Loving to Love the Trail!!

10403607_980569031972025_8740227914024772651_n

WHERE DID IT START??

Back on the 9th of June I blogged about a run called otmoor challenge which saw me making the bold statement that “I was NEVER running off road again”. Not long after that I was asked by the running club to be part of the ladies relay at the Tring ridgeway! I went and practiced my leg with an amazing runner from club and I almost cried 2 miles into the 6. I Hated off road running! But what shocked me was that I HATED that I hated it! Everyone is almost talking about how beautiful trails are, how much quicker the run passes by and just generally about how much more awesome it was and I longed to LOVE it!

LOVING TO HATE

Not long after that practice I did the ridge way – with NO tears!!! I even ran the mile long hill at the end without stopping!

20140619-091543.jpg

Since then I have completed Standish Woodland chase – in the most awful down pour of rain and 1000ft of elevation in the first mile, The thunder run 24 hour relay and Tring Ridgway 9(ish) miler with so many ups and downs I was almost sick but even managed a smile at the top of the hill!!

smile 1
Photo courtesy of Barry Cornelius

As much as I was starting to get the post run buzz and could see the beauty of these runs I still was not enjoying the actual run … but my opinion was slowly changing to LOVING to HATE them!!

HOWEVER ………

Bring on Rugged Radnage 10K!! I got up this morning thinking “I might just get back into bed”… bed just seemed the better option against mud, hills, sweat and quite possibly tears and tantrums!! But I had paid for it and I knew I would regret it later!!

3Km in and my mind was made up … I had been converted !! The mud, the hills, the downs, the trees, the views, the people … everything about it I loved and halfway round for some strange reason I wanted to know what defined trail running!!

DEFINITION …….

Search for a definition of trail running and you get Wikipedia describing running over trails but I prefer Rapid ascent’s description of “leaving the noise, pollution and bitumen characteristics of road running far behind in favour of nature such as forests, parkland, valleys and mountains” (found at http://www.rapidascent.com.au). HOWEVER today I came up with my own definition. “Trail running is the only type of running that it is acceptable to have a 12 minute mile followed by an 8:30 minute mile”. I never understood the mentality of trail running isn’t about pace! I was always a “go and smash it” kinda girl!! But today I felt comfortable not being a crazed Garmin checker to make sure I’m on for that PB …. Today I didn’t check my watch at all!! I didn’t care that I walked up the hill … it was the size of everest after all and I was more out of breath walking up it than I was running the rest of the run!!

CONCLUSION ……

I think I have gave so much effort to my recent trail experiences that I have made myself Love to Love the trail. It took time to realise that its harder and I can’t keep an 8:30 min mile when I need to think about tree roots, mud, hills, gravel, ground, weather etc etc etc! But one thing is for sure …. I’m more knackered tonight that I am after running a road 10k! Will I be running more trails …. most definitely …… my next one is already booked!!!

10403607_980569031972025_8740227914024772651_n

Happy Running

Sandie

Busy times

IMG_3130

BUSY BUSY BUSY ……

I can’t believe where time has disappeared to! The last post I had just competed MK half and was struggling a little bit post marathon and I made a decision to get a plan up on my fridge and get that PB at Bournemouth half!

Did it work – no! I ended up being scheduled for minor surgery 6 weeks before the half and after it i went on 3 weeks annual leave – first surfing the out to Dubai and with all intentions to run while on holiday – it went out the window while I lived it up on cocktails, food and lazing by the pool!

Did I smash my pb?? HELL YEAH!!!

