running blog


A Slow start

A better day weather wise but I still didn’t manage to run so a very slow start to Janathon for me this year.  I think my Janathon will get started properly this weekend when I’m back in London and  can hopefully catch up, just as some are maybe finding the early enthusiasm beginning to wane!  Even if it is a bit frustrating for my competitive streak not to feature on the totals table yet!

If truth be told I’m very frustrated, I ran over Christmas and I want to run now but I’ve lost my nerve on the roads round here and it’s a bit tricky fitting in an outing to run elsewhere at the moment.  I had the same problem in the summer, when I’m here my running stalls.  For a rural area the roads they are quite busy and carry coaches and vans and the local youth’s past time appears to be zooming around in a hot hatch seeing who can flip it on its roof first! (Kid you not…I read in the local paper that a rubbish lorry ended up on its roof last week!) and I find it quite disconcerting to run on undulating twisty roads with high hedges not knowing what’s coming at me at 40 mph round a blind corner!  I used to run here a lot, but over the past year have had a couple of close shaves which have left me a bit scared. I’m a city girl and I prefer pavements and street lights and the ability to run whether it’s light or dark and even when it’s pouring with rain!

But I’m not moaning in 2014.   We came down for New Year for a purpose, it’s not for too long and as long as I get some runs in Fri, Sat and Sunday I can meet the minimum I need to do for my marathon training.

So that brings me to today’s exercise…

I really liked this comment I got yesterday from jacksmumontherun

“Mooching must count as exercise – it’s a doing word. It must be it ends in ing ;-)”

and have embraced this approach for Janathon.

Today I did some eating,


That was a tough one…

and some shifting and lifting of books, stuff and half the furniture upstairs for tomorrow’s carpet fitting

and to work off at least one of those chips (which I couldn’t finish by the way) I took my sons out walking.  It wasn’t very far because a big black cloud came and rained on us and also because the village loop is only 0,70 miles anyway.  We did however add a little bit of sprinting (as much as boots would allow) to the next lamppost when the downpour started.



Abso-bloomin-lutely!  Although I might argue that this morning it was a good call staying in bed for self-preservation and not being a mere wimp.

Not a great start for day 1 of my 4th Janathon when for the first time I did not get up for a New Years Day morning run. I had set my alarm and when it went off at 8am all I could hear was the rain on the roof and the wind rattling the windows.  Isle of Wight Rural roads might be quiet enough on New Years morning to be safe for a road run but today it was dark all day and the wind was blowing the rain horizontally. My OH didn’t seem keen for any kind of cycle, I didn’t much fancy being blown across the road into a car and had plenty to get done today without adding a half hour car ride each way to somewhere more convenient to run,

Jo suggested, on twitter, a bed plank but by then I was already up.

I decided on a Dressing Gown dash to get some logs in.  I found a dressing gown but realised the logs were already inside.

I did paint some skirting boards, a door frame and a cupboard and wondered if that would count?

I climbed a ladder and repainted a bit of wall thinking that painting and climbing ladders at the same time was better.

I still felt guilty so did 10 press-ups and 10 squats and a plank.

Then I read some blogs (I promise to comment properly tomorrow and not just press ‘like”, it’s just that most of the time I only had one paint free finger) contemplated a bit and decided:  Sod guilty.  I’ll catch up with running, Janathon  and my training tomorrow, at the weekend, in due course, especially when I’m back in London.

So today I enjoyed mooching with my family in front of movies and getting this house fixed up and beautiful ready to sell so we can move on to our next adventure.


Isle of Wight – come on down the water’s everywhere!



I am pleased to report that I am on the road to recovery following a recent bout of ‘Can’t Be Arsed to Run’ disease. After 16 days of no exercise whatsoever I started my recovery by dragging myself to Medina (IOW) parkrun on Saturday morning. Well it was my birthday and I had to prove I’m not completely over the hill (yet) although I am obviously getting into that really annoying middle-aged ‘can’t work out technology’ stage because I failed to press ‘Go’ on my garmin.

