Thursday, 27 February 2014

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Hello blog lovers.

It's Thursday, which means its our PWR Morning run.  A slight mis-communication meant that Illustrious Leader wasn't with us today. But everything worked out ok as we had two groups, and I wasn't on my own.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make all the way round my planned  route but with no I.L. here I had no choice but to get around!  But the weather is not quite what we had yesterday!  Its grey and overcast, with just a couple of drops of rain almost annoyingly threatening to bring drops others along to ruin the day!

PinkladyJo is back with us, her broken toe  has healed she is ready to get back to running.  We also had Caroline and......oh..... darn this grey matter of mine, names just seem to leak out of it! But we had Carolines friend as well, she arrived just as we was about to set off!

DiscoRich had four members of his group, and one turned just showed up to say that she couldn't run today as she had done something horrible to her fingers! And of course the big PWR spirit was there as we said "You don't run with your fingers, you could have run with group 1 today"  A caring hardcore bunch of runners we are at PWR!

All set we headed off out of the rec running towards the cinder path today.  The woods will most certainly be swamped and un passable by trainer clad runners, so sticking to the paths seems to be the sensible thing to do.  But at least we will get some sort of satisfaction of feeling as if we are in the woods.

We went through the gate that takes us to the cinder path and we started to run towards it.  When we got there we were greated with stipey tape and a notice saying that the patch was closed! Oh man!  But then the workman said it was only close for a short section, the rest of the path was just fine.

So a slight change of plan, we shall do the route in the opposite direction and then come down the cinder path and pop through the last turn off before we get to the roped off section.  So that's what we did.  Me and PinkladyJo were both out of sorts, but the two other ladies were doing well, when we were near to the top of the road I sent them on ahead to keep running, then said to loop back if they wanted to.  Me and PinkladyJo had just a short stroll to the end.

It fell good to get to the top of this road.  It's up hill all the way, just a slight incline, but you can really tell.  So the next bit of our run is going to be perfect.  Running down and also running through the trees on the tarmacked path!  But before we took the path to add just a little bit more mileage for the two fitter runners I sent them on the little loop around the road while me and PinkladyJo had a stop.  But then it was ready to set off down the path,  how I love this bit.  The trees, the lack of cars, people walking, its just perfect.

We all was running at the same pace, just sticking together have a fab time. Then we spied the closed off section.  We had just past the last exit from the cinder path, but then another thought came to me, that maybe we could exit the path via the park! At least that way we can still be running through the clean air plus have a bit of cross country to boot!  I asked the ladies this and the were all up for it.  So that was that.

Of course the path was a bit sticky, we found a few bits that were a bit firmer.  But as we moved further into the woods it was becoming impossible to find any firm ground! Of Course I was in my element, but I was concerned about the two ladies that haven't been on one of my woody runs before.  PLJ was up for continuing through to the park, "It's not that far now" she assured to two ladies, so they decided to carry on.  I was just splashing through ankle deep into the puddles and mud, all those lovely memories of mum saying "Keep you shoes clean, don't get the dirty" came flooding back.  One memory in particular came to mind when we were supposed to be kept clean for a wedding, I found a muddy puddle! Nice cute white dress with....muddy spots!

The puddles turned into little ponds which then turned into bigger ponds!  We were having to find paths around them.  But the park was soon visible and the tarmac was a welcome site for the two new cross country runners!

Our run was soon all over and done with, the sun evening managed to shine on us at the end. And I managed to run the whole of the route, well when I say run, I mean run/walk but at least I didn't take any shortcuts or quit!  Just as well really as I was leading!  Oh and talk about leading, I had a very lovely surprise when after I got home and was in the middle of my planks, and situps etc etc, a letter from the UKA and inside was this

I am officially a LiRF, it says so right there on my card.  Happy, happy happy. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Chasing the Fitness Level!

Hello blog lovers.

