Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chicken dipper

Long seaside run

Day 141

A little bit of a mini duathlon. In preparation for this I wore my swimsit under my shorts and shirt for my long run to Branksome Dene Chine in Poole. After a reasonably fast 6 miles I'd worked up a sweat, so plunging into the icy waves was a positive pleasure. I felt (and looked) like one of those chicken-legged wiry old birds who live on the multi million pound clifftop houses and trot down the Chine every morning, every season, for a dip. One day I will join these feisty women on Christmas Day.  It did not take long to warm up after the swim, or for my swimsuit to dry under my running gear once I'd redonned trainers and picked up the pace again. How will it be on a less summery day though? Only practice, as autumn wears on, will tell. Today was officially the last day of summer, and was spent in a perfectly summery way: early doors running (12 miles plus the swim) and beach hut picnic. Even a short sunbathe.
My 12 miles run involved some faster than marathon paced miles, and strides. I felt ok. This week is proper taper. That means sleep hygiene. Cue obsessing about that it coming posts.

Three seconds

Faster women pose for the tweet
Day 140

When you're volunteering at Parkrun, watching the pack, only the real frontrunners, the 17 and 18-minute 5k merchants seem to be running fast. The women who routinely trounce me look to be almost jogging. Yet when you're in the race and they're way ahead of you, and you fantasise about jaunting to their position, wondering how many seconds ahead they may have on you (answer is in the results page, Dee, the woman in the green, was 138 seconds in front of me) and you're toiling sweatily in their wake, they seem to be very gazelles to your ponderous lumber. So it was this morning. I simply could not make my legs and arms propel me just three seconds faster. Four seconds, and a PB would have been mine. Not this morning. Maybe in two weeks' time.
Hilly Fields parkrun results for event #106. Your time was 00:23:07.

Friday, 29 August 2014

And the rest

Multitasking with Bruce Willis

It's Friday. I'm pooped, work was so full on my bottom went numb from being moreorless pinioned to desk from 9.30am-6pm. Others do it, but I don't cope well with the sedentary. My only exercise wa the cycle to and from work, but that required immense effort in my sleep deprived state.
Die Hard 4 has kept me from my beauty/Parkrun sleep. Meanwhile, the Stonehenge to  Avebury trail run hurtles nearer. I am nervous. John Maclean has just said Yippy KyYay. All will be well.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


Sought inspiration in Embankment Gardens
Day 138
Midweek fatigue and impending press day at work renders this runner pretty ineffectual on her unwonted Thursday pre-breakfast trot.
Three slow miles around Ladywell Fields, sweating profusely
 I should have been circuit training with Erik of Team Shape U. That's the second one this rainy weather has put the kibosh on. My biggest worry, though, is a creeping lassitude, often associated with taper, but I think in my case it's several late nights and a fortnight of over indulgence. It's all very well telling anyone who's interested that it's fine to put  on a few pounds when a marathon is on the horizon, but I'm really going beyond the carbload. This evening my two course dinner here was not enough. I blobbed home on the bus and ate peanut butter and ricecakes, plus chocolate, before reeling into bed at 1am.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Heart and sole

Through the park to the pool

Day 137

If it's Wednesday it's wetside. Recovery in the pool and absolutely no running. Pool time restricted to a narrow window between waking up and cycling to work. That means a light head and a pounding heart as I try to fit in 20 lengths in 20 minutes without breakfast. A great start to the day, though. All very wholesome. A big breakfast and a 45 minute bicycle ride. From then on, it's all downhill. At lunch time I take a walk outside and sit in Embankment Gardens to eat leftover quinoa and omelette from last night's protein-rich dinner. Plantar fasciitis in my right foot bothers me. In less than two weeks I have to run 26 miles on it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Jekyll and Hyde Runner

