Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Camping, Rain and The Gruffalo

Despite the horrendous thunderstorms forecast for the weekend just gone, we still bravely packed the car for camping and set off towards Sherwood Forest for our annual end of term campout.

For anyone else who loves sleeping under canvas I'd highly recommend Sherwood Forest Holiday Park - this was our third visit.  It's a decent size, quiet with a couple of play parks and a river to amuse the children and that's it.  The location is great, ideally placed if you want to visit Sherwood Forest or Sherwood Pines.

It was Sherwood Pines we headed to on Saturday, it was raining but that didn't put us off and we spent 4 hours exploring the forest.   We were meant to be following a guided trail but the markers seemed to disappear so we wandered off the usual path and cut through the trees and onto the rougher paths meant for mountain bikes.   I did do a bit of running but not very much as I'd not packed the proper bra and ouch!

For families with younger children there is a fab Gruffulo trail on at the moment to celebrate the books' 15th Anniversary.  Maybe not so younger children would enjoy this too if my 13yr old son is anything to go by (he'll kill me when he sees I've put his posed photo up on here!!)

Saturday night the thunderstorms hit - I've never seen anything like it!  Luckily we were in a high field and more importantly in a good tent so other than a single leak at one of the roof seams we were okay.  Lower down weren't so fortunate though as the river burst it's bank and rose 6ft meaning lots of caravans were completely flooded.  Half an hour later though, the skies cleared and we were sat back outside the tent in glorious sunshine, beer in hand.

Fab weekend!

Monday, 14 July 2014

School holidays, running and cunning plans

Last week I didn't manage to run at all.  I had a horrible sick bug followed by a migraine that completely wiped me out, not least because I didn't eat for 3 days and you can't run without fuel.   I did lose 4lbs though - silver linings and all that.

This week my plan is to build on the last run I did and hopefully lose a couple more lbs :)

I'm off to a good start as I'm just back from my first run of the week and I managed to keep going for 12m44s!!   

I'm going to need to be quite organised here on out though as it's the last week of school for my children this week so as well as work and the normal family life stuff,  I've got to fit in 1 x sports day, 1 x leavers assembly, 1 x leavers disco and then our usual end of term camping trip.  

When there is so much on it's too easy to lose motivation and I just know the following week when the kids don't even have to get up and dressed for school, it'll be even harder than usual to leave the house at lunchtime even if it is just for half an hour.     I do have a cunning plan though.    I am going to tell my kids they can't go on the Xbox unless they've come out for a run with me.  I'm sure I'll be faced with attitude and grumbles aplenty but if I manage to stick to my guns, they'll force me out of the house and then I can have peace and quiet to work while they play in the afternoon.  

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Hottest day of the year?

Today is meant to be the hottest day of the year but it certainly isn't where I'm standing.  Up in the not so sunny depths of South Yorkshire the sun seems to have taken a holiday which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact then everyone who emails me today is based in London and asking if I'm enjoying the sun.

Totally unfair !!

Of course the weather was bound to take a turn for the worse this week, why would it stay sunny when the Tour De France is set to head through town?  Instead of seeing Yorkshire as it's beautiful best, the rest of the world is going to see a drizzly grey countryside that isn't very appealing to anyone.  To be fair though these days that is what Yorkshire is like the majority of the time so maybe if it was sunny we'd be in trouble for false advertising to any future visitors.

One good thing about it being not hot though is that its easier to run when it's cooler.  I've decided to just work on sustaining the 10 minutes I can now run easily and then slowly build on that - today I pushed it to 11minutes and 16seconds.   And believe me those extra 16 seconds count, they were the hardest seconds of the whole run :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Five reasons to run outdoors

1.  The Colours

It's great to see the fields change colour as the seasons pass.
Where I've started walk running now, the fields are full of corn and poppies have started growing - the little glimpses of red are really heartwarming (I love poppies!)

2.  Finding Secret paths

Okay to it's probably not really secret as there is a big public footpath sign right at the very top but as I worked my way down this tree tunnel, it was so quiet and I really felt like I was the first one to wander down in ages.   And the little girl in me really thought if there was ever a time to find a fairy then this place would be it!

3.  The views

I found a field full of blue flowers today which really surprised me as I'm used to seeing the yellow and green of corn and rapeseed - the view was wonderful and so unexpected.

4.  Time alone to work out any issues

I was in a really bad mood when I set off on my route this afternoon but an hour away from my desk (and my husband who put me in the bad mood) and I was great again.  I stomped out my warm up walk and then by the time I found my secret path and my lovely field of poppies I felt like I could breathe again.  You can't feel mad at anything when you feel like you're the only person enjoying such wonderful views.

