New shoes and bouncing dogs

Sometimes, inspite of all planning and good intentions, life makes it impossible for you to do the things that you want to do. This is what happened a couple of weeks ago and for the first time since I started this blog, I had a week where I didn’t run. It wasn’t intentional, it just wasn’t possible. Work was crazy busy and I was in London for a couple of days which meant a run was not practical (as I wasn’t staying over) and on the one day when I could have squeezed one in, I felt ill. It was a strange feeling and I was very surprised to find that I definitely missed running. The first day was ok as I was in London and as I always now get off the tube early to walk (trainers and suit are now my thing) I hit my 10000 steps easily (in fact I smashed it). The following two days after however, I was chained to my desk from very early until very late and I don’t think I managed to even do 3000 steps.  Thursday I was back in London again but was feeling twitchy. Very twitchy and also quite irritable. I felt like I had ants in my pants and although I managed to rack up over 10000 steps again, I was missing going for a run. I planned to go Friday but woke up feeling unwell and so couldn’t. The idea that you can miss going for a run sounds ludicrous, but nevertheless there we have it. I am in new territory here and it’s strange.

During the course of the week, Unofficial Trainer got back in touch. She had made (with her starring complete with her cat watching her) 9 videos for me. Each video shows me how to warm up different parts of my body needed before a run. It includes the three I already knew… along with six others I had never seen before. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (more specifically Whatsapp) I can watch these whenever I want to and they have definitely helped. I am very grateful for the help. Unofficial Trainer should set up her own YouTube Channel – fame awaits.

After a week of not running, on Sunday we were signed up for the Sport Relief Mile. Husband and I were running 3 miles (5k) and Daughters were running 1 mile. Our mile(s) were at Horfield Leisure Centre. Parents-in-Law accompanied us to help with daughter duty as the 3 miles started 10 minutes before the 1 mile which would have left Daughters alone for 10 minutes. There was a brilliant atmosphere and an extremely enthusiastic aerobics instructor led us all in a warm up before we set off (no concerns for my warm up today). Then we were off. 3 miles was 9 laps of the track and then 10 minutes later Daughters went off for 3 laps. I was secretly pleased as I felt confident that with some parents there with toddlers doing the mile, there was no way that I would be last (as is always my worry). There were lots of people running and there were also huge variations in running ability. As I hadn’t run for a week, I did find it quite hard. It was also the first time I have run on grass. I can’t decide if I liked it or not. It was softer and so my knees didn’t ache afterwards which was good, but I’m also not convinced that I preferred it. My secret plan, I am ashamed to confess, was to catch up to Younger Daughter, who I knew wouldn’t run the whole way around and so I would be “forced” to walk some with her. Cunning plan eh? Unfortunately, I was three quarters of the way around the track when the One Milers set off and I didn’t manage to catch Younger Daughter up at any point during the race. Of course I was overtaken by an ecstatic Sporty Daughter who ran the entire 3 laps and really enjoyed the whole thing (she must get her running legs from her Daddy). She chatted with me and said that she was going to run with me for a bit so Daddy could catch her up and then they would cross the finish line together. However, when I warned her that Daddy would definitely go for a sprint finish (which he did) she decided not to wait and shot off like a rocket. She was buzzing afterwards and definitely now wants to do more running. This pleases me enormously.

Unfortunately Younger Daughter was knocked over by a big dog who had been running around the field (owner no-where to be seen). Husband thankfully had been a few hundred metres behind Youngest and had seen the whole thing and so had tested his sprinting ability to get to her and offer Daddy hugs. My poor little girl was very upset by the whole incident (as I would have been) and so needed her Daddy to walk with her for a lap. Once she had finished and was safely deposited with Grandparents he was off again. He overtook me as I proudly announced that I was on my final lap but he joyfully told me that I had miscounted and was only on my eighth so had another one to go. My disappointment was palpable. I couldn’t believe it. But anxious not to lose face in front of both (now finished) Daughters, I set off for my final lap and ran the whole thing even though I was completely wrecked. I was so relieved when I finished. My stupid watch had paused itself half way around and so I only had stats for the first 3k but they seemed respectable. It had been (almost!) enjoyable. I also had my first medal – this was huge. I hadn’t realised that I would get a medal. It had also been wonderful to do something as a family. Sporty Daughter was very excited at having run without stopping and so was how planning her next race already.  When all the cash and online donations were counted my Daughters raised £145 and I am very proud to be their Mum. Thank you if you sponsored them.