Come run with us, Mrs Grumpy
Day 136

It's amusing what transformations take place in the jaded freelance office worker on Tuesday training night. Morosely drinking coffee and eating toast and honey (all hail the office Dualit and unlimited white sliced) al desko at 5pm, the thought of a damp evening completing 400m circuits after my seven-mile bike ride home does not appeal. Yet following a lively session full of chat and race plans with inspirational runners like Ellie Brown I'm a beaming, glowing speed queen, cannoning down the home straight with my Parkrun pacer John Barron and enthusing over the cross country season in a slightly unhinged fashion with Aldershot Team Relay mate Kate McCarthy. And as I sit in my pyjamas and type this, I'm planning full-on training sessions and celebrations for the last Assembly League next Thursday. Being in a running club is like having an alternative family - one that doesn't require you to keep house, buy groceries and send in the accounts. A Runners' World piece once compared running to having an affair. The thrill, I would vouchsafe, is comparable. And you don't have to wear matching underwear.
Session today: a sexy beast incorporating 2000m, 1000m, 800m, 400m with 300m recoveries, strides and 2x1m warm up and warm down. Although I missed half the warm up, the bike ride counts.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Land of plenty

Best in show

25. 08.2014
Day 135
The reason for this land's greenness and pleasantness is, of course, plentiful rainfall. August Bank Holiday Monday is the traditional day on which to experience it. For me, this day was a rest day. No running, but the plan was for an early doors boot sale and a local village produce show. Enjoyment of both was rather compromised by incessant rain. After both holiday activities I mounted the bike for my return home to the smoke. A total of 20 odd miles in rain that became heavier and heavier. From King's Cross to Catford I pedalled through torrents, wet through to my underwear. An unhappy casualty of this deluge has been my health (sore throat, headache) and my phone, which was drenched and now has gone beserk. We have also suffered an indoor deluge. The rain has come into the sitting room, soaking the bookshelves and cascading through the cracked ceiling above a bay window, which threatens to come away from the rest of the house. Rainy unhappy returns.  

Scents of place

A bank where the wild thyme grows. Old Sule Hay

Swanny river. Elton

Day 134

Yesterday, after Parkrun, I packed a pannier and cycled to King's Cross, thence on the train to Peterborough, where I mounted the bike again and pedalled the 11-odd miles to Nassington, the village where my best friend, Fiona Cumberpatch, she of the lovely blog Streetcomber, lives in certain bucolic splendour. Another friend, Tamsin, joined us and we had happy times this bank holiday weekend, walking, eating, reminiscing and messing about in boats. My friend run, but less seriously than I, which is why I woke betimes this Sunday morning and set out to explore the Northamptonshire trails on a quick 12-miler. It was not quick, actually, as I was sleep deprived and still full of food. However, it was refreshing. Deep in the countryside, under wide blue skies, the senses dulled by city living come alive again. I revelled in birdsong and hedgerow berries and blooms. Best of all I snuffed the air with renewed vigour, enjoying the scents of brambles and cut grass, stubble fields and the banks of wild thyme in Old Sule Hay nature reserve. This is England at its sweetest and softest. In the afternoon we took out the family's canoe on the wide, brown, River Nene and watched trout leap and dragonflies hover. A pint of real ale in a country pub, and wine with our roast dinner. Good times indeed, but after the holiday, the taper must preclude alcohol and prioritise sleep.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


Feeling good, not looking good, with Dan, who paced me today
Day 133

Running well puts everything in its place. In this month's Women's Running I write as much, saying that when you're eyeballs-out chasing your Parkrun PB, all your petty anxieties melt away. its just you and your heartbeat and Mrs Lactic in your legs and the girl in front of you that you vowed you wouldn't let pass you. That is all true. And the afterglow of a 5k makes you smily and chatty and you feel young again. So, expansively, you say to the chap that just pipped you on that final hill, please pose for a photo with me, for my blog. There it is in then.
Suddenly, the pleasure of matching my Hillyfields PB – a great surprise– fades into dismay as I scrutinise my wide carbface, bulging stomach, short neck...every inch the middle aged woman, athlete in her head but certainly not in her drooping body.
That's a shame, of course. I am no longer the goodlooking woman I once was. I am, however, good for my age, with the potential to be better. So my body is, still, a glorious and happy making thing.
Love Pollyanna.
Hilly Fields parkrun results for event #105. Your time was 00:23:04.
Congratulations on completing your 65th parkrun and your 62nd at Hilly Fields parkrun today. You finished in 38th place and were the 6th female out of a field of 107 parkrunners and you came 1st in your age category VW50-54. Take a look at this week's full set of results on our website. Your PB at Hilly Fields parkrun remains 00:23:04. Congratulations on your fastest time this year.

