Just plodding away….

I was late last week so, Dear Reader, you already got a snippet into how my week started. Not well. Anxiety got the better of me. Sigh. So let’s start with Tuesday.

I planned a run with Hayley and Nicky again. I’ve missed running with them so much and pre lockdown we ran so much together that I feel totally comfortable to be running together again. Except I’ve now realised I’m in bloody flare up AGAIN! A couple of new symptoms, which are wholly unattractive and making me feel like a bag of crap.

Anyway after muchos panicos I dragged myself out. The girls know me very well so a warning was made that I was feeling like pants and off we went. They are great. No judging. And we had a lovely 4 mile run. Lots of chat and laughs along the way.

It also finished June’s running on 80.9 miles. Helped along by the 24 hour challenge of course but I’m absolutely made up. I will not let this illness define me or rule my life.

I was really looking forward to Thursday’s run. Since lock down was eased our club has started to do bookable runs. Just 5 spaces available plus the run lead. Places are like rocking horse shit. Hard to get. But I managed to bag a place on Wayne’s trail step up! Whoop. We were off to Aspley Woods. And It was also Katie’s birthday! Double whoop!

Panic. Panic. Panic.

But it’s in the woods and I knew most of the people there. So up I rocked. Watch wouldn’t find GPS so off we went with Meera promising to tag me on her run.

The woods were really lovely although it was muggier than I thought. I had opted for road shoes and think I should really have gone trail. It was quite muddy underfoot due to a fair bit of rain. And Aspley is ALWAYS hilly no matter the route.

Upon clambering up an enormous hill I refused to run it, uttering that trail runners don’t run hills (I may have made this up to suit myself 😂).

You can’t have a birthday without cake and much to Katie’s horror I produced a box of cakes and made everyone sing happy birthday. It was a lovely end to a really lovely run.

I needed to do another run this week. And I had planned to get up early Saturday and go. But of course I fannyed around, feeling unwell, procrastinating, eventually setting off around half ten. The plan being to just do 5k.

If I’m honest I couldn’t have done anymore. My legs were like lead. I had no energy. I set off too fast and got slower. In my ears was Louis Theroux interviewing Gail Porter. Which I enjoyed. So it wasn’t that. I just felt tired and fed up with feeling so unwell. Invisible illness is tough.

Anyway. I’m giving a total thumbs down to that run. Total crap buckets.

The best thing that running has brought to my life is my friends. My running club is quite honestly the best in the land. And I was thrilled to be invited today to celebrate my lovely friend Karen’s 50th birthday. It was a complete surprise for her. And such a lovely afternoon helping her celebrate as well as catching up with so many of my lovely running club friends, most if which I haven’t seen since before lockdown. What a club!

Finally. I started this blog last October to chart my highs and lows in training for Race to the Stones. My first ultra. This should have been the weekend for it. I feel sad that it couldn’t go ahead. It was supposed to be my 40th birthday present. Ahh well. Not to be this year. Next year I will conquer! Starting from tomorrow is the virtual race to the stones where I will do a marathon distance over the week. Of course, I will challenge myself as I always try to. See you on the other side!

Good runs. Crap head.

I’ve had a lovely week of runs actually which was surprising as it was hotter than a McDonald’s Apple pie out. I don’t do the hot. About 19-21 with a breeze suits me. Or rain. More on rain later.

I categorically put my foot down this week about running in the ‘ot and so when trying to organise a run with my magnificent friend Katie I foolishly said “ooh let’s run Tuesday, it’s going to be well hot later in the week”. Turns out it was well hot on Tuesday as well. I was heading over to trot around Rushmere woods with Katie and we both turned up not impressed with the heat. Both in a white t shirt as we were sure that would cool us down (didn’t).

It’s really hard to find a place for your water bottle.

Any way, off we trotted and it was George (Michael? Wham? Northern warm? Never mind….) but actually bloody lovely too. Under the trees was a little cooler. And the trail meant if was more interesting than pavement plodding.

It’s a sundial. Obvs

And we walked up the hills and ran down the other side. And chatted the whole way round and rounded up to 5k. And then stood and chatted for another half hour after the run.

It was a run not about pace or form or time but to chat and support with a friend. And what could be better than that?

And then the actual proper ‘ot came. Bloody hell. Just cooked pop tart weather. And there was no chance at all. So I lay about like a slug moaning to anyone who would listen about the heat on Wednesday and Thursday.

By Friday I though I better run. And to be quite honest, I was in a bloody funk. Fed up of bloody covid. Fed up with hubs work. Fed up with cooking. Fed up with no club runs. And I needed to go out and feel good. So I decided to take a trail jaunt up the North Bucks Way. With a plan to definetly do 3 and hopefully do 4. So up and out around 7am as it was still muggy out. And it felt goooood! I went on til I hit the bit that goes more downhill (because then I’d have to do up hill to get back straight after 🙄😂) and turned round.

And the path was beautiful and quiet! I then spotted someone running towards me and I recognised the gait before I saw who it was. My lovely friend Daria was on a 10 miler so we stopped for a lovely little morning chat. Off we both went in opposite directions and I was singing away to my music.

A few doggie walkers were out. I like dogs. I don’t even mind if they come up for a snuffle and a fuss. But just as I hit Hazely wood a young dog came bounding over and jumped up at me. I was so surprised I jolted back. The owner came into sight and just laughed. Now I know doggy doesn’t mean any harm but doggys claws were very sharp and as I went round the corner I saw I had been clawed.

Now I’m a big girl but it was quite a deep scratch that took ages to stop bleeding. It would be right at eye height for a toddler. Anyway. Off I trundled for home and needed to round up to 4. I noticed by pace was really rather good on mile 3 so decided to give myself a push for the final mile. Was delighted to see at the end negative splits and 2 sub 10 minute miles! Not too shabby at all!

Saturday was due to rain! Huzzah! I love rain running and was looking forward to a relaxed run out with Meera and for the first time since before lockdown Hayley and Nicky too! Yay! It was so good to see them and we set off at a chatty pace towards teardrop lakes. As we were going through Loughton who apparently is part of the winter half course which I remember nothing of, the rain started. After the heat of the week it felt wonderful! It didn’t last long and I felt refreshed! We hit teardrops and turned back towards lodge lake again.

