Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Running Rite of Passage II

Today my toe nail fell off! It started to turn grey a while back, during a brief relationship with an unsuitable pair of trainers, but has taken weeks to finally fall off. I am now left with 9 toenails painted in sparkly red nail varnish and one toe with out a toenail to be painted. The result is not pretty and I only have open toe shoes with me! I am in France at the moment, mile away from my rather large collection of nail varnishes, so will have to pop out today and buy a pale, pastel shade so that my toe doesn't stick out like a sore thumb!

I had a lovely run this morning, although my left hamstring is playing up, so it was a slow, short (3mi) one ending at the boulangerie. I ran down to the Parc and got lost amongst all the roads and paths. It had rained overnight, so was cooler, but quite humid. Today we are off to the Musee d'Orsay (can't work out how to do accents on my friend's PC!) and maybe a ride on a Batobus, followed by a little gentle sight seeing (and nail varnish shopping!)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Stamping my feet in a stroppy fashion!

Please excuse me a self indulgent rant!

I love running. I love running by myself! I tell anyone who asks me that the main reason I run is because it is the only way I get a bit of peace and quiet. A couple of weeks ago Stephen asked if he could come with me. Foolishly I said yes, thinking that it would be a one off. It was OK, a bit of a novelty having someone to talk to. I didn't realise that he would want to come running with me every day! He is going around telling everyone that he is really enjoying the fact we are running together. I am still blabbling on, in his hearing, about running be a good way to get time on my own. He is like an enthusiastic puppy about the idea of us running together.

Yesterday I got up at 5.30am, just after he had left for work, and went out for a run on my own! It was bliss - but when I got home it was to the news that, had I told him I was going to run early he'd have come with me! Argh!!! Tonight we went out again together, ran a very slow 5.5miles and I wonder if I can get him to give up running with me by being very slow....

I shouldn't really have gone for a run today anyway! In addition to a 4.5 mile run yesterday morning I also did a Power Plate session and swam 70 lengths of my friend's pool (only about 9 or 10m long). I am not a swimmer and I ache all over this morning.

Ho hum, rant over. Back to do battle with a website that keeps messing up the photobook I am trying to order!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Race for Life

I 'did' Race for Life with my daughter today. I don't think I will do it again. It may have done great things in terms of fundraising and raising the profile of running in this country, but it is not a good event to do if one actually fancies running!

The organisation today was awful. The PA system was inaudible from where we were standing. The start was chaotic. We had three starting groups, runners, joggers and walkers. That seems like a nice, logical distinction until you start to think about it. Last year I dithered between the runners' and the joggers' groups. Was I running or jogging? I knew that I could run 10k in 52 minutes - but was that technically running or jogging? And how fast would my lovely daughter be able to run? Jogging seems to be a somewhat derogatory term so I chose to plonk myself, and my daughter, in the runners group, as we did this year the friends (also a mother/daughter combo) with whom we were running.

We crossed the start line just over a minute after the start and immediately encountered groups of friends who had yet to learn the difference between walking and running! Why start in the runners' group if you are not even going to run the first 5 meters? And because you are running with six of your friends, why not walk six abreast (if that is not a heinous pun when talking about Race for Life) so that those people who would like to run can't pass you? And why have a 'walkers' group' in something that is called a 'Race?' If you want to walk for charity then do a sponsored walk - there are plenty out there! I'm not denigrating walking at all - I have running friends who have taken part in various walking events and tell me that walking is far harder than running, but a 'race' is not the place for a leisurely stroll!

As we went around the '5k' course this was a repeated problem - lots of walkers, lots of spectators on the wrong side of barriers (I came around a sharpish bend and bumped into a bloke with a camera - he swore at me for not looking where I was going, but I hadn't expected to encounter a totally stationary person!) people 'running' in flip flops!

I ran the first 3.5k (or thereabouts) with my daughter and her friend. It was s-l-o-w going! I may have had a few days off, but the pace was far too slow for me - I ended up running on and then back to meet them a few times, and running backwards so that I could make sure I knew where the girls were (I was not running backwards when I collided with the spectator!) Eventually I could stand it no more! I called back to the girls that they were to stay together, not talk to strangers and that I would meet them at the end, and ran a wee bit faster!

I finished in about 28 minutes - not a great time, the girls took about 31 minutes so a lot slower than Kitty managed last year.

