View from the window

There will be a brief hiatus from running while I get used to being at about 3000 metres…
 Knitting on the other hand? I am so in there. 

I can make an entire pair of wrist warmers on a 10 hour flight which has been delayed for 3 hours. And part of a hat. That took me more or less to the end of skein #1 of Malabrigo worsted. 

Socks next. Also Malabrigo. This has been marinading in the stash since 2009….



We did a mile trial at running club tonight

7:37 minutes! Which is better than I thought I might do. So now I think I can do better than that. 

My other great achievement was having conversations with people. One on the track about sticking out my elbows. One in the changing room, while I was post shower starkers about the need for a shower. I’m the only one who showers afterwards (epic long journey home). 

These are both achievements worthy of note. 

Now on the train. Quite keen to be home!


Rock Tape and Hip Adductors

Well, hello there Rock Tape. Hello there niggly calf. Nice to see you again, after a three month interval! It almost feels like normality has returned.

Once again, my left leg is held together with Rock Tape. This has been a pretty permanent state of affairs for the past couple of years. Heck. I was wearing Rock Tape on my wedding day (cow print). Today’s Rock Tape is black, with white winged skulls. We appear to be out of the pink version. If I’m going to wear the stuff, it’s going to be excitingly patterned, even though it’s more expensive. It makes for far more interesting conversations, as I’ve not yet found thick enough tights to obliterate the presence of the tape, and I’m not keen on wearing trousers (I had a particularly good conversation at a funeral…).

My calf, particularly my soleus muscle, tends to tighten up owing to a wonky pelvis (I’m built that way – along with hips that point inwards rather than forwards, which means I run in a very knock-kneed manner. Trainers which lack stability make the problem worse). At some point, just as the mileage is getting interesting, and if I don’t replace my trainers at the crucial moment, it will tighten very enthusiastically…which it did last week after my 14 miles. My muscles are always going to tend to tighten – too much ballet as a child apparently leads to beautifully strong muscles, and very flexible tendons…

I’ve replaced my trail shoes now (I have a pair of Navy Brooks Ghost 8s for trail – not entirely sure about the tread, but the support is wonderful, and I’m not sliding massively). Most of my weekend runs are on a muddy, uneven, towpath. This is excellent for my core strength, but challenging, difficult to pace, slippery, messy and, goodness, do I notice the difference when I get back onto firmer territory for the last mile. The trail shoes that I’ve retired had done 373 miles – too many. Particularly given that trail shoes get a real pounding, with the mud and the cold and the wet and the puddles. While some people can manage to get shoes to run to 400 miles, or more (I have one friend who has shoes that are on 1000 miles – he rotates several pairs), I simply get injured. I get niggles. I get my calf tightening. Or my piriformis tightening. Or both.

I’m doing the exercises in the most recent Runner’s World: how to strengthen your hips. I swear they’re helping. Standing round with a theraband, lifting my leg to the side, then to the front. 10 reps on each leg, 3 sets of each exercise. I could *feel* my glutes firing today. On both sides. This I think is a wonderful thing – I’d like to avoid the ghastliness of overly-tired quads after Manchester. I hate having to hold onto the lav seat in order to lower myself safely….and the days after Berlin were made horrible by having to hold on!

But, today I have Rock Tape. Tuesday I’m visiting my Lovely Chiropractor, who will wallop my pelvis back into some sort of order (there will never be perfect order – the scoliosis has gone on for too long now), who may stick an acupuncture needle into the offending muscle to persuade it to ease off a little, who will doubtless prod somewhere really painful, and who will essentially make sure I’m in reasonable shape before we go on holiday for a week and a bit.

There’s something comforting about having Rock Tape on my leg. It feels like a gentle hug. I took an extra day off yesterday – made easier by a trip up to Derbyshire to retrieve our glorious, splendiloquent, kitchen table (I get all emotional looking at it – it was made by a friend), and I only did 9 miles today. All feels OK. All feels better than it did mid-week, even. I think I’m going to prevail.

Onwards, to Manchester Marathon.


My favourite cup of tea

My favourite cup of tea is the one I have after the long weekend run (about 14 miles. About 1 degree. About 9:30 min/mile but I got significantly slower towards the end as my feet had gone through one icy puddle too many). 

