Monday, 31 January 2011

Janathon: Been and Gone!

This morning I realised how close I was to achieving 150 miles this month! Well, there was absolutely no chance I was going to let that one slip by... how annoying would it be to hit 148 or something similarly ridiculous?... I mean, seriously I'm the sort of person who runs straight past her house because the garmin is reading 9.96 miles! Oh, there's a squirrel.

So, with Doris tied tightly to her pretty, pink lead, we set off for a 2 mile just-to-make-sure jaunt around the block. The jog served as a nice warm up for club later on, and once we hit the park Doris, freed from her lead, enjoyed skipping around as free as a bird, the wind flying through her fur. With my legs now relieved from the aches and pains of the day, I re-fuelled myself with some peanut butter on toast (Mmmmmmm) ready for the evening club run. Which was a good job, as I had a text message waiting for me on my return from Pete, our coach, it read: 'Maggie, get your thinking cap on, you're choosing the session tonight!'
What?
 Me?
Yep! Me.

Pete had commented on my blog yesterday that he had a surprise in store, and it seemed this was it. Some people may describe this as a shock, rather than a surprise - especially considering the short, hour time frame he had delievered on this task - however, in comparison to the evil hill scenarios that had been running through my head overnight, this was a very nice surprise!

Needless to say, of course, I rose to the challenge and an hour later, I was at club setting the session for us all. It was really good fun actually and I certainly didn't make it easy on myself although in hindsight I really should have done! I love fartlek (speedplay) probably more to do with the word 'fart' in the name than anything else - it really does appeal to the huge childish side of my brain - so chose this as the premise for the session.

Beginning with a mile warm up, I looked out for numbers along the way that I could use to build the session. Using the speed of the road we were on (40) and the speed of a side road we passed (20), I set the first set of our intervals as 40 seconds fast with 20 second recovery between, until we reached a set point. This was successful and I promtly followed it up with the price of petrol: 125.99 pence (seriously... how much?!) using the 120 as two minutes at 70% effort, repeated 5 times with a 30 second jog recovery between each effort (conveniently ignoring the 99 pence). Following this, we jogged for about 1/2 mile, before racing hard to the end of the road, recovering again until we reached the bottom of a hill; naturally this gave the perfect opportunity for a final sprint to the top!  A jog back to the track took the night's running to a total of 4.86 miles. Good running I think! Well done me! :-)

As it turns out, I am the first of many guest coaches to come, as Pete is intending to choose a different member of the group on the last run of each month to create, and run, the sesion. His choice in me this month, was in recognition of my running everyday in January, marking my final run. And, as with any project, when it comes to an end, a review and evaluation is required. So, in true teacher style, here is my Personal Janathon Review:

What have you learnt?

1. That I am capable of running for 31 days on the trot, even though I thought I wasn't, which brings me to my next learning point...

2. PRB - I have learnt to be positive!!

What did you enjoy?

1. Feeling fitter, stronger and discovering I can communicate with dead squirrels.
2. Writing my blogs.
3. Reading your blogs.

What was your greatest success?

1. Running over 150 miles in one month!
2. Running every day, and logging and blogging it in the same day, every day!
2. Reaching the top 15 of the leaderboard! (I may not still be there (I daren't look!), but just hitting if for a while was great! If this was football, I'd have been in the Premiership - Unbelievable Jeff!)

Is there anything you'd do differently next time?

1. Next time, I'll start Janathon with PRB!

What are your targets for the future?

1. Stick to my Magathon Marathon Training.
2. Keep up my training blog.
3. Complete the Virgin London Marathon on 17th April 2011 with my friend Paula.
4. Continue to employ PRB so I enjoy my training.
5. Achieve at least one PB on a previously run distance this year.

So, thank you Janathoners for all the blogs, poems and stories of joy, woe and fun, for your support, advice and camaraderie on all things running, fitness and life. For those of you training for other events, good luck and keep blogging, and for those of you taking a well-earned rest, see you in June! And thank you Cathy for creating Janathon, as without it I wouldn't have found, and had the opportunity to be a part of, such a great online running community...



Was the squirrel relevant?
I don't know... hang on... was the squirrel relevant?
No?
No, the squirrel wasn't relevant... ignore the squirrel.

Distance: 2.26 miles + 4.81 miles fartlek at club = 7.07
Weather: cold and clear
Feeling: achey but good
See my run here.

Total Janathon Miles: 151.60 miles!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Squirrel Files: Closed.

Continued...

Running as fast as I could, I rounded the corner of the classroom leaving the perplexed shouts of Peggy and Norris ringing behind me. With little time to reach the critter, I whipped quickly round the bend to where the squirrel had been spotted. And there it was. Waiting.

This shocked me. I'd been expecting to have to chase after my stalker, to pursue it through the wilds of the school grounds; I hadn't expected to see it sitting. Waiting. Staring.

Stopping suddenly in my tracks, I found myself about 10 feet away from the fiend. Its camera, still in its hand, was dropped loose at its side; its grey, bushy tail stood erect and proud above its head; its brown eyes blinked silently as it surveyed my flushed and sweaty face.

"For a runner, you're very out of breath considering it took you so long to get here." It said.
My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open; speechless and cemented to the spot, it was now my turn to stare.
"So..." The squirrel pondered, "We finally meet."
"F-f-finally?" was all I could muster in my bewildered state. I tried again "You... can... talk?"
"Well, yes." the squirrel answered belligerently, "Really? I thought you were relatively intelligent - for a human - yet you think it perfectly feasible that I may have the ability to function the complex workings of an SLR camera, yet not have the grammatical capabilities to form a sentence?"
"Ummm..." I paused. "No... I just... well, I guess I thought... I just assumed... you'd speak squirrel or something; whenever I've heard squirrels in the past, they've just sounded a bit, well, squeaky!"
"To be fair, the squirrels you've heard in the past are a little different to me, however I will come to that in a bit; but rest assured, I hold the capacity to communicate in a wide range of languages one of which is Human English. However, if you wish to discourse in another language, Je suis heureux de faire si although Я не уверен, что Вы поняли бы меня."
"Okay," I conceded, "I get the picture, squirrels are more intelligent than I gave you credit for."
"Not quite that simple, but as I said, we'll get to that bit later."

Without realising it, I had begun to relax; conversing with the squirrel had lowered my defences. This squirrel wasn't threatening, it didn't appear in the least bit dangerous, and neither did it personify the intimidating, evil, critter that had been forming in my imagination. It was however a little bit pompous.