5. The health benefits

I guess that's the main reason for running for most people - myself included - but it's fab when this comes bottom of your list as you know you've really enjoyed your time outdoors that day and you're more likely to keep running in the future.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Running for eight minutes - TWICE!

I made sure I had a good nights sleep last night so I'd feel good and ready to run this morning, I was actually looking forward it which is an amazement in itself.

Like yesterday I went for a long walk again away from home so that when I actually started running I'd be heading back towards the house and this really does work.  I wasn't worried about anything, wasn't thinking about anything other than enjoying my run and enjoy it I did.

That was 2 x 8 minute bursts of run with a 5 minute walk in the middle and it was great.

The feeling of coming home and kicking my trainers off was even greater though :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Starting again for the Nth time!

To be strictly accurate I have never actually stopped running altogether but instead of the 3 runs a week I promised myself and was sticking to initially, I dropped to only 1 run a week which even I admit is just rubbish.

Checking my run history on runtastic just now shows I did 12 runs in January, 11 runs in February, 15 runs in March, only 9 runs in April and a shameful 4 runs in May :(

Today was good though and I feel positive again.

I have realised that one of my biggest stumbling blocks (other than being unable to run uphill while living in a very hilly area) is that I HATE running away from my house.  So for example if I'm running in a circular route and there is a short cut back to my house, then all I'm thinking about as soon as I set off is whether or not I should take that short cut. Then on the off chance I don't take the short cut, instead of feeling proud of myself I just feel terrible thinking of how far I'm running away from my house (daft I know but I can't help it)

So today rather than just the usual 5minute warm up walk expected on the couch to 5k plan I walked for 15minutes taking me much further away from home so then all my runs could be towards my house and then last run would be on a gentle slope so even less pressure.

And so I did week 5, run 1 which is 3 x  minute bursts with 2 x 3 minute walks in between.
That covered 2.3km in 24minutes which while slow is good for me so I'm happy again.

Now I just have to keep that up again and with a bit of luck, come August when I head off on holiday I'll be taking my trainers with me and running next to the sea which has been one of my dreams for a long time :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

My mile for Sport Relief

If I'd been organised I might have arranged to do this properly and actually register at a formal event and even get sponsors as that's the whole point unfortunately I'm not organised.

When I set off this afternoon I'd not even thought about Sport Relief to be honest with you, I just wanted to get this week 6 run 2, finally over and done with.  I got so far into my route and ended up on the street where my daughter's school is and I remembered that she and her school mates were all doing a Sport Relief Mile today though and that spurred me on and kept me going.  They're going to be having a great time as they can do their mile as a three legged walk, or a wheelbarrow walk with a friend, I was red faced and panting but if they could do it then so could I.

And I did !!

This is my actual route but not strictly accurate as the time includes my warm up walk but the GPS didn't pick up until I'd actually started running, and I stopped it at my cool down walk - which is why the loop isn't closed as it normally would be (I haven't magically learnt how to teleport to a starting point from my house)

So basically I ran 2.6k in 30minutes (that's a mile and a half but I did have the 3minute walk in the middle too) and look at all the lovely red (fast) bits on my map :)

So you can't sponsor me but you can still donate to Sport Relief or if you'd like to sponsor Emma for her mile, drop me an email!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Week 6, run 2 take 3

Unfortunately it wasn't a case of third time lucky :(

This was has me beat up to now and it doesn't make sense after being able to run 20 minutes non stop why 2 x 10 minutes with a 3min walk inbetween should be so hard..?  The first ten minute run is actually okay (surprisingly so actually) but that second ten minute seems impossible right now.

I blogged about the first attempt in my 'running in my view' post.  I tried again on Tuesday, managed 6 minutes of the last ten and then ran out of road - I know I could have (should have!) turned round and added a loop on for the sake of 4minutes but I just couldn't bring myself to think of that.  Tried again today and in my defence it was incredibly windy, I was okay for the first ten minutes, then turned a corner, the wind hit and it was just too tempting to take the short cut home again.  I just don't seem to have the determination I want / need to crack this this week.

To put a positive spin on this though, those 3 attempts have covered 10k in total, though not all running and according to runtastic have burnt 1,300 calories so that is a day of free food!

I'll try again at the weekend - fingers crossed for me please!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Running in my view

Odd title but it does say what I mean.  Rather than just enjoy the view from my window on Saturday morning I actually got up, got my husband to drop me off at Wentworth and ran home through the view that I usually just enjoy from my bedroom window.