Just as well really because I’m not in a big hurry to see my split times after an ‘interesting’ run. The combination of fresh legs, feel-good effect of running again mixed with what 16 days inactivity had done to my cardiovascular fitness left me red-faced, huffing and puffing after a rather optimistic fast start. After a mile or so I was feeling somewhat breathless, light-headed and queasy. I carried on at a more appropriate pace and recovered to have a few chats with overtaking runners and finish in a respectable enough time, not quite my slowest parkrun.

CBA disease affects me once or twice a year. Usually in school holidays at Christmas or in the Summer, when I am out of my normal routine, there are friends or family to hang out with and drink wine with or too many teenagers moping around causing chaos. It’s normally when we are staying on the Isle of Wight and symptoms include much winging, whining, moaning and gnashing of teeth accompanied with complaints about not wanting to run on too busy twisting country roads, the wrong sort of weather or lack of nearby BMF classes.

The decent summer weather in the UK made it particularly bad this year and although I hung out on the beach and even went in the sea the few moments when my feet were not touching the bottom can probably not be classed as exercise or swimming!



Medina IOW parkrun at Gurnard

It was wet and windy when I looked out of the window first thing this morning. Did I fancy going to parkrun in horizontal rain? Would I rather go back to sleep? It is however Juneathon and as I’ve run 3 parkruns, 3 weeks in a row, it would be a shame not to make it 4 while I can.

So my long-suffering OH gave me a lift to the other side of the Isle of Wight where (fortunately it wasn’t raining) I got a warm welcome from a friendly bunch of parkrunners on a grey windy day.

It was my third run at medina IOW parkrun but a first run at one of their alternative courses. The parkrun was at Gurnard today (first used over the winter I think when everywhere else was too wet) because of the festival last week at their regular venue and because of Armed Forces Day today at their Appley Park alternative.

gurnard parkrun

This course is along the seafront from Gurnard to Cowes and back (plus a short double back at the start). It’s run on smooth pavement and is absolutely flat. A lovely fast course with PB potential. Today unfortunately it was very windy. I set a PB first mile as I literally flew the first half with the wind behind me. After the turnaround point at half way the course curved back into the wind and it became hard work.

I caught up with one of the regular U14 runners who was struggling running against the wind and she tucked in behind me to get respite from it for a short stretch. It was hard going but I found some motivation from having someone close behind me to keep working and trying not to slow down too much. We finished together and by this time the sun had come out and I was suddenly feeling pretty warm.

An IOW parkrun PB of 1 whole second for me today. A slightly slower overall time than last week at Wormwood Scrubs but because of slight differences in the distance run, today was a 5K pace PB for me at 7.55 minute/mile. Just got to work on running a whole parkrun as fast as my first mile today!

Juneathon day 22. 3.11 miles in 24.37 mins.

4th parkrun in 4 weeks. Getting the parkrun bug!


West Wight 3 Hills

West Wight 3 Hills

The second Easter race from Ryde Harriers on Easter Monday was the West Wight 3 Hills. I expected the race to be the more challenging of the two however because I was mentally prepared for it I actually found it easier in a ‘this is tough but I’m still doing it’ sort of way and was relieved to have hills and not the leg sapping ankle-deep mud.

The first two miles were a small loop up a hill and back into Freshwater, lulling me into a ‘I can do these hills’ state of mind. If only I knew! From there the course began to climb, and climb. At first on small country roads, then out onto footpaths and Headon Warren. We climbed up and up and eventually I walked (I realised I was faster walking than a few runners around me) where I could admire the view back over the Solent to Hurst Castle. Towards the top I tore myself away from the view and got running again on sandy trails through the gorse brining us out right above the Needles park, its cable car and a view of Alumn Bay and the Needles before we dropped down to road level.

