Pednor 10

AKA The last race of the year. This would be the 17th race of the year, according to Strava (I think I’ve tagged them all correctly). I failed to  start my watch at the crucial moment, but N says we were 1:25:59 ish…and two of the miles were sub 8-minuters (admittedly, downhill).  Of course, there were uphills involved as well! 150 feet in not a lot of distance. My aim for that is generally to “not walk”. Most of the time I achieve it.


It felt far too easy for two days after Christmas, a lousy night’s sleep, and drizzle. Much easier than last year – not slippery with ice for starters. Not recovering from a cold. Had slept in my own bed, rather than the tiny one at my parents’.

Afterwards, we had coffee with Jo&J&J (smallest J is just over a year old, very intelligent, knows his mind, and Jo is firm with him. We do not have banging our sippy cup on the table, thank you very much). Mum played “round and round the garden, like a teddy bear” despite being warned that it is possible to tickle him too much and then he’s sick.

Then there was roast beef and yorkshire pudding at my parents’. With gravy. Thick gravy. It’s taken Mum 30-ahem years to realise that I prefer thick gravy. And now she will throw cornflour at a small portion of gravy for me. Utter bliss. N ate his annual sprout, said that it was up there with last year’s annual sprout, and definitely an improvement on the sprouts of his childhood.

I am now shattered. The burglar alarm has decided to stop working, as it can’t find the sensor in the garage (randomly). There are still boxes all over the house. I ought to build a bookcase and fill it.

I’m actually going to take a night off. I may even knit…



And back to normal

Sorry for that crowing. Well. Not hugely sorry. That CR is only going to remain for as long as it takes for the previous CR holder to bother to run that particular segment again. She’s way speedier than I (30 minutes faster on a marathon, 5 minutes on a 5km). So I’ll only have it for a week, I reckon. But, it’s good for me to cane it up and down that bridge, so I’ll keep at it.

Overslept this morning, had to get the later train, did manage to have three seats to spread myself across – and, since they’re randomly decorating the meeting rooms, I suspect I can work from home on Wednesday (tomorrow I’m ferrying mum about). Last day in the office. HOORAY!

Manchester Marathon training officially starts this week. No idea quite when or where I’m going to do my intervals, but I can manage the distances quite happily. N thinks that the mistake he made for Berlin was to not run his easy runs at the slower pace he should have done, so this time round, I’ll run with him on those, and keep his pace down. Since I feel I did everything a bit slowly, this should help me speed up for my longer runs.

And, knitting wise: I need to take photos of the socks I finished last week (I can’t find my sock blockers), and I’ve nearly finished the first sock of N’s marathon pair. I’ve also finished a hat as part of a knitalong, and totally failed to photograph it or share it as part of the knitalong. It is rather glorious, though. Photos will follow, if I can get N to do a photoshoot (he will: it’s simply settling down for five minutes to actually do it!).




I would like to point out that the profile of this on the GPS reflects the actual land underneath the somewhat steep bridge….rather than the bridge, which goes up, and then down.



(I’ve been making very unladylike noises of excitement).


Glad Tidings!

I took the liberty of emailing the race organisers to find out how the gentleman was. He is still in the land of the living, so that’s OK (and he deserves his privacy).

Dark pre-breakfast run vastly improved by cheap head torch. It’s very bright. I nearly blinded myself switching it on last night.

N mended the washing machine (or, rather, put it level), so it no longer leaps about alarmingly on a full load. Or a partial load. Or, indeed, any sort of load as long as it’s a load.

And the sofa arrived yesterday. So far, I’ve used it for piling up clean laundry. At some point, I will locate cushions onto it, and then sit upon it. Maybe. It’s been that hectic, I’m having difficulty finding the time to find the nail scissors to trim my fingernails.

What’s your favourite accessory for running in the dark?

How do you organise your laundry?

Who fixes the washing machine if it goes bananas?


Sometimes, you just feel lucky to be alive

A race review! A race with N running next to me, which I’ve been rather looking forward to. Oh my. A mild disaster area.

