Friday, 31 January 2014

Janathon is completed! Long live Janathon!

Ah, the end of January arrives and with it the relief that I have finished Janathon uninjured* and no longer need to blog daily.

*Slight niggles in my right knee, right glute, and left hamstring.

Today I did a tempo run of around 5.5 miles, the Strava segment run as I call it. Not quite 6 miles because my Garmin wouldn't pick up a signal for a while, and I had to go to the Co-op on the way home. But, a good run to end the month. I got a Course Record on one segment (yes OK, a female CR, but it still counts) and came 2nd on the other. If I'd eaten a proper breakfast and not had leg woe, who knows what I'd have managed?

Here's a summary of what I did this month:

Running: 135.5 miles (218 km) [19 days]
Cycling: 11 miles (18 km) [2 days]
Swimming: 0.9 miles (1.4 km) [2 days]
Walking: 3 miles (5 km) [3 days]
Cross-training: 3 Pilates classes; 2 Circuit Training sessions; 5 home workouts, including Tabata, hula hooping, or squats (9 days)

Weight lost: 10 lb (10 st 4 lb on Jan 1; 9 st 8 lb on Jan 31)

Biscuits eaten: loads
Cakes baked: several
Chocolate scoffed: too much
Soreen purchased: 5 packets

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Run club vs running club: Janathon day 30

When I write about Stotfold Runners on Twitter, I like to say I'm going to "run club", because it's (a) shorter and (b) an accurate description. But SOMEONE got a bit cross once and said it's "running club", not "run club" (actually, they said something like "It's not Glee Club, Sarah.")

So what should it be? Running club or run club? Or running group? Or friendly people who run together and chat and have a laugh?

Anyway, at tonight's gathering of friendly people from Stotfold and surrounding towns, who like moving their legs in a manner that propels them forwards at varying speeds, we did 5 x 200m sprint intervals with jogged recoveries and then 1 km intervals. I like the idea of 1 km intervals. I like the first one (I even managed a sprint towards the end tonight), and I sort of like the second interval, but then I want to vomit and I vow never to run fast again. Tonight I ran the last two intervals slow because my left hip was hurting. And my right knee. And my right thigh. Stupid legs.

But despite the leg woe I did manage to set a CR on one of the segments. In your face MEN.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

I really don't like swimming: day 29 of Janathon

I really don't like swimming.

  • I don't like getting changed
  • I dislike people seeing me in my swimsuit (I have "issues", which probably stem from my fat days. I also find it hard to get over being seen almost naked in public...)
  • I really don't enjoy getting into the pool for the first time when it's all cold
  • I think bad thoughts about other people who get in my way and/or swim with their head out of the water to keep their hair dry
  • I have a "thing" about other people's hair/floating plasters/potential wee/skin flakes/verrucas/other unpleasantness 
  • And I detest getting dry and dressed again! 
So goodness knows why I bother swimming at all, or sending my kids to their potential doom.

Anyway, I swam today, about 600 m. I lost count of lengths at 20 and just kept saying 20 to myself at each end. Stupid brain. I swam for 20 minutes though, at my usual pace, which I reckon is nearer 800 m but I'll round down.

I was kicked in the face twice by a small boy who was trying to swim alongside his much faster dad. I tried to cut under him and he decided to change lanes to where I was swimming. Needless to say, I gave him a bit of an earful the second time and told him to make his mind up where he was swimming.

I need a bath in Dettol now.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

#bikewatch: day 28 of Janathon

The end of January is so close I can almost touch it.

Tonight was running club and I took our faster beginners on a 2.5-3.0 mile run to Arlesey. Everyone did well and I think (hope) they enjoyed it and will just remember that (a) I didn't shout other than to warn of bikes and (b) I didn't make them run fast. Remember that! I'm nice really.

Pilates was good, lots of arm and ab work tonight, including roll downs, which are like reverse sit ups, and Zanna made me hold one halfway while she demonstrated the correct position and technique to return to sitting position (GOOD GOD WOMAN!), and squats-roll-down-push-up combos (AND REPEAT) that made me regret doing squats and push-ups on Monday night. We finished with some side-lying leg raises; with these you lie on your side with your legs straight (knees forward) and lift your top leg and then lift the bottom leg (at the knee) to meet the top leg. And try not to fall over. And then you lower it and raise it and repeat until your knee burns and then you hold it for 10 breaths, and you hope your 10 breaths is the same as Zanna's 10 breaths otherwise you have to hold FOR AGES. I'm quite pleased I can do these now without falling over and with my hand on my thigh and not the floor. I used to be rubbish at them.

We have Pilates homework too, we have to practise double-knee-folds and double-leg-stretches from double-knee-fold position (with arm beats, lifting and lowering arms from the shoulders not the elbows or wrists). They hurt big time. (Zanna was supposed to give homework to her 6:30 group too but she forgot, well escaped Kate and Julie!)

Double-leg-stretch position, looks easy...

Monday, 27 January 2014

Home workout: day 27

For Janathon today I did the same Tabata workout that I did on Day 3, this time wearing Lycra (so no wobbling and jiggling).    

The circuit usually consists of eight exercises, but I missed the last two in favour of some arm exercises in front of Game of Thrones:
  1. bicycle crunches
  2. skipping
  3. press ups
  4. jogging on the spot
  5. squats
  6. ab curls
  7. bicep curls, tricep dips, and lateral raises
Press ups were woeful today, 4 sets were three-quarter and the other four were against the wall. I alternated skipping with two other cardio exercises, burpees and star jumps. Squats I did single leg and dynamic too. 

I also baked JogBlog's Janathon muffins, just because (I do like cake). 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Slow cycling: day 26 of Janathon

Last week of Janathon! I don't plan to shirk my exercise responsibilities either, I'm quite proud I've not blogged about doing lunges in the Tesco queue or considered my walk to school and plankaday as my Janathon exercise. 

Today was on course to be another evening of hula hooping, until I walked downstairs in the morning and realised my knee was a bit hurty. I was thinking "Pilates" but then the weather cleared up, so I decided "bike ride". Nice and easy, no actual effort put in at all (heart rate stayed under 140bpm which proves I didn't try hard). Just 4.5 miles in 29 minutes but my knee feels much better now so it obviously worked :-)

Week 12 training plan

I've been getting excited about MK Marathon this week, because the organisers have released the route map and posted a picture of the medal. This week, a club friend offered to give me a lift to the race with another runner, so I'm glad to get that sorted out. I'm starting to feel ready, even though I still have two 20 mile runs to do in March...

