Forget the Spice Girls – When (twenty) one becomes (twenty) two

This week saw the last long run on my homemade training schedule. I ran 21 miles last week, so thought I’d better run at least this far this week. I also wanted to run a new route, just to give myself a change. After much plotting on an online route mapping website, I stitched together a route of 21 miles that included many bits I’ve run before and a few new streets. I even printed myself off a map and a basic list of directions in case I forgot where I was going.

Route Map. See that elevation - uphill all the way home
Route Map. See that elevation – uphill all the way home

It was a good route. I ran on little country lanes and along main roads, by the side of the canal and up a by-way, past a filming location for the next day* and one that was already set up** as I trotted through.

In Lacock. Read closely. I think the cat is running a sneaky sideline
In Lacock. Read closely. I think the cat is running a sneaky sideline

It was hard, it took me a long time, but it was surprisingly okay. The sun came out, so it was warmer than last week but I had plenty of water and fuel with me. Actually I did wonder if I should have had more fuel, as I only ate two gels and half a sandwich thin over these 22 miles. One to ponder. I was very pleased that I managed to create this amazing route which didn’t overlap itself at all, until I got home and realised I was just 0.4 miles off a massive 22 miles so (of course) I had to run up the lane and back down just to round it up. What do you think of that, Spice Girls – “When (twenty) one becomes twenty (two)” is much better than your version.

An upsetting recurring theme to this run was dead animals. I seemed to regularly pass corpses – squirrels, a rat, a pancake-flat hedgehog and worst and smelliest of all a deer. I was nearly at the bottom of the last hill back home, on a remote footpath, when I realised I could see something on the path ahead. As I got closer I realised it was a deer – and it was alive! I started walking and fumbling to get my phone out to try and take a picture, and as I tried to focus my bleary eyes I realised there were actually 3 deer. Of course as I got closer they ran off, but I managed to see them again in a neighbouring field.

Deer. You'll have to take my word for it
Deer. You’ll have to take my word for it

I always say if you see a deer it makes it a special day – so to see three, on the day I ran 22 miles … wow!

* Hartham Park
** Lacock

Kitten Videos

Okay, so I’ve been very restrained and haven’t posted many kitten pictures lately. I’m about to make up for this, so brace yourself!

Whilst watching the kittens racing around the garden, I was reminded of the old “Black Beauty” opening titles for Luna, and “Roobarb and Custard” for Neville. *

So first up I give you our kitten, Luna, as Black Beauty:-


To follow, Neville as “Roobarb”. I thank you.



N.B. The pictures are my own, the music isn’t, so if the writer or publisher wants me to remove this then just contact me and I’ll take it straight down.

*If you are younger than me, and / or didn’t grow up in the 70s in the UK and so have no idea what I’m talking about, then go on YouTube and search for the originals. It’s a wonder anyone of my age turned out sane with kids programmes like that!

Marathon number 3

Did I mention I’d entered another marathon? No? Well I’ll confess I was in denial that I was training for a marathon for quite a few weeks, despite eyeing up the race and discovering several of my running buddies had already entered.

My first marathon in 2012 was run after missing 5 weeks of training due to injury, and after a longest run/walk of just 14 miles. In 2013 I ran my second, after proving to myself I could complete the training. Although I completed this marathon over 40 minutes quicker than my first, I had a couple of ropey moments. Apart from the miraculous toilets and someone playing “Jump Around” when it was all I could manage to continue shuffling, I have always had the feeling that I still haven’t given the marathon distance my best shot. Hearing about a brand new race, very local to me, was too tempting to ignore.

Without an official training plan I started upping my miles, keen to see how I felt before committing myself. It was only when I’d comfortably run 14 miles that I stumped up the cash and entered.

The inaugural Bristol to Bath Marathon is going to be held on 25th October, starting in Bristol (not surprisingly), running around the streets of Bristol for nearly a half marathon before finally heading out to Bath via a couple of horrible hills. I am already planning on walking up both of these inclines (it’s 26.2 miles -who needs hills as well??), and I really must have a recce of them beforehand just so I know what I’m dealing with.

Exciting stuff!

From the depths of the woods, to urban decay

In just a few miles, I ran from the middle of woods to a scene of urban decay, and back to beautiful countryside. It’s a varied landscape around North Wiltshire.

