Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Any time I have run recently, my heart rate has been stupidly high.
I ran 7 miles with TC a few weeks ago n felt like I may explode.
She was very patient with me (thank you)
My fitness was through the floor, my breathing was akin to when I smoked 30 a day.
My HR was at 188.
No wonder it was bloody hard going.
Since then, I have continued with the base work. Zone 1 horridness.
I feel like I am running at a snails pace. I don't like it.
I seem to be getting slower instead of faster.
Running slower hurts my legs too.
And still I keep coming back to the thought of running a marathon....
Why on earth would I want to run 26.2 miles?
I ran 5 tonight with Ms Locks n they were hard, horrid with a high heart rate.
Equally, they were in the woods, tucked away from the hussle n bustle of Leeds, hidden away.
I had great company n gossip.
I earned my pudding.
What more did I need on an autumnal evening?
While running, I had an overbearing thought, playing on repeat in my head.
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do"
So when I thought I couldn't keep going, I continued to put one step in front of the other.
When I wanted to cool down n walk the last stretch, I found a sprint finish.
Months ago, I entered the ballot for London on the back of a horrible hurty run... A run in which I vowed never to run again.
Strangely, I was slightly gutted I didn't get a place at London. In fact I was more than slightly gutted.
I have since looked at charity places for Paris. I have checked the dates n profiles of other marathons. I will find one that fits. Manchester is appealing at the minute. It is flat, it is local. The date works.
It would be oh so easy to enter.
Less easy to train for n complete.
I have a post it note on my mirror in my lounge.
It has the word 'marathon' n a time on it.
I see it daily.
Why do I want to run 26.2 miles?
Because I must do the thing I think I cannot do.
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
So far we (me n Signe) have been up Snowdon, Ben Nevis, Scarfell Bastard Pike (real name).
We have hunted fairies n witches cauldrons n swum with Dragons n in Rob Roys Bathtub. (Yes really)
Each Christmas, for many years, me n my dearest friend give each other the gift of time.
In real terms, what this means is, the following summer, we will set aside time to have an adventure. More often than not, we know long before Christmas comes what the next adventure will be.
(Next year we are swimming The Gulf of Corryvreckan - hopefully there and back... we are not swimming *TO* the Gulf - just across it - swimming to it would be just silly)
Gradually it's got dafter n dafter.... But I wouldn't have it any other way. It is unique to us... And I love that. And I love her.
The adventures invariably involve a lump of land to walk up n a lump of water to bobble in. We sleep under canvass for a long weekend. We cook one night n feast in a pub the following.
Last year we had a Christmas buffet of brown party food with crackers n carols.
This year we had Christmas dinner pie.
An actual Christmas dinner.
IN A PIE
It was amazing.
It had layers of potatoes, carrot and swede mash, quorn fillet pieces, stuffing, sprouts and cranberry sauce. IN A PIE.
Then we had mince pie to finish.
ALL the pastry may have been a touch excessive.... But it's Christmas!! Who cares.
We may also have had all the cheese.
We had Christmas beer n juice shipped from Norway specially n stockings full of treaty sweety goodness.
There may have also been Lego.
And tent decorations.
Some people simply don't get it n think we're absolutely barking (or on drugs).... And then occasionally, some people *do* get it.
In all it's gloriousness.....And they join in.
My friend Caroline asked if she could send a parcel for Christmas.
Erm? Let me think? Hmmm? Goodies?
Oh, go on then!
Of course I will greedily accept most parcels. Especially home made Christmas camping ones with wrapping paper n stockings in!
The box contained individual Christmas parcels which each had special destructions for when to be opened.
IT WAS BRILLIANT AND PERFECT!!
Now, I have previously blogged that I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas. And I stand by that. But generally the one I dislike is the winter one that's rammed down your throat from August Bank Holiday
Christmas this way is personal. It is not about expense. The whole idea is, it's as cheap as possible and we do stuff we both love. We build memories n have a nice time being in the outside. We share something unique.
And we eat lots of brown food.
We climbed a hill.
And sat a bit.
And looked a bit.
And chatted a bit.
And walked a bit more.