Following on we took the route through Loughton valley park up towards Milton Keynes iconic concrete cows. We bumped into our friend Julie on the way for a lovely chat and onwards to the cows. I love the cows. They are kinda ugly and making really odd poses. So we needed a picture. Hayley tried to mount a massive cow and banged her knee……

Picture taken (the bike squad did roll their eyes at us I believe) we headed back towards the car park. As we hit lodge lake the rain started again but was a but heavier. Hayley and Nicky waved us goodbye as me and meera decided on a bit further. On we trundled and the rain got heavier and heavier until I was certain Noah and his ark would appear shortly. It was coming down like stair rods actually smashing me in the eyeballs. Chose to take sunnies off as I could see no better with them on or off!

Rounded up to 8 miles and escaped sharpish to the car and home. I like rain but wow that was epic! 😂

I had plans to run a short run on Sunday but just couldn’t motivate myself to go out. Then I was going to run Monday on my own. Then I was being persuaded to go to trailfinders as well. But my head just wasn’t in it. I feel really down this week. Every week feels a bit trudgy at the moment. We’re just plodding along with no end to the covid crap in sight. We are STILL waiting for ba to cancel our Florida flights. Meaning we are in limbo with a holiday we have no intention of going on. With 2.5k of park tickets sat there. And the kids have been great. They were promised this amazing holiday which they now won’t get. I was promised this amazing holiday for my 40th birthday which I now won’t get. Inds has had some wobbles this week. Don’t blame her. Poor kid has been stuck working from home for months now. Sigh.

And I feel bloody anxious. Anxious that I’m not liked. Anxious about friendships. Anxious about the future for hubs and my jobs. Anxious about Bloss starting a brand new school in September without any transition. And just anxious about being anxious. I’ve had a bit of a ibs flare up this week. Which I know is connected to the angst. I’m just a bit down in the bloody dumps this week. I’m hoping it’s a phase that will pass quickly. I’m safe, I’m healthy, I’m not absolutely skint (yet). I just need to tell my head that!

Safe and happy running friends. If you see that black dog of mine chuck it a stick in the opposite direction to me. Ta!

Heavy legs

So apparently running every hour for 24 hours and clocking 26.2 miles leaves you knackered. Who knew?

To be honest I haven’t felt too awful. Really tired and heavy legs but it certainly could have been a lot worse. Anyway I had already decided to rest my weary legs for a few days after the weekend’s antics anyway but by Thursday I thought I really should try to move a bit.

So after procrastinating as usual. I put on Miriam Margoleyes on desert island discs and away I went. To be fair my pace wasn’t bad. And I actually got negative splits which was nice. But my legs felt like I was dragging them along.

I wasn’t too disappointed. I was asking a lot of my body after the weekend.

Phoenix running were putting on an event for summer solstice to run a mile an hour every hour for 24 hours on Saturday…. what sort of twerp would do that? Lol. So I already knew about this event when I did mine but I wanted to do mine for mk24 on the weekend it should have fallen on so I put this to the back of my mind for mine. But to my delight my lovely friends Pete and Sadie decided to do it! They were kind enough to allow me to run a mile with them on Saturday

Yes. That t shirt is back….. apparently the sun wasn’t quite bright enough! I really enjoyed my mile with Pete and I’m thrilled to say they both completed the challenge! Huzzah!

Around came Sunday and I had been invited by my lovely friend Karen (mk24 7pm mile….😂) to come for a trail run at woburn. This is a route we do every year at club in Xmas outfits along a route that skirts the safari park. I was really looking forward to it but Mr Anxiety who turns up when he is least welcome had other ideas. I got in a right tizz about it. There were a few people going that I didn’t know well and so I got in a wobbly. Karen is lovely and tried to calm me down which really helped.

So there were 7 of us and Bear the lovely doggy at 9am sunday morning. The first part of the course is a lot of up hill. It takes you through part of the woburn estate and there were herds of deer everywhere.

I ran and chatted with different people which was really nice. There was a wide range of speeds too so I could walk the hills. We had a lot of heavy rain so I wore my trail shoes as it can get very muddy there but my legs just aren’t used to them at the moment and my shins really suffered in them.

I think they are being deer but am unsure 😂

As we headed into the safari park area we saw lots of green mesh had been put up at the fences by the animals. This route was always a bit of a runners and walkers secret. Unfortunately people posted about it on local Facebook pages and it’s been packed with family’s getting a free day out. Worse still people were sitting on the path with picnics, scaring the animals and leaving litter everywhere. No wonder they have screened them off. It’s a real shame though as it’s nice to see the animals as you go running by. Today’s spots were zebra, elephant, giraffe and wallaby. All through green mesh so no pictures but it was nice to glimpse them.

After the woods is the long wall home. It’s around 1.5 miles along an old estate wall and a road back to woburn. It’s the worst bit and feels never-ending. But back we got and to our delight the village had a farmer’s market on! So over we went for a mooch. Lots of lovely fruit and veg and bread. I bought some dark chocolate treats and Dan and Karen bought beaver and penguin pies….. neither containing the real deal I don’t think but gave us a good giggle. Wandering about together chatting felt really lovely. One of my favourite parts of Sunday runs is the social in the pub afterwards and this had the same feel to it. I thoroughly enjoyed my Sunday morning. 5.2 miles done o tired legs. I’ll take that.

This next week is due to be really hot. I’m dreading it. I HATE running in the heat. So I have plans to avoid the middle of the week if possible.

I leave you with this fabulous pop up card my lovely husband bought me to celebrate last week’s achievement. Good innit? Until next week friends xxx

24 hours of running….

About six weeks ago I saw a post on a running forum on Facebook from a lady saying she had run 13 miles by running a mile every hour for 13 hours. I thought that was a brilliant idea. But I can do a half. It’s not pretty but I can. What I can’t do is a marathon. Never tried, never particularly wanted to. This could be my glory….. or my downfall. Whatever…..