1800474_10153269397794908_2635702289024099545_n

Because training hadn’t went to plan, I was at my friends wedding the evening before I decided just to go along and enjoy the run – but for some reason I was NERVOUS!! Sick to the stomach nervous. On the start line in good time and I was off! First mile was a bit 9:40 – so I new it was over before it began! Decided to listen to music – my iPod has died – this is not going well! 2nd mile – 08:20 and that little thought in my head thought maybe I can do it! Managed to keep sub 9 min miles up till the HILL!! What on earth is that HILL doing there! Think It is around mile 8! It killed me and I had to slow to a walk half way up! So it was over!! Just run! Enjoy it! Down onto the sea front and take in the view and atmosphere! With the last pier in sight, sore legs, starting to get warm I hear a girl say to her friend “you have 10 minutes to make it sub 2″ —– I had caught up with them so I must have more – looking at the garmin – I had 12 minutes and not much over a mile to go! I could do 10 minute miles and make it! Starting to feel dizzy and with tingling cheeks i turned onto the pier – it was ON! Quick smile for the camera – and SPRINT!! Garmin reads:1:59:12.

This time no tears – just smiles! I wanted someone to scream to someone and to tell everyone! So I collected my water, my bling (which as usual at BMF is amazing) and my tshirt (again amazing) and I could see Tim waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs? A thumbs up from me and he knew!

HOWEVER:

After the hugs and jumping up and down and total excitement – I realised – 1:59:12 isn’t a 1:55 – so the next challenge is on (but maybe in a half without a hill)

1926173_954019447960317_4747778096709503818_o

Heavier is harder

20140706-224047-81647945.jpg

MOTA-VATION

So my previous post I was just heading out the door to do the 3rd event in the Kindlington Mota-vation series!! A 4 mile run which I was supposed to be missing due to work! I was bloated, gained a few pounds with not a lot of training going on … but I SMASHED it …. Well as my standards allow!! I ran an average of 8:49 ….. Considering last year I struggled to do 1 mile in under 9 miles …. To now do 4 is pretty impressive!! I’m not saying I enjoyed it …. I could feel bits of me wobbling that have never wobbled before!! I was huffing and puffing (and maybe swearing) getting up the final hill (which felt like Everest) and I collapsed face down into the grass to try and cool myself down at the end ….. But I did it! It was hard …. But it was a job well done!!

20140706-224628-81988116.jpg

HOWEVER …

I felt a bit blah!!! Ever since completing the marathon my training has just been ….. blah!!! I’ve done a few races here and there, dabbled in off road, flirted with the thought of a triathlon and added spinning to my weekly routine! But I’ve lacked motivation and drive that I had before! It just crept up on my and I realised I was missing my routine of training! I missed my long slow Sunday runs! So I decided on Saturday night ….. I was entering on the day to do the NSPCC half marathon in MILTON KEYNES on Sunday!!

Well after I made the decision I out it on Facebook and Twitter and told hubby! Great!! ….. No not great! I came across all doubtful that I could make it round 13.1 miles …. Blimey 5 miles in Thursday were hard and as the world knew …. There was no way of dropping out!!

but ….

It turns out! Running a marathon in May, doing an off road half in June followed by an off road 8 miles the week after …. Means that your legs still remember how to run!! It wasn’t a PB …. Heck I didn’t want a PB …. I just wanted to run!!

REVIEW … what a fantastic race! The organisation was exceptional, the marshals were great, the course was good (except for the bloody down and up of all the underpasses) and I even beat the camel that was going for a Guinness world record!

20140706-225523-82523200.jpg

20140706-225709-82629808.jpg

THOUGHTS ….

I’ve proved to myself that I don’t need to be “scared” about going the distance or getting the speed!! I’m a runner …. I run! however …..

My fridge looks kind of bare without a training plan and my mind is kind of bored without a goal to aim for!!

SO … the new plan is this …. I am going to do a sub 2 hour half at BOURNMOUTH!!! I am gonna get my programme up and smash my PB!!!

Standby for some hard core training updates!!!

Love

Sandie xxxxx

Not running = pounds added

20140703-160228-57748817.jpg

RUNNING KIT TO MILITARY KIT

so the photo looks a little different from the ones I usually post! Normally me in my club running vest, whatever shiny bright running capris I’ve bought this week with one hand on my hip sporting what ever medal I’ve added to the collection! This week I donned my uniform and went on the exercise with the army – us civilised RAF usually prefer hotels but I was up for it! I’m not going to bore you with tents etc etc but what you do need to know is about my determination to run while I was away!!!

