Beating the Heat

I’m sorry that I’m not posting more often. I think I got out of the habit when I was unable to run (and a bit depressed about posting about not running) and it’s just difficult to get back into it. Especially as I have so much to rebuild.

It’s been so hot here recently that running has been largely out of the question, but this morning I decided to hit the trails early and get a couple of miles in. The sun had been up for hours, but it was still cool as I headed out of the door accomapnied by Murphy the Running Dog. He was happy to get out as the heat has largely stopped his walks too.

I’ve somehow managed to resurrect my old Garmin Forerunner 405 through a series of resets and battery drains. I am amazed that it’s still working! I’ve had it pretty much since I started running and the battery should be goosed by now, but it keeps resurrecting itself. The Jesus of Sports Watches!

I’m running a 45sec/15 sec split using LoLo’s 10k app. Two things to explain there: Firstly, I’m running for 45 seconds at 7 mph and then walking for 15 seconds at 12 mph. This averages out at about 11 min/mile pace on the road, a little slower on the trails. Secondly, I decided, in the middle of my second shot at the 5k app, that as I wanted to work up to 10k anyway, I might as well hop across to the 10k program now. I’m was on day 3 of this plan today, a 2 mile run. The 45/15 split means that I’m pretty much running continuously, but giving my extremely tight calves (and plantar fasciitis) a chance of getting to the end of whatever I’m doing.

In the trees the temperature was bearable, but as soon as I came through into the open I could see that both Murphy and I would struggle if I did my usual there and back route, so I decided to run around up to the castle and benefit from almost constant tree cover. Thankfully the midges were pretty scarce, so this was still a good decision. Apparently there’s a national shortage of midges because all of the puddles have dried up. I can assure you that there are still a few puddles on this running route, left behind as the sun never gets through, but the midges could be seen dancing in the sun and I just made sure my eyes and mouth were closed when I ran through them!

 

I got to two miles just past the castle and decided to just enjoy the walk back and cool down a little. My new running shoes, Asics Noosa FFs, are a little on the small size (even though I bought them in a full size bigger) – so I’ve not been wearing socks in them. Unfortunately a couple of tiny bits of grit ensured two lovely blisters today. I’m looking for a good pair of inexpensive trail shoes now! I’ve seen some Karrimore shoes at Sports Direct which will do, but didn’t want to pay the extra £4.99 postage to get them! I’m sure that our local store can order them in for free if they don’t have them in stock! I may have to invest in another pair of runners if the Asics prove to be just a bit too small.

I’m still attending Physio at the local hospital to try and help with my core strength, inflexibility and plantar fasciitis. I’ve got a shed load of exercises to do on a three times daily basis, which I sometimes manage – but often forget to do! To make up for this I’m also doing a Daily Yoga challenge, which I forgot to do yesterday – so that’s going well too. Jeesh.

I’m hoping that I’ll have got far enough through my program to run at Jedburgh in October. It’s the hardest 10k I’ve done (so hilly and windy!), but I enjoy the route and it would be nice to get back to doing something reasonably competitive. 5ks aren’t really my thing, they are too fast and I don’t enjoy them the same. (Although I do like the BUPA Winter 5k run up and round Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh! Maybe I just like hills!) I’ve always said that 6 miles is my distance, even having run at half marathon distance and beyond.

So that’s it. I have a goal. Get myself race fit for October and see if I can beat the hills of Jedburgh again.

New Kicks for a New Day

My last post was a bit down. I don’t apologise for that; it’s a reality that life dishes out downers and we need to deal with these and carry on. So I’m carrying on.

Yesterday I crossed the border, left Scotland and went to Carlisle in England’s county of Cumbria. Carlisle is just under 30 miles away, quite close by our standards, and a much larger place than our local town of Dumfries. I hadn’t intended to go to a running shop, but my chores led me in that direction. Honest they did!

I ended up gazing longingly at nice new trainers in Chivers Sports. I tried on about half a dozen different pairs, mostly Asics and Brooks – the two trainers I’ve bought in the past, and ran up and down the shop under the watchful eye of one of the salesman. He knew his stuff! I explained that I had been told that I was a neutral runner, but that I’d had Plantar Fasciitis and had the start of bunions on each big toe (requiring a wider fit). He wasn’t put off by my peculiar running style (flicking my twisted right leg so that I landed well) but noticed that my left foot rolled in slightly. I needed some support, but not the excessive support of the Asics I’d worn previous to owning my Brooks Ghost 5s.

