Week 19 of 48 : I’m going to soak my feet in beer ….

Well, here we are a day late with posting this but when you get to the end you’ll see why.  I am currently sat wondering why I am not at home with my feet up and begging for someone, anyone to take care of me by pampering me.  I am in as much pain as I was after my first marathon.  I took two days off work after that and had an ex girlfriend taking care of me.  Now … well, now I’m just expected to get on with it and sod being taken care of!  How very rude.  How did we get to this point … read on ….

Monday – Oh my god!  I swear Eddie is punishing me for the fact I have to do most weekday stuff in the gym.  This one was so intricate the instructions even said to “….. and write this down on a sticky note and put on the treadmill”  I think what she meant to say is ” …. you’re so bloody forgetful you’ll never keep track of this as it’s on a par with something Rainman would write”  Seriously … look at this

w/u 0.5, 1m @10mm, e 0.5, 0.75@9.30mm, e 0.5, 0.50@8.45mm, e 0.25, 0.25@8.30, e 0.25, 0.25@8.30mm, c/d 0.5

Told you … it’s like reading a science problem in school …. I was shit at that too!  I did cause great amusement to the guy next to me on the treadmills.  The same guy who could have gotten on any one of the other 25 vacant ones I’d like to add.  I’m hoping my language has now convinced him I’m not the kind of girl he wants in his life.  Anyway, I got it done but might be banned from the gym.

Tuesday – Rest day and I am such a good girl that I did as I was told.  Ha!  Like there was any chance of me doing anything other than work and sleep.  Tuesdays are my longest day on site.

Wednesday – This one was not so tough to follow on the treadmill. A nice warm up and then gradual increase of speed to then hold on for 20 minutes at a set pace where I was to be “huffing and puffing” and then a nice 10 minute cool down.  Treadmill man was with me again and made a point of going just a tad faster than me.  Idiot.

Thursday – Oh my god, oh my god, stop the presses … I got outside for a run DURING THE WEEK !!!!  I was on night shift for Thursday (and Friday) so set the scene by leaving my work stuff at work on the Wednesday so I could just simply run in.  It was fabulous.  I skipped along like Heidi in the hills … or maybe more like Oliver in the sewer ridden streets of London but all the same … I was outside!!

Friday – Rest day which was good as I pretty much slept all day and then back into work at 4pm for 12 hours.

Saturday and Sunday – The runs for this weekend ended up getting combined.  Was meant to be a 6 mile timed pace run on Saturday and a 3 hour run on Sunday for about 15 miles.  I ended up though planning a night run with Jacqui on the Ridgeway.

So there I am at 11pm on  Saturday night in my running kit at Paddington train station.  I stood out like a sore thumb with all the late night drunks so I felt a bit better when Jacqui got there so we could look like nutters together.  The train journey to Reading was uneventful and we didn’t glare too much at the charming couple who chose to sit with us.  Honest.  Get to Reading and finding the bus to Goring was much like looking for the proverbial bloody needle.  The cute policewoman who tried to help me was no longer so cute after she sent us on a wild goose chase for 10 minutes.  I am a little ashamed to say we ended up in a Taxi to Goring with a suicidal rally driver.  I actually ended up telling him to stop playing with his Satnav while driving and that I would tell him where to go.  Not sure he was too impressed with me at that point and I’m sure he then started driving even faster!  When we finally got the trail head he started asking what house we were going to so Jacqui tells him we’re meeting friends just up the road.  Getting murdered by the lunatic driver was not on her schedule.

I could give you a mile by mile breakdown but I am sure that would bore you guys as much as it would tax my brain.  I can say that after 5 miles I realised that my shoe choice of Inov8 Rocklites 295 was the WRONG choice.  The Ridgeway path was hard packed chalk or path the entire way.  It was like running barefoot.  I was in severe pain.  I am not a minimalist runner and do not care to get into the pros and cons discussion.  My feet need padding – they are domesticated feet!!  I was quite annoyed with myself as I wore these for my last Lakeland recce and they were great but then in fairness there was lots of wet rock and bog on that one.  I can honestly say that for the first time I wanted to cry on a run but I was not going to put Jacqui through that as there was absolutely nothing that could be done.  We were in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night … moving forward was all we could do.  So we jogged the flats and downs and marched the ups.  There were some amusing moments such as when we came across a car that seemed to be following us so we then scared the crap out of ourselves by imaging all kinds of scenarios.  My solution was “Turn your head torch off and get in the ditch”.  Not my best line ever but the intention was there.  In the end we didn’t need to ditch dive but we have since found out that some not very nice characters frequent that section of the trail at night and to be honest had we known this prior I’m sure we would have missed that section.    We seemed to make good time through the night and while the sunrise was behind us we did get to enjoy it while glancing backwards occasionally.  Jacqui has requested though that the National Trails Association remove all the scraggly bushes out of her line of sight as they ruined many a good picture opportunity for her.

