I am Nemo…or maybe Ariel

I had a brainwave whilst driving to work this morning.  (It’s not often this happens.)
A while back I stumbled over when walking into school.  My foot was overhanging the paving slab and fell down into the gravel below.  I was brave, didn’t cry, although cut my knee and photographed the evidence to show and prove to everyone on the internet just how brave I was, despite wanting to cry my eyes out!

This morning as I put my foot on the accelerator of my car and my right foot ached all along the outside I remembered my fall and desperately tried to think back to when it had been.

With the wonder of the internet, I found out that I had fallen on 9th October…is this too far back to be causing me issues now?  When it didn’t affect me throughout the whole of the Dusk ’til Dawn ultra?  I don’t know…I think I’m just grasping for reasons now as to why my foot is no longer letting me run!

Last night was spent at the pool getting 50 lengths in before dinner.  I used my FUEL bag that I got from Maria’s site to pack my kit in.  Very fitting I thought as I had actually won the bag for saying the following…


I almost turned around and came home when I discovered there were no car parking spaces by the time I arrived.  Almost, but not quite!  Reluctantly I let myself in, paid, got changed and headed through to find that actually most of the cars must belong to the parents of the kids at swimming training in the kiddy pool.  It wasn’t overly busy in the main pool, although my lengths kind of looked like this…


The dashed lines is how my journey went across the pool.

#1. – An old lady that was swimming too slow for me to follow behind as I kept lapping her (is it lengthing her if it’s in a pool?!)
#2. – Three teenagers that every so often would ‘race’ me with no warning until they ran out of energy.  General bobbing in the circled area.  They never really left this spot.
#3. – A group of five men that insisted on swimming abreast and stopping every few strokes to have a chat.
#4. – A very large girl and a really petite girl.  They literally stayed within the circle the whole time.  Didn’t see either of them swimming once.
#5. – A man teaching his daughter to swim.
#6. – A man and his grandchild – I think he was teaching her to dive and go underwater?  They barely left the side of the pool.

I think the fact that I had to think on my spot about what direction I was going in really made the time pass so much quicker.  Before I knew it I’d already done 50 lengths, without a stop and felt rather energised but ready for home and tea!

When I had first walked into the pool from the shallow end I was a little worried.  I could really feel pain in my foot as the pressure of the water pushed alongside it as I was walking.  Whilst I was swimming though I didn’t really notice any soreness.  Even though I have managed to improve the form of my arms (before my left one was really weak and would barely come out of the water) my legs still don’t really seem to be sure what they’re doing, and I can only assume I look a little like a chubby and floundering mermaid with my legs flopping up and down together in the water!

I’m off to the physio tonight so fingers crossed I have some positive news about running again…

Races for 2014

What’s the worst thing you could do whilst unable to run?  Make the ‘Runner of the Year’ video for your running club! And then watch the ones you made the year before filled with inspirational stories from their 2012 achievements.

It just makes you want to get out and RUN!

So, to combat my lack of running I have begun making a list of races I’m planning on running during the first half of next year…

January 2014:

Dunstable XC – 12th January.  The final race in our club cross-country season.

Folksworth 15 – 19th January.  Lovely course, well marshalled.  Two laps which I thought I would hate but it’s served me well the past two years.

Folksworth 2012
Folksworth 2012

February 2014:

Wellingborough MT (10k) – 2nd February.  These races are raved about by our club runners but I’ve not tried them yet, despite only being a few miles from my house.  They come in 5k/10k/15k options.

Wellingborough MT (15k) – 16th February.  As above.

March 2014:

Ashby 20 – 9th March.  I’ve not run this race before, but again, heard great things from club runners, and it fits with my training schedule for London to run 20 miles on this day.

Oakley 20 – 23rd March.  I ran this race in 2012 and it’s a lovely route – lot of tiny hills which is what I like on a course.  Beautiful scenery.  Unfortunately it was cancelled this year due to the late heavy snow we had.