So I kept the idea quiet. I mentioned it to my friend Bridget who thought it was brilliantly insane…… but it was there, In the back of my mind. I was doing long runs with Meera and I longed to tell her what I was thinking of doing but the anxious me says that if I tell people I have to do it. But it was planned. By the time I ran last weekend’s half I knew I was going to do it. But I still kept quiet.

So the premise was: starting at 4pm on Friday I would run a mile every hour on the hour around my estate for 24 hours. But what maniac would stop at 24 when they could do 26.2 and call it a marathon? Not me! So the plan was to start with a couple of two milers to get them done. Snacks were planned. Sleeping was considered.

On Thursday I decided i needed to suck it up and put down what I was doing and so I published an interim blog post. I had decided to use my run time to think about all the people who were struggling, to appreciate what I had and on my post I threw in a comment that if anyone would like to join me in a socially distanced mile, they would be welcome.

I didn’t anticipate the response. Friends replied immediately saying they would love to join me! People are missing events and the camaraderie they bring so much that this was a much needed opportunity to get involved! I was overwhelmed and tearful and a bit shocked to be honest. And anxious. When it was me alone I would be only letting myself down. Now I would be letting other people down too if I failed. Nevertheless I started to build up a timetable and after much worry on Friday, at 4pm I was ready to go. I don’t want to miss anything out so this blog may end up being a mile on mile account. Each person helped me out so much they all deserve the credit!

Miles 1-2 with Meera. Meera has been my consistent buddy through lockdown easing. I love running with her and I was absolutely made up when she offered to run at the start with me. I’d worked out a route and off we went. My leg hurt. This didn’t bode well!

5pm miles 3-4 with Meera. She’s superwoman so whilst I went indoors and worried about my leg she toddled off and ran another 3 miles before coming back to pick me up. On we went chatting away as we were running about what the next 22 hours were going to bring. Leg stopped hurting.

6pm mile 5 with Daria. Daria ran over from home and off we went on a bit of a trial route for me. Daria didn’t seem to mind the prospect of me not knowing my way and I was well pleased when I found it. There’s a long slow up hill followed by a nice gentle down! Really enjoyed the route and chat and Daria left me to go running home, coz she’s amazing!

7pm mile 6 with Karen. I haven’t caught up with Karen for ages and I commented how lovely it was to see people for just a 10-15 minute chat whilst running. She said it was like speed dating and I like that analogy so much I nicked it and have been using it loads! A lovely out and back run!

8pm mile 7 Lynda and Wayne. Lynda buddied me on my very first parkrun and Wayne leads our normal 8pm run club run. They are both fabulous. Wayne’s hair has got well long during lockdown! They run all sorts of routes so we did a mini bit of trail for their mile. They are so supportive it was lovely to have them along. I then dashed indoors to change t shirts and join in the Emily’s star quiz online with the family. I think we came 4th!

9pm mile 8 with Pete and Sadie. I was so looking forward to seeing my lovely friend Pete as I’ve really missed us running together. He’s inspirational as he is stuck together with bits of metal from leg ops and was training for a marathon when this all happened. He also turned up in the loudest orange tshirt ive ever seen, the camera wouldnt focus properly! I was delighted that he brought his wife Sadie along too! She’s a runner I hugely respect and it meant a lot that she wanted to run with little old me! We did a simple circular and ran through a bit that there was definetly some dodgy smoking going on lol! It was a lovely catch up and we did a live video at the end.

10pm mile 9 with Catherine. It was starting to get dark so I dug my headtorch out. I was expecting a nice gentle trundle and took her on the long uphill route with the long down. She was sprinting up the hills and I was puffing along keeping up. We work together and it was lovely to catch up not at work.

I’ll pause here to catch up on how I was feeling. Legs were good. No pains at all. Which is unusual. But then this sort of running is new to me. I was trying to eat little and often to keep my stomach problems at bay. What I was unprepared for was sweating a lot, then getting cold waiting around for the next lap then sweating again and so on. I couldn’t change clothes each time. You live and learn. Hubs had also set up a camp bed in the front room so I could try to get some overnight zeds if possible….. spoiler…. not really possible…..

11pm mile 10 with Tracey. I love Tracey. We did a lot of running together a couple of years back when training for a half. And we ended up in Florida 2 years back and did a very special parkrun there together. Tonight’s run was just a joy. We chatted non stop on an out and back route. I got back and tried to go to sleep but not much happening.

Midnight mile 11 with Louise. I was so looking forward to running with Louise. She is inspirational! She was also in training for her first marathon when old rona came along. Excitement outside my house with a dodgy car hanging about. Cue Louise trying to get a photo of the car number plate by me standing in front of it as decoy! Then we ran up the road and there were 2 police cars waiting there! Talk about drama. Anyway our run was a loop round the roads where we chatted the whole way. Oh and she gave me a bag of jelly babies! They came in handy later! Off Louise went and I tried for more sleep!

As you can see in this picture our house has a string of fairy lights outside. The road sign is missing from our road and I wanted the house to be easy to spot for people!

1am mile 12 with Katie. Now Katie is brilliant. She drove all the way over from Leighton buzzard to run a little old mile. She had had some sad news in the day so a chatty run was needed. Off we trundled with the up and down run I had done a couple of times already. It was a good run and off I went to bed after when I managed about 10 minutes sleep.

2am mile 13 with Katie. Yes you read that right. Katie, because she is a legend went and sat in her car for 45 minutes so she could do another mile with me! Yes really! And so off we went. Fast. Katie beasted me around my mile getting a sub 10 minute mile. That’s fast for me. And we did it at 2am! Bonkers. Oh and we saw a hedgehog. It was a really special little mile.

3am mile 14 with Jason. Now I have amazing friends but no offers for the wee hours which I don’t blame anyone for! So up hubs got and out we went for our out and back mile. I was feeling really tired now and my time was really slow. But it was nice to run with hubs as he’s normally way too fast for me!

4am mile 15 with Jason. This was my hardest mile. I dragged myself out of the door. Jason knew I was feeling awful. It was a case of plod it out and get it done. My legs weren’t bad at all. It was the tiredness that hit me badly. We saw a fox that ran across the road and then watched us for a while. We did a simple road loop.

