I've found it quite hard to get back into running after my holiday. I have to admit I came back a bit battered and achey after climbing mountains and fording streams so gave in to the pain. A session of physio helped enormously and I would recommend my local friendly physio Di at Fizziofit to anyone. Anyway, my resolve just crumbled when I found cows on my running track. They seem friendly enough, but you just can't be sure........especially when you're not in the mood for running anyway. I know I could just run somewhere else, but I like that my track is exactly 1k long so can easily measure how far I've run, and I know that the hill isn't really that steep and long so will soon be going back down again on the next lap. Also, it means that I can listen to a story on my ipod and be distracted from thinking about the actual running and how nice it would be to stop doing it. I was very pleased that I managed a fairly comfortable 4 laps (4k or 2.4 miles) last week when the cows were in the far field and I only stopped then because my new running shoes had started to rub and cause a blister.
Another week and yet more pain. This week it's 28 minutes running. I mean, it's only 3 minutes long than last week so why does it feel so much harder? Oh well, at least I am doing it and I won't give up. The first run of week 8 was a bit damp. We had torrential rain the day (and night) before and the long grass was very, very wet. Most of the time I'm running on well-walked short grass, but there's the odd bit's on the corners where the grass is longer. Squish, squish.
The last run is done and another week over. The last run of the week seemed a bit easier, although I'm a bit cream crackered now. I have new trainers because I needed (yes, I really did need) a quick drying pair, and now I have a new blister. That will teach me to rip them out the box, whip them on and set off around the field. I needed to set up the laces a bit better so that there was no bagginess and rubbing. Well that's a lesson learned the hard way. Apart from that they were lovely and bouncy - and a super bright purple colour. Whilst running I could hear a tractor in the next field, so when the run was done I grabbed my camera and went to have a look. There are no more buttercups. They've all gone and so has all the grass. The tractor emerged out of the field just as I was reaching the top of the hill, the trailer full of black plastic silage bags. Before and after pictures below.
I know that I'm a better runner than I was at week 1 because I couldn't run at all before then without limping and puffing, but it all still seems such an effort. But......every run this week was 25 minutes and I did it. Whoop, Whoop. Whenever I'm heading into the wind and up a hill (read slight incline when I say hill), I force myself to look at and appreciate the buttercups and the way that grass flowers are making swathes of red across the yellow. It makes me smile and forget the pain. For a nano second.......but it helps.
When I finished my run I had a wander into the next field with my camera, partly to check out an extension to my running track and to well, nose around. As you can see, it's all very picturesque, with a sneaky view of our barns through the wood.
Back on home turf and week 6 is done. It was lovely to be back running around the field. Whenever I'm puffing and struggling, I make myself look around at the buttercups and the may blossom and the sheer loveliness of it all. It just makes me smile and forget the pain for a bit. I know, I'm gushing, but it is very pretty. I did find that the little hill felt like a big hill, especially on the second run when there was a howling head wind up the hill. How unfair, but probably character and fitness forming. I was glad when that one was finished. The last run of the week was a bit of a killer at 25 minutes, but I couldn't have done it a few weeks ago.
Phew, week 4 is over. A bit more of a challenge with a total of 16 mins running and a lot less walking. But.....it wasn't too bad. The first run in the block is always the worst, but by the end of the session I felt like I could run further. Wow. I might just get to that tantalising 30 mins running and 5k distance. After having a bad back for, well, ever..... at least it seems for ever when you are used to being reasonably fit, it's nice to have aches from sore muscles rather than tight tendons and joints. I absolutely love my running track - it has views, a gentle hill (up and down - so time for a breather), a grassy track and the grass is not too long. Perfect. And, it is just over the garden wall from our new (future) home. Happy, happy person.
Week 5 and a new location during the half term holiday. We were at Sutton on Sea on the Lincolnshire coast, and just look at my running track.
No hills on this track, and I most definitely didn't run on the soft sand - that would be a challenge too far. I stuck to the hard sand near the sea and it was lovely. I was fortunate in that the wind wasn't too strong because that can really make it feel like running up a hill. Week 5 has three different runs with the first having three 5 minute runs, the second run has two 8 minute runs, and the third has just one 20 minute run. Yes, I know......20 minutes. I nearly choked when I heard that on the podcast. I managed it, but it wasn't fast. I must have been a bit conservative with my energy because I was able shuffle a bit faster for the last 2.5 minutes to compensate a bit. I was really pleased that I could do it, but it makes me a bit nervous for the week 6 runs. On the whole I am enjoying that I can keep up with the programme and that I'm definitely getting fitter. The only negative point I have is that I'm getting really fed up with being attacked by dogs. On my second beach run a dog bit me. Not a big bite, and if I had long trousers on then it would have just got a mouthful of trouser leg, but it flipping well drew blood. I regularly have to stop and wait for an owner to get their pesky animals under control. Anyway, gripe over. It's not going to stop me running.
Hoorah, week 3 is done. I had a bit of a break between weeks 2 and 3 because I had a touch of lurgy. I bravely tested my health and fitness by doing week 3. Every week 3 run was in glorious sunshine, if a little nippy in the wind so I could almost say that I enjoyed all the running. I could certainly say that I enjoyed completing all the runs and being out in the fresh air! Surprisingly, I found the runs a bit easier than I expected and I think that is because there are fewer but longer walk/jog sessions and not because I'm that much fitter!
You wouldn't normally expect to have baking and jogging in the same post, but that is how I've been spending my spare time, although not baking and jogging simultaneously in an 'extreme jogging' sort of way. A more accurate description of my jogging would be 'shuffling', but everyone has to start somewhere and I've been persuaded to try the NHS 'couch to 5k' podcast program with my daughter and her friends (though she said it was the 'couch potato to 5k' scheme and I believed her). I survived week one, and that is not an exaggeration as I only managed 2 out of the 3 runs for week, and I can categorically confirm that it is not a good idea to miss any. DO THEM ALL......or be VERY sorry. This week I'm determined to do them all which meant doing a run on my own today. I went up to the barns because it was so beautifully sunny and it is such a lovely area to shuffle in. I went down one of the footpaths and then around the big field to pick up another footpath, going round 3 times in total. I then went round another time with my camera so that you can see how lovely it is, but without any of the pain and panting. Oh, and I saw a helicopter landing at Ripley International Airfield (the grassy landing strip below the barns).
Onto the baking. Last week I (possibly) somewhat foolishly suggested that the kids could choose the cake for family tea. The choice for last week was white chocolate brownies, otherwise known as 'blondies'. I found a great recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, which can be found here. I didn't add the cardamon pods, but everything else went in and they were pretty delicious. I also made a few cheese scones for the week, which were eaten on an impromptu picnic at the barns one evening.
This weeks cake of choice was a chocolate cake, as it happens for my birthday....and it was not made by me, but my partner in crime! It was really delicious though, and this is all that is left......