Choices, choices.
Choices, choices.

In the end we were choosing between the Ghost 6 and the Defyance 7. I noticed that the Ghost  dipped away at the left big toe, making me want to roll more in that direction, but the Defyance had me landing square. It was a no-brainer: I choose the Defyance.

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Brooks state that the Defyance has…

..that same amazing balance of the GTS…smoothly infused in the Neutral construction of this hybrid ride. From the reliable transition of the segmented crash pad to the adaptability of anatomical Brooks DNA and the adjustable eye row, this versatile shoe wins the all-around award every run.

After choosing, my salesman disappeared with my kicks for quite some time. It transpired that they keep records of every shoe sale to every customer and note down any issues that the customer has. My poor salesman had an essay to write! I eventually left with new shoes, at a discounted price and a discount card for future purchases.

So far as my running is concerned, well I’m almost ready to restart my half marathon training. I’ve been treading water a bit since Christmas, not wanting to put any undue strain on my left foot and re-spark my PF. I’ve done mostly short trail runs (up to 3 miles) and treadmill running. I’m enjoying trail running again, as is my dog!

Murphy in sniff-mode.
Murphy in sniff-mode.
The trail is great at this end! Wish it was all like this!!
The trail is great at this end! Wish it was all like this!!

The excessive rain we’ve been ‘enjoying’ has made parts of this route very, very muddy, but it doesn’t bother me other than obviously slowing me down! My old Nike Alvords are looking really manky these days, but they dust off when the mud dries and they are still  comfortable. I’ve even started leaving my Garmin at home and not timing my running. It’s quite liberating really!

My half training starts next week, so I’ll have to dust off my Jeff Galloway training app. I’ve set it for 11 minute mile pace, which I know I can more than handle, and will adjust the walk:run intervals as I feel fit. I’m feeling really positive about things just now so let’s just hope that I can stay injury free!

Edinburgh Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon

Oh.My.God.

After making light of yesterday’s forecast, expecting much lighter wind speeds and for the predicted rain to have passed over, I felt a tad embarrassed walking down through the cobbled streets to the start of this half marathon. We had decided not to try and drive into town, but leave the car at Leith and bus it as close as possible to Holyrood. With the start at just after 9, we’d been told to arrive an hour early to allow for any hold ups. Ordinarily this would have been fine, but today the weather was rebelling. Wearing only a soft shell jacket for protection, I was drenched by the time we reached the bottom of the hill. Not the best scenario an hour before a race and with no shelter to take.

As we rounded the bend at Holyrood Palace, the full force of the gusting wind hit us. This was not going to be a pleasant experience or a personal best race. My first stop was to visit the toilets whilst the queues were still short. After finding a portaloo that the wind hadn’t already blown over, we headed across to the field.

I had filled a rucksack with as many things as I could think of that might help me at the before the start and at the end of the race. Nestled at the bottom of said bag were a couple of foil blankets collected from previous races and stored away for days such as today. Amazingly warm for such a thin piece of material and waterproof. Result.

We sought out shelter behind the Run 4 It tent, along with a few others, and waited for the start to be called. A very long 40 minutes later I stripped down to my vest top and sleeves. Looking around me, most people had opted for long sleeves, several layers and waterproofs. I was there with no sleeves, one layer and three quarter leggings. Was I mad? After kissing hubbie goodbye and giving my shivery, wet dog a pat, I headed off for my corral.

Finding my corral proved difficult and I ended up in corral 7 by mistake. The guy beside me assured me that it wouldn’t matter, so I stayed put. I wasn’t alone. I didn’t realise, but our numbers started with our corral number and there were many others in corral 7 with numbers starting with 8, 9, 10 and even 11. I stopped worrying. With the weather conditions taken into account, where I started was insignificant.

I had Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon app playing on my iPhone and my Garmin for back up. Our chips were in our numbers, which meant that there was no faffing about with lace chips, far easier. When I crossed the line I hit my app/watch and I was away.

Starting in the faster corral actually worked out better for me. I tend to run faster during my run intervals than other people running the same overall pace as me, so I found that I was better paced being further up the field. I made sure that I kept right out of the way during walk breaks, because I know how annoying it is to be confronted by a line of walkers. I also quickly realised that my vest and arm sleeves were perfect. I was warm within minutes.

