Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Blackhill Parkrun – 18-04-15

Similar to my first parkrun three weeks ago, there was a very high turn-out today: 117 runners, with 24 there for the first time! Durham parkrun was not on as the sports centre there had to close urgently for maintenance, so a big group of runners from there came to visit – judging by some of the comments about how tough Blackhill was compared to Durham, which is flat by the sound of it, I’m not sure how many of them will be mega keen to come back! I think when I have managed to get Blackhill below 30 minutes, I will try Durham in the hope of getting a 5k personal best!

With the intention still being to head over to Otterburn for the 10k tomorrow, I volunteered to marshall this week. I’d mentally decided to myself I was going to try to go every weekend in April, and I’d also thought about volunteering once a month too going forward – so while I’m trying to balance things a bit more for my feet with races and training, now seemed as good a time to start as any, especially as they’d posted on facebook yesterday that they were short two marshalls and a scanner! I had the position at the top of the park at the big crossroads, and a lovely view from all directions.

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Testing. Testing. Is this thing on?

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As you can see from the above pic, J and I have discovered the secret to effortless slimming! And that’s with enough chocolate between us to sink the Titanic this week! Nothing like a bit of evening sunshine to boost the self-esteem 😉 I guess a pair of stilts would have a similar if less elegant effect but I’m not sure I could persuade J onto a pair of them much less anywhere near a camera!

With Otterburn’s No Ego Trail Challenge just around the corner, this was more of a leg stretch as we’re both still planning on going, and both sporting niggle potential injuries – J’s got a gippy muscle right at the top of her thigh which is just what you want for running with on rough terrain. We took her dogs out down by the river – ran 1km down and then walked back to the cars. I’ve never really thought about how far a kilometer is – the distance is only something I’ve really tracked when running, when walking I never really think of the distance I’m covering as I usually just have to get wherever I’m going regardless, so I’ve only tracked it when doing legs of Hadrian’s Wall with X. It took us 8 minutes to travel the 1km at a jog, and 19.5 minutes to do the same distance back – quite a noticeable difference in pace, which is always reassuring as there’s been times I’ve felt my quiet jog speed is not actually much quicker than a brisk walking pace!

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Spetchell Speculations

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I was really pleased with my mega-long run on Sunday, so when Monday rocked around I was really worried to find that the longer P & I bimbled about the Metrocentre, the more my left foot hurt – the outer side was getting worse and worse the longer I walked until when we went back to the car I was almost at a snail’s pace and didn’t really want to put much weight on it. If you look up ‘pain on outer edge of foot’, the search results are pretty unanimous – you’ve either got a stress fracture in the metatarsels or something really obscure. Symptoms of a stress fracture? Doesn’t hurt when resting (check), and gets noticeably worse the longer you put weight on it (check). Symptoms may not appear when the injury first happens but build over the next few days and weeks – foot swelling, increase in amount of pain when walking, etc. etc. Just what one needs when one’s calendar is full of race events and there’s just over 4 weeks to an assault run and just over 8 weeks to a half marathon. Expected recovery time if minor? 6 weeks. No, thank you.

I rested Monday evening and the pain subsided, I woke up Tuesday morning feeling fine, and decided that if it was broken, I would probably know by lunchtime as the pain was likely to build again, or at least so the internet (that most credible source of information) led me to believe. At least in this case, typing my symptoms in didn’t lead to it telling me I died last Thursday. If it did arise, I would go to the walk-in centre after work and see what advice, if any other than ‘rest it’, they could give me. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all passed with very on-feet days at work, in my heavy steel-toed work boots, and my foot problems didn’t arise again. Monday was looking like a strong possibility in terms of symptoms; Tues, Weds and Thurs definitely not. So, tonight I decided to try a short jog around the Spetchells with J to see how I was holding up, in my shiny new sun visor as it was such a nice bright evening. We went round and up and down and over in a way that typically does not show on the elevation graph – so I get no credit for running up the steps! I got all the way round the 3km very comfortably with no hold ups until we were on the path heading back to the carpark when it spiked me with a ‘Hello! Not forgotten me had you?!’. Bleurgh.

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Buy All The Things!

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When we first converted the spare room into a gym, I decided I would only buy things as and when I determined that I needed them, rather than trying to fit every exercise accessory under the sun in there and then having them accumulate into a heap and never see the light of day. Recently, I decided that I needed more stuff. Ok, I totally didn’t need it, but more things occurred anyway! The motivators for my shopping spree? Several upcoming things – firstly SUMMER! Followed closely and in some ways superceded by the Gelt Gladiator assault course, and assisted by a side helping of No Ego Trail Challenge. It’s looking very much like the Run England session last week was winter’s last punch – the evenings and nights are still chilly, but the days are looking decidedly bright and warm at the moment – sometimes even consecutively!

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Race Prep – What are we packing?

I’m off to the Thirsk 10 in about 10 minutes – so I’m going to rush-type this, run to the loo then dash out the door! It’s about 1.5 hours from here and I’m leaving plenty of time for roadworks, registration, traffic, pre-race loo stop, animals on the roads, getting lost…etc, etc, etc.

I’m wanting to whittle down the amount of stuff I take on runs, but for now – particularly when I’m going on my own and need to take money, phone, keys etc. out on the route with me, I use my big bum-bag and take some stuff for the car – change of clothes so I don’t drive back all sweaty and some nibbles for afterwards.

