A wet and muddy trail run

…No different to any other Sunday then!

This was us about seven miles and ninety minutes in. After squelching through lots of mud and running up and down lots of steep hills. Kev treated us all to a hot chocolate afterwards and we spent half an hour trying to warm up in the park café before heading home and being insanely embarrassed by how muddy we were! For the first time though, my trainers are not covered in inches of mud. That’ll be the ankle deep puddles we were constantly running through then! The rain was good for something at least!

This was the breakfast that Dan cooked for me on my return. I’m not normally one for cooked breakfasts, I don’t really like bacon but this was just what my body was after when I returned from the long run soaked through and shivering!

Since Christmas I have become rather lazy on the weekends. Working from home on Mondays and Tuesdays has meant that I have been able to relax a little more than I used to. It’s been nice to spend some extra time with Dan each week whilst still being able to get things done.
However, it looks as if that is all about to change. On Friday the headmaster at my school asked me to up my working days to four and i also received a phone call from the estate agent to say we had had our offer accepted on a house a few miles away. The house needs quite a lot of work doing to it… We would like to knock through the existing utility and kitchen into one, extend on the side to include an office, downstairs loo and rip out a hedge which currently splits the large garden in half. The house has lots of potential but will also mean a lot of hard work and money spending this year. Alongside preparing for our wedding I think there is no better time for me to up my hours at school!

Parkrun addict

This morning Dan and I headed over to Peterborough Parkrun, picking up our non-running friends Vick and Alex on the way.

Vick, Me, Dan and Alex pre Parkrun

This photo looks like we are cut and pasted on the skyline.  I promise you we were there!

Vick and Alex will be the first to admit they’re not the fittest of people and both are looking to lose weight before their wedding next Easter.  Alex gave up smoking as one of his New Year’s Resolutions so is looking to improve his general fitness anyway.

Initially Dan had planned to run off on his own and I was going to run with Vick and Alex, but Alex was a little optimistic about his fitness level so decided to run off ahead with Dan. It didn’t last long!

I’d drilled into Vick that we would start out really slowly, almost no more than walking and if she had anything left in the second half we would pick the pace up a little.  After a third of a mile we had caught up with the boys and it didn’t take us long to pass as Alex was struggling with the going slow concept and kept rushing off then having to walk. I think Vick made it to about a mile before taking a short walk break despite being out of breath from not long after setting off.
I haven’t seen her since Christmas and we were long overdue a catchup. Unfortunately I seemed unable to have a one sided conversation and kept talking about things that required Vicki to find some extra breath from somewhere to reply. I did get marginally better towards the end though.

The course is two laps around and across the lake and we were lapped by the front runners after just over a mile. Several of the quicker runners yelled out messages of “Well done!” and “Keep it up!” The first couple of people who commented made me feel like shouting out “I normally run faster than this!” But then I felt bad. They thought they were doing a nice thing by shouting encouragement and I have beamed in the past when faster runners have acknowledged me as they overtook or headed back in the other direction, just as Vicki was doing now. She commented several times on how friendly everybody was and I started thanking all of the runners or marshals as they loudly spurred us on.
There was a photographer on each lap and also at the finish. Unfortunately even with three opportunities thrown at me I still failed to get a decent race photo! Some people clearly were not meant to be photographed! The boys however now have a great set of race photos.

Vick and I
We had been running no faster than a steady speed walk the whole way and at times I was almost jogging on the spot. Quarter of a mile from the finish Vick got a stitch so slowed to a walk to try and get rid of it. Frustratingly the boys passed us, but I used this as an incentive to get Vicki back running again. She was excited about going for a sprint finish and I said I would let her know when she could kick. Just as the finish came into view up a slight hill I gave her the go-ahead but wasn’t expecting for her to take off… She shot off in front of me and my stunned legs didn’t catch up with her until we crossed the line! The boys had had a bit of a kick too, and only just finished in front of us.

They’ve both already said that they want to do it again and would be up for making it a regular activity. Excellent news! :-)

Final time: 40:24.  Personal Worst, but also a Personal Worth-it!  :)

Parkrun Picmonkey

Life without a TV

Life is possible without a TV.

I remember being in year nine and my Spanish teacher telling us that she didn’t have a TV. We were all amazed. What did she do in the evenings? Why didn’t she have a TV? Who doesn’t have a TV?!