I rather like this mug. I have one very similar for Charles and Diana’s wedding, which lives at my parents’. 

Please excuse the state of the mat. It is decrepit but a present from Jo, so well loved. 

Next part of the plan. Go and get a resistance training band so I can do the exercises in Runners World Magazine (supposed to help the pelvic area. My right piriformis needs all the help it can get). And some milk. Because we’ve managed to get through a pint in 2 days. Normally it takes about a week (I have rice milk on porridge etc so it’s just used in tea and coffee. I had a lot of tea yesterday and there was a band rehearsal thing on Friday. The UK’s premier Heavy Metal band, Intense, runs on tea \m/). 


Not only did I actually make it to Parkrun

I got a PB! 25:26, 3rd in my age group, 18th female, 120th out of 389 runners. Not too shabby, really.

I’ve spent most of the afternoon sorting out pictures. I now have pictures on some walls. But need to consult with N about others. And he’s at football at the mo (fortunately, Spurs have won, although, frankly, against Sunderland, we should have).


Someone else did the thinking, so I didn’t have to

Coached running sessions are a bit like PE lessons. But you only get encouraged (I used to get yelled at for not running fast enough. Not helpful when you have undiagnosed asthma and you’re going flat out. Scarred me for life with regard to athletics, that comment). 

I had a lovely hour at the track. It’s all new and slightly cushioned underfoot. We did a guided warm up (I nearly fell over my own feet but no one laughed). We did some jumping and stepping drills with ladders and mini hurdles (I’d been worried that “hurdles” meant the things I’d not encountered for twenty odd years, and which I mostly ran through rather than leaping over in the approved manner). Then we did 2 minute intervals with 1 minute recoveries. 10, I believe.  I didn’t count (and I didn’t hear one of the whistle signals because I was too busy listening to the bellringers practising at a nearby church, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what I actually did without uploading to Strava). And then there were guided stretches. These were also rather cool. If I wanted to stop for a drink, I could. If I wanted to stop for a wheeze, I could. There was no pressure to jog between intervals, other than my own stubbornness. And there were encouraging cheers from the coaches. It was a session for those who have not yet achieved a sub 50 minute 10K. My PB is 51:35. Back in 2014. 

The changing room was basic, the showers cubicle-free but warm (and I had them to myself. Most people only have a tube ride home. With half an hour from track to station and then 50 minutes on the train, I need to be clean before I get going. There are limits to how long I can inflict post run stink without moral support from N). The lockers secure. I met a staffie puppy who was adorable and had the Waggiest Tail Evwr. 

I wish I hadn’t said I was going to visit the rainbows next week. I think I’d rather be at the track. 

The me who couldn’t hurdle thinks I’ve gone off my rocker. But it would be very boring if we didn’t change as we aged. 


Muddy, muddy….

Yesterday’s feet, after 4 miles…

 And today’s were a repeat performance, but I honestly can’t see the point in taking another picture of them!


You can see where I paused to tie my shoelaces (both shoes came undone at different points), where I had a little stop in the middle for a gel and to just gaze around a bit, and where I decided to push for PBs on the the segments I know about near the end (nowhere close…I was off by about 20 seconds on one, and 7 on the other).

But, it was much better than 10 miles on the same route last week:


I’m still a bit erratic – but I’m much better when it’s not raining, and hailing, and windy at the same time. And, I think erratic comes slightly with the territory – two railways to cross, a road, and lots of dog walkers and puddles. Still. I think I could try to get better at running more smoothly.

Tomorrow, I shall have my first interval training session with an actual real live coach. I joined Serpentine Runners just before New Year (about as close as I got to a new year’s resolution. The other vague resolutions I have involve going to bed at 10pm on a school night and remembering to do exercises to strengthen core and glutes). I am a bit nervous. But, I’ve been to enough new things of this ilk to know that, generally speaking, they are fine. I’ve only had one really bad experience when joining something new – and that was more due to lack of communications than anything else (it was 15 years ago. No sense in going into it now).