"Do you have a name?" I ventured.
"Of course I have a name," The squirrel replied, "Just like you, we identify ourselves linguistically; my name is Irrel. Pleased to finally meet you Maggie."
At the sound of my name, I started a little "You know my name?"
"Of course I do, surely you realise I've been following you for the past month?" A wry smile drew its way across Irrel's furry face, "We've all be following you."
"I know." I agreed, "You've caused my friends and family to think I am going crazy; worse still, you've had me living in fear, I thought you wanted to harm me - that you were building an army against me..."
"You what?" Irrel the Squirrel interrupted "Why on earth would you think we were trying to cause you harm?"
"Why else would you be watching me?" I questioned, "Especially with cameras... and you sabotaged my Sky+ HD box... I thought it was a warning."

Irrel seemed to start to reply, then stopped. He opened his mouth, closed it again, rubbed his fluffy ears with his paw, sniffed and then suddenly collapsed into a fit of giggles.
"Hey!" I interjected "It's not that funny. It's been a nightmare for me this January, especially since my friends and family have been convinced I'm on the brink of a breakdown; they don't seem to have seen you at all."
Irrel recovered himself, straightened up and looked me in the eye. "I'm sorry Maggie, you're right. There's a reason that you're the only one who's noticed us, and I think we owe you an explanation. Although, I also think you may be a little disappointed, it's nowhere near as exciting as the scandalous scenario your imagination has invented.

And so, Irrel sat me down and talked me through the whole story. Telling me how he'd been assigned to follow me, but there were many squirrels out there, all following a different member of the Janathon community; and quite contrary to the savage situation I had assumed was occuring, the squirrels had been following for an entirely harmless reason:
"We heard about the Janathon Competition towards the end of December," Irrel continued to explain. "If you don't know it already, squirrels are notorious betters and not a day goes by where one of us doesn't fancy a flutter. It was Quirrel, the bookie, that suggested it. He's always looking for something new to keep him occupied. Then we all set it up. Easy really. Bets could be placed on who would exercise each day, run each day, as well as who would run the furthest distance, the shortest and who wouldn't make it to the end. We've all got bets on at least a couple of different Janathoners."



Walter Potter, inside 'The Museum of Everything', London

"Okay, so seeing as everything I thought I knew about squirrels has already been completely destroyed, that does actually make some kind of sense." I reflected, "But that doesn't explain everything that's been going on."
"Like what?" Irrel asked.
"Well, like my Sky+ HD box. Why was that sabottaged?" I interrogated.
"Ah, yes, well. I have to say, I'm sorry about that although in my defence it was nothing to do with me. That was Squil's idea. He's not the sharpest tool in the box; with quite a heavy bet riding on you running many miles, he thought if he could stop you watching television, you'd have no choice but to go out running... so he had a little nibble on the wire. Sorry."
"It's okay," I accepted, "No harm done in the long run I suppose... it's quite nice to think he had such faith me me. So that answers that, but why have you been following?"
"Someone has to check who's doing what and keep a log. Each of us has been assigned to a different Janathoner to photograph, log and feedback on your progress. Simple."

Irrel was right, it was simple. Sitting here now chatting with him, it seemed crazy that I had ever felt such a threat from their presence.
"So what will you do at the end of January?" I asked my new furry friend.
"Same as we always do when a bet comes to the end of its term. Call in the bets and find something new to occupy our time."

All of what the squirrel was saying did seem to make sense, except one thing, which had finally struck me in his previous words.
"That's what's confusing me though." I announced. "All this betting, following, logging and betting again, don't you have jobs to do? Shouldn't you be preparing for Spring? Or searching for nuts? Finding a mate even? I mean, where do you find the time? And another thing, earlier you said that you weren't like other squirrels? Why? And, you said there was an explanation for why it's only me that has noticed you following me, even when I've been with other runners, and you've not explained that either..."

Feeling a little bewildered again, I waited intently for Irrel to provide me with his answer to the strange squirrel behaviours I had encountered throughout January. To finally provide me with enough evidence to satisfy me that I hadn't gone mad. My heart was beating fast, my pulse twitching ten to the dozen, sweat was starting to form on my brow. Irrel hadn't moved. He was just sat there, silently, contemplating my query. Impatiently, I pressed him again. "Irrel... what's going on? Really?"

Irrel looked up at me, His big brown eyes, looked deep into mine as he drew a deep breath and confessed the truth:
"Maggie. We're not like normal squirrels. We've had our time collecting nuts, meeting a mate, bedding down for the winter. That's all over and now we're free. There's many of us, as many of us as there are of you. Because Maggie, the community I live amongst is no longer apart of your mortal world; don't you understand? Maggie: You see dead squirrels..."

...I see dead squirrels!


Distance: 1.6 miles (a comfortable recovery trot round the park with Doris)
Weather: bright, sunny and brisk.
Feeling: achey but good, and no longer in fear of the squirrels (dead or alive!)
See my run here.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Running: It's Grrrrreat!

Today I had 3 goals for my run:

1. Run 16 miles
2. Enjoy every minute of the run
3. Smile at as many passers by as possible

Goal 1 - ACHIEVED!

I have officially topped my longest run with a new longest run, smashing my previous record with two extra miles taking me to 16 miles!! I plotted my route before I set off using RunSaturday, which is great because it shows you an elevation profile of your route so I was able to draw up a relatively flat one; inevitably there were a few inclines along the way, but short of running around a track several hundred times, or moving to Norfolk, I wasn't going to run 16 completely flat miles. It turns out it was a good job I dipped into the knowledge of the Internet before setting off, as my GPS watch was not thinking as positively as me when we left the house together and consequently failed to join me on the first 1.5 miles of my run! Thankfully, I noticed when I paused to shake a stone out of my shoe. A little disappointed that it wouldn't record my full run, I shook any negative thoughts from me, telling myself that the most important thing is that I knew... and anyway, I could just adjust the distance and time once I'd uploaded it... which I did. This of course explains why the Garmin map below looks as though I ran through a load of houses for the first 1.5 miles of my run in 0.1 seconds flat! I can promise you I have not turned into a super-powered, trespassing criminal, but that technology let me down!



"Well done you!" I hear you say, and well thank you; but you're also wondering: "what about the other two goals Maggie, Did you achieve them?" Okay, okay, calm down... all in good time. Phew, you can be impatient sometimes can't you! Right, so...

Goal 2 - ACHIEVED!

Grrreat... just like Tony!
Only my fuel was porridge not Frosties!
Oh yes... just like Tony the Tiger, I feel Grrrrrrreat!