Mile 1 : 9:44

Even in the town the wind was dreadful. Combined with rain the conditions were some of the worst I’ve endured. In terms of people running, it was certainly more comfortable with only five thousand runners on the roads, rather than almost forty thousand in the Great North Run. Mind you, I still managed to get tripped up around mile 2, although how it happened I’m still not sure. I was going for a space, got through it and then all of a sudden someone ran right into the back of me. I’m fairly sure that I am easy to see, so how she managed that I don’t know.

Mile 2 : 9:56

What I soon discovered was that my trip had caused my juice bottle to fall out of my waist pack, a bottle full of SIS juice designed to last me the entire race. I was annoyed and a bit worried. I couldn’t remember what isotonic juice was on offer and wasn’t sure how it would suit me. Perturbed I stopped to collect water from the first station and, in an effort to calm myself down, I stopped at the portaloos behind the water station.

Mile 3 : 10.10

I was pleased with my pace, despite stopping for a toilet break (although the watch may have auto-stopped for this, I didn’t check and can’t until I get home.) However this joy was soon to cease. We had reached the shore and the wind and rain were waiting for us. The route took us down onto the promenade. I didn’t think the wind was too, too bad, but the long hill before dipping down to the shore was relentless.

Mile 4 : 10:09

I took my first energy gel at mile 4, following the pattern I’d set down at the GNR. The Powerade gels were a little thicker than others I had been having and needed washing down with water. Around mile 4 we were offered isotonic juice IN CARTONS! I’ve never seen this before. They were terrible to use, with juice spilling out from the open top. I quickly emptied my water bottle whilst on a walk break and filled it with the juice. I don’t drink a lot on runs these days, but I needed to know that I had enough to see me through.

Once we turned off the promenade the wind hit me. And so did the hills. Oh, and the rain, I almost forgot the rain. This combination was a killer. We hit hill after hill during mile five with the wind hitting us face on. My pace showed the effect.

Mile 5 : 11:21

Mile 6 was no better. Hills, wind, rain. Lots of all of these.

Mile 6 : 11:37

On the downhill stretches, and there were one or two, I just went with it and ignored walk breaks in a bid to regain some time. I knew I was going to be close to my GNR result by now as I was averaging a 11 minute mile. Knowing that I needed to speed up when I was confronted by the elevation and the weather was starting to get to me. I had to focus on running for four minutes as close to my race pace as I could, even when I was running up hill. Not easy.

Mile 7 : 12:14 (my worst mile)

As I finished mile 7 I took another gel, and on seeing that the organisers were giving out the same gels, I snaffled one to replace my bought one. Cheeky! By now we were climbing back up towards Arthur’s Seat. It’s a long and steady climb, eventually rewarded by a long downhill stretch to Holyrood Park. I, again, ignored the walk breaks and used gravity to push me on down the hill. I could hear Jeff Galloway counting down the miles and it sounded as if I wasn’t far off pace, but as I’d lost sight of the 2:15 pacer, I didn’t know how far away from this I was.

By now I’d decided that finishing below 2:30 would be nice.

Mile 8 : 11:31

We hit the town again, which meant more hills. Yaay.

I will never moan about the Great North Run course again.

Ever.

People had generously dotted pretty much the entire route, offering encouragement as these mad runners ran past. Considering the weather, I think that these folk deserved a medal as well!

Mile 9 : 11:32

Have I mentioned the hills?

We ran down through the Grassmarket and, inevitably heading down will mean that we will have to climb again. By now I was totally pissed off with the hills! I just couldn’t get a good pace going and I knew that I still had it in me, just not uphill anymore.

Mile 10 : 12:09

By the time I reached the town centre I was glad of some level running at last. My legs felt tired out by all the climbing they’d done, but were happier to run on the flat for a while. I was starting to yoyo with the same people, all of us were doing a combination of running and walking. I was pleased to see that there were running club people around me, making me feel a little less useless! I knew, as well, as I had about half an hour of running left, so I tried to up my pace.