Friday, 22 August 2014

While the world sleeps....

The gazelles leap up hills in Greenwich Park
Day 132

When your alarm clock is set for 5am, so you can be picked up by your mate for hill training, you don't really want to have a sleeples night. However, that was this gazelle's lot today.
On Facebook 'We Are Gazelles' we egg each other on and invite each other to sign up for marathons and hardnut challenges. As the oldest in the pack, I have to remind myself not to get too carried away with the bravado. These boys, Steve, Andy, Matty, are fit, fast and not Female, by which I mean they're not weighed down by domestics. In that truly man way, they have managed to continue with their punishing fitness regimes and deal with jobs, fatherhood etc etc. Once again, my inward lament is 'oh why can't a woman be more like a man?'
If this woman could just divest herself of the physical ravages visited on her pelvic floor  by three pregnancies at certain times of the month, she'd be happy. Running fast down steep hills was a no no today. Perhaps the lack of sleep also makes my floor weak. Time to reacquaint myself with the Pelvictoner, I fear.
While others scorch downhill, this doe scampers with caution. Still, on the uphill sprints I reign supreme (among the girls, at long as speedy Carly Jane O'Hara is absent).

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Snooze and lose

That was me, this morning
Day 131

7.30am. I open my eyes. I am supposed to be circuit training a mile away in 20 minutes. I close my eyes.
A session missed at this stage in marathon training (about two weeks to go) is no great loss, in truth, so it's odd to feel like the sky has fallen in. That's because my oversleeping is symptomic of a more general loss of order in life. Concerns about debt, career, family, marriage, encroach into my dreams and when the semi-wakened sleep darkens into oblivion, it's morning time already and I'm in another tailspin.
So today was just cycle to work and back. And a lot of sitting on my arse, squinting at a screen, to earn a crust. And talking of which, too many cortisol-feeding carbs were eaten.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Take the weight off

The view from the office roof terrace
Day 130

Time on my feet was minimal today, in an attempt to rid my tortured sole of this inflammation. Plantar fasciitis is the very devil to treat. It's worse after a night's sleep, so when you have to get out of bed in a hurry, perhaps to visit the loo in the night, you're in danger of collapsing from the shooting pain in your heel. Rolling the foot over a tennis ball eases the pain, and of course any exercise that doesn't involve feet slapping on the ground is a bonus. I cycled today, to work in the magnificent IPC office on a subbing shift. So mostly, I sat on my arse. Not great for the mood, but good for the sole.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Wisdom dispensed by Erik Lee
Day 129

'You have to learn to be precious,' announces Erik as Hyacinth and I struggle in plank and squat positions respectively,
'Footballers are precious. Have you watched them hit the deck as soon as they are touched?'
'Isn't that just footballers being drama queens?' I offer.
'Not just that.' Erik says
'It's their reaction times. Something hits them and they respond like lightning. So when you hit one of those low hurdles, you must lift up your feet as if they've burned you. And don't stamp,' he adds, watching me sternly as I sidestep over the low hurdles in the rope exercise. Keep your core tight and place your feet. Don't stamp them.'
He's right on that last point. The burn in my heel from miles-induced plantar fasciitis is hurting like hell. The session on the track tonight (1600m, 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 400m) has left it further inflamed. My taper should now replace the miles with lengths. I'll spend more time in the pool. Being precious.