I got home and the Garmin uploaded all the data from the race. It is not pretty! It also confirmed something I slightly suspected last year and suspected again this year. I know how fast I can run 5k, and what the pace feels like over that distance. I know that I was running very slowly today, and that it is unlikely that I could have completed 5k in the time I was running. The GPS distance, which shows the extra switch backs I made to check on the girls (you get some funny looks running the wrong way in a race!) is 4.55k! I don't doubt my Garmin (or my gut instinct), the Garmin has been spot on for all the other known distances I have run - so I can't see it being wrong now!

I haven't told my daughter, her friend or my friend - whose first ever race this was. It would seem mean to take away their sense of accomplishment. This race was run across park land - it wouldn't have been hard to add in an extra 500m or so, and it should be fairly easy to measure the distance.

Ho hum! At least I didn't blub too much reading everyone's back signs about who they were running for this year! And we have raised a few pounds for a great charity. As I said earlier - I won't be doing it again, but it occurs to me that I would get a perverse sense of pleasure from entering as many as possible and auditing them for organisation and accuracy of course distance...

My hip held out quite well. I haven't been for a run since Wednesday (5.6 km, over hills, in 30 mins) when I wanted to make sure that I could run on my hip, as I had been 'resting' since last Friday. I went to the GreenDay concert at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night. Three hours of jumping up and down seems to have been very beneficial to my IT band. Just as well as I didn't get home until 2am! My hip is a little sore now - but nothing like as bad as it was this time last week. I am so pleased, as this week has been miserable without being able to run.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A running rite of passage?

I have a proper running injury! Woo hoo! Or not, as the case may be! I have Iliotibial Band Syndrome - basically my IT band is causing friction where it meets with my hip. My fab chiropracter caused me a great deal of discomfort (to put it mildly!) while he worked on it. And then he gave me a load of stretches to do and charged me £40 for the privilege! I have two things to comfort me: 1) although IT band problems are common in runners (get that - I'm a runner!) they normally affects knees and thighs, I am less common (therefore more special!) in that it is my hip that is suffering, and 2) I don't need to stop running, I just need to make sure I do the nasty stretching exercises RELIGIOUSLY!

So, may go out for a wee run tomorrow, and do a session on the Power Plates as that will intensify any stretches I do. Hopefully I'll be good and ready for Race for Life at the weekend.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Woe is me!

I have a poorly hip!

I am now forced to admit that it hurts a lot. It hurts every time my foot hits the ground, not just when I am running. In retrospect, yesterday's 5.25mile run and 30 minute power plate session was not the best idea in the world, but I grew up in a time when we were told to 'run the pain off.' I am going to have to take today and probably tomorrow off, and try to get an appointment with my chiropracter. I am very cross about this.

In other news, we had a call from Joshua's school at 9.08am yesterday asking us to pick him up as he couldn't cope with the pain! I think this is a new record. The school seem much more solicitous since our local MP contacted them to ask if he could meet with Joshua. This has nothing to do with any unhappiness we have with the school, Joshua got really involved in the election coverage, and emailed Damian Hinds (must remember not to call him Damian Hurst!) to ask him some questions, and enquire about shadowing him for a day.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The morning after the day before!

You know that little Power Plate thing I was talking about yesterday? Well, when I was striking my strange poses and doing my press ups and lunges on the weird vibrating machine it all felt terribly easy, I bounced (or should that be wobbled?) off the machine feeling absolutely fine - so good in fact that I jumped onto the rowing machine for 20 minutes!

This morning was a different story! I could hardly ease my aching body out of bed. My legs were not working, my bum felt as though I had been kicked in both buttocks, and my upper arms, shoulders and chest were screaming in protest at the unaccustomed activity they had been asked to perform. So, in the face of this pain what do I do? Toddle off to the gym and book another 30 minute session for tomorrow. If it hurts this much it must be doing something, surely!!

Today was my youngest child's 'Fun Sports Day' and she certainly looks as though she is enjoying herself as she runs back to the start line here! It is good to watch young children run. They don't worry about how fast they are going, how far they are going, they just run because the can and because it feels good.

I went for a run with Stephen again. We set off too fast (for me) as usual. I cannot sustain a pace of 7.30 mins per mile! Stephen didn't run as far as I did, turning back early to complete a shorter loop. I ran 4.25 miles and caught up with him when I was nearly home. He had blown up. Maybe he should have started off slower...

I think I am going to have to rethink running with him. It isn't good for my self esteem - I feel I have to keep up if he is going faster than me, and if he is lagging I feel I should slow down. I used to run at a pace that suited me! And I miss the 'me time!' I like being by myself, I don't find my long runs dull or boring. There is so much going on in my life that I value the time on my own to mull things over. But, but, but if I stop running with him he is going to be upset and take it personally. Maybe I should try the 'It's not you it's me!' line! Or schedule one run a week with him when he can shout at me for being too slow!