Mile 11 : 11:51

Running across the Royal Mile meant that I wasn’t far from the finish. The course the took us down past The Mound, past Waverley Station and into Princes Gardens. I have to say that this is one of the nicest routes I’ve run, if you disregard the hills and the weather! The architecture and the sights were lovely, taking me through areas of Edinburgh that I didn’t know at all. I spotted some lovely looking restaurants, although I doubt I’ll ever find them again!

Mile 12 : 11:46

From mile 12 on the going was easier, mostly downhill and sheltered. I started looking out for hubbie and dog, but didn’t really expect to see them until the end. As I headed down Cannongate I knew I was nowhere near my Great North Run time of 2:22. I was disappointed, but it was a tough race and I’m not going to give myself a hard time over missing a PB. Doing a sub ten minute mile at this stage of the race was fabulous. I felt strong at the race end.

Mile 13 : 9:58

As I passed the palace the wind hit me again, but I pushed on through it, distracting myself by looking for my family. I found them just before the finish straight. I was aware of someone trying to overtake me and, spurred on by the sight of the finish, I sprinted for the line – which probably surprised me as much as the other runner!

Mile 13.13 : 9:08

I crossed the line at 2:25:10, well I think I did. There were three lines! I didn’t know which one to stop my Garmin at, so I went for the last one, just in case. Bearing in mind that I’m not sure whether my watch kept going when I was on the loo, I don’t think it really matters! I will get my official time in due course, but whatever it is, I’m happy with what I did.

I enjoyed the run, but wasn’t expecting the hills. The weather made the hills impossible and apparently everyone was affected with even the elite runners coming back slower than expected. My medal, well, see for yourself!

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I’m tempted to say it makes up for the hills and the weather.

After the race it seemed that the weather had caused far more chaos. The bag check tent was in danger of collapsing, so no one was allowed in. Instead bags were being collected by staff members and handed out, so you can imagine the huge resultant queues. The stage for the after race concert had been devastated, the wind having ripped the stage sides to shreds. The concert was cancelled. As I passed the portaloos I noticed that even the massive urinal loos had been blown over.

Luckily I’d given my bag to hubbie to look after so I only had to collect my tee shirt. The organisers had done well offering a Brooks technical tee, which is wonderful.

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The walk up to Leith Walk for the bus was hard work! As if I hadn’t seen enough hills!! The bus journey back to Leith was wonderful. I had a seat all the way home. Warm and comfortable.

Sitting here now in the caravan, having enjoyed a hot shower, a lovely lunch and the Chinese Grand Prix, I think we’ve got a great set up. We leave tomorrow for home, not racing home tonight because I don’t work on a Monday. I’m looking forward to vegetable frittata, new potatoes and salad and a nice glass of wine in celebration of the toughest race I’ve run…so far!

EDIT.

I’ve just sat and read this through and realised that not once have I mentioned the bands that were playing along the way! Just about every mile was marked by a rocking band, spurring us on. It was great to listen to and I just regret that we weren’t able to enjoy the concert at the end.

Running in a Winter Wonderland

This morning it snowed.

IMG_1894
My route, 6 miles of sleet and snow!

My first reaction was “shit” – I was due to do a 6 mile run but, if I’m honest, I was delighted to get outside despite the snow still falling heavily. I had worn my Nike trail shoes for some extra grip, despite the fact that I’ve not run that far on the road with them on, and they actually felt very similar in support to my Ghosts. Apart from my niggly left calf/Achilles, I felt great.

I stopped to talk to these lovely horses, who then ran alongside me for the width of their field.

The conditions slowed me down a bit, but apparently not that much. I had to slow down on some downhill sections that felt a bit dodgy and to say hello to the horses (well, you have to, don’t you?),  but at the rest I just trudged away ignoring the bemused looks on driver’s faces as they pulled across the road to avoid me.

I ran out along the shore road, thinking that it would be quieter traffic wise, and turned at 3 miles to head back in. I didn’t actually notice my time when I hit the stop button on Gary Garmin and so was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d run 10k in 65:45. It didn’t feel fast or strained, but that time is comparable to my 10k race time in 2011, just a couple of minutes slower than last year’s time.

A great start to my training anyway!