Monday, 18 August 2014

A bit of a drip

Facing the weary ride home

Day 128
Some days everything seems like too much trouble. Despite being grateful for a day's working writing an advertorial in an office that I like, for a generous daily rate, I just did not want to be at work. I was dispirited by my fatigue from yesterday's long run. I could not summon up any self control when faced with the biscuit tin and the peanut butter jar, and I almost wept , on finally arriving home, when I realised that after dinner I was supposed to fill out a long and intrusive application for a grant to finance my daughter's music tuition. When fatigue is this demoralising and insidious, you wonder why you train, why you care about race times, why you make yourself jump through these hoops, often in the rain. It is the change in the weather, I think, that has filled me with gloom. Perhaps it is also being faced with the reality, while declaring my income to the Powers that Be, I find that I've had quite a lucrative year, but I am still as poor as a church mouse. Thank goodness running requires no fancy equipment. It is probably the only thing I can afford to do. I just need to do it faster.

Sunday, 17 August 2014


Oxleas Wood, 8000 years old and still hip and happening
Day 127

My quest for trail practice prior to the Stonehenge-Avebury Marathon on 6 Sept took my long Sunday run to pastures new. Oxleas Wood has hills, leafy, rooty paths, steps, a bit of mud and grassy swards. Trouble is, getting there takes in quite a few pavements and paths, which hurt. I have plantar fasciitis, which I fear has been exacerbated by upping mileage too steeply and jettisoning cushioned road* shoes in favour of the trail ones adidas give me every time I run for a magazine piece in their name. I am now the proud and grateful possessor of four pairs of trail shoes, with very few trails to wear them on. Still, today I tried to keep as many of my 22 miles on grass and dirt as I could. I gritted my teeth and ran through the pains in my heel, but tonight the inflammation is making me wince.
I can start tapering now, 22 miles will have to be my longest run. I'll try to do more Erik and pool wor to keep my fitness up.
* childishly, I threw away my Asics gel shoes in Mallorca, being petulant after my disappointingly slow 4:01 time.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Eat for Life

Branksome Dene Chine: scene of unbridled eating
Day 126

Today was Eat for Life. A gathering of the Haydon/Trafford clans at the beach hut in Poole to partake in vast quantities of alcohol, baked and barbecued goods. It used to be the picnic post Race fr Life, which I ran with all the females of said clans. Since most of the females hate running, we are left with the feasting. I have eaten much cake and tried out my swim to run technique using the grey and chilly sea. It worked quite well, although tiredness and hormonal stress has rendered me weak in the pelvic floor. I feel enormously fat and exhausted. The weather was not as fine as this, sadly, but it did not rain on our gluttonous parade. The feast was tempered by a few family sadnesses: professional and marital woes, and a certain middle aged langour on my part.  This is a feeling I need to address. It will not go away until I have faced it down with the committed sort of training I promised t the outset. A mid-term report is becoming due, in which I will have to come clean about my lack of discipline regarding this endeavour.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Mother, wife, runner

A ghost of a view from One Tree Hill
Day 125

A Friday 13-miler, because I need to step up the mileage prior to my marathon in three weeks, although if I were sensible, I'd be in taper now.
I'm not sensible though. In fact, if my husband were to be believed, this running obsession is akin to lunacy. My running companion today was a woman who, like me, suffers from Exasperated Husband Syndrome. I am more fortunate being the great age that I am (!) since my days of having dependent children are more or less over.  My 16-year-old daughter is my baby, and she's very independent these days, despite having been dangerously ill nearly three years ago.
My friend and I compared notes about disapproving husbands, who resent the hours that distance running consumes; hours they reckon could be better used (what, at the ironing board? Baking?) Basically these men are jealous that something completely outside the domestic (and careeer) realm can make us feel so deliciously free and strong. When care of young children is thrown into the mix, men become worryingly infantile. This I can remember from the bad old days, when I resented having to make elaborate arrangements for husband to undertake child minding if I was called away for work or pleasure. However, when my man of the house had to be absent, he just went, assuming, (rightly) that his woman would just continue operating as childminder/caregiver/cleaner/cook etc etc etc.
 Thank heavens those days are over, for me at least. My friend, whose children are 9 and 5, still has quite a road to travel. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Making more tracks

