Firstly, Tuesday’s long run. I decided that since we are not really working to a specific time scale (actually we are, but that is a secret and a way off so..shhh) we would only do 6km this week but we would make it a hard 6km. I live half way up a hill and to be honest I usually plan runs that start from the top and stay up there or even better from the bottom and finish on a walk up!! Cunning. Or if I am really stuck, I drive to a flat place. This week the route that I planned involved running down a hill for about 2 km and then uphill for the next four. Sometimes steep and sometimes gradual, but either way – hill hell. I hate hills, did I mention that. I really hate hill.
I loved the first part of the run, I was so nice and downhill. It fact the next 4km were not as awful as I thought. It was tough and seemed never ending. I swore a lot and I relied heavily on Martyn to keep me mentally strong. Before too long though we reached the end of the run and to be honest I was totally deflated. I realised that we had pretty much finished but I didn’t feel like we had done enough – so instead of turning left, we went right. We added a loop around Hardingstone village and that made the run instantly nearly double the length. I’m not sure if it was the hills or just my age, but my knee started to twinge at about 7km and by 8km it was quite painful. That coupled with the urgent need to pee, meant that I was very focused on moving forward and getting home. We kept going even though by 9km I was visibly limping. Fairly certain that if I stopped i would be in so much pain I wouldn’t weight bear, I thought it best to run and swear until I got home. I was right. I was agony as soon as we stopped and I had it iced and strapped for a few days.
Simon went on a motorbike weekend this week so no parkrun this week. My knee was feeling a little better on Friday so I thought I’d go for a little test run. I was cunning as I hadn’t mentioned to Simon that I was going. I rang the Chinese takeaway and ordered food before I left and then ran the long way round to collect it. It was only 3km and it was quite funny when I arrived, rather breathless to grab my food. My knee did twinge and I am a little concerned about this weeks long run, but I need to get it done. I have my “Marathon in a week” to start on Easter Monday and I need to be fit to go. And this week I am hoping to get involved in a bit of Parkrun tourism, just hoping that my new t-shirt arrives before I go.
We had to change our running night last week as Simon was away on Thursday. I am a bit of a creature of habit and I thought that it would throw me more than it did. Tuesday night saw us run a route that I had planned. It combined my love of the racecourse and Martyn’s love of Abington Park. We started at the Racecourse, but needed to run in the opposite direction to Parkrun. It is weird that something as simple as running in the opposite direction can cause so much hassle – both of us felt that it was much longer and much harder. The racecourse is definitely a runner’s park. There are always loads of people running round it. I guess because it is relatively flat. It is also well known for being rather dangerous. I couldn’t believe how many young women were running round it at dusk and later in the dark in shorts with headphones on. I know that sounds a bit sexist but I wouldn’t walk through it at night alone. To be honest I don’t always feel that comfortable when I’m with Martyn and he is 6,4″ and a very good kickboxer. Anyway, the route that I had planned included some of our old runs so we knew where we were. I forgot that there is quite a large hill on the Kettering road and that came at the 3km point. This is my worst part of any run. It is the point that my brain screams STOP RUNNING. Once I am through it I can keep going for ages but that plus a hill was not good. The next few km’s were OK and I felt quite strong. We ran along the main roads until we got back to Abington Park and began a much needed descent for a while. Unfortunately this meant that the hill from hell was back upon us and this week I really struggled. I didn’t stop running but I felt like I was running on the spot for most of it. When we finally got back to the car park I realised that we hadn’t reached the full 10km that I had planned and we needed to do a few laps in order to reach the target. When we started I actually told Martyn that I felt so strong that I could go on for a few more km. How I later laughed! We ran up and down a path until my watch beeped and then went back to the car and munched on Jelly Babies. Not allowed under my diet but I DONT CARE. Gnom Gnom. So we are back at 10km. Time: 1.13 – slow but steady and to be honest I don’t care about distance times anymore – I only care that we covered the distance and I didn’t walk.
Parkrun- I missed last week so I was pleased to be back. I really want a sub 30 but can’t believe my progress so far already and I don’t want to get ahead of myself. At the moment I just want to run and feel comfortable. This week I was really pleased that they had a 30 min pacer so I had a visual clue as to where I was. I didn’t feel the need to run alongside him, I just wanted to be able to see him – which wasn’t hard as he was wearing a chicken hat . (That’s Martyn next to him)
I kept up with him for 3km or slow and then I had to let him slip away. Not too far, but a little. I just wanted to match my time from last week. And then I did it. I bloody walked for a bit. I’m so annoyed with myself. I took my headphones out and just soaked up the atmosphere. I then started to listen to a mother talking to her daughter and just pretended that she was talking to me. I went for it and pushed through to the end.
I’d love to say that I am there in the orange, looking fresh and happy. Sadly I am in the corner looking like I’ve died!! The orange lady is my “mum coach”.
Anyway – important stats: time: 30.52 and weight loss now 21lbs
Quick shout out to Martyn who was so drunk the night before I had to tell him where he’d been based on his facebook updates. I am sure that he was still a little drunk when we started but he aced it and got a sub 30 by quite a way.
