Tub on the Run


Janathon Day 14: Are we nearly there yet?

As I started on the downhill slope to home time, the usual demons started up…

“you don’t want to go out for a run… It’s dark, cold and wet”

I will freely admit that I agreed with my little demon.  It is dark, cold and wet.  I won’t lie – I considered not going out.  Then some synapse fired and reminded me that it is less than 7 weeks to Silverstone Half Marathon, and every little piece of training helps.

I’d considered nipping in to the gym.  It was only meant to be two miles, which is just about bearable on the treadmill.  But no.  I decided to go around the marina, which isn’t a route I usually do.  I thought perhaps the change of scenery would be helpful.

Out of the house I ventured.  Into drizzle, wind and cold I stepped, and of course, my Garmin took a little longer to lock.  Not my best start.  Once the planets had aligned and the Garmin locked on, I started off.  Or rather, I attempted to get the two lumps of concrete attached to my hips moving.  It was unsuccessful.  Ok… Maybe I’ll feel better when I get into it.  After all, I have been harbouring intentions towards trying my hand at lamppost intervals.  I tried a couple of lamppost intervals.  Nope.  Not working.  Ok… Maybe back to familiar territory?  I headed back towards the trainline.  Still nothing.

I never regret going out for a run, despite all my whinging about it beforehand, but I came very close to regretting today’s attempt.

14th Jan Run

I aborted the run as I was becoming progressively more miserable.

Tuesday nights are Slimming World weigh in nights, and I pootled off, convinced that I would have put weight on.  Upon arrival, I took my jacket off, and H (who helps out at Slimming World), pointed out that I had a rather unfortunate wet patch across my chest.  Yep, it looked like I had some pretty spectacular boob sweat going on.  Delightful.  It would appear that my waterproof jacket that I wear for running is not as waterproof as I give it credit for.  Fortunately, I maintained my weight this week, so I didn’t quite put the cherry of a weight gain on what was turning into a rubbish evening.

I got to thinking why my run was so awful today, and I suspect it could be one or a combination of the following:

  • I need to buy a new sports bra.  I had bounce, and bounce is not good.  I need strapping in, and firmly.
  • I haven’t had that much in the way of protein.  I didn’t have much after my long run and I have been sore.  I know that if I eat more protein, I am generally a happier (and less stiff) bunny.
  • I am tired.  A lot of things feel like a chore at the moment, and those things are less physically demanding than running.
  • My legs are physically tired.  Yes, probably they are.  My shins are a bit sore, right ankle isn’t happy and my left knee is joining in the chorus of niggles.
  • Not eating close enough to a run.  I hadn’t eaten anything for nearly 6 hours before I went out (and even then, it was hardly a nutritious meal – a stuffing baguette and Diet Coke).

Four miles are on the card tomorrow.  My plan?  Wear my other bra, bed early tonight, eat something at about 4:30pm and start feeding myself with proper food instead of rubbish.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!


Janathon Day 12: The Long Run

In the middle of my funk last night, I posted to Twitter that I am struggling.


I can feel self-sabotage brewing.  I have never run as much as I am now, and while I really do feel like I am beginning to make some progress (my heart rate average is lowering, though my average pace is staying relatively stable), I am beginning to wonder whether I can really do 13.1 miles.  Thirteen point one miles is a very long distance for me (and for most people I would imagine).  I don’t want to fail, but I almost feel that it is inevitable.  I’ve tried getting into running so many times, and my consistency requires more work.

I genuinely hadn’t intended the tweet to be seeking pity or anything, but I was genuinely touched by the response I had.  It was reassuring to know that most people will feel the same at one point or another.

So this morning, I scoffed some porridge, waited an hour, faffed around a bit, tried to find some clean workout clothes, eventually found them, stepped outside and faffed a bit more whilst waiting for my Garmin to sync.

A couple of minutes later, off I toddled.  6 miles on the plan, but I needed to do just over to get my 10k recorded for my Virtual Runner race.  I chose to go from home to Darts Farm, which turns out to be around 6 miles.  It was a mildly undulating route.  Unfortunately I didn’t break my 10k record, but it was relatively close.  I probably would have done it, but for getting stuck behind some walkers and their dogs.

One thing I am beginning to find is that my heart rate is coming down, but the perceived effort seems to be getting harder.  I don’t know why that is, but I really flag in how I feel towards the end, though this isn’t entirely represented by my pace.

