Spring has sprung

Yesterday we were treated to a day of blue skies and sunshine – I even had an ice cream in the park. Finally it feels that there is a glimmer of hope that, whisper it, winter might be over. Today wasn’t supposed to be quite so nice up north so after a considerable amount of faffing, I hauled myself out for a plod before the rain came.

It was more like 2.62 than 26.2 (and well done to everyone who ran London today – I treat you all with reverence and respect. Oh, and good luck with entering next year’s ballot!) but I did get to see some black lambs wearing white socks.

SAM_2210

Initially the sheep were all quite far away, but while I took photos they started to trot over to me.

SAM_2213

I’m not sure whether I simply caused a false alarm for breakfast time…

SAM_2211

…or whether I’d triggered some kind of ovine uprising…

SAM_2215…I didn’t stick around to find out.

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Janathon day six: muddy

I had the pleasure of some company on today’s run and was bravely joined by Ginge (I often become quite stroppy with him when we run together and I wouldn’t put with me if I was him). Running with Ginge means that I can do routes that I would be a bit nervy doing on my own (mainly through fields and the lonelier parts of the village) and today was no different. While we were out we toyed with two longer routes; one was a known 7.5 miles, the other an unknown distance (I’ve fallen for mystery tours before, it rarely ends well), but settled for a short (3.5 miles) hilly, mudfest of a run.

First past some sheep fields, saying hello to the occupants and making them flee with the sight of me flailing past them.

Posing sheep

Posing sheep

If you like all things ovine, Jovial Gnome is treating us all to Sheep of the Day on his Janathon blog. I am in sheepy heaven with this and am going to go round and rustle them all into the boot of my Renault Clio at the first opportunity. Technically my sheep are strangers to me, but I shall call them (from left to right) Muriel, Agnes and Maud.

Next up on the nature walk run was a hawk. We tried to sneak up on it but failed miserably although I managed to take a moody Kes-style black and white shot (entirely by chance than design) before it went and sat in a tree where it looked (a) less hawkish and (b) very precarious.

Imagine Brian Glover on a football pitch, stage left.

Imagine Brian Glover on a football pitch, stage left.

That can't be comfy

That can’t be comfy

There were some fabulously squelchy bits to the run. I splashed through these gleefully and oblivious to the fact that I was narrowly avoiding barrelling into Ginge, whilst he cowered in my muddy wake. Ooops.

SAM_2074

Beware indeed…

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

When I only have weekends to run in the daylight they start to take on far too much significance. From the middle of the week I think about it, just so that I can be certain that I will make the most of the day. Everything is invested in this one run. It must be perfect.

Well, there’s nothing like putting pressure on yourself is there? If everything did turn out perfectly, this would be great, but if the run’s not perfect (and inevitably it isn’t) then I feel let down and miserable. Or even worse than that, I spend so much time tying myself up in knots about going out at the perfect time on the perfect route, that I don’t even get out of the door…

Today I wasn’t going to fall into that trap. Today was all about running a familiar route and appreciating it. This is what caught my eye…

There were lots of autumn leaves...

...and lots of sheep...

...and some very serene swans...

....and the Green Man in the playground...

...and even more leaves...

...and the view that always tends to lift my spirits when I run this way...

...and of course, the aforementioned birdhouse.

A few weeks ago, PeopleRun wrote about rediscovering your running mojo and included my contribution – Run somewhere different, preferably somewhere scenic. Only about half a mile of today’s run was somewhere scenic, the other 5.5 were on the road, running (for the most part) the same routes that I hack out time and time again. I do stand by my own advice, but wonder if maybe sometimes it’s a question of looking around you and appreciating what you see?

PS. After my last apologetic post, abradypus asked that, if I found my missing running mojo, could I send some her way? I’m not claiming to have rediscovered mine (just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one run does not make a regular training routine), but I hope that this morning’s run helps both of us.

Ducks, hens, bunnies

I’ve been holding off posting until I could post somthing positive. Positive and about running.

Following my last entry, I was bouncing with enthusiasm for a nice long(ish) Sunday run on one of my favourite routes along the canal – I was chilled about speed, distance, time, whatever, even taking my camera with me so that I could stop to smell the flowers and snap the sheep in the fields. I set off. I managed a quite literally staggering 2 minutes 45 seconds and couldn’t go any further – my arms and legs felt heavy and it was like running through treacle. I felt absolutely exhausted, but wasn’t going to give in. Ended up with a total of 2.55miles plodding and plod/walking, oh, and a lovely picture of some sleepy ducks.

Sleepy ducks

Sleepy ducks

This was followed by another 30minute morning run on Monday, which was still slow, but this time my hands didn’t swell up like bear paws so I called it a success. Unfortunately, this was followed by a week where I felt totally whacked and reminded me of glandular fever.

Clearly, these are not the positive things that I promised in the first sentence.

I have also been knitting for Easter, creating an army of fuzzy chicks and a pair of egg cosies from a pattern by the awesome Little Cotton Rabbits.

Bunnies

Bunnies

Hens

Hens

It doesn’t take a genius to workout that I more naturally inclined towards knitting (with its sitting down in the warm) than running (with its moving around outside).

However positive that it is, it’s not positive and about running (as promised in the first sentence).

I had 2 lovely runs on Good Friday and Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night club run. I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding these a bit recently as the gulf between the plodders at the back (me) and the speedy gonzales at the front (everyone else) seemed to be getting wider and wider. Last night, I was lucky enough to run with one of the coaches who, as well as being the most scarily positive person in the world ever, gave me lots of advice and encouragement. As well as getting me round 4.23miles (the longest I’ve run in over a month), I averaged 11.07 minutes/mile. I know that these stats aren’t exactly world beating, but at the weekend I was chuffed enough with  2.7 miles at 11.06 minutes/mile and I now realise that I could either be going further or faster.

Suddenly, the glass feels half full and I can feel a bit of confidence creeping back. It’s a rather nice feeling.