I could then see a line of runners up to the downs in the near distance in front of me climbing up a pretty much vertical bank. There were actually footsteps worn into the grass almost like steps up the bank and at the steepest point I resorted to four-wheel drive. Thanks to all those bunny hops, bear crawls and squats recently my legs only felt like jelly by the top rather than being actually turned to jelly.

Once I regained my composure we ran across the downs battered by the cold wind and on to the last climb up Tennyson Down to the Tennyson monument. At this stage all I could see was cloud and grass as we were above everything else and thought that maybe I should recite a bit of Tennyson poetry if I could remember (knew) any.

Then came the best bit with a fast decent from the top of the downs into Freshwater bay before the last mile or so home. It wasn’t too steep and on nice soft grass so I stopped myself from holding back and went for it passing a few people on the way down and seeing my garmin show a decent bit of pace similar to some of my best interval miles.

Another small, well organised friendly race with 110 finishers. Possibly one of the most challenging races I’ve run and certainly the most scenic. I am surprised that more people haven’t found these two great multi terrain Easter races which at 7 and (just under) 8 miles can give you a couple of shiny new PBs and not affect your 10K/10mile/HM stats. They are certainly worth combining with an Easter break on the Island. Ryde Harriers put on a very good race and the Isle of Wight supplies some stunning scenery.

7.82 miles in 1.16.01. Elevation 820ft gain… 784ft loss. (garmin stats here)


Newport to Ryde 7

Was it anything like I expected? No. Was it fun? Yes, once I got really stuck into the lovely mud in the woods!


Yesterday I ran the first of the two Easter races organised by Ryde Harriers here on the Isle of Wight. It’s described as a multi terrain race and I expected that the off-road bits would probably be mainly on cycle paths and hard trails. However we were warned at the start to expect ‘everything and anything’ from marshes to mud plus fallen trees across the path. They were right. At this stage I regretted forgetting to put on my trail shoes and wondered how much grip my adizero adios would have in the mud, although I felt more sorry for the man standing next to me in brand new bright white running shoes.

The race starts from a small huddle in the middle of a road at the edge of Newport then heads out under an underpass into a dull housing estate before cutting through an alley over a stile up into a muddy field. Someone in front of me didn’t take the ‘hope you’ve got your shoe laces done up well’ seriously as he was digging his shoe out of the ankle deep mud by mile 2. From there it was on up through a farm out onto open grassy fields (marsh) with some great views back across the Solent before we climbed a serious of stiles leading us into the woods and muddy tracks where we found the fallen tree we’d been warned about.

My shoes were surprisingly ok in the mud as long as I used the slip sliding as forward movement. At least they were light for tip-toeing across the boggy sections and picking out the dryer patches along the edge of the ruts and puddles. They also didn’t pick up a load of mud on the bottom to weigh me down which my trail shoes often do.

newport to ryde

Then on, the race had a good variety of hard trails, small country roads, footpaths and pavement, undulating with some sharp ups and one nice long downhill. A cut right through the woods at Firestone Copse reminded me of Thunder Run and just when my feet were drying out we were treated to more churned up mud on a grassy downhill before a short killer climb to the last few hundred metres towards the finish.

A small friendly race, with 87 finishers. I was 12th out of 23 women and 5th in my age category! (ok so there were only 6 of us). Well organised with chip timing on race numbers (which to keep down costs are given back and re-used). It was very well marshalled with encouragement and directions at all the important junctions and stopping the traffic at road crossings plus a half way water station and a jelly baby from the marshal who sent us up a bank into the woods. No medal but we did get the useful yellow kit bag as a memento.

All in all a challenging (made more so because of wet conditions in the past few months), varied, fun (if you like running around the woods in the mud) small and friendly multi terrain race with some good scenery. Definitely worth a go if you are visiting IOW for Easter and at 7 miles it can give you a shiny new pb

7.09 miles in 67.21. Elevation, 516ft gain… 363ft loss



Change of plan

My marathon training plan is for 5 runs a week and I have to admit that I’ve been stuggling to fit them all in, especially during the school holidays, while on the Isle of Wight and having visitors.  In the 4 weeks since I started I’ve only managed to run 5 times in the week of Thunder run and 3 of those runs were on the same day so that’s probably cheating.

