Sunday, 24 April 2011

Doing a Paula!

And I don't mean breaking records while running marathons! But more of that later!

It has been a good week, running wise. I have already written about my 3.5 mile that turned into a nearly 6mile run, so I won't relive that one again! I had time to fit in a 4 mile run on Friday before an Easter egg hunt for the children and supper with friends - first barbecue of the year. It got very chilly in the evening, but we were stoic and sat out until about 10pm, warmed by freely flowing conversation and alchol.

I took a day off running yesterday. I did try the Zumba game for the Xbox 360, but I am obviously completely uncoordinated. It is a wonder I can put one leg in front of the other when running based on my failure to grasp even the most basic steps on this dance/exercise game. I will try again, but probably without the children 'encouraging' me!

This morning husbando had to go out at about 6am, so I asked him to bring me a cup of tea and a cereal bar before he went. I vaguely woke up to eat/drink these and then dozed for a couple of hours. I had frequent visits from the children wanting cuddles - but at least I could pretend to be asleep! I am not keen on early morning runs for several reasons. I either run out of energy because I am trying to run before I eat breakfast or I feel sick because I am trying to run having only just eaten breakfast. This very early morning snack in bed seems to have done the trick. I was out of the house just after 8am, when it was misty and chilly and had a pretty good run. I ran 8 miles in 73 minutes, so I need to work on speed a bit! I saw a hot air balloon landing and, by the time I got to the bit of the road next to the landing field, the passengers were standing around drinking champagne!

Here's a bit of advice though, if you need a pee after you've been running for 1 mile the need is not going to go away! You will spend the rest of the run wondering how long you can hold out, looking longingly at every tree and wondering why you are wearing dayglo pink that means that you can be seen from outer space! I had to give in eventually (at 5.5 miles) and just had to tell my self that if Paula Radcliffe can get caught short - then a mere mortal like me is bound to need a pit stop from time to time!

The rest of the day has been spent at home with the family. Sundays where we are all in the house (husbando got back at around 9.30am) are rare indeed. We had a lovely lunch at about 4pm, even if the beef was a little too well done for my liking.

Next week is a busy one. I am away for a few days, but will try to run most mornings. I am now thinking that I may be able to take part in the Alton 10. I shall see how this week goes, and maybe run most of the route next Sunday and then see how it goes.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Geography never was my strong subject!

Busy day today! Shopping in the morning with the children. How can a trip to return a £40 bag (unwanted birthday present for oldest son) cost so much money? I must remember that the answer to the question 'Mum, can we just go and look in Game?' is always 'No, absolutely not, don't even look in the window!' I did sneak a copy of Zumba for the Xbox Kinnect thingy into the pile of games. I shall be interested to see if it is as good as everyone says it is, I was very unimpressed with Wii Fit, but would like something I can do on the days I don't run!

After a quick lunch at home (sandwiches in the garden, so almost a picnic), I took three children to see a friend for a quick run around in her garden, then home again. Husbando had taken a car into work this morning, and the plan was that I would run down and pick it up at some point during the day.

If I run straight to the shop it is a 2 mile run. I wanted to run 'about 3.5miles,' so I put my thinking cap on and decided to run up Brockham Hill and down Old Odiham Road. I thought this 'two sides of a triangle' route would possibly take me to just under 4miles, I also thought that as we had just had a rain shower it would be cooler outside, so I grabbed my water bottle, iPhone and off I set!

Half way up Brockham Hill, with the sun blazing down on my, I was struggling, and decided that if I was going to get to the top of the hill, let alone to the shop, I'd have to walk for a while! I walked (quite briskly) for 2 minutes and told myself that this was the first time I have run up that hill in months, and that it is bloody hard work at the best of times! Getting to the top of the hill was, as always a huge relief, but I then realised that what I thought was two sides of a triangle was actually three sides of a square. I wasn't worried - I thought I was about half way there, so may as well carry on.

