Does running a bath count towards my running goals?

I guess we’d call this week a recovery week after the epic weekend at Spitfire and although I hadn’t really planned the rest, it was definitely required.  The munchies began on Monday and didn’t really stop until – actually I am not sure they’ve stopped yet 🙊.  I made the mistake of going into M&S in my lunch break Tuesday and could have easily made my way through the whole of the bakery aisle.  After the 5 cereal bar and 3 packets of crisps incident on Monday 🐽 (please tell me this doesn’t just happen to me?!), I put the crisp ban back on and will no longer be buying cereal bars. I found Tuesdays run at club very hard with heavy legs but they did loosen up and I felt better for it. It made me feel like I had evened out all the food I’d consumed the previous day, although there’s no way it balanced that out fairly.

It was Wednesday that the tiredness really hit, I felt like I could sleep standing and was struggling to string a sentence together – I’m quite good at making new words up when I hit this stage too 😂. I’d like to say by Thursday I was back raring to go, but it was at this point I decided running a bath was just as good as running the 10k I’d planned and even then I kept drifting off.  Don’t you worry though I managed to stay awake long enough to drag myself to the pub for a little catch up.  Here we are on Friday afternoon and I am ready for another good sleep 😴  I’ve failed on the stretching a bit this week too so when I’m aching like hell after parkrun tomorrow I have no one to blame but myself! Maybe I should do a yoga session this evening, or perhaps I’ll have a nice hot bath – if only running a bath would lead me towards my running goals I’d be well on my way to achieving them by now 😂.

Did I mention I did 6 laps at Spitfire Scramble at the weekend? 34.8 miles if you hadn’t heard 😁

Spitfire Scramble weekend 😁

What a weekend!!  Absolutely loved it, I am still buzzing this morning.  We had a lot laughs before the running even started, I am still chuckling to myself about many of them (through the aches and pains 😂).  I don’t even know where to start with the write up for this one, it’s going to be very difficult to capture it through words but I will give it my best shot.

So, my first camping experience and I really enjoyed it (surprised myself with that one!), even the many trips to the toilet didn’t spoil it for me (I made it every time 👍🏼).  I have to admit I had it pretty easy being with the pro’s who knew exactly what they were doing ⛺️ – I tried my best to help but I know full well I was more a spare part than anything else (gotta love a trier though!).  I was very well looked after by the team and support crew which most definitely helped make the experience such a good one.  Friday nights BBQ was spot on and the laughs we had throughout the evening will continue to bring a smile to my face for quite some time! If you could modify your body in any way to enable it to do something else what would it be?  Now, when Bob said he would make it so he could tuck his arm into his body so he could sleep more comfortably I thought what a waste – surely you would choose something more exciting than that.  But, as I lay there in the early hours of Sunday morning unable to sleep and getting a dead arm (gotta be down to that muscular bicep getting in the way 💪🏼), I had to hand it to Bob – it would have been a lot more comfortable! But an eye on the end of your finger…

Anyway, having not known what to expect when we arrived I did think there would be more to the event HQ but obviously having had nothing to compare it to I can’t really tell if this is normal.  When you think about how many people were there, one block of toilets wasn’t really enough but that’s not unusual at running events. There was a shuttle bus to the showers, however I didn’t bother with this – baby wipes sorted me out until I got home Sunday 😂.  I imagine most people bought there own food for the weekend as we did but there was an opportunity to buy a wrist band for a reduced cost before the event, although there was only the one food stall it did seem to have quite a lot on the menu.

The event started at midday Saturday and ran through until midday Sunday, the route was approximately 5.75 miles long and we had a team of 5.  Friday night we pulled our running position out of a hat (well Zoe’s hand 🙊), I got 1 so I was up first, followed by Tina, Paul, Zoe and then John. I didn’t mind being first up, in fact it was probably a good thing for me with the nerves beforehand I didn’t have to wait as long to start.  That first lap was the only mass start, I felt excited and nervous for the challenge ahead and really wanted to concentrate on pacing myself and not rushing off as it was going to be a long 24hours.  I took the route in as I went and was having a good look around at the other runners, some solo (😳 crazy!), some duo and others in teams of 3 and more.  Many runners were taking it extremely seriously whilst others, like myself were here for the experience and enjoyment of the weekend.  Bob cycled along with me on that first lap, it was nice to have someone beside me for support and reassurance as I was still a bit nervous on my way round 🚴🏼.

