Saturday, January 28, 2006

Too much, too late

We had a lovely evening with friends yesterday, ate a huge meal very late and got home even later. Unfortunately, the food proved to be 'too much, too late' considering we had a LSR planned for early this morning!

As we were being collected at 7.30, hubby set the alarm for 5.30 so that we could have some breakfast. I have tried doing a long run without eating first but I seemed to have no energy in my legs. Toast and marmite at 5.30 was followed by a doze until 7.00, then up, into running kit and our lift arrived. We were ready to start our planned 16 miler just before 8am. Both of us were suffering from tummy problems even before we had started - not because there was anything wrong with the food (which was very nice) but because of the quantity we had consumed. Consequently I was finding it difficult to stomach even my usual drink and only managed about 200mls throughout the entire run. Now, it was incredibly cold, but even so we were losing fluid in sweat and I guess I must have become dehydrated. My tummy was cramping and I was not feeling good. The whole run took about 3.5 hours, which was much slower than it should have been, and I still felt terrible for several hours after we got home - nausea, diarrhoea and dizziness. Managed to force down plenty of fluids, warmed up in the bath and have had a sleep this afternoon - just thinking that I can eat something.

It's a shame that the week ended like this because I had been very pleased with the way I was running. Tuesday's hard session was followed by circuit training on Wednesday and a steady club run on Thursday. It has taught me a lesson though, so it can't be all bad - and I am very pleased because there was not one moment when I seriously considered giving in.

Life has been very hectic again. I'm finding it difficult to fit in the demands of my job (and I'm committed to working a few extra hours each week until the end of March if needed) with training, fund raising and still having some fun! I think that the pressure is psychological more than anything but it has been wearing me down. I think that socialising needs to take a back seat for a little while, until I have the energy to see it as something I want to do, rather than just something else to find time for. I'll start soon - after we have spent the day with friends tomorrow!

To see how my fundraising is coming along, please visit

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And again...

Where do the days go? Again I've got some catching up to do here.

Sunday was a lovely day. The leggies felt a little tight after Saturday's run, but nothing untoward. Hubby and I went out for a pub lunch, then a couple of hours stroll along the Avon Valley pathway. We had thought that we might run some of it but it didn't really seem suitable for our needs - at least, not the bit that we saw. Nevertheless we had a nice walk in the sunshine, with the birds tweeting and practising for spring. The walk loosened up the muscles nicely, no problems at all afterwards.

Monday was much the same as usual - a long day at work and shattered by the time I got home, so early night for me.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was also a long day at work - by that I mean 8.00 - 6.00. Home in time to change and get back out for my club session. That coach definitely has it in for me! He always sets off at a pace that is really too fast for me, although I know that it is fine for the rest of the group. Yesterday we did a hill session - 9 times up and down a local hill - then on elsewhere for some sprints. I was pleased to be keeping up with the rest of the group, but I was having to work very hard in order to do so!

Back to work today, then off to my circuit training. It's been very cold today, so I was glad to be inside in the, relative, warmth. I've had something to eat and drink, now it's really time for a shower, then an early night for me. It's now almost 9pm, don't know what it says on the blog as that seems to be set to American time. If anyone knows how I can change that, please let me know!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Playing catch up.

It seems that I've got a bit of catching up to do...

I did enjoy my club run on Thursday, as anticipated. Our usual coach was not there so I had the choice of going with the faster group (the one I go with on Tuesdays) or the slowest one. I decided to take the easy option and went with the slow one! There were several other people in the same situation so I had company and we simply ran back to the others if we seemed to get too far in front. It was nice to chat with people that I see less often and I was able to give one girl a couple of pointers for her University assignment. The only problem was that I got home feeling that I had wimped out!

Friday morning I worked, then saw a lady who is the local agent for 'Chocaholics', a company that sells choccies through catalogues. I am going to give this a try to boost my fundraising efforts, although I know it will not bring in big money. I'm hoping that it will appeal to people who don't want to give 'something for nothing' and also that it will reach a wider group of people than just my immediate circle of friends and family.