'He banged the leather for goal'
Day 124

More cycling, far less pleasant, in the rain along the Staffs and Worcs canal towpath. Nettles everywhere and mud spattering. We're bound for Wolverhampton, where Edward Elgar famously rode his Subeam to catch a match. He was, by all accounts, a huge Wolves fan, and the caption I've attributed to Billy Wright's statue outside the stadium was in fact written by a sports reporter about another, less celebrated Wolves striker. Elgar like the phrase so much he turned it into a football chant.
The Royal Sunbeam specialist we spoke to much later today, in Lichfield, doubts very much that Elgar would have managed to pedal his machine all the way from Malvern to Wolverhampton. Certainly I wouldn't have been able to cycle that distance today on my 21-gear modern bike.
My cycling muscles are weak as water. I've eaten junk today, run out of energy and seized up on the interminable drive home.
Tomorrow, I will run. This two-day holiday has left me feeling flabby and unfit.

In Mr Elgar's tyre tracks

More flattering of Edward than of me, I fear
Day 123

No running, just pedalling hotly up and down the hills of Malvern Wells, where Edward Elgar listened to the tunes in his head while pedalling sedately on his beloved Royal Sunbeam bicycle. We based ourselves in a creaky little inn in Bewdley, and from there freewheeled down and toiled up the dales and hills of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. We visited Elgar's birthplace and death place, his museum and his grave. His lofty Sunbeam was not built to go up hills, so he, in his tweeds, would have walked it up the steep inclines that I struggled up this day, watching as my husband crested them,then freewheeled down at breakneck speed, arms outstretched. I am namby pamby about going down the hills too. No natural cyclist, I.
Our day was fuelled by multiplecakes, flapjacks and a highly memorable ice cream at Sally's PLace, just outside Malvern Wells.
That's me, polishing it off.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

'Pound that sucker'

The punchbag speedballs made a mockery of me today
Day 123

Sometimes an ill wind seems to blow about you and, no matter what you do, you can't shake off the blues. Today Erik's playground only served to deepen my ill humour . Those wretched little speed balls dodged my flailing fists, the tyre slam mallet kept bouncing up and knocking me off balance, quick-feet shuttle run cones seemed acres apart to my heavy legs. Erik told me not to let it get to me, to try to sharpen up. No matter what I did, I could not punch away the gloom.
I went for a bike ride by the river to try to improve the mood, I watched the sunshine twinkling on the water and fluffy clouds scudding in the sky but could only think of grey fog clogging my brain and rusting my limbs.
Perhaps I am sickening, perhaps trying to keep all these balls in the air is giving me a crick in the neck.
In an hour or so I'll jog to the running track with coffee and ibuprofen sloshing about in my system, to see if I can speedwork it out of me.
I could sit on the sofa and look at a screen or a page for answers, or I could rise up and dance about on my flexi-soles, stride out and sprint every last 100m, work up a sweat and raise a smile.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Sleep: prepare for life

Snoozing with Rufus is life affirming
Day 121

....not the last twist of the knife, but an essential and delicious ingredient in the serious training menu. Last night provided a full eight hour for the first time in weeks. I am 'resting' career wise (no bookings till next week) yesterday's 20 miler needs recovering from. So today, I slept like a sloth, stretched like a cat, ate like a pig, then felt more human at the laptop. I indulged in some rather satisfying 'research' for forthcoming trips and feel more positive about my running, if not about next month's mortgage payment.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hard rain

Inclement weather doesn't stop a happy runner

Day 120
20 miles covered, just two weeks until the taper. Time is running out. Worrying niggles around ankle and right heel, which I hope will be dampened when I  cut back on mileage and increase swimming.

A fellow Kent AC woman joined me for the Sunday long run. Jacqui is a clinical psychiatrist and a lecturer. She's interesting to talk to and the miles flew by. She was cock-a-hoop when she realised that this morning's was the longest run she's ever achieved. The conditions were challenging, too, thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Big puddles gathered at the pavement kerbs, which meant passing buses gave us a further shower. You try to keep off main roads as much as you can, but sometimes the link from park to park is a busy 'A' road, making conversation difficult.
Conversation is an all-important factor on these Sunday runs. Last Sunday's 18 miler was accompanied by music, as none of my Kent AC buddies was available. It's better when there's someone else. It struck me, as Jacquie and I compared notes on work/life balance, marriage, childrearing, difficult students and challenging deadlines, that my social circle, or at least the social circle that revolves around running, has been so enriched by Kent AC. If it were not for the club, all of my friends would be roughly my age, my class and in the media. Thanks to Kent, I can count doctors, builders, personal trainers, lawyers, scientists, academics and shop workers as my friends.
When, as during these past days, I have felt inclined to brood on life's little complications and certain insurmountable problems I have brought upon myself, running has chased the blues away. Today, running through the stair-rod rain and shrieking wildly with Jacquie, I forgot to navel gaze, for a couple of hours, at least.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

