1000km if I really tried this year. What d’ya think? Possible?

As I’m something of a Luddite with computer skills I will let Strava blow my trumpet for me with the thingy they prepared.Just click on the link and prepare to be just a little bit impressed.(How do they do this!?)

https://2016.strava.com/en-gb/share/12657537

Snowdonia Marathon

Well that got your attention! I was there this weekend as a supporter for my daughter Jess – you didn’t think I would be running did you? It was in doubt pretty much up to the last minute if she was going to run as she had been suffering with a poorly hip, but the rest and physio did enough for her to run.

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Great views – not today!

We set off with the requested snacks on board looking forward to the beautiful scenery, and a good breakfast in Beddgelert. As you can see the scenery was hidden behind all of that mist/cloud but the breakfast was excellent.

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Jess & Sara waving – must be happy

Jess skidded by at an earlier time than we expected and I didn’t get any pictures – this one was taken by someone else (sorry – I don’t know who or I would credit you!). I wasn’t quick enough getting the marmite sandwich out either apparently :(. She and her Eagle friend Sara were making cracking time and dashed off leaving us in their dust. Some other spectators came to ask what had been in the sandwiches – I concede they looked a bit yuck.

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Vicki on her 54th marathon

Shortly after their departure I spotted Vicki from CMRC on her 54th marathon! She seemed reasonably pleased with the remaining quarter of sandwich and bananas I had to offer. It was pretty poor by comparison with last years offerings , but still – free snacks are free snacks! (Vicki finished the marathon and then got ready for a Halloween party – the girl must be made of strong stuff. Respect)

We had contact with Coach Mark this year who let us know when Jess had passed him (Nauseous but still running!) and we were on the lookout for her arriving in Llanberis. Sara had been sent on ahead and I spotted her finishing. Jess took a bit longer to arrive but finished in 4:45:12 which was amazing for a girl who had hardly been able to train for weeks before. Coach Mark agrees that she is officially amazing.

 

All in all a great day – mainly as I didn’t have to run it! Well done to everyone who did.

And my training? Not a lot of it this week. The Couch to 5K support again as tail runner, and a run out with a dismal head and stomach on Friday which was about 5k. Evil yoga was concentrating on arms this week. Clearly ready for all that clapping….

This is me.

No Рnot the girl in the picture. This is my Mantra.

And since my last post I have been following it carefully.

I have had a couple of runs with the damaged Aussie Annie (who is getting back into the swing very nicely), and a couple on my own. I have also settled into the back as tail for the new Couch to 5k group on club nights which is getting me out in the dark Рbut on the better lit areas rather than the county lanes that frighten the bejesus out of me in the dark. I know the likelihood of doing something stupid and getting injured is higher if I go out round there so why risk it when I have all day to arrange my runs. At no time have I been trying particularly hard, I have just been bumbling along enjoying the change of season and the fresh air.

And yet I got a 5K PB on Sunday having a nice run that I knew was a bit faster – but not trying hard. Still only 35:06 which isn’t setting the world alight, but since I have been just enjoying the ability to run at all I was both surprised and happy with that.

Enjoy your runs too.

Kim

The Week I get in a spin

After my great delight in achieving my goal of running Ealing Half I have started to come down to earth and wonder ‘what now?’

My first moment of wondering was after a lovely afternoon spent having tea and cake with the injured Aussie Annie. I was made very aware of how quickly things can go pear shaped – and how long a lady of my vintage would take to repair. Club training that night would be the first of the year in the dark. I did a few runs in the dark last year and I didn’t like it (my head torch is a bit of a candle). At all. So I cried off from the training session. Yes, I know it was feeble but I really wasn’t happy.

This made me think – we are all doing this largely for pleasure (no sniggering in the back!) so why do we do things we dislike? Why are we running?

I know that I run to remain at 5’4″ – my mother has osteoporosis and it would seem I am likely to inherit that characteristic ¬†and running as a percussive exercise is rumoured to help. I also want to be able to sit down without going ‘oof!’, and it helps that running uses up the calories I so happily ingest by way of cake, red wine, bread, and pretty much anything else that appeals at the time. Middle age spread is not inevitable despite what everyone thinks – if we all moved as much as we did as younger people we would not ‘spread’. I have not changed any of my eating habits this year, in fact I probably eat more, and have lost almost a stone in weight without that being the intention.

On top of all this running makes me feel good. I sleep better (most of the time), I am more relaxed, and I am less likely to fly into a temper (who me?). Yes, life is better for those around me too.

So running in the dark – what do I do? I’m in a fortunate position in that I can largely determine my own timetable so I can run when I want. But if I stick to daylight I miss club sessions and the interaction I so enjoy with club members so I really need to get used to night running.

Thankfully the club was starting another Couch to 5K group last night and I thought just how perfect that would be to get used to running in the dark by degrees. Quite apart from anything else I can’t have a complete melt down in front of all those new people can I? So I went along and was tail runner – and it really wasn’t as bad as I remembered. I still prefer to be able to see where I am going (yes, I almost upended myself on a speed bump I missed) but whilst we are still around the street lit areas I am OK. I’m still not sure how I would feel about running the lanes around Cleobury without lights, and with pot holes. Time will tell, but I have some weeks to go before I need worry about that.

