Let the Juneathon begin!

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It’s June, I’m a runner, I blog so it must be Juneathon! You know, Juneathon. I did attempt to do this run-every-day lark last year, but found it really difficult to get out some days with all the playing/etertaining I do each day, but this year is different. You can see the rules here, and JogBlog has given a list of all the Juneathonites here (I will try and add links here sometime, when I get the chance).

It’s been almost three weeks since I ran. I am much, much better now, having dosed up on antibiotics, but I still can’t hear in my right ear. It’s very odd and I have no sense of how loud I am talking, so keep talking really, really quietly. I will be relieved when the ear goes ‘pop’ and I can abandon this floating around in water feeling.

As you can see from the Juneathon rules, you don’t need to run every day this time, just take some form of exercise, but I am aiming to run. I also got a bit excited by this on Hauling My Carcass’s blog. Sit-ups and press-ups. Now, I used to go to a boxercise class that was run by a complete sadist and I could do sit-ups and press-ups until I was blue in the face (literally) but I am very weak and squishy in those areas these days, so this sort of challenge might be just what I need. Ok, I will get down right now and see how many sit-ups I can do in one go…50! Not bad. I gave up when I started to lose form, I think I’ll focus on good form. Press-ups, hmmmm, let’s see…12. Oh, I have a long way to go! These were girlie press-ups, by the way, with my knees on the floor (I used to do full-on hardcore press-ups in the olden days). So, I will gradually build this up during the next month and aim to do 200 sit-ups in one go and 100 press-ups. Ha-ha-ha-ha.

Juneathon Day 1

Sit-ups: 50

Press-ups: 12

I am going to go out for a run later, bit hot right now. Happy Juneathoning everyone!

PM UPDATE!

I got out and ran, and boy was it hot! I wouldn’t normally run on a Monday because I like to run in the morning, and we go to ‘Musical Mondays’ then Hector sleeps. So, I had to fit the run in in the afternoon and also had to buy, wrap and post a birthday present. To get around all this I decided to run through the park, over to the hell that is Wood Green, negotiate the children’s department of H&M with a running buggy whilst dripping with sweat, head back over to the park, wrap the present, go to the post office then run home again. Phew! Not having run for a few weeks I felt a bit ‘urgh’ but not too bad, I’m sure the heat contributed to it and also running quite close to lunch (cucumber and melon are major repeaters). I think I might run all my errands from now on, Wood Green is so much easier when you just run in and out in a flash 🙂

Time: 40 minutes 1 second

Distance: 3.83 miles

Average Pace: 10.27

Best Pace: 8.09

Calories: 382

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Getting harder

The schedule said 12 miles, so it was twelve miles I did. I don’t know if it’s just nerves or all the fussing and extra double-checking I do prior to these long runs, but once again, I had a dodgy stomach for the first three miles. On Saturday I ran just three miles and my stomach was fine for every step, so is it just some psychological muddle up? I decided again on the marshes/canal/marshes run and factored in a loo stop at the lock. Once I got to about three and a half miles I decided my shoes were irritating me (I was wearing very old shoes for this one) so stopped to tighten the laces and then, of course, they felt too tight. Fuss, fuss, fuss. I need to get into the habit of just getting out there for these runs like I do with any other, instead of being such a nur-nur about it all.

I made the mistake of thinking ‘Oh bugger, I’ve got another 10 miles to go’ and thought it might be wise to break the run up in some other way. So my train of thought shifted this way: ‘along here to the bridge at Tottenham Hale is so many miles, then I just need to go to the rowing club, and then I will head over to the Hackney Marshes and once I turn around it’s simply back home’. This helped immensely.