5am mile 16 with Jason. And it was finally light again to ditch the headtorch. I needed a change of scenery so we took a run around our local rec. 2 laps done and I felt a little better. But better yet…. I got in and took a shower and a change of kit. I felt so much more refreshed and managed a few mouthfuls of porridge to get me going.

6am mile 17 with Tracy. Ahh the excitement of a new friend arriving! It was lovely to see Tracy for a little traily route. It was nice and peaceful out and I felt really blessed to be experiencing it.

7am mile 18. I didn’t have a volunteer for this mile and Jason offered to run it with me but I chose to run alone. Now it was light and felt like a new day, I wanted to reflect on how lucky I had been and would be with the lovely friendships I had. I thought about people who had been alone through lockdown and those who are missing people. I feel fortunate to have had my family to support me but I’m missing friends a lot during this time.

8am mile 19 with Katie. Okay I was apprehensive to say the least. Katie is a bit of a running legend. She is a successful coach and I have taken core classes with her before. She is also really fast. Like, really fast. Why would she want to come and do a mile with me chugging along? Well, Katie likes to see someone doing a challenge and to support them. So I warned her about the pace and off we went. I was huffing away thinking wow this is a bit speedy. Katie is chatting away and I’m answering the best I can. Round the corner to the finish and I gaspingly stop my watch to see I had just done a mile in 9.23. That is unheard of for me! Wow where did that come from? On mile 19 of an endurance event? It just proves that there is always more in you! Absolutely delighted!

9am mile 20 with Beth. I love Beth. She is supportive and just so lovely. Off we went for a gentle trundle along. The sun was out and it was a really nice catch up and a welcome relief to take it easier after being beasted on mile 19! Beth is always so smiley and positive and it was a pleasure to run together! It also dawned on me at the start of this that i had just 2 parkruns to go!

910am mile 21 with Katie. Lovely Katie is the founder of Emily’s Star, the charity that I support. I was stoked that she agreed to come and do a mile with me. We set off for our walking mile and we laughed and chatted non stop. I’m fact I broke my rule of going indoors for a break as soon as possible and stood in the sun chatting about Katie’s upcoming wedding! What could be better than enjoying that as part of an event?

11am mile 22 with Pauline, Kathryn and Steve (And support from Sue!) What a lovely surprise! Pauline was joining me for a mile which was so special as I ran with Pauline at the beginning of my journey when we learnt to run! But as I came outside the front door I had more people! I was touched that Kathryn had come over. We don’t know each other very well but we’re planned to do Race to the Stones together in July so it was super nice of her to come over. Sue and Steve are legendary nice people. I ran some of dirt half with Steve back in November and it was a pleasure to have him along! Sue was our excellent cheer squad and we took on the traily route with Steve hopping about taking lots of pictures! It was relaxed and chatty and I felt so lucky to have them all with me. We then stood outside chatting for ages and Pauline offered to stay and do 12 o clock with me too as I had no one down for it so we sat in the garden chatting!

12 midday mile 23 with Pauline. It was starting to get warm so we did the same tree lined route as before! And it was time for another shower and change. Wow it felt good. My legs were aching but the tiredness was not quite so bad.

1pm mile 24 with Viv. Viv is my boss and totally got me into running. She would come in and chat about parkrun and it sounded such good fun. I was so happy she offered to come and do a mile with me. We had a good catch up and we talked about the challenge and it coming to an end soon. My legs were starting to feel very fatigued by now.

2pm mile 25 with Sophie. My legs were so tired this point I asked Sophie if we could do a bit of a walk with odd run bits lol. Sophie means so much to me as a friend and our 2 laps of the park were really special as I neared the end of my effort. Just one more to go.

3pm mile 26.2 with Diane, Meera, Sadie and Daria. Earlier on I asked if anyone would like to come to the last lap as no one had offered to run it. So imagine my shock when these lovely ladies turned up! I ran last years mk24 with Diane so it was lovely to have her join me here! Coupled with this were returns from people I had run with over the last 24 hours as well as those just coming to wish me well. I was overwhelmed! Everyone stayed well apart to adhere to social distancing! I had to do an extra 0.2 to make my marathon distance and then we did a simple loop. As I ran towards my house a winner’s tape had been strung up and Katie was shaking champagne all over me! What a finish! I was presented with some homemade medals, 1 from my family and the official mk24 one, all of which mean so much to me! I had some lovely well wishes and catch ups with these brilliant people who made it all possible and was finally able to collapse!

And that’s the event done! It really was mk24 done my way. The breadth of people I ran with and who supported the challenge either in person it via Facebook and messenger was just brilliant. Mk24 is such a social event that this run really epitomised that! There was no minimum pace. I was humbled that people would bother to come out for just a mile! And those that travelled a way to do it! Mind blowing! It was a pleasure to catch up with people. It was runners supporting runners just as it should be! There were some tough times through the night and memories I will treasure for a very long time. I’m so lucky people really got behind this! I was also really honoured to do an interview for the redway runners podcast which should be out Monday I believe about the challenge!

Thank you so much everyone. I’m now doing a lot of sleeping and eating all the food!

Mk24 many miles of mindful madness

But more of that in a moment.

Monday I needed a recovery run. I felt tired and the IBS was spiking again. Sigh. It took a lot of proper talking to myself to get out the door. But get out I did. My legs felt heavy and the washing machine feeling wouldn’t go. I was running mile routes around home so at a mile I had to make a home pit stop…… sorry…..

On I went and actually my legs did loosen up. It also gave me the opportunity to try out this beauty!

Last year’s 401 USA challenge was to run as many miles as you could In a year and you got a different t shirt depending which milestone you reached. I got nearly 700 so claimed my 500 mile t shirt!

It really is a lovely top and one I look forward to wearing. Anyway 5k done.

Wednesday was next and I planned a very slow and ploddy 2 miles. What I actually did was a quite pacey 5k. I wasn’t particulary feeling it and it didn’t feel easy but it was good to get a decent time for me.

Ok.

So this weekend should have been mk24. An event organised by redway runners consisting if 6.6 mile laps of which you can do as many or as few as you wish. It was one of my favourite events last year and I’m so sad that due to covid it can’t go ahead. Around a month ago a germ of a silly idea started for me. What if I took mk24 literally? Mk24’s ethos is to run it your way. What if I could run over the full 24 hours? And so a plan was born.

