running blog


Longestdayrun part 1.

Juneathon day 23

We got to the Isle of Wight with no problems last night after the reported chaos of the day before, even with two cancelled evening ferries. Country to what the news would have us believe, the news the Isle of Wight is open for business and not flooded nor sunk by bad weather! It was water-logged fields which prevented festival goers from entering the mud logged car parks and caused grid lock on the island.. So business as usual and everyone is having a lovely, but muddy time at the festival. Although it was sad to read that some local pupils had missed their gcse exams because of the traffic problems on Friday morning and that the school (next to the festival site) has planned to close on monday.

Anyway, this weekends Juneathon efforts have required a little more planning than normal because of the longest day challenge. The challenge is to run as many miles as you can in 24 hours, between noon Saturday and noon Sunday, or another 24 hour period. I had previously toyed with the idea of trying to run 24 miles (12 and 12) but as my week went on I was rapidly down grading my plans to 10 and 10 then 8 and 8….

I knew that Sunday morning was going to be the hardest to get some miles in as I’m not a morning person and my running options directly outside my door involve busy roads and many hills that are best tackled early not to mention on fresh legs! So I had in the back of my mind to see how my planned 10 miles went today maybe extending it to 12.

I fuelled up after a lie in with a big bowl of cereal and toast and prepared myself for the 12pm kickoff, driving up to the Merstone car park on the Newport to Sandown cycle path.

A really good run. I used today to further experiment with using gels for long marathon runs taking one as I set off and then another at my first turn around point at 5 miles. I’ve definitely found some gels that work for me at last, not having to make any unplanned pit stops nor feeling sick! I only had to stop to cross roads plus twice to re-lace my shoe and adjust my sock which was bunching up under my toes. I was pleasantly surprised how good my legs felt, especially after feeling so pathetic at BMF yesterday and think that the gels certainly contributed to that.

Having a great 1980’s playlist that I’ve not listened to for a while helped and I got a few looks from passing cyclists at one point when I was drumming along to the start of Enola Gay! I got back to my car at 10 miles and still feeling good carried on in the other direction for an extra mile each way to round the run up to 12 and my Juneathon mileage to 100.

12.02 miles

Juneathon running total… 100.34 miles


Blue skies from pain

Juneathon day 9. Medina (IOW) parkrun

I was listening to these lyrics in the car on the way home from parkrun this morning and I decided they were very apt. After a week of rain and cloud the sun was shining and there was a beautiful blue sky.

They also kind of sum up my feelings about racing 5K’s. Do I try to keep up a slightly uncomfortable pace and reap the rewards of a good time and maybe the elation of a pb? or give in to my lazy side, relax and enjoy the sunshine, scenery and the run!

I met with Alma, who was visiting the IOW this weekend, for parkrun. I’m always grateful for friends coming to run parkruns near me because it means that I actually get there. I love parkruns but I don’t love the alarm going off at 7am on Saturdays which means I don’t get to them as often as I’d like unless I have the obligation of a pre-arranged meet up.

A fairly typical 5K run for me. Took off for a fast first mile, regretted it running into the wind in mile two and got the nearly there feeling for mile three. It’s a very friendly well attended parkrun. I do like the course, it’s fairly flat and fast. I ran my fastest parkrun here last year and today was second fastest (by a whole second!)

3.08 miles

Juneathon running total…. 38.27

AND…. today I crossed the 500 mile mark! 501 miles run in 2012 so far

Oh… Lego… …erm… …just one second…

..Hey! Is that a tapdancing gorilla?!


Same as yesterday?

Juneathon day 8

Actually it was the horse that had the fright of its life!

This evening’s run was going to be the same as yesterday, same time, same route. It is day 8 after all and certainly while I’m on IOW for half term there are limits to where I can run and after a week imagination and creativity is running out.

However when I got up the village as far as the church (uphill) I couldn’t face the further climb up Ashknowle lane so I took a right instead and yesterday’s loop quickly became a plan for two shorter laps in the village. It includes a different bridle path, usually very muddy and covered in nettles which I guessed is more good trail running practice for me seeing as we are getting closer to and planning our Thunder Run team where we’ll be running 10K trail loops in the dark!