After yesterdays attempt at running along with group 1, after leading my group 0, I realised that I need to get back to full fitness again.  Yes I know it's only been 3 weeks. 3 weeks that I have had off stuffing my face with choccies and cakes, but 3 weeks off for someone who is not the most fittest person around, well, I just can't afford to lose any fitness levels!  So I am going to build up again, slowly and steadily!

So todays solo run, with my music of course, is going to be a short one, then next solo run will be longer, and so on and so forth.  Oh and either before or after each run, I shall be doing some planks, situps (of sorts) and push ups, (easier version!).  I think somewhere on the way I shall find my fitness level and maybe even start to make it rise!!

So after dropping off grandson and getting car tax, I came home and literally almost shouted at myself not to sit down first, but to go and get my jogging gear on!  And that was that, out of the door and jogging along to some great sounds!

I was enjoying it.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue, there was a big smile on my face, and it just felt brilliant! Ok, my work for now has dried up a bit, bank balance is wondering why its not going 'up' but I was out and I was feeling great (apart from the bloomin cough that is still with me of course).

I was jogging along for just a couple of minutes when I past by a friend who was out power walking.  I smiled as I past her,  then I realised, that maybe she could be a perfect candidate for our Pettswood Runners beginners course starting this Saturday!  So I stopped to tell her all about it.  Then I carried on running, still smiling, just because I was out.

Before I got to the end of the road I saw someone else that I knew and stopped to have a quick chat.  Being out in the sunshine brings out the best in people, makes us all feel happier and ready to have a chat about anything!  But my run is still waiting to finish,  I knew I was going be doing a short one today, mainly because I have a busy (ish) day (and it seems to have been an age since that has happened)!  My route was going to take me to Southborough Lane and then through the park and home!  Just a nice quality, own paced, run.  No pressures, (well, none of my runs are!) just do it! Isn't that phrase used by someone!  But that is just it, that is how all runs should be, unless you're racing of course!

So from Oxhawth Crescent it was just me and my tunes.  The tune that came on while I was running down here though had me busting out a few moves!  Rock Around The Clock! I was virtually dancing all the way down to Southborough!  What people must have thought as I waved my arms in the air, trying to do a jive as I ran, I don't know! Still feeling great about being out though!

Running towards the Harvester however, is when my chest and aching muscles started to remind me that I have been ill for the last 3 weeks! Coughing and spluttering along the road, a great advert for 'Go running, it keeps you fit!' So I just slowed down my pace a bit, in fact, I did exactly what I tell the improvers in group 0 to do! It's no good giving out advice if you don't even use it yourself right! 

The run through the park was just as good, can you see a pattern here, just using the bits a bob in view to run to, like, the bins, the ditch, the end of the fence around the play area. Make sure I'm running all the way through the park!  It's all great stuff. I was really enjoying it!

Once home though,  is when I did a few pushups (easy version) a couple of planks (well I couldn't quite manage the full minute I promised myself) and some situps (of sorts). Then a nice cool down, shower, pick up little fella from nursery and then off fully refreshed to do toddler group! Perfect day for anyone!

All in all, today, this morning and this afternoon turned out to be  pretty full and most rewarding day!  What more can I say.  I love running!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Light At The End Of The Tunnel!

Hello blog lovers.

A whole week has gone by since my last blog! Can you believe that?! This cold thing, or maybe I should re-categorise it and call it man flu, really has done a huge number on me!  But I'm back, kinda, to wanting to get out and do some proper running!  The cough is still there, driving me nuts, and probably every one else too, but I know I am feeling tons better!

So I took out group zero to do their thing, there were six today.  DiscoRich has my lovely assistant today, ready to put the faster runners through their paces.  I chose to do the Birchwood route, but in the opposite direction.  Mainly because I think the hills are a little more harder for them, (can you believe the I am actually writing that, about hills!) after all this is to help get them back to group 1 fitness and speed.  (It is also helping me get back to full fitness too!)