Anyway, I arrived at Darts Farm.

Darts Farm

I took £2 with me so I could get a drink, which I desperately needed by then.  Matt was meant to meet me there, but had got a bit sidetracked.  I busied myself by shopping for my Foodie Penpal (new matches came through!).  We also bought lunch to bring home.  Matt picked me up and home we came.  I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, catching up on the Janathon and Jantastic blogs, and pottering.

Janathon exercise, done.  Jantastic Week 1, done.  10k for Virtual Runner, logged!

Logged for Virtual Runner


Janathon Day 2: 10% less wind, 100% more sea

I considered going out for a run this morning.  Consideration was as far as it got, as I managed to do my favourite ex-student thing of procrastinating by doing some housework.  The living room has not been so clean and tidy for a considerable amount of time.

Not only was the housework done (ok, I still have the bedroom and hall to finish tomorrow), but with the help of my sister, I also managed to put a budget together for this year.  I am sure that it is meant to be me teaching her things, what with me being the eldest and all.  Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the help as I have done my best ostrich impression for the last six twelve months.

Eventually though, it was time to go out.  I had another 3.5 miles on the plan for today.  I didn’t want to run the same route as yesterday, so I planned a new route.

I was advised by M that it definitely wasn’t base layer weather (when are you going to arrive, winter?!).  Again, I decided on the coat.  As I was about to leave, I heard M shout something at the TV, so I stuck my head round the door.  Apparently the South West is at significant risk of coastal flooding as we are due a tidal surge, and the Environment Agency has issued severe flood warnings.  It is at times like these that I am grateful we live two floors up.  It isn’t due to hit until 5am though.

Off I went on my merry way.  I started at my usual point, being beaten up by the wind slightly less this time.  I started up the new leg of the route, but abandoned it quite quickly as I had not counted on the gradient of the hills.  I don’t think the headwind helped much, but it has identified a need to get some hill work in (just not today).  Off I toddled back down the beach.  Normally I run on the path, but the weather has been so bad lately that much of the sand has washed up on the path, so it was exactly the same as running on the beach.  The sea was magnificent – the white horses really were spectacular.

It was about 2 minutes later that I experienced my first impromtu fartlek session, by attempting not to get drenched as the waves came over the sea wall.  Yeah.  I wasn’t quick enough, and I ended up having a premature, mid-run shower courtesy of Mother Nature.  Having misjudged the timing of the waves and subsequent sea wall breaches, I decided it was time to cross the road.  I looked down to step off the kerb and realised that the drains were full of sand and I would need to leap about 6 foot from a standing start to avoid the small river in the gutter.  I managed about half, and landed splosh right in the middle.  Yuck.  Soggy feet.

As I squelched my way along, I decided that I would call it a day.  A soggy day.  Today’s run was a disappointing 2.28 miles, but I did manage to get to the neck breaking speed of an 8:14 minute mile (please bear in mind that my average usually lies between 13 and 14 minutes).

Janathon Day 2

My trainers are now drying out next to my other trainers that I soaked yesterday by landing in a puddle with one foot and promptly kicking the splash with the other foot…  And who said running isn’t fun!


I am glad that tomorrow is a non-running day, as I would have to go bare foot, having now run out of dry running shoes.



Sunday night and Blog Block

I have tried to write this post about six times now, and nothing is flowing.  M has diagnosed it as Blog Block.  Apologies, therefore, for the probable rambling, jumbled-upness of this post.  I shall, however, try to break it into some logical chunks (“try” being the operative word there).


I bunked off Slimming World again this week.  I know it’s been a bad food week when I don’t want to go to church Group and confess my sins syns, and believe me, there have been many.  How many?  I have no idea.  That’s another tell tale sign – I don’t count because I know it’s bad.  Well, my body is now beginning to demand a better quality fuel.  After weeks (months?) of feeding it rubbish, it’s now getting all grumbly and gripey and, to be honest, it isn’t much fun.  This is coming from the person who prides herself on owning a cast iron tummy, the girl who can eat out of date food, or that which has been undercooked, and not feel the effects while those around her are actively seeking out the nearest toilet.

Well, so long high fat/sugar food.  It’s been, ummm, unhealthy (both physically and mentally).