The Team “Crabs and Winkle”

I was pleased to have liked the route – when you know you’ve got to do that lap over again its always a bonus when its a nice one!  The first mile did seem to drag and there were a couple of hills but that second mile was my favourite by far, through the woods with a lovely down hill slope and before you know it you are at the water stop which was just shy of half way.  Following this there was an open patch which allowed a slight breeze through a field and then some more woods before coming out back near the start and around a lake.  Not long after this there was a point near the camp site where we could see others in the team – this was great, a nice bit of encouragement to keep me going as that next mile included a rather nasty slope upwards….  But right at the top was the mile 5 marker which meant that last section was all down hill and as I ran back into the field around the camp site it gave me a boost knowing I was almost at the end of the lap.  Tina was there with a big smile on her face ready for hand over and to start her first lap and our support man Phill had water at the ready. Was great to see Dan come along to see us and we spent the next few hours coming along to the swap overs and meeting at the top of the field to holler support as the rest of the team did there laps.

My second lap was more enjoyable, I had warmed up and knew what to expect of the route, Bob cycled along once again and I felt more relaxed and able to chat as we went. It felt like a quicker pace although in reality it was only actually a couple of minutes faster.  At this point I was quite keen to try and keep my lap times consistent and ideally under 60 mins.

I’d say my third lap was as enjoyable as the second, I started off at about 20 past 9 as the sun was setting and although I knew it would be dark before I got back I left Bob to sleep as I knew it would be a long night for him.  I loved that it was getting darker as I went but was relieved when Bob caught me up about half way as through those woods it was really quite dark and spooky!!  Other runners were becoming few and far between at this point too so it was great to have some company.  Finishing that lap at about 10:20 I thought I should try get some sleep but it didn’t take me long to realise this wasn’t going to be easy, I think I got a little cat nap in which I must admit really did make the world of difference.

Waking up at 2am for my fourth lap was weird, it was pitch black and I went off a little faster to begin with which meant by the time I hit the half way point at the water station I stopped to take on some fluid and then never really got back into a comfortable rhythm. Following this I did a bit of run walking but luckily Bob was supportive (great slow cycling there Bob!) and he talked me through the rest of the route which helped take my mind off it. I really needed some food after this lap, my stomach hadn’t been great (possibly down to nerves / excitement / who knows) so I felt empty.  Phill did me some toast which was perfect and I had a little sit down before heading in to the tent to close my eyes for a bit.

My next lap started at around 7am and this one was my hardest.  The aim to keep all laps under or around the 60 minute mark was right out the window.  There was a lot of walking, I had stomach cramps, I was tired, there was some heavy breathing and I chatted to a few other runners but just couldn’t get myself comfortable enough to keep running.

I knew I had one more lap in me although there was a very high chance this would be walking rather than running.  At around 10:30am I took off again, I started jogging and I continued to do so (slowly) for a lot of the first 3 miles and then I took on a walk / run approach.  Knowing this was my final lap really helped but I knew that there was no chance of running up that last hill so I just accepted this would be another slower lap and enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t going to be going round again ha ha!

​Dan had arrived with a macdonalds delivery and the tents had all been put away, we collected our medals and waited for Tina to come round the corner.  We had decided we would all run in together with her for that last stretch along the field and it was great.  

Running in together, struggling to keep up with Tina 😂

I loved the team atmosphere of this event as being a runner is often all about your own performance but this was different.  It wasn’t about speed, it was about being part of a team and enjoying each others company even when not running.  Helping each other out as much as possible and having the support crew was as essential as having runners in the team because without them we wouldn’t have been able to get as many laps in as we did.

I loved spending the weekend with these guys, I really enjoyed the event and hope we can do more events like this together 😀

The crew 😊

Rachet’s rundown: If it’s not one thing it’s another….