And had Christmas flavoured biscuits.
We repeated this for a while finding out bits of people's stories as we passed each other by.
We met a 3 year old who had too much bounce at the top of a hill. He had seen a frog. And a buffalo.
We speculated about sheep being cows in disguise, plotting to take over the world and named as may songs as we could which had French lyrics in them.
We happened upon the best kind of triathlon completely by accident.
We saw a chap steaming up Inglborough in his cycle kit.
This confused me.
Where was his bike?
He had trainers on.
Then a few minutes later he bolted back past us, this time in a downward direction n sped off into the distance.
Then another runner came.
Then one with a dog.
None had numbers on.
One of the lady runners decided she'd had enough, was too hot n turned round n headed back to the base of the hill.
We carried on with our bimble n Signe announced that since we were on our holidays (thus calories were free) we should, by law, have ice cream.
Hey - we don't make the rules....
Who am I to object?
So we went in search.
Instead of finding an ice cream man, we found a bunch of people laid on the grass by the outside pool.
Bikes abandoned, people picnicking n generally a good time being had by all.
A runner approached, the people cheered and shouted said runners name with a whoop n a hooray. The runner stopped.
That was it.
No time. No rank. No medal.
How bloody glorious on a Saturday afternoon.
They had done an honesty based triathlon round n up Inglborough.
I liked this very much.
Anyhoo... We pottered down to the river n eventually back to the campsite to turn ourselves into human beings n on to the pub (more free calories)
Life couldn't get much better.
Actually it could.... And did.
After a night of rain pattering on the tent (but not leaking) Sunday brought exploring of my favourite kind.
The kind when we end up exploring and bobbing in lump of water that is ours alone for the afternoon and is filled with magic... The kind of water n magic that re-balances the soul n makes everything right with the world.
Everything looks different when you're surrounded by water.
The sky is bluer, the trees greener, the bird song sweeter n the soul is shinier.
We picnicked in the sunshine before getting back in the water n making our skin fizzy one last time.
I had the perfect weekend, in perfect company.... Made even more perfect by other people contributing in perfect ways.
It's been aces.
Saturday, 7 June 2014
I was just ready. Like in the fairytale.
I was already a little bit pissed off with the fact that all the women were in the 7am wave....at the back. The older men had been put with us, as had the relays.
It almost felt like we were a lesser species n not very 2014. More Middle Ages. Nice. Thanks for that.
When they announced in the brief, wave 4 transition was to the side, I was PROPERLY pissed off.... Then when I saw the other transition I was a little bit pleased.... Lots of bike n bits of kit in a small space. Maybe being on the side wasn't too bad after all....
I was still annoyed at the segregation. Mainly for the women who would kick lots off ass. There would be more slower men to wade through.
Bike 3hrs 30 max, 3 hour aim.
Run 3 hour max, 2hrs 30 aim.
This meant I wanted sub 7 but was aiming for 6.30.
I would have been ecstatic with 6.30.... And if I could go below that... well....
Getting in the water was stinky smelly. The pond weed was horrific n thick. It wasn't gonna be a pleasant swim if it was all like this. There were a gazillion swans and geese on the horizon. Deep joy. Did I mention I hate swimming with ducks?
As we were about to start, the first men were on their bikes n well on their way round the lake. After giving a cheer n a whoop, we were off. This was real.
I knew I could easily go sub 30 for the swim but didn't want to go all out knowing I had 68.1 miles still to travel afterwards. I was surprisingly calm, even when I took a couple a smacks n kicks to the head, quick goggle readjustment n carry on.
I got out of the water covered in pond weed, beaming that my dislike of plant life was cured, but a little bit sad that the swim was over.
The over-taking of the men folk had started before the first buoy, When I exited the water I was 29th female, 8th in my age category.
I could only drop positions as the day progressed!
Transition was crap to say the least. I hadn't thought it through enough, I was slow n clumsy. But that was ok. I was having a nice time. With a few cheers, waves and words of encouragement, I was on my way.
@Saxelbyhorses passed me and I shouted encouragement, knowing Lucy would be finished long before I would.