Normally, I blindly choose meals based on what we have left over in the veggies department from last week, paying no heed to what I’m actually doing in the week.  This week is different.  I know I am going to be late home a couple of nights.  I know this is a danger zone, where I will default to takeaway because “I haven’t got enough time/energy/other poor excuse to cook”.  The slow cooker is my greatest ally in this particular battle.  The other thing?  Oh, well, there isn’t enough leftovers to use for lunch tomorrow, so I’ll just buy from the canteen.  That is expensive.  It’s also quite unhealthy, as while I may have the intention of having a jacket spud with beans and salad, I may add a flapjack on to that, or change my mind entirely to a cheese and onion pasty.  To combat this, I first need to buy some new batteries for my scales – I can’t measure anything out at the moment (unless it is a liquid).  This means that then, I’ll be able to use my breadmaker that I got for Christmas, but haven’t actually used yet.  That means that sandwiches with cheese and tomato, or ham, or whatever, is now a default option where there may not be enough leftovers.

That’s my week planned for food.


I would like to say that Week 1 of my 10k plan got off to a cracking start, but it has been more like a crappy start.  The stupid thing is that I know that if I feel low, going out for a run will help.  I’ve literally just come back from a run and I feel like I’m about to die from exploding lungs better than before I went out.  The hardest part is actually getting out the door.  As I started writing this post at 8pm, I thought I really should go out for a run.  I haven’t been out and made one run this week.  How can I talk about running if I haven’t actually been running.  Sometimes, like this evening, I can just tell myself that I am going out, and there is no internal argument.  Other times, there’s an almighty furore in my brain that absolutely refuses to get changed and go out.

This evening’s run was 3 miles.  The longest run on Week 1’s plan.  I shall crack on with Week 2 on Tuesday, Thursday (or Friday) and Saturday (watch out parkrun – I may come out to play!).  I didn’t set any records unfortunately, but I am quite pleased with my 41:27 5k given that I haven’t run regularly for what feels like forever.

One thing I have learnt this evening is that it most definitely is not time to crack the base layer out.  I thought I might get chilly, what with it being autumn and all, but no, a t-shirt is more than sufficient still.  According to the Garmin, it was 14°c, so maybe I’ll reintroduce the base layer when we hit 10°c and see how I go then.

On that note, I’m off for a shower because I am sweaty and smelly.  All round delightful!



Juneathon – Day 1

The most original title to date!  I had a look at Juneathon after Never2late4 mentioned it, and I decided that I could probably do this.  Now, I am flexing the “rules” a little bit, in that I won’t be running every day.  I don’t think I could to be honest, and I definitely wouldn’t want to – forcing the issue will suck the joy out of running.  I will exercise every day though, and the majority of it will be running.

Today, M suggested that we go for a walk along the coastal path of the Jurassic Coast.  After a spot of lunch, off we headed to Orcombe Point to pick up the path.  I haven’t been along that path for many years.  I forget how pretty it is (especially on a day like today).


Now, originally, M had mentioned that he’d like to go to Otterton.  He has absolutely no idea of how far that would have been.  It was really nice to be outside, chattering on, panting and nearly dying up the cliffs, but rewarded with some beautiful sights.

In the distance, where we were heading - Budleigh Salterton

In the distance, where we were heading – Budleigh Salterton

Along the route, we kept seeing signs for how far away the villages or towns were.  Having now mapped the route on mapometer, it would appear that the signs were in fact measured in country or Welsh miles.  Upon arrival into Budleigh, it was time for a drink, so we nipped into the Spar to get some water, before continuing our journey home.

Rather than go back the way we came, we decided to go along the old railway line, which meant trekking out of Budleigh and picking up a woodland path, crossing a field, and then walking down the old railway line.  As we arrived back into town, we decided tea would be salad and cold meats.

My feet hurt now.  I can’t remember the last time I walked so far.  Given the country mile markers, I really wasn’t sure how far we’d walked.  Mapometer says 10.27 miles.

Walk 1st June

It is now time to put my feet up, mentally prepare myself for getting up and going to the park tomorrow with my friend to do our urban gym thang.


Day Trips – Exeter and Dartmoor

I am thoroughly enjoying my week off so far.  My only concern is that it seems to be galloping by far too quickly for my liking.  I’m trying very hard not to think of the fact that I have no holiday time booked between the end of this week and when mother-in-law gets married in September.  Fourteen weeks between now and then.  Scary!  I do have a couple of things to look forward to though, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Yesterday, M and I headed in to Exeter.  My car needed its MOT test and a major service, so we dropped the car off and walked into the city.  It was a pleasant day, and we stopped off at the cathedral green to work out our plan of attack.