When we got to White Horse Hill I was glad for the sign and hugged it.  Not for any picture opportunity but because I actually just wanted to lay down.  It appeared we were ahead of schedule despite my now crippled feet and we detoured across to see the said horse.  I quite like history both ancient and modern so I loved this as in the field there’s also the obvious formation of an old stronghold with moat etc.  Loved it.  I also note there seems to be a tradition forming here of Jacqui showing me stuff from the wrong angle.  I saw the chalk man (you know, the penis one) from above and now the horse … so I really have no idea if this actually what we were seeing as you can’t tell from above.  It might just be a big massive bit of chalk graffiti on a hillside and nothing else.  Actually, I guess that’s what it is anyway isn’t it?  When we were leaving the field a farmer came along with his tractor and I waved at him.  He didn’t wave back.  I waved again.  I know he saw me as we made eye contact.  He still ignored me.  We imagined that in his head he was screaming “Gerrroffff my land!!!”

I got to see a bit more history further along as we came to Waylands Smithy.  Now I was expecting this to be something to do with horses and blacksmithing etc.  Oh no. .. it’s an ancient mass grave basically.  Again, my love of history probably overrode any morbid thoughts here and we were both very quiet and in our own little worlds in here.  It really was quite lovely to see and so quiet with just the birds tweeting.  It was funny when leaving though.  As soon as were  through the gate Jacqui had a good swear about something or other but stated that she had to wait until she had left the Smithy to do so.  Love that!

The last 10 miles really were a battle and to be honest I don’t know how Jacqui put up with my slow pace of shuffle/walk.  When we got to the last stretch even she was done and was swearing at every single car that passed us.  Nobody wants to do 3 miles on road at that point!  When we got to Ogbourne St George we weren’t sure where the bus stop was and there were no shops.  Not just ‘no shops open’ but simply NO SHOPS.   Jacqui popped into a pub that had been converted to a B&B to ask if they knew where the bus stop was.  I sat down on the steps outside.  2 minutes later she pops her head out the door and says … “They’ll sell us beer”.  This ladies and gents is why I run with Jacqui!  33 painful miles all cured by a pint at the end.

I got home about 2.30pm and was in bed asleep by 4pm hence the day late on this report.  My feet are still on fire and getting shoes on this morning was interesting.  Thank god today is a rest day.

See you next week where I’m hoping to bring good news on a marathon time.

Nici x

White Horse Hill

Week 18 of 48 : If swearing offends move along ….

As I sit here on a lovely quiet Sunday with the rugby on the tele, homemade chilli bubbling on the stove and my little feet slung over the arm of the sofa I am reflecting on what could have been a disaster yesterday.  If it had not been for my fabulous little Irish running buddy this weeks blog would be quite different.  Anyway, I am jumping ahead of myself here.  Lets look at the week that led up to yesterday.

Monday – Normally a rest day but I had requested that for Tuesday as I knew it would be a long day on site Tuesday.  So the plan said to do 5 miles in 1/2 mile segments rotating through 11mm, 10mm and 9.30mm.  This was a treadmill session (as previously mentioned all weekdays will be in gym for safety reasons for right now) and it helped with some of the white cinder black wall boredom issues.  I also had an audiobook going on too.  A bit of murder and drama is always good to take your mind off the desire to face plant against the wall.  It did feel quite sluggish though and I’ll not lie … it was a struggle to put any enthusiasm into it. 13 hours on site.

Tuesday – Rest, rest, rest. 15 hours on site.

Wednesday – I remember why I have a love hate relationship with Sgt Sutton.  Oh yes, she’s back to being Sgt Sutton for this session.  Warm up for 10 and then an evil 3,2,1 intervals at 8.45mm x 3 then cool down for 10.  If cool down can be interpreted as crawling on the treadmill belt like a sloth looking for its bed then I nailed it.  I absolutely hated this.  It hurt.  My lungs were looking for a way to leave my body. 14 hours on site.

Thursday – Easy 3.  Thankfuckinggod!  She did say for me to do half, strength work and then do second half but I did the whole 3 and then went home and complainingly did the strength in my PJ’s. 15 hours on site.

Friday – Rest day which is bloody good as I did not leave site for 15 hours again.

