I’ve missed club trail runs

…but this weekend I managed to get out for a run from Northampton to Wellingborough, along the river edge.  It was a beautiful day – really sunny, but not too hot.  The run ended up being approximately 15 miles, (a little over what I should have run for the day – oops!) but it was great to run with others properly again.  I had just started getting into a routine of running a trail run every other week with runners from club before winning a place on Operation Ultra.  Several of the runners that take part in the trail runs are in the group above me at running club, so it ensures I continue to work hard at my running to keep up with the group (I’m always at the back, but it doesn’t seem to matter on the trail runs).

Running with others is what I have missed most whilst I’ve been training for the ultra.  Lots of my training runs have been quite specific and so I haven’t been able to fit them in with other runners unfortunately.

I did get to run with the other Operation Ultra crew before the Bristol half marathon the other week though, and we had a great pre-race photo taken, which I’ve just gotten my hands on!


Shame the photo of us in this month’s Women’s Running mag wasn’t quite so flattering!  I feel it should have gone with an explanation!  Rather than give you an explanation though, who can come up with the best caption?!


Night running

wpid-IMG_20130926_185441.jpgYesterday after work I headed out for a run for the first time with a headtorch.

Lots of people at my running club tend to wear them during the Winter months.  I did have a cheap one which I used to wear to collect the wood in from the top of the garden last Winter, but that annoyed me by bouncing around all over the place just while I was walking up the garden so knew it would have been impossible to run in.

I’m the sort of person that likes to hear reviews of a product before I purchase one, so I did a shout out on Twitter and Facebook running groups to see what people thought were best.  Colin, one of the ultrarunners from my club offered to lend me his Petzl TIKKA XP headtorch over the next few weeks and then for the race itself if I get on with it.

I picked the torch up from Colin on Tuesday and with a gym session scheduled for Wednesday night yesterday was the first chance I got to test it.  The plan said 90 minute run with 3x10mins at threshold pace (2min recoveries inbetween).  I didn’t get back from work until after 6pm and it was 6:40pm by the time I got changed, grabbed a drink and was out the door.

I was pretty tired from a busy couple of days at work (Wednesday we had a ‘Meet the Parents’ evening at work, which I followed by an hour at the gym, meaning it was 10:30pm by the time I got home from work) So on Thursday evening I really had to gear myself up to run, despite these longer, mid-week runs with threshold sessions recently becoming my favourites.

By the time I got out there though I was glad I did and quickly got into a good rythym, averaging slightly over 10mm easily.  I was having one of those days where I felt like I could run forever last night.  I think mainly because I was tired but it felt like I was wearing goggles for the entire run!  The headtorch was extremely comfy and stayed in place throughout the run, although I was still aware it was on my head.  The light was very bright and it had a goggle-shaped cut-off towards the bottom of my vision where it was just darkness below the light, and I was really surprised twice when two flies flew straight into my eye, as I expected them to hit the imaginary goggles!

I could also change the angle of the light on the ground and alter the bean for a wider view, as well as changing to a red-light on the torch.

I had loads to think about on my run and let my legs just get to work, not really thinking about them moving which seemed to work!  The threshold part was meant to be run on a ‘hilly’ route, so I selected a different way back and made the legs work hard to get home again!

wpid-IMG_20130927_174122.jpgWhen I had arrived home, my London Marathon rejection magazine was waiting for me on my doorstep, same as last year.  And, I imagine, the same as in thousands of other households across the country!

Are you running London marathon next year?

If not, do you have another one lined up?I think I shall be Milton Keynes bound for the third year running.  Year one was torrential, year two was boiling, third time lucky?…!  (Crossing my fingers!)

A trip to A&E

On Sunday as I was back visiting my parents I decided to run the four miles to my old primary school and head around the old cross-country course that we used to have to run each year from the age of nine.  The course used to head out from the school, along a footpath, past some farms, through a few fields and back to the school again along a footpath that ran alongside one edge of the school field. The younger children were allowed out to cheer us on along this fence. I used to hate it at the time. I loved sport – I was on the hockey team when I first began at the school, and quickly became one of the ‘netball girls’. However, running was not my thing! I was always puffing and panting at the back with the back marker teacher and two other girls!


There is some beautiful scenery along the route which I never appreciated at the time and I wish I could go back and tell my nine-year-old self how fun running could actually be!

I managed to test out a Maxifuel Summerberries gel on route at about 7 miles into the three hour run and surprised myself at how much I liked it.  I don’t usually like anything too sweet whilst I’m running.  I struggle to crave foods at all normally, but definitely nothing sweet, although this gel went down quite easily.