I hadn't even hit the main road n I was already singing Imelda May 'Oh My God Its Good To Be Alive'
In fact I was loving life A LOT.
Somewhere on the first section, I realised I had water in my ear still. I think finally trickled out at 20km ish.
The bike was overwhelmingly silent - it didn’t get any louder when the water was removed. Apart from the sewing machine whirring of bikes approaching n flying past, there was nothing.
Even my own inner voice was silent.
I REALLY like this. There was no negativity, no doubt, no bodily complaints.
It confirmed I was having a nice time n life was just about perfect.
There were points on the bike where I felt I was travelling at hyper-speed with stars zooming towards me - the reality was, I was going forwards and the wind was blowing dandelion seeds in my general direction.
I sang in my head, I sang out loud.
At 30km my left hip flexor nudged me and started to grumble, by 60km my quads had stabby pain.
I was quickly gaining on a chap who I thought was @TheIronOrange, as I cycled passed, I muttered that I really didn't want to run a half marathon after this. The second I heard the accent, it was confirmed. James sat with me a while and we had a chat - turns out, he sat on my wheel for a while and got a telling off.
By 80km I wanted to get off the bike. I was bored of cycling and I was bored of eating.
I wanted to run. Yes, I said it, I actually wanted to run.
I had made a conscious effort to say thank you to all the volunteers and marshals and people who had come out to cheer and support. If I missed saying it to anyone on the course, I apologise.
Run to the feed stations - walk while taking fluid/fuel, run to the next.
If this wasn't possible, I would run for 9 minutes, walk for 1, gradually reducing 8:1 then 7:1 and so on as needed.
I knew it was hot, I knew I was getting hotter. I didnt like hot much.
I knew my legs were like lumps of lead and refused to move - I figured if I could just keep moving forward, they would come back to life soon enough.
Actually, I didn't care. I was still having a nice time.
I just had to keep going and I would complete this.
Some form of time keeping would be helpful. I bashed buttons till the timer started moving again.
A number of men around me had been doing the same 250m shuffle dance - we had been offering words of encouragement as we took turns in leading the strange conga.
As we passed a woman stood on the grass verge who was openly peeing, myself and the man who would become my running buddy struck up a proper conversation. We agreed we were both having a run/walk strategy and that it would be probably easier to run together rather than keep over-taking.
And somehow, we kept each other going.
On the first lap, I received the most amazing hugs from @TheIron_bear and glorious words of encouragement from @mia79gbr.
Running past the finish gantry as others were finishing was torture - but equally it spurred me on, knowing that I would be there soon enough.
Steve learned that my measure of 'big tree' is open to interpretation and we both learned that using people as markers to run to is an excellent or poor idea depending on which direction they move and how quickly.
The dragonflies were astoundingly beautiful.
I was still having (and loving) this adventure.
The crowds of people were getting thicker.
The red carpet was there. I saw @mia79gbr and @bigdaveakers as suddenly I found a sprint.
An actual real sprint.
Like an actual runner.
I almost missed Bear as I ran towards the finish.
Steve had 2 minutes to spare.
I am phenomenally grateful to Steve for getting me round the run, just as I know he is as grateful for my persistence when the urge to walk became too big.
His presence contributed to my perfect day and won’t be forgotten.
And for that, I am grateful.
I know how lucky I am.
I think that 70.3 is my ideal distance – I will go shorter and I will go longer…. Just to check…. Just in case.
I’m not fast, but I can hold my own.
And actually, I don’t care, cos I had the BEST time…. Well, not the best time, cos that would’ve made me the winner.
I will be back at Outlaw Half next year to go sub 6.
Triathlon is stupid and fun and ridiculous and painful and time consuming and expensive.
I know that it is blessed with lots of types of people…. Swimmers, cyclists and runners who are branching out, bucket-listers and elite athletes who are stupidly talented and blessed.
Thursday, 15 May 2014
It was a hilly course and I have been assured by various people that it is known to be a toughy due to the nature of the first 7 miles being mainly uphill.
I had trained for it. Well, not *that* half marathon specifically.
