Mixed emotions

I’m wishing that I’d posted this earlier in the week after my Saturday run.

Saturday I decided to do a run that was psychologically ace for me – running in one direction, from my house to my mum’s (about 5 miles) and then a bit more to take my time up to one hour 20. It was psychologically ace because my unsuccessful attempts at running in the past have been from mum’s and I could barely manage two miles run-walking before I would give up. Running past my old one mile marker at 4 miles and then keeping going was a wonderful feeling! Apart from the first 20 minutes (much of which was uphill), and the last 5 minutes I felt really good and enjoyed myself. Highlight of the run were spotting another runner coming towards me, only to realise that he was actually speeding away from Bargain Booze with a litre of vodka in his hand – at 8.30 in the morning. I also enjoyed my randomly selected tunes that seemed to know exactly how I was feeling – 2 minutes to go, feeling like I wanted to give up any second  and what comes on but Jolene. Thank you Dolly.

I ended up running for an hour and 21 minutes, which was about 6.85 miles  – officially the longest that I have ever run. I say run, you know what I mean. I was spectacularly chuffed about it over the weekend. By Monday I had convinced myself that this was nothing to be proud of. On Tuesday I had a late start at work and took advantage with a 40 minute plod around the village. I thought that I was going at a decent pace, but when I checked the route and the time, I was pretty disappointed with myself. Work stress and headache left me feeling miserable yesterday and all of my automatic negative thoughts came rushing out – if I say that the glass wasn’t just half empty, it was half empty because I was hopeless and had spilled it everywhere.

Luckily, I had a better day today and was motivated enough to go to the long run group on my own. Did around 6 miles, probably setting off a bit too quick, but ending up in the middle of the group with quite a big gap ahead and behind of me. The upshot of this was that after we turned at the half way mark, there was no way I could catch up with people ahead of me and would be soon be passed by all the speedy Gonzaleses who were then behind me. I ended up at the back. Watching people become specks in the distance. Feeling like I did so many times in PE. I wasn’t a happy bunny and gave up a bit towards the end because I was so fed up.

All I can say is that I’m glad that didn’t happen yesterday – if it had, my trainers would be in the bin by now. As it is, I’m thinking sod it. If I want to feel rubbish about myself, I can manage perfectly well on my own thank you very much. So it’s me, my wonky knees and Dolly Parton from now on – hour and a half planned for Saturday.

I think I preferred Juneathon…

After a short post-Juneathon break, I’m back from my jollies full of vim and vigour. Also full of sausages, beer and cake. It’s a scientific fact that calories consumed outside contain far less than those consumed on the sofa – it’s the fresh air that does it. Sadly that may not be as evidence-based as I’d like it to be and I’ve returned home feeling like the side of a house, but by heck it was worth it. We’ve noodled in Greenwich, scoffed Nepalese in Hythe, wolfed down Malaysian in London and barbecued at our tent.

It wasn’t just gorgeous food mind you… I was plonked on a bike for the first time in three years (I’m not a natural cyclist, I failed my Cycling Proficiency when I was 10 and there’s been 20 years of trauma since. I was “still wobbly on my bike” since you ask) and did a 25 mile ride. This was on day one of having the bikes and I’m still trying to work out if it was a good idea. I have quite a well upholstered bottom, but there was some definite saddle soreness on the morning after. Part of me thinks that if we’d done a shorter ride on day one, I’d still have had an achey rump and would not have agreed to the longer trip, so it was worth it. I think.

Since our return, I’ve been out a couple of times. Tuesday in the rain with the running group and my pal the running bully, and tonight after work with the running bully again. She’s lost her rhythm a bit at the mo, so it’s my turn to do a bit of motivational bullying at the moment. I don’t mind doing this because I definitely owe her for all the support she gave me when I started, but I appear to have agreed to do a half marathon in October while I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve been assured that doubling my distance and not making an arse of myself is quite realistic in the time available (I’m somewhat doubtful, but I’m using all my saved up Juneathoness to gee me on), I’ve also checked the times from last year and the last person to cross the line took about 4 hours, so hopefully I wouldn’t come last.

As well as the half, I’ve been railroaded into a 5k with other members of my team at work. The strange thing is that I’m more worried about the 5k than the half (It’s the fear of possible embarassment, as they seem to be under the impression that I can run. The fools.).