Starting from 4pm on Friday I will be running a mile every hour for 24 hours. So I’ll run a mile at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm….. you get the idea. Finishing on Saturday with a final lap at 3pm.

Of course, I’m not a complete maniac so why on earth would I do 24 miles when I could 26.2 and claim a fake marathon! So laps 1 and 2 will be 2 milers with the final lap adding on the important 0.2.

The biggest challenge is lack of sleep and how it will affect my health. Broken sleep patterns play havoc with IBS and so I have that to manage. Eating. I normally need 2 hours digestion time before a run. Running at night….. say no more. Running from home, I’m not a fan. In fact I really really don’t like it. But I’ve got 6 or 7 one mile routes worked out to try to mix it up.

Coronavirus has also made me and many others examine our mental health and what we can so to relax. I’ve been listening to podcasts such as Happy Place. So I’d like to use my hourly mile to think about something good, something positive, how lucky I am to have running in my life. I’d like to think about those less fortunate than myself and decide how I can be a better person.

I’ll be uploading my miles to Strava throughout the event and will be going live through Facebook sometimes, just to keep myself going. If anybody would like to join me for a mile, either physically socially distanced (message me for my address… miles will be on the hour) or running at the same time as me by tagging it as mk24mmmm, it would be lovely to see others on Strava doing a mindful run too.

It’s not a huge distance. But it’s a challenge for me. Oh and no medal because I’m doing to 3 days too early to count as the official mk24 virtual run! No bloody medal! I know, I’m that stupid…..

Yes, I’m mad. Yes, I know it. The weather forecast looks dodgy. It’s unlikely it will need to postpone but always the possibility. Every challenge I do teaches me that I CAN DO IT. I may have a hidden illness. I may struggle to train my mind to tell myself I can do it. But I’m going to try. Because the only one who can try is Me.

Friday 4pm.

Half time!

I’m not even going to keep you in suspenders….. I DID A HALF MARATHON! WHOOP WHOOP!

Ok now for the rest of the week. This week was about low mileage. No heroics just keep the legs ticking over. Still absolutely boiling. Monday I very nearly went to run with Meera. And then I just wanted it done instead of driving then running. I was waiting into the evening but by 7pm I was absolutely starving so got myself ready to go. I wasn’t feeling it AT ALL. Going through the park was nice, there was a socially distanced game of cricket going on and lot of people enjoying the late sunshine. I was not however because if was like dragging my tired body through treacle trying to run in it. Running in the heat also kicks off the IBS so at mile 1 I had to make a home pit stop 😂. I count that as a win! Anyway, I forced myself back out for 2 more miles and was so glad they were over. Way too hot for me.

Wednesday and I nearly ran with people again. But I’ve just lost my confidence. I’m so worried about letting people down that I didn’t even get that far. Just said I wasn’t coming that morning. Had a bit of a cry about the stupid anxiety. Until the club gets back up and running I can’t see me running with many people. I feel a bit lonely running wise apart from my lovely weekly run with Meera (spoiler alert…. and Daria this week).

Anyway, so it was 5k on my own. The weather was finally cooler! And even a bit of rain! Woohoo! The difference as I stepped out the door was immense! I could actually breathe! I actually managed 5k non step with no walking breaks which is a miracle at the moment. I had some good pace and felt comfortable.

So that was it. No more running until the Saturday. For a half marathon. A half is ALWAYS a big deal whether it’s a big race, small race, with friends, on your own or part of a bigger training plan. Myself and Meera had planned this half with building up each week and we deciding to go back to wolverton to do it. It’s so pretty round the nature reserve. So I was trying to sort out a route. And then our friend Daria asked to come! Daria is an incredible runner. She’s strong and consistent! She’s also bloody lovely and leads us out on Tuesday night. So of course anxiety is then back again that I won’t be able to find a decent route for Saturday. The plan was to take in the cattle creep route and do some extra….

Saturday morning dawned fresh and windy. A welcome change from the heat. I met Meera and Daria at 9am and off we went. Despite all my panicking the first four miles of my extra bit route absolutely flew by. Despite being a little unsure of the way we muddled by and thankfully then back on to the cattle creep route. Much quieter out today because the weather wasn’t quite so good! Up the hill and to the really old church (dunno how old…. old old) and we stopped for a photo and nearly got swept off the hill by the wind

My worst bit of the route is along the main road. The path is wide but I found myself running ahead just because i want to get off the road!

At around mile 9 we hit the cattle creep. Instead of heading through it we went up the steps to a real Milton Keynes wonder….. the canal aquaduct! It really is awesome standing on it with the river under us and the canal being carried over! Absolutely awesome.

Unfortunately from here we could look down and see that the bit of path which was collapsed a few weeks ago that we traversed to avoid the diversion before is being repaired and therefore now completely impassable. Drats. That meant we would have to do the 2k diversion advertised.

So bit of a replan. My route had been to take us along the canal to the Navigation pub, turn round and come back. After a conflab we decided to do 1 mile up and back. The path wasn’t as bad as I had feared and we saw lots of ducks, some swans and an excellent array of cows!

Back to the aquaduct and back down so we could go through the cattle creep.

At the diversion we checked out where it said we should go and duly set off. Now more frequent readers may be noting the absence of any moaning. There was actually very little. My back was starting to hurt now at 11 miles but my legs felt okay and I was generally quite chipper.

The diversion turned out to be shorter than it said it was and after saying hello to more cows we came back past old old church for the last bit of the route.

But if course it wasn’t the last bit because we found ourselves at the end at 12 miles. 12 miles is not a half. Double drats. Back out to the very first bit of our route again. Daria pipes up “let’s see where this car park goes”. Now this could find us a bonus fabulous extra bit….. or not….. we ended up on a main road with no path so along the side of a road on the grass verge we went! We knew where we were at least and after a little round up near the car we were done! 13.1 done. Think the time was around 2.29ish. Today wasn’t really about time. But just being able to get the distance done and enjoy it.

No knee pain. No IT band pain. Toes and back hurt but apart from that I felt really pretty okay! It was a really nice route and lovely company to complete it in! I’m absolutely delighted.