What I have trained for is a half marathon after a 56 mile bike ride, which I will do after a 1.2 mile swim.
Or at least..... I thought I had.
Currently I don't think I've trained anywhere near enough.
My performance on the day led me to be flooded with all sort of feelings.
Disappointment, anger and failure were the main culprits.
There was certainly no pride or sense of achievement. All the happy good stuff was drowned out by gloom.
I was annoyed with myself that I had gone out too hard.
Yeah, yeah, everyone does it, lessons learned n all that jazz.
I know, I know.
I knew I was going out too hard. I was behind the 2 hour 10 pacer and went past her.
Even though I'd decided this was the pace I was going for, I went sailing past.
I had the conversation with myself that I was going out too fast and *should* drop back.
But I felt good. I felt happy. I wasn't going *too* much faster.... just a bit.
That was ok.
Turns out, it wasn't ok.
It wasn't ok at all.
The wheels fell off in spectacular fashion and I started to get a very bubbly churny feeling in my stomach.
I had a gel at the 1hr 30 mark n felt a little bit queasy.
Then for the laugh, I drank, what turns out was probably too much water.
And carried on running. Cos I'm clever like that. And that's what you do in a half marathon. You carry on running.
Needless to say, after going to hard, too fast, up hill, the contents of my stomach and I parted ways after as much hanging on as we could muster.
Once I'd been sick, my body gave in.
Moving hurt, let alone running. But I kept moving. Verrrrrrrrrry slowly. But moving none the less. I didn't want it to take me more than 2 hours 30.
Somehow I was now over the 2 hours and had what seemed like forever left.
The sooner I got to the line, the sooner it would be over.
Why are the last 2 miles twice as long as all the other miles? How does that work?
Anyway, I finished. I finished in 2.29.
But I wasn't satisfied.
Not cos I think a half marathon is easy. I know its not.
I had trained. Hard enough? Probably not.
The real issue, and the reason I am blogging, is because I allowed other people to give me their *should*
And like a muppet I absorbed them.
I *should* be able to run it in 2 hours.
Yeah. I probably should. A lot of people did.
I only started running in December.
I *should* have stuck with the pacer.
Yeah. I probably should.
I didn't. I went with how I felt on the day and learned a lot more this way.
I *should* have worked harder at my fueling and liquid intake.
Yeah. I probably should. It was warmer than I like and I know for next time I probably don't need as much liquid as I think I do.
I *should* have trained harder.
Yeah. I probably should have. But I've been busy ya know, training for other stuff like the bike bit (which won't be good enough on race day I'm guessing), doing other important stuff like working.
And I hate running.
And I would've probably still got it wrong.
In 15 days time, I will complete my next half marathon.
Before I complete it.... no, before I even *START* it, I will have traveled 57.2 miles under my own steam.
And no matter how well I do (just finishing will do me thanks), it will not be good enough for some people.
For a while, its likely I will include myself in the *should* category.... but actually, I don't need anyone's approval.
I don't need anyone to tell me what I *should* and shouldn't be able to achieve.
Sadly, sport can be measured.
There are times and comparisons that can be made.
Whether you do well or not is not measured on where we begin. It is measured on where we finish.
It is often measured on other peoples expectations... and whether they want us to succeed or fail.
Their own motivation and drive plays a part, as does their own achievements. Their relationship with us is influential, along with their role in our journey.
I don't need to be carrying *shoulds* on race day.
Mine or anyone else's.
I have enough to be thinking about ta.
You are welcome to think whatever you wish about how I *should* perform, or how hard I *should* have trained, or what time I *should* be able to finish in based on previous facts and figures.
I'm certain, there will be some people (who are big enough to know better) who will pass judgement on whether *it* is 'good enough', on whether *I* am good enough.
There are people who know will know the lengths it has taken, and those who will never push themselves to find out.
Either way, nobody else can travel my journey.
So, you can *should* all you want.
I'm not interested.
Ta for the thoughts though x
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
For me they signify the end of the winter SADness and gloom and the hope of extended sunshine and happy.
David had tried to get me to enter the Blue Bell Trail last year, but there was no way on earth I could have run 10 meters last spring, let alone 10km and certainly not 10 miles.
