I LOVE TRAIL RUNNING!

Tonight was so much fun!!!

And now THIS is what my new trainers look like…!

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I parked up at Tescos and ran the mile to the country park where Kev had said he would meet any trail runners that fancied heading out tonight.  There ended up being four of us.  Kev, who is in Group 4 with me, another Kev from Group 3 and Andy from Group 5.  It was actually quite reassuring having a member of Group 5 there as I didn’t have to worry about being too slow for everybody.

I had been a little nervous about just what to expect, although thought I had ran several trail runs by myself before and would most likely be fine.  Seriously I had no idea!!!  This was amazing!  I ran with such a smile on my face all night!  We ran for an hour and a half and I don’t think I stopped smiling once!  Hopefully the millions of exclamation marks in this paragraph help to emphasise just how happy I was!  😛  I was the youngest there but it was literally like somebody had just said to the three of us ‘Act as if you are seven years old again and you have just finished school for the Summer holidays‘…

We ran up and back down almost vertical hills, ducked under branches, leapt through muddy bogs and slipped across a mini waterfall.  We shrieked as our feet ran away from our bodies when they gathered speed heading down the steep hills and laughed when Andy lost his trainers in a thick section of mud.  And then tried not to laugh when Andy slipped and fell right into the mud.  We only covered about five miles and our pace ranged from 7mm to 14mm as we navigated our way around tracks I had never noticed before.  Kev kept giving me tips and pointers for my upcoming Ultra at the start of June and commented that my uphill running was very strong, which I already knew but was nice to have somebody else notice it!  It’s downhill running that I struggle with.  The trusting of my feet not get carried away and disappear with me!  With uphill running I can focus all my energy into going forward and drive with my arms.  This has always been one of my strengths with road running.

I didn’t take any pictures, but wish I had and might head over there this weekend to get some shots of just how steep the hills we were running up were!  Below is a picture Dan took of me when we went walking in the park during the Easter holidays.  IMG_20130402_133255Basically that steep trail to the left of me (not the main track I’m stood on, but the slightly worn path heading diagonally up from me to the top left hand corner of the picture) is nothing!  We ran down tracks like this all night and then used the forward going momentum to help take us back up the other side again.  The really steep ones though we were power walking up and using trees to help pull us up the paths.  I NEED to get pictures because no words can truly describe the drops we went over tonight!

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Dan had already had dinner by the time I got home so I grabbed the best sandwich I know of!  A cheese salad sandwich.  I used to live on these in my first year of high school.  I so easily could have turned around and made myself another one as soon as I finished this!  It was made of cheese, lettuce and half a red pepper.  YUM!  There’s a strong possibility this is featuring at lunch tomorrow!

At about 9:55pm I panicked, convinced I was going to die of starvation overnight as I can’t eat after 10pm this evening before my blood tests in the morning.  This will end up being about 11 hours without food.  I usually get up between 5-5:30am so this is going to be pretty hard going for me.  Dan convinced me to grab a Graze box so I went with the new Graze Brownie.  It’s tag line was ‘the better for you brownie‘.

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Hmmmm…anything that is originally a sweet delicious treat that you are told is ‘bad’ for you and then comes out as a ‘better for you’ version is usually pretty rubbish and tastes nothing like the original.

I spun the box around before opening so that I could get a good look from all angles.  Nothing unusual to report so I tore back the lid.

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Inside, the brownie was split into three, like Graze’s flapjacks (although I have never eaten just one third in a sitting).  I smelt it.  It smelt good.  I lifted it to my lips and had a little nibble.  Mmmm, nice and soft and gooey.  Are you sure this is better for me Graze because the whole brownie disappeared pretty quickly and has been added to my ‘Send again soon’ list on your website!  I definitely approved.  :)

Early home to head for a trail run

Food today has been pretty boring so far I’m afraid…

A bowl of blueberry wheats and strawberry crunch cereal with semi-skimmed milk (I’m so predictable!)  I won’t be able to have this tomorrow as I can’t eat until after my blood tests have been taken and I’m going straight from the doctors to work…I’m not sure eating cereal whilst driving is one of my many talents!

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Breakfast was relatively early (5:15am) so when I got to school I also snacked on this apple quite early on in the day…Today’s apple didn’t have quite as freakishly long a stalk as the apple I snacked on yesterday!

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For lunch for a change I pre-toasted a bagel at home and added some smooth peanut butter and smoodged the whole lot together inside some tin foil.  This was nice to pull bits off of and a nice change from my usual salad, but I’ve found that it’s pretty boring taking a sandwich/bagel to work.  I much prefer the colour and different items that come from having a salad.