So it looks like I’ll be doing some slightly more focused training over the next couple of months. It starts with an hour’s run on Saturday and who knows where it will go from there. Any advice/suggestions/tips would be gratefully received as I’m a bit clueless and proper training schedules scare me silly.

Juneathon 23-26: Beginning to read at verse 3

And on the fourth day, she rested and looked on the previous days, thinking hmm, I’m not quite a slacker, but nearly.

It’s been another busy few days so I’m afraid the Juneathon activity has included a bit more walking than it should have done, but that was an emergency measure to make sure that I didn’t weasel out of the ironing. Again. If I’m good at weaseling out of running, I’m an elite weaseler when it comes to the ironing pile and as we’re off on our jollies next week, I wanted to take command and scale the mountain of laundry.

Day 23 Tuesday: Ironing marathon (can I claim it as being an Ironman? No?) tonight. So I conned husband into going for a walk after tea. The clouds were a bit dark and ominous as we left the house, so Husband grabbed the brolly and set off with the intention of getting a new water holdy thing for our camping trip from the village caravan dealer. Unfortunately, 15 minutes too late for the water holdy thing, but we ventured on and back through the fields. Which is when the rains came… By the time we got back to the main road, we were passed by quite a few of the neighbourhood animals lining up two by two as the torrents of water flowed down the kerbside. 2.4 miles, jeans soaked to the knees, big pile of ironing waiting for me. Yay.

Day 24 Wednesday: Wednesday night is of course Yoga night and, in honour of Sunday’s new moon, did some moon-based postures. The first pose lead to upward facing dog (the first time I’ve done it) and then a sequence in kneeling which was very similar to this mini-sun salutation, but included upward facing dog instead of cobra. As usual I had to keep one eye on people to make sure I was up to the right bit. It then got a bit Iyengar, which I later learned that is very focused on precision so not really my cup of tea. There was some falling over and I got distracted during the meditation. Again.

Day 25 Thursday: Now, I’m quite chuffed with Thursday as it demonstrates the power of the Juneathon. I was on a day’s training and then hopping on the train to meet a friend for tea, normally this would be enough to write off any chance of exercise. Not in June though! 5.30 my alarm goes off. 5.40 I curse the fact that I’m doing this through choice and set off for a 30 minute plod up the road and back. Home, shower, recycling out, bus at 7.30, train at 8.00, land at 8.15. Realise I’m in plenty of time to get to where the training is(car left at home to enable a couple of beers later on) and enjoy a sunshine-filled walk taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the city over 2.4 miles. The only downside was that it started to feel like a day off, whereas in actual fact I spent 7 hours in a small stuffy room doing IT training.  Still, my tea was yummy and I had a couple of lovely pints of Ginger Marble to round the day off.

Day 26 Friday: Another bit of rogue exercise – I played squash for the first time in nearly 15 years. It was against Husband (who I learned has played squash before. Once) and was splendid fun. I forget how much I enjoy hitting stuff. Considering the cheese string shoulders, the lack of coordination and my reluctance to engage in any kind of sudden movement, I should hate racquet sports, but they’re the only sports that I’ve been slightly decent at and, more importantly, enjoyed. We borrowed racquets and a ball for free (apparently we looked trustworthy enough not to be charged a pound for them. Fools), had to get directions to the court and probably should have asked for a rule book. I don’t think we were playing to exact championship laws, but it kind of worked and we finished up with a win and a half each (due to running out of time). Definitely going to do it again. Or bribe Husband into playing badminton cos I beat him last time we played…

And now I sit on my arse watching glastonbury on the beeb, muttering darkly about wacky types with face paint and glitter.

Juneathon days 21 and 22: Irritable bowl syndrome

Despite the usual trying to waste enough time to avoid going out on Sunday morning, I eventually got out of the door and plodded up the road. Did about an hour, which was about 5.6miles. Although I was really chuffed with this at the time (it’s further than I’ve ever been on my own), I’ve become increasingly disappointed with myself for not going further/quicker. I also got to shake my air maracas on the way home!