The rest of the route was 'undulating' and it was a really enjoyable run, but Old Odiham Road seemed a lot longer when on foot than when whizzing along in the car! Before I knew it I'd covered over 4 miles and still had a way to go. The last mile was downhill all the way - there had to be some compensation for the fact that I'd climbed 437ft! Brilliant fun, and relaxing as I ran down the hill meant I had energy left for a final sprint to the finish. I covered 5.65miles, and the time wasn't too shabby, given that I'd walked for a couple of minutes. I felt as though I could have carried on running for a while longer too.

Runs this enjoyable, where I exceed my expectations, don't happen every day or even every week, so I am really enjoying the smug feeling. I want to go out and run again right now though - which is not terribly practical at just gone midnight!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Getting back in the habit

When I was on teaching practice I used to pass people running as I drove too and from work. It was too dark in the mornings before I left for work only just light enough towards the end of my teaching practice for me to run. So, while I envied these people their morning/evening runs I rapidly fell out of the 'habit' of running. I still tried to get out once during the week and at the weekends, but is stopped being an automatic part of my life as I couldn't see how to fit it in around everything else that needed doing.

Since I have been at home again I find myself planning my day around when will be a good time to run! I am really enjoying not having to get up early as the children are on holiday, so an early morning run is out of the question! The last couple of days have been very warm (it was about 28C here this afternoon), lovely for sitting outside eating lunch in, but not so great for running in when one is not quite as fit as one should be and is possibly/probably carrying about 20lbs more weight than one would like to carry! I've fallen into a routine of giving the children there supper and heading out for a run at around 6.30/7pm. It is cooler (marginally) and I have seen some spectacular sunsets - the kind that make you wish you had a camera with you, but that you realise an iPhone camera won't do justice to, and I am not going to start running with my DSLR on the off chance I see something that I want to photograph! The only downside is that I miss the 6.30pm comedy slot on Radio 4 and The Archers! But this is easily rectified by using 'Listen again' and means that I get to listen to the programmes without the children interrupting me to ask silly questions!

I've run 3.5 miles for each of the last three days, getting slightly faster each day. Ran a new route today, around King's Pond, down an alley way I didn't know existed. Heck - I've only lived here for 17 years! You can't expect me to know my way around yet! My aim for the week is to run 6 miles, or slightly more, on Sunday. I do feel as though I have started from scratch again, but I am getting there!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

It's rape season again!

No, not that sort of rape, although I did become a bit perturbed by seeing the same pick up truck 5 times during a 30 minute run! I'm talking about the plant that we in the UK know as 'rape' and which the Americans call 'canola!' This seems to be an ever increasing crop around here, it is beautiful to look at, especially when the flax is in flower too and we get fields of bright blue next to the bright yellow rape fields, and it smells lovely but it plays havoc with my hay fever!

I've forgotten to take my antihistamine a couple of times this week and ended up snivelling with tears flowing from my eyes as I run! Not a great look! I ran 5 miles on Sunday, having remembered to take the tablet - but only as I walked out of the door, so it hadn't worked its magic as I passed the first field. I persevered, thinking about all those people running the London Marathon as I managed my gentle plod up hill towards the next village. One year I'll be there too.

Yesterday was the first really warm run I've done this year. Lovely to be out in shorts, a vest top and sunglasses with some great music to listen to and wonderful countryside. Nice to think that I was working on my tan while I was working out! I'll be out again this evening, not sure how far or where I'll run yet, but I am looking forward to it!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

You know its a good run when...

... you start to plan the route for your next run as you up the pace for the final half mile of your current run!

Husbando has declared that running at 'such a slow pace' is what is causing his knee to hurt! I told him that I was unlikely to hit sub 8 minute miles anytime soon, so he better go running on his own again! I've been averaging 9 minute miles over the last week, as I've been battling this silly cold. At best I like to average around between 8.15 and 8.30 - I can run sub 8 minutes and down to around 7 minute miles for brief bursts, but not for any prolonged length of time. I am not devastated that we won't be running together as often. I love running by myself!