Saturday – Lets start out this day by making it clear if Jacqui had not already paid for our train tickets out to Bath then I would have bailed on this social run.  I just wanted to sleep the whole weekend away.  I pulled myself out of bed about 7am and after an hour of faffing around made my way to Paddington to head off for a run with friends on the Cotswold Way.  I won’t go into too much detail about the day but suffice to say it was muddy, sweary, fun and horrible all in equal measures.  The course is a 15 mile out and back.  We added some extra mileage early on by doing some interesting circles around some fields.  We decided at 4 hours in to turn around and make our way back.  This was not about bailing out (we were even offered a ride and declined) but more about common sense.  We still had a train to catch back to London and it was looking like the return journey would be a battle.  We got lost on the way back.  It’s amazing how the field you went through just a few hours previously can look so totally different in the dark.  At one point I lost the plot and after 7 hours of battling with shoe sucking mud I just stood in a muddy puddle, jumped up and down screaming about the cunting fucking bastard mud.  Jacqui almost pissed herself laughing at me.  Sorry to anyone who may have been out in the dark and heard that outburst.  Although in fairness I suspect there was an exclusion zone around Jacqui and I all day … we are quite notorious for our language when out running together.  Surprised we’ve not been issued an Asbo yet.  By the time we got to the last stretch we were just giggling insanely.  You couldn’t run.  Just slide.  Of course I bloody well fell over on my fat arse twice in the last stretch.  Which again caused great amusement.  I can honestly say that if it weren’t for Jacqui I would have left Bath in a totally different frame of mind but there is something about our friendship that just works.  She gets my outbursts.  I get hers.  It works.  Anyone else I would probably just punch :o)  Oh, we ended up with 27 miles.

Sunday – The plan actually said ‘Sleep’.  I kid you not.  I stayed in bed until 10am, got up and started the weekly laundry, ate chocolate digestives for lunch (what?) and then gave my 4 inch caked shoes a shower.  This is where we see if my landlords actually read this blog.  I may need to buy some drain unblocker.

What have I learned this week?  I have learned not to eat so much cheese on the days leading up to a long run.  I have left my DNA all over the Cotswold way.  I have learned that napkins do NOT make good soft toilet paper.  Bastard things have made me walk like a cowboy today.  I have learned that next week I am putting a cap on my work day.  12 hours max per day is the goal.

Oh and I have learned Jacqui does have a limit.  Shouting ‘Cockmunchers’ loudly when a gate won’t cooperate and then seeing the three old dears out playing golf … that’s her limit.  :o)

I like snowdrops.

See you next week.  N x

Snowdrops

Week 17 of 48 : I know where the devil is ….

Every day I update my training on a little note app on my phone.  Gives me something to do on the bus aside from marvelling at the differing smells that emanate from the seats.  Seriously, do they EVER clean them and I mean properly clean them as I am starting to doubt this.  I sat on a bus on Wednesday and I swear it smelled like a cross between a kebab and Old Spice.

I digress.  This week even this note taking task seemed a chore.  I think it’s because I feel guilt over the gym joining decision.  I mean how interesting can I possibly make a treadmill session sound?  You think the bus seats smell bad?  A gym smells like stinking armpits, lost hopes and inflated egos.

Therefore my disclaimer is that all weekday sections will be as uninspiring as Justin Bieber for the next 5 months.

Monday : 12 hrs on site.  Strength session and an easy 30 minutes.  Eddie asked if there were any classes I could do but I have to admit I hate classes with a passion that is as strong as my love for white chocolate.  Managed 3.5 miles of mind numbing repetition.  Staring at a wall.

Tuesday : 14 hrs on site.  Warm up 10 mins, 4 x 5 mins @9mm -9.30mm pace with 3 mins easy in between, cool down 10 mins.  This became 4.5 miles of yet again mind numbing repletion but at least I got t play with the controls on the treadmill which occupied my time for at least 3 seconds.  Other than that it was staring at a wall.  A white painted breeze block wall.

Wednesday : 12 hrs on site.  Rest.  Really?  But how will I survive without that wall?

Thursday : 16 hrs on site thanks to a spanner the size of my arm falling out of a hole in the flyover.  Don’t ask.  5 miles at 10mm and I really struggled to keep it under 11mm.  Knackered.  Absolutely knackered.  Yet I got to see that white wall again.  That white painted breeze block pit of fucking joy.  Seriously, who put treadmills in a gym facing nothing.  Utter nothingness.  It will be a mental test if nothing else.  I reckon if I speed the treadmill up fast enough and then pull the emergency cord it will shoot me forward at that wall and put me out of my misery.

Friday : 14 hrs on site.  Rest day.  Got home at 10.30 and crashed hard.

