Sunday – Mo Run Day!
Some may find it extremely odd that a person who has run both a marathon and Ultramarathon could get so nervous about a 5K race….the distance was something that in my early running journey I bypassed – I’m not even sure why. After a while I could run that far so the best goal felt like a 10K race. It felt important though to finally complete a challenge I’d set myself at the start of the year – to run both my longest and shortest distance to date, within the same year.
I had my usual half marathon distance breakfast due to the time of the run, and how long the drive there would take. I checked my kit and we set off…the dry forecast however soon turned into a myth. It rained and then poured and we arrived at Wollaten Hall in yet another shower. I’d packed my waterproof jacket incase I needed it before the start, but had for some reason left my cap at home! After registering, as with Tatton Park, we were once again close enough to the start for me to sit in the car. I fussed over what to wear before my fiance pointed out that I could just put my waterproof on, my running club vest over the top and then pin my number to it! It was a great choice, especially given the drizzly warm up.
The start of the race saw us head up a grassy hill towards the hall…an immediate leg burner that wasn’t helped by a sharp turn right, then left onto a path where we all bunched up. They path soon widened as we headed through the park, under the trees and along the pond side. It was wet and there were potholes and mud in places, but it was great fun. The last kilometre was part path, part muddy uphill and then a straight downhill through the field to the finish. I’d had to hit the brakes in the muddy uphill as I struggled to find grip to get up, but the downhill was exhilarating, I crossed the line alone and happy to have run for such a special cause. I received my medal and spent time watching others come in and cross the line, soaking up the happiness and atmosphere.
Just before the first 10K runner crossed the line I snuck and found my chip time –
30mins 11seconds is the fastest I’ve been able to run a 5K since the back end of 2017…the days when that was as far as I was able to go and I was gunning it at every run, had limited thoughts on recovery and no idea about running nutritional needs. The difference time can make! With both my 5K time and my half marathon PB a fortnight ago, the fact I’ve managed to get quicker again naturally I am determined, is all down to the aerobic work and slow, steady runs I’ve been putting in…my advice to anyone wanting to up their race speed – slow the heck down in training and look after your heart rate.
Wollaten was beautiful to explore post race, the Museum in the Hall is a treasure of a find and we loved having a look around.
The walled garden is only open on Thursdays which is a shame…but another good reason to one day go back.
Going home the rain just kept falling and once in it was lovely to get cosy, read and snooze the afternoon away.
Monday – Oh the relief that a bit of dry weather can bring. It felt wonderful to get up to just the sound of the river and not rain aswell! During my warm up I tried to pay attention to any tightness or discomfort in my body but found none, as I set off on my recovery run my calves felt tight but not over stressed.
It was slightly above freezing and the air still, perfect Autumn running conditions. I was out nearly an hour and 20minutes to steadily cover my 6.5K, 58minutes of which were at heart rate zone 2 and the rest just a tad higher and into my aerobic zone 3…the best I’ve done a recovery run to date. Apart from the slight tightness in my lower legs I had no other cause for concern, feeling fresh and ready for the day once home.
This week saw a step up in my working hours again to 6hr days for the next couple of weeks…it feels a huge victory. Sunday evening I’d had a slight wobble of nerves about going back to the office after my week off…then did the “you’ve been gone longer and coped okay afterwards”. Monday morning I felt ready mentally for whatever the day brought, but used my couple of hours before heading in wisely. I did a few bits of housework and my daily yoga so that if I got home tired I could rest before supper. I was also a tad concerned that my mouth was still sore where a week before I’d burnt it with some soup and so made a doctors appointment for early evening.
Work went really well, my lovely colleagues having kept things more or less up to date for me. I left feeling fine and after a short break at home, headed for the Doctors.
I’ve been feeling a little tired and generally rubbish the last couple of weeks and blaming it on the intensity of training, plus the amount of races I’ve done. Aswell as the burns in my mouth my throat had gotten sore and more swollen as last week went on. Thankfully my burns are healing but I did a thorough job and managed to burnt my throat and upper palate! The Doctor confirmed that given how I’d been feeling and the signs now, it was most definitely an infection I’ve been fighting off…I’m recovering but that’s why my mouth is taking so long to heal. My throat isn’t being helped by the fact I’m swallowing more due to my burns and the pain, plus the issue I had with my darn water bladder last Wednesday, this has all merged together and I’ve basically pulled my tongue…it is a muscle after all, and I’ve done to it what downhill running does to your quads!