Since our Marathon meeting on Wednesday, which left me feeling really pepped-up about my marathon training, I've been working on my PRB. Thursday at club was an excellent example of how successful this is already becoming, and today was another. I set off with the belief that I could do this... that I could run 16 miles, that I could run at an average 11 minute mile pace and that I could do it without being in pain. And I did. Running with Chad certainly helped as not only did the beat of the music help me keep a steady pace, but his motivational mantras kicked in every now and then to give me a boost (thanks Audiofuel). This time, I made up my own mantras though; throughout my run I said to myself: "You can do this. You're fit, you're strong, you're great!".
Well, if you'd seen me in the final mile of my run, you'd have seen for yourself how well this worked as not only did I have a massive smile on my face, but I'd also picked up my closing pace to an average 10 minute mile; whilst the positive little voice inside my head was now saying: "You've done it! You've run 16 miles, this was easy! No problemo! You're Grrrrrrreat!". Brilliant!

So it seems my PRB is really working. As I was running, I was thinking about how amazing it is that your mental state of mind can have such an impact on your physical body; Dr Midgie had left a comment on my blog confirming the power of the mind, saying: 'Every time you have a positive thought, it 'strengthens' your body! In the context of running, you can experience the difference!! Just try standing up from a seated position while repeating the 'negative' type of words and then the 'positive' type of words ... and see what the difference is yourself!'. And it's so true, my positive thoughts today took me 16 miles. In distance that was only 2 miles further than my previous longest run; in physical performance it was a marathon ahead of that last run!

So finally, to my final goal: to smile at as many passing people as possible.

Goal 3 - ACHIEVED!

I say 'as possible', as I've learnt that not everyone is keen to catch my eye and reciprocate my friendly nod and inane grin; in fact there were two people on my run today who looked like I'd positively stabbed them in the stomach with a skewer when I smiled at them! There were some who stared resolutely at the ground as they passed me, perhaps they had a particular interest in different types of tarmac, a bit like trainspotters only less interesting - not that there's anything wrong with trainspotting, I understand it's a very interesting and ... ... that it's... ummmm... yeah... an interesting hobby.

However, despite this, I persisted and managed to accumulate 26 reciprocated smiles on my run... yes I did keep count, I am that sad! I like to think that I was able to spread a little bit of the enjoyment I was feeling on my run to all those friendly people today; one of whom was another runner (I know, only one... quite unusual) and the other was Norris, who was quite frankly over the moon to see his Lycra-clad teacher plodding along the local lanes!

Needless to say, with all 3 goals fully achieved, a reward was in order: A chocolate milk and a Mars Bar. And, to top it all off nicely, tonight I've my Soon-To-Be-Sister-In-Law's Hen Party, the perfect end to the perfect day!

And only 2 days of Janathon to go! Happy Running!

Distance: 16.35 miles
Weather: cold but bright and sunny
Feeling: Positive... I believe I am a grrrrreat runner!
See my run here.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Squirrel Files #101

Scanning the room, I clocked Peggy instantly; she was staring out of the window with such intensity, it didn't seem like the usual daydreaming.

"Peggy?"
Jumping at the sound of my voice, she gave a cursory glance in my direction, head unmoving, before returning her gaze sharply back to the window.

"PEGGY!" I tried again, more vehemently this time.
"Sorry Miss?"
"Have you finished your end of unit essay on 'War and Peace'?"
"Not yet Miss, no.... Nearly." she conceded, her gaze still moving back to the outside world.
"PEGGY! Seriously. Stop staring out the window and get on."

Wearing a conciliatory expression, she dragged her gaze from the window, "Sorry Miss. I... it's just... I..."
She was obviously trying to tell me something; offering her the opportunity I asked "What is it Peggy? There's clearly something bothering you."
"It's just... I..." She attempted. "Oh", she sighed, "It just sounds so silly... I could have sworn I saw a squirrel outside."

"Euoow. Peggy. You Anging-'ead like you've never seen a squirrel before?... ha, ha... your mum is a squirrel!... huh, ha, ha..." interjected Norris, laughing hysterically at his own 'joke'.
"Euoow! your SO not funny." Peggy retorted, "and I've clearly seen a squirrel before. I just..." she suddenly stopped, her attention snatched towards the window again, "I... I... I've just never... that one.... I...!"
"What?!" shouted Norris "What 'av you never seen before?"
"That squirrel has a camera!" she answered.



This was it. They'd stalked my runs for most of January, they'd sabotaged my Sky+ HD box, they'd hounded me when hill running and now it seemed I had paparazzi squirrels pursuing me at work? This was it. It had to stop. I had to know; The time had come to confront the crazed critters and finally find out what exactly was going on.
"Wait right there!" I shouted behind me as I ran out of the room and towards the spying squirrel...

...continued here.

Distance: 1.6 miles
Weather: cold, cold, cold
Feeling: Like I couldn't be bothered, then really glad I did!
See my run here.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

P.R.B

I've got a new outlook on hills. Running hills that is, not hills in general; I never really had any opinion on hills in general before. My new outlook has come about as part of my new PMA: Positive Mental Attitude; or, as I've re-coined it PRB: Positive Running Belief!

I now positively believe that I can run up hills! Why? Because tonight I not only ran up hills, but I ran up them successfully. I ran up them feeling like I could just keep running. Yes, my legs burned with the lactic acid building in them with every climb. Yes, my lungs burned as I sucked desperate breaths of cold air into them. Yes, I was exhausted when I reached the top of the last every one. But my last hill, was hill number 8...EIGHT...I did EIGHT hills!
"How many hill repeats did you do Maggie?"
"Well thank you very much for asking, I think you'll find I did EIGHT!"

Why am I proud of this? Well for two reasons.
The first is simple: I have only ever managed 7 hill repeats on this particular killer hill. Therefore I think I can confidently class tonight as a new HILL PB!!! If such a thing doesn't exist, it does now!

The second reason is that my success of 8 hills, followed by a feeling of pride, is proof that my new PRB is working. I must emphasise at this point, that this is not a passing whim, not something I dreamed up tonight and will forget about tomorrow; No, I have done several things recently to help me develop my PRB: I have been reading positive, encouraging and truly inspiring blogs over the past 26 days, and in addition to this I have been keeping up with my usual reading of Runners World and Women's Running magazines which always fill me with great ideas and tips to try out; I have also been really listening to others, trying to take in their positive experiences, tips and advice and using that to inspire and motivate myself; I've changed my password to something positive and aspiring at work so that every time I type it in, I am giving myself a positive mental message (Obviously I can't reveal said positive mental message that I am aspiring to achieve as the Password Police will have me locked up in seconds... and I need to be vigilant of those spying squirrels! but needless to say it is very mentally and positively messagey); and before I set off tonight I set myself a plan - a simple plan - but a plan all the same. My plan was to push myself as much as possible and to allow no negative thoughts whatsoever to creep into my run. None.