A good run, I started out feeling chilly so had a bit of a fast half mile to start(hope I can run that pace for parkrun tomorrow!) As the path opened out from the trees into open fields I gave a poor horse, minding its own business and eating grass, the fright of its life as I zoomed past! I did pause to say sorry!

The two new shorter laps turned out to be 3.8 miles total, the same as the longer loop and the same as yesterday, the day before… I’m in a 3.8 mile rut.

3.82 miles

Juneathon running total…. 35.19 miles


Lemon drizzle cake

Juneathon day 7.

Like a few hardcore Juneathoners I thought about Juneathoning in the extreme and giving up alcohol and carbs as well as exercising every day.  Being me I had my fingers in my ears for the alcohol bit ‘la la la’ (no way is it  possible living with two teenage boys and not having a glass of wine) but I did try to cut down seriously on my carbs intake.  However I only lasted 4 days (until the pit stop incident on Monday!)

Today I finally fell off the carb wagon big time with the arrival of my parents and a lemon drizzle cake and a large slice at tea time of which I came to regret later.

It rained all day today but fortunately the forecast was right and it cleared for an early evening run.  I ran my usual loop of the village with a new change to use a bridle path to cut out the first busy mile of road, gaining a bit more up hill on a rough unmade lane.  A bit like taking the high road rather than the low road!  All very good training for me I’m sure.

The sun was out and there were plenty of glimpses of blue sky with a very fresh wind (useful when from behind). Otherwise a unevettful run apart from a lemon drizzle cake size stitch in my right rib all the way round!

3.89 miles

Juneathon running total…  31.37 miles


Running to the Co-op

Juneathon day 6

Yes that’s right I get to run to some cool places!

I had a busy day trying to finish some work for a deadline so spent the day in my PJs tied to my laptop going googly-eyed! 6pm came round and I realised I still had to do my Juneathon run and we had nothing in for supper. I dragged my googly eyes away from the PC and finally got dressed (in my running gear).  A cunning plan was concocted and OH drove me to Niton where I could run the Undercliffe Drive to Ventnor and meet him while he went ahead to do the shopping.

The Undercliffe Drive from Niton to Ventnor is a quiet road, basically because it is subsiding and falling into the sea and the island can’t afford to repair it so there are one-way sections and larger vehicles are prohibited from using it.  Yay NO coaches! (but that’s why they’re on my local loop… grrr). I remembered in Niton about the hill so suggested the top of the hill, then remembered the steep down bit so suggested the bottom of the hill and then some idiot forgot to press go on the garmin for a few mins so my run got somewhat shorter!

A good run, it was fairly light traffic with some sections where I was gloriously alone! Starting after 6pm probably helped and most cars behaved themselves with only one moron going too fast and getting my wrath after making me stop flat against the wall.  It is an attractive undulating route, mostly shaded under trees as it winds along just above the sea-line.  The reward at the end is lovely views and smells of the sea as the road opens out at Ventnor and then being stared at from the bus stop while running along Ventnor high street looking for the car.  As if they’ve never seen anyone go for a run before!

A highly recommended way to do the shopping, OH arrives at car with food just as I finished my run so we headed for home quickly before the hungry teenagers had eaten the furniture.

3.78 miles

Juneathon running total…  27.48 miles


Road kill!

Juneathon day 5.

The weather forecast last night pointed to a morning run, however my OH and I had a few differences about what I mean by morning! He first suggested I get up and out the door at 7.30!  I finally reluctantly made it out 3 hours later, still morning!

I’m thinking this morning might have been the last time I run the road loop around Whitwell and Niton which I have run for a several years.  Well not unless I can reinvent myself as a morning person and go out at 6am!  After being passed by a couple of coaches driving at 40 mph within a foot or so of my elbow and many other lunatics who expected me to jump into the nettles in the hedge I decided that some parts have become too dangerous!

Drivers on the Isle of Wight take note, when you come across a walker, runner, cyclist or horse, it’s quite simple really… application of brake pedal and selection of a lower gear will give sufficient control to cope with cars coming in the other direction and move out and give us a bit of space at the same time!