And what’s a half without a medal….. hubs got creative! 😂😂😂

A bath and a chill in front of telly beckoned but I was left with the most terrible headache all afternoon….. like blinding. It was horrible and I mainly out it down to not being hydrated enough before I went out. Drinking more the couple of days before the rin

So…. half complete. What’s next? Well I do like a challenge and I am a bit daft and have really stupid ideas so there is a plan….. watch this space…… I hope I can do it. Anxiety may well let me down but eyes peeled people…..

A tough week!

Well they are all tough really. Things are being eased further lockdown wise which has brought out many many idiots. Sigh. It’s half term this week and I’ve been on leave. Blossom my year 6er is going back to school Wednesday so this week, without knowing it I suppose I am a bit anxious. Not about old rona but about the changes to the kids lives.

Anyway. Less melancholy. As I say it’s half term so we took the kids on a walk at Aspley Woods. Now, I’ve only ever been up there in the pitch black with a swamp to run through and the possibility of disappearing for ever more into the seas of mud so it was a pleasant experience to see it in the daylight! The rhodedendrons were out and looking beautiful

We found many hills and an old wreck of a house. Kids were hot but we all really enjoyed it. We didn’t take enough water with us though!

Me and hubs then spent a lovely chilled day in the garden and I beat him at Scrabble! Never happens!

Tuesday dawned with cant-be-arsed-itis. I knew I needed a run but just couldn’t be bothered. I procrastinated for ages before dragging myself up to the North Bucks Way for a shady run. It’s so dry up there right now you’re in real danger of turning an ankle so I took it careful.

So I’m trundling away and came across a family with dogs in front of me. I called that I was coming up behind them. The path is quite narrow at this point. Just a dirt furrow in the centre with a little patch of grass at each side, the whole path is probably 1.5m wide at a push so we all just do our best. The very nice family moved right over onto the grass and I thanked them and went past swiftly on the other side of grass. That, people, is how it should be done.

Less than a minute later a gentleman comes running towards me. I dutifully stepped off the dirt furrow and onto the grass. He continues up the furrow. Still going. And still going. He was getting closer and not moving. Now I’m not a corona obsessive. I social distance as much as possible and try to stuck to the rules. Prat runner did not care. He was about 5 metres from me and I shouted him to move over. He ignored me and brushed right past me. I shouted at him that he was an ignorant idiot. He wouldn’t have cared. Anyway I continued my run and actually went a bit faster in case he was a murderer and was going to chase me down for shouting at him.

On the nbw there is lots of little paths going off into the wood. I’ve never taken one. Why? Coz it’s downhill. That sounds lovely I hear you cry. A downhill must be followed by an uphill shortly after 😂. Anyway, with the chance of axe murderer lurking I took a path down. It was very dodgy underfoot due to the rutted path but just beautiful. I came out on a field and as I was alone I trundled round the edge of the field and the wood singing away to my music. Thankfully no one had to hear me!

I got home really full of happiness. 5 miles done and I felt really really good. Here is also a good point to draw your attention to this year’s shorts twat tan. Horrific.

Thursday I got up feeling unwell. I haven’t been eating well and looking after myself and IBS was getting bad. I procrastinated for ages and eventually got myself ready and set out. At a third of a mile I stopped. I felt unwell, my stomach was churning and anxiety kicking in. I got myself going again and at a mile I passed my front door. I still felt crap. I dithered a bit then thought I would carry on with laps of the park. I managed a quarter of a mile more and gave in and walked home. I was due a bad run. And that was it. I try not to let it get to me but it’s very difficult. Especially after my good Tuesday run. I did however enjoy my porridge in the garden when I got home.

Oh and I took a picture of my lunch because it was awesome. I had salad with salmon, new potatoes and hard boiled egg.

So Saturday was on its way again. It’s absolutely bloody boiling and we have a long run planned. Hmm. Me and Meera decided to meet earlier so 8am it was. It’s nice to go somewhere different so we picked Howe park wood. I’ve done a 10 miler from there before and so tweaked the route a bit to make it 11.5. We started with an uphill which I know meera was actually cursing me for! Round the edge of howe wood and Shenley wood and the estate to pick up the North Bucks Way in a direction I’ve not done before. It was beautiful but very rutted so real care to be taken. We then got on to Tattenhoe Valley Park. This is a long linear run all the way up to furzton lake. Lots of shade and good paths, it was a lovely morning to run. Lots of space so social distancing not a problem.

Our duck friends.

We hit the edge of furzton lake and quickly scooted away as it was already getting busy. At some point I’d managed to pause my watch and not restart it so didn’t have a clue what I was doing. We found a gorgeous trail path which would lead us to teardrops lake. At this point it’s worth pausing to make a stunning proclamation. Meera needed a wee. And though a few years of running, many half marathon training and marathon training Meera has never had to do a wild wee! I feel such pride! 😂😂😂

By this point we were really hot and starting to suffer a bit. This was around 7 miles now. Then we saw a man running in a black tracksuit with a woolly hat on…… I can only assume he usually runs in the Sahara desert and thought Milton Keynes in May would be a bit parky.

Round teardrops and back to furzton. Dodging people and back on tattenhoe valley park for the return run. By this point we were both struggling. We had plenty of water but the heat was relentless and my back and hips were not my friends. We bumped into a Redway Runner friend for a much appreciated little chat. We knew we had just a mile left to go. That last mile was tough. As is always the case, we arrived back half a mile short and so had to pass the cars and carry on to get finished. I grimaced to Meera that I wasn’t doing a toenail over 11.5 miles! Finally we finished! Hooray! It’s good to get it done but that was one of the hardest long runs I have done. Thank goodness Meera was there or I wouldn’t have been able to do it!

It was a good route and one I would definitely do again! Just not in the heat!

My plan was a recovery run Sunday but my shins were a little niggly. I’m tired and my ankles and calfs are achy! So a rest it is. Absolutely over the moon with finishing May on just a hair over 80 miles! My biggest mileage for a year! Next weekend the plan is to do a half marathon! Halfs are always an achievement no matter if they are an event, a training run or a local effort! It looks to be much cooler next weekend and I’m looking forward to it but obviously apprehensive! Bring it on!