Well …. The camp was 1k in circumference ….. And we were not allowed off site!! Great I can just do laps and to make it worse The food was fried stuff with fried stuff!! I had no ear phones, my phone wouldn’t get internet to download marathon talk ….. AAASRRRGGHHH!

determination fail!!!

I did one 5k in loops (soul
Destroying)! My determination turned to “it’s only a week so sod it!” Now feeling guilty and don’t know why I did it!! Lesson learned …. Just run …. You know you’ll regret it otherwise!

So I’m back …. And I have a race tonight!!! Eeeeek …. I shall race report and let you know how much harder and slower I got with a week of gaining a few pounds xxx

I’M FAMOUS!!!!

Well ….. Maybe not super star like celebrity famous …. BUT I’m in this months womens running magazine!!!

20140612-144838.jpg

I replied to a tweet a few months ago looking for people to take part in the great debate and was asked to go to London to talk about “wacky races”! I’ll let you but a copy to see what we discussed in full but basically …..

There are loads of races to chose from …. And if wacky races get people running then I’m all for it!!! However soon after this was printed I did a half marathon where I got overtaken by a man dressed in air ambulance clothing (including helmet) ….. juggling …. He actually JUGGLES the whole way!! He broke my heart!!

anyway….

I had a great morning in London and met some great people …. Girls which I now keep in contact with and have even seen at races!! I loved meeting everyone at womens running …. It’s my favourite running magazine!! When I first started running I didn’t understand all the running jargon …. Pace, threshold, fartlek, blah blah blah …. Womens running is brilliant at explaining all those things!!

Anyway …. Just a short post to tell you all about my fame …. Now go buy a copy and read all about my experience with scooby doo xxx

Image

OTMOOR CHALLENGE – JUNE 7th

Well what can I say …. this race was in our running club champs so I signed up! I obviously didn’t take note of the name …. Otmoor CHALLENGE!! A off road half marathon …. what could be so bad!! Its always hot they said …. it was forecast torrential rain!! Its a hilly course they said ….. its a local race and I know of no hills!!

COULD I BE MORE WRONG!!!

Yes it was forecast rain … in the morning. By the time 2pm came I had to borrow sun cream and I was sweating before I even started. No hills near me … yeah right … I had a heart attack just looking at the gradient spike in my garmin when I uploaded it!!

Image

So it was hot … That hill killed me … the torrential down pour in the morning made the route ankle deep in mud and I found myself muttering along the whole 13.1 miles that I was never running off road again!!  So lets review …

Organisation …..

The race is brilliantly planned.  It is in a local village and has a real community feel to it!  There is a fete, BBQ, beer tent … and people can do the walk or the run.  It was well signposted, great parking (Army cadets marshalling the car park) and it was easy to pick up race numbers.  You could also register on the day which a few friends did.

The route …

Although i state this was my first “off road” race … I have to say that around 50% is actually on the road.  I wore trail shoes which I was thank for in the muddy parts but the mud then made them really heavy for the road parts.  I would probably opt for trail shoes again though!

The route was beautiful …. mixture of fields, villages, trails, lanes … it was stunning.

Support ….

Although not many marshals on route … it was extremely well sign posted and all the villages had great support out.  Plenty of water stations … my favourite of which was Halfway up that stupid hill where a man asked if I was OK to continue as I grabbed 2 cups of squash out his hand and downed them before desperately scrambling to the hose pipe to be sprayed down.

My time ….

I finished in 2;18;10 …. a time I was extremely pleased with.  I went in with aspirations of sub 2.30 as I knew the new terrain would be tough.  Considering I walked through drinks station (and maybe walked a little bit of the hill) I was pleased with my overall pace …. AND …. I got some bling at the end.

Did I enjoy it???