Saturday : Was meant to go on a social run that Allan (Rumbles) had organised which would have given me 22 miles.  The aforementioned ‘crashed hard’ resulted in me losing the battle with my bed and not being able to get out of it early enough to go on this.  I was gutted as some of my favourite folks went but my body dictated sleep was needed.  I went out in the afternoon and did 19  miles along the Paddington arm of the Grand Union and I hated every last minute of it.  I think it’s because I really wanted to be with the others on their run and nothing at all to do with the oh so charming canal dwellers.  Nope nothing at all.

Sunday : I begrudgingly went out and did the planned 3 miles but messed up and did 3.5 miles.  Wtf?  How dare I.

So, what did I learn this week?  Not much except that gyms are the work of the devil and he works for Pure Gym in Hammersmith!

Week 16 of 48 : I have sinned and it felt good.

This has been one of the most physically demanding weeks since going it alone as a contractor. I have lost track of day and night, I have crawled into places I never knew existed, I have asked more of my body on the job than I ever have and to top it off I have punished my body by eating quite a bit from the site canteen. It’s a world of horrors in there I tell you!

Monday – Rest day with no strength work. No problem at all with this one!. 14 hours on site

Tuesday – I was absolutely knackered. W/u 15m, 20m@9:30, 5m@9, 15m c/d. This became 6 miles. I was so tired I actually felt sick. 15 hours on site (but a really good day).

Wednesday – Easy 4. This became an easy 3 as I ran home from site at about 11pm. It was a bit scary though running through Shepherds Bush that time of night. My brain is so tired that at one point I had to remind myself it was not a speed session and was just a steady jog. 14 hours on site.

Thursday – Intervals. Sad to say I didn’t enjoy it. Was a massive struggle. 15m w/u, 5×0.5@9 w/3m, 15 c/d. I really struggled to hold the pace on the final set and it slipped over into 10mm pace. Not happy. Thursday was a split day on site and I ended up doing this session at 1am. 13 hours on site.

Friday – Rest day. Oh my fucking god. I needed this. I didn’t go in until noon as I was working through into the night shift and by the time I got home at 2.30am I was a zombie. 13 hours on site.

Saturday – I had made plans to do a night run on the South Downs with a few friends and sadly (for me) one by one they dropped out and it was only me left. So I didn’t see any sense driving 2 hours to go for a run when I could just go for a run closer to home. Except there was one lovely friend I had forgotten said she was going and bless her she showed up at the agreed meeting spot and there was nobody there. I am annoyed about this as I hate letting people down. I got quite down on myself and rather then just suck it up and still go run 20 miles I simply jogged 9 miles and then spent the rest of the evening watching shit movies and napping.

Sunday – 3 miles on tired legs were the instructions. No problem. Tired legs (body and mind) I can provide. Done.

So, that sin I was talking about in the title? I joined a gym.

Calm down, calm down … it’s only for the weekday sessions. The shifts and hours I am doing right now are not lending to a productive running schedule and to be honest even for a hardy London type I am smart enough to know when it’s not safe to run places alone. It matters not if there is an actual real danger to me it is more about my ‘sense’ of safety and I refuse to go anywhere if I simply ‘feel’ at risk. So I am going to learn all about treadmills and how to use them for intervals and I will be using the incline option religiously as I am well aware a flat on a treadmill does not equate to flat on the ground. Don’t judge me. All weekend sessions will be outside and I will get a grip of this tiredness. Although let’s face it the tiredness is bloody good prep for the 100 miler right? 69 hours on site … wtaf?

So why did I feel good about this sin? Well, before when I would go to gyms I would be so paranoid thinking others were looking at me, judging me, laughing at me … yeah, yeah, I know … they weren’t … my issue. However, even with my chubby self as it looks right now I simply didn’t care. I have a plan, a mission, a goal and I just didn’t give a shit. I only thought about it when I left and it made me smile, I mean really smile.

Oh and I will stay away from the site canteen this week as I can feel the weight piling back on which all adds to the ‘Sad Nici’ feeling.

Hope you all had a happy commercialised ‘I Love You’ day. Bitter? Me? Never ;)

Nici x

Week 15 of 48 : Milton Keynes … where dreams drown in goose shit.

I have accepted that I will have no life as such for the next 6 months.  As some of you know I have just been awarded quite a demanding contract and the first week proved that with around 60 hours on site.  This left little time for much else.  If it weren’t for my absolute fear of being ill prepared later in the year I would have likely blown off some of the sessions.  Plus, I’m just a bit scared of Eddie too.

So with that said, don’t expect this report or the performances to be impressive.  Mediocre will have to suffice for this week.

Monday – strength work.  Really not loving this at all.  Just have zero upper body strength.  You’d think all these years of drinking would have at least given me arm strength! 10.5 hours on site.