A four run week!

That doesn’t sound that brilliant but I’ve been plodding away at 3 runs a week for ages so it was nice to do 4 and I’ll tell you how it came about later (mystery and intrigue….). BoJo still says we can go out as much as we like and meet 1 person 2 metres away. Idiots read: forget social distancing, stand next to everyone, take your kids to the beach with eleventy billion other people whilst loudly proclaiming “I won’t be sending my kids back to school til September…. it’s not safe”. Much eye rolling and tongue biting has gone on this week. But this is my blog so I’ll write what I like here! On that note, it looks like smallest child will go back to school after half term. To a very different landscape but she wants to go and the plans seem very thorough. Watch this space.

Anyway, running.

So this week had hot days. I’m not kidding. I hate the hot. Swamp arse and boob river. I can’t breathe in it and my legs don’t work (more than usual). Tuesday morning I set my alarm early as I knew I just wouldn’t do it later in the day. Off I went at 5.37am. It was lovely and cool with no one about. 4 miles completed and home to get ready for work. I felt really good but work was a different matter. I yawned all morning and by the afternoon I was half asleep at my desk! Need to rethink this…..

Thursday morning I had all good intentions of getting out early. Alarm went off. I failed to get up with it. I’d planned to get up and do 4 miles but by the time I dragged my sorry ass out of bed it was too late and so I set off for a 3 miler. Much cooler this morning and I caught the sun looking lovely

I was really pleased with my pace and even more pleased that I managed to do 5k in one big loop rather than having to run up and down my road 100 times….

Friday brought Joe Wicks back to my life. During lockdown I’ve been working from home on a Friday which means it gives hubs a day off from Joe the Sadist. I took it easy this week as I knew I had a long run on Saturday and last week he nearly killed me.

Saturday dawned bright and cool. I was once again meeting with Meera and the aim was to do 10 miles. After last week’s piss poor performance by me because id been Joe Wicksd the day before I was determined to not be so crap in fear that Meera wouldn’t run with me again. We met at 9 at caldicotte pub (shut, obvs) ready to go. We were both channelling proper athletes with our hydration vests on. Olympics better watch out.

We started out with a loop of the lake as we thought later there would be loads of dog walkers. Couple of runners passed and a couple of dog walkers encountered but our biggest challenge was the wind. It was very exposed where we were and we were getting almost knocked off our feet. As we came to the far side of the lake we found our turning off to Ouzel Valley Park. It’s a really beautiful route along the river with lots of cattle grids and gates to open (read this as hopefully lots of stopping for a breather). It was much less windy here. As we were going along I was keeping an eye on my watch. We were trundling along at a cracking pace. Had to keep telling ourselves to slow down…. didn’t work…. we just went fast again 😂. Even the gates didn’t slow us down that much. We did force ourselves to stop to look at some cows….

Excellent photography skills as usual.

As we hit willen lake we ran a small part of it and then turned to do the same route home. There was a moment of contemplation about whether we should go back on the left hand side of the river (no gates) or the right (loads of gates again). We chose the right because gates mean stops! Lol.

We were still going at an excellent pace. As we got back to caldicotte we needed a little round up. We didn’t talk much during mile 10. 1. Knackered 2. Meera was fed up of talking to me…..

10. Miles. Done. Yes! And it was one of the quickest I had ever done. I wore my injinji toe socks. Maybe they have magical powers?

After a 10 minute chat in the car park on how awesome we are we said our goodbyes and off I went for home. The sky looked dark. The moment I stepped indoors every weather system was unleashed. Rain, wind, hail! We had timed it perfectly. Although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to go straight back out for a run in it…. love a rain run.

Anyway splits were great. All under 11 min miles, except mile 7…. I don’t know what I was doing then?

So Saturday afternoon I was sat at home and sent a picture of my toe to my friend Bridget. Nothing kinky, we are both convinced our trainers are out to kill us and our toes are gradually peeling off from our bodies. Bridget congratulated me on the grimness of my foot and I likewise. Then she told me just what she was up to. She has ran every day for neatly 2 months. And not just a mile. Oh no. Between 3 and 11 miles every day. Amazing (and a bit bonkers). After a long run the last thing I want to do is another run the day after. But I wanted to see how it felt. So channelling Bridget, up I got on Sunday morning and dragged myself out for 3 miles. I’m not going to lie. Lap 1 hurt. A lot. My glutes were slowly dying and my blistered toe was growing new blisters of its own. But I actually got into it. I completed 3 miles and now, a few hours later I feel pretty good. No real pain. A bit tired. But a recovery run is often a really good thing. I’m going to try to do one after a long run if I can.

Bad morning hair.

So 20.3 miles done this week. That’s really good for me. Go me. I’m starting to think of a new challenge to do after this half too….. watch this space!

We’re easing….. slowly

So Boris came on the telly box on Sunday to say we could exercise outside as much as we liked, also a load of confused words about going to work and looks like Bloss might go back to school on 1st June. We will see. However in terms of running the biggest difference for me is that you can drive to exercise, which is a game changer because 8 weeks of running from home is killing me. And also you can meet with one other person 2 metres apart in an open space! Woohoo! This means I can meet with 1 person to run with! What a huge difference it will make, more on that later!

Tuesday I took myself out for a local run. Hubs does the food shop normally on a Tuesday and I run at the same time so we can have the evening together. Tuesday is normally my very local 3 miler. Just loops of my estate or up and down the road. I felt really good so took myself for a bigger longer loop. I noticed my pace on the first mile was really very good for me. I paid for it later but for the first mile or so I felt good!

After a slow up hill I then had some glorious downhills to contend with. With hazy sunshine the lake was looking lovely.

I ended up doing 4 miles which I was very pleased with as it’s not what I had planned.

Thursday I was feeling a bit juddery. IBS is hitting me in horrible waves at the moment. I just don’t know when it’s going to be a problem. So I thought I’d have another go at a cross roads run. From a centre point (my house) you run in 4 different directions. In my case I wanted 4 miles so would run half a mile in each direction. Completed 1 and 2. But 2 was down a huge hill and I realised I was too hot and couldn’t be arsed to go back up it so carried on for the shade of the North Bucks Way lol.

