Week 30 of 38 : It might just work out …

Right.  I’m not going to catch you up on the in’s and out’s of the last two weeks training sessions.  I have done them all but I just neglected to take my normal daily notes so I can’t remember any specifics.

I do want to share a quick thought as a result of the recce weekend in the Lakes.  Now as you all know I’ve not been feeling it lately.  This whole running malarkey had lost it’s sparkle.

The only reason I even bothered going on the recce is because Bev (Navesey) had so kindly offered to pick me up and let me tag along with her and Steve as they were also going up for the recce.  It certainly wasn’t because I’d lose any money as the recce weekends are so incredibly cheap.  I am not sure how they are even financially viable for the Lakeland organisers.

So on Friday morning I was hanging around outside Heathrow in the rain awaiting my chariot.  It was a great journey up with lots of banter.  Mike (Churchyard) was also with us.  Mike also was going to have the joy of sharing my room with me as he waited until the last minute to start looking at accommodation and it was all booked.  I gleefully informed he that he was getting the top bunk.

Saturday came nice and early and while the boys were off running the Ambleside to Coniston section I took a little jog out to Skelwith Bridge and back.  It was lovely.  I still hate that hill out of Ambleside (Loughrigg) and I still hate how every bloody gate has a different opening mechanism.  That’s going to be fun when I’m knackered and unable to think!!

I didn’t make the recce talks on Saturday night.  Instead we went to a great little Italian and had a lovely dinner with Bev, Steve and also Nikki and Chris Mills.  Lots of banter and laughter but I admit I started getting nervous about the recce and how long Bev and Steve would have to sit around waiting for me to be done.  They kept assuring me that it was not an issue and that they would find cake to eat.  Still, I was quite relived when Mike (who did go to the talk) said they had offered the option to start at Howtown instead of Pooley Bridge for those who wanted it.

I am purposely NOT going to share details of the recce run itself as that’s for when I do the race in 8 weeks time.  8 bloody weeks!!!

All I will say is that without even realising it my pacing was spot on for my plan A race time!!

That dear friends, is how Nici got her groove back …..

Week 28 of 38 (not 48) : Narcissism and Swan Lake

I hate writing my weekly blog.  No really.  I started this so I could have a way of looking back at the end of the 100 miler and see my journey.  This was for me and none else.  Let’s face it though if that were the case I would have just written it in a note book.  Blogs are narcissistic and anyone who says otherwise is lying.  We get excited by that little notice telling us people are reading our drivel.  We post links to it on social media especially to get people to read.  So why do I hate it?  I hate it because it highlights more to me about myself than I am comfortable with, although I have been reliably (and professionally) informed that actually that’s a good thing.

Anyway, lets get on with this …

Monday : Rest day …. always a good start to the week I say :o)

Tuesday : On a split shift so meant to get up about 9am and get a run done before heading into site about midday.  This just won’t happen.  I am not a morning running person no matter when that ‘morning’ happens.  I really, really want to be but no matter how I try I cannot make it stick.  This then meant that for safety reasons my 5 mile run happened in the gym, staring at that concrete wall.  It happened though.  Slower than Eddie would have liked but regardless, it happened.

Wednesday : Intervals on the afore mentioned ‘mill.  I seem to have a gym buddy.  He gets on the one next to me whenever he is there at the same time (no matter there are 4,000 empty ones) and then tries to race me.  I’m not much competition for him and I love how this winds him up.  He always gives up after about 15 minutes and mutters something unintelligible before stomping off.

Thursday : 5 miles.  Nothing exciting here.  In fact just read Tuesdays paragraph again.

Friday : 3 miles and by this point I am tired of the gym.  I think my limit is 3 days in a row.

Saturday : No running for me today but got to again be humbled by 232 runners who started the NDW50.  I love these guys and gals and even more so love the volunteers.  When they say ‘thank you’ before going home you have to wonder about the sanity of it all.  It is us who should (and do) always thanking them both runners and volunteers alike.  They truly make me smile like they will never understand.  Even when I’m pulling my hair out.  Biggest shout out though goes to Rachel L. and also to Mike C.  Love you both.  Really.