10.3 miles actually.
This year, it was mentioned again and happened to fall the weekend before Leeds half marathon. I had been training, I knew I could do the distance.
I figured, if I could bimble my way round the woods and fields and up the ghastly hills I had heard about, it would make Leeds seem quite nice in comparison. It wouldn't be as pretty, but it would be a different kind of brutal. An excellent training run if nothing else.
I didn't have a time in mind as I didn't know what to expect.
As this was my first race, so long as I finished I was guaranteed a PB too.
Normally, when I go for a run, I dawdle before I set off.
I dawdle A LOT.
I will delay as much as humanly possible. I don't like running. It hurts in a way I can't describe very well. Sometimes my glutes scream, other times my calves chunter and complain. Occasionally my knees and hips are grumbling.
Sometimes its whole body hurting.
Its not always a physical pain though - sometimes I just want to stop. I want the unpleasantness I am experiencing to stop. It isn't pain as such. Its just running.
Lets face it - its not normal and its not nice.
So.... getting up and having to be ready to run at a certain time proved interesting. I couldn't dawdle and delay.
I found myself somehow shovelling breakfast and coffee down my neck.
Pre race poo. Check
Post code for venue. Check
Warm clothing for after. Check
Ok lets do this.
I thought I would be nervous when I lined up with a few hundred other runners. I had seen a few faces I recognised, said a few hellos, but surprisingly, I felt nothing.
No nerves, no giddy, no apprehension, no pressure.
No nothing. I liked this. This was a good thing.
I guess I had no expectations.
The plan was to stick to a pace I knew I could manage on the flat bits, push the uphills where I could n keep going as much as possible.
Finishing was part of the plan.
I secretly didn't want to be last either.
Or poo myself (but figured the woods were a safe location should nature call)
It was an achievable set of goals.
The first 3 miles were without incident, few small chats with some other lovely runners, usual questions which were a bit like a Peter Kay sketch... do you run much? have you done this before? what other events are you doing?
I imagine its like Running Tourettes. You know you shouldn't but cant quite help yourself.
By this point, I didn't realise I would have a little episode of proper Tourettes going up Trooper Lane.
Maybe thats how it got its name.... cos you swear like one while climbing it?
We ran a bit through the woods, a bit along the canal, up a small quick hill, on the road a bit.... this is ok. My pace is ok,
I'm liking this.
I knew that Trooper Lane was at about 3.5 miles ish.
How bad could it be? Really?
Ok it could be steep, but it wouldn't be that long. Would it?
Maybe it could be that steep and that long.
My face must've said it all. I was already a red sweaty stinky mess.
I think my face screamed dejection as a woman cheering at the bottom of the hill, thrust a bottle of water into my hand assuring me that there was a water station at the top.
I turned and started climbing and realised the road swept left round a corner, I figured it would keep going a bit but..... really?
I was already walking by this point.... as was everyone else. We had all hit the brakes at the bottom of the hill. We had been warned.
Some had obviously 'run' it before..... The race... not the hill.
Definitely not run the hill.
I'd like to meet someone who *HAS* run it.
Anyway..... we climbed and went round a corner..... and climbed and went round another corner..... by the time I looked up and saw the little dots above me, I realised it went on forEVER.
When I reached where the dots had been, I looked down
By this point I was more than a little bit sweary. And we were only about half way.
I was VERY sweary.
IT JUST KEPT GOING.
We turned again and carried on climbing and climbing and turned and climbed some more.... then we saw the top. Huzzah!!!!
Halifax sprawled in all its Yorkhire-ness and glory beneath us.
My legs didn't work very well by this point and my ass was more than a little bit screamy about how unhappy it was. Mutters of cracking nuts were made and we carried on.
Why did I change my shift to do this? I could be having a nice time elsewhere thank you very much. I had gone to great lengths to 'run' this race.
But of course, what goes up.... must go down.....
The downhill was glorious.
Muddy, gentle, lined with fields and woods... but most importantly, it was DOWNHILL.