Some weeks I’ve felt a bit stressed about the fact I’m not doing all the runs I’m supposed to until it dawned on me that rather than beating myself up about not being able to follow this marathon training plan and throwing in the towel, I just have the wrong plan for me and I should get a new one.

So I had a look around on the internet and was very happy to find the Runners World Smart Coach which suggested 3 runs a week (with 4 days rest, or cross training which I can add when I get back to BMF etc in a couple of weeks).  The long runs are the same but there is longer mileage in one of the mid-week ones.  Not rocket science as my son had already suggested I should just do fewer but longer runs.  However the problem with this plan is that it is a little more technical with speed and tempo intervals, which I really should do, but 3x1600m at a precise pace is not necessarily possible on an uneven trail, round bendy roads when car dodging nor if the next 1600m is straight up a hill.

So, my new plan is… No plan!  Well until September at least.  I am simply going to continue to do my gradually increasing long runs as well as trying to increase my total mileage by 10% each week, in whatever combination of runs I can.

While I’m on the subject of change of plans… I had planned to run the Isle of Wight Half Marathon today.  However, I really didn’t fancy an undulating road race, starting at 11am in temperatures of 26 degrees.  A race that will have to wait for yet another year to run.  Instead I went out early (for me) at 8am and ran a slow loop of tree-shaded road, seafront and trails. A great route but tough going as it was already pretty hot. I also need to pay a little more attention in route planning for next time because I didn’t reckon on the non-stop climb back up from sea level between miles 7 and 9.


Unofficial parkrun

When going to parkrun it is useful, as well as remembering your barcode, to check that the parkrun is on before you leave home!

Full of parkrun enthusiasm from running Conkers last week with Louise and Alma and thinking it would be a good way of getting today’s run done, I was up and out to parkrun this morning.  Unfortunately there was no one there and I soon found out by checking the web site (thank goodness for smart phones) that no-one was going to turn up either because the parkrun was staying at its alternative festival venue at the other side of the island for the summer while the ground recovers and grass re-grows.

Fortunately I wasn’t the only one in the wrong place so in the spirit of parkrun we decided to run it anyway because I knew the route.  A sociable trot round with Gary and his son Jack from Newcastle and Mike from Birmingham picking up a few marathon training tips along the way.


Longestdayrun part 2

Juneathon day 24.

8.36 miles

Juneathon running total…  108.7 miles

Most sensible people would have done my two runs this weekend the other way round I thought to myself as I set out this morning on less than fresh legs and remembered that the first mile was uphill!  Yesterday might have been 12 miles but it was FLAT and on smooth traffic free surfaces so I rolled along to my 1980’s anthems.  Today I had hills, trails, roads and traffic, no music and more hills.  The only good part was that OH who accompanied me today on his bike found some of the uphill bits far harder than I did and had to walk! Ha hah ha ha!! Servers him right for telling me he was free wheeling for the previous 3 miles!

But I loved it!

It was a great mix of off-road, on road and ups and downs so never got boring.  I loved it mainly because I could do it, and run 20 miles in 24 hours. I even think I could have managed the 24 in 24 if I’d pushed myself and got a bit more organised.  I was late setting out this morning waiting for my blooming garmin, which had gone flat over night, to charge up .  So I finished today’s run with only 10 mins to go before the noon deadline. I even ran a 8.35 minute mile for mile 8, just shows how great smooth flat tarmac feels after ups and downs and uneven wet grass and mud!

It’s been a great weekend following everyone participating in Longestday run on twitter and dailymile with great achievements from people running from 1 mile to over 60 miles. Next year I know I can run marathon distance or better!