I’ve been a tad busy recently so haven’t got round to writing about my progress. I didn’t make it to parkrun this week as I was volunteering for a baby charity, but the week before I did and took almost a minute off my time for the previous week. My friend Vicki joined Martyn and myself for her first ever parkrun. She has been running for about a year and has never run with another person let alone in a crowd so she wanted to experience a race atmosphere. Luckily, she enjoyed herself as she is running the London Marathon next month for the mental health charity MIND. And bloody amazing she is too. She ran with me for about two km and then left me – I was quite relieved and I was getting tired and was pacing myself badly. I was only 20 seconds slower than Martyn, which has put a rocket up his backside. I’ve added Vicki’s just giving page incase you haven’t sponsored her yet.
Anyway back to me – I freestyled again on Tuesday with the buggy and did 4km in total with a bit of Jeffing along the way but I was pretty pleased with myself. But Thursday night was the big night. In the olden days, Martyn and I used to run on Thursday nights and we were up to 17km when I fell pregnant . Well Ladies and Gentlemen, running club is back and we are on. We agreed to meet at Abington Park this time and to run 6 but aim for 7km. Martyn had planned out a route and I simply had to follow. As usual, at about 3km I wanted to give up and I felt terrible, but I pushed through and the rhythm kicked in. Once this happens I find that running isn’t as hard as it was. My legs hurt and I get aches here and there but I am not so out of breath or tired that I feel that I can’t go on. In fact I felt quite strong until we hit the hill at the back of the park and that was tough. I knew it was coming and had been trying to ignore it but it hurt, mentally and physically. Despite this, I wanted to keep going and push on. In the end we ran through 6km and pushed for 8km. It was tough near the end and I was feeling tired, but I remembered that I’d feel elated if we did it. I am starting to believe that there is such a thing as muscle memory and my goal of a half marathon is still in sight.
So this week we are out on Tuesday – tomorrow and we are aiming for 8 pushing for 10km. I just need to find a flat route. And I need to learn to run alone without headphones as the HM that I have spotted has a no headphone rule as there are only partial road closures.
The smallest one has been sleeping better this week. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “sleeping well” but it is certainly an improvement from the Hades that I found myself in last week. On the down side however I went to bed with a sore throat and woke up with it too. Determined not to find excuses I put on the running gear and decided that I could always change out of it if I didn’t feel like it after I was properly awake and had had breakfast.
On the way to dropping of George at school I made the decision to run around the racecourse today for a bit of a change. What seemed like a great idea at the time was a bit of a disaster because for 30 minutes I was stuck in traffic and wished I’d just left the car back at the house and run locally. We finally arrived and I spent 10 minutes faffing around with the cosy toes which I had removed yesterday. I couldn’t get over the temperature difference between yesterday and today. It was freezing today.
Plugged in and ready to go I started my 5 minute warm up walk and that is when it all really started to work against me. Firstly my app told me to run for 60 seconds. I realised that I was listening to week 1 of C25K and not week 5. I was so annoyed that I just decided to ditch my headphones and run for as long as I felt that I could. And it felt good… for a bit and then my bladder let me down. I needed to pee so badly that I couldn’t concentrate. My mind began to wander. I prefer to run in the dark…another reason – a cheeky wilderness wee is easier in the dark.
Off I went back to the car park and found a cafe with loos. Thank goodness. Thought about calling it a day but didnt and off I went again. From this point on it was OK. I got into a bit of a rhythm and just kept going. In the end I did 4km with at least 3km of that running. I really feel that I am making progress and I am really enjoying it. So far this week I have run/walked 14km. By the end of April I need to cover 42.6 in a week to get my medal. Better start upping these distances or I am going to have to take the garmin on a bus ride!!!
Stanley is still refusing to sleep properly, but that is the down side to having children. And he is cute so I have to forgive him. When I woke up on Thursday I decided that I needed to go out and have a run. Partly because I wanted some me time and because actually running sometimes wakes me up a bit.
I was quite excited to get going but was immediately thwarted by quite a strong headwind. It made pushing the buggy really quite hard and not all that enjoyable. I just kept reminding myself that buggy running is really hard but it is a bit like hill running. It is great for improved strength.
After Tuesday’s run I thought that I was going to struggle with the 5 minute runs, but I actually found myself getting into my stride and pushing forward and it felt really good. I passed a couple of people who said “Good Morning” and I felt really quite smug.
Unfortunately just as I was getting into my stride for the second long run my phone rang and interrupted the music/instructions. I had to pause everything and take the call. It was my neighbour calling about the development that is taking place behind our house. The tractor that was destroying all of the trees and scrub land was way too close to the protected badger sets and she needed me to call the rural crime officer. Although I tried to continue my run after this it was really tough as I had to make further calls and was keen to get home and see what was happening. I did finish the run but I stopped trying to time it and didn’t concentrate. On the up side, after a week of pestering the guys with the big tractor walked off site and refused to carry on with their work as they got so annoyed with our constant badgering (if you pardon the pun)
I resolved to go to parkrun this week but didnt mention it on facebook until the morning as I actually wanted to run by myself. I wanted to put my 90s tunes on and see what I could do. As it turned out I met a few people there anyway. Including Martyn and Mary, who was trying out her running buggy. I had had a reasonable nights sleep and was looking forward to parking up and reading my book before the start, however when I arrived I was met with the scene below. The already inadequate carpark was blocked by a large van with a flat tyre. Instead of reading I chuckled to myself as car after car tried to maneuver around it. After a while it became clear that another van was stuck behind it and needed to get out. Along with a fair few big men we realised that the handbrake on the van had been left off and we pushed it forward enough to allow better access and free the other van – much to the driver’s delight. I wonder if it is still there!!!