Tuesday – Intervals.  I swear she puts these early in the week to keep me interested.  This week was a 10m w/u, followed by a 5,4,3,2,1 countdown and a 15m c/d.  This equated to a hair over 5 miles.  I was not happy about the long day though.  13 hours on site meant this session happened at silly o’clock at night.

Wednesday – Rest and boy did I need it.  12 hours on site.  I have developed a new passion for my bed.

Thursday – Fabulously, easy 4 and I made sure that I didn’t do so much as a centimetre over the required distance.  I literally jogged in two big loops near the flat that I knew would give me exact distance and again this was done at silly o’clock due to a 15 hour site day.  Yes, 15 hours!!  Wtf?

Friday – Rest day again which was good as I was up at 4am, put in a 11.5 hour day and then hopped on the train to Milton Keynes.  I am not shy about the fact I am not a fan of Milton Keynes but the lovely Enigma Running are up there and despite my best efforts I can’t seem to persuade David to move!  I managed to talk my partner in crime Jacqui into coming with me.  I didn’t even try to pretty it up.  I think my words were “Would you like to come to the most uninspiring place on earth and watch me run in circles?  I promise if you’re not depressed beforehand then you will be by the time we leave Sunday morning”   Strange girl said yes.

Saturday – I think the long hours worked this week and poor planning with the training might have played a factor in the result here.  5:35 for my 19th marathon.  Still it’s only 9 minutes off my PB and only 20 minutes away from that elusive 5:15 that I want to put to bed.  This is the reason I am going to keep a track of my site hours alongside the training schedule as this will be useful (I think) when I look back on this record in the future.  Massive thanks to Jacqui for keeping me company on a few of the laps and for running ahead to get me pain meds when my hip went on lap 4.  As always, she kept me laughing but the best laugh of the day went to Paul Sahota who jogged with me for about 2 miles and when we talked about how I had gone into business for myself he said “Well, lets face it … at your age you’re pretty much unemployable”.  I thought Jacqui was going to fall in the lake she was laughing so hard.  Saturday afternoon was spent in the bar of the hotel with other runners and I felt quite guilty about being tired after just one marathon when they had all done three that week so far but to be honest I think the work week had caught me too so I was in bed about 9pm.

Sunday – Eddie said I had to get up and run at least 6 miles.  She warned me the first few miles would be tough but then it would get easier.  She wanted me out on tired legs.  Problem is Eddie didn’t factor that we would be running in the opposite direction as the Sunday marathon runners so we couldn’t help ourselves giving high fives and making victory arches.  Plus there was some exercise equipment out around the lake that we couldn’t resist playing on.  Jacqui didn’t care for one of them and when I kept getting faster she informed me she was going to either vomit or pee on me.  Charming!!  Anyway.  7 fun miles done.  A tad sore but glad I did them.

What I have learned this week is that I am going to have to seriously manage my time.  I’ve looked ahead at next weeks schedule and I think my best plan is to run home from site a couple of the days as site is just over 3 miles from the flat.  On the days where I need a little more distance I can maybe loop along the Thames or something first.

Oh and I am a bit scared of what Jacqui is going to have me do to repay the favour of forcing her to visit the Village of the Damned.  I foresee me crewing her on some extreme outing that will involve cattle prods and passports.  She’s a good mate so I guess I’ll do it.

Nici x

Week 14 of 48 : This programme has been sponsored by snot …..

It’s been a tough week and even though some really good things have happened I still struggled to get out of my PJ’s on some days. I’m finally seeing a light at the end of that stupid proverbial tunnel (I have a good head torch though so it’s ok if I’m in here a bit longer). I’ve made some decisions about my life, some big some small but all for the better. Thank so much everyone for allowing my normally positive smile to slip and mostly for doing so without trying to fix things or fix me.

On Sunday night Eddie sent me the loveliest email and yes, I may be a little emotional right now but it made me cry. Don’t for one minute think she said anything fluffy like “ … take the week off, wrap up in a blankie, I’ll bring you chocolates ….” Hell no, it was more along the lines of “ … suck it up buttercup, ain’t nobody caring if you’re hurting’ ….” Ok, maybe not quite that harsh but basically she reminded me that I am a bloody strong, determined, stubborn person and I am doing this for me. I am not going to go down without a fight and I will not let the depression I live with ever win. So ‘up yours’ world. I’m coming to get you.

Right. Lets get this blog back to where it should be … focussed on the plan and not wallowing in a pool of pity.

Then I get a bloody cold. Snotty nosed, chesty cough, headache type thing … FFS. Oh well, I gave birth in a hurricane (yep, I sure did) I can hardly bitch over a little snot.