The hills along Hazelmere, Great Thrift etc, do seem to be a little harder.  It's like when we talk about Summer Hill, the leaders will always say things like "We are running along Summer hill, but the nice way"  Everybody understands exactly what that means.  It means they will be running DOWN the long hill and then up the shorter one!  Going anti Clockwise on the Birchwood route is similar.

DiscoRich soon had the lead as we ran towards Pettswood Road, ready to run all the way to the roundabout.  There is the nice short down hill, just to Crossways,  but then the longer hill  up!  See what I mean about it being a little more challenging running this way round! But once at the top though, there is the fabulous run down Birchwood, all the way to the rec.

When we got to the Round about, DiscoRich was just taking a quick break with the faster runners, and he said that the back markers were not that far behind!  So there is the improvement already!  Fantastic today ladies (as it was all ladies today).  You will soon all be ready to move up to group 1 or 2!

Group 1

Now, this is where I really noticed just how much this rotten old cold has affected me.  For the first mile, I am guessing this as I thought I had pushed the start button on my garmin, but I actually didn't, so the first mile I was doing ok, but then my breathing was getting a little be harder,  I began to feel bruise like aches and pains around my ribs!  I can only imagine its where I have been coughing for the last 3 weeks and have overworked my muscles! 

I kept on running along though as best as I could.  But then I started to get a stitch!  Now this is deffo my own doing! In fact I could blame Wendi for making such tempting cakes, my will power when it comes to cream cakes is totally non existent!  Wendi from my group 0 bought along a couple of cream horns that she had made, which she game to me at the end of group 0 session.  They looked totally delicious!  What I should have said, was I shall put that in my car and have it after my group 1 run, but both DiscoRich and I just looked at them and that was that.  As quick as you could say the 'Horn Of Plenty' then they were half way gone!

Could I use 'eating a cream horn before a run' as an excuse for not doing very well at all! In fact I did so bad I only did half a run!  Janel was running with me, so I gave a whistle to the main group up ahead to stop, and then Janet rejoined them while I went home for an early shower!

But the thing is, I am looking at the positive side of it.  Last week I couldn't even finish group 0, yet here I am today, finished group 0 and done at least half of group 1.  Now I'm no mathematician, but I am sure that works out as being three times better that last week!  Can really say now "Bye bye man flu, bye bye"

So glad to be able to do what I did this evening though! So glad indeed!  Now I shall get back all my fitness, and get even more fitter!  That's my plan for this year!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Do As I Say And Not As I Do!

Hello blog lovers.

It's been a while since my last blog! I'm sure this is the longest I've had between runs for a very long time! Do you remember a while back, me saying that runners are a weird breed! We think we are invincible, we think we can run most things off, but actually, we are just humans like the rest of the mortals on this planet.  If we fall, we hurt, etc etc.  And if we get a really bad cold that affects the chest, then there is no way we should try and 'get out and run it off' or even try and get out too soon either!

Although I am feeling tons better than I did last week, last week I couldn't even talk! I realised I wasn't quite ready to be running out at all.  But I thought, I would just do Group Zero to Hero today, you know, just get out there and do it! Stop being such a woose!

So I asked for a faster runner volunteer, and with SingstarJo I will be able to just plod along!  Mr. S volunteered to be the fast pace runner today, but with only two members of Group 0 today, I felt that maybe Mr.S might feel as if he has been called in on false pretences! We got them all warmed up, ready to run the route at their most comfortable pace.  We all set of together, all 5 of us!  It was going to be a nice run around the most undulating of the two 'winter' group 0 routes. 

Mr.S is such a delight to have along, with his constant chatter, mind you SingstarJo was doing some chatting as well.  It seems that I would be the one to be struggling to catch my breath today.  As I was running along, although I felt great in myself to be out and about, after being, it seems, housebound for days and days, my lungs felt like they were crying out to 'stop'  My cough was really annoying me, and I felt it would be rather annoying to the others as well.  I was thinking that maybe I should have handed the reigns of leadership over to Jo again this week.  But I kept going, like us runners do.