A better class of park

The Household Cavalry clop back to barracks
Day 119
Finding myself out west this morning, I took advantage of the lovely location and replaced my usually exhausting Hillyfields parkrun with a languid five miler around Hyde Park and environs. Speed was immaterial, except I'm a great one for cranking up the pace to lope past a woman ahead of me. Especially if she has immaculate gear and a swinging ponytail and wears earphones and looks like a JOGGER. When I wasn't being so petty I was admiring my glorious surroundings. London's Royal Parks are one of the Big Smoke's most attractive attributes. The morning sun glinting off the Albert Memorial's outrageous gold extravagance, the beauty of the Serpentine lake (where I shall take to the water on 11 Oct), the lofty trees and generous may not be as picturesque as my beloved Greenwich Royal, but Hyde Park is one classy park.

Friday, 8 August 2014

A recovery run

Day 118

One of my favourite coverlines on Runner's World magazine is 'run like a happy dog'. I use it often in my tweet, which are so often of dogs.
Today's photo was taken while out on a steamy, cloudy morning promising rain from Hurrican Bertha. The air is so thick and laden with moist heat you feel like slicing it, so you envy this jolly lab/collie  cross enjoying his refreshing dips in the River Ravensbourne. I was out stretching my legs after yesterday's action. The dog is called Harry and I had a conversation with his owner, Chris. Her story is familiar and poignant. She had breast cancer last year, and Harry helped to see her through it. Animalsare therapeutic. Running is therapeutic, I wrote today. A little bit of both will see me right when I am down.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Put to the test

Day 117

A busy day for this serious runner. In the morning, Erik put Jannet and me through our paces, and we looked askance in friendly rivalry at each other's rep records. When one managed 67 arm reaches from the plank poition, the other would aim for 69. When we were told a woman boxer could do 18 or 19 rope-with-side run circuits, we both tried harder to get past 14.
Jannet and I met up again in Hackney for the penultimate Assembly League of the season, Kent AC are currently in first position. That isn't down to my fantastic 5.5km running, although I was pleased with myself tonight, I felt good after 3km, and knew I'd be able to push a sprint at the end. Sarah Young and Kate were ahead of me, but not too far ahead. It will be good to find out the full results and compare them with my time from the second Assembly League race, which took place here in beautiful Victoria Park back in June. It was raining then, but this evening was beautifully rosy and very warm. That is evident from my puce face, post race.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Weightless but breathless

Love Lewisham's Glassmill pool
Day 116
It's Wednesday so it must be wetside. Thirty minutes to complete 24 lengths of the (25m) pool to take the weight off my legs and do the necessary aerobic activity without pounding tarmac. Gazing right to the three faster lanes, stroke envy dominates. My inefficient breastroke and the fact that front crawl can only be maintained for half a length and that with my head fixed under water and my lungs screaming for oxygen make booking one-to-one swimming lessons a priority. Last week I signed up for this, which means a water baby deadline has been imposed. Swimming brings joy and should not be missed from serious training, especially when that training is taking place in the teeth of hormonal and emotional  turmoil, which I refuse to give in to. I'd quite like to see the Burt Lancaster film that was the inspiration for  The Swimmer  escapades in London. That will perhaps be the reward for gaining my water wings.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A bit mental

Will Prof Green train with Erik? Wish it were 1:19hr half marathoner Example moving in opposite
Day 115

