Jantastic week 6- halfway!

Well, this week did not go to plan. But then they can’t all, can they?

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Southwold on Saturday

I had a bit of a cold from the week before, and I was so shattered after that 15 mile run. Monday, as per usual was a rest day. We did have a walk in the evening, as a walk on Sunday afternoon had helped a lot with my legs.

Tuesday– OH run. I was feeling OK- I had packed tissues in preparation, but the air was so cold it felt uncomfortable breathing in. We did an extended version of a route I had done before, and kept doubling back to join back on the end again (I really like that we do this- no-one gets left behind, like in Lilo and Stitch), but it ended up being nearly 5 miles. That final mile was tough as I was really feeling the aches in my legs. When I got home I suddenly felt awful, and after a shower and dinner I fell asleep on the sofa- very unlike me.

Wednesday– I was meant to do 8 miles, but I already knew I wouldn’t do that. Two meetings after work meant I got home late (I could have made SRC with a manic rush) but I had an awful headache and knew it would not be a good idea. So my evening went painkillers, shower, beans on toast, Bake Off on TV.

Thursday– Body pump. I do love this. Still kept to lighter weights. Coughing a bit. Grrr.

Friday– Had planned a short run after work, but I got home too late for that, as we were driving to Suffolk after dinner so I didn’t have time.

Saturday– Lots of walking by the sea and around a couple of towns.

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Wonky houses! 

Sunday– A bit more walking. We got home to find that our heating had packed up. I had planned a short run- my long run was pushed to Monday (half term) as I knew we were away. I could not decide what to do, but we still had a little hot water left in the tank so in the end I went for 4 miles and then had the quickest shower ever (thankfully I had some dry shampoo!). Partly I didn’t think that attempting 16 miles after only running once in the week would be that sensible, but also the weather was good and I fancied one after a long car journey.

So, only 8.6 miles completed in total, and 2/4 runs. My distance target was 8, but I didn’t make that either. I played my joker which I think gives you the distance target, and doubles the workouts, so officially I am still on 100%.

I can’t believe Jantastic is half way to being completed! This week I need to think about my aim for the Brighton half. Last time I ran it (in 2013) I did it in 2.12 which was a pb for me- I was aiming to hang on to the 2.15 pacers so I was very pleased. But since then I have run faster twice- 2.10 in St Albans (also 2013- a very hilly course though) and then in 2014 I did 2.06 at Bath- I felt awful that day though. So the sensible thing would be to aim for a course pb, but then I do feel like if I managed 2.10 on a hilly course, then I should be capable of that on a much flatter course. We shall see.

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Treats for me! Toffee apple curd (I do love an interesting curd flavour), lemon+ passionfruit, and lime + mint, plus some peanut butter chocolate, and salted caramel peanut chocolate (from Gnaw-folk/ Norfolk…). Andy bought himself some beers from the Adnams brewery so it’s all fair!

Where do you like to go for the weekend? How is Jantastic going for you? 

Joining a real running club!

So, for a few years now I have been going to the local Sweatshop for a run every week, and I really enjoy them. I have met some great friends there, learnt about local races, run with my brother and speed myself up.

I really love running on my own- it is a great stress reliever and some time for me to think. But I have also really found benefits from running in a group. A while ago I was contacted by someone who used to run with Sweatshop, about joining her running club.

The trial went well, and so I have been going fairly regularly (minus when I had my cough) for a few months now.

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I even got my vest today! So excited about this!

I went there Tuesday night. Sometimes we run in a group, and sometimes in pairs, but this week I was a bit on my own- we did a loop and every now and then the front runners looped back- I couldn’t quite keep up with them, but I was a bit ahead of the next lot, so I was running on my own, and it got me thinking about how my running has changed over the last few years. When I first started running, I ran by myself, with music to over the sound of my breathing. In my first half marathon (I ran most of it with my brother) I kept headphones in one ear with music playing quietly to keep the sound of my breathing out- I would never do that now! Running with SRC helped to wean me off headphones- I felt it was a bit rude to run with people but with headphones in, and I knew that I struggled in races a bit to run without music, so tried those runs without. As I run there and back I decided to do that without headphones either, and to my surprise it was fine!

With my dad suggesting I give parkrun a go (and me totally loving it), over a few years I have moved from 3 runs by myself per week, always listening to music, to one parkrun (either with my dad and brother, or by myself but no headphones ever), a club run, again, never any headphones here, an SRC run chatting with running buddies, and then one long run by myself with my podcasts for company.