MK marathon finishers' medal

Last week...

My legs felt a touch stiff around the hips on Monday, a hangover from the Folksworth 15 race, but I went to circuit training regardless (I ran there from school, about three-quarters of a mile). My arms seemed to be weaker than my legs, must be all the arm pumping I was doing during the race to get up the hills. 

On Tuesday I went to beginners running club, and took the faster beginners on a 2.5 mile run that included hill sprints. They weren't all that happy. Pilates afterwards was blinking hard on my legs and abs, which is a good thing I know, but knees shouldn't BURN.

I skipped my Wednesday tempo run and went swimming instead, my first session of 2014. Very enjoyable, and I managed to swim 800m.

At running club on Thursday I ran-walked 2 miles with some new beginners, then ran a fast 6 miles with intermediates, ending with a negative split :) With my tempo run for the week out of the way, I just ran a mile before school pick up on Friday, for Janathon. 

Saturday was supposed to be a rest day, but with half an eye on the weather forecast all week, I decided I'd rather run on Saturday when the weather was more likely to be dry. A friend messaged me to see if I had plans, and I arranged for a few others to join us for 12 miles around Letchworth. I carried on alone at the end for another 4, which were slow and painful and included walking. I have assessed why this happened since the run, and I can put it down to two things: (1) I was still recovering from Folksworth last weekend so I should have run the first 12 miles much slower; and (2) my diet was pretty rubbish all week (too many biscuits, not enough beetroot!). Lessons learnt, and next weekend's run will be at a slower pace. A friend has offered to come with me for a "time on his feet" training run. Which means he knows I'm going to take FOR AGES. LOL

Today was a rest day, and I had nothing planned really, other than my plank and possibly some hula hooping. But my knee was "clicking" and a bit sore this morning, so I was thinking I really needed to cycle or do some Pilates. The weather cleared up at about 4pm, so I got my bike out for a quick half hour ride around Astwick village. 

Next week's training plan...

Monday (Week 12)
Core workout at home (probably a Jillian Michaels DVD)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


Swimming (PM)

Running club (PM)

Interval run (AM); 6 mile run with 0.25 mile alternate fast/slow

NHRR First Saturday 5K (not 100% sure that I'll do this race this month, I might go for a bike ride instead)

17 mile long run, SLOW!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

16 miles, more or less: day 25

MK marathon training today, and I had planned a 16 mile long run. Bearing in mind I'd run 15 miles at "slightly faster than marathon race pace" last Sunday, I intended this to be a slowish ramble. 

I packed my water carrier backpack with water, biscuits, my phone, and a gel for emergencies, and I wore my hat, gloves, Buff as a scarf, and my headtorch. I headed out to meet my friends (Tracey, Ed, Paul, and Simon) but soon realised I had a wet bottom, and my backpack was leaking :( So I had to run home again to drop off the water and retrieve a bottle. Glad I kept the backpack because I did need it. 

The route was the "usual 10 mile route" to Letchworth (which isn't 10 miles), but when we reached the A505 we turned off towards the golf club and ran through Willian. A new route for us! (Tracey said it was a great route, which I'm pleased about because it's one we will definitely use again.) Had to take off all my warm gear at this point because I was dripping.

Reaching Letchworth Gate, we carried on over the road down Baldock Lane into Baldock (rather than running on the Greenway, which we would usually do), down Weston Way, and then past the Orange Tree Pub and the Arena to pick up the Greenway again. I thought we'd have lost miles because the last bit wasn't the route I'd planned. But we'd run 12 miles when we got back to Stotfold. 

I was struggling to keep up with my friends in Baldock (probably from mile 7 onwards if I'm honest). I walked a bit through Stotfold with Tracey (who then went home) and then tried to catch up with Paul and Simon who had carried on to Arlesey. (Paul was supposed to be running back so we'd have met on the way.) Paul is the only person I know who can get lost on a straight road. So I never saw him again! (He's fine BTW.)

Garmin ran out of juice at mile 14. I stopped for water and biscuits and then ran-walked the last 2 miles with my phone recording the last few miles. Tough run, mentally and physically. I've had a few like this, in fact both were 16 milers, so maybe I'm jinxed?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Yappy dog alert: day 24

I intended to go for a 4 mile recovery run today. I meant to go in the morning after the school run, but decided to finish some proofreading I was in the middle of. I meant to go at lunchtime, but didn't eat breakfast and felt too hungry to run 4 miles. Plus that small issue of work again. I meant to go at 2:30 pm, but I'd nearly finished editing a short paper and wanted to finish it before school pick up. I finally finished work and was ready to run at 3:10pm. I had to collect my children from school at 3:20pm. So I went for a fast mile through the fields behind school, thinking that I could cut through any number of footpaths if I was running too slowly and needed to get to school. I was doing well until a small yappy dog came racing towards me. It stopped, and I stopped, and it yapped at me angrily then ran away. I carried on running. It ran back to me and yapped again. This happened while the owner was loping slowly towards us saying "oh he doesn't like joggers". Yep and he should be on a lead if he does the whole barking and running thing. I'm not good with dogs and that was not a good experience for me. Anyway, made it to school with 2 minutes to spare, an 8:14 mile (if you take off the seconds I was stopped because of Mr Yappy).

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Ahhhhhh endorphins: day 23 of Janathon

Tonight was running club again. I took a couple of new beginners on a lap of the new estate in Stotfold, 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. They did well for the first mile but the second mile was hard, one of the runners was really struggling. I tried a longer walk break but to no avail, so in the end I had to use landmarks to encourage her onwards. That worked better so if I run with them again I'll do that next time.

I was late back for intermediates, and the group (which was huge tonight!) were all ready to head off, but I had to take the beginners through leg stretches before I could join them. Thanks to Chris (@chriscrippspt) who took over the stretching session so I could head off for the run.

Earlier in the day, Ed had mentioned that he "needed" to run 8.5 miles fast (8:20-8:30 pace). My plan was to run 6.5 miles easy (I'm beginning to wonder if I used a random number generator for my midweek runs), and I was thinking I'd run 2.5 miles with beginners and then 6 miles (easy!) with intermediates. But I still have a tempo/interval run to do this week, so I decided to get it out of the way in the company of friends rather than alone in the rain on Friday. 6 miles fast it was then.