I had a stopping break at the corner by the memorial hall, probably more for my benefit than the two members of group 0, and then we continued to right to cross over the walking bridge.  While we were crossing this, Mr.S suddenly hurried across the bridge, saying, 'Train coming! and he ran across the bridge before the train got to the bridge and waited till we reached him.  "It's a childhood thing" he said, and we all nodded, probably remembering our own childhood idiosyncrasies.  One of mine was holding your collar if a hearse went by, and you could only let go you know I have forgotten the end bit!

We were all still together at this point but then Jo (yes, we have another Jo in our midst) seemed to have got into the zone, and started to pull away from us, at least Mr.S wont feel as if he is surplus to requirement today,  as I asked him to run along with her at her pace.  SingstarJo and I was running along with Michelle. 

When we got to the other side of the bridge however, I said to S.J. to carry on with the run, past the pub, and then down Great Thrift etc, but I was going to go back the short way (the leader taking a short cut!) But I was feeling my chest was going to give out on me, and my throat was becoming sore again with the coughing!  To keep warm I would just walk along and meet them on Hazelmere Road.

So, not a very successful run for me, but the two members of Group Zero 2 Hero did really well.  I met up with them along the road and we all jogged back together (Mr. S and Jo had already done a loop back to join SingstarJo and Michelle).

A warm down stretching routing to finish off the run. 

I had decided before I left my house that I wouldn't be joining in group 1 run today, and after this I believe it was a very wise decision.

I did set my garmin, but being as I am not quite ready to be out properly, I had forgotten to stop the watch until I got in!  But as my run was slightly shorter than the Group 0's today, I won't put it up.

But I have added the picture at the top of the blog, I saw it on a facebook page, and I felt it sums up Group 0's spirit, and we may adopt that as out motto! Mind you as for me running today, I should really listen to what I tell others, 'If you're unwell, make sure you are completely recovered before going out for a run'  Especially when its a cold, it's ok if the cold is 'above the neck' but if its 'below the neck' then really, wait until a full recovery is achieved! Ok, Old Girl, you got that?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Tuesday Club Day! - What An Evening!

Hello blog lovers.

Group 0

This group is going fantastically!  Today we had nine people in this group, including couple of new people to the group.  We also one who couldn't make it, plus one who has now felt ready to go join in group 1, so I shall see her later!

Again it was getting them out to do their own pace, and to run as much as they feel they can at their most comfortable jogging pace.  DiscoRich was helping today and took the faster runners through to their pace,  He also had them looping back to come and re-join those who are slower!.

So they could actually be doing group 1 distances, without them actually realising it!  Which is very good.  And they may be read even quicker to 'move up' to the next group.  I got them doing the warm ups again, the evening was mild but the wind is very chilly!  At least it's not raining.  To run are your usual pace on cold legs is not good, so the warm ups are essential for group 0. 

The route was the same as last week, up the hill and then the long run down, with the little undulations just to keep the heart rate up and to let our legs now that we are serious about this running lark!

The group started to split into the various paces as we ran up the hill.  DiscoRich heading out, running with the fast runners, and I was running along sweeping, making sure that no one gets lost.  There was only the two leaders today, but it worked out pretty well.  The middle of the pack could see the faster paced runners and just followed.

We all got back to the rec virtually at the same time were we continued with the warm down stretches.  A really good run today, and everyone done brilliantly!  So love doing this stuff!  And I looked forward to seeing everyone back next week, unless of course any of them move on up to the next groups!

Group 1

I was a bit apprehensive about doing this next run, but runners are a weird breed of humans, they just want to run!  I have had a persistent cold for what seems like months, but I'm sure it's only been a few of weeks.  Some weeks have been particularly bad, with the sinus type headache, and other times I have just been feeling bleh!  But today, it is affecting my chest! I can feel the raspy type tickling which I know, if I run any faster that what I did in group 0, then my breathing is going to be totally off!