I suppose it turns out that I love the motion of running, and being in the fresh air, and the feeling of accomplishment, and if I run with other people, that love is shared with them somehow.  I am not ready to give up my long lonesome runs (and I think mentally, I need that time alone for myself, and to prepare for races) but I have really been enjoying where running has taken me at the moment.

I bought the club vest a few weeks ago and one of the lovely ladies posted it through my door today, and the first thing I did was try it on!

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Yup, I can’t take a good selfie, but you get the idea! So excited!!

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It even has this detail on the back! Totally love it!

Last night the run ended up being just shy of 5 miles, and in the final mile I was really feeling it. My poor legs were getting stiff after those 15 miles. My cold seemed to get worse, and I found the air really cold to breathe. Today I have been coughing a lot again (a child did cough in my face on Friday, a perk of the job…), I got home late and with an awful headache so I gave Sweatshop a miss. I was meant to be doing 8 miles, so the plan was to leave early, do 3 miles on my own, then run with them, and run home, and hope it was about right, but it is not a good idea. I don’t want to make myself more ill and then have to take more time off. Tomorrow I am booked onto pump, so at least that is inside. I won’t reach my Jantastic target this week, but there is always next week (and a joker).

Do you prefer group activities or being solitary?

Any thoughts on this? My feelings after my last marathon were that I needed to do another 20 mile run, as I only did one, which went fine, but then I really struggled in the actual race. I think I need to learn what food suits me to eat while I am running, and I can really only practise that on very long runs. The plan I looked at suggested a shorter harder run on Saturday (which is why I usually do parkruns) and then a longer run on Sunday when you are a bit tired from the day before. I suppose doing a medium run on Saturday (e.g. 8 miles) and a longer one of under 3 hours (under 16 miles I think for me) might help replicate the tired legs a bit more? I did find I was totally shattered on Sunday, and that is only going to get worse as the runs get longer.

If you have trained for a marathon, what have your longest runs been (hours and miles)?

Starting Febulous

So the old school marathon talk listeners might remember the first year of Jantastic. After the first month they carried it on and called it Febulous, and then came Marchvellous- before they decided that was long enough! Anyway, month 2 means that you select your workouts per week, and also include the distance of your longest workout each week.

Now, I can’t work out how to view them, but for the first week I had to run 15 miles as my longest of 4 runs, as per my training plan. Next week I didn’t choose such a long run because we are away for the weekend, so my long run will actually be on the Monday of the following week (half term).

This week:

Monday– Rest day. I considered a walk when I got home, but my cold was pretty bad- my sinuses were sore and my teeth and eyes were aching, so I opted for PJ’s on in front of the TV instead.

Tuesday– Club run. We did 4 miles- mostly chatting with another member- it was so cold at first it was hard to breathe or feel your legs!

Wednesday– I opted out of SRC as I still had my cold so didn’t fancy trying to keep up with the others, plus there was the option of cutting it short if I needed to. 5 miles was on the plan, and 5 miles was completed, again in the cold. Kept a pretty good pace too (just over 10min miles). I wanted to be home a bit earlier too, as my eye had been a bit sticky- I initially thought it was down to doing some Vicks bowls, but then I thought it was more like conjunctivitis. It said on NHS direct that you could go to a pharmacist, and there was one open until 9, so we went along and I was given some antibiotic eye drops- much easier than the time I got it before and had to wait at the doctors for a few hours until they had a gap in appointments.

Thursday– Hooray- booked onto pump. Kept my squats and back weights a bit lower, which I think is better for me at the moment.

Friday– Rest. Had a walk after work.

Saturday– Went to parkrun with my dad and brother (I realised I had forgotten my barcode so Dad had to turn around and drive home, so by the time we parked we had to jog to the start). I played a game of “catch the person in front” and didn’t look at my watch at all. It seemed to work, as I was very surprised to see 28-something in my watch as I crossed the finish line! All 3 of us got course pb’s! 28.35 for me- the fastest on that course and it is a hilly one! Perhaps a jog to the start is the way forward?

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Buckwheat pancakes, blueberries (mostly hidden under the pancakes) and that amazing vegan butterscotch sauce to celebrate a pb! Woohoo!