Monday – strength work. I honestly thought she had forgotten about this and I sure as hell was not going to mention it. Felt like I was back at square one with it. Bloody Popeye!!

Tuesday – Intervals. I absolutely, positively love intervals. w/u 10, 6 x 2 mins w/3 rec ( 2 sub 10, 4 sub 9), c/d 10. That mumble jumble equated to me almost throwing up (snot induced) and 4 miles.

Wednesday – Easy, easy 40 mins. I listened to the ‘easy, easy’ bit and just plodded around the block for 4 miles. I wish I could say I was sweating the cold out but I think it’s enjoying hanging out with me.

Thursday – After a spectacular morning business wise I totally blew off todays session in favour of climbing into bed for the rest of the day. It had to be done. I’m eating so much snot I’m tempted to look up the calorie content!!

Friday – Then felt guilty about yesterday so used my rest day to do the missed session. Basically I had to warm up for a mile and then run fast for 20 minutes and then cool down for a mile and a half. How fast should the 20 minutes be? Now you will love this line from the plan ….

“ … out of breath and working hard, make sure you can breathe but ONLY ENOUGH TO PANT YOUR NAME AND BLOOD GROUP TO PASSING PARAMEDICS…..”.

That, ladies and gents, is why I love Eddie. She knows my humour. She knows that would have me smiling while dying.

Saturday & Sunday – For logistical reasons I swapped the weekend sessions around and did an easy 3 miles on Saturday and then took myself out to Richmond Park on Sunday for a lovely 15 miler. I went alone and I’m glad now. I really got some good thinking time out there with the deer. Normally when I go to Richmond I just do the outer edges for maximum mileage but this time I zig zagged all over the place. Found tracks I didn’t know were there. Tripped over a tree root while trying to race a cyclist. She won. Found womens rugby *cough*.

So, this week feels a bit like I’ve gone backwards ability wise but to be fair the last few weeks have not exactly lent themselves to forward motion so I’m ok with that. Mostly though, ended my week on a really good note.

See you all next week and I hope your 1st month of the year has been grand and that your plans are taking shape.

Nici x

IMG_6407

Week 13 of 48 : Broken hearts are good for character strength??

I made a promise way back when I first started this blog that I wouldn’t let too much personal stuff encroach. This was going to be for running only. Sometimes though it’s impossible. After all every part of our lives are intertwined. I spent many years keeping everything in my life compartmentalised into little boxes. I would take these boxes down one at a time but never would I let the boxes touch. After a particularly bad time in my life I started working on this. It’s not healthy to keep it all separate. I still struggle with it though and it causes me problems. It’s so hard for me and I don’t expect anyone to understand. I simply struggle to let things merge as it means if things go wrong in one area then it ‘infects’ other areas. I started to let some boxes touch. Three of them in fact. It backfired. My recent singledom has totally messed with me. I know that’s probably quite normal but I don’t like it. It’s made me distracted, sad, angry, relieved, sad, determined but yes mostly just incredibly sad. I don’t want the relationship back as that would be destructive but I do want my focus back. I also realise I went into the relationship for wrong reasons. I know she tried to support me and I really thought that it was genuine but bottom line is she felt that because of the running stuff she wasn’t a priority and I think the minimal communication during the Spine pushed her over the edge. I’m not making excuses for her and the way things ended hurt but with hindsight I can see how it got there. So it’s made me a bit sluggish this week. Last week training didn’t happen but this week when I should be chomping at the bit to get out there I have really struggled. Each plodding step and lungful of cold air has reminded me I’m alone in this. I’ll still do it and cross that 100 mile finish but I guess it’ll be a lonely reception. Don’t get all indignant and tell me I have lots of friends because I’m more than aware of that. This is a different emptiness. One I didn’t know was there when I was happily single. It’s made me stupidly melancholy for poor past choices and wrong paths followed. It’s made me question some decisions I made last year. It’s made me long for certain persons. I will stay single now though and keep the boxes separate as really it’s all I know how to do right. So yeah, I said all that to say this ….. I’m sad and running isn’t curing that right now so please bear with me while I find my smile.

Eddie was so lovely through this. No massive pressure on the plan. Literally Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were about getting back on my feet. No worries, no stress. 20 mins, 30 mins and 45 mins respectively. The Thursday session ended up happening on the Friday and only ended up being 25 minutes but again flexible does it. Nothing adventurous to write about the sessions but I did note that my legs didn’t hurt but my lungs stung. It’s bloody cold outside eh?

