In April 2011 I ran the London Marathon and raised £2600 for Asthma UK. It was a 'once in a lifetime' experience...or so I thought. Bravely (or stupidly) I'm doing it again, and this blog will chart my progress while I train for my second London Marathon. Come with me on my journey towards the big day. Here I go...again!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Two's company

I had a new training partner with me on my run this morning.

He didn't complain about running in the wind and rain and set a good pace. On the downside, he tried to stop and sniff every lamp post.

Yes...I took the dog out with me.

He's a lovely dog, and a faithful friend, but he never has quite got the hang of walking nicely on a lead. I found out this morning that his running etiquette isn't much better.

He was very excited at the prospect of coming out with me, and was jumping up and down so much it took three tries to get his lead on. I wish I could bottle his enthusiasm!

We set out just after 9am (it was my day off), and I began a slow run which he took as his cue to weave from left to right in front of me, with an occasional jump up for good measure.

It took about half a mile for him to calm down, but we did then settle into a reasonable pace, and the rest of the run passed relatively smoothly.

This morning was quite a short run (just under 2 miles). I'm planning on doing the same distance tomorrow at a slightly faster pace so I might give Codey another chance. It was certainly nice to have some company and he appreciated the outing.

I wonder if I can find a route tomorrow that doesn't have any lamp posts...?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A run that nearly wasn't a run

I didn't sleep too well last night and could so easily have stayed in bed all morning...or even all day!
I spent about an hour and a half weighing up if I should go for my long run or if I should postpone it until tomorrow.
I finally decided at half past eight that I should head out for a short run and see how I felt...if it seemed to be going ok I'd keep going, and if not I'd cut my losses and head home.
As is always the case, the 'thinking about it' was the hardest part, and as soon as I got going I was glad to be out.
The biggest downside of running this morning was the cold wind that I seemed to be running headlong into regardless of the direction that I took.
The biggest upside of running this morning was that I had plenty of time to mull some ideas over, and by the time I got home I'd not only clocked up a seven mile run but had also done some productive brainstorming.
As ever, a run in the morning sets me up well for the day, and I went on to tick off lots of grotty jobs that I know would have otherwise stayed on my 'to do' list.
Hoorah for productivity over procrastination today, and double hoorah for a guilt-free lie in tomorrow!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hitting the right notes

It was a nice early start again today and I was out running by half past six.
I'd expected it to be quite chilly and had worn my very fetching woolly hat and gloves, but realised my error within a very short distance - it was actually rather mild and I was out in public looking needlessly ridiculous. At least it was still dark and there weren't many people around.
I headed out into the village, up the high street and then returned via the quieter back roads. The greengrocers was still in darkness when I ran past, but the tattoo parlour was fully lit and occupied. Quite why anyone would want a tattoo at that time in the morning I can only begin to imagine. Answers on a postcard...?
It was a quick and uneventful 2 mile run, and I was back and checking on the chickens before seven.
The chickens were a gift from friends a few weeks ago, and they are now at 'point of lay' which means we should be collecting eggs soon. Apparently their siblings have just started to lay, so ours are now on borrowed time...I've told them in no uncertain terms that if they don't start earning their keep soon they'll be in the pot. They didn't seem unduly bothered, so I may have to resort to waving oxo cubes at them tomorrow just to drive home the point.
To round off the day, we went to oldest daughter's school concert. There is some serious talent amongst the pupils, and the concerts are always a pleasure to attend and are well supported. I'm proud to say that oldest daughter played four flute pieces - two duets and two as part of a group ensemble. Marvelous.
Another good day, done.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Danger...rampaging germs

It's not been the best couple of days.
Oldest daughter was overcome by germs on Sunday night and spent all night up and very ill (I'll spare you the gory details) and had to take yesterday and today off school.
I wasn't too well yesterday, but am made of stern stuff and am glad to say that I felt much better by this morning.
Unfortunately I wasn't up to running yesterday, but headed out this afternoon instead. My plan is to still get my three weekly training sessions in before my long run on Saturday without having to run in the zero temperatures that have been predicted for tomorrow morning.
I took the same route that I went on last Friday when Kong came
with me, but at a much more genteel pace. The hills didn't seem quite as bad with my heart rate a little lower, and it was a very pleasant trip out.
The chickens had put themselves to bed by the time I got home so I locked them up for the night, then headed in to cook tea. Be impressed...I've perfected the art of peeling carrots while doing my post-run stretching. Now that's what I call multitasking!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Season of mists

Going running this morning made me think of Keats 'mists and mellow fruitfulness' poem.