We got stuck in traffic on the M1, and made it to the start mere seconds before the race was due to begin; we’d dithered about not bothering, and eventually decided it was worth a try because the worst thing that could happen would be arriving too late to be allowed to start. As it was, the race started about 10 minutes late. Neither of us managed to get our heart rate monitors on in the struggle to get parked and kitted up. N was full of M1 grr (I wasn’t), and feeling fairly stressed. I managed a loo trip in a ditch, N didn’t (he had to find a bush part way round). We both ploughed through an icy boggy bit of grass on the way to the start queue, soaking our feet even before we’d gotten going, and we started way back, which meant that the first mile or so was a frustration of getting past people.

The course was just the same as last year, which was nicely familar, and there were lots of people out cheering, which was heartening. There were some epic puddles, which were nearer lakes, so we ploughed through those, freezing muddy water up to the ankles, and frozen toes for about 1/4 mile after exiting (I’m not used to this on a road race. I am glad I had my trail shoes on – canal paths are muddy generally). There were jelly babies. There were chocolates. There were no gels (which had been advertised) but there was fairly well organised water.  Pace wise, we were going reasonably – a sub 9 min/mile, which is what I wanted. Not having properly trained for this, it was never going to be fast. At the same time, I wanted a sub 2-hr finish for the 9th half marathon of the year (NINTH!).


You can see that there’s an epic slow at 11.25 miles. At that point, we were heading to a bridge. There was suddenly a lot of shouting from the marshals. Stressed shouting. “Keep right! Keep on the pavement! There’s an incident in the road! Keep right! Keep on the path!”. There was an incident. Someone had keeled over, and was receiving CPR, with defib pads on his chest. This can’t bode well for the poor gentleman. I can’t find out what happened to him – so I’m hoping he made it to hospital and is now tucked up safely, and full of oxygen and tubes. It was horrible to see. I burst into tears, promptly had an asthma attack (fortunately, I had a full inhaler with me), started breathing in chorus with myself, and absolutely grasped onto N. I am so glad that I was not running this one on my own, as I’d have created a second medical emergency for a rather pressed set of marshals at that point. And that wouldn’t have been fair. Particularly since I’d failed to fill in the emergency details on my number, and I wasn’t wearing my RoadID. Fool that I am.

Anyhow. A combination of grit, adrenaline and ventolin (no, I don’t know how much I had, but it was several puffs) got me to the end, slightly faster than we’d been going earlier. Cold. Wet. Dispirited. Very cold. Very wet. Stupidly, I did not change in the van, but left it until we’d got to N’s brother’s place in Milton Keynes. By which point I was heading rapidly towards hypothermic, having been sitting around in saturated running gear. Blue fingers. Numb fingers (I know it’s going badly when my fingers get numb and itchy at the ends). Shivering. Unable to string a sentence together, and really grumpy. A hot shower helped. Tea helped. A really good hairdryer helped as well. And then we ate curry, which also helped.

The second part of the day involved a trip to the flat, to inspect the paintwork (complaints will be made. They were supposed to remove the picture hooks, and fill in holes. They removed about five, gouged a hole in a wall, did not fill it, and then painted over the rest, leaving them askew and ghastly. The lavatory was also messy – no excuse for that, there were loo cleaning materials available. They used a bin as a paint mixing tin, destroyed the last remaining tea-towel, left paint on the sofa, masking tape all over the place, and replaced one of the hooks on the back of the bathroom door upsidedown. They broke one of the blinds. I am annoyed that I paid them before checking for myself – N checked on Tuesday, but he was full of virus and really not well enough to check thoroughly. Plus, two of the light bulbs had gone). We removed stuff from the loft. We found the Lego, the board games, the tapestry stand (this will go to the charity shop – I bought a second on eBay in the interim), the second box for Christmas Decorations (mostly empty. I knew there’d been a second box, but it had been forgotten one year. That was a challenging year for packing it all up). The first box of Christmas decorations. All my sheet music. All the birthday cards I was sent between ages 1 and 10 – including with lovely Uncle Michael’s handwriting (no love lost between my family and my aunt, but Uncle Michael was always kind to me, and remembered me. He died too young when I was about 21). Lots of empty boxes, which we really could have done with when we were packing, and a whole bunch of ballroom dancing trophies, now destined for the charity shop. A mystifying set of Swiss Railway posters.

