Sunday, 28 August 2011

Why do I run?

It has been a funny old week for me. I ran 12.5 miles last Sunday and felt very pleased with myself, well on track for Paris - Versailles and the Royal Parks Half Marathon. I had a rest day on Monday, and set off for a 6 mile run on Tuesday without a care in the world. Before long I was in tears! My calves were agony, every step was painful and I was too far from home to do anything other than continue. I did curtail my route somewhat (to 4 miles) and the pain in my left calf did ease off, but my right calf continued to scream at me every time I put my foot down. I got home, stretched, strapped on an ice pack and hoped for the best. I set out again on Wednesday, thinking that everything was OK, but the same thing happened, and I hobbled home. I spent the next two days 'resting,' got husbando to do some massage and set off for Parkrun on Saturday morning without too much worry.

I had all the children with me as a fire at a local battery recycling plant was belching out vile and acrid smoke. My oldest ran with me, while the younger four sat in the car watching a DVD! I seem to have lost my Parkrun mojo, I can't match the speeds I was getting earlier in the year, but I will persevere! I did consider not completing yesterday's parkrun - but having made the effort to get there, not finishing doesn't really appeal.

This got me to thinking about why I run. When I started running I did so to get fit and lose weight, I didn't worry about speed and distance, it was enough that I was out there, in the fresh air and getting fitter. Now I think I might just be worrying too much about pace and not relaxing enough and just loving running for the sake of running. This morning I made a conscious effort not to look at my watch while I was running. I knew I didn't want to run too far or too hard (in deference to my poorly calf) and roughly knew the route. It was fun and I covered just over 6miles in about 52 minutes.

I'm going to take it easy for the next week - short gentle runs rather than long ones!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hurry up and go slow

I'm not sure what it is about Saturday morning, but I find it incredibly hard to get my arse into gear! Staying in bed for an extra ten minutes seems so much more appealing on a Saturday than any other day of the week. Given that Basingstoke parkrun starts at 9am, getting there on time shouldn't really be too much of a challenge, but it often is. Basingstoke isn't that far away, and it shouldn't take too long to get there, but sometimes it does. The A339 is a twisty road, much loved by motor cyclists with a death wish and tractors. Getting stuck behind a tractor will slow you down as there are only one or two places where you can overtake. Often the road is closed at these points, with an lengthy diversion in place, as a motorcyclist has tried to overtake unsuccessfully. To ensure one gets to the start line for 9am I have to leave by 8.30am. 'People' know this. Specifically 'people' who say that they want to run with me and 'people' who want a lift part of the way to work. 'People' should help lower my blood pressure by not faffing about and making me think I am going to be late. I hate being late. I'd rather be an hour early than 2 minutes late.

Luckily the traffic gods were smiling at me (metaphorically speaking, I no more believe in the traffic gods than any other deity, but can see the advantages that placating a traffic and/or parking god would have) and I made it to the start of the race despite leaving a little later than planned. The weather was warm and sunny (although it is raining as I type) and we all set off for out trot around Basingstoke's War Memorial Park. I'm beginning to think that 5k isn't really my distance. I can't seem to get any faster, and it is somewhat demoralising to say the least. I didn't even check to see what position I finished in this week, so will have to wait for the results.

As I had to go into Festival Place to pick up cinema tickets for Monday evening, I decided to be brave and go along for coffee at Giardino's with the other parkrunners. An open invitation is issued to everyone at the start of the race, but I think it takes a lot of courage (well it does for me anyway) to go along to something like that. Maybe established parkrunners, who regularly partake of coffee (and the best lemon muffins I've had in a long time) should start asking people personally if they want to come along. It was nice to chat, talk about races we're entering etc. with other runners.

As an added bonus, a new Apple store has opened in the shopping centre. They had hundreds of staff in the shop (I don't think I am exagerating) and where making a huge deal of it - cheering every time a customer came in and handing out free t-shirts. I got quite excited in Sports Direct as they had my favourite trainers at a very good price and a lovely colour (purple), but was soon disappointed when they didn't have my size! I'll have to look on the internet later and see if I can find a pair somewhere.

Back home now, and it is raining. I have to deliver the car to the shop and then I'll run home. thankfully it is only 2 miles. That will take my mileage to just over 32 miles this week, not including the 12+ miles I've walked while delivering leaflets.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

How rude!

It has been a while since I have blogged - summer holidays are a busy time, and while I keep thinking of things to say here I don't seem to get enough time on the computer to actually type anything out. I need to make some more time at the computer so that I can actually start planning some lessons for the term that starts in two and a half weeks.

Running has been going well, I've been doing Parkrun every week and am beginning to get to know the faces (and names) of some of the regulars. It makes a difference to be able to chat to people before and after the run. Still struggling to beat my PB, but never mind! I've been upping the length of my Sunday run in preparation for the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Last Sunday I got to 12 miles in about 1hr 50mins, which sounds OK, but was in fact possibly the most miserable 1hr 50mins of my life! At about 8 miles (and therefore 4 miles from home) I really wanted to stop running, but had no other way of getting home, no available shortcuts and so had to carry on plodding on. Despite feeling awful when I got home it didn't take me long to recover and I was just about fit enough to endure Horrid Henry: The Movie with my two youngest children later in the afternoon.

I ran on Monday, rather than resting, just to check that my legs still worked! They did, just about. I ran a bit further on Tuesday and then ran two short (2miles and 2.7miles) runs today. This brings me to the title of this blog post.