'You'd be surprised,' says Erik Lee, eccentric PT, looking across the road to Professor Green's nearly finished Hillyfields des res, 'what you can do when you go mental.'
He looks down at me, sweatily maintaining the plank position and contemplating straightening my quivering arms for one more rep of 'up and down on the bosu' ( I really cannot explain this move but it's all in the arms, shoulders and core).
'Team Ronnie, you know that for you to have mental conditioning you have to go mental.'
Going mental means, in this context, both counting the reps in your head and firing up your muscles to produce explosive, strong movements. I know that I would not have the mental strength to do this sort of training on my own, so to have Erik Lee watching and recording my mental and physical efforts  is for me, worth every penny of the small fee I pay him.
And so to work, with the after effects of more than 100 Scorpion reps in my hip flexors, which ache like crazy when I get up from my desk every hour or so.
After work, it's Kent AC and track training in preparation for Thursday's race, about which I am already nerve wracked. We did warm up mile, then 1200m, 6x400m, then cool down mile. My mental state now is endorphin soothed. My arse is sore, my core on the floor.

Monday, 4 August 2014


Make like a sunflower and greet the sun
Day 114
Being deskbound 9.30am-5.30pm in a magazine office means you really appreciate the light mornings and rosy dusk of late evenings, when you can run before or after office hours. When those hours begin to darken, many runners begin their rage against the dying of the light. Today I felt the lack of light most keenly. It was beginning to get dark at 8.45pm when I cycled back from the Royal Albert Hall (post work prom) - not a great time to discover the batteries in your back light have died. At home, I was stumbling about in darkness trying to feed daughter's rabbits and prevent them from jumping out of their hutches while I filled their bowls with lovingly prepared chopped veg. More importantly, I have to squeeze in training runs either side of the working day and its cycling commute. It won't be long before they are in darkness. I hope my blue sky thinking isn't affected.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Urban trail

Rus in urbs
Day 113
Doesn't that woodland glade look pretty? It's actually in the London Borough of Greenwich. It's Avery Hill Park, which is on the Green Chain route. I'm looking for long-run options that I can access from my house, but which don't involve tarmac-pounding. My heel hurts after today's 18-miler, even though I tried to stay on grass and dirt. There were a few miles of suburban road, which did jar, I suppose. My hips hurt, too. I may still be fatigued from Thunder Run. As the marathon I am training for is all trail (Stonehenge to Avebury trail marathon, look it up here), I'm determined to wear one of my many pairs of trail shoes, but this niggle (feels like plantar fasciitis) seems to suggest I'm missing the cushioning. Perhaps I need to get a bit of cushioning off my belly, as I'm a little above my optimum running weight, the result of rather too many cakes and ale. I'm finding it difficult to turn on speed and keep from middle jiggling. My pelvic floor was less than effective this morning. Hormonal changes in the perimenopausal woman translate to occasional soggy gussets. Should have worn my super duper EVB shorts. And CLENCHED. At least in a woodland glade, even a suburban one, you can nip behind a tree for a wee.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Seven seconds away

Keep on keeping on
Day 112

Parkrun. Two weeks ago phenomenal improver John Barron (V55) promised he'd try to pace me for sub 23 minutes athe Hillyfields Parkrun. After last night's drinking and over eating I felt a little nauseated, so perhaps this wasn't the best Saturday to choose. However, I worked hard and tried to stay with John. The first two laps were all I could manage and my man, my 'running husband' started to pull away from me for the third mile, staying a good half minute in front of me. To add insult to injury, three fleet women (one in my age cat, so I didn't even get 1st V50 woman), passed me during the last kilometre.
Train seriously from now on. Sleep more. Eat less sugar. Run hills. Run 7 seconds faster and you'll have a PB. Run 11 seconds faster and you've broken 23mins.
Hilly Fields parkrun results for event #102. Your time was 00:23:10.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Trailing behind

Got to stop horsing about
1 August 2014
Day 111

In Sussex I have a crisis of confidence. There are four weeks until the Stonehenge to Avebury trail Marathon. This morning I should have awoken at Druid o'clock to pack in some useful miles across this rough terrain. I awoke at 7am, feeling dog tired, so took the dog out. I managed four slow miles. Where is the mojo?