And do you know what... it worked! I feel great. Even though my body aches, it aches in a good way; every time I stand up, crawl walk upstairs, or bend down to stroke my dog, my body reminds me that I have worked hard tonight... and achieved success.

For me, this is really is quite massive! Like many people, I'm sure, I'm exceptionally good at pointing out my own flaws; as a result I'm my own worst critic and rarely 'give myself a break' (or a KitKat!). Consequently if, following a run, I don't think I performed to my best, I beat myself up about it - not physically of course; we're still in the realms of the metaphorical mental beating! - but I give myself a pretty hard time. This in turn, leads me to start out thinking negatively on my next run, believing that I can't achieve what I really want to before I even try, which in turn leads to a big self-deprecating circle of negative running belief... which I think probably looks something like this:


NRB: Negative Running Belief
 Whereas my new outlook looks like this:


PRB: Positive Running Belief
 I like my new outlook; it's making me run better, it's helping me achieve my goals, and I'm sure that I ache less! Okay, maybe not, but I'm definitely starting to become more 'at one with the pain'!... I'll let you know how that one goes after my 16 miles on Sunday! Until then, it's: P.R.B!

Distance: 3.9 miles - Club run: 8 x fast hill repeats with downhill recovery.
Weather: very cold (again!)
Feeling: Positive, strong and great!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Marathon Talk

This evening, Pete, Sara, Paula and I held a Marathon Meeting; as in a meeting about marathons rather than a very long meeting! This year will be Pete's 20th marathon, so he has more than a wealth of experience to share which meant that along with Sara, who's also run quite a few already, Paula and I have been left this evening feeling more knowledgeable, better prepared and definitely even more enthused.

If you are running a marathon for the first time, then I'd highly recommend trying to catch up with someone who has done it before. The interaction between us meant that I was able to get some great tips on my training plan, which I am going to adapt slightly on reflection of their advice, as well as the opportunity to sound out what works best for them in training, racing and post-run recovery; reading a book just doesn't quite match up to that.

So, what did I find out? Well... as Paula and I went on a Magathon-Marathon / Janathon, marathon 5k run following the marathon Marathon Meeting, it's quite late now so I'm going to share what I have remembered as the 3 most important things we discussed:

1. Try out drinks and gels now in the training runs. This seems obvious, but I've still not got used to running and drinking, and I've not yet found a gel that settles on my stomach. Pete recommended trying different brands out and seeing what works best, which is going to take some trial and error. Until now, I've run up to half-marathon distance without taking anything on board (except a few jelly babies which don't seem to work), not even water, so this needs to change. One thing I'm going to work into my training plan is fuelling my run, on any distance that sees me running over 1 hour.

2. Take a bag to the start line full of food, drink, a change of trainers and warm clothes. When we run races, Paula and I do that thing where you dress like a tramp and leave your scruffy 'warm-up' clothes in the charity pile before setting off. We then usually meet someone at the end, who'll have a set of our actual clothes for us to put on. We hadn't considered the logistics of this at such a large event as the VLM and also, as Pete pointed out, we'll want warm clothes and food etc. as quickly as possible. So, we're going to use the baggage area this time meaning we'll have access to all of this almost as soon as we're over the line, and we'll be looking fresher (for all the food we've stuffed into us) by the time we see our friends (and have our photos taken!!).

3. The Marathon really, really, hurts. In fact, it hurts more than anything else (except maybe childbirth... but I don't know because I've never done that either!). That's not a tip! I hear you cry... but yes... it is; in fact, bizarely enough, it was maybe the best one of the night. I've been worrying that my long runs are hurting so much, that it's a sign that I can't do this... that if I can't even run 14 miles without being in excrutiating agony at the end of it, then how on earth will I run the Marathon? But that's the point isn't it? This is an endurance event; it's a test of your body.  In order to achieve it, you have to push yourself right to the edge... right past the point you thought you could, then out even further than that. Of course it hurts; and I shouldn't be afraid of that pain. So the next time I'm running and I start feeling those familiar twitches and aches, I'm going to remind myself to keep pushing; because the training pain is nothing, the marathon will be something else again!

So rather than leaving me thinking: 'Oh my word... what AM I doing?!', I left thinking 'I can do this.' stepping up that feeling of positivity I gained in my run yesterday, one extra notch; because as Pete said, and Sara agreed: 'The feeling you get when you approach the finish line is an amazing feeling of achievement that makes all the miles, the hard work and pain worthwhile. Have fun!'



Distance: 3 miles
Weather: clear but with a cold wind
Feeling: Really good and much stronger in my running.
See my run here.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The One with the Mysterious Package

I get by with a little help from my friends
(The Beatles)

Arriving home from a weary day; the food shopping straining on my shattered arms, my shoulders slumped and subsiding, my fatigued feet scuffing the floor, I thought to myself: 'I don't want to go for a run'.

Day 25: Weary. Tired. Exhausted.

I dumped my shopping in the kitchen, attended to my dog (who was by this point almost eating herself with excitement at my return) and trudged back through the house to hang my coat up. This is when I noticed a package... for me.

'That package is addressed to me' I thought; 'This is strange, who would be sending me a package? Christmas has gone, I haven't ordered anything off the internet, and my birthday isn't for another 7 months...' Confused, I stepped closer towards the package. Tentatively I read and re-read the name... 'yep, my name'. I reached my hand out. Slowly, carefully, smoothly, I lengthened my reach towards it until... it was in my hand. I was holding the mysterious package.

A little shudder of excitement went through me; this was a completely mysterious package... inside could be anything. I scrutinised the handwriting... there was something familiar about it, although I couldn't quite place it, but now I didn't need to... I had deduced that this was a package from a friend.  A friend of mine had sent me a package! Wow!  A package... for me... at no particular time of year, for no particular reason!

Sending caution packing, I ripped into the beautifully wrapped package, eager to see which friend had been so kind as to think of me and what mysterious contents the package contained... my desire to know bursting from me as my fingers went to work on the wrapping.

As the crisp, white paper fell to the floor, I realised that in my hands were two books.

Two books which made me smile so much. Two books from someone who knows me so well. Two books that said 'Thinking of you, friend'.

Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, and Marathon Manual by Cathy Shipton and Liz McColgan
It was my friend Diane who had been thinking of me, and in doing so, she had wrapped up these two books with the following message: 'Just thought I would post these to you to help you with your running.'