The answer … NO I HATED EVERY STEP!!!  But this week I learnt my own lesson.  My sister JaIme has started couch to 5k … and I am extremely proud of her for doing so!  She asked me this week …. when does it get easier and my answer was …. “it never gets easier …. you get better … but always push harder”.  So what i am trying to say is that I hated every step of the way but the sense of achievement when I finished was amazing.  Later as I posted on Facebook that I was never running off road again ….. I was reminded “until next week” when I have a 7.9 mile leg of an off road relay to run!!!

I think my off road adventures have just begun.

HIGHLIGHT of the race …….

Image

PIMMS AT THE FINISH!!!!!

Love Sandie xx

Kindlington Mota-vation …… Number 2

20140608-001327.jpg

MOTA-VATION SERIES ….

So what is it??? This is a series of 5 races organised by one of the local running clubs ran on the first thurs of the month during summer months!! So basically we get to compete (I say that like I’m an athlete ….. To me it means I get to pin on a number and pretend I’m Paula Radcliffe for an hour)!!

How far …. The races are 4.1 (ish) miles and are at different locations each month! I’m only 9 months into my running club life so this is the first time I’ve run in them!

So this was race number 2 …. Bletchingdon!!!

POST NIGHT SHIFT!

So I have learned that hubby had no concept of night shift! I love him dearly …. But man he’s noisey!! Then it didn’t help that I needed to take him to the airport on Wednesday then work another shift ….. Then on Thursday EVERYONE called me …. Literally everyone!

So I got up and considered not running ….. But as it’s in club champs I went along just a to get a few points at least!!

PARKING

As always was in a field ….. FULL OF COW PAT! And when I say full …. I literally felt like if raced before I started dodging them all!

TOILETS ….

As always …. A million women trying to nervous wee!! And with only one cubicle working …. I only just made it to the start!!!

These are the only 2 negatives ….. The race was FANTASTIC!!

ROUTE ….. I had been warned was hilly!! I would say it was up and down but nothing too drastic!

RESULT …. I started off with my friend Joely ….. She’s AWESOME!! so was pretty impressed that I was keeping a half decent pace with her! We overtook lots which makes me a little bit more determined!! We did giggle going up a hill that one women said “wow …. Good effort” …. Think the sound of my puffing/panting and general wheeze like sound made her think I was trying to give myself a heart attack more than finish the run!!

But I kept going …. And SMASHED my 5k PB and did the race with average pace of 8:40!!

I was bouncing off the walls with excitement!! And the best bit ….. I had the best nights sleep in 4 days …. I got 9 whole hours!!

I wouldn’t recommend a sleep deprived run fuelled with coffee and crisps ….. Bit I’m glad I got up and went!!

LESSON ….. get up and do it ….. You might surprise yourself!!!!!

Ps. Thanks to Kindlington running club for the race …. Well organised, fab marshalls and support with awesome turnout! Can’t wait for next month!!

Love

Sandie xx

20140608-003122.jpg

I’m Back!!!

LIFE GETS IN THE WAY….

20140604-173610.jpg

Well it’s been too long! I don’t even know where to start!

I started this blog at the beginning of my 18 week marathon programme and managed to keep it up for a while! BUT … life got in the way! My parents always said I like a challenge and it’s taken my 30 years to admit ….. They were right!!

Training for a marathon, doing a post graduate course at university and being a full time mum and wife started to take it’s toll! It was RUN or BLOG ….. Hence why we are playing catch up!

RACES ….

White horse half…

20140604-174025.jpg

So post silverstone where I managed an amazing PB …. The next race was the white horse half marathon!!! As usual I discussed tactics with my marathon guru and his advice ….. marathon pace ….. This is not the race …… The marathon is the race!!! DO NOT PUSH IT!!!

So of I go ….. Not going to push it! TOP TIP 1. when your not planning on pushing it ….. Don’t get chatting to two lovely girls from other running clubs! Felt great, plodding around, chatting away ….. Even got overtaken my a juggling paramedic!! Finished in ……. 2:02:40 ….. I was so angry with myself ….. If I pushed a little bit I could of gone sub 2!!!

Great race, good course, well organised and PB potential …. Will def be doing again next year!!

ROAD RELAYS ….