I do still have an epic to-do list

  • budget for Brownie Holiday
  • Sort out Leaders in Training
  • Sort out New Leaders
  • Put Christmas Cards into Spreadsheet (I like to make sure I actually send cards where I’ve received. If I don’t keep track, I will forget someone)
  • Thank you letter to Japanese Mummy
  • Letter Guide Captain
  • Weigh parcels so I can do postage online
  • Check that Ikea do, indeed, make spare shelves for Billy Bookcases. Order these and the CD shelf to be delivered (by the time we’ve driven there, had lunch there, and bought stuff we didn’t need, I reckon it works out the same).
  • Assemble and print photos for photo frame to go into Dining Room
  • Measure up chair pads for the gorgeous chairs my cousins gave us, which used to belong to a Great Uncle and Aunt.
  • Knit maternal birthday present
  • Pack bag for tomorrow. Assemble supper.
  • Pack bag for Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.
  • Hem study curtains

Actually, by my standards, that is not epic. What have I forgotten? Ideas?

Here. Have a pair of pairs of socks.


Well, it’s not quite knitting

But it is a fully dressed Clothkitty dolly for my Ninja Goddaughter. 

And, I got my hair cut before New Year. Inches were removed. Inches of tangles, which had been bleached randomly, and which were like straw. 

I can’t get it to dry quite so smoothly myself. But it’s still cute. 

  This is a lovely spot for a wedding. 
  And here’s the happy couple. 

And this would be a yarn accident I had. I’ve had another since then, to make a cowl thing for Mum. Online shopping for the latter has meant more yarn than I need as I guessed at feel and colour. Failed to photograph the socks last night. Will do better. Yes. That’s glittery rainbow sock yarn. Two of those skeins are already being knitted. I intend to knit (and run) the f*** out of 2016. We did 6 miles this morning. At 6am. Feel free to shudder. Xxx

There will be some knitting content

I’ve finished two pairs of socks in December, and bought some glorious new wool in the yarn shop in Great Missenden just before Christmas. I just need to pull myself together to photograph. And that seems lower on the priority list than putting books on shelves, which is what I ought to be doing now – N built the second shelf unit for me. I think I need more shelves for it, but I should Get Going.

We’ve done a spot of running in the past couple of days. Yesterday we hurtled out at 7.30am to do 4 miles (on icy roads) before a cooked breakfast made by a former ultra runner who runs the most luxe B&B I’ve encountered. We were up in Norfolk for Sarah’s NYE wedding. It was glorious. She arranged it all in 12 weeks flat, and everyone pitched in – people brought plates of food to the church, and ran mulled wine from the tea urn, and, despite the fact we got there 15 minutes before the bride was due, it was standing room only.  Can you imagine, having made such an impact on your community (she’s the pharmacist, she plays the church organ, she’s a keen member of the running club, she volunteers all over the place, and she keeps chickens), that with about four weeks notice, the church is overwhelmed? Sarah’s brilliant. We were invited to the evening do – very simple, with origami to occupy us, an Italian accordion player, lots of running chat, some whisky (I can drink whisky!), my marathon playlist  ended up on the music system – which Sarah thought most jolly – a cake made of cheese, and jacket potatoes and chilli. We nearly ran out of beer, so LG went to get some extra.  It was a mini-school reunion, with only the people you really like for the evening (the out-and-out snob, who appears to be channeling Margaret Thatcher as a vocal model, has a PhD, and who couldn’t understand why you’d want to live in Farnborough when you could have a place in Camberwell, and believed we’d had a Star Trek themed wedding – and how tacky was that (unsaid) didn’t stay. Relief. I was feeling inadequate).

This morning we splattered through muddy puddles for 4 miles. Right now, I’m doing as many of N’s “easy” marathon runs with him as I can – because it will speed me up a little. And I slow him down a little – he thinks his Hansen plan was slightly stymied by not taking his slow runs slow enough. I think my Runner’s World plan was slightly stymied by not pushing hard enough. Tomorrow we both do 10 miles. However, I cannot do his 8min/mile pace…so we’ll do them separately. I did join the Serpentine Runners to make intervals easier (evenings, rather than lunchtime at work, which I dislike, or dark mornings, which are even worse).

I need to stop procrastinating and Put Books On Shelves. And then I’ll take a photo of it all for y’all. Along with the completed socks. If I can ever find the sock blockers to make them look all pretty in the picture.