Mum then filled me up with a Sunday dinner when I got back – roast chicken, followed by a pear tart and cream.  Preparing myself for the hour run I had to complete that evening when I returned home!


When I returned home I discovered that Dan had hurt his leg whilst playing football for his team earlier in the day and had struggled to do anything much other than lie on the couch since! I checked on him quickly before heading out with my friend Jenny to run for an hour with the last 30mins at marathon pace.


Dan was still in a lot of pain the following morning and hadn’t slept much through the night so we booked him in at the doctor’s for 9am and they sent us through to A&E with a suspected fracture.

He was assessed pretty quickly, sent through to X-ray and then we had a long wait whilst we were waiting for his x-rays to be looked over. We had probably been out of the house for nearly four hours by the time the nurse called him into the room to inform him what had happened. I was then waiting for nearly a further half an hour whilst he had a temporary cast placed on his lower leg.


He was wearing a pair of expensive jeans that his Mum had bought for his birthday at the end of August and the nurse had said that the cast would not be able to fit underneath the jeans as they were too close to the skin.  For a moment Dan had a panic that they would end up having to cut through his jeans, but luckily a nurse managed to find a spare set of nurse scrubs for him to model instead so he quickly changed into those!

Dan had broken a bone near his ankle resulting in the nurse having to restrict movement in the leg to allow it time to heal.  Next Monday we have to head back to the fracture clinic in order that they can take the temporary cast off and replace it with a more permanent one.  We should know more then, but it looks as though Dan will be off work for several weeks, as he cannot drive and needs to keep his foot elevated.

We headed down the slope by our house into town (about a 5min walk) for lunch yesterday so that Dan could practice using his crutches.  He could get about 15-16 ‘hops’ along before he had to take a breather and the sweat was literally pouring off him by the time we arrived for lunch!


He’s already bored at home.  Luckily, working in ICT he can complete most of his work from home, but it’s still going to be a very long few months!

Dress fitting and a night with the bridesmaids

On Saturday morning, after an easy 30 minute run in the dark I headed back to Norfolk.  I was booked in for my first lot of measurements to be taken for my wedding dress and to pay the deposit and for the dress to be officially ordered!

Nadine’s Bridal Boutique in Dereham have been absolutely fantastic in helping me choose my dress.  They were the perfect mix of letting me decide what I was after and helping me to choose what suited my shape.  Incredibly professional but very down to earth at the same time.  I’m very glad that they were recommended to my Mum.

Whilst taking my measurements I discovered that for my wedding dress I was a size 14 for my boobs, a size 16 for my hips and a size 18 for my waist?! I’ve never been a size 18 before and always felt that I had an hourglass figure, not one that gave me a pot-belly effect!  The dress I tried on in the store was a 14 and fitted me well though, so that is what we went ahead and ordered despite what the tape measure said!  I am usually a size 12, although own a few 10s and also a few 14s.  Clothes sizes vary so much from shop to shop.10124_178479359044_784174044_3818517_6456094_n

I had a bad experience in 2009 when out trying on bridesmaid dresses for my best friend Hollie’s wedding.  One of the shops we went into only seemed to stock size 8 or smaller dresses.  When I was handed a dress to try on and didn’t get changed immediately the woman asked ‘What IS the problem?’ in a sharp tone.  When I explained to her that no part of me would fit into a size eight, I wouldn’t even be able to get my leg into the thing she replied ‘Well don’t worry, the wedding isn’t until October, you’ve got months to lose all of your excess fat before the wedding!’  We left the shop and I did not enjoy the hunting down of the perfect bridesmaid dress as much as I should have and vowed not to put my bridesmaids through the same situation!

bridesmaidsDressesDan and I both loved the Two Birds bridesmaid dresses, (although not the cost of them!) so are having similar ones made for my four bridesmaids.  I love that the dresses can be wrapped in one of fifteen different ways.  Each one of my bridemaids is a completely different shape and height, so they will be able to wrap their dresses to suit them for the day.

After ordering my wedding dress with my Mum I drove up to Norwich to meet with three of my four bridesmaids and a friend to see About Time.  LOVE this film.  A great British comedy feel-good film just as Richard Curtis always seems to dream up!  Although I liked Love Actually, I felt there was too much going on at times.  About Time had the balance just right, and I came out of the cinema wishing that it rains and that there are gail force winds for my wedding and that I could live as happily as the couple in the film appeared to.


Oh, I also cried a lot.  I cry at many films, but even friends that never cry choked up a little towards the end of the film.

We then made our own pizzas…


Made silly faces…


And tried to train Amanda’s new Golden Retriever puppy Barley Bell to ‘roll-over’.wpid-IMAG1215.jpg

(He didn’t get it!)  But all in all, a nice day of playing catch-up with my friends.  :)