It was raining today. When running in the rain there are more hazards to consider. The road surface can be slippery, there are puddles and people with umbrellas to avoid. Overhanging trees are a wee bit lower due to the weight of the water on the leaves and are prone to dumping a load of water on the unsuspecting runner underneath them. It is harder to see - especially if one is wearing glasses. I was happily running along, dodging puddles, ladies with umbrellas and low hanging branches when three 'yoofs' on their came towards me on the pavement and shouted 'Get out of the way old lady!' I replied that they should get off the pavement and was told to 'F*ck off and get a life!' These boys were all in their mid teens and seemed oblivious of the perfectly serviceable cycle lane right next to the pavement. I don't doubt that the cyclists were safer on the pavement, especially as none of them were wearing helmets, but forcing pedestrians into the cycle lane is really not on!

Gosh, I sound like a middle aged Daily Mail reader.....

In other news... Husbando has decided that he can't run Paris-Versailles due to his knee injury. I emailed the race organiser and easily transferred his entry to a friend of mine who lives in Paris. The race is on! Last person to finish buys the other lunch! It is a shame that the Great North Run organisers cannot do the same. I can't do this race as I have far too much on, but the organisers will not allow me to transfer my race entry to someone else. Thousands of people were disappointed not to get a place in this race, and I have a place going begging. Dire consequences are threatened for giving away places, and the race number has my name in BIG bold letters on the front to discourage this. What a waste! I don't suppose there is anyone out there with my first name who wants to run the Great North in about 2 hours? I guess if the person didn't collapse/need medical attention/turn out to be speedier than a speedy thing from speedy land and finish in the first 3 then no one would ever know, but I'd be really worried that something might happen to them and the bib number would have all the wrong information!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Where have all the children gone?

No, do not fret, I have not misplaced my brood! They are still hanging around like left over turkey after Christmas! Over the last few weeks I have been out and about running (yay!) and pushing leaflets for husbando's shop through the letterboxes of residents in nearby towns and villages. This is a thankless task, enlivened only by the sport of avoiding yappy, snappy dogs, completing the Krypton Factor challenge required to open some of the gates I encounter and having an occasional peep in through the windows into someone else's kitchen.

But this is the summer holidays, and the weather has (with the exception of today) been glorious. It occurs to me that I should be tripping over bikes on garden paths, running the risk of being knocked over by a child chasing its sibling around the garden with a water pistol and having my enjoyment of the audiobook on my iPhone interrupted by much jollity, shrieking and shouting. Yesterday I was out leafleting for over two hours, it was sunny, I was in a residential area that had the trappings of small people: swings, slides and trampolines, but I didn't see a single child playing out!

I do sometimes feel guilty about the amount of noise my lot make when they are in our garden, but I'd much rather they were doing that than sitting inside and missing all the lovely weather!

Running has been going really well. I've run 25 miles so far this week, the heat has made it really hard going at times, but I've just taken it a bit slower and carried on. I can tell you that hoovering up the children's left over pizza and Haribo sweets just before going out for a run is not a good idea, however good it tastes at the time! I did wonder if I'd have time to go running today as I was up in London for a seminar for newly qualified teachers. Travelled all the way up there and then sat down next to someone who lives about a mile down the road from me. It was a good seminar, most of it common sense, but some good pointers on behaviour management and preparing for that all important first day. I am 98% excited and 2% terrified - or is it the other way around?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Town mouse or country mouse?

Husbando and I had a bit of a falling out the other day. We often do, but this one was about running, more specifically the route we should follow. I am a creature of habit. I go to the end of my road and, given the choice, turn left 9 times out of 10. This takes me along country lanes and through neighbouring villages. Husbando would turn right, which takes him into our small market town, and normally on a route that takes in the industrial estate. This adds some friction to the 'which way shall we go' debate. He says that my route is 'boring' with nothing to distract him, he likes the buildings and the cross streets. I love my country lanes with ever changing hedgerows, animals to spot, roadkill to identify and lots of glorious views. I can think of few things more boring than running through an urban environment day after day! That said, more often than not husbando gets his way, although I do extract a small amount of pleasure from making him run the route 'in reverse' - apparently the direction I go is the wrong one!

This week's running has got off to a good start. After just missing out on a PB on Saturday I decided to draw a line under that and look forwards. I got up early(ish) on Sunday and had finished an 8.5 mile run by 9.45am - when it was starting to get very warm! I covered the loop part of the Alton 10 road race - lovely countryside and a wee while since I had run that way so lots of things had changed. Speedwise it wasn't a great run, averaging just under 9 min/mile, but I put that down to not having had a proper breakfast first. After a full on day of children's parties, spectating at a pony club event and drinking champagne I went for a 'quick run' with husbando. 2.7miles into the 'urban jungle!' My legs felt very heavy at the start, but that soon wore off and my pace was much better than for my morning run. Today I toyed with the idea of having a rest day, but I think I will have a couple of days where I can't run due to travel commitments, so went out for a nice easy run. I ran 4 miles with an average pace of 8.18 min/mile - very pleased with that as it didn't feel like hard work despite the temperature being about 26 degrees!

I am having 'issues' with my running shoes though. My feet feel fine while I am running, but I have already lost one toenail this year, and both my little toes hurt. I foresee another trip to the running shop in the near future, I just wish running shoes weren't so expensive.