Trail runs and TV

I have had a very busy couple of weeks since I last updated my blog.

Firstly work is “off the charts” busy. I like being busy and as I run my own business, it is definitely good to be very busy, but there are times when it doesn’t feel manageable or fun. This has definitely been the case over the past fortnight. Running over the past year or so has helped me to keep focus when life is like this but even getting out for a short run over the past couple of weeks, in the week, has been tough.

Although there hasn’t been as much running, I have still been pounding the pavement a bit and I have managed a couple of trail runs. Hattie, my brilliant new running buddy, and I, keep talking each other into new challenges.

A couple of Wednesdays ago, I was sitting at home when I got a message from Hattie with a link to a 6k trail run with a big question mark attached. I’d seen it on facebook previously but hadn’t really given it much of a second glance, but now I looked again. “Why not?” I thought and so we both signed up. There are three things I like about trail runs:

1) They are pretty and as much of my running takes place on the Feeder Road with White Van Men “encouraging” me as I run alongside traffic, the prospect of running through fields and along the riverbank is very inviting.

2) I feel less pressure to go fast – I don’t know why this is, but it’s true.

3) You get a medal.

Hattie and I ran together all the way around and we laughed and giggled. There was mud. Oh my goodness there was SO much mud. I wore my trail shoes, which are not as comfortable as my lovely running trainers, but they felt ok and at the end they were absolutely CAKED with mud. The mud make it completely impossible to run in places and so there was more walking than I would have liked but waiting for us at the end as a reward was a table of cakes and treats. The cakes and treats were so good that I know that I undid much of my good work with the run, but I wasn’t bothered. Running allows you to eat and this has been my mantra for the past 15 months.

The following week, Hattie sent me another link – this time for another run with the same company along the cycle path and then by the river. This time I was the one who suggested we go for 11k rather than 6k and Hattie agreed. You see? We are an appalling combination – one of us suggests something and the other agrees?!  My reasoning behind the 11k rather than 6k was due to it being better value for money (only £1 difference between the two distances) – anyone who knows my husband will know that he likes a bargain and after nearly 17 years, it seems to have rubbed off, but more importantly with the Bristol 10k looming, we needed to test our overall fitness. I hadn’t run more than 7.5k this year and Hattie hadn’t run further than 7k ever, so it seemed like a good idea.

The first loop of the course was ok. It wasn’t too muddy (apart from a couple of places) and the sun was shining. We had agreed before we started to run/walk – run a kilometre and walk a minute the whole way round. However, as usual we got swept along by the occasion and very quickly changed our minds to start with a 3k run before we started walking. In the main part the run was good. It was fairly flat and we ran further each time than 1 kilometre before walking which was good. We were caught up on kilometre 7 by Mr Sweep, the tail runner, who immediately recognised us from the previous week’s race (we are nothing if not consistent) and he was friendly, encouraging and very supportive as we ran the final couple of kilometres. The final kilometre hurt and it showed me I have much work to do if I am to get the time I want at the Bristol 10k. We finished with the bacon sandwich that we had spent the last 15 minutes talking about and I wore my medal ALL day, only taking it off to get into bed.

Over the course of these two trail races, I have managed to convince Hattie that she should accompany me for the Bristol half marathon and I am so pleased that she agreed and has now signed up too. A training partner that you like and can have a really good laugh (as we will need to laugh) with is going to be essential for both of us over the coming months.

Curly Sue is injured and on the advice of her physio is not allowed to run much at the moment (which she is not very happy about). With my work being so hectic, we’ve only managed one session over the past couple of weeks, so we made this an interval session around Queen’s Square. I really hope she gets better soon as it’s been ages since we had a harbour loop together and I certainly enjoy them more than the sprints. My fastest sprint speed is still slower than my husband’s normal running speed, but it’s the fastest I can go….at the moment anyway.

So with my 11k yesterday, today it was husband’s turn as he took on the Bath Half Marathon. He has been training well and had his eye on a fast time. He smashed it and finished it in 1.47.53. He did Bristol in 1.51.25 last September so has really improved. He mentioned the word “marathon” for the first time ever today too. I am so proud of him. He only restarted running to support me and it’s genuinely changed both ours and our daughters’ lives so much.

The atmosphere at Bath was fantastic today and although we were there to support Husband and his friend “Batman’s Buddy” (who also got a very fast time) it was brilliant to cheer, clap and encourage the less speedy runners too, especially as this is where I am likely to be in the field of any “event” I enter. Our jelly babies were very popular and daughter and her friends were handing out “high fives” by the dozen. We were all inspired by the mega effort that everyone was putting in.

Another future race buddy is my youngest sister “Queenie” who has recently been bitten by the running bug and is 4 weeks into couch to 5k. It’s so good to see her enthusiasm and she is doing really well. I am desperate to do a park run with her but with us both being Mums and having to negotiate children’s football matches and birthday parties on a Saturday morning, we’ve not managed it yet, but we will. In the meantime, Queenie is making enormous progress and importantly feeling better about life and enjoying the sanity that 30 minutes of headspace gives you. Keep going Queenie.

Finally, I have some very exciting and surprising news. Quite a few people read my blog now which I am so pleased and proud about. As you will have seen, it was recently picked up by the “Great Run” company, who manage the Bristol 10k, when it was profiled and shared on their website. Well this in turn has been picked up by a local TV channel. They have approached me and asked me to keep a video diary of my runs and then go in to be interviewed live on TV. Yes….you read that correctly… I am going to be on TV talking about running. As Hockey Sister quite accurately stated when I told her, “of all the things I thought you would ever be famous for, running wouldn’t even have made it onto the Top 50” and she is right. But here we are and it’s true. This coming Friday (17th March) I will be on Made in Bristol’s “The Crunch” between 6-8pm. Please tune in. I’ll let you into a secret – I’m absolutely terrified. It’s about as far away from my comfort zone as I could be, but as with most things running related, being terrified is no reason not to do it. Please tune in. Like Davina, I promise not to swear.

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