This weeks trip to the Lakes was for the official Lakeland recce of the Ambleside to Conniston leg. Saturday daytime was talks with the run starting later in the day. The talks were fun but informative. Marc Laithwaite is a good speaker without being patronising. Although I did start to get bored through the headtorch bit (sorry). They mentioned that last year the last person back on this recce came in at 12:01am ….. I was determined to not be that person. We set off at just after 4pm and I purposely put myself near the back as I knew I would be walking up that first hill. The air was super cold on my lungs and at the top I started coughing and genuinely thought I was going to be sick. If you’ll remember same thing happened with the cold air when I went for a jog with Debs (Martin-Consani) a few weeks back. Really need to get my lungs trained to cold air running. Anyway, I spent much of the first half by myself, which suits me and then towards the end seemed to naturally partner up with a couple of runners. Which was actually perfect as it meant I didn’t have to do the scary bit alone and also having others to try and keep in my sights meant I didn’t let tired legs slow me down. The bit about this recce is that I didn’t have to get my map out at all so it proved to me that lots of recce’s help. The two previous daytime jogs on this section really helped. So already making my plans for the next few months to cover the other section prior to race day. I did this section in a significantly quicker time than the previous runs and this was mainly due to it being night so not being distracted by the fabulous views. It also gave me lots of thinking time. I am aware though on race day I will have 34 tired miles in my legs by the time I hit Ambleside to start this bit so odds are I’ll be at a walk for most of it.

I was meant to get up and do a 40 minute jog before leaving the lakes and I’m ashamed to say this hasn’t happened. As I sit here in Booths coffee shop awaiting my train I’m trying to convince myself I’ll do it when I get home. We’ll see.

See you next week and hopefully I’ll be feeling a tad happier with life then.

Nici x

Edited to add : I was in the pub by 9pm :)

Week 11 & 12 of 48 : Insert witty title as I’m knackered.

This is going to be very short and is only being written so that when I look back I don’t think I forgot to write week 11 & 12 up.

Summary is :

Mileage total 13 (yes, I know!!!)

Runs total 3.

Spine support week successfully completed. I bloody love my Spine family.

Relationship status changed (that was quick eh?) but no sympathy please. I’ll live. Tip though : don’t announce a relationship in FB. It jinxes it. Or is that just me? ;)

See you next week?

Nici x

Week 10 of 48 : Training on Tour … still :)

Monday is without a doubt my favourite day this week. Plan said ‘Easy 30 minutes’ and as I was up in Scotland the lovely, talented Debs Martin-Consani said she’d come for a jog with me. Now for those of you who know our Debs will no doubt be aware of her running CV. Impressive is one word to describe it. So to have this team GB runner offer to come jog with plodding old me was a bit daunting. We chose to meet at 9am at a country park that was about mid way between us both. Funniest is it took longer to drive than what we actually planned to run. Something I had not accounted for was how hard the early morning cold air is on your lungs. Literally within 5 minutes of taking off I was struggling to breathe and at one point even thought I was going to need to throw up. We were going so slow I’m sure Deb was jogging on the spot to stay warm. It was icy so a bit of careful footing was needed and of course I had to make my routine dash behind a tree. FFS. Quite gutted we didn’t meet up on the Saturday last week when I had my nice 10 mile run as my lungs had nicely warmed up just as it was time for us to stop. I feel really bad for Debs but totally grinning big that she took time for me.

Tuesday was interval day. 1 mile warm up and then 10 x 30 sec speed sections with 2 min recovery and 1 mile cool down. Anne Marie took me to a local park in Greenock for this and dear lord every child and dog in town was there. How many of you got your kids a new bike or a remote control car for Christmas???? I swear I got some good core work done in this session too with all the quick side to side and mini jumps I had to do. Session went well and dare I say that I even enjoyed it a little. Ended up with 4 miles with an average pace of 10:02 min mile. :02!!! My speed sections were at an approximate pace of 6:30 min mile. Watch out Mo … I’m coming for you!!

Wednesday. Last run of 2014. I thought about running naked to mark the occasion but don’t have enough money for the bail and the therapy sessions folks would need after seeing such a sight. Instead Eddie had me warm up for 10 minutes then 20 mins and 14 seconds at 10 minute mile and then cool down for 10 minutes. To be honest pace went out the window and there was a tiny walk break due to stomach at about 2 miles. I ended up with 3.9 miles at 10:15 min mile average. Still, I’m happy with that considering I started the year out in abysmal style and certainly had no idea how to pace or train. Best move I made this year was starting back from scratch and taking on Eddie as my coach. She is awesome and together we are going to bag that 100 miler in style.

