Trail running adventures and getting lost

I had a fun and productive week with “training”. With no big coming up it’s really just ‘having fun’ at the moment but I did have 7 hours of cardio fun and 2 gym hours. Strava tells me my weekly intensity was up so I’ll have to have an easier week next week (well bar the little trail race we are doing).

We’ve been doing more home gym workouts again, one with our personal trainer (early one before work) and some on our own. We are gathering more kit for this.

Looking forward to playing with these big balls 😝

I missed out on my swim sadly but I did sign up for my first pool swim next week which I’m quite excited about. I’m not sure how its going to work other than the fact I have to turn up to the pool wearing my costume under my clothes. I have no idea what happens after the swim or if I can shower? It amuses me that they are ‘restricting’ numbers to 7 in each lane. In non pandemic times this would be high and irritating as everyone goes at different speeds etc. It looked like not many had booked on though so I will see and am hoping I’ll nab the lane alone or maybe share with just a few. I assume I don’t have to wear a mask 😷 😂

Hubby went off on his long trail run on Friday and managed 21k on hilly terrain in horrendous weather so chapeau to him. I did a shorter 16.5km on Saturday. It was supposed to be all trail, 14km and flattish but being clueless it was longer, hillier, 50% road and I got lost twice. In fact I ended up using my google maps on my phone so much I ran out of batteries so resorted to the old fashioned method of finding people to ask the way in the last few miles.

The first time I got lost I’d jog/walked up this really steep hill (you know the kind where cyclists are grimacing) for about 1km only to discover I was supposed to be going down instead. Running back down was joyous however 😁. The second time I went wrong I’d run across a field and down a path to a farm only to discover it wasnt a public path and no I wasnt supposed to be there. The farmer was thankfully amused rather than cross. After that I was just generally uncertain as to where I was and stopped to ask the way a few times. I finally found the park near our house and a cafe moreover, so stopped for a lovely latte 😁.

Today hubby and I did 64km on the bike which would normally feel fairly easy, especially as it was mostly flat (ish). However, I started to zonk out on the return leg and had to partake of two gels to get home. Since then I have inhaled, a veggie English breakfast, a spinach/blueberry smoothie, a slice of hubby’s banana loaf with pumpkin seeds (so so nice) and a few mouthfuls of his homemade granola (well it was supposed to be flapjack but it went a bit wrong 😆).

Lovely views on my run, before I got lost and ran out of batteries

Ultra running world magazine and I’m in it!

I’m in a magazine! Woohoo, I am so very excited about this and must admit to doing a little dance in my pants this morning 😆. A while back I was both delighted and amazed to be contacted by the guy that runs the magazine and asked if I would write an article. He wanted a multi-disciplinary view on Ultra running. I mentioned I’d only done one but he said that was fine and welcomed my views on my experience etc. Initially unsure how to set about writing an article I really enjoyed the experience. Its a kind of selfish therapy where you relive certain moments and process your own thoughts; a bit like blogging! So check it out if you wish, the article is called ‘Finding Peace’.

The magazine is well worth a read if you are into running. It’s run entirely by dedicated volunteers and its such a good read; I’m now a subscriber and will look forward to each forthcoming release. There are plenty of interesting articles and a number of interviews, information on races etc. I find myself completely in awe of the incredible Ultra races people run, the sheer length and duration of them is inspiring. I’m also interested in multiple references to FKT (fastest known time) in the magazine. I’ve only just recently heard this phrase whilst watching a running documentary and there is a website where you can go to see what FKT has been set for a particular route anywhere in the world. Hats off to all those speedsters out there who go after these records.

It’s funny all this writing malarkey. I have never been good at writing and struggled in English at school. I was better at Maths and Art and managed to scrape a pass in English O Level only after getting extra help from a tutor. For some reason though I am really enjoying it and the more I blog the better I want to get at it. I find myself reading lots of other blogs, articles and even books thinking ooh that sounds good, oh my this person is so witty, so articulate, so inspired etc and wishing I had that natural gift too. I guess its something you have to work at. The realisation for me now is that I want to get better at it and I’m enjoying the (sorry for the forthcoming word……..wait for it……) journey 😁.