A shame really because this route was going to be the backbone of my summer running and marathon training and the alternative is to drive several miles to the coast or the cycle path to find somewhere safer to run.

After coping with the traffic for 3 miles instead of turning for home we decided to continue for a bit to extend my run via some quieter, narrow roads which are peaceful and less trafficked before heading home via a bridlepath avoiding another busy bit of road. This was a lot easer going under foot for me than for OH on a road bike and fortunately there was only one big muddy puddle to negotiate.   I guess that’s my answer…  I will have to look into re-planning my run routes to use more bridlepaths and hope we have a dry summer!

It started to drizzle lightly after 4 miles and by the time we got home it was really raining.  So I had to eat humble pie, agree with other half and be grateful we went when we did because it’s been pouring down all day since!

6.72 miles and the only jumping into hedges today was to avoid becoming road kill!

Juneathon running total…  23.7 miles

‘Road Kill’



Juneathon day 4

A typical bank holiday, chilling out, catching up with twitter and a few Juneathon blogs. I then had a look at the running free online table of doom (Juneathon total) and noticed that some fellow Juneathoners have put in some impressive mileage over the weekend.  Time to up my game I thought. Tomorrow’s weather forecast also pointed to the fact that today might be the better day for a long run.

So a quick decision and Ed and I drove up to the cycle path with his bike where I could get in some decent traffic free miles. It started well with Ed keeping me at a decent pace, a lovely late afternoon run along the disused railway line with not too many other people around.  However after 2 miles I got stomach cramps and, to keep it brief, had to make a couple of unplanned pit stops. Just as well its June so there was lots of undergrowth to hide behind in my fluorescent pink top!

Anyway, too much information and all that.  It turned out to be a bad, stop-start, cut short run and I’m not eating quinoa for lunch before a run ever again if at all!

@arabilz made another version of todays Lego but it wasn’t publishable!

Ed modelling my cool new sunglasses sent to me (yes Ed, they are MINE!) for Juneathon from Polaroid which I will review properly in a blog soon.

5.37 miles

Juneathon running total…  16.98 miles


Jubilee day

and Juneathon day 3 of course…

Like many Londoners I wasn’t in London today but I did watch the Thames Pageant on the TV. A bit smugly because it didn’t rain here on the Isle of Wight today.  There was lots of excitement in the village where we had real traffic lights and a road diversion to allow a part of the main road to be closed for a street party and my OH joined in the  celebrations by duct taping a union jack to the house. He did first check which was the right way up.

I finally got away from the tv and out for my run at 5.30pm (Yes, I should’ve got up and run this morning). OH came with me on his bike which was just as well as the traffic was a bit crazy so I ended up running on the left side of the road with the traffic, OH cycling behind me. What do other people do on twisting country roads with hedges? I usually run facing the traffic but today the amount of idiots driving too fast round bends and up hills made it feel a bit dangerous.

I ran my usual IOW loop, which looked a lot different from the last time I ran it (probably during Janathon) because it was so green with at least a foot more plant life everywhere.  Putting the Prosecco in the fridge as I left must have done the trick as it was one of my faster of many runs of this undulating loop!  An uneventlfull run other than the busy traffic.  I did chase a couple of rabbits but fortunately didn’t catch them as youngest son (aka Ray Mears) would have had me take them home for him to do all sort of nasties to and serve up for supper!

3.86 miles run.

Juneathon running total… 11.61 miles


3 weeks, 100 miles. Can I sleep now?

Yesterday we got to the end of 3 weeks of Janathon and my long run brought my total miles to 97.  After running 12 miles yesterday I was going to treat today as a rest day and maybe just do a token mile, but, yes you guessed it, it had to be 3 miles! 

I planned a short local plod and to keep going back and forward until I reached 3 miles.  Husband had other ideas, declaring it a fabulous day so we must get outside and went and got his bike.  Pyjama clad sons scurried back to their dens and cyber worlds.  The trouble was that a run with him on his bike would mean the local road loop which is 3.8 miles and I didn’t know if my little leggies would forgive the extra bit!