As I came out of the woods, this is the view down the valley
As I came out of the woods, this is the view down the valley
Along the main road, brings you to this abandoned MOD property
Along the main road, brings you to this abandoned MOD property
Contrary to appearances, this isn't a prison camp
Contrary to appearances, this isn’t a prison camp

A little further down the road and I ran through the small town of Corsham. My mental map involved turning at the old Police Station, so I was understandably confused when I found this:-

The old police station looking a little different to how I last saw it
The old police station looking a little different to how I last saw it

Another couple of miles, and I was back in the empty countryside again. Lots to pack into 7 miles, and I didn’t even mention the peacock in a cage I saw!

A long run. With many photos

I ran 19 miles yesterday. Well, I walked a bit, had a couple of stops, but mostly I ran. I also took a few photographs as I went along just so I could share them with you. Not because i wanted a rest, of course not.

The route I took went along a disused railway line which is now a cycle path that links Chippenham to Calne. My turnaround point was Black Dog Halt, complete with platform and beautiful gates. My son used to be train mad when he was little, my parents live very close by, and it was always a good day if they took him up there.

At this point I was heading to Calne (5 miles) not Chippenham (1 mile)
At this point I was heading to Calne (5 miles) not Chippenham (1 mile)
The start of Chippenham's very own "Love Lock" bridge
The start of Chippenham’s very own “Love Lock” bridge. I love Wilkos too
The view from the Love Lock Bridge
The view from the Love Lock Bridge
Everything but a train
Everything but a train

I used the platform to lean against and do some stretches, then turned around and ran back home.

Black Dog Halt. best gates ever
Black Dog Halt. best gates ever
Arty grasses. Just because.
Arty grasses. Just because.
Well of course I "woo hoo"ed through it
Well of course I “woo hoo”ed through it

Back home after a shower and a change, I loaded up a tray with lunch and retired to the sofa. Even Big Cat joined me – a rare treat.

All the essentials. Don't judge
All the essentials. Don’t judge


Purring massage
Purring massage

Chippenham Half Marathon 2015

Sunday was a beautiful day – a cold start which turned into blue skies and brilliant sunshine. A great day to be out and about, but probably not the best day for running a half marathon, nor for marshaling said race.

The Chippenham Half Marathon is a fantastic race, and I say that as someone who has run it twice previously. It has an interesting route that goes from the town out into the countryside on little lanes and then back into the town, friendly locals, amazing marshals, a great medal and t-shirt, and it’s not expensive to enter. A couple of years ago, the race was voted in the top 5 half marathons in the country by readers of Runner’s World. With all this in mind, I felt under just a tiny bit of pressure to be an amazing marshal. As the race is organised by my running club, Chippenham Harriers, we were all press ganged into helping.
Those of us with bikes were given a section near the start, and then a section near the end (with a speedy short cut bike transfer between the two). I was at just over 1 mile, and then at about 12.5 miles which meant I saw everyone at the start when they were still fresh (well -most of them), and then nearly at the top of a sneaky hill just before a final downhill stagger to the finish.

Having frozen on the ride into town, I then baked in sunshine for nearly 3 hours (thank heavens I fight to slap sun cream on). Honestly, the way the runners were complaining you’d think they had it hard. They just didn’t think of me standing there, with sore hands from constant clapping and little voice left from shouting encouragement. They probably never consisted the danger I was putting myself in by lying so blatantly on a Sunday – I was expecting a thunderbolt from above each time I shouted “looking fresh!” at a staggering runner. I was also a little worried a really hacked off runner might just come over and punch me. Well, when you’re suffering, being told how fabulous you look might just be the final straw.

I did have one large, sweaty runner ask me to hold him up whilst he stretched out his hip. That was surprising and rather unpleasant, but apparently all in a day’s work for a marshal.

Despite working so hard, I had a fabulous day. I really was tired as I cycled home, but maybe not quite as worn out as the runners.

We have a Winner!

It’s all very technical. I printed out the comments from my ShotBlok giveaway, given them all a number with pencil, then used a random number generator to find the winning number*. (I’m sure there’s an easier way, but this seemed to work just fine!)

The lucky winner is ….

Comment Number 8 – Susie Besford. Congratulations!

I will contact Susie and get her ShotBloks to her. Thank you to everyone that entered – I have some more ideas for long run fuelling now. I’m especially liking Vikki’s idea of mini sandwiches!