Juneathon Day 11. A down, an up, a phone call and a chat.

I finally caught up with a few other Juneathon blogs today, and one in particular made me think. Jogblog, (who with her other hat on is Ms Juneathon) wrote about 5 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF JUNEATHON. She reminded me that Juneathon is meant to be fun, and that it’s good to interact with other ‘athoners on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll try and keep this in mind.

After another busy day I finally made it out for a short run. To make it worth my while putting the lycra on I decided to run down the hill and back up again. However after getting up the steep bit my phone rang, and I had a chat with my builder (who must have thought he’d phoned a heavy breather the way I was panting). I ran on, and then bumped into my neighbours who I needed to have a chat with. Finally I got back home. A short run turned into quite a slow one!

Kitten lesson of the day is how to sleep.

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Fluffy stomach

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It's the paw again

Even the big cat is getting in on it:-
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Hill training for my running mojo

So we all know that Hill training is excellent for running, but what about for running mojo?

After the muddy goodness of my last race I finally succumbed to a cold and spent most of the week sniffling and feeling sorry for myself. A few slow plods to get my Jantastic runs done and that was it. Down in the valley of my hill training wondering where my mojo had gone.

The following week, giving myself a swift kick up the backside I went out running. 3 miles one day, then 4 miles on another, and then 10 miles on Friday. Wonderful. The sun was shining, I ran the 10 miles 5 minutes faster than last time but best of all it felt great. I wasn’t sore or stiff afterwards and I really enjoyed it. I even then popped out for a 5K sprint on Sunday which, if my Garmin hadn’t messed up the start, might have been a new (unofficial) 5K PB. I’d reached the peak, I’d scaled my Everest. Hooray for hill training.

Then came this week. Four enthusiastic miles on Monday. A day painting doors on Tuesday (I lead a very exciting life). Then the plumber turning up early on Wednesday to help the builder rip out one shower room and plumb in a new one, with the water switched off all day. I wasn’t going to hang around being sweaty all day, so that put paid to a mid week run. Today, Thursday, I’m spending the whole day killing time in Swindon waiting for a car to be serviced. No running today either (see earlier comment about hanging around being sweaty all day). However I’m spending much time in coffee shops today so maybe I could fit in a caffeine-fuelled dash later. Is that a good idea? I don’t know, but I do now know one thing about this mojo hill training thing. Unlike running where the uphills are hard and the downhills are easy, with running enthusiasm it feels easy on the way up and miserable on the way down. I never thought I’d say it, but “Bring on the uphills” in that case, say I!

Janathon Day 25. The Slaughterford 9. Hills, Mud and Gussets.

So a race morning when you over sleep by half an hour is not a good start. Nor is not being able to find your favourite running bra. At least the rush meant I couldn’t dwell for too long on the race ahead.

It was the morning of The Slaughterford 9 – a race that I swore I would never do again after I last ran it 3 years ago. The race that contributed to an injury that led to me missing 5 weeks of training for my first marathon in London 2012. Nevertheless I thought it was time to give it another go, not least because the morning saw the area covered in freezing fog so I never got to see the views from the top of the huge climbs.

The runners and marshals were as friendly as you’d expect from a small race, and my jazzy socks got plenty of complimentary remarks.

Nice and clean at the start
Nice and clean at the start

The hills were as steep as I remembered. However the mud wasn’t as bad, and was nowhere near as bad as at last week’s race (Bath Skyline 10K #3).

Walking the hills. We ALL walked the hills
Walking the hills. We ALL walked the hills

The stream we have to wade up in the last mile wasn’t as cold as I remembered – I could actually feel my feet as I climbed up the hill on the otherside. The steam WAS deeper though, stepping down into knee deep muddy water is a challenge. Wading along the uneven bottom when you can’t see where to best put your feet is more of a challenge, and how they made it go deeper as you went along is a secret only a sadist would know. The cold water reached my shins, knees, thighs and just as it hit gusset-level I heard a cry of “oo my undercarriage” from up ahead, which made me laugh.