Sunday– 15 miles. I need to start having breakfast before I go I think. But I couldn’t decide on anything, so took some dates with me, and ended up forgetting and eating them during the final mile. The run was OK, but I got quite stiff towards the end. Plus the weather was weird- sunny (not complaining about that) but really cold- you could see your breath the whole way around. So I got very sweaty but stayed really cold. Quite strange really. After my shower I got back into my PJ’s (could not decide what to wear), and had a lovely coconut drink (Chi chocolate coconut milk) while I cooked French toast, which I had with a banana and blueberries and sauce. I was going to laze about, but then of course active recovery is best, so we had a 2 mile walk in the sunshine.

So another successful week. 27.3 miles, only one more than last week but that was down to my cold in part. I do have a task for this week though- to actually plan something to eat before a long run- I know I need to start trying things, but I feel so much better running on an empty stomach, so at the moment I don’t have that motivation. So you can all tell me off if I don’t do it next week.

Do you have a good pre-run routine? I tried porridge for a bit, or toast, and sometimes have a clif bar before a race, but I can’t settle on something that I really like.

Podcasts are awesome

I have always loved the radio. Probably in part due to me not being allowed a TV in my bedroom until I was at uni, but generally I like to be doing things, so the radio suits me as I can potter about while it is on. The excellent thing about podcasts is that they are like the radio, but on when you want them to be. Excuse me for stating the obvious here!

Anyway, in the summer I got a new phone, and one of the first things I did was buy the Pocket Cast app.  I used to load all podcasts into a little mp3 player, but it was a pain downloading them, copying them over, and then remembering which ones I had listened to and which ones I could delete. This app is amazing, seriously. Any podcast you listen to, you can add to your homepage/ subscribe to. I have a collection- marathon talk, the parkrun show, a whole load of radio 4 ones (Friday night comedy for The News Quiz, Food Prog, Infinite Monkey Cage, Feedback, More or Less), Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode’s film review, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square, Christian O’Connells Breakfast show (I tend to get these for holidays with long journeys), No Meat Athlete podcasts, and Serial (which if you have not listened to already, go and find it! It documents a journalist examining evidence in a murder trial, and is really interesting- we listened to it in Spain- I had to limit myself to one per day as it got a bit addictive!). I even found Happy Health Chat on there!

When you open the app it then prompts you when there is a new podcast to download. You can search by popular ones, or my name, if you fancy something new. If I am going on a long run, I can set up a playlist, or just choose one to be “up next”, and brilliantly if your headphones accidentally get pulled out of your phone, the podcast stops (instead of it using the phone speakers). Clever stuff. Then, once the podcast has been listened to, it automatically gets deleted, so no wasting a load of memory, and I don’t have to wonder which ones I need to delete. They are still linked to, so if you wanted to listen again you could click to download again. It also saves where you are (which my mp3 player didn’t always do) so I can carry on right where I left off.

Now my long runs are taking longer (getting closer to 3 hours) I need more to listen to, although for the rest of the week I tend to run without anything.

What are your favourite podcasts? Have you jumped on the Serial bandwagon yet?

Jantastic week 4- a little wobble

Hey peeps, I hope you all have had a good weekend.

First up, I can’t remember I forgot to mention this before. The last parkrun I did with my dad and brother, I had a rather embarrassing moment. You have to park a bit of a way from the start line, so we tend to bring a carrier bag and leave our coats and a bottle of water in the bag while we run, to keep us warm on the way back to the car. It was a cold morning so my dad also had a scarf with him, and as we were sorting out things out I realised that his scarf was right next to a big pile of dog poo (yup, how lovely) so I picked up all our bags and moved them. Then someone from SRC came over to leave her bits with ours, and we were chatting- I had noticed that one bag was a drawstring fabric bag and not a carrier bag, and I briefly thought that it was better to bring that than my old carrier bag, but I didn’t pay much attention. Then as I was moving the bits to a better (cleaner) spot a guy came over and asked for his bag back! Whoops! I had managed to pick his (Chelsea) bag up along with all of our bits. Luckily he was OK about it, but I was so embarrassed! Not sure why it didn’t register, especially as both Dad and my brother had on Watford hats! Anyway, that was a few weeks ago now.

Onto this week. Monday was a rest day, after all those runs and workouts in a row last week. I did some cleaning at home, and we had a short walk in the evening.

Tuesday–  I had no meeting after work, so I got home quickly and headed out for a 7 mile run. I was contemplating my usual 7 mile route, but some of it is not that nice after dark, so I did 2 laps nearer home, adding a bit on at the end to make it up.I thought it was going to be really cold, but it wasn’t too bad. Weird to think that a month  ago this was my long run length, and now it’s a midweek after work run.