Nothing better than having some vague tree giving you the thumbs up on the way out!
Nothing better than having some vague tree giving you the thumbs up on the way out!
 Stats
Distance:
6.00 mi
Time:
1:05:45
Avg Pace:
10:58 min/mi
Elevation Gain:
104 ft
Calories:
679 C
 

Fuel

Breakfast : Porridge with banana and many cups of tea

Powerade Drink at 3 and 5 miles

Kit

Groovestar NZ base layer

Reebok Waterproof Running Jacket

Xcelerate Long Running Tights

Crane Knee Length Compression Socks

Nike Alvord trail shoes

Asics waist bag/drink holder

Crane reflective dayglo vest

When Twelve and a half became Thirteen point one – a post by Pooh Bear

As I drove into town following Monday’s run I was planning exactly what I wanted to say today. I’ve long since forgotten, which may be a good thing now that the dust has settled. I’ve a feeling this might be the shorter, less rambling version of events!

On Sunday I was due to run 12.5 miles as per my Jeff Galloway finisher training plan, but someone had other plans for me on Sunday and sent heavy rain just as I was due to set off. I waited for a while, but it didn’t show signs of stopping, so I did my tax return instead. Hang on, who really IS in control here?

I had to run on Monday morning before going to see my chiropractor, basically because I couldn’t see the point of seeing him before I ran! It was drizzly, but only that.

Now, this is where my ego kicks in. I looked at 12.5 miles. Boy, that’s tantalisingly close to 13 miles isn’t it? Just an extra half a mile, 0.5, not much at all. And, as luck would have it, if I added another tenth of a mile I’d have done a half marathon. It was too much to bear. I had to run the extra six tenths and see what my half time would be!

I had planned a simple there and back route, running from one castle to another! I guess not many people can say that! The route took me along the shore road, up into Bankend village and turned onto the Glencaple Road. My turn around point was just short of the turn off for Caerlaverock Castle. It wasn’t flat and there were a few steep bits, but it was quiet so far as cars are concerned.

I had a light carb breakfast of spelt toast, waited an hour and then set off.

I listened to Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon app. It paced me perfectly, although when my first mile was completed in 9:40 I wondered if I had it cranked up too fast! It evened out after that to around 11 minute miles, some faster, some slower. One thing I have noticed though is that without the GPS turned on the app is taking me further than the prescribed miles. I must be going faster than the app anticipates because I hit my target miles far faster according to the Garmin.

My new Brooks Ghosts felt like slippers. I love them. I run better in them, more easily should I say. The effort required to push my wee legs forward has been lessened. I realise now that I might as well have been running in high heels the way the Asics held my heels up. The Brooks allow my heels to sit down and I’m running on my mid foot more than my heel. I’m getting less aches and pains in my legs, with no knee pain at all on Monday.

The weather was typically Scottish. I went out wearing long tights and a vest (my No Meat Athlete vest to be precise!) and a reflective arm band because it was so dull. It drizzled lightly and then the rain became heavier. By the time I’d reached Bankend (5 miles) the sun was beating down on me! Once I’d turned and headed back it dulled down again and then the cloud and sun played some peepo game!

Miles 1 and 2 were sub 11 min/mile pace. Miles 3 and 4 were exactly 11 min/mile pace. After that I started to slow down a bit. Mile 5 was 11:14, not bad, but Miles 6 and 7 were both 11:42. My only thoughts on this were that I was running up hill a lot more until turning at 6.7 miles. I was, however, running up the hills!

I took my Maxifuel Viper Active citrus gel at mile 7. Previous to that I’d only been sipping Lucozade Sport, an Isotonic sports drink. I don’t know how much it helped, or if I was heading downhill significantly more, but I completed mile 8 in 10:17, my second fastest mile! I remember that mile because that’s when I had my runner’s high. Everything was wonderful. I was running with ease. The sun was shining. The birds were tweeting and the bees were humming. I had a total Disney moment and felt great!

And then came miles 9, 10, 11 and 12. I held my pace at around 11 min/miles through sheer determination. I WAS going to finish with a sub 11 min/mile average. I kept forcing myself on by looking at my watch and seeing the average getting closer to 11! At some points I was running under 9 minute pace before taking a walk break. I still didn’t know what effect this would have on my overall time; I just hadn’t worked that out! I was getting tired and light headed and, for the very first time, I thought I was going to be sick. I held off the feeling and pushed on.