I’m also so totally blessed this year to have met and fallen in love with a crazy little Scottish woman who tolerates my hobby and is so incredibly supportive when it all goes wrong. It’s easy to support when things are going great but to pick up the pieces when you’ve had a shitty session (literally) is not so easy and totally deserves a medal. I do wish I’d taken note of her living at the top of a bloody hill though before falling for her. Rapunzel in her ivory tower is no joke I’m telling you!! Seriously though, every time I come to stay I get a tad jealous of the stunning setting in which she lives. It also needs to be noted that she’s already formed a crew for me should I ever feel brave enough to take on the West Highland Way Race. Kate and Christine … take note!! Bless them … I may not be able to walk ever again after September 2015.

Thursday and Friday had the rare distinction of being back to back rest days. Bloody good job really as I stayed in bed pretty much all day on New Years Day and then had to schlep down to Milton Keynes on the Friday.

So Saturday was marathon day. There’s no point dragging this out … I didn’t hit my 5:15 goal. I’m ok with that though. My stomach gave me desperate dashes to the pub toilets twice (despite having popped Imodium) , it rained the entire time and this made me cold and then to top it off my hip/lower back started giving me it’s old issues at about mile 13 and I forgot to take any pain pills out with me. Oh, and yet again I did the whole thing on 1 Mars Bar (out of fear of my guts). Lets look on the good side though … I had more good miles than bad miles, I made it to the toilet in time when needed, I kept moving forward (except for pub breaks obviously) and I didn’t fall over. My finish time was 5:37 (moving time of 5:23). Seriously though, no pity needed or wanted as I am more than happy with that given the factors mentioned. I am going to start keeping a food diary from Monday and look into a nutritionist as this is beyond out of control now.

Sunday was a sort of freebie day. I’d originally signed up for the double (marathon Saturday and Sunday) but then when I joined forces with Eddie she said ‘No’ to the Sunday. I decided I would jog a couple of the loops though and she was ok with that. Woke up this morning to a Hitchcock scene outside the hotel. Thick must, eerie silence and a bitter cold air. Race Directors delayed start by an hour and then offered deferral to anyone who didn’t feel it in their best interests to attempt. Based upon that myself and a few others decided to walk a lap. It was a nice 3.5 mile walk and we got to cheer the hardy souls who chose to run.

So, that’s week 10 done. I’m feeling more confident about this coming year and the challenges I’ve taken on. Biggest challenge though is convincing Eddie to let me attempt Quadzilla.

Same time next week.

Nici x

Week 9 of 48 : Training on Tour pt 1

Monday brought with it the revelation that along with wheat I may have to ditch oranges. Yes, fekking oranges. More specifically satsumas. More loops of the flat with a dash inside at 1 mile. Don’t ask how I know it’s the oranges. 5 miles total with an average pace of 9:56, which I’ll take. As silly as it may sound it gives me hope that once I’ve sorted the issue I may actually have a decent little runner in me. I’ve no plan or desire to go for podium dreams I’m just looking forward to finishing marathons and having enjoyed it rather than feeling it was a painful slog every time.

Tuesday was a rest day but I feel like I had a workout trying to pack my case for my wee holibobs. Picture if you will the days of old where you would sit on the case and get into the shape of a pretzel to get the zipper round. I huffed, and I puffed and I got that zipper round. To then have to open it two more times to get stuff out. I now see why hobos just had a handkerchief on the end of a stick. Simplicity.

Wednesday was a nice simple interval session of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 at 9mm. Wind and hail made for fun and closed public toilets made for even more fun. Let’s just leave it that 2 & 1 didn’t happen. 2.6 miles and be done with it yes.

Christmas Day was a rest day (see, Eddie DOES have a heart) and what a lovely day it was. I know this is my training blog and I keep personal stuff quite limited but I just want to quickly say that I am a very lucky girl and am quite bloody loved up. Scotland and her people are amazing. I’m in awe every time I come up here. I’ve never been so welcomed before.

Best of all was Skyping with my beautiful little family and hearing my grandson saying “I love you Nana” loud and clear.

Friday had a nice 45 minutes on the plan but it ended up being 42 minutes with hills. 4 miles at 10:30 pace with no accidents. A good jog I’d say.

Saturday is long run day this week. It’s quite difficult planning a long run when you’re unfamiliar with the area. Plan said 9 miles at 11 minute pace. I ended up with 10 miles at 10:30 minute pace. I was meant to do 2 hours but poor planning and lack of area knowledge put me at 1:45 due to no headtorch. Still I went further and faster than anticipated. Much like my teenage sex life.

Tomorrow is a rest day so I’m off out for some walking in these amazing hills.

See you all next week where hopefully I’ll be bouncing with joy at hitting 5:15 at Milton Keynes. Fingers crossed, talisman kissed, rabbits foot rubbed and lucky clover sourced.

First I need to survive my first ever Hogmanay.

X