Wednesday– We were going to see Andy’s parents in the evening, so as soon as I got home I did 3 miles- no SRC this week.

Thursday– I tried to book onto pump but it was full (apparently). I had a sore throat and had a busy day with work to do in the evening, so we had a walk after dinner in the freezing cold before I finished my work.

Friday– Rest day.

Saturday– Off to parkrun. I was originally going to do St Albans, as we were meeting friends for brunch at 10, but they cancelled as they had a bit of snow, so I went to Panshanger instead. This turned out to be brilliant – the founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt (there is a little background to how he started it all here) was there- he ran it (he is very speedy) and then went to the final corner, just before the final horrible hill, and was cheering everyone on. What a great community. I love it. The run itself was pretty tough- my sore throat had turned into a little bit of a cold, so I kept having to slow down to use tissues, plus the ground was very icy in places, so I didn’t push it. I also kept telling myself “you have to run 14 miles tomorrow, don’t go crazy”. 32.04, fairly slow for me on that course but I wasn’t taking any chances.

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As our breakfast had been cancelled, I persuaded Andy that we should still go, but for lunch instead. We popped into town to collect some shopping we had ordered, and then headed to The Waffle House- yay. Hummus and avocado for me, and pulled pork for Andy (he was very happy that it was on special as they don’t have that one all the time). So cosy.

Sunday– The plan said 14 miles. I had decided on a couple of loops- my usual loop is around 8 miles, so I decided to do that once, and then go out until 11 miles (so 3 more) then turn around and come home to total 14. It was a run of three thirds (a new saying). The first third was good. It was cold, but no rain (which had been forecast) and I saw loads of running groups out, including the fit 4 fitness group, and someone wearing a Fred Hughes 10 t-shirt. Plus all the runners I saw were friendly. I listened to the end of one marathon talk podcast, and then a documentary about subliminal advertising (the one before The Infinite Monkey Cage last week). But then the wind picked up, or I noticed it more, and I came to a hill that I do not like. I really felt like I was running through treacle or something. Each time I looked at my watch it seemed to say 11-something, although with hindsight that is because I was either stopped waiting to cross a road, or using a tissue, or putting a tissue in a bin. Getting close to home, but knowing I had another 6 miles to do was also tough. And it rained briefly. And I started to feel hungry. Another marathon talk started, with Boy on the Run’s take on the Ghostbusters song (for Jantastic), and that lifted my spirits a bit. The final part of the run was really a battle with my mind, and I am sure I have more of those to come. Seeing my watch flash for 13 miles at around 2.20 was also a bit depressing, but then I told myself that I am not running this at pb pace, and that would be a respectable half time for me anyway. Those thoughts took up the last ten minutes! I was very glad to finally make it home. All in all, the 14 miles took me 2 and a half hours (although moving time was 2.20). Which initially I felt fed up with, but Strava was my saviour.  My miles were wither 9 something or 10 something, and my slowest (mile 13, including another horrible hill) was 10.31- not bad at all. All I want ultimately is a sub 5 hour marathon, and so I would have another 2 and a half hours to run another 12 miles. Should be doable. But it was a bit of a wobbly moment for me then.

I felt pretty shattered after that. I had an apple and a nuun tab in water as soon as I got in, then a hot shower (which always gives me very itchy and red skin in cold weather, but I needed to warm up) and then French toast with blueberries, and also some of the most amazing butterscotch sauce which you can get here (it is divine) and a teapigs chocolate flake tea. And coconut water while I was cooking. Then I started to feel human again! I had to pop out to the shops later, so treated myself to a hot chocolate with almond syrup. Then, bliss.

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Laying on the bed, watching rubbish on netflicks, with some tea bread and the rest of the coconut water. I tried to have a nap, but I am not one for daytime sleeping and it didn’t work.

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A baked sweet potato with hummus, salad and some cranberry and apple chutney was an easy dinner (Andy was out so I had to fend for myself which often results in toast).

So, onto February. My weekly distance targets are set. I am still going for 4 runs a week, but I might have to play a joker at some point as we have two weekends away and I am not sure when I will fit the runs around at that point. I am just hoping that this cold clears up soon as it is no fun running with.

How has January been for you? Is Jantastic going well? Are you a nap person?