The final steep hill was as much a killer as ever, and then it was the final slope to the finish line. I originally ran this race in 2012 because I’d had massive race t-shirt envy. Seeing as I got paint on my original shirt I was looking forward to getting a new one. Imagine my face when I saw that this year’s t-shirt was pink.

Regular readers will know exactly how I feel about the colour pink, as did the man I was running next to when I spotted the colour (apologies to him for my language).

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Pink. No moe words

 

It had been great to see Mr. B&T pop up around the course three times to cheer me on and take attractive photos, but it was a close run thing as to whether I was more pleased to see him at the finish, or the Mars bar I was handed.

So happy
So happy
Still fairly happy
Still fairly happy
Just pleased to see the finish line
Just pleased to see the finish line

After a cold nearly-a-mile walk back to the car, I was most pleased to see his car with it’s heated seats. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve, but I can highly recommend heated seats on a soggy bottom.

Janathon Day 18. Bath Skyline 10K #3

When I arrived home after this morning’s race, I told my family I felt like I’d been steamrollered. (Teen 2 promptly asked if I’d ever actually been steamrollered. I told him Health and Safety standards had been much lower in the seventies when I was little).

How I arrived home, post steam rollering.
How I arrived home, post steam rollering.

At the last Skyline 10K I ran, back in November, I was fairly scathing about the course, the organisation, the location, in fact about everything except the medal. (Read my race report here). I am very pleased to report that Relish Running Races has acted on all of these problems and turned this into a fantastic race. It has moved to Bath Racecourse, the route is all off road and incorporates two big hills, and after the recent wet weather we had been warned it would be muddy.

I’ll notlie to you, the course was hard. Steep hills are always going to be difficult (for me) to navigate. Throw in thick, oozy mud and things get interesting. Wading and splashing through knee high mud is one thing. However slipping and sliding down a steep hill or being unable to climb back up the otherside because you have zero grip is quite another. Think cartoon running, where your legs are spinning but you don’t actually move. It was all good fun.

I love the camaraderie at tough races like this. I love that I was complimented on my balance as I slithered out of control down a muddy slope (I told my complimentor not to jinx me). I love that I was inspired to tell a strange man that he was my favourite person so far this year (he was handing out the chocolate bars at the end). I was touched that I spotted an expression of true love in the car park afterwards, when I saw a chap struggling to pull off his partner’s muddy tights for her whilst she held onto the car seat with both hands.

"Keep those expensive socks clean" was the last thing Mr B&T said as I left the house
“Keep those expensive socks clean” was the last thing Mr B&T said as I left the house
Post race snacks. Jaffa cakes, mmmm
Post race snacks. Jaffa cakes, mmmm
Medal. It came in a plastic bag which is why it's not muddy
Medal. It came in a plastic bag which is why it’s not muddy

I loved the warm tent at the end to collect my medal and graze upon the snacks. I loved the sunshine which made the temperature feel warmer than the 3C it actually was. The views down towards Bristol were stunning, but I had to concentrate on where I was putting my feet so didn’t get much of a chance to savour them. I’m delighted that I think I recorded a new PW for a 10K time, and yet I still think I gave it my all. I’m loving the glass of red which is now going down very well and making me feel very mellow. However I might not love how my body feels tomorrow …

Janathon day 6. Hill Repeats.

After yesterday’s 5 miles, I started to panic about the upcoming “Slaughterford 9” and set off for some hill repeats this morning.

3 runs up a short but steep hill. I’m delighted if I can manage the first 2 of the repeats without walking, usually I can manage just the first one. Today I had to walk on all 3. The second repeat was marginally faster than the first because I had to overtake a dog walker. (It’s an unspoken runner’s rule – you *have* to overtake walkers, with or without dogs, when going up a hill).

Thought process on the hills went like this:-

Hill 1 “I’m a bit cold, wish I’d worn my gloves”
Hill 2 “Warming up nicely – probably didn’t need my long tights on”
Hill 3 “Wish I’d just worn vest and shorts!”

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Red in the morning …