The mist was thick in the air and I felt like I was the only person out, simply because I couldn't see more than two foot around me in any direction. The drops of moisture sat on every surface and decorated all the cobwebs making everything feel Narnia-ish and beautiful.

But enough of all that fanciful talk - the air was wet, and within minutes of going out I was wet through to the skin and the dampness really played havoc with my asthma!

I took an old route that I haven't done for a while; from home I headed out onto the main road, down to the island at Longbridge, up the hill to the sorting office and then back down to home. A quick 3 miles that got me back home in time to clean the chickens out while everyone else was just waking up.

Unfortunately the chickens took rather a liking to the fluorescent stripes on my running trousers and gave my legs a good pecking. At least their beaky attention helped me to work quickly, and a rotten job was done in lightening speed.

I can't go without giving a big cheer of encouragement to my cousin, who has signed up to do the 'Three Peaks Challenge' next summer. It sounds like taking on a challenge runs in the family, and I hope he enjoys his training as much as I do!

Friday, 18 November 2011

My new personal trainer

Standards have slipped during my week's holiday, and with the alarm turned off my early morning run turned into a mid-morning run.

Youngest daughter (aka Kong) has a day off school, so I convinced her that she wanted to keep me company on today's outing.

Trainers on and fully warmed up, we headed out and up through the local housing estate. Up is no exaggeration - it's hilly round here!

Kong is a real slave driver...and a fast runner. Despite all my attempts to slow her down we kept a 10min/mile pace and I was very grateful to reach a plateau, and even more grateful to hit the downhill stretch.

She looked fresh as a daisy by the end, while I was the colour of overcooked beetroot.

Her advice...? 'Not bad, but you need to work harder on the uphills, Mum.'

Thanks, Kong.

Maybe I'll recruit her to come out with me on my next long run and see what pace she keeps...or on second thoughts, maybe not - she'd probably beat me over long distances, too!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A 'More Hare than Tortoise' kind of day

For those of you who read my blog on Monday, you'll be pleased to know that I avoided the bacon sarnies at lunch time and stuck to the healthy option that I took with me. Two days running would have been a bit of a tall order (and we did work very hard on the course, so deserved a treat - honestly) so yesterday I opted for sausage and mushroom, and it was superb!

Today is the first day of my week off...yippee!
I've started doing some tempo runs to try to improve my speed and endurance, so after a good warm up this morning I embarked on 1 minute hard running followed by 1 minute gentle jogging.

The fast running was great for getting the blood pumping, but I soon got very wheezy - something that hasn't happened even on my long runs. It wasn't bad enough to make me change my plans, but by the end of the run (2 miles) I knew I'd worked hard.

Interestingly (well, it is if you like this kind of thing!) my average pace was 30 seconds a mile slower, so even though I was pushing harder during the fast stretches my recovery must have been much slower. At least over the next few months these tempo sessions should help my overall speed.

So - now I have a whole day stretching ahead of me with nothing to do. Well - I say nothing, but I've got to get the paint out of the dogs tail after he backed into the paint tray yesterday, do the washing, tidy up, read through my notes from my course and set myself some action points, do the shopping...

Time for a cuppa and some toast first!

Monday, 14 November 2011

A tale of two sandwiches

I didn't realise quite how hard I'd pushed myself on Saturday's run until yesterday - when I couldn't sit down very comfortably. It seems those hills gave my leg muscles a full workout.

This morning's run was a more sedate 'get the legs working again' run, and I was out and back within twenty minutes - not a bad thing, as there was quite a chill in the air that I wasn't prepared for.

Hubby has this week off, and will be spending today tackling the collapsed floor. The new joists are already in place, so just 30ish floor boards to be cut to size and screwed down.