The cow parsley really is beautiful at the moment. I love running here so much! I felt so much better and after initially thinking I wasn’t going to manage the heat I felt okay by the time I was done. Oh I ran 0ast these beautiful flowers too and couldn’t resist a picture.

Now onto the excitement of Saturday. Dearest BoJo has declared we are allowed to hang out with one other person as long as we stay 2 metres apart! Woohoo! Me and Meera decided to meet for a long run. Before the announcement I was planning just 6 miles, meera wanted 8 and I was so happy to be out with someone I agreed wholeheartedly! We are both sick to death of running around where we live so we met in Wolverton to take a jaunt over the Stony nature reserve. Meeting at 9 we were the only ones in the car park. It felt so so so so so so good to run and chat! Lots of very friendly dog walkers about and lots of gates to open

I did PE with Joe Wicks and kids on the Friday do my butt was really achy so it didn’t feel as comfortable as it should have but I loved every single minute. We followed the cattle creep route which is beautiful and includes an old cattle tunnel which you need to crouch to go through. Good fun! We did nearly come unstuck when we found a bit of path closed where the path was broken down to a stream underneath. The diversion was 1.5km extra. Sod that. We precariously balanced on a bit of wood and a rock and climbed a fence over the water. You’ll be pleased to know that Meera’s new trainers were unharmed in this escapade.

After getting back to the car park we then did a further 1.5 miles to reach 8 miles by heading into Stony town centre. Way too busy and we ended up running in the middle of the road to stay away from people. We got back to the cars well happy with our run and it really did make a huge difference running with someone. It definetly cemented for me that even after 8 weeks of running alone I am a social runner!

So 16 miles this week completed. Not too shabby and I feel good heading into next week. Let’s see where things take us……

Hot, hot, hot!

I’m like a broken bloody record. Still locked down. BoJo is on the telly later but I can’t see him changing much.

I’ve actually had a pretty good week motivation wise. I wanted to do three runs this week and three I did. After my long run last Sunday, I took a couple of days off to rest my legs. Finished work on Tuesday I set out for a 5k. Maaaaan it was hot. Boiling. And then some roadworkers were right on the path I was running down. So I couldn’t walk because that’s the law…. my time was fairly good for me but I was so sweaty it wasn’t fun!

This week I have started my lovely friend Lyndas mile a day charity fundraiser. If I haven’t ran I have got out for a walk. Today has been wet, cold and windy but I had to get out to post a mini pack for Emily’s Star, a local charity I volunteer for. When a request for a pack for a 3lb, 4lb or 5lb baby comes in, we are sent off to post it out. This means that if any of the volunteers are isolated due to coronavirus, the packs will still go out. A request for a 3lb baby girl arrived this morning so off I went to the post box to send this lovely set of tiny clothes on its way

I carried on to get my mile in but was glad to get home! Brrr chilly!

Thursday I got home from work and got myself ready to go for a run. It was really warm and sadly my stomach wasn’t playing fair with me. I changed the route I was planning but I really struggled. I felt hot and panicky for the first half of the run.

At the end of the second mile I made another route change and I felt much better as I purposely stuck to shady areas with tree cover. I stopped for a moment to appreciate the wild flowers growing at the side of an estate.

Friday brought a bank holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. Lots of people hosted their own front garden parties and on our evening walk it was lovely to see people enjoying the beautiful weather, with their decorations up and chatting to people as they passed.

As the weekend drew nearer I had to make the decision on my long run. Sunday was due to be cooler than Saturday but going Saturday would then give me Sunday off before work on Monday. Saturday run won and I planned to leave early. Now, as regular readers will remember, I suffer from IBS and need to give time to eat and settle before a run. The day was due to be hot and I wanted to be out by 7.30 to beat the heat. This means I need to be up at 5.30. Zzzzz. Best laid plans and all that. I eventually set off at 7.45. I had toyed with a couple of routes but eventually settled on a bit of a lake tour!

Lodge lake looking lovely

Surprisingly my first 5k felt pretty comfortable. My pace was slow and I had a good podcast going on which kept me smiling. There were lots of people about but most were smiley and friendly. As I hit teardrops lakes I stopped for a drink and to take in the lakes, looking calm and peaceful in the early sunshine

After teardrops I came to furzton lake. It’s a real hotspot for exercise having lots of housing estates all around it and so I chose not to go round the lake but skirt it and pick up Tattenhoe valley park

Furzton in the sunshine.

It was lovely running through tattenhoe park as lots of it is under trees and so much cooler. It’s also a route we often do on Sunday step up and also with Darias Westside 10k run which I’m really missing.

Stepping stones.

A quick stop to look at the map on my phone and I veered off into Emerson valley. I knew this was uphill and I walked a fair bit up the hills whilst looking at my map. I recognised some bits and then I took a wrong turning. Sigh. I trundled along for a bit trying to get my bearings. I should have been heading for Shenley wood but found myself veering off and nowhere near to pick the route back up. I re routed myself through Oxley park to pick to the north bucks way earlier than planned. I came to a massive hill and was about to walk up it when a lady on a bike with a trailer started coming down. Oh no, I would have to run (its the law). As I passed the lady near the top she said to me “well done you, keep going!” You wouldn’t believe what a boost this gave me! Once I got into the woods at least I knew where I was! It was lovely in the woods and I was enjoying trundling along at my own pace.

I came out of the woods knowing I had about half a mile to home and wasn’t quite at 9 miles. I was feeling pretty good so decided to carry on to get 10 miles. I was so pleased with my distance and I didn’t feel horrendous. Tired, yes. But really positive!

So a good 17 miles completed this week and I’m feeling really positive about my running at the moment. I can’t help but think of where I would be on my race to the stones journey right now. But it can’t be helped. Keeping my running up will hopefully mean I’m in a good position when we are able to restart events.

As I write this BoJo has just been on. No huge changes except that you can exercise outside as much as you like from this week and you can drive to somewhere to exercise. Please follow the rules, I’m begging you.

Stay safe everyone. I miss everyone so much and just want this all over.