Following the Sport Relief Event, on Tuesday I decided to run to work in the morning. This was the first time I had contemplated running to work since week 2 when it had been a complete disaster. I knew that I needed to eat before I set off so scoffed some breakfast biscuits at 6.45am and then set off at 7.45am to do the 5k route I had plotted. As much of this blog demonstrates, most runs are hell on earth whilst I am doing them, but this was one of those rare (very rare) occasions when everything fell into place and I seemed to be able to do a convincing impression of a runner. I walked only on 3 occasions and for each of these I only walked 20 steps. As I neared the end of the run, I was keeping an eye on my watch as it occurred to me that I might be able to beat my PB set at Park Run and so I practically sprinted up Cattle Market Road, grunting like a piglet as I tried to better it. I didn’t but was only over by 7 seconds. I was delighted (although a bit gutted about the PB), as well as extremely red faced and sweaty. The three flights of stairs at work to reach my office made my legs burn and I gratefully drank the water that Hockey Sister had put on my desk. Husband was off running errands and he had my clean clothes to change into and so I was spend 3 hours in my running gear….sweating and not smelling of flowers. Of course, the law of sod would of course dictate that this would be the day that I had 3 unexpected visitors in the office, much to Hockey Sister’s amusement. At lunchtime, Youngest Daughter’s Godfather happened to be in Bristol attending a work conference and so thought he would pop in for a cup of tea. Luckily he is one of my oldest friends and so was not phased at all by the horrific sight before him and also, thankfully, saw the funny side. As he was leaving Husband arrived and so I did get changed, but as it was now 2pm I decided (ill advisedly as it turned out) not to bother having a shower and so although now in jeans, was not smelling fragrant. Of course then my Dad and his Lady turned up (also unexpectedly) to a visit. Seriously, you can’t make it up. When I’m at work looking presentable, with blow dried, straightened hair, in full make up – the only person who arrives is Alfredo the Seagull (yes we have named the Seagull that sits outside the office window). When I am stinky, hair soaked in sweat, barefoot because my feet are so hot, the whole world turns up.

So although the run to work was a success, in future, I really need to ensure that I have a change of clothes at work ready so I can shower as soon as I arrive. Otherwise, you know that Gary Barlow will choose this day to come and meet me to discuss a change of career to become an Auditor.

Good Friday came and I had a planned a run with Football Mum. I’d had a couple of days off work and we’d enjoyed a couple of hugely enjoyable Family days in London and Legoland respectively. As I drove home along the M4 on Thursday night in the dark and driving rain, I was seriously doubting my sanity in booking in a run for the following morning. When the morning came, I was tired but crawled out of bed thinking “at least it will be done and I can enjoy the weekend”. However the good news is that the weather was glorious and the sun was shining. When we set off along Wick Road, things were feeling ok and we enjoyed a wonderful 6.3k in the fresh air. Poor Football Mum suffered a blister and so we walked the last kilometre but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment one bit. There is something about being out and about early in the sunshine,that is difficult to put into words. It really was a lovely way to start the Easter weekend. I had completed my 10000 steps by 10.30am.

By now, the trainers that I had bought in Sports Direct in January were looking a bit tired and as I am now sure I will never stop running, it was time to go and buy some serious running trainers. I asked Husband to consult his brother (who has numerous marathons to his name) to recommend a running shop close to home, (Marathon Sister had recommended one but it was a fair distance away) and so we decided to go on Easter Monday, early, before it got busy.

I was feeling fairly intimidated as I walked in, but I had no need to be. The chap that served me was nothing short of amazing. For those of you that have never bought trainers from a shop like this, it involves the slightly humiliating activity of running on a treadmill and then being videoed for analysis. Embarrassingly, I didn’t know how the treadmill worked so stood there like a lemon for a few seconds before my new friend came to my aid. The treadmill was also set a lot faster than I usually run, so I had to practically sprint whilst the critical filming took place. Watching my bum wobble as I ran was definitely NOT a highlight of my weekend, but happily the analysis showed that my ankles and feet are good – allegedly perfect for running (little does he know..!). I was then presented with a selection of very brightly coloured trainers. I asked what I was looking for when I tried them on and was told that “they should feel like slippers”. This was a bit of a surprise to be honest, as I was expecting him to say that they should support you “here” etc, but slippers was definitely not expected. I struggled to choose between a pair of Brooks and New Balance but in the end went for a bright blue pair of New Balance. They are so comfy I want to wear them all the time. I took them out for a short 4k spin on Monday evening and they are great. I have become someone who loves trainers. I have numerous high heels that I have no interest in wearing as I only want to wear trainers. I really don’t know who I am anymore.

I am so inspired by my new trainers and recent runs that I have finally decided to bite the bullet and join the This Mum Runs Wednesday evening 5k. This is a big group of ladies and I will have to run 5k pretty much without stopping. The Red Lady has also been influential in this decision. This will definitely challenge me but it’s time. The 10k is getting ever closer and I need to start ramping my training up. Husband and I are also going to Park Run this coming Saturday.

PB, I’m coming to get you….Blog Shoes