The cupcake book I had lent her a short while ago as it makes THE BEST chocolate cupcakes EVER! Seriously! She noted that she had returned this to me so I could deservedly replace some of the calories I'd burnt on my journeys! The Marathon Manual she's lent to me as something that had helped her and her husband when they were training for their marathon; Diane thought it might contain some tips to help me. Might?... Definitely!  It was however, her final words which made me smile the most: 'You are doing fantastic, keep it up'. Little had she know when she'd written those words, that I would be unwrapping her mysterious package at the very moment of needing a much needed boost... and there it was, in a neat little package.

On a day where, for one of the first times in the whole of January, I had returned home feeling like I didn't want to run, this one, small, but thoughtful offering from a friend motivated me to get me out the door. I flung a lead around the small, fluffy fool (still) jumping at my legs and headed off my mile run. And do you know what? I ran that mile faster than any of my mile 'recovery' runs over the whole of the Janathon period. In fact, I'm writing this feeling great!

Day 25: Energised. Enthusiasic. Extremely positive.

The Beatles were right. As it's not just Diane who's made me feel this way recently, It's all my friends whether they're in Manchester, Letchworth or Leeds; home, work or running club; in person, on the phone or on the internet. At some point your kind words have helped me smile, stay positive and get out there... Thank you.


(ANAIS NIN, diary entry, March 1937)


Distance: 1.3 miles
Weather: cloudy and a little damp in the air
Feeling: bloody brilliant!
See my run here.

Monday, 24 January 2011

I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well... keep right on going

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.
(Forest Gump, 1994)

It was lunchtime at work and, as usual, I found myself relaxing in the staff room, eager for some adult company, if only for a short while. Inevitably, as we were sharing what we'd all been up to at the weekend, once the conversation turned to my weekend activities, it also turned to running; because it's January... and that's all I do!
"Are you still running every day in January?" One of my friends questioned.
"Yep," I replied "I've run for 23 days in a row now, although sometimes it's only a mile. I can't quite believe I've done it!"
"You've run some kind of crazy number of miles now haven't you?" Sara offered, "How many is it?"
"112 now, with the 10 miles I did yesterday." I confirmed.
"I wonder how far across the country you'd have got if you'd just kept running that and not stopped..." another friend mused.
"What like Forrest Gump?" someone else suggested; "Oh, yeah, you're Forrest Gump!"

Great.

Forrest Gump? Really? That's who I get compared to... FORREST GUMP?! Well thanks friends!




Anyway, I decided to ignore any of the connotations of 'being' Forrest Gump other than those connected with his ability to run very far, and got to thinking instead about the answer to one of the questions... how far WOULD I have run by now if I'd just kept going.
Unlike Forrest, who was running in the great US of A, the United Kingdom has substantially less land and therefore, at some point, If I 'just kept going' I might have to involve a bit of swimming (either that or I'd be turning around a lot more often than Forrets did).  With that in mind, using RunSaturday, I have plotted where I would currently be, depending on whether I had headed North, East, South or West and this is what could have happened...


North:

Had I set off from Manchester in a northerly direction, I would now be just outside of Carlisle.

This is quite handy as I have a very good friend who lives just near here and I haven't seen her since before Christmas; this was definitely a good decision to make... although those hills were tough and the M6 is quite a dangerous road to run along... I might plot my route a little more carefully before I set off next time!

East:










I would be at the seaside town of Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. This seems very lovely as I like the sea, I think I would have had some fish and chips by now and maybe a little flutter on the amusements at the fairground; I would definitely be planning to visit the Seal Sanctury tomorrow and possibly pop down the bingo for a short while. However, tomorrow would be a problem, unless I learn to swim! So in hindsight, heading West was a bad idea!

South:

This choice would have me stranded in Great Malvern right now. I say 'stranded' because I don't know anyone at all in these rural parts and as such would be well and truly stranded. Also, the town centre is renowned for its hills... I don't like hills at the best of times, but after 116 miles of running (which include my 4.4 hill session at club today) the last thing I would need to contend with is the 'Malvern Hills'!

So South is out.

West:


West takes me to Wales... well, if you follow the roads, technically I had to head South-West a little but there were less than 60 miles before the sea if I went directly left, and I really can't swim, I would never have made it to Ireland, so Wales seemed like the obvious choice. I like Wales. And look, I would now be just outside the popular tourist resort of Bangor... quality! Right now, I could be relaxing in a static caravan, with my 'kiss-me-quick' hat perched precariously on my head, touching up my orange tan, ready for a fun night out on the tiles (stereotype?!... what stereotype?!).  Unfortunately, I have at least another 25 miles of running planned before the 1st of Feb so that doesn't work because the sea is in the way again... and if I turn around, I have to run back up that enormous mountain that's in the way!!



So, if I was Forrest Gump I would have chosen to run North which means at the end of Janathon, I| think I would be somewhere around the Scottish Borders. Of course, if I was Forrest Gump, I wouldn't stop there... Oh no, I'd keep going... Run Maggie, Run... and that's because Forrest Gump is a driven, determined and positive individual. Yes okay, he was stupid; but the reason it's such a lovely story, and the reason Forrest is such a likeable character, is because his glass is always half full. He sets his mind to something, and he does it.

...Maybe 'being' Forrest Gump isn't so bad after all!



Distance: 4.4 miles - Club run - 4 x Firwood Park hills loop + warm up and cool down.
Weather: cloudy with a chilly breeze
Feeling: okay.
See my run here.




Sunday, 23 January 2011

My run with Chad

Chad Hardman and I went on a 10 mile run today. It was his fault. We were supposed to be running 7 miles; in fact, in order to make sure I did run 7 miles precisely, Paula dropped me off near her house where we bid a teary farewell (No running for her today, she's going to the physio this afternoon; as heroic as I was yesterday, we didn't want to risk the need for another rescue run!) and I set off on my precisely calculated 7 miles.

So what happened? Well, it turns out that Mr Hardman is a bit of a Mr Motivator and, as I reached the point where I was supposed to turn for home, he whispered wise words of encouragement in my ear: "You're running well," he told me. "Think positive, think strong... lose yourself in the beat of the music..." Chad Hardman was hypnotising me into running further; I don't even remember half of the run, I think he'd put me to sleep with his hypnotic positivity, until all that was in my head, once again, was "Run Maggie, Run..." So I did! Subsequently 1 hour and 40 minutes later, Chad and I finished our 10 miler feeling highly energised and extremely proud!


Chad might look something like this!


Obviously I'll be taking Chad out again; I'll also be advising Paula on his motivational mantras so she will be able to hypnotise me, to run better and further, when we run together! In fact, Chad and I have set a date for next Saturday where we've agreed to stick an extra 6 miles on the end of today's distance, "No problemo Chad" I asserted, "I feel so good now, I could run a marathon!".
"Good job" he replied "How about the 17th April?"*,
"It's a date" I agreed.