So I set off at Wentworth Woodhouse.  On a clear day I can see this big house from my attic window and these lovely views are the main reason we actually bought our house back in 2011.

It was a lovely sunny day and there were quite a few people out enjoying the peace and quiet, later in the year this is a really busy path with lots of families heading up and down, enjoying picnics at Greasbrough dams and there are a number of geocaches hidden around the area too - though I've only managed to find one!

The problem with running along such a lovely route is that it is too tempting to stop and take photos, to try and capture the lovely stillness that you can feel as you wander along.  And so I ran my first ten minutes okay but my second ten minutes was kind of hit and miss.  I also don't like running past people with dogs who aren't on leads so that was another reason for stopping occasionally.  I'm sure there are very good dog owners out there but how can someone who can't even keep their dog to heel expect me to trust them when they say "He won't hurt you"?!

So I got photos of all the Wentworth Follies (that I can also see from my bedroom window) but from a different angle and then this lovely photo of the first glimpse of Greasbrough Dam (complete with finger in the top corner - I never said I was good at taking photos just that I like it!)

And here is where I tripped myself up a bit as in my foggy memory I kind of thought my route would hit the road here but actually there is obviously the length of a full dam to run / walk plus a bit more and that's not even including the walk home once I did hit road.

It wasn't a bad morning though - I did my first 2.5k in 24mins and then my second 2.5k in 41mins - in my defence the second half of my route was all uphill and along a busy road with no pavement so I had to keep stopping for cars as I was scared they wouldn't see me pressed into the hedgerow.  Then I rang my husband and he and my daughter met me on the ridge above our house (where I ran last week) for a slow meander home.   It was a lovely start to the weekend and one I definitely will repeat.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tissues at the ready

No I'm not going to make you cry but it seems the hayfever season is upon us and bleurgh to it.

I just went out for my second run of this week - week 6, run 1 if you're keeping track, and I can't remember the last time I was so snotty and my eyes are nasty and itchy too.  So I'm going to have to have my pockets stuffed with tissues from now I guess as today really wasn't pretty!

Decent run otherwise 1 x 5 minute, 1 x 8 minute and a final 1 x 5 minute with 3 minutes walking in between and the usual 5 minute warm up / cool down either side.  I went back to an older route and it was amazing to see myself carry on running past the point I used to want to collapse after just a 60 second burst.

Slow and sure but getting there!

Monday, 10 March 2014

The start of spring - in my step?

So the warm weather is wonderful after such a cold, crappy few months and it feels lovely to be out in the sunshine but OMG, it's not as easy to run when it's hot.  I never ever thought I'd say it but I did find it easier when it was cold and raining - maybe it was motivating to keep running and get back indoors when it was horrible outside?  Though that leads to the premise that the sunshine would make me want to run for longer to enjoy the warmth more and I'm afraid that isn't the case, I still want it over and done with as soon as I can!

Anyway, I can thank the sunshine for making me get up early yesterday and enjoy the start of spring.

Sunday's route
This photo doesn't really do the view justice as while it's not the best view in the world, the feeling of being out on a Sunday morning was fab.  I was quite high up looking out across to Wentworth, the sun was shining, the sky was so blue, there was hardly any traffic noise and it felt so easy to breathe up there if that makes sense to anyone?

I don't think I'll have this route as a normal running one though as to reach the footpath I do have to walk up what is usually a very busy road with no pavement and it's a bit scary to be honest. I will however wander up there on the occasional non-running day just to take a break from my desk when I need it,  as it was lovely. Although actually, as this is the view from my bedroom maybe I could just go stare out of my window and get the same effect :)

Monday's route
Today I stuck to my usual road run and managed to run for 20 minutes, it felt even warmer today.  It's incredibly bright too and while I do have those magic glasses that go dark in the sunshine I have got a headache from the glare now I'm back home.

I also felt like I was cooking so next time I'll be running in short sleeves again and maybe even start looking for some cropped running trousers.  Thank god I never see anyone I know when I am out there!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

What have you given up for Lent?

Despite my Catholic schooling I haven't done the Lent things for years.  My children come home each year with a list of things they're giving up - this year my son outshone himself and has decided to give up going to the supermarket with me and eating any food that isn't a pizza .  Kind of missing the point there Sam don't you think?

My daughter is doing a bit better, her class are completing little tasks during Lent to help them count their blessings.  So to support her, this year I'm giving up being half arsed!  For the next 40 days and 40 nights I will stick to my 1,200 calories a day intake and I will run 3 times a week and I won't allow myself to make any excuses not to do this.

