9 down, 3 to go

Less than 3 weeks to go until the race!

I had my day off on Tuesday this week, but I had to take my car to the garage.  Since it was about 3 miles away, I chose to run home from the garage – part of that was the actual race route, which was handy.  It was a dry sunny morning, and my pacing was good.

On Thursday afternoon after work, the weather was glorious, and I linked 2 of my short routes together – started round the river, and then added on the Hillhall Road.  That was 7 km in 50 minutes.  As I was running through the bluebells, it occurred to me that I used to think when I was running “it’ll be good when it stops”.  Whereas I had such a smile on my face I was thinking “I’ll miss this when it stops!”.  The nice thing is – it doesn’t have to stop.

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Saturday’s parkrun had a delayed start, as three articulated lorries arrived in the park, not having been informed of our run.  So a bit of maneuvering was required to get them parked up somewhere safe, and marshalls ensured that there were no forklifts or similar operating while the run was underway.  My own start was then slowed as I had to fiddle a bit with the pouch I wear to carry my phone etc, so I could have been quicker at that point.  But no matter – a new PB of 28:16, and an average pace of sub-9 minute miles.

Having run almost 10 miles on the three previous Sunday long runs, this week according to the training plan I was to run 6 miles.  Since there’s a 10k race being run at the same time as the half-marathon (in fact I ran that 10k a few years ago), I though that would be a good one to have a go at.  So off I set at 8 in the morning to run 10 k before breakfast.  I’m constantly amazed at what my body is capable of!  In fact, by the time I added on the distance from my house to the leisure centre where the race starts, the total distance was 8.6 miles, done in just over an hour and a half (but with a very annoying and hyper Max to wrestle with for the last few miles, after he’d been spooked by a bicycle)

Max when he's NOT being hyper

Max when he’s NOT being hyper

Still time to donate to the great cause I’m raising funds for!


4 down, 8 to go.

Wow, a third of the way through my training plan!

I did my Tuesday morning run round the river, which was very pleasant. The only tricky thing is trying to cross roads as the rush hour traffic builds up.
Thursday was my indoor treadmill run, and technology was failing me here. My shuffle was already playing up, and the right earphone wasn’t working, and about 5 minutes into the run the battery gave up.  I knew that it would get really warm in the gym, so I was trying out the sleeveless top that Clic Sargent had sent me with their fundraising pack, but it absorbed the sweat really quickly and became sticky and uncomfortable.  It might be better out of doors.

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Without music to spur me on, I had to play mind-games with myself.  Every 30 seconds I put another click on the speed, until I was running at 10 km/hr.  I held that pace for a minute, then dropped back down to 7.5 and started again.  So it wasn’t a brilliant run, but it was OK.

Saturday mornings are now ParkRun time.  Having tried my big dog, Max, at one a few weeks ago, where he was completely freaked out by the crowds and the adrenaline, I bravely attempted to take Mini, my cocker spaniel.  My logic was – if I recorded a slow time, I could blame her, and if we managed a strong time, then it would be a case of Girl Power!  She was an angel, behaved beautifully the whole way round, sat neatly in the queue to scan our bar code, and let other runners admire her without jumping up on them.  And we knocked another minute off my time to come in at an incredible 30 mins 12 seconds!  Just a sniff away from that 30 minute mark that 2 months ago I’d have said was never going to happen.

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My one-eared shuffle came up with the goods too, with Matty Graham’s “Crazy” spurring me on.  Running is mental – running with dogs is excremental (though Mini was very good, and didn’t do anything that would have required me to stop….)


Sunday was supposed to be a 6 mile run, though the route I chose was a bit short of that.  I wasn’t running particularly fast either, at about 7.31 minutes per km, but I was really enjoying myself.  I reminded myself how lucky I am: in my 50s, I’m able to go for serious runs, in the beautiful countryside, with a pawsome dog by my side, and a supportive husband cheering me on. The signs of spring are everywhere – cheery chunky clumps of primroses on the verges, adventurous daffodils breaking free from their structured gardens, the lacy haze of blossom on the trees, and vibrant gorse and flowering currant bushes.  There were some steep hills on this route, which I walked up, but the reward for the struggle was always a stunning vista of the Lagan valley and the hills beyond.

I did go down to the Apple store to see if they could sort out my earphone problem.  I was persuaded to buy the newer shuffle, but it was only when I got it home that I realised this one is all controlled from the device itself, rather than on the headphone wires – a point I had specifically asked about.  So sadly, it’ll have to go back to the shop tomorrow, while I source a set of headphones that DOES allow me to pause, fast forward, change volume etc all without having to hoik inside my T shirt to find the device.  I shall leave you with that charming image, and a reminder of why I’m doing this.