Friday evening was our running club's presentation evening and I was delighted to come home with a trophy for 2nd F45, and also an 'achievement' award. I stayed off the alcohol as I knew that I was doing my LSR this morning, and I think that alcohol the night before worsens my tendency to tummy troubles on my long runs.

This morning dawned bright and cold. We drove out to a local country park - mostly forest commission land. When we started out, just after 9.00, it was still frosty in places. It was dry, sunny and very peaceful. Hubby was supposed to have sorted out a route but got lost. However I think, from the time that we were out, that we must have done around 14 miles, which was our target for today. Hubby always wants to start off much faster than me and makes rude comments about being able to walk faster than that. However, I'm usually feeling stronger over the final couple of miles and am able to finish faster than him. We've got a half marathon race in 2 weeks time so will see what happens when he's able to go off fast. Will he finish in a faster time, or will he run out of steam part way round? Time will tell!

It's lovely to have the run behind us now and know that we can relax for the rest of the weekend.

Several people have asked about the activities of my 'Fundraising Manager' (aka Hubby!). He has a poster up in the taxi, which is generating some interest but little cash. I'm hoping that people will feel more inclined to give as the event gets nearer. Thanks for the idea of sending him out with letters to put through doors locally - that's a good idea and certainly sounds worth a try.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is it bedtime yet?

I'm really not enjoying these extra hours at work. There seems to be so much that I want/need to do at the moment and not enough time to fit it all in. Consequently I'm feeling a little tired and worn.How on earth do you people who work full-time find the energy for anything else?? I know that I always feel better after a run though, so looking forward to club night tonight. It's a steady run on Thursdays rather than speedwork so I'll have enough breath for a chat too.

As usual, I enjoyed my circuit training session last evening. I was working alongside a lad who is joining the RN next month and was amused to hear him say how hard he found the session. Admittedly, he was using heavier weights and working faster than me, but then again I am twice his age!

I'm still working at my fundraising and at least I've come to expect my efforts to be rejected so I no longer get so upset! I've put together a 'Backcare' leaflet that I'm going to print out and take round local businesses to try and sell. I have to say that I'm not looking forward to that in the least, but it's something that I have to try. First though I've got to get the thing into booklet, rather than A4, format, so I suppose I'd better get on and have a go at that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why does he hate me?

I'm sure that our club coach hates me - why else would he be trying to kill me?! Oh yes, he says something about 'good training' but I'm far from convinced! First the rest of the group run off at about 1 min/mile faster than my pace, then he forces us to run up this nasty old hill. We were supposed to be concentrating on maintaining our stride length and pumping the arms. I'm afraid I was concentrating on keeping air going into my lungs, and not much else! I'm sure I'll thank him on April 23rd - when I'm around mile 20 I'll tell myself that it's not as bad as a Tuesday night club session.

Someone gave me some advice about the marathon that certainly sounds sensible. I was told to consider mile 20 (rather than 13)to be the halfway point as the last 6 miles will seem as far as the first 20. That seems to make sense but it's not particularly reassuring, bearing in mind that most training programs have 20 miles as the longest run prior to the big day.

Anyway, I was glad to get out and run after a hectic couple of days at work. My colleague is away this week, so I'm going to work a few extra hours on Thursday and Friday. I have decided to put half of anything extra that I earn into my marathon fund. Fundraising is still going slowly otherwise. To see exactly how much I have raised, please visit

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Slip sliding away

We usually like to do our LSR on a Saturday, but hubby was working yesterday, and I was still recovering from the alcohol I imbibed on Friday night, so yesterday was a rest day instead. In fact, I had a very lazy day which was very enjoyable! This morning our bed was soooooo warm and comfy that neither of us wanted to leave it. Thankfully, we encouraged each other to get up and out rather than stay where we were.