Anyway - got to go and ice cup cakes for year 3's cake sale tomorrow. I'm so rock 'n' roll!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Why is it?

Why is it that, despite the fact I can run 10 miles in a reasonably respectable time, I still worry that I am 'unfit?'

I had an appointment at the gym for a 'Power Plates Induction Lesson' and I was terrified that the ├╝ber fit gym instructor would be laughing at my puny attempts. I went for a quick run before my lesson, as I knew that I wouldn't have time to run later (and who knew - maybe the Power Plate workout would mean that I couldn't run even if I did have time). I was fairly pleased with this run, I stupidly left my water bottle in the car, and I really did miss being able to swig water as I went on my merry way.

The Power Plate thing was very odd! Who knew you could exercise sitting on something that vibrates like a washing machine on a rapid spin cycle? I did feel a bit of a tit, standing in strange postures while my whole body vibrated. I can see why the private market for these things is so strong (despite the price) - wobbling one's flabby bits in private is less alarming than doing so with an audience!

I had a quick go on the rowing machine after my session was over. Twenty minutes listening to loud music and rowing - ignoring the blisters forming on my hands! I was wearing my wedding ring and my engagement ring which is never a good idea while rowing. I feel I have achieved my cross training session this week! I often don't as I find the gym so dull.

In other news.... We took Joshua to see the consultant today. He is being referred for a CT scan and will probably end up having laproscopic laser treatment of his adhesions. Joshua has missed so much school, he managed half a day yesterday, and the sum total of one lesson today. He is in constant pain which peaks sharply and without warning! Hopefully we'll get some answers soon.

And in yet more news.... Parents' evening for Hamish and Freddy. Freddy has settled in well to his new school and is doing well, although he can 'lack motivation' when it comes to writing! Mrs J kept telling us what a wonderful little boy he is! Friendly, cheerful, resilient, caring, thoughtful - my heart swelled with pride! Hamish did really well on his NFER tests, his lowest score was at the top end of the expected range, and his teacher was cross as she said that the only mistakes he had made were because he hadn't read the questions properly! She said that she knows he knows the answers! Still - better to make these mistakes now when you can learn from them rather than in an entrance/scholarship exam or GCSEs!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sod the housework - I'm off for a run.

It had been raining all morning, then just before noon it cleared up a bit so that there was just a light drizzle. I was supposed to be having a clear out (the boys have a clothing mountain in their bedroom as a result of the chests of drawers collapsing from overuse and general abuse) but couldn't motivate myself. That's what comes of not getting home until nearly 1 o'clock in the morning I reckon.

So, on went the running shoes and off I set. I am trying to take it easy after my fall on Sunday, but my hips felt OK. I went on a fairly flat route and decided I was going to only run for 3 miles. I misjudged the distances slightly and ended up having quite a long walk back from my finish point, but once I had stopped I couldn't start running again. It took me 25 mins 46 seconds, which is slower that my 5k split last Monday, even though I felt like I was running faster!

Tonight will be a quiet night in. Chicken salad for supper, catching up with 24 on TV and an early night.

Reprieve Comedy Night

Last night I took my husband out as a belated anniversary celebration. We went to the Reprieve Laughter/Pain Comedy Evening. A brilliant evening for a very good cause.

We traveled up on the train. I used to commute into Waterloo on the old 'slam door' trains. In those days the journey took 61 minutes. Now we have swish new trains that take an hour and ten minutes at best and, in the late evening, an hour and twenty minutes. In the good old days we managed to get on and off the train without having to be warned of gaps between platforms and trains, and without the annoying recorded voice informing us that the train is approaching X station as it slows down, and then as we leave the station listing all the stations that the train will stop at before arriving at its destination. As if that wasn't annoying enough, the guards on the trains obviously think we won't really listen to the automated announcement so repeats all the information again.

This doesn't make for a restful journey! I used to be able to sleep for the entire journey, the slamming of doors was never as invasive as the constant PA announcements. The constant interruptions made concentrating on reading a book difficult.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A tale of two runs.

It wasn't quite a case of 'it was the best of runs it was the worst of runs,' but it wasn't far off!

I went for a run with Stephen yesterday evening, we worked out a 4 mile route, filled up our water bottles, donned our running gear and set off. I am slowly converting Stephen to the idea of carrying a water bottle and 'technical clothing.' He has run for years without carrying water with him, wearing a ratty pair of baggy shorts made out of sweat pant material 'teamed' with whichever equally ratty tshirt is closest to hand. He is already a convert to the water bottle, and I think I am winning on the technical clothing front too - I gave him my Bupa 10,000m finisher's shirt as it is too big for me and he loves it. Now all we have to do is replace the shorts!

