Dancing on Ice

Week 8 of my training schedule starts with ‘just’ an easy 3 miles today. The snow and ice of the weekend has now frozen hard, so even with my Icebiters strapped to my running shoes it felt like I was dancing on ice for parts of my run.

Important discovery made today. In the soggy field, under the snow is ice, and under the ice is mud.

Snowy Footsteps

Schedule Juggling

Its so important to have a schedule for marathon training, and to stick to it.

So having found a good schedule, I promptly started at week 2 (to make the dates work).

Then I swapped weeks 3 & 4 around to try and make it easier to fit some running in next week (Christmas!). 

Then I swapped my days around this week because the children finish school Friday lunchtime and I didn’t want to try and fit my long run in before rushing to collect them.

So sitting here on Monday morning, I’ve just got back from my Friday 9 mile run.

As I say, its SO important to stick to your schedule.

Misty fields
Muddy stuff, that mist

Oh Bullocks!

So I ended up at this gateway…

Having to wade through here…

In order to avoid the footpath that runs along the other side of the hedge here…

Sadly the camera on my phone is too rubbish for you to be able to see that peering through the hedge is a whole herd of bullocks. I spotted them in the field that the footpath runs through, and took a tactical long cut into the next door field. As I ran with the hedge separating us, I could hear the whole herd galloping (do bullocks gallop? Don’t know, but it sounded like it) on their side of the hedge, parallel to me.

Somewhat scary, not least because a woman was killed by a herd of cows recently in Chippenham, and also because I’m a complete wuss.

Must go and wash my new trainers. Again.

Running and Geocaching. And mud. And hills. And a Cup.

So as a keen geocaching family, its always exciting to see a new geocache* pop up close to home. Even more exciting to see one just off one of my running routes. Slightly less exciting that that particular route is the muddy and hilly one I usually only brave before the annual ‘Marshfield Mudlark’. Add in the fact it has been torrential rain for the last week means that you would have to be seriously deranged to be looking forward to this.

So that’s why I set out yesterday, on the first non-raining day for a week, aiming for the woods and the river. Because its a long walk to get down to the By Brook here it is usually very quiet, and apart from the 2 dog walkers I met, the whole area was silent apart from the river and the birds. Despite the clouds, the deserted farm simply looked sad and abandoned, rather than eerie and spooky.

Deserted farm
It’ll be this way, then

Despite my mud warnings, the path wasn’t too bad. Squelchy in places, but nothing a good ‘wade’ couldn’t get through! I was wearing my shorts as I thought if it was really muddy it was easier to hose my legs off when I got home, rather than struggle through with wet and muddy trousers.

As I got closer to the cache location I had to pull my phone out to follow my progress with GPS. Crashing through the woods, I found the obvious spot and then spent around 10 minutes rummaging in the undergrowth getting muddy hands and knees to match the rest of my legs. Found the tupperware, opened it up, and discovered that I had got the FTF (‘First to Find’) and my reward was a little silver cup. Lack of a pen to write in the log book didn’t hamper this intrepid geocacher (that’s what twigs and mud are for!)

My prize!

With my little silver cup stashed in my waist belt I set off for home, all the way back up from the river (the route goes up 100m in 1 mile. Is that steep? It felt it!)

4 hardcore miles – DONE!
Geocache – DONE!

*If you don’t know what geocaching is, its basically a treasure hunt using GPS. It has been described as using technology costing millions of dollars to find tupperware hidden in woods. Sounds geeky (okay – it is pretty geeky!) but its a great way to get out into the countryside and find paths you never knew existed!

Back on the road again!

So, the London Marathon is long over. I can’t justify wearing my medal any more (at least, not in public!), I can’t use it as an excuse to get out of something any more, and I have more-or-less told everyone all my stories of the day.*I had a rest week afterwards, and then I decided I couldn’t put it off any longer, and I’d better get back out there again. Just in case my legs forgot what they were supposed to do, or thought that was that and we were done. Not likely!

So first week back, I managed a 3 mile run on Monday. It just felt so lovely to be back running on ‘my’ lanes again – and very quiet! I started off way too fast and felt dead after the first mile, so I had slow it right down. Also, for the first mile, my entire body was shouting “WHAT?? WHAT??? WHAT!!!! I THOUGHT WE’D DONE WITH THIS!”. Never mind listen to your body, I had to ignore it and just push on.

On Thursday I made it out for a 4 mile run. Same body shouting for the first mile, but felt surprisingly fine after that.

I though 2 runs a week was fine to start with, and went back to resting,

This week thought I’d better up it to 3 runs. After Monday’s Bank Holiday I set off on Tuesday for 4 miles. I had been planning on going further, but after ignoring my body’s shouting for the first mile (again), I felt fantastic and decided to do some impromptu speed work. So 1 mile warm up (and shut up), then 1 Mile faster, 0.5 mile slow, 1 mile fast(er), and 0.5 mile stagger home. Fastest I’ve run for months – and when I got home my face was the reddest its been for months!

Wednesday was a nice and easy 3 miles. Thought I’d risk going on one of my favourite footpaths down through a field – yes it was muddy!

Exhibit 1. Plus Mud.

Friday – don’t know why I thought all of the rain would have magically soaked away by today, but my easy 6 miles turned into a splash down the lanes for a couple of miles, followed by a squelchy slither up though the fields, followed by a very strange tip-toe style mincing run through the footpath-wide mud. Managed NOT to slip over, other wise I’d have been as muddy as the very over-excited dogs I saw along the way. Last couple of miles home again on the lanes was spent shedding mud and running into shallow puddles in an attempt to ‘clean’ my trainers.