Sunday : Spent last night at Fi McNelis’ house and have to say had the best night sleep I have had in a long time.  She is such a lovely person and I am determined to fix her up with someone.  Before going to bed I was so wired so she sat chatting and made me cup after cup of tea (and force fed me the best cookies in the world).  Anyway, up at 10am and after a great breakfast (thanks for the eggs Rachel S.) we headed out for a run on the canal in Aldershot.  The canal is about a mile away from her flat and on the way down there I had a flashback.  We ran by a cemetery and I remember spending a whole day in there when I was about 15 looking desperately for a certain headstone.  I never did find it.  I’m glad now but it was quite a memory jolt.  So we get down to the canal and things were not looking great for me.  Stomach issues meant an early dive behind a bush.  Great!  So at just after 3 miles I said to Fi to go on ahead and then turn around at 5 miles and I would meet up with her for the run back.  My plan was walk/jog and try to catch her back up by 4.5 miles which would still with the run back give me 9 miles.  (That makes more sense in my head than it does when I type it).  Anyway, as she trotted off she passed by a kayak (the kind that Hiawatha bobbed about in) and it’s two elderly occupants were being aggressively approached by a swan.  In fairness to Fi she was at a differentnt angle than me and could probably not appreciate what was happening and she kept going along the canal.  Having been attacked by a swan before I knew right away.  They were in his patch and he was having none of it.  They are horrid and mean when they do not want you around.  The two in the kayak were panicking and trying to fight him off with the oars which off course was in the swans mind them flapping their wings at him.  Never a good thing.  He was all puffed up, neck massive, wings going and he was diving at them.  I managed to talk them down and help them understand that they needed to keep facing him, keep their oars pointed at him but NOT wave them or try to hit him with them. Slowly they managed to get over to the bank where I took one of the oars and held the boat and the swan at bay while they scrambled out.  The lady was quite shaken up and the man doing his best to not show it.  The swan kept approaching so as I had the height advantage on him I basically ‘swanned’ back at him … having a white jacket on helped lol.  He backed of a bit and kept going in circles.  Making it very clear they were not getting back in right there.  We got the kayak out of the water and I advised them on what they needed to do to safely pass him via the path until they were past his patch.  The woman was lovely and thanked me profusely bless her.  The man couldn’t speak but gave me a big squishy hug.  I offered to walk with them but they insisted I not.  I think he needed to cry.  So I pretended to adjust my shoes and make a phone call while I watched them move along and pass him.  I then continued on my way and warned a woman in a canoe of the swan up ahead.  I had a lovely walk/jog for a bit and met up with Fi at about 4.25 miles.  We then headed back towards home.  I told her about the swan situation but in my mind I was convinced she would either not believe me or think I was being dramatic but lo and behold we get to the swan patch again and there he is absolutely terrifying the woman who I had warned.  She was pinned in the reeds with a guy on a bike on the path looking a bit helpless and she was beating the crap out of the water with her oar.  I took off running to stop her doing this.  At this point you can just read back to the first incident as it pretty much repeated.  I talked her through what to do, we got her out, we carried he canoe along with her and then put her back in the water and set her on her way.  I think Fi was a little shocked by how calm I was but it was all selfish … I didn’t want to have to actually dive in the canal and rescue a capsized kayak or canoe.

Ended with about 8.5 miles (guesstimate as my watch died) and then Fi then took me for cake as a treat.

I’m now awaiting my summons from the queen for annoying one of her swans.

Week 27 : No Puppies Were Killed …..

Right, so the last post was quite open about my simply getting fed up.

That’s not entirely changed but I’m not bloody giving up without a fight.

We went back to basics and my having to ensure I recorded my sessions properly.

Last weekend was the 2015 edition of the Thames Path 100.  Now, most of you who know me will realise that Centurion duties are very high on my priority list.  This is not to say my training is not important but it is an unfortunate clash right now.  I had assured Eddie I would be able to find time over the weekend to get a 90 minute jog in.  All was looking good after we set the runners off at 10am on Saturday and then suddenly before I knew it I was pulled over in a lay-by at 5pm on Sunday so desperate for some sleep.  I finally made it home and just couldn’t face a run.  I could hardly spell my name let alone tie my laces up.

So begins the log of the weeks training :

Monday : As always after one of the 100 milers we put on I spend the Monday feeling thoroughly hungover.  Seemed sensible then that I went into work too right.  Not.  I spent all day feeling sick.  The planned 5 miler did not happen.  This fresh start is going well.

Tuesday : Messaged Eddie and fessed up that that the weekend and Mondays sessions didn’t happen.  I was promptly informed that I could have NO MORE missed sessions and that every time I miss a session a puppy dies.  I pulled on my shoes and crawled out the door for an interval session. 10 w/u 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 @9mm (2m r) 10 c/d.  Ouch.  Really ouch.  Sooooo windy – felt like I was running into a tornado no matter which way I went.

Wednesday : Rest glorious rest.  I’m good at these sessions.

Thursday : Election Day.  What a fucking disappointment that was.  Anyway, I voted and toddled off for a 3 mile run.  The first 2 were ok but the last 1 was an absolute struggle.  Felt like my legs were made of concrete.  I just don’t understand this.  I know I’m heavier all over and I’m working on that but this is ridiculous.  It’s like every step is a struggle.  How the hell am I going to cope over bloody LL50?!?

