Category Archives: park running

Day 31 – Bye bye Janathon, Hello Fabruary!

Oh dear.. a still poorly boy means, for a second day, I didn’t get any time to myself. So my last January workout was another hour on the Wii Just Dance. I’m getting rather good at I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters, if I do say so myself. I think this still counts. Had it not been for Janathon, I would have spent the whole evening on the sofa lifting nothing but the TV remote.

It may have petered out a little, but this has been by far the fittest month of my life. At Christmas I could jog about 6 km on the treadmill, and now 10km in the park feels fairly comfortable and something I could manage twice a week. I feel ten times better than I did at New Year. I seemed to stumble through November and December in a haze of coughs and colds being passed around the family repeatedly (not to mention the chicken pox). Is it just coincidence that  January has been totally snuffle and cough free for me? Maybe it’s because I haven’t stood still for long enough for any germs to land on me. My hip niggle has totally disappeared since I took my running outside (touching wood). I’m now scared to stop for fear of losing this level of fitness.

Friends say they come up with their most creative ideas while they’re running, or at least make plans for the day ahead. But this month I’ve learnt that, for me, the joy of jogging is that I think about nothing. I clear my mind, focus on the beat of the music or my footsteps. Concentrating on breathing becomes enough to make me feel uplifted. To a point where it becomes difficult to slow down! I don’t think I’ve experienced any ‘runners high’ – I think that only comes with longer distances – but I do feel zoned out and can see how this becomes addictive.

My February fitness regime is as yet untitled (I’m thinking FITruary, FebRUNary, Feel FABruary?) and  it won’t involve blogging every day. My goal is to be able to call 10km an ‘easy run’ and to ‘nip’ the 12km round Richmond park on sunny summer mornings before anyone else in the house realises I’m gone. I’d like to complete a 10km race in less than 57 minutes. And I’d like to take my bumbag on a little tour of London.

I’ve loved reading the other blogs about runners who are faster, fitter, funnier, more adventurous, better travelled and have more stamina than I’ll ever have (all of them, then!) So a big thank you to the organisers. I googled Janathon accidentally when I couldn’t remember the name of Dryathlon, and this is where it took me!

Most importantly for me, I’ve learnt there is never really an excuse not to squeeze a bit more movement into your day. And the more time you make for it, the more it will reward you. I haven’t weighed myself in January, because I didn’t want this to be about being slimmer, just about feeling better. And I do.

Pass the wine, Dryathlon is nearly over. Cheers!

Total January distance: 129km run, 12km cycled, 30km (and more!) walked, 1km rowed.

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Day 28 – Run round the park (literally)

A glorious sunny morning so I decided to… stay at home and finish some ironing before leaving the house just as the clouds came. Big running challenge today: to circumnavigate Richmond Park. All 12km.  As I approached half way I felt I was going too fast, but really found it difficult to slow down and pace myself. I find it too easy to slow down on the treadmill, just the flick of a switch. Do I need a Garmin or similar to see more clearly how fast I’m running each km? Now, that would make me a serious runner.

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I’m used to walking this route, but have never jogged it before. And I’ve never attempted to run more than 10km. My mind was playing tricks on me at about 6k when all paths appeared to look the same and I thought I was closer to the end than I actually was. And then there’s this hill (left) at 10km (57 minutes in). It looks disappointingly small in the photos. I allowed myself to walk up and stop for these quick photos at the top, but then picked up the pace again as it began to rain. The reward for this hill is a lovely downhill slope to Kingston Gate at the end. My reward for finishing was a diet coke in a wine glass enjoyed in a hot bath.

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Here I am at the top of the hill (right) looking pretty horrific!

Mini challenge: Attempt this again on Wednesday, when I won’t have a walk until the top of the hill. Then, the next time, no stopping!

Total distance run today: 12km

Songs: As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle), Street Dancer (Avicii), Untrust Us (Crystal Castles).