I need to take a moment to say a big fat thank you to all the marshals (especially the little people who were distributing Jelly Babies and generally being gorgeous) They all did an amazing job - they all clapped and cheered and smiled and encouraged.*BUT* MOST OF THEM LIED!!!
It wasn't all 'down hill from here'. Not by any stretch of anybodies imagination.
Somehow, we ended up going BACK uphill. How was that even possible? How would we end up back at the start of we went up any more?
Walking and chatting had kicked in by this point. We were a crowd of 4 talking about the benefits of training in a club, what each local club offered and whether 'tarting' on different nights of the week was acceptable practice.
We were sore and had about 3 miles left to go.
But of course... we had to go back down again (wahoo!) and started the long descent into the woods.
Before I knew it, we were deep in the woods and immersed in Bluebells.
They were everywhere and the smell was overwhelming.
They were properly everywhere.
A few people had said that there were no Bluebells last year due to the winter and the weather.
I would've been devastated. They were all I went for.
They were worth Trooper Lane.
At this point euphoria kicked in.
The best to describe it was as though my soul had spontaneously combusted and burst into flames.
I was full of unadulterated joy and grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
I had air in my lungs, the smell of perfection flooded my nostrils, my eyes were over loaded with natural beauty, I could hear an array of woodland wildlife going about its business, a group of runners had been taking pics all the way round, were running and giggling in a group and radiated the same joy as I was feeling.
There was nowhere in the world I would have rather been in that instant. It no longer hurt to run. In fact it was easy.
We passed the lion in the woods which made me giggle too much. Obviously I had to stop and have a picture taken with him.
The last mile seemed easy, my pace was even and was the same as I'd started the run.
I would even go so far as to say that I think I was a little bit sad when I saw the 10 mile marker.
It meant that soon I would be turning from the canal path, 'running' through the river, somehow clambering out the other side and then I would be finished.
My first race would be over.
I had done it.
I had LOVED every second of it. There were 2 hours and 13 minutes worth of seconds....7980 of them to be exact.
Each one of them was perfect.
Thanks to everyone at Stainland Lions.
Special thanks to David.
I never thought I would be so pleased to see him standing in the middle of a river, but if he hadn't nudged (bullied) me, I wouldn't have done it.
So..... ta x
.....n I'll see you next year.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
I have learned to love my black dog in a strange way.
If you know someone who suffers from depression..... just love them.... in all the ways you know how.
and let them know. Poke them, but not too hard.
Just don't stop loving them.
Faulty chemicals aren't a choice.... and they are more common than you think.
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
I don't know which way to go.
Let me explain….
Once upon a time ago there was a girl called Rach. She had worked in a mainstream children's home for 12 years and loved it. She couldn't imagine not working in a hands on, caring capacity with kids n teenagers.
The kids she looked after had many issues n came into care for many, many reasons. Sadly, the majority of children had attachment issues and had suffered some form of abuse before coming into care. As a result, behaviour issues, sexual exploitation, criminal activity, low self-esteem, poor school attendance and attainment and substance misuse were common place.
She loved her work, advocated for the kids, battled hard, laughed lots n never forgot how blessed she was to care for and about the children others couldn’t parent effectively.
Around 3 years ago, she applied for a secondment as a Deputy Manager. She was successful in her application and moved to a new home. We shall call this home 'B'.
Rach had been happy enough at 'A', her original home. She was settled, adored her kids n felt as though she was a valued and experienced member of the staff team.
The time had come to grow professionally and she was ready for the challenge ahead.
Moving was hard. Adapting to a new home, a new team and new ethos was hard.
Leaving behind 'her kids' was hard. She had invested in them n had worked to form attachments.
Leaving them meant rejection. That is how they viewed it. Rach spent time chatting with each child, carefully explaining how she needed to be a role model, to show them that they can always reach higher, always grow. She assured them that she cared very much and just because she wasn't there didn't mean she didn't care.... That it would soon be time for them to grow and move on... That it was part of life and a natural progression for some relationships.
Rach's needs had changed, as had those of the residential service. The 2 needs could be met by 'each other'. Huzzah.
And so she moved to home ‘B’.