Oakley 20 2012
Oakley 20 2012

April 2014:

London marathon ** – 13th April.  Cannot WAIT to experience London!  It’ll be my first time, and several club runners are running it next year.

May 2014:

Conti Lightning Run ** – 4th May.  Talked into this one by friends at club.  12 hours non-stop running.  Yes, I am a solo entrant…  :S  !!!

June 2014:

Shires and Spires 35m – 1st June.  A lovely course and a great introduction to ultra running.  Run by Go Beyond and checkpoints manned by our club runners.

Colworth marathon challenge (5m) – 20th June.  I’ve wanted to run this since my first Spring of running (2012) but always been too exhausted to try after completing a marathon the month before.  This year I’m determined to make it, no matter how slow!  It’s three races over three days which in total make up a marathon.  You camp out overnight between each race.

Colworth marathon challenge (8.1m) – 21st June.

Colworth marathon challenge (half) – 22nd June.

July 2014:

August 2014:

Grim Reaper Ultra (40m) – 1st August. Four laps of a ten mile flat course.  The medal is beautiful.  I went to support last year having initially signed up before winning a place on Operation Ultra.  This is only a week before my wedding so there is a possibility I will end up supporting again, but fingers crossed Dan will say I can run it!


I’m sure this list will be added to by the time 2014 gets here.  I haven’t entered many of the above races yet as I’m waiting to see what happens with my foot first…Fingers crossed though…

My ‘A’ goal for the first half of the year is obviously London.  The two 20 milers won’t be ‘raced’ but rather, run as training runs (until the sprint finish of course!)  Depending on how quick I recover from my current injury, I would like to get a new 10k PB in as well at the start of the year.  My current PB of 58m 35s was achieved at the end of 2011, just after I joined the club and I would like to think I can beat that now, but I haven’t raced any 10ks since that date.  My 5k PB that I achieved earlier this year stands at 26m 55s.

** = Race already entered.

Thoughts from the weekend

I think it’s about time I got some of my thoughts from the weekend into some sort of order and down in my blog before I kick myself for forgetting the details!

My initial plan had been to head to my friends’ house in London on the Friday night where they were planning on seeing the Christmas lights in Hyde Park.  Way too tired to drive to London after work I settled on heading to the cinema to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with Dan instead.  Fantastic movie.  Really kept to the story and I’m glad to see that the same director is directing the final book (in two parts) over the next couple of years.  Although to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded so much if they altered the story a little towards the end of that one.

Up at 5:30am on Saturday morning to shower and get ready for Write This Run in Sandown Park.wpid-IMG_20131123_111428.jpg

Like last time, my favourite panel was the Inspirational Speakers panel at the very beginning.  We heard from Jennifer Bradley; the first woman to run across the USA.  Sophie Walker who runs as a way to help her cope with her daughter’s Aspergers and Simon Webb, who is currently in the middle of writing a book about the sights of the London Marathon.

I was most interested in hearing Jennifer speak.  It seemed that several of the speakers this time round had ‘ultra’ tendancies and that suited me just fine!  What an adventure she had had though!  80 days of running an average of 42 miles per day.  And it was mainly trail running!  She even ran through Idaho on Day 14, through some of the areas that I stayed as a teenager when I spent a total of four months out there.  (My best friend’s Mum found out that she was adopted and her real family lived in Idaho and I went over with them after my GCSEs to meet their family.)

Idaho rock climbing
Me climbing Marble Mountain in 2001.

Jennifer ran a total of 3302.85 miles over the 80 days at an average of 9-10mm pace!  As part of her training she ran 150 miles a week for the three months before setting off on her challenge and her handy words of advice were…

“You can only eat so much…even in America” and…

“Look after your feet!”

Jody Raynsford rushed through a super long presentation as part of the ‘Better Blogging’ panel in just 15 minutes, but made us all laugh along the way.  And promised to post a link to the full presentation on his website later that day.  True to his word, you can now download the whole presentation here.  He let us know that…

“Writers block doesn’t exist” and that…

“People care about people” and that…

“There are 200,000,000 bloggers out there…don’t be afraid to try something different!”