The first 3 miles felt good, and we were running about 8:30 pace or faster (Maca, Seb, Simon, Barry, Lewis, and Ed---the "fast group" that when I started running I never ever thought I'd run with, let alone keep up with). I began to tire after 2.5 miles because I had a stitch, so I decided I'd run back a touch slower so I could shift it. The majority of the group headed back at super-speedy pace, and Maca stayed with me so I wouldn't be on my own (heartless bunch!). We ended up running back faster than we'd run there, 8 min pace. At least it was downhill. I started to feel really strong at the bottom of Brook St, about 5.5 miles in, which is a good sign for long runs and my ultimate goal...

6 miles in 49:23, average 8:14 min/mile. Splits 8:17, 8:16, 8:33, 8:01, 8:13, and 8:01. Negative split!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Swimming! Day 22 of Janathon

My training plan for today said "5 miles, 1 mile fast with 0.5 mile recovery", and this morning I had every intention of going for that run in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful at 2pm too, would've been a great run...

Work is a bit too hectic at the moment for me to be downing tools an hour early. So I skipped the run and I'm planning to go on Friday morning instead. It will probably rain on Friday.

On Wednesdays, my daughter has her swimming lesson after school. I usually say we will go early for a swim beforehand and then when she's in her lesson I can swim with my son (who is now old enough to be in the pool on his own). But this never happens, I'm usually too tired and can't be bothered to go through the hassle of getting us all changed. Plus my son has his swimming lesson on Thursdays, and I then have the chore of getting his stuff rinsed and dried in time. Basically, I'm lazy.

Today, my son went to his friend's house after school, so I didn't have him to worry about. So, I went swimming! I swam with my daughter for about 15 minutes before her lesson, to practise her backstroke (she doesn't poke her tummy up enough), then while she was in her lesson I swam lengths. I managed 32 x 25m lengths in 22 minutes, which is 800 m. Very happy with that. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Day 21 in the Janathon challenge: and Sarah begins to repeat herself as she attends Pilates and running club yet again

I wonder whether anyone would notice if I copied and pasted my Janathon post from 2 Tuesdays ago. Because nothing has changed, I went to running club (beginners) followed by a dash to Pilates to stretch my legs and back.

At running club I took the "faster beginners" to Hitchin Road underpass to do hill sprints. It's the first time some people had done this session, but everyone did well. I shouted at everyone about technique, but otherwise they all got off fairly lightly.

Pilates was hard on legs and abs. As I went into the class I met my friends coming out who told me how hard they'd worked and warned me that the instructor was being a bit mean. They weren't wrong! Lots of leg stretches that worked the abs, side lying leg raises that made my knees and thighs burn, and  ab curl ups and roll downs. And "lovely stretches" that weren't lovely at all.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Recovery day... circuits! Janathon day 20

I'm sticking to my MK marathon plan, so today I went to circuit training. My legs felt OK after yesterday's run, just a bit stiff around my hips really. I ran to the shops after the school run to do a bit of shopping, so that loosened them nicely.

The brightest orange you've ever seen
The circuit class was a bit nippy because the heating in the hall wasn't working, so we were a bit cold for the first few stations. Had to keep my warm top on for the first circuit, which meant I couldn't showcase my new Folksworth 15 top immediately :(

Today was partner circuits, so we were working in pairs, one person would do 12 lunges (for example), while the other did ab curls. Once the lunges were done we swapped over. There were 8 paired stations, which we worked at for 2 minutes each, and we repeated the 8 again, so 32 exercises in all.

I've also done three planks today, so that's my daily plank out of the way before lunchtime :-)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

MK marathon: week 11 training plan

Last week...

On Monday I went to circuits for the first time in 2014. The class was a really good session and I worked myself hard.  

On Tuesday I missed my usual Pilates class because my daughter was starting Beavers and I thought I'd have to be there the first week. I didn't, so I went to both running club sessions. We ran 2.5 miles with beginners and then a 4 mile progressive run with intermediates. Good training. 

Because of the extra Tuesday run I cut my planned t
empo run on Wednesday and did some hula hooping at home instead. 

For Thursday run club I ran another 2.5 miles with beginners then a 5 mile steady run with inters. Taking it easy. 

Friday and Saturday were planned rest days; I walked and hula hooped on Friday and went for a 6 mile bike ride on Saturday. 

Today was the Folksworth 15, which I ran in 2:08,surpassing my aims for this training run. 

Next week's training plan...

Monday (Week 11)
Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


Tempo run (AM); 5 mile run with 1 mile fast, 0.5 mile slow

Running club (PM); plan says 6.5 miles, will do whatever everyone wants to do

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

Rest day 

16 mile long run

Folksworth 15: MK marathon training run

I've just got back from this race, and while I wait for the water to heat up for my bath I'm writing down my thoughts about the race and how it went.

First, I went into this race with it in mind as a training run for MK marathon. My aim was to run at 9 min/mile pace and not to get dragged into a race with myself.

I'd planned to wear my water carrier backpack and treat it as a proper training run, but on the day the weather was really lovely, plus as we drove to the car park I spotted they had bottles of water at the water stations, so I decided to leave the back pack in the car and run with just my gel belt. I was a bit unsure whether to wear long tights and my long-sleeve top, because the course looked very open and I suspected a cold wind could whip across and make the whole thing quite unpleasant. After much discussion with Kate and Ralph, I went with my short sleeve top and 3/4 tights, with gloves (because I'm a miserable sod when my hands are cold).

Began to regret the lack of long sleeves and long tights as we walked to the start, because it was a bit windy, but I had my gloves and decided as long as my hands were warm I'd be OK. Set off down quite a narrow lane, and I knew I was doing OK/it was a bit crowded because I was still running with my friend Ralph after a third of a mile ;) Had to stop to re-tie my shoelace, so then I was at the back and playing catch up. Managed to maintain about an 8:50 pace and it felt very comfortable, so I carried on like that thinking that I could slow down if I needed to.

Before the race, the course had been described as very hilly, "comprising three hills", which we would run up twice. After the first "hill" I began to wonder just how difficult the other two were going to be, since I'd hardly noticed it. The second hill was a touch harder, and reminiscent of that hill during Flitwick 10K when you run through the wooded bit. If you've run Flitwick you'll know what I mean. Anyway, it wasn't as bad as that one, although it was definitely hard. Possibly as hard as the Baldock 10k/Ashwell half hill, but steeper, but not as long. If you get what I mean. It was definitely a hill. But not a Northern hill.

I'm going to shut up about the hills now.

At mile 6, and again at mile 8, just as I re-entered Folksworth to start the second loop, I managed an 8 minute mile, and I was quite surprised at how comfortable it felt. I decided I'd try to run sub 9 min/mile if I could for the second loop, a good marathon test. And I did manage it, although I needed a slower mile up that big hill again. Anyway, all good.