Included in the magazine is an article called Conformity where the writer talks about getting lost during a race. It’s so brilliantly written, take a peak. The article describes getting lost in a race; something that has happened to many of us but his take on it is excellent, so true and so funny. It reminded me of the time I cycled to Hayfield to do a fell running event……

It was my first fell race (and last actually thinking about it; note to self must do another) and I got completely lost after 6-7k and had to backtrack to the start thus ended up running about 13k by the end. Obviously everyone else had finished the 10k by this stage (having not got lost) and they were all waiting for me facing the other direction in a big group when I ran up behind them with a ‘woohoo it’s me I’m back….’. I later found out that one of the farmers had taken out the flags that were near his farm (still not on his land though) and so the others (being locals) knew the way but I simply had no clue where to go.

I might do another fell race one day but some upfront knowledge of the area would help. I don’t want to be ‘that’ person again that the marshalls have to go looking for 😆.

Ultrarunning here we come 👏

Before the lovely pandemic came along, I was all set to do my first Ironman in Mallorca in two months time. Of course the chaos causing, ill making and sadly sometimes fatal Covid is not lovely but wit and sarcasm are essential to get through this time plus in some aspects there has been upsides. It has been a soul searching time for many including me.

The Ironman was of course cancelled and initially I thought oh sod it I’ll just do it the following year and maybe even get an ok time rather than just trying to finish it without dying. But the more time has passed the more I have found myself dreaming about the things I wanted to do after my Ironman was done, namely a few ultras and some ultra running dream runs from here to there. I’ve watched so many documentaries, read many books and felt my Achilles relent and give into my will as I take it on more hilly trail runs than it used to allow me to do.

So after a wonderful night celebrating my birthday with my husband and many many many drinks we came to the conclusion why not just do the Ultras in 2021 as always planned and he might even join me too as he has also developed a keen interest. I will just have to do the Ironman later on once I have another year or two of running under my belt. Just put that bucket list into reverse baby its still all doable yeah.

Unfortunately the Ultra I really fancied is already booked up for 2021. Can you believe that?? Still, we will look through many others and have a think. There are a surprising number to choose from. Ideally we are looking for one in the UK to minimise the risk of foreign adventures being cancelled etc, you know Covid and all that. We also discussed simply running the West Highland Way or Coast to Coast. As you do when you are knocking back multiple brandies and feel like you are invincible.

I’m sat here listening to another album from the top 100 Rolling Stones list. It’s Bruce Springsteen ‘Born in the USA’. The album is really great, loving it so far and a big improvement on the Pink Floyd album ‘The Wall’ which (sorry) bored me to tears. I’m told on good authority I should, however, listen to the Dark Side of the Moon so will do that soon.

I’ve not managed much in the way of cycling this week. I got out for just one, one hour bike ride but it was hilly at least. I’ll try and manage more next week. Running wise it was a great week though. I did a very sweaty, hot and hilly run on Tuesday up Werneth Low and down. This run never gets boring, stunning views, varying trails, soft fields and usually a lot of sheep to look at on the way. We are so lucky to have this beautiful countryside on our doorstep. Thursday saw a cooler, flatter 4 miler along a local canal. I really enjoy running along the canal. The wonderful combination of trail and flat makes it quite fast and easy on the joints and you are usually protected from the sun by the trees too.

Today we went out on the train again and then ran back 16km over hill and dale. It’s a lot of fun even if it was a little fast at the beginning (my porridge belly complained slightly). We found some new hilly paths to run along and the views at the top were spectacular, especially up on Lantern Pike, see pictures below.

Probably tmi but I’m delighted now that I’m able to take a pee outside on a run. For some odd reason this was not something I could do before and its very useful if you are running a long way with no pubs in sight! So I will admit to having a little ‘hands in the air woohoo’ moment after, get me I’m a real adventurer now 😝.

In our last few kilometres we were running downhill through Forrest and I noticed my eyesight go blurry. This is not the first time this has happened, I’ve noticed it a few times. I’m not sure what causes it. I am short sighted and don’t wear my glasses running but I can see perfectly fine until I’m in the woods. It feels as if a mist is in front of my eyes and its not overly pleasant or useful when you are negotiating wet/stony ground on a slant. Still it clears again as soon as the trees part and the sun gets through. I can see this view below though, perfect 😍.

Why I run
The happy smile belies how out of breath I was moments before 😆

So this coming week I will finally get to try my hand at swimming again (hurrah hurrah!!). After a few months of physio and doing my exercises to rebuild strength in my shoulders I’ve been given the go ahead and I may try swimming. It’ll be outdoor swimming as the pools aren’t open yet but I’m very excited about giving it a go again 👏😁.