I forgot to take my watch so I was really running blind this week and decided that all I wanted to do was run it all with no walking this week. I felt quite strong to start with but then worried that I was going to run out of puff. I kept chuckling to myself that I had had a teaspoon of peanut butter before I left and that this was fuelling me to victory. At about the right time I spotted my friend Jo and realised that we were running at about the same place. This was great as it meant that I could allow here to set the pace and just try not to lose her. I really wanted to walk after about 4 km but pushed through it. I even saw Martyn was not that far ahead and wanted to try to overtake him on the line. Unfortunately he saw me and sped up!. In the end I raced another lady to the line and actually managed to pass Jo. I felt great to have run it all regardless of the time. So that was a bonus – 1 minute off last week. And all of a sudden my need to get a sub 30 is back. Next weeks aim is to get a sub 32 and we will work from there.
Parkrun #23 Official time: 32.17 Total Weight loss: 18lbs
The youngest Shenton has decided that sleep is for losers and is waking up a lot and for long periods. He decided at 5am that is was morning and he wanted to play. Sadly for the long suffering husband this meant that he was kicked out of bed. Since Stanley was born we have had the deal that I do the nights but between 3.30 am and 6am I am not on call. This means that for a few hours at least I get good quality unbroken sleep. It doesn’t always work out like that but ear plugs do help.
Due to the fact that I am knackered, I deferred this mornings planned buggy run. To be honest I simply couldn’t face it. I decided that if I made myself more tired running that I might not make it through the day. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t go, it is only me that writes the schedule!!
Anyway, I decided to try to make sure that my steps reached 10000 so went for a few walks, which also helped my mood as Stanley was being irritable. (I’ve tried to explain to him that this is a result of sleep deprivation). Whilst out I realised that walking in the fresh air actually made me feel more awake than sitting at home. At this point I re-evaluated my running plans.
So I went out this evening after putting Stanley to bed. I left a Chilli simmering on the hob and Mr S at home keeping watch.
Week 4 is quite a lot more involved than week 3. Suddenly I am running for 5 minutes at a time. It might seem daft doing C25k after my success this weekend but I am using it for two reasons. Firstly, I am usually doing it with the buggy and that is a whole new learning curve for me. I certainly would struggle to complete 5km in a good time, and certainly not without a lot of walking. This way I can build up my skills with the buggy at a sensible pace. Tonight, as I didn’t have the buggy I saw it as an opportunity to do a bit of speed work. I ran much faster than usual during the running sections. I am hoping that this will enable me to run the full 5km faster in the long run. At some point I need to start running up some hills. But for now – no thanks
31.06 mins 4.2km
Having publicly stated that I was heading out to Parkrun this morning – it was pretty clear that I was going to have to go. I had the usual night woes with the youngest meaning that I was a little tired when the morning came, but I was ready and determined. Northampton Parkrun is now so busy that on average there are over 500 runners each week, whilst this is amazing it also means that the 50 or so parking spaces are gone very quickly. I got round this by arriving nice and early. Always prepared I took my shredded wheat in a soup pot and a flask of tea. To top it off I took my book (Hurrah for Gin). Now for me this constituted quality me time. I got to eat in peace and chill out. Even better I discovered that my step brother was on his way. I used to run with Martyn so it was amazing to get started again with him there.
Just before the start we met with Mary and I was confident that she would help me to stay positive and push me along. I love running with Mary. She not only inspires me to run, but she is really motivational for me. She will read this and be thinking -“I don’t do anything” But I know that she encourages me whilst allowing me to know my own limits and supports me in making the right decisions. I also really want to be able to run like her so I won’t quit when she is about.
The first lap was ok and I ran it all. I was fairly confident that the first 3km would be achievable as I have been running this sort of distance in the week. In fact the second lap wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did walk a few times but I kept going and did much better than I thought. And then Parkrun fever kicked in. I saw someone and fixed on them. I was determined not to let her finish before me and that alone meant that I couldn’t stop. I think this is the reason that I love Parkrun so much, it is motivational and inspiring. I was out there today thinking that I’d do 38 minutes and this would be a crap time, but there were lots of people behind me that were going to finish much after that and they were proud to get their times – and I am in awe of them, they are out there doing it. Kudos and snaps.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, my aim to run it in 38 minutes went straight out the window. I smashed it finishing in an official time of 33.25m Whoop whoop.
To top it off I took George out today as he really wanted a medal of his own. He ran 1km with me and was so excited. I can’t wait to run with him some more. He is going to be chuffed to bits when his medal arrives.