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Sometimes each race feels like I’m going away for the weekend… for the smaller ones (<10k), I don’t take a drink, and I take a much smaller bumbag just for my phone and keys, and nothing at all if I’m running local – it’s so liberating! As this is a 10 mile though, and I’ve no idea how hungry, thirsty, desperate-to-bail-out I’ll be, I’m taking no chances and packing EVERYTHING, especially if the only harm is that it might come for a trip in the car and then home again.

Wish me luck!!!

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Workout 05-03-15 and Why My Gym Smells of Marzipan!

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I wanted to try expanding my workout a bit to include something different, so after kitting out The Box Room with some new gear (more on that below!), I went riffling through my Women’s Running back issues looking for some inspiration. Sheer chance got me started looking at workouts on a magazine which I already had the gear for – the Feb issue I’ve been following has a pretty general toning session called ‘Feel the Burn’ aimed at building strength and boosting metabolism – it only requires a set of handweights (or baked beans!) and for comfort, a floor mat (or towel). When I went flicking through the others, about half of them required gym equipment that I don’t have yet – a gym ball and a medicine ball – neither of which is unusual home workout equipment, but neither of which I currently have. A gym ball is on the shopping list as I progress – I didn’t want to go on a major buy-all-the-things spree, so I’ve been getting a few things as and when I feel I need them, or dragging things out the attic which I’ve had from when I went through a phase of working out at home while at uni – hence already having the floor mats, hand weights set and I also have an aerobic step.

I found a few magazines which required no equipment, or just hand weights, and one which needed a resistance band – of which I found one in a DVD I bought a while ago and have never used. The workout I decided to try today was one called ‘Exercise Your Speed Demons’ and is supposed to help you get your race pace quicker.

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Battling the Winter Blues – 2!

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You know the saying “Feed a cold, starve a fever”? Yesterday, my cold was fed so much I think it must have drowned in carbs. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much in one day without feeling horribly sick. I have no idea where my stomach put it all (no doubt I’ll find it soon enough if I decided to step on the scales!). I basically snacked all day at work, and when I got home ate a bagel with banana, 4 macaroons, a cinnamon bun and a full portion of dinner – meatballs with veg + tomato sauce and rice, all within the space of an hour. Fortunately after that I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the evening, but I normally can’t finish a P-sized serving (P being the other half, not a lazy spelling of pea!) of just the meatballs and rice let alone all the other stuff in such a short window!

I’d had 2 days of being a snotty beaky – as well as an insane calorie intake yesterday I also went through 1.5 boxes of tissues and enough hot squash to keep a town hydrated. I didn’t do any exercise wanted to conserve myself for the weekend, and knowing that today would probably be a long one at work. The guys at work managed to get ahead of the original timeline – and as long as nothing goes bang, after being there 13 hours today I will not need to be in over the weekend – which reopens the possibility of my run at Bamburgh on Saturday! I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how I cope with this one pretty much since I booked it; I’ve run on snow a couple of times this winter, and mud on one or two more recent occasions, but I’ve never tried running on sand! Certainly not over 10kms.

I woke up this morning with a clear nose having managed to stay lying on my back propped on the pillows all night, but it felt like someone had tipped glue across my lungs as none of it had been purged by my waking and blowing my nose in the dark. Still, I could tell that I was getting on top of it. I’ve still been a bit sneezey and snuffley today but am feeling better. Tonight is going to be the decider for whether I do the run tomorrow – if I sleep well and can get this kicked, I’ll be wrapping up warm and hitting the beaches – if not I’ll be having a serious think about whether I’m up to it and looking at doing a run on Sunday instead, and trying not to be too gutted about it!

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Winter Blues!

cold 001This is how I feel right now – what started as a throat tickle on Sunday has been getting progressively worse, and has today become a full-blown cold; snotty beak, headache, harrumphing elephantine cough and buffalo-esque sneezing (I am LADYLIKE in my malaise!). I’ve had my buff on all day trying to keep my throat warm, and even slept in it last night, and am on the paracetamol and hot squashes in an attempt to get this shifted asap!

This is not proving a good week for running at all. Monday’s run, while faster than previous (hurrah!) was shorter than I was aiming for – and that made it REALLY short, I missed my Run England session for the second week in a row due to massive machine problems at work, and those same machine problems are making it increasingly likely I will miss my 10k run at Bamburgh on Saturday that I’ve been really looking forward to – which will make it the second event I’ve missed this year due to other stuff taking over my diary, and it’s only February. Poopy.

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Motivation Musings

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Getting the motivation to go out for a run is really difficult sometimes – maybe I’m feeling tired, or full, or just lazy, the weather’s iffy, maybe it’s just too hard to take that first step out the door because it’s been a while since I did. There are a few things that help me kick my butt into gear again.

Motivator One: Have something to work for.

My first ever running event was the Great Women’s Run in Glasgow in May last year – and I signed onto the race as a challenge for myself before I’d tried going out running. I used to work out a lot and walk miles and miles a week, and when that filtered out when I finished uni and started work, it didn’t really occur to me how much my fitness might have deteriorated after 2.5 years… I sounded like a dying asthmatic the first time I went out – and 100 yards was a struggle. My youngest sister F was out with me for my first run and can vouch for what a terrible breather I was. But, I had committed to doing it. 10km when 0.1km was looking like a struggle. I’d put sponsorship forms up at work and all sorts. I was in for it. It was either admit to everyone I was baling, or just get on with it and get round that course if I had to be dragged on a bungee rope by my other sister who’d agreed to do it with me – and runs all the time.

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