Hubby had bought himself a brand new bike last week, his excuse being that it would be perfect for sorting out new running routes for us. Out he went yesterday afternoon to find something around 10-12 miles. His heel is much better but he wanted to try and stay off-road as much as possible to prevent further injury. We drove a little way from home and started running just after 9.00 this morning. Quite early on hubby pointed out an alternative path but said that we wouldn't take it becuase 'it gets a bit dirty'. Half an hour later we were ankle deep in mud and sliding all over the place. I was seriously worried that I might fall and end up in the river! I asked hubby how he had managed to overlook the mud when he was out on his reccy - and he admitted that he had not actually cycled the whole route. That fact became even more obvious when the footbridge he wanted to use to cross the river turned out to be private property! That wasn't too much of a problem other than meaning that we didn't really know whether the new route was slightly shorter, or longer, than originally intended. On the way back hubby ran ahead and left me struggling through the mud. Believe me, his name was mud at that stage!

We regrouped and got back to the car together. However, my schedule said that I should have run 12 miles, so I decided to go the rest of the way home on foot. It was only a mile but hubby hadn't wanted to add a total of 2 miles onto the total distance, that's why we took the car in the first place. I ran for about half a mile, then walked the rest as a cool down. We checked on the website when we got back and discovered that hubby had done just over 12 miles, and I had done just over 13. I took 2.5 hours and was pleased with that considering the terrain. Fortunately we won't have much mud to contend with in London!

This afternoon we went for a gentle stroll, which seemed to be effective for easing some of the knots in my leg muscles. Looking forward to my dinner now, then a quiet evening in front of the television.

Friday, January 13, 2006

To rest, or not to rest

Yesterday should have been clubnight. However, I had to miss it as I attended an 'awards evening' for work. This was held by the Primary Care Trust, it's supposed to show staff how much they are valued. I got a certificate in recognition of my BSc and prescribing qualification, both of which were achieved since the last such evening. We actually had a good time. The speaker was the lady who was the driving force behind the original 'Calendar Girls' and she was very entertaining.

I thought that I might be able to fit a run in before I went out but, in the end ran out of time and energy. I told myself that I was still ahead of the game so it shouldn't be a problem. An extra rest day would not be the end of the world.

Today I also had quite a lot to do, including an oral exam. The exam went well and I managed to get everything done by 2.00. The sun was shining and it seemed a shame to waste such a lovely day, so I got changed and went for a run on the heath. It was lovely to be out in the sunshine, and to be running on a surface other than the road - often difficult at this time of year. I also enjoyed the fact that I was running purely for pleasure rather than because my schedule said I should!

I'm still finding the fundraising a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. Someone gives me an idea that seems good and my spirits are lifted. Then something goes wrong and I'm plunged back into doom and gloom. I am going to visit one of the local schools and talk to the children about healthy living in return for a 'small donation'. Bearing in mind my deep antipathy to children, I only hope that the donation isn't too small! To see how my fundraising is going, or to donate, please visit

Friends coming round for dinner tonight, but I'm afraid they're going to be served Mr Tesco's finest offerings as I don't have the energy, or the inclination, to cook. Nevertheless, it should be a good evening and I am looking forward to it. Think I'd better leave the long run until Sunday though!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And yet more hills

Have had a hectic couple of days at work - as usual- so little time to blog. The old leggies were complaining somewhat after Sunday's exertions so it was a case of stretching at every opportunity. I decided to stick with the slow group at club yesterday as I was worried about possibly aggravating my previous hip injury. However, Tuesdays are usually speed sessions so I still work as hard as I can, whichever group I am with. We did 3 circuits around a local housing estate that includes a very nasty hill. The one way gives a steep uphill, then a long downhill, and vice versa, so we did 2x the short hill and 1x the long way. I was breathing pretty heavily by the end of each circuit but was able to maintain the pace each time. I like to finish by pushing hard for the last 1/2 mile as I feel this gives me an 'edge' in races - I know that I can finish strongly even though I am tired.

Last day of my 2005 annual leave today. I have to take my car in to get it fixed and have quite a lot of things which need sorting out here, then circuit training tonight. However, there is just a possibility that I might find a bit of time to do at least one 'Sudoku' puzzle during the day!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

First, read the instructions!

I arrived at Milborne this morning in time to collect my race number and go to the loo before an 11.00 start. Unfortunately, the race started at 10.30! There was no time to collect my number so hubby went of to do that while I joined the group of runners waiting to start. Certainly no time for me to go to the loo, would just have to hope for the best!