Friday : Rest *does a tap dance of the likes Riverdance would be proud of*

Saturday : (switched this with Sundays session) An easy run of between 30 and 45 minutes.  Dodgy belly came back to visit on this one so it was quite an unsettled run with lots of enforced walk breaks.

Sunday :  15 miles was the plan and in lieu of making an effort to get out of London for this I decided a jog up to Hyde Park and 3 laps and then jog home would suffice.  I didn’t factor in the sun and the tourist combo.  I certainly got some side stepping and emergency diversion practice in.  More importantly though, how do I find the only fekking tree root in Hyde Park?!?  It was quite a stylish face plant and then roll into a sitting position.  Looked like I meant to do it.  One passerby out of zillions asked me if I was ok and I snapped “my pride isn’t”.  I didn’t actually mean to snap at the poor fella … it’s not like he tripped me.  This was at 2.5 miles in … seriously I had literally only just got to the park!  I managed 2 laps after this and was over come with ‘fed-up ness’.  I hadn’t planned this well at all.  No food or water with me.  My arm and knee were now stinging, my shoulder ached and my boobs were protesting the house keys jabbing them every second step.  Luckily I had a £10 in my pocket so I bought some water and a slice of lemon cake and threw myself down in the grass and felt quite bloody sorry for myself.  I jogged home for a total of just 11 miles.  Eddie is not impressed and neither am I.

So while no puppies were killed in the making of this blog there were a few that were sadly maimed ……


Week 25.5 of 48 : Quitting?

Nothing is working right now. So there is no point posting lasts weeks training blog.

Quite simply I am fed up.  I’m not enjoying this anymore and because of that I am not putting proper effort into the sessions and then I’m enjoying it even less and so then putting even less effort in …..spiral downwards basically.  I’m finding it quite easy to skip sessions with little guilt.

I’ve gotten to where my fitness has gone backwards so it’s even easier to skip them and I’m so miserable with this weight gain.  I mean really miserable.  I’m eating because I’m miserable and I’m miserable because I’m eating.

I realise all of the above is nobody’s fault but mine and that’s what makes it worse.  I could cry

That ^ is what I said in a message to Eddie.  I didn’t want to quit but I just couldn’t go on letting her waste her time on me.  I had been dreading the conversation and have been putting it off for at least two weeks.

Her response was the following :

Well, that all makes sense and of course no surprise.  You have reached a point now where we need to make some decisions and ask some questions.  We have all been there.  We will have a good chin wag later.  Don’t worry, we will make you a happy runner again – it’s my specialty

So I sat with dread waiting for that phone call but I really shouldn’t have done.  We spent a good 45 minutes going through the past few months and finding where I shifted from enthusiasm to drudgery.  We discussed what do I really want.  We talked about managing my goals and my expectations of myself.

We stripped my schedule right back to basics and with a strict structure.  We made some decisions.

  1. I will not be doing the St Oswalds Way 100 in September.  I am not excited about it as an event and as sad as this sounds I have been dreading it as the key folks who I wanted to crew me are not all available and that is a lonely 100 miles so far from home with no crew or local support.  I don’t really care to hear how others can do it without a soul to help them … I will need support and it was mentally upsetting me to think I would have none.  I am not backing out of doing the 100 so I’ll thank none of you to think that.  I am being sensible and making sure I find one I am excited about.  I want to be as excited as I am about Lakeland 50.
  2. I will not be doing the Kent Road Runner marathon even though it’s absolutely my favourite marathon.  I was going to try and do that on the Saturday and then head up to the Lakes for a recce but I need to be realistic.  It is more important for me to put my all into LL50 training as I have never been so excited about anything (except gin).
  3. I will not go on some stupid crash diet but I will be aware of my eating habits and my mood.  I will work on managing that aspect of things.
  4. I will follow to the letter the instructions on my plan.  Apparently if someone gets seriously hurt on site that is no excuse and if someone actually dares to die then we will discuss the possibility of being flexible but no guarantees.
  5. I will be my number 1 fan.  Yes, I rolled my eyes too-  she even told me to put that on my fridge.

So there you have it.  Warts and all.  I am on a tightrope right now but I feel a little lighter with the 100 issue discussed.  Sometimes when we (I) let things rattle around in my head for too long without sounding them out to anyone they can become a bigger monster than they need to be.  I am not someone who shares my internal raging battles.  I’ll share with all the world the Nici’isms that make up my ever amusing daily life but tell you when I’m falling apart and that depression is rearing its head?  Not likely.

Anyway, enough of all that.  I now have to plan my run home.  I have instructions to recce a route and put markers up.  I’m hoping she’s joking on the marking bit … City of London may not smile.

As a reward for making you read all that tosh up there … have a picture of me dressed as a cow for a marathon last week.