There were absolutely LOADS of runners out there yesterday. I kept being overtaken, well a couple of times anyway, but it always feels like a big deal. There was one man who had completely blanked me when I passed him earlier, who overtook me and was then overtaken himself. He did a sideways glance at the man who passed him and I thought ‘Ha!’. Silly isn’t it? At one point one of those sprightly skinny girls who doesn’t seem to break a sweat overtook me. I thought ‘fuck you!’. So, you can see how I was feeling during yesterday’s run, not in the best mindset! It was all ‘I’m too fat, too slow, too this, too that’. It really doesn’t help when you are trying to do something challenging.

The last few miles were really tough. Last week I ran ten miles on the Sunday and really enjoyed it, even picking up the pace towards the end because I felt so good, but yesterday there simply didn’t seem to be enough fuel in the tank. I did pass a woman later on who was clutching a water bottle and a gel – it looked like she’d just taken a slurp because she had a really sour ‘Jeez that’s disgusting’ sort of look on her face! It made me realise I need to think about fuel though…

Time: 2 hours 2 minutes 26 seconds

Distance: 12 miles

Average Pace: 10.12

Best Pace: 7.28

Calories: 1377

Saturday’s run was a family run: Edward and me geared up and Hector in the running buggy. Lots of fun (singing and running at the same time, try it!)  and lots of playing at the end.

Time: 32 minutes 17 seconds

Distance: 3.33 miles

Average Pace: 9.41

Calories: 371

Bumpy, bumpy, bumpy

Yes, it’s pretty bumpy along the canal-side, with a running buggy anyway. I always picture my runs along there being like the countryside, but I did notice today that it’s really rather industrial: pylons, factories, busy roads roaring alongside and trains cutting through at various points…at great speed. I guess the weekday run is a lot louder and busier than the weekend run, so maybe that’s why it all jumped out at me today.

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Isn’t it a lovely day?

We headed towards the canal and enjoyed the many machinery gatherings that are taking place at the moment: we can actually see a digger from our living room window now! Then we ran through the marshes, dazzled by the sunshine, and back down the canal-side towards the playground. It is a gorgeous sunny day, but we were quite cold and stopped to watch a houseboat plough its way through the ice on the surface of the water; the cracking sound was quite something.

After a play we turned towards home and a steaming hot cup of tea to ease my blue lips.

Time: 49.39 minutes

Distance: 4.93 miles

Average Pace: 10.05

Best Pace: 7.46

Calories: 587

Ten of them

Miles that is. Yesterday’s run was billed as a ten miler and, of course, this got me all nervous as I pulled my kit on and tried to decide if I needed to take any water with me, or if I needed to go to the loo…yet again. Tsk. Eventually I got over it and headed out. It’s been a long time since I’ve run long enough to need supplies, so I rooted out my bottle carrying whatsit and soon remembered that it bobs up and down and causes nasty rubs on my lower back. I was undecided about a route and wondered if I should go urban and do a Finsbury/Clissold parks run or head over to the marshes/river. The river route won: I don’t get to splash around in the mud during the week, so I thought I should make the most of it.

The first three miles were horrible – my stomach felt a bit dodgy – but after a pitstop at the lock-loos (which were, luckily unlocked) and a few sips of the water I felt much better and settled into my run. Lots of folks out again and some men on bikes in matching jackets and matching mud splashes. Big boys’ toys. Edward had suggested to our friends that they meet him and Hector at the pool, then come back to our house for brunch afterwards, so I felt I had a time limit on my run and wanted to get back with enough time to recover properly and be ready to eat the BIG breakfast he was preparing 🙂 I know these Sunday runs are meant to be much slower, but I just can’t seem to do that and always end up doing a ten minute mile, or thereabouts. I will definitely pull back next week as the mileage increases. It was rather lovely being able to venture a bit further: first I went up as far as Ikea then turned back and ran to the rowing club where they are installing a nice new footbridge, then I continued over towards the cows, crossed back over the water and headed back home (this will probably only mean something to JogBlog…)

Time: 1 hour 41 minutes 4 seconds

Distance: 10.04 miles

Average Pace: 10.04

Best Pace: 8.14

Calories: 1187

(ooh, look at all those calories burned!)