It was a nasty day, cold and grey with persistant rain/sleet. I had left my gloves in the pocket of my fleece, so my hands were really cold for the 1st couple of miles. Friends had warned me that the course contained a 'killer hill' that seemed to go on for miles. Whilst puffing up one such hill I asked another runner whether this was the one. I nearly cried when she said 'No'! At that stage I was not sure whether to push on while I could or save something for that hill. I decided to push on and was glad that I had as there were no other hills as bad as the one we had already done. The first couple of miles were slower than I had hoped. Nevertheless, I thought that probably wasn't too awful considering the conditions.

Mile 5, halfway!, came and it had taken me around 50 minutes thus far. That put me right back on target for 100 mins, with which I would be delighted. Still on target and feeling good at mile 6, but feeling dreadful at mile 7. However, my time had not dropped off much and I knew that I could push on for another 3 miles. In fact, I felt strong in the last couple of miles and would even have managed a 'sprint' finish if I could have seen the line! Unfortunately, rain on my specs had meant that I was able to see very little for the entire course. I really must think about getting some contact lenses for these situations! I'm not sure of my exact finishing time as I forgot to stop my watch (as usual). However, it was just under 100 minutes, and the race was just under 10 miles, so I was pleased with that.

All finishers got a hot dtink, Mars bar, hot dog and soup after the race, a nice touch that made it very good value. Hubby and I had planned to go somewhere for a pub lunch but I was wet to the skin so we came straight home. Didn't really warm up in the car despite the heating and heated seats.

A hot drink, bath and snack were very welcome and now I am all toasty warm. Time for a snooze before I start dinner, I think!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rest day.

Since I started running I have come to value my rest days all the more. Previously, every day was a 'rest day' so I didn't really appreciate it. Now I revel in being able to snuggle up in front of the TV, or play on the computer etc, as I don't do it all the time.

This morning hubby and I went out and did a few bits and pieces. This included ordering a hire suit for our holiday in July! Yes, we know there's plenty of time, but hubby is so tall that we know we will be unlikely to get anything to fit at short notice. As it is, the lady will have to order in the trousers specially, so she was glad of the extra notice. He looked lovely in the black trousers, DJ, bow tie and cummerbund, with a white dress shirt. The picture was somewhat spoiled by the casual brown shoes, but he has already bought a pair of dress shoes. We are both looking forward to the opportunity to dress up and show off!

Hubby is taking down the last of the Christmas decorations and I've just written my January 'marathon newsletter'. Must be time for a cuppa, surely?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What a difference a run makes

Did 8k with the club and feel much better as a result - even though I was at the back for much of the way and seemed to be struggling. I chose to go with the slower group so that I could enjoy my run, rather than with the faster group and risk becoming demoralised, I thought that was the best option given the way that I was feeling. What I really wanted to do was curl up in bed with some choccy, but I knew that I would feel better, physically and mentally, after my run.

Onwards and upwards - tomorrow is another day!

Down in the dumps

Despite having enjoyed myself yesterday evening, I'm feeling quite low today. Mainly because my fundraising efforts seem to have come to a halt with a long way still to go. I've had (or been given) a few ideas but seem to be running up against rules/regulations all the time. My boss is a stickler for doing things correctly so there is no hope of me getting away without having the right permission/licence or whatever.

To give an example. I had thought of running a 'tuck shop' at work (for the staff) once a week in return for donations. However, if money changes hands in return for food, the vendor is liable if anyone chokes, becomes ill, gets chocolate on their best shirt, trips over a crumb or anything else you can possibly imagine. Boss says that this would also implicate the practice and is, therefore, not permissable.

The people who know me least have been the most generous ), especially my Runner's World forum friends, with my 'nearest and dearest' currently leaving me feeling very let down (with the notable exception of the lovely French family). C'est la vie!

I know that this is not the end of the world, but it is why I swore that I would never take a charity place. Had hubby not got into FLM, I would happily have done an alternative marathon, but that option really became unworkable once he got a club place. Hence my current situation and the sneaky feeling that I should have left well alone!