*N.B: Most, if not all, of this conversation very likely only happened in my highly over-active imagination!


If you haven't been motivated by Chad yet, you should give it a try. Obviously we can't all be lucky enough to have the man himself running alongside, so Audiofuel have very kindly recorded Chad's messages of motivation over the top of some upbeat, pacey, continous tunes**; how handy! In fact, what's even more handy is that these tunes are magically (or scientifically) devised to help you 'drive your stride' and run to a steady beat, and thus a steady pace! Amazing!

*N.B: It may be that this was what was actually happening on this run, and that Chad was merely a figment of my Janathon-weary and generally over-active imagination.



My Ipod... My Audiofuel... My Chad!

So between Chad Hardman*** and Audiofuel, I can't wait for my highly motivated, positive and energised 16 miles... roll on next Saturday!

*** N.B:  Okay, okay, I admit it... I gave the lovely man in the Ipod a name, a gorgeous bod and magnificent pecks... so sue me!!

Distance: 10 miles
Weather: cloudy but a little warmer - perfect for running
Feeling: Positive, motivated and energised!
See my run here.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

100 Miles!!!! Wooooooooooo!

Thanks to Local Adventures for pointing it out to me...

Look!!

I've conquered 100 miles in January!  I've never run so far in such little time... I have tears of pride!

Woop Woop!

Well done to everyone out there... let's keep going... only 9 days to go!!! :-)

The Rescue Run

All this time I've been worried about squirrels impeding our running... and today, when crisis occured, it was nothing to do with those damned squirrels!

My day started like any other saturday - Lazily... I woke up, donned my dressing gown and plodded downstairs to break my fast. With a 16 mile run planned, I knew I was going to need some rocket fuel in the banks so I began with two slices of wholemeal toast topped with organic, crunchy peanut butter; Mmmm...  what a way to start the day. Completing my meal with a large cup of tea, I headed off into the kitchen for second breakfast.  What?!... Hobbits do it!... and anyway, this is a serious nutrition plan! After trialing many different forms of on the run rations: energy gels (hold on bowels!), jelly babies (any difference??), jelly beans (oops... swallow whole and choke) and Lucozade tablets (hold on again bowels!); I decided that maybe a better course of action would be to focus on filling myself full of carbohydrates before then run, rather than during! So, with this in mind, a nice bowl of golden syrup porridge topped me up nicely.

'Right... ready for a run,' I thought to myself. Except, no. Following the '7 miles that were really 8' debacle on Wednesday, I thought it sensible this time to plot a proper route using the internet; taking into account any untoward hills and avoiding running a marathon before we were ready. So, sitting down at the internet, I began.

An hour later, and my laptop was about to experience what it's like to fly! Paula described it as the over-use of technology, and really that was my problem. I knew I wanted 16 miles; I could make 14, 15, 15.3, 17.8... but I could I get 16? Could I heck!  I phoned Paula: A natural problem solver. She solved.

Dressed, drink, drive... Finally, half an hour later than planned, I met with Paula.

Setting off along the road, Jack Frost biting at our fingers, we chatted away about a multitude of matters: what might occur on our run; how the turtle and the fish were getting along; plans for the evening - pizza and a dvd... maybe a glass of wine... Ooooh, and some pik 'n' mix... when... DISASTER!

Paula, had pulled up, just after the 2.5 mile mark, hopping on one leg, the other waving weakly in the air. This is never good; runners need two legs! For a while now, she's been experiencing a clicking sound in her knee when she runs; not giving her any bother, she'd dismissed it - as we all do - as something to worry about later. Now was the later.

We stopped and looked bewiledered for a bit. She stretched. I looked bewildered. She tried trotting a few yards. I looked bewildered. She tried stretching again. I looked bewildered.
"Maybe we should go back?... but can you walk? Could we get you to Natalie's?" Oh... bewilderment!
"I think I'll try again" she offered. "It might be okay now I've rested it." She started off, hopefully, down the road: run... run... run... run... run... run.. "It's working!" She exclaimed "I'm cured!" run... run... hop!
She wasn't cured. It was also clear she couldn't walk. This called for: SUPERMAGGIEE!
"Right." I said authoritively, snapping out of my bewilderment and taking charge. "Take the water bottle, wait here... I'm going to run for the car and rescue you!"
I thrust the bottle into her hands and flew up the road.


'My friend needs me.' I thought to myself as each foot struck the pavement, the sound of rescue in my ears. 'No-one else can help her now.' I told myself. 'It's up to you. Keep going, push on, Protect Paula.' Each strike of my shoe on the street was bringing me one step closer to the car; gaining speed now, faster and faster, I felt in the zone. 'I will rescue my friend, I will!' Reaching the hill, I increased my effort; hauling myself up it. 'Run Maggie, Run!' I told myself. 'Paula needs you. Run!'  Reaching the half way point, I switched my mind into racing mode. This was a race: a race against time. Paula was waiting on a wall for my rescue, just under 2 miles away, getting colder and colder! 'Run Maggie, Run.' I pushed myself. Reaching the 5 mile mark, I knew I was nearly there. Just one more last effort to the top of the hill... 'You can do it! I told myself outloud, scaring some old ladies at the bus stop, 'You can do it' I screamed, not caring anymore because I was nearly there; I was rescuing my friend; I was... SUPERMAGGIEE! Arriving at my car, I lept in... no time for stretching! no time for idilling! Paula needed me... and was off.

Traffic jam.

10 minutes later, I rescued Paula... I'd have been quicker running back!

So I may not have managed 16 miles today; but I've managed something much more noble. And I've realised why we do all that out and back training at club! Tomorrow brings a new day, and another attempt at a long run; assuming no more of my friends need rescuing! Although I'm thinking now of going back to the original mileage on my plan, thus dropping back this week and throwing the cheeky 16 in next week instead. For now, I shall retire for some well earned lunch (only one of those) with a sense of pride, carrying the memories of how, today, I became Maggie the Rescuer... SUPERMAGGIEE!

Distance: 5.35 miles (with a much quicker uphill return!!)
Weather: cloudy, chilly and frosty
Feeling: Super!! :-)
See my run here.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Newspeak from The CRASIES...