Nici x

Week 24 of 48 : Clappy Boobs

This is the week where I gave myself a good talking to about consistency, confidence, conviction and compliance!  Now anyone who truly knows me will know I battle each and every one of those items on an almost daily basis.  Don’t be fooled by the confident exterior … inside theres a screaming lunatic begging to be let out.  I get bored easy (consistency), I am convinced one day everyone will see I am faking life (confidence), I question my decisions (conviction) and I very rarely enjoy being told what to do (compliance).  Yet on the flip side I am full of contradictions because I also love routine, am convinced I am bloody amazing, know that I am successful for a reason and love nothing better than a good bit of instruction.  Get out of the gutter … there’s no 50 shades here.  That’s another blog ;)

Monday – so after the horrendous half marathon the day before I had 6 miles on todays plan.  Nothing more than that … just 6 miles.  My pace, my way … so I decided to kick the mugging fear in the tail by going for a jog around the local streets.  It felt like I was running through treacle and bloody hell I was slow.  6 miles in 68 minutes.  I walked 5 times.  It wasn’t pretty but it was mine.

Tuesday – Rest day which is bloody ace as for the next 3 months Tuesday will be lonnnnnggggg site day.

Wednesday – Really annoyed at this day.  I was working a split shift on site so not going in until about noon and then my plan was to go by the gym after work about 11pm and do this fab treadmill session the Sgt devised.  I kid you not I was genuinely looking forward to it.  So off I toddle all changed out of hiviz into lycra (why are women not lined up at my door with that description?) and I get to the gym to find a note taped to the door … “Sorry, we take your money religiously but won’t email you to say there’s been a flood and we are closed for the foreseeable future you sucker!!”.

Really pissed me off as if I had known I would have tried to get an outside hill session in early in the day before site rather than enjoying a rare laze in bed.
Thursday – Rest day (and no I didn’t do missed gym session as wasn’t possible for other reasons)
Friday – 5 miles easy she said.  Well, I did it so easy that it never actually happened.  What the fuck is wrong with me?  Why is my motivation slipping out the door?  Why am I allowing roadblocks to pop up and take the excuse so easy?  Grrrrrrr
Saturday – Up early and meet Jacqui at Victoria for a fun but oh so fucking windy 22 miles on the South Downs.  Seriously my ears are still ringing from the constant wind rushing through my head.  It did pep me up though and even though I lost my house keys out there somewhere it was a good day all in all.
Sunday – On veryyyyyyy tired legs I managed just under 5 miles around the flat.  Not literally around the flat as that would take an age and make me very bloody dizzy.  Obviously.  I did however wear the wrong sports bra and my boobs literally clapped in time with my pace for the whole run.  I alternated between mortification and insane giggling.  It’s London.  I blend.
So this week I have learned I need to grab my lazy alter ego by the throat and kick it’s arse.  Thank you Eddie for sticking with me.  You bloody saint.  I’ve also started back on sensible eating as 2 stone weight gain is not helping my confidence when out running nor is it helping my knees.  Poor site canteen may go out of business.  Limited carbs, lots of fresh fruit and veg, lots of water, and zero chocolate!!  Loss this week of 4 lbs.
Nici x

Weeks 20 thru 23 of 48 : The ones that became a blur ….

As I got a bit nagged this weekend by three of you about the fact that I have not updated on my progress for  weeks I am here to do a quick update.  Don’t panic though you’re not going to now get over a months worth of days individually logged.  You will lose the will to live and quite frankly I will start pounding my head against the table and drooling.

So quick round-up of what has happened in the last 5 weeks.

Pissed off about bruised foot, ate too much food, DNS’d a marathon, ate too much food, went to the Lakes to do a slow recce, ate too much food, cheered up a little bit, ate too much food, got mugged, got angry, ate too much food, continued training, ate too much food, lack lustre training at best, ate too much food, Centurion Running season opener cheered me up immensely ….. for the 5 weeks  only have 145 miles total.  Sorry.

And then to top all that off an increasing pain in my arm finally side-lined me this week when I went to pick up a cup of tea and my arm simply couldn’t cope with the weight …. Turns out I have damaged a nerve in my neck!!  FFS.

Anyway, onwards and upwards and all that bullshit.  I am meant to be running Hillingdon half on Sunday but that’s a little up in the air right now.

Eddie has been lovely through all this and even sent me a picture of her gorgeous pregnant self running on a treadmill to cheer me up.  Seriously, she rocks a baby bump.

So does this mean my LL50 training is over.  Not a fucking chance!  I am more determined than ever now.  Am going to try and get a visit in up there this month and then I have another official recce next month.  I have never felt more confirdent and prepared for something and I’ll be dammned if the fact I have to now do some ‘walk like an egyptian’ exercises deter me.  It’ll be nice to fully extend my arm without pain at some point too.

Right that’s it.  Now, I’m off to find a way to eat food without gaining weight … there must be a way.  Standing on my head maybe?

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


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