There was some good news however, my bone density blood test results had come back. My result in May after cancer treatment was 108 – normal is anything under 30, anything over 80 means brittle bone issues to high potential for osteoporosis. Hence why the hospital were so concerned about my bones and put me on medication. Running is huge for improving bone density, so the result in May after running through treatment as best as I could, was pretty heartbreaking and a shock to my medical team – it just goes to show how brutal chemotherapy is! The medication generally means they would expect to see a 10% raise in score by now…the GP looked over the result and said “my dear you haven’t just done well, you’ve bossed it, this is totally due to your running…results show a score of 27…be very proud”! I’m to have a chat with my oncologist about how long they’ll need to keep me on the meds, usually they say 5+ years, but he thinks I may only need them six more months to a year.
Tuesday – After one very peaceful nights sleep I got up and grabbed my mat before sunrise for half an hours core and glute strengthening, a short 10minutes ab blast and 40minutes of Greet The Day Yoga…and gosh what a start to the day we had. Jack Frost had scoured the landscape and as the sun rose all was white with frost. It was beautiful but did make an early start for work a very numb fingered affair.
I had another really good day at work, mostly chasing debts…playing Scrooge! Coming home mid-afternoon the air hung with low cloud and the Valley was pretty, it was nice to get snuggled up indoors with a mug of tea.
Unfortunately the gas man whose appointment I had worked my day around, couldn’t make it…although this did mean good resting time before setting off to spin class. Unlike last weeks class I didn’t feel as tired and, while a struggle with my breathing thanks to my throat, I was able to keep up with everyone else and left feeling really good. My other half had collected my prescription on the way home and so I had a mouthwash to help with my burns at last.
Wednesday – I’d expected a really chilly start after Tuesday, but instead we had no frost at all and it was 3C and actually felt mild as I ran. I had aimed on a 10K fartlek session, within my first kilometre I began to wonder if it was a good idea as my legs were really heavy. I did a warm up then alternated each kilometre with a faster run, then a slower run. Over my first 5K it felt incredibly hard work but as my watch buzzed 6K and I set off at speed again everything flowed, I felt great and wasn’t laboured…my legs felt like wings…this continued right up to finishing and so all I could put it down to was a bit of fatigue, but also maybe just warming up!
The mouthwash the Doctor gave me tasted very odd! It numbed my mouth which was nice but wierd, making breakfast a challenge in a different way – but I’d chopped an apple to have with my porridge and didn’t need to cook it to eat it, which felt like a huge improvement.
A friend had posted online that this is self care week…and so I decided a bit of self love was needed. Not starting work until 11am meant I could do a yoga session, sit and paint my nails and then relax with a book before heading out of the door.
My work day passed well and I got home feeling alright, tired but not drained.
Thursday – It was a lovely dry start with barely a breath of wind. My body had felt good during my warm up but I was eager for a relaxed run. Setting off I paced well and was surprised that I was able to keep my heart rate in my upper zone 2. As I started to come into the nearby village I decided on a detour. We have a local village which stands on the hill and I’ve run back through it but never the other way round, it’s a hilly climb but I kept to my aerobic heart rate zone throughout. It was a great route but on hearing what sounded like leaves being crushed underfoot I expected company and only saw an empty road…I immediately tensed and my watch scared me by buzzing that my heart rate was too high – I was stood still, still I could hear leaves crunching. I decided if I could see nothing there was nothing, or an animal, so set off again…only to get closer to the source and realise that it was water. The road through the village drops that much that part of the village is a good few meters above your head at one stage, with the road below and a river running alongside it. There was a water outlet midway and the cascade of water into the river was what I’d been able to hear further up the road. I laughed at myself and set off again. As I came back down the hill the landscape lie infront of me, the village lights looking like stars…
…after a while the caterpillar of a train slowly made it’s way through our local station and disappeared. It was a touch of magic to end my run on and I arrived home feeling very upbeat.