I talked myself into doing group 1, "You're out already old girl, it's only a park run distance, it's no problem" were just some of the thoughts going through my mind, Any other sane, non-runner person would be saying, "You've been out an hour now, its freezing it's going to rain! And you want to do another 3 miles or more?....Get back yourself back home, Now!"  But there you have it. It's only for another hour and then I shall be home!

So I stayed there, met up with another new runner who joined PWR today, and we waited to hear where our leaders were taking us this evening.  Sherry was leading today, and she said that we are running DOWN Southborough Lane and the doing a little loop, and then back.  Of course going back is going up.  Sherry did a fabulous job of actually leaving out the word 'UP' in her brief, so very well done Sherry!

Of course I will be at the back of the pack today, (really Old Girl, you do surprise me!) I started struggling before had we had even crossed the first road at the end of Crossways!  I knew that this particularly route is virtually a straight out and back, with just the little loopy bit at the end.  So I was just going to tell them all that I would just run and then wait for them near the Harvester, and then just jog back at a speed that wasn't going to hurt my chest too much. 

So there I was, floundering at the back of the pack, trying to keep up with them all, and not to let any of them wait around too long for me.  That wind was just awful so they don't want to be standing around too long waiting for me to get my ass up to speed!

I could see that most of the group had jogged up to the Harvester and then we heading off to do the little loop, and there was also three other people just waiting at the usual place, for the people who don't want to do the loop, to have a bit of a rest.  It seemed we were there for quite some time.  When we eventually saw them running up towards up from Blackbrook Lane, we realised that we hadn't actually told the leader that we will wait there, while they do the loop, (Sorry Sherry!) She had actually had the group waiting for us somewhere on the loop, and I'm not sure, but she may have actually gone back a little bit to look for us.  But it all ended well, at least it wasn't raining, and not any of us who were waiting were tempting into the pub just opposite us!

So just the jog back up to the Newshopper car park, over the bridge and then jog to Crossways! Sounds easy doesn't it!  Well, we had that head wind, every time I breathed the wind seemed to steal it from me.  My chest was feeling particularly tight, and I was coughing a bit more.  "Not to far now Old Girl" I thought to myself.  I started to chat to Janet, to take my mind of the hill.  She was keeping me company now! 

I could see that she was needing to keep  going so I told her to just keep jogging no need to wait for me, and that I shall be ok.  Just then Illustrious Leader started to run back towards me, there, we can now run along together.  She has done well to keep on going after her bout of illness!  See what I mean about runners being a weird breed!  Just then I saw one of our runners fall! She fell right next to the back of a car!  I ran up to her, probably the faster I have ran all night!  She had hit her head, hurt her hands and grazed a knee.

But the people whose house she had fallen outside of came running out, and they were really, really very helpful.  They even offered to call an ambulance, but she didn't want that.  After a few moments, and having some ice on the bump on her head, (kindly given by the same couple from the house) she stood up.  And then both her and me climbed into the lovely couples car and they drove her home!    So there they were, in their pj's driving two sweaty runners to take her home!  Not only that but they also drove me back to Crossways so I could catch up with the rest of group. There are still some very lovely people in this world, that are prepared to go that extra mile for total (sweaty) strangers.

Just as they dropped me off we looked across to the corner of Crossways and noticed yet another huddle of runners. "Oh dear, will I have to take another runner to their home?", our knight in stripey PJ's said.  Yup, that's right, we had another faller!  This time a grazed top lip!

Mind you, when I got back to the rec the story of our first poor lady was that she was knocked over by the car! But the fact is, that where she feel, she had landed at the back of the car, right next to the wheels!  It did look as if she was mown down!  But she just feel!

Some days are just not good days! But, will both people go back to running?..... my answer will be.....Too right they will be,  I just hope that they both just have a couple of days to recuperate before they do!

No runners were injured in the writing of this blog!   Oh, actually, yes, there were two, but both of the ladies assued us they were fine.  And I will check up on them and will let you all know as soon as I do, that they are fine!

Geeky stats for you, oh and I forgot to stop my garmin while I was in the car, so my best pace is looking pretty good!!