By the time I hit mile 12 I could see the village again. I’d tried to time my turn around so that I would finish before getting to the village, mainly because there is a hill coming into it, a long draining hill that I really didn’t want to finish on. I miscalculated. In my enthusiasm to get going I started off in the village and still turned at the same spot. As I rounded the corner I knew that I was going to finish on the hill. I pushed and pushed. My pace got slower and slower as I tried to sprint up the hill; I had no sprint left. There were no people there to encourage me, no line to cross, just what was in my head and the slow ticking of the odometer as the hundredths of a mile passed.

I stopped the watch at 13.1 miles.

2:23:41. A new PB.

I was 11 minutes faster than my last half run completed in October 2011. That’s a minute faster for almost every mile! I am very pleased with that. If I can only replicate that come the Great North Run I’ll be very happy. If I can’t, I have this as an official PB at least. But who knows. Could I run faster?

On walking back to the house I realised just how much energy I’d used up. I stopped briefly to read the  village notice board and started seeing stars and feeling decidedly unsteady. I got home as soon as I could and popped a potato into the microwave to bake. Ten minutes later I was sitting down to Jacket Potato with Lemon Humous with a glass of soya milk. It was my 80%:20% carb:protein recovery meal. Very simple, but very effective.

I didn’t run at all on Tuesday. Truth be told, I could hardly walk without pain!  After visiting the chiropractor on Monday afternoon I felt a little better, and managed to relax in the hot tub in the evening,  but soon stiffened up during the night. Tuesday, my birthday, was sore! Today, Wednesday, I feel fine, although I did pop a few ibuprofens yesterday!

I’m about to head into the gym for a treadmill recovery run, nothing too tough. I’m saying this out loud so that it goes into my tiny brain! I am, after all, a bear of a very little brain!

Silver Linings

What a 24 hours I’ve just had.

Yesterday morning, in helping my hubbie to put together our old Citroën van for a huge Citroën gathering this week, I twisted awkwardly and felt my back “pop”. It was a sickening and familar “pop” and I knew it was the start of something sinister, which might make it difficult to understand why I then went out to run 11 miles. Truth is, I honestly thought that running might help loosen the muscles that had already started to go into spasm.

I had decided to split my 11 miles into two runs so that I could fit them into a busy day. I chose to do 6 miles in the morning and 5 later on in the early evening. In doing so, I also managed to get the best of the weather, which was a bit of a bonus. I decided that I would run along the coast road and turn back midway. Yesterday was just about clocking miles, not about time or route or hills or anything else. The coast road is pretty flat and that was fine by me.

However, I almost didn’t start at all. My first few steps were excruciating, there is no other word for it. I felt sick. I was dosed up on co-codamol and had applied ibuprofen gel to my twinging back, but it was hardly working by then. However, I carried on – in the blind hope that things would get better. It did. Whether I have codeine, paracetamol, ibuprofen or natural chemicals to thank for that I don’t know, but I got into an 11 minute mile pace fairly easily. One thing I have noticed though is that Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon app runs behind actual distance. For all I’m keeping to the 11 minute mile pace, following the beat synced music and taking the prescribed walk breaks, I’m still running faster and covering more distance than Jeff thinks I should be. I don’t, however, use the GPS on the app, worried about using my my phone battery and rely on the Garmin information for distance, time and pace. It might be more reliable if I were to turn the GPS on.

6 miles in 66:43.

The second session came after I had raced across the region to put up an art exhibition. I was tired and my back was really starting to hurt, but I was determined to get my miles in. I ran the same course at the same pace.

5 miles in 55:44.

I was then treated to dinner at the pub with my favourite recovery drink of Guinness, of which I had several pints. I slept well.

The Grey Cloud

When I woke up, however, the cocktail of pills and the Guinness had worn off and I was in a self-imposed straight jacket. I struggled to sit up in bed and couldn’t get out. I was in a lot of pain. Touching the tender area I could feel the protruding lump of a vertebrae. The surrounding muscle was solid, in protection. I managed to get an emergency appointment at my chiropractor’s surgery at 12:30 and before that I had to struggle back to add some items to the art exhibition (including a large table!) I had an interesting morning, to be sure!