I had a good day at work but sadly cancer has touched our department again. The husband of one of our ladies has been diagnosed and Thursday we thankfully found out it hasn’t spread to anywhere else in his body, however he still needs surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. I struggled through the last few hours and felt so sad that they have to face this…especially so near Christmas…the good news is that by this time next year he should be on the other side, but I know how hard things will be in between. I didn’t want to be home and alone, so headed to the garden centre, browsed the Christmas gifts and picked up a few items to make my own wreath. Then stayed for coffee and cake before heading home.
Friday – I gave myself an extra half an hours sleep due to an unsettled night. Thankfully when the alarm went off at 6am I felt awake and ready for whatever the day brought.
First step was to grab my mat and do my 50minute upper body work out, something I don’t tend to do on a Friday but I had time and felt that I wanted to push myself. I then concentrated my yoga session on my lower back, as it had felt tight since midday Thursday and needed a little love. Afterwards I found a great little 14minute Office Break Yoga…all stood and something you literally could do at your desk! Both were a huge help and I felt energised.
With not being at work until 11am I took some time out for a spot of housework but also to finish my homemade wreath I’d started the evening before.
I’ve in the past gone to wreath making workshops, used lots of foliage or decoration, but this year I haven’t the spare time…or funds…to attend one and it’s nice to do something that’s more home crafted and simple.
At work we were in full on Friday mode…every day is a busy day but on a Friday we always seem more relaxed into it. The afternoon sped by, aided by my first appraisal! It’s been a hard year but so good to be back to where I am with work, there’s lots to look forward to as the New Year starts and I left on a positive high.
Saturday – A 5am alarm but with plans for catching up with a friend, there wasn’t time for breakfast and time out before my 10mile run. Instead I got ready and headed off as soon as I could. I’d put my leggings on but wasn’t long before I regretted the decision and wished I was wearing my shorts…it was so mild in the rain. The first 3K felt hard work and I knew I was pushing myself, I had no pain or discomfort but I felt a bit of fatigue and pushed against it all the way.
Midway found me near the bottom of Mam Tor and as I turned for home I stopped, turned my headtorch off and had a minute or two. The rain and the odd owl screech the only noises I could hear, my eyes very quickly adjusted to the dark. There was enough glow from the village lights to run back without my headtorch on…it felt like I was flying and was so liberating – being mostly downhill all the way home helped! It took the pressure of the fatigue away and I ran harder.
I made it home with an hour to spare before hopping on the train at the local station. I’d pre-booked my main Sheffield to Lincoln ticket weeks ago, but for some reason I decided against buying a ticket online for my connecting train and I didn’t do it while having breakfast…so it wasn’t until I got to the local station that I found out the train was cancelled! A freight train having broken down was causing huge problems on many lines.
My fiance ended up driving me into the City, within a couple of hours I was safely in Lincoln. So much had changed since my last visit, but so much had also reassuringly stayed the same. I had a great time with my friend…we shared hot cider from a horn infront of a roaring fire in Thors Tipi…
before a lovely lunch nearby.
While I have some big personal goals in my diary for next year, the importance of trying to help others is also high on my 2020 to do list. My friend and I did ‘Walk The Moon’ together a few years ago and are joining forces as ‘The Blonde Bombshells’ once again to complete the Glow Memory Walk across the Humber Bridge on 14th March 2020, to support and raise money for the Alzheimers Society. My friends Mum has Alzeheimers, and her health has been declining due to this disease. Plus my fiancé and I have a family member who has also very recently been diagnosed, causing alot of heartache, difficulty and distress. So with those two very special people in mind Louise and I will carry out our walk. If anyone would like to support us press https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mw515197 for the link to my sponsorship page. Going home I faced the same train situation…more cancellations and so many delays. Thankfully the bus service back home was running fine, I was later back then anticipated but being dropped off at the door is always a huge plus.
Sunday – My rest day and we’re having a family day. My parents, and Stanley, are bringing the Christmas decorations over and so I’m making lunch to pay them back. It will be a day of fun, food and relaxation…just how Sundays should be.