Happy Halloween!

Okay, so not *quite* Halloween but close enough. A short run showed me my allotment neighbour’s impressive pumpkin 

Photo of pumpkin
Pumpkin. Sadly not mine

I then ran past the pile of wood waiting to become our village bonfire:-

Looping back through the village I first passed a house that had peaked too early:-

Peaked too early. It was only 29th October

and then a house with a basket of windfall apples with a sign saying “Help yourself”. Would have been rude not to, so final few metres were run whilst clutching an armful of goodies. 

Photo of scrumped apples
Scrumped apples

which were later turned into apple crumble and custard. Fabulous recovery food!

Running – remember that?

Oh yes, running. Not been much talk of that lately around here. It’s all been cycling, cycling, a bit of swimming, more cycling and a little bit of running. Not much good for a blog called “Black and Tabby Runs”!

Well, I have been running. Usually twice a week (if I can fit it in with all that cycling and swimming). With the start of the cross country season I’ve been loving getting out in the mud and puddles. The softer ground seems to be kinder to my foot, and to be honest I’ve always loved getting out in the middle of nowhere, splashing around and freezing my toes off. I have a race report to write up from the weekend (I’m waiting for the photographs) so in the meantime, here are some photos from today’s run:-

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Frosty fields
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Icy puddles
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It’s icy down there!

Beautiful – and worth the cold to see it!

Juneathon Day 10. Run in the sun

Another busy day here. Exciting,  as the house has been full* of carpet fitters putting lovely carpet down. The carpet’s looking fab, they’re coming back tomorrow, and I managed to sneak out for a run whilst the sun was still shining.  3 easy miles: Done.
And today’s gratuitous kitten picture is brought to you by Lunar’s  ridiculously fluffy toes. Enjoy.

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* There were 2 of them, but it felt like more.

One of those days

One of those days where your recovery run means you don’t feel at all stiff after yesterday’s unplanned half marathon, but you realise your favourite running pants must be losing their elasticity as they are no longer staying firmly in place.

One of those days when you go to the self scan till in the supermarket, and it bossily tells you to place your empty bags in the bagging area. When you do, it panics “UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!!!”

One of those days when the young man who comes to sort out your overly-sensitive till pityingly eyes your new pack of huge but incredibly comfy pants, and you want to shout “They’re for running! I’m a runner! I’VE RUN MARATHONS IN THESE PANTS!!!”

Huge and unattractive, but THE bast pants for running
Huge and unattractive, but THE bast pants for running

The one where I fell over

Of all the feeble excuses not to run, “I’ll have to wash my running kit in the shower” Is up there with “but the plasterer’s here and I’ll have to make lots of cups of tea”.

Yes it’s been that kind of week. Our dining room ceiling has been replastered, and the washing machine gave up the ghost and can’t be fixed until next week. This has meant lots of hand washing and visiting my parents with a big bag of dirty laundry. (Thanks Mum and Dad!)

On Saturday morning I suddenly remembered about Jantastic and realised I need to fit two runs into two days so as not to fail. So off I trotted around the village, determined to stay as clean as possible to make it easier to wash my kit in the shower afterwards.

All went well, until I took a short footpath that I haven’t been down for months. There was no frost today, so of course it was very soft and muddy, and despite being absolutely flat I managed to slip over. Just a few strides from the stile to take me back onto the road, my foot slid from under me and down on my knee I went. Fortunately the verge was so soft I didn’t hurt myself. Unfortunately I ended up with a very muddy pair of running tights to wash in the shower. But most importantly, no one saw me fall over (and that’s what matters!)

That'll be my muddy footprints then
That’ll be my muddy footprints then

Janathon Day 16. What’s the opposite of a recovery run?

I have a hilly, muddy, “through woods open to the public for the first time”(i.e. untamed) race on Sunday. Weather forecast is pants so it’s fair to say I’m feeling a little nervous. In the interests of preserving my legs I decided to just head out for a very gentle 3 mile plod today.

Whilst plodding (and shivering) I considered what this kind of run should be called. A gentle run after a race is a recovery run, but does a run beforehand have a special name? A preparation run? A prequel? An excuse for a very slow and short run? Hmm – I think we all know which of these is closest to the truth!

A Pint? That’s very nearly an armful!

From experience I know that I find running hard for about a week after giving blood. After donating a pint last night, I lowered my expectations and set off for just an easy 3 miles this morning. I was expecting my heart rate to be high, but to misquote Tony Hancock I think the lovely nurses at the blood doning session took a legful of blood from me last night. I felt so heavy-legged it was unbelievable. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny morning which took my mind off my legs. Warm sun on my arms and legs, and cold dew on my feet. Magical.

Do you give blood? Do you find it affects your running? Maybe I’m just a wimp!

Juneathon day 9. An Ode to my Legs

An Ode to My Legs the day after a 42 mile bike ride.

My legs were refusing to run
We did more than enough on the bike“.
I’ve told them it IS Juneathon
And we don’t have to go on a hike.

They said “Okay,
Have it your way,
We’ll just do a short plod today”.
So before they could bay
Or even say “nay!”
We snuck out for 3 muddy miles and I had a lovely time.

Oh what a beautiful morning!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the countryside is waking up and everything is growing. What a perfect day for a run!

Well, perfect if you ignore the raging hay fever, the huge tractors, trailers, and tractors-with-trailers storming along the tiny lanes meaning I have to leap into the hedge or get squashed. Also the hordes of cyclists. They must have heard my husband who, on leaving for work this morning, glanced at the sky and said enviously “lovely day for a bike ride. Sigh.”

Despite the annoyance of my quiet lanes being turned into veritable motorways, I did love the chap on a bike who dinged his bell as he came up behind me “just in case you didn’t hear me”. Very thoughtful, if more cyclists did this it would save me from any more near misses with silent cyclists. I also loved the old lady on a very new bike who was riding nearly as slowly as I was running. As she finally managed to overtake me we had time for a lovely chat.

After such a stop-start run, I couldn’t resist stopping to take a duckling photo.

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However I quickly got up and carried on running when I turned round and see these two advancing…

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Scary Geese

The Easy Way to Run Easy

I set off for an easy 3 miles the other morning. The only question was how to make sure I really did take it easy. Well of course,  the technological way to ensure you run ‘easy’ is to use a heart rate monitor. Simple,  yes?  Well,  it is if you actually remember to wear your heart rate monitor.

The non-technological way is to run ‘by feel’. This simply entails running so that it feels easy. If you have a running partner you can chat as you plod along, but as I usually run alone this would just be strange. I also tend to forget I’m meant to be going slowly as I get so wrapped up in my thoughts.

So, I’ve developed a new way to “run easy”. It does take some specialist equipment, and can only be undertaken at this time of year, but it really works. I give you, exhibit A.

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I picked a handful of luscious blackberries on the homeward bound section of my run. Being greedy I filled my hand, and this meant I had to run very carefully (i.e. slowly) to avoid dropping any. Perfect!