Summer is Over

It’s official. Summer has gone. I ran my first race with the temperature in single figures last week. For the past two days I’ve run in the cold and wet. Someone found this blog by searching for “thick oozy mud”. My trainers are currently sat under the kitchen radiator looking very sorry for themselves, and I was seriously considering wearing gloves this morning.

The clincher is that I’ve put my running shorts away. Even my lovely new Crewroom shorts have been packed away and my capris and tights have been pulled from the back of the drawer.

So that’s it folks – it’s all over until next April.

Oh hang on – I’ve just heard the weather forecast. Apparently it’s going to be barbecue weather by the weekend. Now where did I put those running shorts ….

Frozen hands

So my 3rd 3 mile run in 3 days -a  strong start to my marathon training!

However this was by far the coldest run of this week, with a thick frost and frozen hard ground.

Beautiful, but hands were frozen all the way round (even with Nike running gloves on). Rest of me was okay, but then I was wearing a hat, long running tights, TWO long sleeved tops and and hi-viz running gilet.

Santa Dash 2012

After supporting Dorothy House (our local hospice) when I ran in this year’s London Marathon, I was very keen to take part in their second ‘Santa Dash‘.

It was held on Sunday 2nd December, starting and finishing at Dorothy House. The route wound round some little lanes, down a main road, along the Kennet and Avon canal towpath, then back up the hill for refreshments.

Attractive ‘One size fits none’ Outfit

First challenge was getting into the enormous costume – how to tie the trousers tight enough so they wouldn’t fall down vs. cutting off the blood supply to my legs. Boy do those beards itch as well!

Many photos were taken, a quick mass warm-up in the car park, then we were off!

It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, and we all soon warmed up inside our suits. Down the first few lanes there was a regular littering of Santa belts as they broke and fell off. Charging single file down the main road we had a few ‘toots’ from passing motorists, and then it was onto the towpath.

I so wish I’d had my camera with me here. The path was flat and the running was easy, apart from passing the odd bemused dog walker. The water was still, the trees arched over above us, and a thin red line of running Santas stretched away into the distance.

Crossing the aquaduct (twice) was exciting and meant we could shout encouragement (or abuse!) to runners just ahead of us, and then just behind us as we crossed the River Avon. I had to give in and take my hat off here, as my head had reached 1000C

After that, was THE HILL. This was muddy and slippery, as well as steep. What was worse was that we could see it coming, and the straggling line of Santas struggling up it.

I confess – I walked up the hill. Everyone did. I have to confess as not only is it good for the soul but there is photographic evidence. That’s me, at the back of the group, hat in hand.

As the hill levelled out I started running again. Not far now! I even managed to put my hat back on just before crossing the finishing line.

It was lovely to be offered a cup of tea and a Danish pastry at the end, and even a bag of chocolate coins (which my children devoured).

So really well done Dorothy House for such a great event (and thank you for most of the photographs as well!) I hope you raised lots of money to carry on your amazing work.

Long Slow Run vs Total Wipeout

After a good week’s running, managing all of my runs with no mix-ups of weeks or distances or pace, I set off for the last run of the week -mmy LSR. I’d planned 8 miles to the canal, along the towpath to a beautiful little town, and back again. Sorted!Weather was cool, which was a good start. Parked up no problem, and set off.

You know its going to be a good run when you pass a bench with this inscription

The disused canal is lovely, as I’ve run along it over the last few years I can see the work they’ve done to renovate it, and I see a change each time I go. No cars, just runners, dog walkers and a few cyclists. Lots of wildlife, especially squirrels (they even have their own bench). Lovely!

They’re still working on this bit of the canal lock system

Two miles into my run, and I spot this ahead of me.

Hmmm – not what you want to see

Towpath closed. I ran up and down a couple of times, then decided to run back up into the big town instead. This route is alongside the river, and is a 2 mile ‘extra’ I tack onto my canal run when I need to make the miles up.

Unfortunately I’d forgotten about the torrential rain, and flooding we had the previous weekend. Parts of the path along the river bank were incredibly muddy, but I met my nemesis on the concrete slope that takes the path down under the road bridge.If you’ve ever seen ‘Total Wipeout’ (essential Saturday night viewing in our house – we have very sophisticated television taste) you’ll know that at the start of the qualifier the contestants have to run down a steep slippery slope with water running down it. They often simply slip and go straight down onto their backsides, legs still spinning (cartoon style-e). The trick seems to be to run as fast as you can whilst keeping your balance. Well, this is exactly what running down this slope was like. Desperate not to fall over I sprinted wildly down, with windmilling arms whilst inadvertently shouting “WWWAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!”  It was only as I reached the bottom (still on two feet) I noticed a poor dog walker waiting to climb up the slope, looking absolutely terrified at this wailing writhing banshee descending at speed towards her.

One day I will learn to trip, fall and slip silently. One day.

On the plus side, I did manage to complete my 8 miles, and it was most definitely slow, so mission accomplished!

P.S. Just realised, the canal is part of the Wilts and Berks Canal, which is peculiarly apt as I often ‘Wilt’ on long runs round here, and I did feel like a total ‘Berk’ on this run!

 

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Wiltshire Sun on a Frosty Morning

Snow on Sunday, heavy frost this morning, but determined to get out for a run as the children have finally gone back to school after half term, and just realised its less than 3 weeks to my next race (more on that another time!)

The view above was surely enough to entice anyone out into the sunshine this morning, however I only saw one dog walker so maybe no one else was brave (stupid) out.

After the snow and floods of the weekend, I planned my route carefully as I really didn’t want to wade through muddy fields, and wasn’t anxious to see the bullocks again either.

I obviously had a problem with my planning though – this freezing puddle was within half a mile of home which meant my feet got soaked and frozen as I set off, and then re-soaked and re-frozen as I was nearly home.

Uh oh!

Still had a smile on my face though – Roll on the Winter training!