5k ….. 3 person relay!! …. IT HURT that’s all I have to say on that!! My running club came out on top …. But it hurt! Not a lover of 5k …. So think I need to practice them!

THE BIG ONE

WHAT IVE DEDICATED 18 WEEKS TO!!!!

20140604-174917.jpg

MILTON KEYNES MARATHON!!!

20140604-175008.jpg

20140604-175022.jpg

Pre race photos!

I was up (was more proud that the seventeen year old son of mine was up with no complaints to come support), porridged, packed AND NERVOUS !!!

I had been so calm in the lead up but all of a sudden it dawned on my it was the day!

My friends drove us …. Lee was running his second marathon in a month and my amazing friend Kirsty was coming to support us!!

The sun was out, the stadium was starting to fill up with runners and I have to say …… it was a terrific well organised race!

There was no starting waves and half marathon and full marathoners started together! I met a runner from my club who was running the half and we decided to run the first 10 miles together! I’m glad I did ….. Good company made the first hour or so fly by (although I probably went a little bit too fast to start off)!!

One complaint …… It was not the flat route I had been promised!! It was by no mean undulating but there was definately hills!

BUT ….. 27 minute PB …… I did it in 4:37! It wasn’t quite the 4:30 …. And it was hot ….. But I loved it. My mind was strong, I felt physically good (although knackered) and I loved it! Simple! The stadium finish was amazing …. Even better that my son and friends and half my running club were the first thing I seen when entering the stadium! SPRINT FINISH …. But have to say a didn’t realise that after 26.2 miles ….. A lap of a football pitch is a LONG way!!!

Negatives …

Only 1 ….. The goodie bag was awful! A mini mars and a banana with a few leaflets thrown in! And no t-shirt!!

BUT THE MEDAL ……

20140604-180745.jpg

One of my favourites!!!

WHATS NEXT!!!

So now it’s finished ….. I’ve already got more races in sights and will be doing a third ….. I need to chase that 4:30!!!

My uni course is over too …. Which means more blog time!!!

20140604-180948.jpg

Cheers!!!!!

Derwent Reservoir Long Run

20140312-075246.jpg

POST SILVERSTONE!!

Well the photo above was took by hubby at mile 7ish!!! I think I look pretty good! My runners high from silverstone lasted all Sunday into my rest day in Monday and then …. crash!!!! Sandie was TIRED! I had given silverstone all my effort I forgot I had to train for the rest of the week! Family and things got on top on Tuesday so I decided to give myself an extra day off before doing 10 miles on Wednesday before seeing another PB of the week in Thursday when I ran by usual club 6 miles at 9:10 pace (I’m normally no faster than 9:40)! This was followed by another PB at Sheffield Hallam parkrun (fantastic parkrun to do)! So pretty good week running!

Sunday run!!!

Now my problem for the weekend was we were visiting family in sheffield – I had – 18 miles to do and didn’t know where to go!! So hubby decided to take me to derwent reservoir – I could run and him and his brother could do some fitness of their own! Perfect!

Woke up …. A perfect day for running! Sun was out and lovely and fresh! I even run in a t-shirt!!

As we arrived I was worried about getting lost, collapsing , not being able to finish!! So hubby asked a man out walking how far the run was! His reply was “run round derwent it’s 10 miles, run round derwent AND ladybower and it’s 15 ish”.

Nervous!!

SO because I felt nervous about my new run I decided to leave my water with the lads and run the 10 mile route …. Twice (but meeting at the car which would make 18 miles)! So off I went!

Lost …..

Well the plan went wrong! I ended up running both reservoirs ….. With no water! It’s sheffield area so bloody hilly (I live in Oxfordshire – hills are non existent)! The only thing that kept me going …. The views …..

20140312-080236.jpg

I actually think this was my favourite run EVER!!!

It was beautiful, everyone was friendly and said Hi … I was more impressed that I passed a man on mile 3 running the other way that I then passed again near the end …. And he looked how I felt!! As we passed a smile and a few … “Good effort” comments I lifted my chest high determined to finish the last few miles!!!

