Sunday – The last race day of 2019.
A chilly start awaited us, there was just enough light to see the glisten of frost on everything outside the window as I made my porridge…thankful that I’d stood everything ready the night before, packed our lunch and most importantly put the screen cover on the car.
I had my usual half marathon breakfast…porridge, a banana and homemade jam. Plus coffee and a glass of water with electrolytes. At just after 7am, wrapped in three layers, we set off.
The car park at Oulton Park was covered in frost and the track patchy with it.

I collected my race number and went back to the car to keep warm during my hours wait for the start.

I didn’t really have an aim other than having fun and finishing. At Tatton Park just under a month ago I’d hit a new PB of 2hrs 14minutes…but I was now tired, with a sore back, the blues and not having done any specific training.
I left taking my warm layers off and heading to the start until the last minute, joining in with the warm up and then heading onto the track to begin. I’d set off with the 2hr 20min runners and for the second time this year, no-one passed me…infact I passed many others before the first corner, but felt comfortable and my breathing calm. The course had a nice bit of variety but the incline half way was definitely steeper than I’d expected…and it was smaller than the second. You’d barely chance to catch your breath and recover before the incline for the second hill started, and so it felt twice as hard. A little flat running before the grid line came back into view, you had chance to gather yourself a little…just before the track dipped down then back up sharply again before the pit lane.
It wasn’t a crazy leg burner but was enough…especially over five laps – hats off to those doing the 16 and 20 mile races and especially the marathon runners.
I knew I was pushing myself but I was also enjoying it, backing off when it was needed, speeding up when I felt I could.

Just after the start of my third lap I had my first gel and really felt like I was beginning to need it, I also made sure I drank at each kilometre buzz of my watch from there on. By the time I got to the second incline I was beginning to feel better again.

I think I did the hill differently each time for those first three laps then settled on cornering wide before it to then run it with the camber.
As I started my last lap and took my second gel I had a wobble, I really had to push to keep myself going…and it was the hills that helped! I used them like a countdown, at the third just before the pit lane I had to push hard to get up and my dash to the finish was really hard work. As I crossed the line I switched my tech off and amazed myself…I knew I’d a PB and a big one but wanted to see what my chip time said. I collected my medal and finishing goodies then found my fiancé.

Mid photo session I felt everything spin and my stomach lurch. Popping to the toilet the dizziness got worse and I just wanted to be sick…I’d pushed too hard, plus I barely passed any water – a sign of dehydration I paid no attention to at all.
I got changed, managed to get my Rego shake drunk and a coffee, all of which helped and sitting in the car to warm up felt good so I had a sandwich. The nausea just flooded back though and I was pleased to go. I think I slept most of the way back, waking in a nearly village feeling slightly brighter my fiancé urged me to look at my race results. It was like an instant lift…my new PB showing at 2:06:38…

I double checked my tech as it was pretty much like I’d run a kilometre less – but I hadn’t and a display of 5’s stood out on my split times. My heart rate had been high for 60% of the time, but given I’d run hard throughout there was no wonder. I’d never stopped and I gave the hills hell, and it really paid off. I couldn’t have asked for a better result to finish my race event season on.
Once home I made sure I had carbs every few hours, drank well and had a good balanced supper…by bedtime I felt like me again, with an extra buzz of pride.

Monday – Another chilly start to the day meant I wrapped up well for my recovery run. As I stretched and warmed up I could feel tightness in my upper legs and the left side of my back. Nothing played up during my run and I was able to keep my cadence up, pace steady and my heart rate between zones 2 and 3. It was a beautiful start and everything white with frost.