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral

Memorial on the green for Lee Rigby

Memorial on the green for Lee Rigby

The plan was to wander about, window shopping until lunchtime.  We headed into our usual haunts, with me half heartedly looking for a nice dress for mother-in-law’s wedding (no success).  Lunchtime came, and we made our way to Yo! Sushi.  I have wanted to try sushi for a long time, and have said to M about eating at a Yo! Sushi when we’ve been in Cribbs Causway in Bristol.  He’s never been too keen, but somehow his arm was twisted this time.  It was a great experience – lean principles in action.  I had no plan of what to eat, and just picked anything I liked the look of.  It was great!  I didn’t have lots of fish, as I am not the biggest fish fan, but I enjoyed the bits of fish I did have.   Safe to say, I am a Yo! Sushi convert.  I’m not sure I’d chose that over Wagamama, but it could be a tough call.

This year, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum reopened, after a long period of refurbishment.  I hadn’t been in since my final year in sixth form, when we were studying William Blake in English Literature, and conveniently there was an exhibition for Songs of Innocence and of Experience.  That would have been [groan] 11 years ago.

A cultural Tub

A cultural Tub

As children, Mum used to take my sister and I there on a regular(ish) basis.  There were things that I was keen to make sure were still there, like Gerald the Giraffe, and the Egyptian mummy.  They were there!

Elephant next to Gerald

Elephant next to Gerald

Sadly, news came in whilst M and I were wandering around, that I was likely to have to sell a kidney to pay for my car’s repairs.  Oh well, it’s only money – you only life once (thank goodness – it would be too expensive to do so multiple times!)!  After a really enjoyable day out, M and I settled down to watch the latest series of True Blood (my love, next to Spartacus).

Today rolled around too quickly.  My sister, Mum and I were going to spend the day together, but Mum had overexerted herself yesterday (they had gone out for a bike ride for the first time this year) and stayed at home.  My sister, P, picked me up, and off we headed to Dartmoor.  P is a slave driver great support in my battle with the bulge and beat me encouraged me up two sizeable hills.


I jest, it wasn’t that bad, and I did actually mutter that the masochistic side of me thought it would be great to walk up this hill.  Me and my big mouth…

We walked all the way to the top

We walked all the way to the top

Now, I didn’t truly appreciate how steep that hill was (the picture doesn’t do it justice!), and had to take several rest breaks on the way up, but the view from the peak was amazing.

I thought the rocks in the middle ground were at the  top of a big hill...

I thought the rocks in the middle ground were at the top of a big hill…

What was also very nice was the Dartmoor foals.  Everything seems late this year (maybe due to the weather), and the foals don’t seem to be an exception, though these guys aren’t brand new.

101 110

In our attempts to get a little bit closer to the ponies, we ended up in blanket bog, and I sunk my foot quite deep into one puddle.  Thankfully, P did the same (misery wet feet love company).

Bog bodies!

Bog bodies!

I really enjoyed my day out today, even if I am now so windswept…

windswept and out of puff

windswept and out of puff

… that I am dreading brushing my hair later.  I feel it will be a conditioner and comb in the shower jobbie.


A PB Long Run

So, how was your weekend?  Good?  Great!  Mine was great too!  I PB’d, not once, but twice.  Ok, technically one isn’t exactly a normal PB, but I’m counting it. 

My long run, which I completed yesterday, called for a 3.5 mile run.  PB #1 was that I have never ever run 3.5 miles.  To say I was pleased was an understatement (though it is really only in the dawn of a new day that I can fully appreciate it).  PB #2 came in the form of a new time for a 5k.  I’d like to take a moment to recap.  I have entered three Race for Life 5ks in the past, but all have measured short of 5k, but seem accurate to 3miles.  My best time was my 2009 Winchester event, in which I clocked 41 minutes for 4.87km.  Not a true 5k, but I’ll take it.  Last night, as M dropped me off so I could run home, I set my Garmin to shout at 5k.  I got 38:24.  For me, that’s AMAZING!  I wasn’t feeling well in the run, and am carrying about 2.5 stone more than my 2009 attempt, so I am chuffed.

I’ve also had a look on the parkrun results for Killerton, and see that I would be at the back, but I wouldn’t be alone.  I’m trying to work out if I have anything on this weekend (and also trying to think of another way there that doesn’t involve getting stuck in county show traffic), as I could go.