That said, I set out for a run with my 11 year old daughter today. We will be running Race for Life in June, so she wants to make sure she is as speedy as possible. We set off around the lanes, up and down some hills, I would run on ahead and then run back to her. She managed about 2 miles, I carried on and added an extra hill to make just over 3 miles. I thought we were going pretty slowly, but it was my fastest run for a while - averaging a pace of 8.27 minutes per mile. Gives me faith that I will get my speed back! As I approached home I tried to plan out routes for tomorrow. I want to run about 6 miles, my favourite 6 mile loop has the bl%dy bastard hill at the start, and I'm not sure I want to put that much strain on my body that early on. I cannot run all the way up it unless I am fitter than I am right now, so I will have to think of something else - probably a straight out and back run!

In other news, it is our wedding anniversary today. 17 years! I have just filled in (and paid for) husbando's race registration for Paris to Versailles! This was a great, though tough, race last year. You may remember I had a chest infection and probably shouldn't have run it at all. Hopefully I will be fitter this year.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Absolute(Radio)ly fantastic day!

See that >>>>>>>
That's me and Tim Minchin!

Such a good day! Met up with a friend in the morning to try on and buy shoes. Tried on Jimmy Choos and bought Fit Flops - there is something wrong with that statement, I'm sure it should be the other way around. The Jimmy Choos were at least as comfortable as the Fit Flops and far more stylish! We spoiled ourselves with pink champagne and strawberries instead of morning coffee and grabbed a quick lunch before husbando and I headed on over to Absolute Radio.

After some waiting around in the reception area of Absolute Radio where I met a couple of people I know from 'internet land' and then we were taken up to the staff canteen on the third floor. When you hear of venues being 'intimate' you tend to think of a theatre seating a couple of hundred people, well this 'intimate venue' was little bigger than my sitting room! There can't have been more than 40 people in the 'audience!'

Tim, suffering from the snuffles, came in for a chat with Geoff Lloyd. He was funny, genuine and interesting to listen to. He talked about catching a cold from his children after a flight from Oz, and about how illness always hits at the end of a tour because the buzz keeps you going until you stop. I can concur with adrenalin making sure that you don't get ill while performing but that you get laid low the minute you stop as this always happens to me when I stop teaching - not that I equate my teaching with Tim's awesomeness but it is a performance of sorts! The adrenalin I get standing in front of a class of 32 teenagers made me forget about a broken rib a few weeks back! He broke up the interview with a live version of 'Prejudice,' it was great to hear the surprised/relieved laughs of people (staff I assume) who hadn't heard the lyrics before. Expect to see some professional still and video photography on the station's website to accompany the broadcast on 21st April. I took some still photographs, but didn't use flash and didn't have a tripod or the right lens so they are somewhat blurry but atmospheric! After 'Prejudice' there was some more chat. I think I was smiling too hard to really take most of it in, then Geoff said that the second song would not be broadcast because broadcasters are 'nervous' about Tim's material and we had a live version of one of my favourite songs 'Lullaby' complete with coughing fit in the middle - poor Tim.

Now my singing teacher always told me that singing when poorly is a very bad idea, so I applaud Tim for such a fab performance - and I hope that he takes loads of Vitamin C to get back on tip top form for the Edinburgh and Royal Albert Hall gigs.

Afterwards there was a brief opportunity for photos (he is taller in real life than I had anticipated!), signings and chat. I got MrB to take a photo of me with Tim. A brief exchange that raised a giggle from Tim followed. MrB: 'I'll take another photo cos I always cock it up' Me: 'Yup that's why we've got 5 children' Tim: Giggles.