Total January distance: 129km run, 12km cycled, 30km walked, 1km rowed!IMG_1428IMG_1433

Day 27 – Wet eyeballs

Me and my new bumbag

Sideways rain into our bedroom window made it really tempting to lie in – but I had new equipment to try out. I haven’t worn a bumbag since I was about ten, but my fear of not being near a drink, coupled with a desire to run hands-free, prompted me to give one a go. It also fits an inhaler, my iPhone, a pair of gloves and even an Oyster card for when I start getting more adventurous. I found it a bit cumbersome to jog in but sliding it ’round the back’, so it lives up to its name, worked for me.

I think I may need to invest in a waterproof running jacket, too. Heavy showers about 15 minutes in was enjoyable for a few minutes and then I started wishing I’d squeezed a brolly into my bumbag Mary Poppins-style. I even felt the cold droplets on my eyeballs. Either I looked comical in my soaked, soggy-eyed state, or the rain turns other runners into sociable souls. I had lots of smiles, hellos and mini waves from other joggers (all wearing more suitable gear than me). Maybe they were nods of sympathy. I felt a lot more red-faced and rain-drenched than I look in these post-run snaps.

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Distance today:  6km (33minutes)

Tunes: Superlove (Avicii), Bubbles (Biffy Clyro), Dropzone (Luke Bond).

Total January distance: 117km run, 12km cycled, 30km walked, 1km rowed!

Day 25 – Working up an appetite for The Ivy

I braved the icy park for a ‘proper’ run, and it was so worth it. My 9km route with the ‘hill’ at 5km. Nothing was stopping me – and no-one overtook me! I even ran round the block when I got home to get my app to say 10km. For the first time I felt I could’ve gone further. But I had a lunch date with a new friend at The Ivy. My first time here, and it wasn’t downstairs the Ivy with the riff raff, oh no, but upstairs ‘the Ivy club’. And it was devine. I had been told this place was awash with celebrities so I was trying to look cool whilst peering round my winged leather armchair. I didn’t see any A listers but let’s just say there was a dragon on the next table. And I can’t tell you who my lunch date was with – or I’d have to kill you. We had a giggle and a gossip and even arranged another date to meet there. After my run I felt no guilt about the fish pie followed by blood orange sorbet then peppermint tea I polished off. I even managed to stay off the wine. I’m so virtuous, me. (But already planning Friday’s boozy lunch!)

Total run today: 10km

Songs that helped me through: Push The Feeling On (The Nightcrawlers), Superlove (Avicii), Super Bass (Nicki Minaj), Just The Way You Are (Milky).

Total January distance: 111km run, 12km cycled, 30km walked, 1km rowed!

Day 10 – Only stopping for photos!

Back in Richmond Park today… and I had a knot of nerves in my stomach before setting out. This time I was going it alone, with no-one to encourage me and no-one to run for help if I were to fall down a rabbit hole. Would the temptation to give up at 5km prove too much? What if my hip were to give way and I had to hobble home, or I stumbled into a puddle never to be seen again? What if I were to receive a really important phone call while miles from home and was unable to get back to civilisation? Those excuses were starting to creep in again.

But I dragged myself out, whacked on my favourite uplifting tunes, pulled up my red fleece gloves, and nothing was stopping me. Apart from the photo opportunities:

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This doesn’t look like much of a hill from the top, but it felt like one! This is looking down to Pen Ponds.  I couldn’t bring myself to stop moving until I got to a little wooden pillar marking the summit, which was about 5.5km into my route.  No sign of my niggly hip today. I leapt over giant muddy puddles and plodded past panting dogs. The mini hill was tough going, though, and my 1 minute break to wrestle with my iphone holder so I could take the photo at the top was a welcome relief.

But, unlike Tuesday, this time I did no walking and carried straight on – until this sight halted me:

Friendly facesLoved it. At the end I felt I could have gone further, but I had to stop to snap these deer. According to MayMyRun, I covered 9.91km in 53 minutes. This is by far and away a PB for me so I’m not sure the speed is accurate. But if the machine says it, I’m believing it. I’m hoping the snow forecast does not materialise because I want to do this again at the weekend!

Total distance today: 10km (near as damn-it)

Powered by: Porridge and blueberries

Tracks that spurred me on: Hurts like Heaven (Coldplay),  Use Somebody (Kings of Leon), Indestructible (Robyn).

Total January distance: 55km run, 12km cycled

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