The marshals were excellent, very cheerful and providing excellent vocal support, and one lady had jelly babies, which I thought was a very nice gesture (I took one!). I think this is one of the best races I've ever run, from an organisation perspective. The race HQ was in an infant school, and we used the classrooms as changing rooms. We got a bright orange T-shirt at the finish, and a bottle of water and a choice of chocolate bar or cereal bar. Superb! (I took a snickers because it's "healthy", it's got nuts in it!).

I can't remember what else I was going to write. Oh yes, I met my twitter friend David (@tuffers3) before the start, which was really great, we've been virtual friends for ages now so it was fab to finally meet. Also, big thanks to Ralph for driving us to the race, and for the homemade brownie :) Ralph finished in 1:51 something, and Kate was bang on 2 hours. And I finished in 2:08:23, average 8:36 pace :)

I might finally admit openly to my sub-4 hour marathon ambition.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Cycling and swimming goals: Janathon day 18

I've not just set myself running goals for 2014, I've also decided to challenge myself by setting cycling and swimming goals too. After I had to stop running for a month last year because of injury, I took up swimming and cycling, and eventually took part in my first multi-sport event (the Duck N Dash aquathlon). I want to continue cycling and swimming because they complement running well.

So this year I want to cycle 100 miles and swim 5 miles. Both targets are fairly low, but are based on last year's totals of 84 miles cycled and 2.5 miles swum. I don't want to put myself off with an unachievable goal! if I can beat last year's totals I will be happy. Also, they need to be achievable considering I run mostly and don't like cycling or swimming very much!

Today, I cycled 6.3 miles, nothing too strenuous, but I wanted to get my bike out and just see how I got on. I didn't work too hard, just enough to get round and home in about 30 minutes (I was slightly over that at 35 minutes, but I had to wait for about 3 minutes for a long wheelbase transit to make a 7-point turn manoeuvre on a country lane. Despite getting chilled while waiting, it was quite entertaining.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Another "power" walk and "core stuff": Janathon day 17

At the risk of repeating myself, today I went for a walk after the school run (more than 1 mile, but I didn't measure it), stopping off at the shops to post the only Christmas thank you letter my children have managed to write up to now (it's a slow process, we will still be doing these in March at this rate). I bumped into my friends on the walk home, who were about to cycle to Letchworth together. It's put the idea into my head to get my bike out next weekend, or even tomorrow if I have time.

This evening I did some hula hooping in my front room while I caught up with Great British Bake Off. There's something quite satisfying about working your core while watching Victoria Pendleton make cake. I had to stop after about 10 minutes though because I kept hitting the sofa with my hoop and my husband got cross at me :(

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Halfway day! Janathon day 16

Woooo! I made it to the halfway point. I'm legally allowed to count doing the Big Tesco Shop and "vigorous cleaning" for Janathon now.

Tonight I ran 8 miles with running club, 0.6 miles to and from club, 2.5 miles with beginners, and 5 miles with intermediates.

For beginners, I ran to club and then forgot to stop my watch. Pete said we should run out towards Fairfield Park for 16 minutes and then run back in 14 minutes, ie, a progressive run. Everyone set off, and they were running really slowly. I frankly decided they were taking the p155 (my watch said we were running 16 min/mile), so I yelled at the group "to get a blinking move on".

And then I remembered the run to club and the fact I'd left my watch running... Clicked the lap button and saw we were really running at 11:30s, which frankly is taking the p155 for that group anyway, so my shouting was justified.

We made it to the Fairfield gym roundabout and turned for home, and everyone sped up! I felt quite proud of them all. And we got back with 30 seconds to spare on the 14 minutes (Ed reckons I messed up the timing but I blame him for not timing it himself) ;-)

Inters was me and Ed leading because Pete finally decided to recover from his marathon yesterday. We decided to run up towards Wilbury Hills roundabouts, three differently paced groups running 5 miles and one group running 4 miles. Very happy to see Michelle at intermediates for the second time. The move up to intermediates from beginners can be daunting but it is definitely worth it. We are all much nicer at inters and you get the fun of running for almost an hour instead of just 30 minutes.

My 5 miles was marred by stomach woe from miles 3 to 4. Too many biscuits! And possibly some dodgy food yesterday. Anyway, I had a horrible stitch, which ran from my pelvis up to my shoulder. It finally shifted by the time we got to Stotfold. Marvellous.

Two "rest days" then it's race day on Sunday (not Saturday, Sunday).

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What's pink and black and round?

This is my hula hoop, which has lived in my garden shed for the past year because it really is quite large. It's weighted too, which is supposed to "help" (I did research hula hoops a few years ago but I've forgotten all the reasons for things now). I bought it here in case you are interested.

After Monday circuits, and the fun of hula hooping there, I decided to retrieve my own hula hoop and use it during Janathon. It definitely gets the heart going and therefore counts as exercise. Today I had planned to run 5 miles I think, but I did an extra run at club on Tuesday so I didn't bother (plus I was too busy anyway).

I did a minute of anticlockwise hulaing, and had several aborted attempts at clockwise hulaing, before going back to anticlockwise and managing another 2 minutes. I followed that success finally with a minute of clockwise hulaing; I don't know why I find the other direction so difficult, I'm sure I'm not that wonky anymore.

The last few minutes were spent with me attempting to hula while standing on one leg. I did about 30 seconds on each, but that was it. Then I clunked the piano with the hula hoop and decided I should quit before I broke any furniture.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Today is (im)Proper Noun Day: 14th Day of Janathon

About lunchtime today, I attempted to walk downstairs but nearly fell all the way. I'm suffering from Post-Circuit Leg Pain And Wobbliness, and my thighs REALLY HURT. They hurt so much that I almost considered not going running tonight. But I'd agreed to take the Intermediate Group because Pete (Head Coach Man) is running a marathon tomorrow and is on half a day taper. (Also, I was looking forward to going to Club.)