On Saturday Edward decided he would like to come running too! A family run 🙂 So we all got kitted out and Hector wrapped up warm in the running buggy and off we went. We did a couple of circuits of the park together then the boys went off for a play. I have become a bit obsessed with the birds at the moment – we made fat cakes for them last week – and I am often finding myself distracted by the wildlife on my runs. Our local park has some lovely birds. At one point I stopped to check out three Greenfinches that flashed past me with a streak of yellow, beautiful. After a few more circuits I joined the boys who were laughing loudly as Edward tickled Hector each time he swung backwards on the swing; they were having a wonderful time 🙂

Time: 44.23

Distance: 4.50 miles

Average Pace: 9.52

Best Pace: 7.21

Calories: 530

Oh, and I forgot to say, I am on Page 95 of this month’s Runners World magazine!

Like a soft white blanket

Snow is covering every surface outside my window, the deepest snow I have ever seen in London; it’s a joy! We wrapped up warm and headed out to the park, chatted to people and took photos of the lovely snow-folk.

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This morning Edward put on his cycling gear, all determined to get to work, and we stood outside to wave him off, then promptly welcomed him back in after he realised it would take a loooong time to get there. So, he is working from home today and I am tippy-tappying away on my old laptop, jeez it’s slow!

I have a few runs to catch up on here. Today is a rest day, though I would love the challenge of running in this stuff…Yesterday I went out early and had some sort of paranoid head on, and kept imagining everyone was out to get me. I don’t really think much about my safety, having done this running thing for so long, I just go out there and use my common sense and hope for the best I suppose. But for some reason I felt vulnerable yesterday. The first few people I encountered were letchy blokes, which didn’t help, but I decided I would see more friendly faces along the canal, and didn’t let my paranoia stop me. Then, of course, I encountered three ‘youths’ out for a walk – so unlikely – and kept looking back to make sure they weren’t coming up behind with a club to wallop me on the head. Oh dear, what a silly old mindset I was in! Anyway, I kept on going and picked up the pace a bit, enjoying the leg-stretching, then headed back home to get out of the biting wind. As I ran towards a bus-stop I noticed a bloke about to get into a car, looking only ahead at his own journey, he absent mindedly threw the contents of a paper cup into my path. I had to pull back to avoid getting steaming hot tea all over my thighs. This guy didn’t even look back, didn’t see what almost happened. Some people just have no sense of what’s going on around them.

On Saturday I went for a quick run, taking in a few local parks and picking up some more Lost-Somethings. Today’s was a tube ticket, nothing too bulky, I don’t want to end up with lumpy tights. I was going quite fast, not that this was stated in my schedule, but I just keep running faster when I get the chance to run on my own. It feels good, but is hard work.

Friday. I needed to get five miles in and thought the only way is to head out a bit further and take Hector to Finsbury Park in the running buggy. There are a whole new load of diggers around at the moment, so the first part of the journey was spent oohing and aahing at these…and then he fell asleep! I felt a little disappointed that he missed out on the chance of a good play in the park because it’s a nice one, with some good equipment. It did mean I could just get on with the running and not get cold whilst hanging around though. As we turned in to our front garden, Hector woke up and seemed to feel like he’d been had, so we sauntered down the road to see some more machinery. It’s quite exciting getting up close and feeling the rumble of diggers, dumpers and lorries in action.

On Wednesday I had planned to do a park run, but it rained all day and, with no raincover to protect the little chap, we had to stay put and hope to get out later on. Luckily Edward came home a little earlier than usual, so I quickly threw my gear on and legged it out into the rush hour delights. People say that the long slow run is the staple of the marathon schedule, but I do think it’s these ugly, grey, wet and windy runs that really test your grit. It was dark, it was raining and it was pretty cold, so I just kept to the roads and somehow found myself running alongside the dual carriageway towards Ikea in Edmonton. Now that’s ugly. I just kept my head down and focused on getting home. An out and back with my eye constantly on the time. These are the ‘get the miles’ in runs that allow the runs like the one I did on Tuesday to be oh so joyous and welcome.