Sunday afternoon saw my crown green bowling debut. Hmmm. Luckily we were partnered into bowlers and non-bowlers, so at the very least I had some experienced supervision. My experienced supervision was provided by one of the junior bowlers, which meant my partner barely reached my elbow height and I was old enough to be his mother. Unfortunately, by the time we hit our stride, we’d been knocked out of the competition…

Today I was on a training day which was being held at a hotel a couple of miles from home, so I took advantage of being able to leave the car at home and walked up. A superb way of squeezing in Juneathon, which has left me with three huge blisters. Nice.

Juneathon Days 12, 13, 14 and 15. Crikey.

Hello! There’s been a bit of a break in transmission because of a rather splendid weekend’s camping in Anglesey, but it’s been Juneathon all the way (certainly in spirit).

Day 12
Friday morning was a very hard early morning run. Not hard in terms of distance (2.9 miles) or speed (slow) but definitely in terms of opening eyes, moving body into upright position and leaving the house. After the previous night’s yummy Thai (pork and prawn dumplings, chicken panang curry and storm trooper birthday cake), which was a 50 mile round trip, we detoured to do a spooky late night camping shop in Tesco. With all the shelves being re-stocked and the staff listening to their own tunes on stereos, you feel as if you shouldn’t be in there. The upshot is that it was gone midnight when we got in and when the alarm went off at 5.45 it was like someone had taken a cheese grater to my eyes.

Work over, car loaded up and off we went down to Newborough.

Day 13
Early start, bacon butty eaten, packed lunch packed, factor 25 slapped on and off we go on a coast and country walk that clocked in at 11.5 miles. It was definitely an amble, with stops for paddling, lunch, looking at stuff and getting lost.

This was where we went:

11.5 miles ambled

11.5 miles ambled

And this is some of the stuff that we saw.13062009030.jpg

We set off through fields and into the forest, me keeping a beady eye on the weather (I have an optimistic attitude to packing for camping – in my head it’s always sunny. Add to that a particularly chaotic pack 5 minutes before we left and I was cagoule-less and wearing flipflops).

Eventually, we emerged into the sand dunes and onto the beach, albeit not quite on the path that we had intended to. Although we both know that it’s not a good idea, we had ended up (not for the first time) navigating using a map on the back of a leaflet. Erring on the side of caution, I made Husband promise that we wouldn’t attempt Snowdon using this leaflet and flipflop style of orienteering.

13062009043Onward we trekked, this was around mile 5.


And lots of nature too, including a very hairy (and possibly very hungry) caterpillar.



By this time, the weather had settled into blue skies and shiny sun. So much so that I exposed below my knees to the outside world for the first time since about 1999. I don’t know what you’d call my leg colour, but it’s fair to say that if I ran wearing shorts in winter, I wouldn’t need to bother with any hi-vis. I’m not sure who was more scared, me or the other poor souls in the forest.

The calories that we burned were completely offset by restorative beer, curry and bombay mix. And I was quite narked to discover that during the walk my locked phone had somehow connected to the internet and signed me up for a £4.50 a month subscription to one of those ringtone and “amaze your friends! X-ray your hand with your phone!” websites. Normally I struggle to connect to the internet intentionally using the power of the my thumb. Grrr.

Day 14
The day didn’t start well. I’ve had a cold lurking for a bit and it chose Sunday to break forth. Running was totally off the cards (not least cos my feet were still achey from Day 13) so I yoga-ed next to the tent watching the clouds speed past overhead. Felt a bit of an arse, but then really didn’t care because it was so nice.

Day 15
Woke up snuffly, snotty and feeling like someone had been hitting my face with a lump hammer. From the inside. Having had a hectic day at work and a whole banana for dinner, we decided to invoke the lovely walk clause of my Juneathon and pootled 2.5 miles up a new bit (well new to us, it’s been there for years….) of the canal.

More nature was waiting for us.

There once was an ugly duckling

There once was an ugly duckling

And best of all, a Mystic Horse. He was lovely. He was standing in a clearing,  looking very serious and quite unicorn-like. Even more mystic was that as we walked back along the towpath, Mystic Horse appeared to have vanished. Less mystically, he turned up in the next field having magically transported himself through a gate.

Mystic Horse

Mystic Horse

Fingers crossed that I feel better tomorrow. I think that an early run is unlikely, but have plans for going after work either alone, with chum or with the running group.