We have so many people at our Beginners Group now that we had to split into three groups for safety. Pete took our new starters on a run-walk, I took our "slower" group on a 2.5 mile non-stop run, and Ed (Other Helper Bloke) took the Group Who Should Really Bite The Bullet And Come To Intermediates on a speedy 3 mile run. My group had a good run but we were on schedule to finish 5 minutes early, so I made everyone run an extra half a mile. At least it wasn't Speedwork ladies and gents ;-)

For intermediates I was designated Woman In Charge but couldn't decide what to do (I quite fancied 1 km intervals but was a bit scared to suggest it). Ed said we could run a 4-mile loop to Arlesey, so we grouped together and I pushed the pace at the front to turn the run into a sort of tempo run (managed miles of 8:30 and 8:45 min; pleased with that because they felt comfortable too). Thanks to Ann (New Helper Lady) for keeping track at the back.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Hula loopy: Janathon day 13

In my training plan for today was circuits; I've not done this class since before Christmas so I was a bit nervous about how I'd get on, but I decided before I got there that I was going to work really hard and push myself as much as possible.

Before the class, I had a few errands to run around town, so I packed my running backpack with everything I needed and set off. I made a couple of stops at school and the shops, and ran just over a mile in 11 minutes. Not bad for a warm up :-)

At circuits we did a warm up and then started the class. There were 16 stations today (station=exercise), which we repeated (so 32 in total). Each station lasted for 40 seconds with a 20 second rest (to account for any Christmas fitness loss). The stations were (I can't remember the exact order):

  1. TRX inverted row
  2. Hamstring curls
  3. Plank (full, started 5 seconds early because I'm a good girl)
  4. Squats (with bum clenches thrown in for good measure*)
  5. Jogging on the spot
  6. Upright row (with a resistance rope)
  7. Bicycle crunches
  8. Star jumps
  9. Press ups (full to start, then 3/4 on my knees)
  10. Calf raises (with heavy pole held above my head)
  11. Back extension
  12. Squat jumps
  13. Standing bicep curls (with a resistance rope)
  14. Kettlebell swing (I used a 16 kg kettlebell)
  15. Ab curls
  16. Hula hooping (first set non-stop, second set on one leg and giggling a lot)

*inadvertent! Felt a bit weird...

I usually have a minor fight with my friend Duncan over who starts on press-ups/TRX inverted row (we both prefer to start on these stations because they are hard). Fortunately both stations were present today so we were happy and started from our "usual" spots.

Hula hooping was a new station to circuits, it was met with much muttering and woe at not having used one since school days. I have used one recently, I actually own a weighted hula hoop. It's great for exercising your abs and waist (says the girl who keeps hers in the garage). Today I managed a full 45 seconds without stopping (anti-clockwise), and for the second set I managed a few 10 second bursts clockwise while standing on one leg. I did a lot of giggling. I've also resolved to move my hula hoop from the garage and reinstate it in the house (under the sofa). It should be safe there.

I've burnt 400 calories in total today (300 at circuits). I recovered from circuits with chocolate skimmed milk and a beetroot and bulgar wheat salad. By 2 pm I worked out I'd eaten 500 calories all day (porridge for breakfast) so I had a bit more of the salad. Homemade vegetable soup for tea means I'm 800 calories in deficit. So I'm drinking red wine and eating biscuits (I've nearly finished the choc chip cookies now).

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I will not fail at day 12

Kids' mess

I always struggle with Janathon on rest days, nothing to do, what to do. I started with a plank (1 minute). But I always do that now, so it doesn't count. 

My mess
Last week I was going to tidy the garden, but I ran out of hours in the day (always happens). So today I tidied the garden. Moved lots of dirty pots to empty them, moved the table and chairs, shifted the kids' toys that have ruined the weed patch (known as a "lawn" to some people), and cleared the leaves and dead stuff I should have cleared in autumn. Lazy me. But the hour exertion was worth it. 


I also did 20 squats before bed. Yay for squats. 

MK marathon: week 10 training plan

Last week's plan...

My plan to go to circuits on Monday went awry when the class was cancelled. I had a short walk with the kids for Janathon, and that was supposed to be it for the day, but in the evening I ate too much tea so went out late for an indigestion-riddled interval session. When I set out, my idea was to run 5 miles, with an easy 3 up to Letchworth and then a fast mile back, with a mile to cool down. But the rain started and I began to get a bit peed off that it always seems to rain when I go out running! So I headed to a local underpass for an interval session, sprinting hard up the slopes and recovering down. Managed four full circuits of the underpass, which was a mile in total, then meandered home while keeping HR under 140.  

I ran with beginners club on Tuesday evening (2.4 miles), then had my first Pilates class of the New Year. That was pretty tough; forget the 24 press-ups, I was struggling just to do a spine twist.

On Wednesday, I'd planned a 5-mile tempo run with alternate miles fast/slow, but decided to do an easy run off-road (HR <140 bpm) because of the unplanned Monday interval session. The fields were very muddy and flooded in places, so the run was quite slow and hard-going. And hilly. But I did enjoy it.

I was looking to run 8 miles on Thursday, and managed 7 in total. I ran-walked 2 miles with beginners running club and then a 5 mile progressive run with intermediates that left me feeling fantastic. And I finally set a fast mile for my January Run Damo challenge (my friend Damian has set up an FB running group and he sets us monthly challenges). The idea is to set a fast mile at the beginning of the month and then try to beat it at the end of the month. My time to beat is 7:59.

Friday was a scheduled rest day, and I did a 30 minute power walk after school drop-off to count for Janathon.

On Saturday I ran 14 miles in the morning, instead of doing it on Sunday, just because it fit in with plans better. Sunday was then a rest day, and I did some squats. I've also passed my Jantastic weekly run target of four. I don't get extra points for overachieving though :(

Next week's training plan...

 (Week 10)
Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork, followed by intermediate club (skipping Pilates this week, tut tut!)

Tempo run (AM); 6 mile Strava segment run 

Running club (PM); plan says 8.5 miles, will do whatever everyone wants to do

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

Rest day

RACE! Folksworth 15

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Letchworth Greenway: Janathon day 11

My long run this week was a planned 14 mile run along the whole Letchworth Greenway. This route passes all around Letchworth Garden City, through beautiful countryside near Norton, Baldock, Willian, Hitchin, and Stotfold (and through the scenic Letchworth Industrial Estate, past the council tip, and alongside the railway line and the A1M...). It's a great trail for long runs and I feel very lucky that it is so close to where I live so I can use it for training runs (and cycling, when I can be bothered).

I have always thought of the Greenway as a 14 mile run; the Greenway trail is 13 miles but I have to run to it and back home again, and that works out as 14 miles. However, yet again, I failed to remember the run to the shops to meet my friends, which adds on 0.6 miles altogether. I am a noob.