The run was good. We averaged 8.44 min/mile, I loved having the Garmin so that I could tell exactly how far we had gone and what our pace was at any given moment. Stephen didn't seem at all phased by the fact that I knew our exact stats - one day I'll have to tell him about the watch, but not yet! The blokes outside the pub refrained from the rude comments they normally make when I run by myself - which was nice! All in all, a fairly good run!

This morning was a different story. I set out with every intention of running 10miles, set the Garmin to 9min/mile pace, which is the pace I ran the same route in the Alton 10mi race last month. I hated the Garmin today! Telling me how slow I was! For an 8am start, it was horribly, horribly muggy. Despite a quick banana before I left home, I felt as though I was running on empty. I managed to struggle on for a very slow 7.55 miles. I then misplaced my foot and took a tumble and decided that was enough was enough. I walked on for another mile before 'phoning Stephen to ask him to pick me up. I was beginning to ache and just wanted to stop moving! We had a sneaky stop for coffee before going home - so all was not lost!

I've not done the longish runs (6miles) during the week that I would normally do, as I've been running with Stephen, and I think this might be why I found today so tough, and it was only 12 hrs since our last run, so that might have some bearing too. Who knows? Got home to discover blisters between my toes! That's never happened before and adds to the general gloom somewhat!

In other news, Joshua's abdominal pain continues to blight our lives! I am fed up with it now, he has to learn to cope with the pain, rather than just use it as an excuse to avoid doing anything he doesn't want to do. He has a hospital appointment on Wednesday (yet more school missed) and I hope we get some answers soon! Part of the problem is that, in the past, Joshua has been very guilty of swinging the lead to get out of doing things (or rather to try to get out of doing things!) so part of me wonders how much he is hamming up his current discomfort. He's had a few good days recently, when he's been out with his friends etc., but the thought of returning to school tomorrow seems to make the pain worse. It may be that the activity of those days out is causing him pain now, but part of me does wonder.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Must remember not to post this to Facebook!

My poor car! Stephen reversed it into a tree this evening. Apparently the parking sensors didn't sound and the tree was hidden by the frame of the car! Ho hum, I guess we will be spending a lot of time on the 'phone to insurance companies over the next few days!

In running news..... I bought a Garmin Forerunner 405 this morning took it out for a run this evening (late after all the alarms and altercations). Ran 3.2 mi against my 'virtual running partner' in just over 28 minutes. My virtual running partner doesn't answer back or argue about which way we are going. I set the 'VP' at 8.55 mins/mile and finished about 25 seconds ahead of him.

I love the amount of detail the Garmin gives me about my run, and the fact that it automatically uploads to the computer. The GPS is spot on - no dodgy routes taking me through swimming pools and across tennis courts, and the ability to see when I was running at what pace is great! It really appeals to the inner nerd in me. I can even see what my heart rate was doing, and see when I had to stop running to cross the road. It does beep at me rather alarmingly - I was a bit scared to touch anything while I was out running incase it all went horribly wrong, but I am sure I'll get used to that. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating - or rather whether I can get my 10k time down from my sticking point of around 52 mins and whether I can complete a half marathon in September. We shall see....

It's the little things...

... that make me happy!

Never let it be said that I am not easy to please. I bought a skirt yesterday (note to self, do not put a link to blog posts that contain references to conspicuous spending on Facebook, where beloved husband will read them and follow the link). I liked the skirt. It is cute and summery and being from Gap says size 2 when it means size 6! The skirt was, I thought, almost perfect. Today I discovered that it is perfect! It has pockets! I hadn't noticed them at first, but it has pockets that are big enough for my 'phone and my keys. I love pockets, I like not having to dig around in my handbag every time the 'phone rings and searching desperately for my keys while the children are creating merry hell all around me!

So I have a cute, new, short denim skirt with pockets, and life is good!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Food and 4X4s!

Today was one of those days where I didn't have an awful lot planned but seem to have ended up having a busy day. My two youngest children are staying with Nanna for a few days, so the house is much quieter than normal - especially in the mornings! This meant that we could have a bit of a lie in, not getting up until 8.30am - what decadence! After a quick shower and cup of coffee I decided to take the three big children to Festival Place. I needed short sleeved school shirts for Hamish, and had failed to find them locally. Joshua (13) decided that if he had to go shopping he was taking a friend with him, so friend was collected en route. Shirts were bought, along with shorts, t shirts, boxers, and even a denim skirt for me (I bought the children ice creams so that they couldn't come into the shop and had to sit outside waiting for me)! Joshua's friend managed to lose a £5 note - but that was the only mishap we had, and I bought them all lunch at Subway.

