Coffeeneuring 2019 #7

Final ride of the Coffeeneur challenge 2019, unless I wanted to go for “8 is great”. Spoiler alert – I wanted to, but it was raining, so I didn’t.

The short story is that I rode back into Corsham on 18th November 2019, and had a really good coffee and vegan apricot flapjack at the Pound Arts Centre Cafe.

Pound Arts Centre, in an old Victorian school building

5.6 miles ridden, finally felt more confident on the road, although I still made the wrong glove choice. Also – a decision was made, which I will explain in my summing up post …


I wasn’t lost …

… I just didn’t know where I was. Well, I knew roughly where I was but I couldn’t see how to get back home. Right – excuses out of the way, I’d like to describe my run this week (yes there’s only been one. So far).

I grumbled home from work, in a foul mood and telling myself I’d feel better after a run. In my running gear I decided I’d go out of the front door, turn left at the end and do my usual loop. I ran down the drive, turned right, and realised I was already going the wrong way. Ah well, never mind, I’ll run down to the green, then up between the houses to the village hall, turn left and go round that way, I thought. Brilliant. I made it to the footpath by the village hall, and was struck an inexplicable desire to see where the footpath that went straight over went to.

It went across many fields and through gateways (with me peering through each one to see if I could spot the local cows before I ran into it). It ended up near the local long barrow which was approached through armpit high grass.

Ah – there’s the stile

What an adventure! Now I just had to turn around and heard back the way I came. Um- just needed to find the path. Then I just needed to remember how I got into that field. Then I realised that where I thought I could squeeze through onto a footpath I actually couldn’t, and ended up squeezing over and through a very rickety gate.

Ah – there’s the path!

Safely back to the village hall and I simply had to get out of one field, across the cricket pitch and home. Easy peasy, except I couldn’t get out of the field. Up and down along the electric fence I finally gave in and clambered over. I managed not to snag my Lycra, but just at the point of no return I realised the barbed wire had caught my trainer lace. I managed to wrestle it free just as I crashed over the top, then had to slink past the village kids at cricket practice.

Still, I’d made it back home safely. I wasn’t too badly nettle-stung (only both legs from ankle to knee), and I felt like I’d had a real adventure.

Roll on the next run!

Celebrating 10 years of running – by starting again

I suddenly realised today that it s round about  10 years since I started running. Not continuously, obviously, have you read my last post?!)

Back in 2008 myself and my family travelled to Alberta, in Canada. We were visiting our very good friends who had emigrated there the year before. We also managed to fit in some skiing (we were in driving dstance of the Rocky mountains – we couldn’t not!)

As with every other time I’ve been skiing, for a few weeks beforehand I made a desperate attempt to gain even a little fitness before I had to encase my feet in the plastic prison of ski boots again. This usually involved very short runs which were swiftly abandoned when my face turned puce and I could no longer breathe.

Our holiday was amazing  It was so good to catch up with our friends again, and the wide, open beautifully groomed pistes were a joy to ski on.

When we returned home and recovered from our jetlag, my husband and myself bth comented on how fit we felt. It was obviously all of the high altitude training we’d been doing. Buoyed up by the rush of oxygen to the head, I decided to pop out for a little trot around the block.

I was amazed. It didn’t feel quite as had as I remembered, I didn’t feel like I was dying, and I actually quite enjoyed it. I started popping out several times a week, making sure I was avoiding neighbours and the bin men as much as possible. I should point out that at this point I was running in a T-shirt and jeans, so as not to look like I was actually running. I had a cheap pair of trainers bought from a high street sports shop, and a pedometer. All the gear!

It was only when a neighbour commented that she’d seen me “dressed so I didn’t look like I was going running” that I realised my cover was blown, comfort would win out over shame, and I bought my first lycra.

Sore knees nearly brought me to a halt, but online advice took me to my local running shop to get some “proper” trainers. I felt like a total fraud, compounded by the fact that I nearly fell off the treadmill (I’d never been on one before) and the assistant had to stand with her arm behind my back to stop me doing it again. Red faced, I left the shop with a large bag of the most expensive shoes I’d ever bought, and life was never the same again.

10 years on, I have lost count of the number of races I’ve run , except for the marathons – there was definitely 3 of those. I’ve been awarded a County award (I might have mentioned that once or twice), and I’ve had weeks when I simply haven’t made it out of the door with running shoes on. I’ve been bought a road bike, and learnt to swim proper front crawl (face in the water and everything!).

I am a runner!

Coffeeneuring #4 2017. A picture is worth a thousand words

Nice picture, hiding the reality of a low effort / lower enthusiasm ride.

It was cold, it was windy, I didn’t want to go, but I made it out for a minimal “Coffeeneuring without walls ” trip. Pretty view from the lay-by but my phone was too full for anymore photos. Ride number 4 done, 2.8 miles, sachet of mocha that was pretty bad but at least I could warm my hands on my mug before pedalling home again in the gloom.

Coffeeneuring #3. All by myself

After being accompanied by Mr B&T on my previous 2 coffeeneuring rides this year, I was abandoned this week. (29th October 2017). Humming “all by myself” I showered after my morning run, dug out my happy shopper bike and headed off back to Corsham.

My favourite bakery, which makes the best vegetarian sausage rolls, also sells hot drinks *and* is open on Sunday. An easy decision to make, I thought!