I didn't need the hat either...
I was a touch more prepared for this run this week, unlike last week when I had to walk home because I'd run out of energy. I had my new running back pack with me, which has a 2 L water carrier inside, and I packed it with my homemade cookies, a gel, my phone, and my headtorch (although I didn't need it). I've also been careful to eat a bit more this week; last week I was focussing on trying to lose my Christmas podge, and I suspect 6lb in a week was rather an excessive amount of weight to lose. I've eaten plenty of biscuits this week to compensate.

I met everyone on Stotfold High St just before 7:30am: the usual group of runners (Ed, Tracey, and Paul) and some new faces too (Andy and John). We ran the towards Baldock and set off at a comfortable pace; there was some yo-yoing going on when Ed was trying to make me run at 9 minutes a mile, but I resisted and he eventually slowed down ;-) ("It's a marathon not a sprint" etc etc).

We were running really well and chatting too, which is a good sign the pace is comfortable for a long run. I love hitting that pace when you feel you can run forever (knees permitting), and I reckon I nailed that today. We had a bit of a walk up a long hill in Hitchin to get some energy back (around mile 9). By mile 10 I could tell John was struggling with the distance; Tracey and Paul had raced ahead, so Ed and Andy carried on the Greenway to try and catch them (taking a shortcut!), and John and I took the road back to Stotfold, which I knew would cut a mile off the total run. We ran-walked the last 2 miles, and I broke out my homemade choc chip cookies to see if they would help! We got back to Stotfold around the same time as Tracey and Paul, who had both run 15 miles! Whoops (sorry!).

The back pack was really good, it didn't get in my way while running and didn't rub anywhere. I even managed to work out how to drink from it (note to self: I don't need to fill it with 2 L water!) I'll be taking it on all my long runs in future.

This was my last long run before the Folksworth 15 next Sunday. I'm feeling a bit more confident about running that race now, after this run. It's going to be a training run, so I'll be carrying my back pack I think, but I'm aiming to run it at my target marathon pace, which is 9 min/mile (which is why I didn't want to run at that pace today!)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Not counting the school run: Janathon day 10

I never count my twice daily walk to and from school as exercise, because it's something I always do. But when I add a bit on, then perhaps it can count.

When I got to school I realised we'd forgotten to bring in something my daughter needed (a toy for the latest topic work), so I knew I'd have to come back to school later with it. As I was already on my way to the Post Office straight after the school run, I decided to make the whole outing into one long(ish) power walk.

Essential accompaniments for any legitimate Janathon exercise
So today's Janathon effort is a power walk around Stotfold for 30 minutes. Was lovely to bump into Lisa and Pete doing a power walk too (although they weren't accompanied by a stuffed toy sheep so it doesn't count).

I'm now baking choc chip cookies to take on tomorrow's long run. My friend Tracey started this tradition before Christmas when she turned up to a weekend run with homemade peanut butter cookies, a perfect way to recover after a long run! Because I failed so badly last Saturday at my long run, I'm determined to take food with me. So these are in case I start to fade, and if I don't they're for a reward at the end!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Running with The Fear: Janathon day 9

The Fear. This is was you get when you set out to run an out-and-back 5 mile route and another group of friends sets out to run 6 miles at a much faster pace, and you don't want them to catch you on the return leg.

So at running club tonight me and my friends set off on our 5 mile run, at a nice pace of about 10 min/mile, and we were having a lovely chat. And then I mentioned the possibility that we might be overtaken on the way back. And suddenly we didn't want that to happen. So we sped up a bit, and then we sped up a lot, and finally we were pegging it up Brook Street at 8 min/mile pace. And it felt really good!

I'm very happy that I seem to be able to manage an 8 minute mile after 5 miles of running, and feel comfortable. It bodes well for marathon training. If I can start slow and get faster I'll be well happy.

Tonight was also good because I took two new club members on a 2 mile run/walk. They got on really well and didn't seem too knackered at the end, despite the fact I kept forgetting to stop running and do the walky bit. I'm rubbish at run/walk intervals. Sorry girls.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Lunchtime run up Langford hill: Janathon day 8

I promised myself I'd go for a run today if I managed to finish the bit of work I've been struggling with. As I was nearing completion, a friend texted me to ask if I fancied a run. So we met up and headed off-road to Langford.

Another pair of muddy shoes

It's a nice route, one we sometimes do in the lighter evenings with the intermediate group at Stotfold Runners. It can get a bit overgrown towards the height of summer, but today we were struggling more with flooded fields and muddy paths. Lucky I have several pairs of trainers.

I forgot to restart my watch after I'd stopped it to chat to a friend I met on the run home, so my Garmin said 5 miles, but it was a touch further than that.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Running club: Janathon day 7

For people reading this blog who don't know me, I help out at my local running club Stotfold Runners twice a week. We have two sessions on each day: a half hour "beginners" session, aimed at people starting out running (we start with run/walk schedules and increase until they're comfortable running for the full half hour); followed by an hour session for "intermediates" (aimed at anyone who wants to run for longer than half an hour).

Tonight I took our beginners group (who aren't strictly "beginners" because they can run 2.4 miles without stopping) on a 2.4 mile run. They did it without stopping ;-)

I had to dash off straight after beginners for my Pilates class, the first one after Christmas. I'd done a few Pilates exercises after Christmas because of my sore neck and shoulder, and I'd done press ups and planks, but I'd forgotten to do any back exercises. So trying to do spine twists and roll downs was quite painful :-( The worse part was having to do 24 press ups. Admittedly not full ones, but they're still difficult when you do them "properly" and slowly.

Monday, 6 January 2014

End of the holidays: Janathon day 6

I was planning to take my children along to circuit training this morning, but the class was cancelled. Instead, I took them out for a walk in the morning, as soon as the weather improved.

They've not been out on their scooters since school finished in December, so we dusted them off to check they're still working OK before they go back to school tomorrow. Also, letting them scoot while I walk means they don't moan half as much as usual about having to go outside and walk somewhere.

We walked along the Kingfisher Path, which passes alongside where we live, until we got to Stotfold Mill, then carried on along the lane. There were lots of puddles to avoid, and plenty of mud, but they were very careful to avoid getting dirty/told off.

As we scooted/walked along, I was testing them on road signs. The one for humpback bridge took a while longer than expected for them to get. I was even pointing at the bridge and saying "what's that?"!

We walked home past their school, and I think they're ready to go back tomorrow! Both made sort of whining noises to go in. They've been really quiet this holiday, playing on their computers or reading alone, that I've not seen them much (useful for work). So it's been quite nice to get out during Janathon with them, if only a couple of times for an hour at a time, to spend time together and for them to get some fresh air.