Clifton Bradeley was one of the speakers in the ‘Run Strong’ panel, who had belted out a sub 4 minute mile early in his career, before snapping his pelvis in the same race, thus ending his career.

Another speaker I was interested in hearing was Robbie Britton although I enjoyed his talk much more than I intially thought.  Robbie came across as very down to earth and genuine guy.  I was very surprised to hear that he tends to run weeks of 60 miles.  That’s not a huge amount more than a club runner.

“I got a 12 hour PB!” (on his second 100 mile race) and…

“Running an ultra around a mile loop…but then the following year running it round a 400m track!”

I had planned to stay at my friends’ Tom and Bradley’s house again that evening, to return to the Running Show on the Sunday.  No longer able to race the 10k I thought it would give me extra shopping time, and there were lots of seminars taking place that I wanted to listen in on.  However, when it took me nearly two and a half hours to get to their house just 16 miles away I was tired, grumpy and they informed me they were heading out for a friend’s birthday.  So instead, I got myself some chips, had a quick catchup with the boys and drove home to Northamptonshire, where I was asleep within minutes.  Still with my name badge on and Running Show wristband around my wrist.

Sleeping with Bella

I’m not sure why Bella was so sleepy.  Dan assured me she’d slept most of the day!

On Sunday I was then able to see a little of Dan.  We had a bit of a lay-in, followed by a lazy morning before sorting the house out and heading out for the Christmas light switch on in our town.

Christmas light switch on

I wore five layers and my coat would barely do up!  I didn’t get cold though!

When we came back we decided it was time for a hot chocolate, feet up infront of the fire and a board game.  Good end to a relaxing day!

wpid-IMG_20131124_220548.jpg wpid-IMG_20131124_204417.jpg wpid-IMG_20131124_210228.jpg

Christmas gifts I would love under my tree

I’m addicted to running.  Therefore, I think I’m pretty easy to buy presents for…anything running related and I’m happy.  At the Running show at the weekend i could have spent so much money! And they had a Ronhill sale on…dangerous! These are some of the things I’ve spotted lately that I would like in my Christmas stocking…

1. Charming Rewards bracelets.

Charming RewardsI like the leather bracelets and would have mine similar to the one above.  This would be a great gift for someone who has recently completed their first marathon/half/10k/5k.

2. The Runner’s Wall medal hanger.

trailRunningI’ve seen lots of different styles of medal hanger, but I love this Trail Running version.
I also love this for London marathon medals…
If only I knew that I would get a place more than once!

3. Wrist ID bracelet.

Wrist ID braceletI already have it in blue, but would also like the pink version!

4. Eat & Run.

Eat & Run

I’m a sucker for any running book and this one is all about ultramarathons…bonus!

5. Ronhill Aspiration Connect shorts
I lived in my Ronhill shorts all Summer long after receiving them from Women’s Running. My pair are blue. I would like the purple pair to complete my set!

6. A box of Maxifuel Viperboost bars

So nice. So addictive!

6. A 26.2 Car bumper sticker

26point2Because I’ve done it…why shouldn’t I shout it out to other car users?!

7. A running headtorchheadtorch

I was lucky enough to borrow two headtorches from other club runners before the Dusk ’til Dawn but being as addicted to running as I am, I think it is about time I purchased one myself.

8. Bubble bath

bubbleBathYou can never have too much bubble bath as a runner.  It’s what Sunday afternoons were meant for after getting back from your long run!

9. Foam roller

foamRollerMy body has been crying out for one of these since I got injured in the Summer.  I’ve made do with golf balls, tennis balls and cans of soup, but it’s just not the same!

10. A running mug

runningMugBecause then everyone would know it was my mug in the office!

What’s on your Christmas running-themed wish list this year?!