Came home in the early afternoon, did some chores, took some bags of rubbish to the tip, did the supermarket shopping (at least it was cool in there) went to the post office, and then back to the post office with the parcel I had left at home. Met Stephen for a quick coffee (me) and very early supper (him) at Bottega dei Sapori and then home to make supper for the children.

While the children ate their supper in the garden I got changed for a run. It was still hot when we set out, we were slow and I was moaning about how hard it was and how it was too hot (still about 24C) to run, and whose bl%dy idea was this anyway for the first half of our run (a long uphill stretch). At about 2 miles in to the run I stopped complaining and things did seem a bit easier - but not much. We did 4 miles at just over 9 minutes a mile. It was only as we pulled into our road that I realised I was starving! I guess the observant reader will have noticed that I didn't actually eat much today! No lunch or midmorning/afternoon fruit snack! I think this may have been the reason I found the going so hard.

It is either that, or I spent so much time trying to get out of the way of 4X4 drivers who don't know how to drive their Chelsea Tractors! We do live in a rural area, with lots of single track lanes and a large farming community, but I do wish that people who own 4X4s would learn how to drive them. On a single track road with a verge on one side, it is possible for the 4X4 to mount the verge without much harm to the vehicle. It is not necessary for the vehicle to remain dead central to the road thus making it impossible for the runner on the side of the road to escape from a mauling by the high hedge on her side of the road - the mud (or dust in this weather) on the wheel arch is a lot easier to deal with than the nettle rash and thorn scratches on the runner's bare arms and legs! Apparently later models of all vehicles have been fitted with brakes, which mean that deceleration as the vehicle passes a runner is possible - but this fact does not appear to have been adequately communicated to the owners of cars in this part of the world! Please, if you are in your car and you pass a runner slow down! Then the runner can gauge where you are in the road a bit more easily, and won't end up with a face full of gravel and dust as you pass her!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

What is going on with the weather?

June is only two days old and we've had two days with dramatically different weather. Yesterday we were shivering in jeans and fleeces, today has been gloriously sunny with a risk of sunburn!

The Tuesday after a Bank Holiday is always a bit odd in my opinion. I feel like I am playing catch up and things that I expect to happen don't - because they should have happened on the Monday, but didn't because it was a holiday! The rain didn't help. The children were cooped up in the house being argumentative, I was trying to catch up on various chores and failing. I was tired after my early start on Monday (and late night because we went to see 'The Losers' at the cinema) and cranky. I was desperate to go for a run, but had promised my husband I'd run with him, so had to wait for him to get home.

We set off in the drizzle and completed a nice little loop - finding a new footpath for part of the route. Stephen kept asking if I knew where I was going, I replied that I didn't and that this was part of the fun. To be fair, I do have a much better sense of direction than he has and knew we were heading in the right direction. The going was tough on the footpath, very uneven, and I think this must have slowed us down. We both thought we were going along at quite a nice pace, but when we worked out the route on MapMyRun we discovered that we'd only been doing 9 minute miles on our 4.5mi run! I want a running watch that will tell me my speed at various points on a run - an average over the whole run isn't really helpful! My ankle was sore during the run, not helped by the uneven ground - so I iced it when I got home. My legs also felt very heavy at one point - I really had to push myself to keep going.

Today has been very busy. Up to London to pick up some books Stephen had bought on behalf of a customer of ours. The weather was lovely, so I put on a pretty dress, slapped on my snazzy sunglasses and got treated really well in shops in Knightsbridge and New Bond Street! Didn't buy anything - but had fun looking before grabbing a quick lunch and collecting some very heavy, very beautiful and very valuable books and loading them into the back of the car. We then delivered them to our customer, who hadn't seen them until this moment. Luckily he was thrilled with them - really excited about owning such special things! We had a tour of his garden and sat drinking tea with him and his wife in the sun. Life doesn't get much better than this.

No running for me today. I think it might be wise to give my ankle a day off! It is hard not to run though. I have spent the time stalking the Bupa London site to see when the photos will appear, and to check out my 'official' time. I came 64th when ranked for age and gender which sounds good until you realise I cam 2417th overall! Official time is 52mins 28secs and I did the first 5k in 25mins 52secs - which is interesting as I thought that I'd run the second half much slower than the first!

Oh, and the Bupa London site has an update on the bloke we saw at the side of the road. He is being treated at a hospital in London - so that sounds hopeful!