I'm on day 6 of plank-a-day now too, starting on 1 minute full planks, but only managing 45 second(ish) ones for the past 2 days. Please to say I managed a full minute this lunchtime.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Walking the long way round: because it's day 5 of Janathon of course

I really really really needed a rest day today (it was in the plan too, which is lucky). I have sort of done that.

I woke up at 9:45 am, which is well late for me. Feeling a bit bad for being so damn lazy, I got up and immediately started cooking Sunday lunch, still in my PJs. When I looked out of the window and saw it was a bit nice outside, I wished (a) I'd run today and not Saturday and (b) it wasn't a rest day/my legs weren't broken so I could go outside and do something.

I resolved to tidy the garden after lunch, if I had time.*

Lunch done, I was looking around the room while waiting for the slow-coach kids to finish their lunch and noticed my conservatory needed a good old clean. So I gave it a good old clean, vigorous you could say. Energetic. Indeed, some might claim it as their Day 5 Janathon effort.

But I am not that sort of person (yet). When I ran out of Flash** and kitchen roll, I knew that was it. I had to go for a walk. To the shops. The long way round. A mile and a half in fact. Of walking! I'd normally drive there. So that's today's Janathon thingy. Walking. (In the rain.)

Also, today I washed my trainers in the washing machine. You're not supposed to do that. It ruins trainers. I'm sure people will be tutting when they ready this. But they were soggy and full of mud and I didn't want them to go mouldy. They came up lovely.

Don't wash your expensive running shoes in the washing machine

Further arm exercise ensued when I did some ironing, and later I watched my son at his karate class, which was VERY energetic! The worse thing about karate is all the bare feet. I have a thing about feet and toenails. I admit have the worse feet in the world*** but there were some horrible feet there today.

*I didn't
**Mr Muscle also works well, or Dettol, or even non-branded sprays like Co-op or Tesco
***Not in the Guinness Book of World Records though

Saturday, 4 January 2014

MK marathon: week 9 training plan

Last week...

Sunday was a planned rest day (no need for a long run since I did that the Friday before). I spent the day in a car travelling on the M6 and sleeping a lot. I also had a sore neck from sleeping on a variety of beds and pillows for a week over Christmas.

For some reason, my plan for Monday was to do an interval session! Who's idea was that?! I didn't do it. I drank wine and lounged.

On New Year's Eve I woke up early and in a lot of pain from my sore neck. I couldn't get comfortable lying down so got up to do some Pilates exercises to see if I could sort the pain out. It didn't work, so I decided to go for a run to see if I could jolt whatever was trapped loose. I wanted to run far enough so I completed my 900 mile (revised) annual target, and that distance worked out to be 7 miles (instead of the
8 miles I had 
planned). I kept the pace steady and made sure my heart rate was under 140 bpm (although it went a bit haywire at the beginning of the run, which is a sign that my HRM's soft strap needs replacing soon). I kept moving my head and neck, and shaking my shoulders, and identified that the pain was localised to my neck. It still hurts, but not as much as it did, and it doesn't hurt when I run, which is a good thing.

Wednesday was the first day of Janathon, and a planned rest day from running. My subconscious wouldn't allow me to blog about doing sit ups and squats, so I went for a 2 mile easy run, in the rain. And I decided to start plank-a-day again, although I had to get out of bed to do it because I forgot (1 minute full plank).

Back to running club on Thursday! Before club I tested my new headtorch by running on a dark lane behind my house. It works! For beginners club we just ran out and back to Arlesey roundabout (just over 2 miles), so my full run was 4 miles. For intermediates we kept things simple and ran up to Wilbury Hills and back, 5 miles in total, and 9 miles for the evening.

On Friday I had planned a rest day or Tabata workout, and I did a mini circuit at home (cardio, abs, arms, and legs), plus my plank-a-day (1 minute full plank).

Today was the first 
First Saturday 5K of 2014. I decided to incorporate it into my weekend long run, and ran 16 miles in total.

Next week's training plan...

Sunday (Week 9)

No need to train, I did the long run on Saturday 

Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


Tempo run (AM); 5 mile run with 1 mile alternate fast/slow

Running club (PM); plan says 8 miles, will do whatever everyone wants to do

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

Rest day (might run around the football field while my daughter is at football training)

14 mile long run (the full Greenway)

Never running again, until perhaps next week: day 4 of Janathon

At one time, I think Thursday night, I concocted a plan to run 15 miles today, and it seemed a good idea at the time. It came about because some friends from my running club said they would run our local 5 km race today, and they would run to Letchworth and back with me, making a 9 mile long run. I realised if I got up a bit earlier and ran a 10 km route, I could make a 15 mile long run and cross it off for the weekend. Plan sorted.

By Friday night I realised the weather was going to be pretty terrible on Saturday morning, but never mind, the plan had been set and people had agreed to run with me so I couldn't back out.

Simon and Jane came with me at 7am to run the local Standalone 10 km route (which turned out to be 7.7 miles, I'd not factored in me running to meet them and a bit of running up and down at the end to keep warm). The pace was fairly slow to begin but got a bit faster towards the end, as we headed back to Stotfold. The weather was awful, and despite wearing my waterproof jacket and doing lots of hopping around to avoid puddles, I was pretty soaked when we finished our run. I was a bit early to meet Lewis who I was running to Letchworth with, so I ran out and back to Arlesey a little bit to keep warm.

At 8:10am, Lewis turned up, super-prepared with his backpack and a change of clothes and trail shoes for the mud, I probably should learn from him (I didn't have anything with me, not even water!). It was pretty horrible weather, I was drenched already and I felt a bit guilty for dragging him along with me. We ran a nice slow-paced 3 miles to Letchworth and arrived at 8:45am, ready to register for the FSOM 5K that takes place on Norton Common (and completely sodden). I was really pleased to see we weren't the only crazy people who'd run to Letchworth, @movingalong79 (who is also doing Janathon) and @ChrisCrippsPT looking equally as wet as we did!

The ground was really boggy, and the organisers (North Herts Road Runners) had had to make some course adjustments to avoid some especially muddy sections (which made the route a full 5 km, instead of the usual 3 miles, so perhaps they should stick with the new route). There is a section at the start that we run on three times, and this was very muddy and difficult to run on (I don't have trail shoes so I was slipping everywhere). The next section on gravelled path was covered in either running water or puddles, so wet(ter) feet were inevitable. The new section was clear, but then we turned straight back onto mud, water, wet leaves: all the hazards in one place. The last path along Icknield Way was so flooded I just decided to splash all the way through making a loud roaring noise. Much to the marshal's amusement.