I came back over the fields as the mud had frozen solid, so caused me no problems…closing a gate half way I turned in the darkness and met a figure infront of me – I screamed without thought only to realise it was one of the local horses and I was a field further on then I’d expected! We exchanged words/nods and it had a good nose rub before I set off.
By the time I got back my fingers were red and took most of the next hour to warm up…not helpful while I rushed to get ready for work!
My work day had a couple of new extras, half an hour more in my day to take me to 6.5hr days, and a lunch break! It actually felt odd to stop, leave and have my lunch then head back. Before I’ve been eating at my desk around whatever I was doing…it wasn’t too bad but I wasn’t having a break and the last few weeks had seen me leave feeling very tired.
By the time I got home I felt able to do all the housework I wanted, have a cup of tea and do my daily yoga before supper.

Tuesday – Thankfully the house felt a little warmer as I decided a spot of yoga before my circuit session was best. I did Yoga for Gut Health before half an hour of a mixed circuit session…some weight repetitions aswell as body weight exercises so that I didn’t overload any one part of me, then a spot of Yoga Flow to end with. I’ve started to follow Joy – the Yoga With Adrienne December calendar, mixing things up a little now and then when necessity dictates.
I still had a little tightness in my legs and left side of my back…the Yoga for Gut Health has a great side stretch which felt amazing!
It was nice to have a dry beautiful morning, but not a frosty one…no car to scrape before heading to work.
We had a good productive day and my time flew, having a lunch break didn’t feel as odd and gave welcome respite from my mornings work.
Once home again I set to and got ready for the next few days and spin class. I don’t go to spin until 6pm, so when time allows I get our supper ready before going. I also batch prep my lunch so took time to make everything for the following few days, plus breakfast for after my 8K on Wednesday morning. Time is precious and I’m actually quite lazy when allowed, so small things like that really help – once back from my run in a morning I’m awful for standing in the shower longer than needed, so having oats soaking to just warm a little helps cut down on my preparation time for breakfast. Having lunch to grab and go is also a huge help, costs little and means I always have nutritious things with me instead of having to take pot luck.

Wednesday – I felt like I was up with the larks…or rather whatever little birds it was at 5.30am which were on full twitter, thanks to the Christmas lights outside waking them early. The window simmered and I sensibly wrapped up ready for my run…not realising just how thick my gloves were. I had 8K to cover and the aim was just to run to feel, if I was uncomfortable I was to ease off the pace and I was to check my heart rate…my body was still recovering from Sunday, so no dramatic speed or hills were to be included.
I set off and immediately felt a little too fast, I backed off a little at the kilometre mark so that I felt good but it was still fun and not just a slow plod. My heart rate was mostly at anaerobic zone throughout the first half…even more so when my fiancé pulled up in the car alongside me to check I was okay. Somehow on leaving I’d managed to set off my SOS message, both he and my Mum had had details sent through from my phone scaring the life out of them. I felt awful and so guilty! I must have squeezed my phone as I left and my gloves were thick enough not to feel it.
Assuring him I was fine we both set off in separate directions. As I turned at the half way mark relief of going back home, knowledge of nearly being done…a something…took over and the next 4K flew well. Just before home we have a bridge that was newly surfaced earlier this year. It now holds water and is awful when frosty. My heart rate hit 170 and I walked the latter end of the last kilometre, taking time to look at the sky lighten over the hills as the metal work around my shimmered.

Home again and more apologies said I readied myself for work. Today’s daily yoga session was a quick 10minutes of Yoga For Self Care, a nice grounding before starting the working day.
I went through two new skills at work and refreshed my knowledge of another, so left feeling very proud and productive…even though things had been busy and I hadn’t gotten everything done.
After work I had Christmas drinks with friends over mini mincepies…not alcohol or fizz, we did drinks our way – with cups of tea.

The venue was all decorated for Christmas and so cosy, we sat and chatted a couple of hours before having to leave and head home. The village lights all on and the trees in the churchyard trimmed were a beautiful sight…and also made me realise just how much I missed last year. It felt such a precious thing to have had time together and catch up a little.