The CRASIES has a new logo... I didn't like the other one as it didn't adequately communicate the unified and encouraging nature of us runners in the face of the encroaching squirrel empire. This, however, I think does:


Look at their smiley faces... they KNOW those squirrels are no match for the CRASIES!  Exciting news is there is now an additional branch to the cult group, for those of you who have been experiencing increased concern as to the threat of foxes; who have been recently mobilised by the squirrels - don't believe the age-old hype that foxes eat squirrels, that's playing straight into their hands paws! Martyn is officially leader of the CRASIESAF, an important branch to this operation, situated in Wales; If you have any concerns over other forms of wayward wildlife, in your particular area, then please let me know.

As with all great campaigns, I think the time has come to propagate some propaganda; so what follows is a fictional, factual video of the real and present danger the squirrels represent. Close your windows... Lock your doors... and join the cause...

Music: Sandman by Metallica


Tonight was another recovery run, in preparation for my long run tomorrow and following the endurance speed session last night, just a mile for fear of the squirrels though;  thankfully I'll have Paula with me tomorrow... Added protection!

Distance: 1.2 miles
Weather: A beautiful red sunset combined with low lying horror movie style mist in places!
Feeling: better by the day!... think I might cheer myself up and do a Janathon total miles tomorrow! :-)
See my run here.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Turtle and The Fish


Once upon a time, deep under the sea, there were two great friends - a Fish and a Turtle. Each week, the Fish and the Turtle would meet up and swim together amongst the reef and the reeds, chatting and enjoying each others company. As the days, weeks and months passed by, the Turtle and the Fish became better at swimming; each noticing that they were becoming stronger, more confident and capable of swimming further than they had ever, at first, imagined.

Realising that they were ready for their next challenge, the Fish and the Turtle took a deep breath and signed up for the Very Long Maraswim; a challenge they could only have dreamed of completing only a couple of years before.

The Fish and the Turtle leaped into their training with vigour and enthusiasm; and, as they did so, they continued to become stronger, more confident and capable of swimming even further than they had ever imagined. Everything was going well until one day, when the Turtle realised that the three strokes she had been behind the fish, was now six. The next day, the six strokes became twelve; and the next the twelve became twenty-four; until the turtle was swimming so far behind the fish, she could no longer see the her collage of colours flickering ahead in the twilit waters.

The turtle slumped down on a near by sand bar and sulked.
"What's wrong?" Asked a passing Sea Horse.
"I'm so slow... so much slower than my swimming partner; I can't swim with her anymore." Explained the Turtle. "I always thought she'd be a little bit faster than me, but I didn't think we'd be this different."
The Sea Horse thought for a little bit, then turned to the Turtle: "It's not so much that you're slower than the Fish that's the problem; you're capable of swimming just as spectacularly. However, I can see you're upset so I do have some magic medicine which will help you if you wish?"
The Turtle thanked the Sea Horse very much and accepted the magic medicine gratefully.
"All you have to do is sprinkle a little of it over your head every day, whilst saying the magic words I give you." Explained the Sea Horse, "And soon, before you know it, you'll be sprinting through the water as sprightly as your friend again."
And as the Sea Horse whispered the magic words into the Turtle's ear, the Turtle understood what had to be done.

Over the next few weeks, the Turtle and the Fish continued to swim at different speeds, sometimes together, sometimes alone, but as always the Fish was supportive, encouraging her friend to swim alongside as much as possible. Each night, the Turtle would sprinkle the magic dust, the Sea Horse had given her, over her head and say the magic words. Slowly, very slowly, the Turtle started to swim better and better, until finally, she was swimming confidently and capably, but most importantly, cheerily alongside her fishy friend.

Noticing the new found tenacity in her turtlely pal, inevitably the Fish was curious as to what had turned the Turtle's swimming fortunes around. The Turtle told her friend all about the magic dust and the magic words she had chanted each night and how, even though the magic dust had run out after a few days, she'd continued to say those magic words every night; until eventually, little by little, she'd become more confident, capable and cheerful. Eager to know the magic words, the Fish asked if the Turtle would share them with her.
"Of course," Replied the Turtle, "And they're so easy to remember just: Patience, Perseverance and Positivity. Three simple words, but they make such a difference."

How the story ends no-one knows; We like to think that the Turtle continued to believe in herself, and to make progress, and that the Turtle and the Fish completed the VLM together.

Distance: 4.1 miles - 5 mins @ 5k pace with 1 min recovery x 5. +1 lap Hunt Lane warm up and cool down.
Weather: cold - 0.
Feeling: slow again!
See my run here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

We Need You...

After reading many comments yesterday about the Squirrels, it has become very clear that this squirrel threat is something that needs to be confronted. There are too many of us living in fear. How many of you are now facing a fretful night ahead, anxious that the Squirrels will attack whilst you are at your most vulnerable? How many of you are wondering if your morning run will bring joy to your hearts tomorrow, or instead a stab of sickness as you realise you are being stalked, once again, by squirrels? How many of you dread, daily, tying up your trainers for yet another threatened trot around the block?

It doesn't have to be this way!

Do you want to feel the breeze in your hair instead of fear in your hearts? Of course you do. We all do. We can do.

Already, our community is joining as one against these squirrels; this is how we will ensure their demise and our domination in this war. We need to stick together; work together; rise up together!
Join us and join the battle against squirrel domination.

Together we can stop their intimidation of runners and make the world a safer place to live in. Together, we can stop these savage swine from stalking our innocent allies. Together, we will protect our friends from these fiends.

Don't wait for the worst.

Join us.
Join now. 
Join the Collective of Runners Against the Savage, Intimidating and Encroaching Squirrels.


The CRASIES need you.

Oh, and I also went for a 7 mile run, that was actually an 8 mile run with Paula this evening... might get her to plot our route next time!!...
Distance: 8.1 miles
Weather: it's got cold again! 3 degrees.
Feeing: much better than I thought I would, and confident we can beat these squirrels!
See my run here.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Off to the nut house?...

Dear Aunty Agony,

Having been an avid reader of your advice for some years now, I know you are the only person I can turn to with the crisis I am currently facing. As a happy, relaxed and confident 32 year old woman, I have never had cause to question my sanity; believing, mendaciously,  to know my own mind. Thus, when I eagerly began the Janathon challenge, just 18 days ago, and consequently began to be stalked by squirrels – subjected to the terrible torment of their evil eyes – naturally, I took this threat at face-value; I knew it to be real: I feared for my safety.  Moreover, in many ways feeling responsible for the antagonism of these animals (having inadvertently incepted the idea into the squirrel community that I posed a threat to them), I have taken it upon myself to warn other runners of this rodent risk.

Lately, the comments of friends and family have lead me to conclude that they must doubt the reality of this threat; comments (which were intermittent at first, yet now more frequent) about this intimidation have included language such as: ‘perceived’, ‘paranoid’ and ‘preposterous’. Clearly, and sadly, those whom are close to me believe that this menace is a mental one; only within my own mind.