By the time I met Tim … He said “where have you been … Do you still need to do another lap” – I could kill him! But instead I gasped for water! Thank goodness I had taken my gels with me!

I had managed to RUN the full 18 without stopping at pace I was very very happy with!! Training for bournmouth last year I struggled with these long runs and never completed anything over 15 miles without walking for a while!

Happy with training …

So I’m still happy with how training is going! Only 8 weeks to go …. The next 6 weeks being the toughest on my programme!! I just keep thinking of the feeling of crossing that line …. And all this tiredness, effort, dedication and commitment will be worth it!

This weeks lessons ..

1. Yorkshire is beautiful to run in …. Highly recommend this run!!

2. Don’t leave your water behind …. It’s important!

3. Love SiS gels …. Can really feel them work!

20140312-080957.jpg

Where is your favourite run??

Love Sandie xx

Curse of the Shoes

20140310-130047.jpg

HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES??

This was the title of a post I wrote several weeks back! Based on lots of advice out there that says its beneficial when putting in lots of weekly miles to have 2 pairs of trainers! I personally didn’t know if I believed this or not …. But I decided to give it a go and buy a second pair!!

2 pairs – 1 pair

Regular readers of my blog will
Know I kept my promise! I went off to my local running store to buy my second pair! I was told by the nice salesman “the shoes your in are already in need replaced” they were so worn down on one side – it explained my recent hip pain which I get when I don’t have enough support!

So I upgraded my old faithfuls mizuno nirvana 8’s to a beautiful new pair of mizuno nirvana 9’s. because it was the same shoe just a new model … I decided to save some pennies and search for the cheapest option online!

The curse begins ….

They arrived .. So pretty and I was so excitedto get out in them! As soon as I laced them up I just didn’t feel right! I felt like I could move my foot a bit much, to secure them I had to tie them a bit tight, I felt “clunky running in them! I came to the conclusion that I just needed to run them in! I was just missing my old comfies!!

The long run ….

This theory went out the window when I went for a 13 miler in them! Big blister on the inside of my foot! I made the final decision …. They were too big!

Change brand???

So my darling husband who supports my running massively said “I want you to smash this marathon – just buy another pair”

So off to the shop I went!!! Gait analysed, several pairs later, a wee run on the treadmill I settled on a pair of asics! The were comfy, pink laces, comfy …. But I did feel guilty for cheating on my mizunos that have been so faithful to my feet for years!!

20140310-131413.jpg

Run 1 …. felt bouncy but sore toes!

Run 2 …. balls of my feet Hurt

Run 3 …. all of the above plus blisters on my toes!

Silverstone half … I actually thought I was about to get a stress fracture in my foot!

It took me all my courage to tell hubby that I didn’t like these ones either!! But there was no way on earth I could run a marathon in them!

Saving the day ….

I don’t know why but I contacted the up and running store I bought them from and explained the situation! They offered to change them …. No questions asked!

20140310-131804.jpg

BACK IN MIZUNO!!

I am finally happy with mizuno! These gorgeous Inspire 10’s fit perfectly! They have even seen me round an epic 18 mile, Yorkshire style undulating run at the weekend and my feet are finally happy!

THE MISTAKES!!

1. I think one of the biggest mistake I made was to jump in with the upgrade online! I hadn’t tried on the nirvana 9 …. I just expected it to be the same! I am not saying online is bad but I think in future I would wither get the exact same model OR Try them on in store first! I think the design may have changed ever so slightly which meant the 4.5 I had been running in was so a bit big!

2. I always hear people say … Don’t change brand! And I don’t think I ever will again! Mizuno Fit my weird shaped feet perfectly and I know I can trust them! I know people who swear by all the other brands …. They probably would never dream of changing to mizuno just because they love their own brand! So here’s hoping mizuno keep making awesome shoes …. Ill be lost if they stop!!!

How many pairs …

Despite owning 4 different pairs in the last 3 months …. I still only have one pair!!!