Yet today I found myself telling my year nines almost exactly the same!

Go ahead, think I’m weird-but I generally find what’s on offer to be mostly pretty pants and I’d much prefer to head out for a run or have an actual conversation with my fiancé.

We have Netflix so that we can watch series together (might have gotten a little addicted to Dexter towards the end of last year!) and I have kept up with EastEnders and Casualty since I was a kid, but all through iPlayer. Not on live TV. I would have missed every episode if I had to stick to the BBC schedule! For the first eighteen months we lived together we didn’t bother to get a TV licence. What was the point? But then Dan thought he might like to watch the occasional live footy game on the TV so we paid for a licence and stopped the TV licencing people calling us every month to see if we’d bought a TV yet! Waste of money though. I think he’s watched two matches since!

I discovered that one of the other teachers at my school doesn’t have TV either which I was surprised to hear as she has two young children both in primary school. She told me that they are much more likely to head outside in an evening than her nieces and nephews are which I think is great. My brother and I grew up in a small village but would always be out on our bikes when we were younger, or climbing trees, or off exploring.

I honestly don’t know where I would fit TV time into the week. The only time I watch EastEnders or Casualty is when I put it on my laptop in the kitchen to wash up to! And then I watch each episode over a couple of days!

In other news I’m looking forward to showing my friends Vick and Alex the Parkrun ropes tomorrow!

I hope it will turn into a regular social meet up. Much healthier than their normal suggestion of a restaurant!

The lazy runner

As a runner I started out trying my absolute hardest on every single club night, running my heart out desperate to prove myself and get to the front of the group, eager to be moved up as soon as possible so that I may progress further. The past few weeks I’ve run at the back of my group. By choice.
The last six months have been so good for me (not for injury!) but in helping to recognise that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone but myself. Times on a club night don’t matter. Club nights are best used for me to run with others which wasn’t always something I had a chance to do in the weeks before. Tonight I flitted between encouraging the back runner on, to chatting with a group in the middle of the pack to being right out front with the coach. Plenty of variety!
This Saturday I am headed to Ferry Meadows Parkrun in Peterborough with Dan and our friends Vicki and Alex (both non runners). Dan plans on running round on his own and trying to beat his previous 5k time. I plan on running with Vick and Alex to encourage them round the course. This would have been such a hard thing for me to do a year ago. I would have had the mindset that I wouldn’t want others to think I had slowed down but now, I don’t care. They can think what they want. I run for me. I know my body is strong enough to get round an ultramarathon. I want to help others enjoy the sport too.
Anyway, ‘the lazy runner’ actually refers to my legs. Or more specifically how lazy I’ve become with shaving them! When I first began as a runner I wore nothing but full length tights. Gradually I upgraded to three quarter lengths, and shaved the bottoms of my legs religiously before every run. This Summer saw me frequently running in shorts and due to my Operation Ultra training I was shaving six days a week before runs. I was running so much more.
This week I’ve not once wore full length tights and not once shaved my legs. I got Dan to do the hair-test from a distance, seeing if he could spot that they were partly hairy and at the same time knowing that we would be running in the dark on Tuesday. He couldn’t detect a single hair so they have been left for a few more days before their destruction. Tonight’s run was seven miles along a very hilly route but I really enjoyed it. I could feel how tight my legs were when stretching afterwards though! As long as no one managed to spot how stubbly they were!

Before heading to work this morning I laid out some uncooked pasta in a baking dish, mixed in some chicken, and left it in the oven, with a pot of Homepride tuna pasta bake. Now I don’t actually like tuna but I can just about tolerate it.

Fact: Tuna pasta bake was the first meal Dan ‘cooked’ for me three weeks into our relationship. I’m pretty certain I’ve never eaten a meal so slowly and managed to hide my gags so frequently! It wasn’t until months afterwards that I told him for my dislike for tuna and he told me felt really bad for feeding it to me!

Anyway, I asked him to put in the pasta bake so that it was ready when I returned from club this evening. Excellent, he times it perfectly. I slightly screwed up my nose waiting for the tuna taste to hit me but knowing that a) tuna was good for me and b) the jar needed eating up out of the way in the cupboard. The taste never hit me! When I checked the back of the jar it stated that you just need to add the jar’s contents to a tin of tuna and cook with pasta for results. Surely that just makes this Tomato pasta bake instead?!