Running in the dark. Do you like it?  Hate it? Or can you help me by giving me your tips on coping with it? All suggestions gladly received.

And getting in a¬†spin? Oh yes, I went along to a ‘Group Cycle’ class (which used to be called ‘spin’) for the first time last week. 45 minutes of absolute torture – and that isn’t saying anything about those cycle saddles! The leader was tolerant of my slacking at one point, she was probably concerned that I might actually die in situ.¬†Despite feeling as if I wasn’t doing as much work as everyone else I seemed to cover about the average distance (10.5 miles in the 45 minutes since you ask). ¬†I have felt a little as though someone has unscrewed my left leg since the class which I’m not certain is a good thing. Have I loosened off some tightness or has doing something different shocked the system? I have no idea but I’m taking things a bit easy until it settles.

Will I go back? Maybe. When my bum recovers and I buy a good pair of cycle shorts.

 

Musings after running Ealing Half

Yes, I have taken my medal off – but it was going to get spoiled in the bath if I hadn’t. Yes, I am still grinning most of the time (and if I’m not smiling on the outside you can be sure I’m still grinning massively on the inside). Yes, life is good. I ran a half marathon with my girl and it was great.

I was very happy after I got up on Monday to find that I wasn’t anything like as stiff as I had expected. I know I did a bit of stretching, and had a wonderful (and very long) hot bath after we got home which might have helped, but truthfully I expected to feel significantly worse than I did. In all honesty I have been pretty tired all week. I don’t know if that is as a result of the run or if I have just tried to fit more in than is reasonable after doing this. I have been catching up on the stuff I should have done the week before, and the weather was good so I have spent quite a lot of time out in the garden trying to make it presentable before it gets too cold and wet to do that. I have even had a couple of ‘runs’.

On Friday I did a very short run, just to see if my legs remembered what it was about. It suddenly just felt like time to get out. I only did 2.7km/1.69 miles around Bewdley but it felt good, and I was surprised to get back and see I had averaged 7.07 per km/ 11.36 per mile pace. Granted I was only out for 20 minutes but I got home happy. Happy enough to decide it was a good idea to go to Evil Yoga that night – but that was a whole other story. I found stiff and sore spots left over from running and added a few more to them.

Posture not as good as Jess

Posture not as good as Jess

Today (Sunday) I woke to beautiful sunshine and decided it was far too nice to stay indoors. I wanted to run. There was a time that I never would have imagined I would say that so please permit me to say again ‘I wanted to run!’. Heading off into that sunshine I decided to ignore my Garmin and just enjoy running. I had been looking at the photographs towards the end of the half and can see a great difference in posture between myself and Jess. She is well used to the distance and it showed. I decided to just slow down and concentrate on posture and running style – after all, Andie and Jo had given me the tools to work with. Lots of mental balloon reminders to make me stand straighter, shoulders down out of my ears, and high hips (still not entirely certain I’m getting that right). Jess added ‘prancing pony’ knees some time back and since the path is uneven and I ‘scuffed’ my feet a couple of times I tried lifting my knees a bit higher than I usually do – no near trips! Hurrah! Again I got back much faster than I expected having run 5.7 km/ 3.6 miles in 43.19 minutes ( 7.28/12.02 pace). It seems that when you are happy and relaxed you run faster.

So, the musings. In my relaxing time I have been thinking back over this year. I had tried running before I started the Cleobury Couch to 5K group but I had not ever found the commitment to keep with the plan. In volunteering for Parkrun I met people who would give me the ‘grit’ I¬†needed.

The other newbies on the Couch to 5k plan were much younger than I am but never made me feel like an oddity (though that could probably be justified). I managed to run a complete 5k with the group late last year for the very first time. I followed that with a Parkrun in Worcester on Christmas Day with Jess (she seems to be a good luck charm!) where I conquered the course and wondered why I had struggled with Badger Hill for so long. I now know that mental determination counts for almost as much as the training you have done. If you think you can you are half way there.

The running club gave me enough confidence to enter a 10k event – which I have now run four times (not the same one obviously!), and the training plan that I got from Andie was sufficient to make me get out and do whatever she said was necessary – even if it wasn’t on the right day. I now realise that consistency was what I needed as much as these wonderful people.

Had I not volunteered at Parkrun I would never have met this wonderful group of people who I now regard as friends. They have been the positive voices I needed when everyone else seemed to think I was losing my marbles (not yet dears), convinced me that I wasn’t necessarily going to shatter every joint in my body – though the naysayers are particularly concerned about my knees.

This mornings run used to be considered a ‘long run’, and one where I felt quite justified in having walking breaks. This morning I yomped around it with a grin on my face, frightening pedestrians by trilling ‘Morning!’ at them before bouncing past grinning like a loon. Aussie Annie did suggest that we had t-shirts made with ‘If found please return to the Sunset Home for the feeble minded’. I somehow think that running may keep me out of that establishment longer than if I hadn’t started running – but when I eventually get there I will have some fabulous memories to take with me. It will probably be just as well if the other occupants are deaf or deranged when I start to tell them again ‘ Do you know I once ran a Half Marathon?’

Is this the end? Will I ever run another half marathon – or indeed any other races? If¬†you think I’m going to stop now when I am still having fun¬†it’s you who is mad!