It is this that concerns me Aunty Agony. It was whilst I was on my mile recovery run today, once again feeling the presense of their beady eyes, that I began, for the first time, to doubt myself.  These are the people I hold dear, the ones with whom I hold my closest connections; their perturbance at my supposed paranoia is only due to the predilection they hold of me. It is for this reason, that I am slowly beginning to question myself: Am I paranoid? Deranged? Insane? Is this threat a fancy of my imagination? Is the torment of the squirrels simply a pseudo simulation?

Aunty A, in short. Am I nuts?

Yours disquietedly,

maggie e
 


Dear Maggie,

Are you mad? This is insanity!

Of course you are worried by the comments of those closest to you; the thought that you are losing your mind is quite frankly fearful.

This is ridiculous! Of course you are not going mad: the squirrels are a real and present threat to our society.

A little known entity for a long time now, they have been building their army slowly and gradually. As I am sure you are more than aware, you only have to google on the internet to discover the very real and dangerous dynamite they are.

Maggie, you are taking exactly the right course of action and you must continue to do so: warn everyone you can about this squirrel impendence. Don’t give up. Tell anyone who’ll listen. Spread the word.  For the time being, there are only a few of us who know the horrendous hazard humans face, however if we continue to work together to propagate this peril we will be victorious.

The squirrels cannot win Maggie. We must fight them on the beaches, we must fight them in the parks and we must fight them ‘till we win. Nuts to the squirrels!

Yours victoriously,

Aunty Agony.


Distance: 1.1 miles
Weather: clear and chilly
Feeling: okay.
See my run here.

Monday, 17 January 2011

What if...

An out and back at Club today where the idea is to run out in 20 minutes and run back in 18. I've decided to depict my feelings on the run in pictorial form:

Don't worry, I'm still alive... just!

Distance: 4 miles
Weather: clear and quite a nice, mild temperature
Feeling: slow!
See my run here. (later I manage to upload it!!)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

And the thanks go to...

Firstly, thank you to all those of you who commented on my blog yesterday; you made Paula and I even more proud of our 14 mile achievement... I'm also glad to hear the long runs get easier as well Chris, that's maybe the best news of my weekend!

Today, unbelievably, I have managed to hit yet another first; they just keep coming at the moment! Today (and I'm so proud, I really am) I ran the SLOWEST I have ever run!



However, I can't take full credit for this, and so in true form, on accepting this award for slowest Magathon running ever, I would like to take the opportunity to thank:

 - Wandering Bear, and Dirty Take Away Pizza whom I met and partied with last night. I never would have achieved such a low level of fitness today if it hadn't been for their support throughout the night. I guess here I should give a special mention to Wandering Bear, recognisable by her fresh bouquet and pretty pink glow, who introduced me so lovingly to Dirty Take Away Pizza at around 3am in the morning. Thank you so much.



- Take That (well the tribute version anyway) who, despite looking (and possibly sounding) nothing like Take That, kindly collaborated with Wandering Bear to keep me up all night (sorry, couldn't resist it) and dancing in my gorgeous high heeled shoes so that Feet died a little and screamed at me to stop running for the entirety of my mile-long mission.



Apparantly this is Howard from Take That... not so sure about that one, but for those old-school Hollyoaks fans out there, he was Mark Gibbs who bullied Luke; in fact it seems he's also been in Two Pints of Lager and Dream Team, but it was with his Hollyoaks role I chose to embarass him!

- Natalie whom,  I must add at this point, deserves a very special mention (and not just because she joined the 30's club yesterday) but because without her, last night, I would never have met Wandering Bear, Dirty Take Away Pizza and Take That (Including afroementioned man in photo who can sing very well but clearly looks NOTHING like Howard Donald!). Thank you Natalie (and Happy Birthday!!).


My beautiful friend Natalie, who's 30th birthday we were celebrating yesterday.

Thank you all for your contribution, but more so for a FANTASTIC night (and there's no sarcasm there, it really was). However I can't help thinking there was possibly a more... urmmm... beneficial?... healthy?... boring?... way to recover from my longest run ever.... hmmmmm... maybe I'll mull that one over whilst I have a kip on the couch!

Distance: 1.1 miles
Weather: light drizzle
Feeling: toxic!
See my run here.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

When Running You Should 'Do What U Like'!

Gotta keep this short as I need to get my stuff together for tonight; packed all into a bag so I can Take That and Party.

I am very Happy Now as Paula and I ran our furthest distance ever today: 14 miles! Although there was a real chance that we may not have completed it, being drowned instead by The Flood that threatened throughout; okay, so that's an exaggeration, the rain wasn't quite that bad but combined with too many hills (which I can only blame on myself as the one who plotted the route), I feel a real sense of pride that we completed that distance: An Affirmation that we really can do this! Saying that, I didn't feel quite so positive towards the end of the final 3 miles when I had to Reach Out to Paula, needing her to pep me up and Relight My Fire; never one to let me down, she was there with lucozade tablets; a real Babe!  I'm thinking that if running just 14 miles hurts that much, then running 26.2 is something I will Never Forget!

However, I am remaining positive as I still have 13 weeks left to train and it will inevitably take some Patience; I just need to Pray that it's long enough to fully prepare me! Still, I've made myself no Promises, no time we have to complete it in; and it's not like I'm trying to Rule the World, just run a marathon... all I need to do is work hard and no doubt I'll make it my Greatest Day of running yet; a day to Shine.

So all in all, today was a good run; it wasn't that I Found Heaven whilst out there, but It Only Takes a Minute whilst out running, to realise what a Beautiful World we live in. Whilst running through the gorgeous Heaton Park, there was even a lull in the heavy rain for a while; Could It Be Magic? I realised out there that I love running and Once You've Tasted Love there's no going back! If you run, you'll know what I mean; the only question is How Deep is Your Love?

Anyway, I must go as I'm off to a friend's 30th birthday party tonight and I'm Sure if I don't get going soon, they'll have played A Million Love Songs before I get there and that's my favourite song! And anyway, I'm looking forward to partying like a bunch of Kidz, staying Up all night! Don't worry though, I'll be here again, blogging tomorrow; Back for Good... After a big night out however, I might only mangage a run around the Garden!

Right, I really must go now, and anyway, I've Said It All. Have a great night yourselves everyone; did I mention I'm going to see a Take That Tribute Act?


Distance: 14 miles
Weather: mostly windy and rainy
Feeling: very, very, very achey!
See my run here or here.
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