The Silver Lining

The chiropractor was a stand in as my usual one was on holiday and, it turned out, she was a God send! After I explained what I’d done, including admitting to the 11 mile run, she revealed that she was a triathlete! Thank you Lord!! Someone who understands!!! Short story is that she fixed the spasms and lumpy bits and then went on to tell me that I was wearing the wrong running shoes. In a short space of time she had established that I was an anti-pronator, who lands on her toes and has a high arch that flattens out. Since I started running I had thought I was a heel-striking over-pronator. What a revelation! She recommended that I ditch my Asics and invest in a pair of Brooks. I’ve got stretches and pelvic rocking to do and I have to not run for a few days, but she says I’ll be fine and wished me luck with my GNR training.

So here I am, in recovery mode. I have the Olympics on the TV and a nice cup of tea to hand. Every now and again I have to get up and stretch and go for a wander – none of this feet up malarky apparently! I have a golf ball under my left foot to help to stretch the plantar fascia muscle which is too tight (also possibly attributable to my shoes) and tomorrow I am allowed to test out the second hand Everlast exercise bike that I bought last week for £30!

My next run will be on Sunday. I am taking this seriously. I have a kick back week with a 4 mile long run to do, one mile of which is meant to be a Magic Mile. If it’s not, I’ll not be worried. I am pleased to be walking without a wince.

Practising my 5k with a mouth full of midges

Intriguing title, eh? Well it sums up my run last night. A practice 5k, along the shore road just before dusk. Really I should have known better!

For those of you unfamiliar with the famous Scottish midge, it’s a winged insect that bites and sucks blood from its prey. Sounds scary doesn’t it? Truth is the midge is a tiny creature, just 1 – 2 mm in wingspan, but when they herd together, as they tend to do, it’s like walking into a cloud.

Unfortunately I was running into them, but let me start at the beginning for apparently it’s a very good place to start.

Jeff Galloway, my guru, informed me that I had a 5k run to do at race pace, just to test  myself out. It was a lovely day yesterday, although I was really busy and at one point actually wondered if I was going to get a chance to run at all. However I did and at 6:30 pm I finally laced up my shoes and headed out. I had a few new items of kit to test out and my 5k was perfect for that.

First off I’d treated myself to a hydration belt made by Asics. I had done a bit of research and this belt came up well recommended and none too expensive (always a factor for me) and so when I got a chance to try it on at Pete Bland Sports in Kendal the other week I jumped at it. It fitted well, snuggly on my waist and felt comfortable, far better than the old belt I’d bought from Lidl. The Asics belt cost me £15 and comes with a large water bottle in a quick draw pouch and has a secure and waterproof zipped pocket big enough for my iPhone, gels, keys etc…

..and the Kendal Mint Cake!

I was disappointed on visiting my local Lidl that the promised stock of sports bras had been completely bought out bar one bra that was too small. However, on a return visit my husband noticed an abandoned one on another aisle, obviously waiting for me to collect it! They also had some snazzy looking running socks in so I bought a couple of pairs of those too!

Fully loaded, I set off.

I waited until I was clear of the village before starting and Jeff gave me a countdown to get me going. The pace felt good at around an 8 minute mile when I was running, although I knew that after 4 minutes I would be walking. The target was a 10 minute mile pace. What I didn’t know until he said was that dear old Jeff was planning that the first half a mile was going to be a warm up to my 5k, not part of it! When the announcement came I was gutted! However, I restarted my Garmin and set off, again.

On the main part of the run I allowed my pace to be dictated by the beat of my running playlist, all carefully beat synched by LoLo, the makers of the Jeff Galloway Easy 10k app. The result was a reasonable sub 9 minute mile, except for a patch at the start  where I was fighting midges! Alongside of the road heading out there are woods and this is where the midges are happiest. I’d chosen the worse part of the day, dusk, and they were hanging around in swarms, just ready for me to run into them, mouth open. YUK! I really hate these little creatures flying around me. If they stayed in the bushes or even dodged out of my way I’d be perfectly happy, but no. I had wee flies in my eyes, up my nose, in my mouth – oh ugh.

Once I turned at 1.4 miles I was on the opposite side of the road and it was better. Not midge free, but better. And so was my pace. But I guess the damage was done. I was already on an average 10 minute mile pace and I was hoping for less than that. However, if I added my surprise warm up to the mix and subtracted the last half mile I probably would have had a lower average.

It matters not. It was a good run in the circumstances, my belt was great, there was significantly less bounce with my new bra and my feet were comfy.

Aside from chocolate and wine, what else can a girl ask for?