Shoes and socks after my run!

I've no idea yet of my 5K time; I met Lewis at the finish (already changed and ready for me) and we ran straight back home. But my legs were really tired from all the mud struggling, and I asked to walk twice, the last time I sent him on his way so he could get home (feeling massively guilty about me being slow and him being wet). I was prepared to walk the last mile home.

My friend Kate caught up with me from her long run, and she gave me an energy tablet to help a bit, because I was feeling dizzy. About half a mile later, another friend pulled up alongside in his car and made me get in. I've never been so happy to see anyone! 16.3 miles running/moving in total.

So that, I think, is a classic example of how not to run a long run. I should have at least taken Jelly Babies* with me, or some Lucozade*, although I did have money and could've stopped at a shop. Anyway, I've amended my long run plan now, which means next week I'm running 14 miles (the full Greenway), and I'll be racing Baldock Beast instead of running to it. Which I'm quite excited** about :)

*Other sweets and drinks are available.
**Not all that excited, but relieved to be running 13.1 and not 17 miles.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Why I love Lycra: day 3 of Janathon

Today is a rest day on my marathon training plan, and usually I would do just that. But this is Janathon and I can't blog about lounging on the sofa. (I probably could do, but only if I also did a plank on the sofa, in my PJs perhaps...)

Short of ideas, and being too stubborn to just do some squats and be done with it, I searched my blog for the Tabata workout I did last year at circuit training. This session consists of eight exercises:
  1. bicycle crunches
  2. skipping
  3. press ups
  4. jogging on the spot
  5. squats
  6. ab curls
  7. star jumps
  8. lunges
Each exercise is done eight times, for 20 sec, with 10 sec rest in between. After every exercise I get a minute rest before the next exercise. Finally, a use for the interval timer app on my phone.

The largest area in my house to exercise is my front room. Blinds closed, big glass of water, ready to go. First exercise starts; I'm doing bicycle crunches in my jeans and t-shirt. By the end of the eight I'm sweating and definitely feeling my abs. Ouch! 

Next up is skipping (I used an imaginary rope). I removed my jeans and double-checked the blinds one more time. And then I regretted removing my jeans, as my Christmas podge started to jiggle and flop around. Holy moly, now I know why I clad myself in Lycra to exercise. It's not for speed or efficiency, it's to protect my face. I'm grabbing onto everything until the first 20 sec is over. At this point my daughter arrives. "What are you doing mummy?" I DON'T KNOW!

Time for press ups. I can do these. I managed 5 full press ups before my arms decided they were not cooperating. I got onto my knees for 3/4 press ups and managed about 5 sets of them. I then fell back to the wall and did the remaining sets against it. My arms were screaming!

Jogging on the spot was similar to skipping except I was trying hard to pull everything in (and I was wearing my jeans again). Plus my daughter had decided to join in at this point, so we had the giggles. She joined in with squats too, but I made her count my ab curls because she's too little for sit ups. I managed 29 in one 20 sec interval, which I'm really pleased with.

By the time we reached star jumps, I was feeling OK about the jiggling (jeans were back off), although I wasn't noticing it as much, so perhaps the ab work had had some minor effect. Who knows, maybe I've done some nerve damage and I just couldn't feel anything.

Lunges at the end were rather sedate, I was attempting to teach my daughter the correct way to lunge, while concentrating on making sure my legs were lunging equally and my knees were behaving themselves. At the end, my daughter asked me to do "one more exercise', which turned out to be side leg lifts. Very elegant indeed, her ballet lessons must be paying off.

And that was it for day 3, 45 minutes of circuits. And I'm knackered. Tomorrow will be interesting, I'm running (Lycra-clad) in the rain. I'll probably moan a bit.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Mud glorious mud: Janathon day 2

After I wrote yesterday's blog I remembered that I wanted to restart my daily plank. Unfortunately I remembered at 11:00 pm, as I lay in bed. So I had to get up to do it! This morning it was done and dusted by 11 am.

At about 3:30 pm today I'd had enough of staring at my laptop but not doing any work and decided to take my kids out for a walk around our local nature reserve. They were overjoyed and full of enthusiasm* at the idea. Because of all the rain I said we should definitely wear our wellies, and I wasn't wrong. Mud everywhere, and it was so deep it was coming over our feet. Lovely and squelchy. Although I discovered I have a hole in my wellies, so not all that good really. Anyway, we made our way noisily around the nature reserve (my kids don't do quiet) and saw lots of ducks and a couple of swans, and tried not to laugh at the people with their new walking shoes on trying to tiptoe around the mud.

Stotfold Watermill, viewed from the Mill Meadows Nature Reserve
*They moaned for the whole hour we were out.

This evening I ran with Stotfold Runners. The first 2 miles I ran on my own to test out my new headtorch on a local unlit lane (I have an LED Lenser H7R; it's superb, although I look like a minion when I wear it), then I ran another 2 miles with the club's beginners group, leading the way and shouting out hazards for the group following to avoid.

For the intermediate group run, I ran with some friends and hoped it would be a 5 mile plod, but it turned into a progressive tempo run. Oh well! We did an out and back route and the out lap was run at about 9:30 pace but the return leg was much faster (I was trying to catch someone in front of me). I definitely ran an 8:20 mile because I remember checking my watch. It was mainly downhill though ;-)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Trainers Please! It's Janathon!

New trainers! Adidas Supernova Glide 5
I don't need new trainers, but I never say no if I get the chance to buy new ones. Today we visited Sweatshop in Hatfield because I needed to swap the pair I bought my husband for Christmas. (His excuse for not exercising is that he doesn't have the gear. Well now he does!) Anyway, this lovely pair of Adidas shoes was reduced to half price, and they're pink! And neutral. So I bought them. They're going to stay pristine for a few more weeks, because I need to wear them for a special occasion coming up, but once that has happened I'll be free to run through puddles in them.

Getting back to Janathon, the day will come (probably around day 29) when I count the 1 minute running on the treadmill in the shop as my Janathon effort. Today is day 1 though, so I dragged myself out in the rain for a 2 mile loop of town. I paid no attention to pace, and I didn't wear my heart rate monitor, I just took it easy. I enjoyed myself, despite the rain and the wind. It's much better weather than last year, when I was struggling to run on ice and snow. 

I've weighed myself this evening too, to see how much damage I did to myself over the past month (first weigh-in in 35 days). That was fun. Now I'm off over to the World According to Sog to plan some salads...