Today and tomorrow I'm on my CMI course in Worcester. It's a great venue, and so far has been a brilliant course, so I'm looking forward to two days of intense learning in pleasant surroundings. The biggest challenge...the sandwich van within sniffing distance of where we work.

I've previously given in to the temptations of various combinations of bacon, egg, sausage and mushrooms on thick, soft, white bread. Unfortunately not even a two mile run this morning can counteract that kind of treat on a regular basis (especially when you factor in the odd trip to the chocolate vending machine) so today I'm leaving my purse at home and taking my own lunch.
Will my resolve last for both days of the course...? Hmm. Unlikely, methinks.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A run in the park

I woke up feeling a little under the weather yesterday so didn't go out for my morning run. Fortunately we were busy at work which was a good distraction, but I was really glad to get home yesterday evening.
I had a six mile run scheduled for this weekend, and promised myself that if I felt better when I woke up this morning I would get up and go...and I'm pleased to say I did.
I headed out just after half past seven (no work today, so no need to get up too early), but had no route in mind. I fancied a change, so headed in the opposite direction to usual.
One uphill mile later I reached Cofton Park. It was a misty and damp morning, and the park had a very ghost-like feel. I skirted all the way round the edge of the park - which was quite wet underfoot after a night of heavy rain - and only came across one other jogger and two dogs out for a walk with their owner.
Although Cofton makes for a scenic run it's also hard work. The area is very hilly, and the climb back up to the main road was exhausting.
Fortunately the next mile was mostly downhill as I headed back towards home, but had only clocked up 5 miles as I reached my road.
I resisted the urge to sneak back home early and did another mile by heading out towards the village and then finally turning back towards home.
I was hoping to be greeted with a cuppa, but instead found the living room had been turned upside down and all the flooring in the bay window area had been removed. We knew the floor boards in that part of the room were a bit springy, but what we hadn't expected was to find that a combination of wet rot and woodworm had completely destroyed two joists.
Oh well. Time for a quick shower, make my own drink, and then on with the DIY.
At least I should sleep well tonight!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A quick post about a quick run

Today is my day off, but I still got up at half past six to do my run. I knew if I didn't go out early I'd put it off all day, so the early start meant I was back in the warm by 7am.
It's really autumnal out there - misty, drizzly rain and a carpet of slippery leaves on the pavements and roads. That said, it wasn't cold, and it was a really pleasant run.
My left achilles has been a bit tight over the last few days so I've been doing lots of stretching, and I'm pleased to report that there were no problems while I was out.
So, run completed, three loads of washing done, vacuum put round, bathroom cleaned and downstairs tidied...and it's still only 10am.
Time to light a fire, make a cup of tea and settle down for an hour with my book. Lovely :o)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

It's been a long week

This week has been incredibly busy, both at work and at home.
Friday was the deadline for my CMI project, so I spent every spare minute finishing it off - all 40 pages of it! On top of that, I was in Evesham on Wednesday to deliver some training, then rushed back to my own library for the 'Summer Reading Challenge' ceremony, where all the children who had read six books through the summer were presented with a certificate and medal.
At home, we've had the builders in. They've ripped out the old fireplace and installed a new log burner. It looks fabulous, but we've now got the job of redecorating the room (including replacing a rotten joist, putting new skirting boards on and all the usual painting and decorating).
I guess what I'm trying to say is I've been a bit too busy to do all my runs in the week. I know...I shouldn't make excuses, but I am!
Anyway, the project was handed in yesterday and the builders have gone, so I promised myself that I'd be up and out early for a run before work today, so at 6.25am when the alarm went off I didn't dare press snooze.
Sadly it wasn't an easy run; my legs felt like concrete for the first couple of miles but I was determined to keep going.
I only ever take water with me if I'm going further than five miles, but really wished I'd taken some along today. I was so thirsty after three miles that even the puddles at the side of the road looked tempting (you'll be pleased to know that I resisted the urge and waited until I got home!)
Anyway - long run done for the weekend. I'm now sat at work on my lunch break, half way through the day, and am glad I made the effort to go out.
Best of all, a long run this morning means I get a lie in tomorrow. Hoorah!
Happy weekend, everyone x