Thursday – The temperature a nice 6C I decided on my shorts, but still a thermal top and gloves, for my run. I had 6.5K to cover at a nice easy pace and aimed for a heart rate zone 2 to 3 run. The wind was like a knife edge and I struggled to keep my heart rate low until I got into the nearby village, the houses masking the wind. I made sure to keep my pace steady and slow, keeping any strain out of my legs in order to help my muscle recovery further.
As I turned and left the village the wind was at my back so that I could relax. I headed over the hill, keeping my heart rate in my aerobic zone as I went. Then circled back to home. I had no discomfort or heavy feeling of the day before. It was as if I’d had an energy reset and I got home feeling upbeat and pleased with my run…just with very numb fingers again!
At work I once again started to go over details to learn something new…the bank book is a large piece of work and reconciliations take time. I feel proud that I’m being trusted with learning how to do it, but gosh it will take a little time to go over everything…detail and precision are key. I left feeling drained and was going to go to Buxton to get a present…but how I felt and the weather blowing a gale, both put me off and I was able to get what I needed more locally. That meant being home sooner so that I could get little jobs done that I’d been meaning to for a few days. There was however a bit of a delay…due to my new toy arriving!

Friday – As much as I love running, when you can hear the wind howling and the rain lashing against the window, there is something nice about being inside.
As this has been my cut back week my run on Saturday was set at only 10K. Therefore I took the opportunity to do two lots of strength training – one full body with weights, the second just upper body with weights. The first included a good amount of lunges, deadlifts and plank moves…all of which will help strengthen my joints aswell as my muscles. I then took things down a level and did my daily yoga practice before getting ready for work.
We had a fruitful but busy day, I felt hungry all morning and after lunch I was really sleepy…Thursday I had relaxed my diet a little and we had had fish and chips for supper. Life needs balance and we don’t eat that type of thing unless as a treat once in a blue moon…but my body was aware of it and felt the effect. I just made sure I drank more and ate more mindfully. It worked and once home I set to and finished preparing the house for the weekend and myself for my morning run.

Saturday – My last run of the week to end my cut back week and start my six weeks of running for recovery.
I have to say I was glad the wind had stopped howling and the temperature was up at 8C. I donned my shorts, but went with long sleeves and gloves in order to keep warm. With a 10K ahead but green bananas in the fruit basket I had an energy gel instead…it gives the same boost, yes potentially quicker, but is also for me very easy to digest…and I’ve half a box left with next months date on which need using up! Lemon and lime it was and after both it and a nice warm up I headed out.
The wind was less but it was still raining, although it wasn’t heavy so I didn’t feel impeded by it. I ran to feel, ran for fun and ran to test my watch. Yes my heart rate went up now and then, but I felt comfortable and able, didn’t push myself or feel breathless and had a great time – the kilometre that was head wind was hard work but actually I relished the challenge. All of a sudden I was on my way home and then that was it, done.

I felt amazing and finished strong…I had energy that I’d not felt all week – a positive sign for the week to come! My legs and back had been fine and my post run stretching didn’t bring up any problems.
The weekend was to be spent with my parents but due to illness they were no longer able to come over. I felt upset, deflated and pretty blue…we are rearranging but that doesn’t instantly lift your mood.
My fiancé set off for work and I took time to sit, read and rest a little. Then decided that wallowing wasn’t healthy, plus the car needed fuelling. So I headed to Buxton and browsed the Christmas Fair, strolled around the Pavilion Gardens…

and then popped into the chocolatiers for a beautiful dark chocolate hot chocolate.

Once home again I’d planned on reading more but I put a film on, watching it in two parts due to a mid-afternoon nap. Before I knew it, it was gone five and I wanted to get our supper in the oven…root vegetable tagine with jewelled couscous.

If anyone saw my fruit basket they’d think apples or bananas were my favourite fruit…but it’s the infinitely more elegant, sweet, difficult to eat pomegranate that holds my heart. My fiance is fabulous at just picking one up on random occasions to spoil me, and my Mum surprises me with one at either my birthday or Christmas…it’s sometimes the easiest, oddest presents that hold our hearts the most.

Sunday – Due to our change of plans today is one we will most likely make up as we go along. It’s my rest day so everything will be at a more gentle, relaxed pace.

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