Anyway, off for lunch with hubby soon, and will try to blag a meal for 2 as a prize whilst we are there. Looking forward to club session tonight too as I know that I will feel more postive afterwards.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First one of the year

First run of the year this evening. After a tiring day at work, it was time for club session. The club really comes into its own at ths time of year. It makes it so much easier to get out and run in the cold and dark when you know there are friends to go with (although, in all fairness, it is unseasonably mild here at the moment).It was good to see everyone again and to wish them a Happy New Year'. I'm still going out with the faster group, and still having to work hard to keep up with them. We ran out for 2-3 miles, and then did some circuits around the industrial estate before running back again. I was struggling a bit on the way back but, as usual, managed to pick up the pace right at the end.

I'm not good at New Year's resolutions. However, I am determined to keep my weight within a few pounds either way of what it is currently, and to keep the running going even after FLM. This does mean that I have to stop eating rubbish and get back on the 'straight and narrow'. I have found an old 'before' picture that I think I might put on the fridge - that should scare me away from the naughty stuff!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

What a great day I had yesterday.

We were up and out at 9.00 for our LSR. We went out and did a circular route from a local nature reserve (Hengistbury Head, for anyone who knows the area) starting with a mile or 2 around the head on a combination of tarmac cycle trails and sandy paths. The morning was mild and mainly sunny, although there were some dark clouds in the distance, and it was pretty windy. It was a very atmospheric view across the reed beds with the face of the priory highlighted against the dark sky. Next we ran through a small flock of lapwings, onto the golf links and alongside the River Stour. Some of the paths were very muddy and I was then too busy concentrating on not falling over/in to notice much of the view. After that was quite a long 'pavement' stretch. We saw an interesting looking building so stopped to read the blue plaque. Apparantly, it was built as a printing plant by Russian emigres and was the place where the works of Tolstoy were first printed. It has also won an award for sympathetic conversion of a historical building. I've lived in this area for nearly 25 years and never knew that the place existed! The route then took us along a couple of main roads and I started to feel rather negative. Due to stopping to check the map (having never done the route before), taking the occasional, unintentional, detour and stopping to look at things on route, it had taken us a lot longer to reach this point than I had anticipated and I was disheartened to think how much further we still had to go. This is when I was glad to be running with hubby as a bit of chat really helps pass time and lift the spirits. Along the side of a golf course and past the football club and I was feeling much better. Having run through town we were at the sea front and decided to go along the prom rather than stay up on the cliff top. The tide was high and the wind whipped the waves into a foam. There were some sail-boarders out, dancing across the surface of the sea and looking as if they were having fun. It's always nice to have something to look at, and seeing other people enjoying themselves made me smile. Knowing that we would soon be back at the car park, I increased the pace a bit and made hubby work harder. As the circuit was supposed to be about 10 miles, I had promised myself that I would be dropped off 4 miles from home and run the rest of the way. But it had taken almost 2.5 hours already and my legs were feeling tired...
In the end I ran the 2 miles home from our local supermarket whilst hubby did a bit of shopping. My leggies were not happy at being asked to start again at that stage and it was a real struggle to push on up the hill. I just tried to close my mind to the discomfort and get on with it. And boy, it felt good when I had finished!

Before I had even finished showering, the heavens opened and it poured. I was glad that we had gone out when we did. After lunch I had a little snooze as I knew that I would otherwise be asleep by 9.00, never mind midnight!

In the evening we spent an hour with sister-in-law, her husband and some friends of theirs, before changing venue and sharing a fondue with some of our friends. The food and company were top class and I smiled to myself as the foaming champagne reminded me of the surf earlier in the day. Fireworks at midnight, then more chat before falling into bed. It was really nice to stay over, rather than worrying about one of us driving home, or having to get a taxi (especially as hubby is a taxi driver!).

This morning saw a leisurely start and once home I had another snooze once hubby had gone out to work. I've spent some time working on my press release for my fundraising and soon it will be time to start prepearing dinner. Today we are going to have the turkey and Christmas pud that we didn't want last week.

An ideal end to one year and beginning of another. I hope that this feeling of peace and contentment lasts - for ourselves and those we love.

Happy New Year everyone!