All in all a great day! Not marred in the slightest by me losing my train ticket between arriving at Waterloo Station and arriving at the platform to board my train! We'd arrived with plenty of time to catch the train, so faffed about getting coffees. When we discovered that my ticket had vanished we had to make a mad dash to the ticket office to get a replacement. The cost of tickets is scandalous! Return tickets to London for two of us, arriving before 10am are £76, plus another £6 for parking at the station.

Today could have been an anticlimax. It was saved by the Emma Bridgewater sale in Selborne village hall. A nice haul of new goodies cheered me up greatly!

What's that? You thought this was a running blog! I did run today, just over 4 miles on one of my favourite routes that I first ran on Christmas day a few years ago. I am still finding it hard work, and am still terribly slow, but I will get there!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

With a spring in my step!

Today may have heralded the end of the glorious weather we have been enjoying, but there are so many signs of spring around that it can't be long before it is properly warm all the time! Those of you who follow me on Project 365 will have been bored to bits with my photos of the tulips in my garden, so I thought I'd cheer this post up with a picture of the first blossom to open on my apple tree!

Today has been a momentous day. I posted my final PGCE portfolio to my tutor for him to assess and pass up the chain of command which will hopefully lead to me achieving Qualified Teacher Status in June. My desk looks oddly bare without the huge Open University file sitting there mocking me for not doing enough work. I dare say that my office will look an awful lot better once I get rid of all the piles of paperwork that have been kept 'just in case' I need them.

So, what did I do to celebrate this wonderful achievement? I went out for a run. As you know, I've been finding it tough lately, my brain is not coping well with the fact that my body is not very fit and wants to push on despite my lungs protesting! I decided to take it easy, I put an audiobook (The Black Echo by Michael Connelly) on my iPod and set out along the road to the next village. I normally reserve books for long, slow runs when I don't want to compete with a beat and run too fast too soon, but decided that as I am struggling with speed and distance I would just concentrate on going further than I have been over the last week. If I can build up the distance I can work on the speed later. I ran just over 4 miles, trying not to get too downhearted about the speed (or lack thereof) and just enjoying being outside.

Tomorrow is a busy day. Up to London to meet a friend for some shopping and an early lunch. Then on to the Absolute Radio studios to see a live session with Tim Minchin - we won tickets in a radio 'phone in! I can't wait. Think I will wear purple shoes. I have no idea what to expect - but am excited! Needless to say, I'll report back here tomorrow or Friday.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

I'm back and running!

Hello everyone! Did you miss me?

I've finished my teaching practice, am getting there with the assignments in that I have everything I want written down, I just need to make sure that I have all the right supporting documentation. If not, I may need to get a bit creative. I loved almost every minute of my teaching practice. I am constantly amazed that I am allowed to do such a fantastic job.

Running while on teaching practice has not been easy, as you'll have noticed from my absence here! First it was the dark evening, then it was sick children! I managed to run once during each week and once each weekend. Not enough training for a half marathon, so I reluctantly pulled out of the Bath Half. I do wear the lovely t shirt they sent to all entrants though - it is so nice!

I managed to trip over a plant pot a week before I finished teaching. I landed on my chin, and managed to get an amazing array of bruises all down one side of my body. I ached for days! I wasn't too worried as freedom from the timetable beckoned. This was thwarted when I woke up the day after I finished teaching with absolutely no voice and a throat that felt as though I had been chewing razor blades. This was followed by a cold and sinus infection. I did try to run with blocked sinuses, I managed about 2 miles - and wouldn't recommend it!

In the last couple of days I have started to feel vaguely human again, just as well as the school holidays have started. I am still reliant on a cocktail of antihistamines, pain killers and decongestants, but I am getting there! I ran 3.33 miles on Friday and 3.25 miles today. It was shockingly hard work and I my entry to the Alton 10 in a month is looking doubtful. I don't think I can get to a state where I can run 10 very hilly miles in a respectable time in the remaining 4 weeks! The race is far too local, and the other runners far too serious, for me to want to disgrace myself in it!