You've all heard me now so I can't back out.  Well if you've read all my blog you might have heard me say very similar before but at this point in time I am very determined and it's the now that counts.

So today was week 5 run 2.  2 x 8 minute runs with a 5minute walk in the middle and at either end to warm up and cool down.  I actually went over on my ankle as I crossed the road before I started my first run so I'm surprised I managed this one, I thought I'd given myself the ultimate excuse there as you can't run when your ankle doesn't work can you?  But no, I carried on and it was okay, I surprised myself.  Let's hope I can say the same at the weekend when I'm planning my 20 minute run again!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Getting back on track

I'm feeling determined again - it's easy to tell I've fallen off the running wagon recently as I've stopped blogging too but I'm back!

The sun was shining this afternoon and I think the fact that I spent all day yesterday in bed feeling crap has actually given me more energy than usual.  I was just going to take it easy but thought I may as well put the week 5, run 1 podcast on to listen to and see if I felt up to it regardless and it went better than I thought.

I added a new tiny loop on at the beginning of my usual route so by the time I got to my second run, I was back to the place I usually would start run one.  Mentally this felt ace, especially when I got to the final run and realised that was it.

So 3 x 5 minute runs today with 2 x 3minute walks in between, starting and ending with a 5 minute warm up walk (plus a bit extra on the way home as I ended up further than 5 minutes away - or I walked really slow once I heard "stop, that's it" which is actually more likely)

Not bad, I'm pleased with this one.

I'm going to repeat this again on Thursday and then again once at the weekend before moving onto week 5, run two.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

This is hard

So since my last amazing blog when I ran for a full 20 minutes I think my mind and body are talking to each other without me knowing and seem to have decided that that's it cracked and I don't need to bother anymore, as I've not been able to sustain anywhere near that long a run since.

I've decided to like myself to a baby starting to walk - you know one day they can all of a sudden walk clear across the front room but the next day you think it had to have been a fluke as they won't try it again?

Well that's me, I'm back to crawling everywhere.

It's such a mental challenge.  You have a bad run and it's so easy to think, that's it, this isn't for me, why do I bother?  It's hard, it hurts, I'm not a runner and I never will be.  I've had so many days when I could just cry at how little I'm progressing.

But then someone very wise told me, you never regret a run, even a bad one. You only regret the days you don't bother running at all.

And that's so true.

It doesn't matter if I'm progressing very slowly as long as I'm still progressing.  It doesn't matter if it takes me 2 years to complete a 9 week programme as long as I get there.  And then again even if I never get there what does that matter actually?  I'm somewhere I never thought I'd be back in September when I started this running malarky and that counts for something, that counts for a lot.

So I'm running week 4 on the podcasts again and I'm just going to stick with them for a while, sort my breathing out, get my actual technique sharpened up and then I'll think about trying the 20minute run again.

And if I have to stick at week 4, then a week 4 runner I am but that's still a runner!

Friday, 14 February 2014

It's been a while but...

Today I ran for a full 20 minutes!!

I'm still on a high, I feel amazing :)

It's been a long couple of months since I last posted.  Since then we've had Christmas and I've had a houseful of sick people, myself included.  I have been running as an when I could between then and now but not getting anywhere fast and I was really disappointing myself as I just couldn't get back into a routine and when I did, I just didn't have the energy to run.

But a couple of weeks ago, everything clicked back into place.  I went back to the week 3 podcasts and built back up again.  On wednesday this week I set out in the pouring rain and high winds to do my 2 x 8 minute runs, did one, did half of the other and literally couldn't move any further as the wind kept blowing me back.  I ended up calling my husband sobbing asking him to come and pick me up in the car - which bless him he did.

Then today I was determined to get the scary 20 minute run over and done with.

Sods law it started raining the minute I went out but with my face hidden beneath my buff (Christmas present from my husband) I soldiered on.   Starting with the usual 5minute warm up walk (isn't it odd how that first 5 minutes takes no time at all but once you're running 5 minutes actually takes forever) and then it was Go!
I was quite surprised really when the first 10 minutes had passed and I didn't feel like I was going to keel over.  Then I got to 15minutes and I was beginning to falter, I slowed right down - honestly a baby could have crawled faster - but I kept going.   And then suddenly I only had 2 minutes left, I actually could do it.

And I did and to repeat myself,  I feel amazing !!

Just a few months ago I couldn't run from one lamp post to the other (seriously) and now I can run a mile and a half non stop !!

Yay Me!