I did suggest on the way that we take the short cut up the big steep hill to ‘get my own back’ after yesterday (that hill is bad enough to stagger up on foot but deadly on a bike! Tee hee). However I was informed that the shorter route would be under 3 miles, Boo Hoo.  I took it gently and apart from the (other) hilly bits my legs didn’t feel too bad nor grumble.  I’m now going to have a glass of red (sports recovery drink) and a big dinner.

3.8 miles in 38.34

Yesterday’s trail took me past my roast dinner in its natural state!


The Sunshine Trail

Several factors came together today. Janathon, being on the Isle of Wight for the weekend, wanting to run 12 miles as part of my half marathon training and the fact that I have always wanted to run the 12 mile family circular cycle route on Isle of Wight known as route 13 or The Sunshine Trail. So that’s what I was determined to do today.

I also persuaded my whole family to come too, well it is a family cycle trail! All started well with no fights dragging the boys out or stress getting the bikes loaded onto the back of the car and we were off to join the trail at Merstone. We decided to run/cycle the route in an anticlockwise direction so we tackled the parts of the trail we hadn’t run/walked or cycled before and from reading the route details it meant we would have the toughest terrain to cope with over the first part of the route while fresh.

Plans started to go a bit awry after the first few yards when eldest son, riding on husbands old bike (because he has doubled in size since he last cycled) complained that the saddle was too wobbly to ride on. Husband, now riding his 35-year-old racer rescued from parents attic, suggested that son should put his weight on the pedals and it would be OK. After 3/4 of a mile of pot-holes we realised we wouldn’t be able to continue unless we could tighten son’s saddle but the spanner we had brought didn’t fit. Fortunately we were only a mile or two from The Bike Shed (where you can hire bikes if visiting the Island) which he cycled back to while we waited. The Bike Shed were fantastic, while they didn’t have a suitable spanner to buy they found a surplus scooter set that might fit which they gave to my husband. Thank-you Bike Shed.

We went on over dirt roads with pot hoes but generally flat going. By now we had wasted a fair amount of time so at the 2 mile point husband suggested that completing the trail was not going to be possible today and suggested that the boys and I went on for a further 2 miles while he cycled back to pick up the car and meet us at the 4 mile pont.

It turned out that the next stage (Godshill to Wroxall) was the “challenging off road mountain bike section“. (There is an on-road alternative I find for next time.) Mostly uphill and the road went from tarmac lanes and got narrower and rougher as it went upwards. At this point my run was a walk as I encouraged the boys pushing their bikes, moaning. (I later thanked my dear husband for leaving me with the boys to do the toughest part of the trail with the main climb and his response was “Well I can read a map!”)

We were however rewarded at the top of the climb by Capability Brown’s Fremantle Gate and then some of the best views of the trail.

The trail then dropped down past Appuldurcombe House (English Heritage) and not long after we got to our meet point. Decision time for me. It was after 3 O’clock and light was limited. I’d run/walked 4 miles of trail and the rest of my family were heading home. Should I bang on and compte the remaining 8 miles to finish what I planned for today or go home and have to plan another long run tomorrow? Two gulps of tea and I left them to their Jaffa cakes asking to be collected in 80 mins at our stating point.

The trail continues on the old railway line from Wroxall to Shanklin, still scenic once out of Wroxall with country side either side of the raised track. After Shanklin the trail signs you onto roads through quiet residential streets which while being quiet are not scenic. At this point I didn’t follow the trail exactly, saving time and light by running straight down the main road on the pavement, and not taking the cliff path. So I didn’t quite connect with the start of the Sandown to Newport cycle way (route 23). Just as I was feeling a little lost running down a very quiet road having passed Sandown Academy I recognised where I was and knew I would cross the cycle-way from the Adgestone quiet road.

It was after 4 O’clock when joined the cycle path and getting towards sunset. I know the route well and that I had 4 1/2 miles to go. My Garmin read 9 miles and I didn’t really want to push my legs to run 13 1/2 miles, nor run the last stretch uphill to Merstone at dusk under the dark railway bridges. I therefore rang and arranged to be picked up a mile and a half nearer at the main road junction so I could cut out the last section of the run.

As I got the gate to that road crossing in sight my garmin clocked 12 miles so my planing was pretty good!

12.07 miles in 2.07.34