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I was in a relatively good mood all afternoon and my year 11s pleased me with their relatively quiet banter and willingness to work through the practice exam paper I’d given them so I made the most of it and listened to some Scott Mills quietly in the background.

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I do miss not being able to listen to Scott Mills in the evenings.  He really reminds me of my friend Rich and always makes me laugh out loud!

On Wednesdays I’m on after school bike shed duty – which basically means I just make sure that the students get away from school without any bullying/punctures/stealing of other student’s bikes.  Most kids tend to know who I am or at least recognise me and I always end up having some hilarious conversation with them whilst I’m waiting for them to vacate the sheds.  [At times], I do really enjoy my job!  :)

After bus duty I whizzed home today.  I’m heading out for an hour and a half long trail run this evening at 6:30 with some of the guys from my running group and the group above.  Kev, the guy who organises the trail runs tends to put on at least one each week at varying lengths and locations but I’d always been too scared to go along before for fear that I would be the slowest struggling mess there!  But tonight, one of the guys from the group below me is going to give it a go as well.  I’m really looking forward to it, although I am missing out on Date night with Dan, but he has given me clearance for tonight.  He is a good boyfriend really!

I knew I would not last until 8:30pm on my lunch, so when I got back I fixed myself a quick snack of cheddar cheese and crackers.  I haven’t had this in a while and had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.  I might add it to my lunchbox for tomorrow’s lunch!

IMG_7146It was really nice being home for 4:20, and I love how light it is outside at night now!  During the winter, leaving before 7am and returning after 6pm from school mean that I never see the daylight.  Now, I really know it’s almost Summer!  :)  Just look at my pretty front lawn!IMAG0662

Km reps

I’m back on the Tesco strawberry crunch cereal with Blueberry wheats and semi-skimmed milk again for breakfast.  What can I say?…I love cereal!  :)

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I wasn’t too hungry today and didn’t grab a morning snack.  I hadn’t packed quite as much for lunch today and had a salad of a little lettuce, a carrot, about 8 grapes and a tomato with some more of the houmous pot I started yesterday.

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My mid-afternoon snack was an apple.  An apple which had the longest stalk I have ever seen!…

 

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And then when I got back from running club, Dan had made me some haddock with a side salad of lettuce, grapes and half a red pepper.  I don’t think I’ve ever had haddock before but this was really nice.

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Dan had gotten late out of work last night which meant he was late picking me up from work which meant I rushed around from the second I got through the door at home, desperate not to miss a session at club.

There is always so much to think about when preparing a run…

* Is my Garmin charged?  (I’m a proper geek and love looking at all of the data afterwards and analysing it in my own little way)
* Have I had enough to drink today?  Or am I going to need to glug a bit more water in the car on the way to club?
* What is the weather like?  Am I going to be too hot in anything but shorts?  If so, do I need to shave my legs?
* MUST REMEMBER MY FLOURESCENT BIB!  Club runners can’t run with the club without this.
* Have I been to the toilet?  A must.  There’s been several runs where I’ve not had a chance to get to the toilet before the run and had to duck into a pub or hedge on route!
* Have I eaten enough to get me around for the planned session?  Or am I going to need to grab a quick snack to keep me going?
* Do I have clean running clothes?  Where is my bra?!  My clothes tend to end up in piles around the house and when running around like a mad person with 5 minutes before having to leave for club I can never find them!

At club tonight we had Andy as our coach again.  The planned session was 1k reps around Swanspool, a slightly hilly km circular route.  One direction is much upward hillier than the other.  (Not sure how that works?!)  Lots of groups offer this session monthly in order that members can see how their speed has progressed with recent training.  I’ve always seemed to miss every session that has been recorded so far and was looking forward to getting some base figures to work with.  After a two mile warm up jog at 9mm pace we began by completing our first rep the easier way round the kilometre.  The way that began and ended on a downhill.  At the finish line Andy was reading the timings out loud and the idea was to remember your time and write it next to your name on paper on the clipboard.  I’m pretty sure my first rep was 5.04 and the second was 5:07.  I felt pretty strong throughout both of these km reps despite coming in last or nearly last in my group each time.  We had about 2-3 minutes rest between each km rep and then the last two reps were in the slightly harder direction (starting and finishing on an uphill).  I completed the first one in 5:14, and knew I wouldn’t be able to complete the second without a toilet stop so unfortunately then had to let Andy know I was sneaking off back to base to go to the toilet.  By this point it was 7:20pm (Club runs until 7:30pm) so I completed some cool down stretches and headed home a little early.  A little frustrated I needed the toilet so badly – I hadn’t had time to go with Dan being late home from work – but glad that I put my all into the reps I completed and never came close to giving up.  I’m just waiting for the group times to be posted now…