Janathon day thirteen: frosty

A cold and frosty morning required the incentive of breakfast to get me out on today’s run, which turned into a seven miler with Ginge.

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We abandoned the planned route in favour of a run of unknown length that took us through the fields that we had splashed through last weekend.

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Today they were a bit crunchier under foot (with the exception of several incidents where my heavy footedness took me through the ice accompanied by shrieks of “FREEZING MUD!!!”).

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The fields run alongside the M6, which gave the odd sensation of running along the hard shoulder (which I often think would be a brilliant thing to be able to do – although clearly illegal and stupid, so don’t go getting ideas).

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I got into a bit of a staring contest with these woolly lovelies. They won.

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My legs took a bit of time to find some kind of stride (but continued to complain bitterly) and weren’t happy to be reminded of the gentle but long and gruelling incline that I normally run the opposite way.

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We did see this al fresco ice bath, but I decided that it was neither the time nor the place to start experimenting with that kind of recovery programme…

SAM_2094All in all it was a fairly steady plod, although when I consulted Miles I was impressed to see that the final half mile was run a minute/mile faster than the rest – it’s amazing the effect that the promise of a sausage barmcake can have on my legs!

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The owl who was afraid of the dark…

I’m afraid that I’ve not adjusted very well to the clocks going back. For some reason or another, I’ve preferred to run in the evenings and haven’t done a 6am run for months and months (I suspect it was during Juneathon) and I’m struggling to get back into the habit. On several occasions, I have managed to set an alarm and get up at 5.30, but on the same number of occasions I have also managed to peer through the blinds, shrug and go back to bed. While the evenings were still light, I convinced myself that it was because I could always run after work ‘because it will be light then’. In the week before the clocks changing I clung onto the dimming tea-time light, trying desperately to delay the inevitable.

If I still had a job where I spent most the day photoshopping safety equipment onto animals, I could run at dinner time. Luckily I am more gainfully employed now.

My issue with the clocks changing is that I’m faced with the majority of my runs being completed in darkness. I either get up early and run in the dark, or I run when I get home and I run in the dark. I don’t mind running in the dark as such, but it means that I have to wear my ‘I’m on day release’ hi-vis bib, don’t take my shuffle and am restricted to running on well-lit main roads which can get a bit dull at times.

On a cold and frosty morning.

I also find that weekend runs take on a new sense of importance. This is often the only daylight run I will do during the week and thus it must be A Good Run. It must be scenic, it must be well run and I must enjoy myself. I become so focused on all of this that the planning, the angst and the self-imposed pressure overshadow the basic need to put one foot in front of the other.

What? No Batman?

Luckily, this weekend the weather was particularly autumnal and I had a spring in my step as I did a 6 mile route that takes in my favourite recharging spot (the local nature reserve). I ran resplendent in my brand new New Balance purple tights (I fear they make me look half-woman, half-aubergine but was pleased to read in that day’s Observer that I was fabulously on trend darling) after revising my bottom-half wardrobe and replacing most of my baggy and wonkily lengthed tights with 50% off factory shop bargains. I can only apologise to anyone driving along the main road who was treated to the sight of me ferreting the scratchy end of its price tag out of my belly button.

I declare Sunday to have been A Good Run

I am faced with an early run in the morning. I remain unconvinced.

The Fog

Or, thumbs up to thumb holes.

Oh, thumb holes how I love you

I woke up this morning to blue skies and sunshine at the front of the house. When I scampered into the spare room at the back of the house, I peered over the biggest ironing mountain in the world to see that there were frosty cars in the car park. This meant the first frost of the autumn and my first chance to wear my Mizuno long sleeved top with thumb holes. I adore thumb holes. Maybe it’s the inner sulky teenager in me, but I love being able to yank my sleeves over my hands…

Anyway, my plan for today was to do a quick three-mile out and back, just running, no photos, but seeing the frost made it seem like a good morning to have another soul run round the lodge. I decided to take my camera just in case there was some nice frost along the way and I’m very glad that I did.

As I ran down the hill out of the village, a thick fog cloaked the road and into the valley.

The view from the road into the valley...

...and the valley back up to the road

I couldn’t see across the car park and the view that met me at the top of the steps was a little different from yesterday’s run.

Compare and contrast with Saturday's version...

The greyness surrounded me (and everything else) and made it a little eerie. There were plenty of dogs (and their people) around and when one of them barked, somehow  it sounded loud but far away at the same time. It was calm and still, cold and bleak, but all the while I ran with the knowledge that there were blue skies just waiting to get through.

Foggy ducks

The, um, view across the water

So that’s two days of mojo recapturing done – this week I’ve got an after work 7 miler planned with Ginge on Tuesday and then an early Thursday to make four sessions this week. Oh and, I wore my new running shoes and didn’t notice them at all. I think that this is a good thing, but will give them a few more outings before I decide on my final verdict.