Wednesday

Time: 29.24

Distance: 3.01 miles

Average Pace: 9.47

Friday

Time: 53.29

Distance: 5.03 miles

Average Pace: 10.38

Saturday

Time: 41.23

Distance: 4.30 miles

Average Pace: 9.38

Sunday

Time: 58.21

Distance: 6 miles

Average Pace: 9.43

Tentative steps

I decided to take it easy on my tender shins and not push myself into injury so soon in my training for the Big One. My run on Saturday was supposed to be three miles, but I decided not to run at all and gave my legs a good rub with Neal’s Yard Muscle Salve (if Neal’s Yard want to send me a bumper jar, they are more than welcome 🙂 ) and save myself for my long Sunday run.

I was quite nervous setting out, worrying that things might hurt and that I’d have to stop, but I had taken the precaution of wearing some old shoes to have a softer landing. I’m surprised at these new shoes: I’ve always just worn my running shoes straight from the box and never bothered to wear them in, but these are really hard and seem to need a bit more mileage before I will be able to really go for it in them. Today’s run was a seven-miler, so I headed to the marshes and made sure I kept to the grass verge as much as possible. Well, what a delight that was…leaping left and right, up and down in an attempt to avoid skidding on all the piles of dog shit that owners seem to think it’s ok to leave there. Disgusting.

It was quiet – I guess it was early for a Sunday morning – and after last week’s friendly faces, some of the people I encountered needed some charm-improvement lessons. I was reassured though by some bike riders who shouted a friendly ‘approaching from behind!’ and a few ‘hello’s before overtaking me, unusual along this stretch. One runner passed me in the opposite direction, then later on gasped up behind me and overtook: ‘I’ve not run for months, this is tough!’ he panted. Silly thing was sprinting along and had to stop after a bit to catch his breath.

After a truly blustery and rain-drenched night, the paths were pretty wet, with huge puddles to clear and muddy bogs to tentatively negotiate, but now the sun had started to shine and the water was sparkling so I decided to carry on until I reached the rowing club then head back home. Home was welcoming, with a hot bath and a (cold) hot cross bun to refuel after my seven and a half miles.

Time: 1 hour 19 minutes 38 seconds

Distance: 7.50 miles

Average Pace: 10.37

Best Pace: 7.37

Calories: 843

Run, Splash, Run

I am having to be a bit creative about how I get my miles in, so today I decided we would run to Hector’s swimming lesson…and then back again. This is a journey we usually make on the bus, and I have a wander round Crouch End while Hector sleeps afterwards, buying nice food and spotting actor types (James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff recently!). I had imagined that Hector would wait until after his lesson to have his usual long sleep, but I knew something was amiss when he didn’t comment on a passing ‘tooter’. He had fallen asleep half way there and I had to wake him for his lesson, so after just fifteen minutes 😦

One thing I noticed, especially on the return journey when the towel and costumes were wet, was how much difference  a bag makes: it was so much tougher pushing up the hilly bits! I also had a moment where the buggy almost tipped due to the weight of the bag, so maybe I need to try and cram everything underneath. I enjoyed the getting-somewhere element of the run, and felt happy about cutting down on our journey time and saving a bit of money, but it was hard putting on slightly damp clothes and getting out of a warm, bath-like pool to go outside and run again.

The running was ok, it has turned colder again and the chill seems to get my asthma going and, I don’t know if it’s the new running shoes or the increased mileage, but my shins are feeling ever so slightly achey. Now, that’s not something I need thank you very much!

Time: 56.03

Distance: 5.33

Average Pace: 10.32

Best Pace: 8.55

Calories: 622

Well, as for the calories, they now have hot cross buns in the shops. Bingo!