Although I can confirm that that veggie sausage rolls are as good as ever, I am also sad to verify that sitting in an empty shopping centre is not much fun. Also, although £1 for a freshly made drink is indeed a bargain, the mocha I bought was so strong it practically gave me a headache just smelling it.

Ah well, ride number 3 completed!

Orienteering A.K.A “how to get lost running round somewhere you know”

Tonight I thought I’d try orienteering, seeing as there was an event starting at my children’s school. I obviously knew the area, so what could possibly go wrong?

On a very hot evening the day after a 5K race I went to Chippenham, I got a map and a dibber, and a very nice man explained how it all works. I had to get myself from control point to control point, finding my own way, and blip* my dibber at each control. Easy peasy, right? Erm, no.  I got lost, I got hot, I got thirsty, and I managed to make the 4K route into 5.5 miles. I obviously took the scenic route. 

Photo of orienteering map
Apparently this is a map of Chippenham. I think they lied.

It WAS fun, but I hadn’t appreciated that orienteering maps are a little different to OS maps. On studying the map safely back at home, I realise that a couple of the footpaths I was trying to follow were actually contour lines. Sigh!

* blipping isn’t an official technical term, but dibber is. 

Still here!

I was very tempted to entitle this post “Still Ill” as a Smiths’ reference and truthful statement, but it’s rather downbeat so I didn’t. Last time I wrote, I was preparing for my first ever triathlon with a combination of nerves and excitement. 

5 weeks on, and I’m sorry to say I never made it to my triathlon. I’ve also missed a 10K race, and a 5K race. The reason? I’ve either been ill or working. Or both. Pah. Nothing serious by the way, just a cold that won’t clear up. And the working wasn’t serious, more “extra” work over in Wales, involving dressing up for hours on end and standing, walking, sitting and even dancing all hours of the day and night. Lots of hanging around, but lots of fun as well. Have a sneaky peak here …

Going forward I’m still recovering from this cold and have moved onto invigilating for work. This still involves lots of waiting and walking, but fortunately not so many costumes. Sticking to the movie theme, I’ll get over this cold, I’ll get running again, and … “I’ll be back”!

“What could possibly go wrong?”

So in my last blog post,  I tempted fate by writing the following :-
” Time for an emergency training plan which looks like 9 days torturing my legs until they remember how to run,  3 days taper followed by race day. What could possibly go wrong?

What indeed! That very evening my son was taking part in a kids’ time trial on his new road bike.  Desperate to beat his previous time he was flying, until the double chicane where he unfortunately had an ‘off’. He walked back to the start, limping, bleeding, holding his arm and trying not to cry.

We took him home and patched him up.  He went to bed after taking Calpol with promises that if his arm was still sore in the morning we’d go to the local hospital to get him checked out. Sadly he appeared by my bedside at 3.00am asking for more Calpol, and pointing out that his arm probably shouldn’t be bent in the way it was. (It was distinctly curved – something I’d put down to swelling the previous evening).

Wednesday was spent taking him to two hospitals,  having two different casts put on,  having two x-rays taken, having his arm referred to as a ‘banana arm’. Seeing him all giggly after having gas and air was a lighter moment in the day,  but it was heart breaking watching my boy wincing and trying not to cry as the doctor manipulated his arm to get the bones to lie straight.  I was trying not to cry as well, and it was incredibly hard trying to stay positive, reassuring and comforting.

Thursday, today, has been spent helping him get used to his very heavy cast. Working out what he could do by himself (go to the toilet, put pants on, fasten a seat belt) and what he needed help with (getting a t-shirt on,  putting socks on,  opening a can of coke). Tomorrow hopefully he’ll go back to school, until his appointment at the Fracture Clinic on Wednesday. We’ll know then if his bones are healing straight. Keep your fingers crossed.

One amazing thing happened as a result of all of this. To try and cheer my son up,  I tweeted Jens Voigt, professional cyclist, Tour de France regular, hero of our family and all-round nice guy. I told him about my son’s accident and asked if he’d retweet my tweet to cheer my son up.  I was amazed later on to see I had a tweet from Jens, with a special message for my son.  He said :-

“@thejensie: @BandTRuns hi there, sorry to hear about your crash, hope its ok now and you are back home!! I keep fingers crossed forna quick recovery!!!”

Tweet to my son, from Jens Voigt, officially the nicest man in pro-cycling

Tweet to my son, from Jens Voigt, officially the nicest man in pro-cycling

What a star! Jens is definitely the nicest man in pro-cycling. I wonder if, when celebrities and sports stars spend a few seconds writing a tweet or a message, they realise quite how much it’s appreciated? I hope so, because the smile this message brought to my son’s face was fantastic. He is still mentioning it several days later!

Sore legs, vague feeling of panic, it must be September

Sore legs – Check!
Slight panicky feeling in the pit of the stomach – Check!
Have run more in the last two days than in the whole of the previous month – Check!

Okay – it must be September.

Every year the same, summer holidays rule out any chance of running. A few snatched runs to keep the guilt at bay, whilst the September half marathon inches ever closer. This summer we managed to fit in a trip to see the in-laws, a trip to London to see the Olympics (Women’s basketball – I am now a fan!), 10 days in Italy, bedroom redecorating (my son’s – now red, orange and green. Honestly) and a general house clearout. I also managed to squeeze in 3 runs, a total of 10 miles.

I ran yesterday and today, a total of 10.2 miles and my first half Marathon is in 11 days. My second is in 18 days. I think ideas of smashing my PB should be ruled out …..