We also met Bailey the Malamute, who’s having a sojourn in the basement flat. He was very friendly, and wanted to play in the street, and sniff and go for walkies. We had to decline.

But, the best thing? I found this:

I lost it about 10 years ago. Which was infuriating, given the number of weeks it had taken me to knit the thing. It was in the box of empty boxes of dollshouse furniture. I nearly binned the whole thing, and then decided to squash the empty boxes down. I was so thrilled, I waved it at the downstairs neighbours, who now think I’m mildly unhinged….





Back to running

Isn’t that much better? This was Thursday, heading along the canal. I met a rather lovely Weimaraner, who was evidently a Private in the army, out for training with Sergeant BossyBoots, who was adamant that Private Weimaraner was going to WAIT! Private Weimaraner rather fancied joining my run…


And today (ignore the first mile. The GPS went bananas. It also went bananas on Tuesday near work. I don’t think it likes MI6 or Army Manoeuvres in the vicinity).


Isn’t that a nice selection of CR-stats? There’s not many women running round here and recording on Strava, so I’m enjoying this while it’s going on.


All in all, I think tomorrow’s half marathon is going to go O.K. And hopefully a little faster than the last one. I’d like sub-2 hours. I think this is likely – N will be running with me (a rare treat), so I’ll be pushing a little more than I might otherwise, as I get terribly competitive when running with him. For no particular reason, other than wanting to put on a Good Show. I don’t harbour any illusions about catching up with him when he’s going at his pace….

It is so nice to be feeling an improvement in running.


Nat West have Lost the Paperwork. Again.

I think this is about the fourth time, since May, that we’ve made an attempt to change the signatories on the Brownies’ account. At least the second time, if not the third, the paperwork’s gone AWOL for this particular account (and let’s not forget the time we had the correct paperpwork, but that the bank felt we didn’t…) We also need to change the address for statements (it’s going to my old flat: and won’t get picked up on the redirect because everything is addressed to “The Members” rather than me, so we have to collect it, and pray that any new tenants don’t bin it. I’ll have to leave instructions about that).

The level of annoyance I am currently feeling is going to fuel this lunchtime’s run beautifully.


Things I did not believe I was capable of…

  • Running 1.85 miles at an average 8:39min/mile (admittedly, I petered out at that point, but this is a significant improvement. I can, apparently, do speed for short bursts. Still a wee way to go before I’m back at 10km or even half marathon PB status…my half marathon PB means I need to run at the 8:39min/mile average pace for 13.1 miles).
  • Getting the 6:45am train without killing anyone.
  • Catching a train with approximately two minutes to spare between exiting the tube and the train departure time (I must get better at not leaving it to the last possible second).
  • Managing to assemble lunch every single night before, for four straight days.
  • Not going hatstand despite three rooms out of four being totally chaotic, and the stick-on-velcro falling off the net curtains (I spent Monday night sewing it on. It was not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, I managed to bleed only on the wrong side of the curtains. Unfortunately, the only reason I bled on the wrong side of the curtains was because I was sewing the velcro onto the wrong i.e. non-window side of the curtains….).
  • Finding curtains to fit the front windows. They are a 4.6m wide bay. I found some remnant curtains in John Lewis. £675. I did not buy them, because, even at half price, that’s still a lot of money for a pair of curtains that aren’t quite the right colour.
  • Commuting for about an hour each way (the current socks are getting on famously, and I’m listening to Brideshead Revisited. I foresee an Audible Subscription in my future, when I’ve worked through all the spoken word on my iPod). My previous commute was half that…

Surprisingly, it’s really dark when it’s dark and you’re not in London. The street lights are far fewer. Next pre-breakfast run will be with headtorches. The pavements are a bit bumpy with tree-roots…