The run itself wasn’t particularly pleasant.  M and I had stopped off for fish and chips at Darts Farm for lunch on the way home from mother-in-law’s.  It was probably the nicest fish I have ever had (battered anyway).  I thought I’d left plenty of time between eating and running (3.5 hours), but as soon as I started, I could feel the meal threatening to make a reappearance.  Thankfully it didn’t, though I felt nauseous for most of the run, and haven’t been so glad to get home for a long time. 

Tonight, the plan calls for a stretch and strength evening, which I shall call Zumba Tone.  It’s been ages since I went, but given that it is the boss’s birthday this week, and she’s bought in my body weight in cake, it hasn’t been a successful slimming day.  I’ll have to work extra hard tonight.

Well, hope you all had a great weekend too!   TTFN.


New Stone Zone

I completed the Tuesday of my Hal Higdon 10k plan.  Well.  Sort of.  I was meant to run for 2.5 miles, but I managed 2.34 miles.  I was out for just longer than 2.5 miles, but I had to take a couple of walk breaks and stopped the Garmin accordingly.  This was the wrong day to introduce hills.  I struggled quite a bit with the hills, managing to run up them roughly halfway, before my heart threatened to break my ribs from pounding too hard.  Don’t get me wrong, I hardly live in the midst of some hilly place like Wales, but nearly all of my running so far has been done on the flat.  However, I’m bored of the flat (as well as the pesky people who think it’s great to be moving obstacles).  I did enjoy the run though, especially the downhill bits!  It has made me realise that my first few “long” runs will need to be on the flat, maybe a couple of laps of the old route.

Steph Loop

My “hilly” run
(Sorry about the rubbish pic)

Today is a run and strength day.  I’m not entirely sure what I will a) be using for the strength or b) what exercises I should be doing.  I don’t have free weights at home.  M has some, but they’re at his nan’s house.  Maybe I should look to bring them down at some point.  I suspect using one of the cats as a kettlebell (despite the bigger one weighing more than my normal kettlebell) is unacceptable, and I don’t think we have many tins of food.  Hmm… I shall have to think.  Route-wise, I am going to be mixing it up and trying an out and back route, rather than my usual loops.

Last night’s weigh in was a roaring success.  I have broken into the next stone bracket down.  WOO!!!  There is nothing better than seeing a new front number.  I am really pleased with that.  It was a 2.5lb loss, which is great.  I will be taking my measurements at the weekend for my monthly round up at the weekend.  I don’t know how much will have changed on the inches front, but it was a better month weight loss wise.  Oh yeah, and I should take a progress picture (groan…).


A Reminiscent Soggy Tub

It is blowing a gale again, and absolutely hammering down with rain.  On to Week 8 I trekked.  That’s a 28 minute run, and it’s surprising how much difference 3 minutes make.  I started off my run with my Garmin actually syncing pretty quickly for a change.  Lately it’s been ridiculously slow, and I can’t work out why.  The run, aside from being freezing cold and very wet, went quite well, and I felt reasonable for the majority of it.  I remember, 8 weeks ago, on a freezing Friday night, where it was raining harder than it is tonight, I decided to be a bit brave and head out into the night.  I enjoyed my first run, and now like looking back at the times since then – I’m now running, unbroken for 28 minutes, covering more than a kilometer more, and have shaved 2 minutes off the average pace.

The final three minutes I struggled with though.  I had to get the mental strategies out.  I didn’t dust off The Dory (by that point, my pace was so slow, it wouldn’t have worked, speaking Whale would have been more appropriate), but I did have to work lamp post to lamp post.

The end result was 4.66k in 39:56 mins, so an average pace of 8:34 minute ks.  I’m pretty pleased with that.  5k is a reachable target (though I suspect I am looking at a time of 43 minutes currently).

Steady on Tub, there is a good chance that you might actually finish a running plan at this rate!  What should I do to celebrate?

In other news, I am looking at becoming a Foodie Penpal.  I saw the badge on 111lbs’ blog, and then saw that there is a UK version at Rock Salt.  I love the idea of this, and I’m hoping that I’ll be in for April.  I’m just waiting to hear back.

Finally, M and I have been invited to his cousin’s wedding.  I have a dress in mind, but I don’t know if it fits.  I am hoping that if it doesn’t, it will shortly.  I do feel a new shoes occasion coming on though!