After getting my mojo back for running on Saturday we went for a lovely casual ride for cake on Sunday, anyone who has seen me ride a bike knows full well this does not come naturally to me.  We thought we’d do a ‘little’ cycle to Mersea enjoying a stop off at Marias Vintage Tearoom for a drink and cake.  It didn’t start off too well when the husband got a puncture before even meeting up (there’s always one 🤦🏻‍♀️), with no spare inner tube (don’t worry though, he has a new gadget that can tell us all sorts of stats 🙄) it’s a good job we have someone with us who knows what they are doing – thanks Phill.  32 miles later and my backside is no longer my friend, however I did surprise myself!  OK, it may not have been fast and it certainly wasn’t pretty but I cycled 30 miles!!  I had a lot of help from the other cyclists, gear changing, getting the seat in the right place, pumping a tyre up, a little push up the hills (really needed that! 😀) but I really enjoyed it!  It was great fun to change things up a bit from the running and I really think it will help improve my fitness if I can get myself out cycling regularly.  If I am honest I am not sure how I would feel about getting out there on my own, still not overly confident but I guess that will just take time.  I am turning in to a right sweater as well, apparently this is a good thing although I am not sure I like it!  Maybe I am being  a little too keen and optimistic but I have had a little look at the Farleigh Ride for Life event in September, perhaps I could make the 50km route…..

The weekend was going exceptionally well and I was feeling really happy, until the shituations took hold, another flare up – great, if it’s not one thing it’s another!!  I’m going to have to change the name of my blog at this rate, ‘rachetmoans’ ? or ‘rachettrystorun’ ?, how about ‘rachetgetthehellonwithit’ ??  Tuesday’s run at club was quite uncomfortable but I have been doing a lot of research on IBS and IBD whilst waiting for results from the Dr and exercise is a positive thing when dealing with either of these (if anyone has any experience and advice on this I’d be grateful to hear it).  A little google search has given me some advice, a lot of which is likely to be trial and error and if I am having a flare up I may need to hold back a bit or take a rest day.  On that note spin today didn’t happen, I was quite looking forward to it as well after the success at the weekend.

Anyway, this weekend is Spitfire time! 😁  I’ve been looking forward to this for ages and I will not let the tummy issues spoil it, I’ve got the packing spreadsheet on the go and I have started to get bits ready.  Having slept in the sleeping bag a couple of times I can confirm it is monster proof and comfortable!  Not really sure what to expect of the event having never done anything like this before, the camping alone is a new thing for me and in all honesty I have been concentrating on that more than the actual running!  I think it’s very much a case of lets go and enjoy ourselves!  I’ll try to remember the GoPro 😂

Saturday parkrun / long run – GoPro attempt #2

And my mojo has returned 😀 Very happy about this, loved todays run which consisted of a little jog to parkrun then parkrun and finished off with 7/8 miles off road around Beeleigh.  This is a lovely shaded route which was ideal (good suggestion Jo 😉) and I completely changed my way of thinking which took the pressure off for me and meant I could really enjoy it.  I don’t think this has been helping, I beat myself up about poor performance but at the end of the day its all about time on my feet, the speed will come back to me with a bit of time and effort, I know it will 👍🏼

Kyle Kranz (@kyle_j_kranz online running coach) tweeted the following earlier this week and I think he’s hit the nail right on the head: “A happy runner is an improving runner.  Be mindful of what increases your happiness in life & running, and increase that.” If you are on twitter you should give him a follow.

With regard to the GoPro attempt, there was a little mishap with this – user error shall we say, I left it on the kitchen table 🤦🏻‍♀️  I think I’ll give it another go next weekend at Spitfire 😂 (Can. Not. Wait).

Is 32 too young for a mid-life crisis?

Only I think I am having one.  Who, in their right mind signs up to cover 75miles over 2 days??!  I am struggling to get my head around it at the moment, what with last weekend’s Stort10 turning into Stort5 and the horrendous long run I had just a couple of weeks ago I am starting to question my sanity and ability.  I feel like my training is going backwards, if it’s not my mind giving up it’s my body – please tell me I’m not the only one feeling this? I am smartening up my diet, food for fuel and all that (cake is good carb loading, right?), turning up for training (mostly mentally as well as physically) and doing my long runs.  So why is it getting harder?!

I’ve also just heard from Saltmarsh Ben (the most laid back person I know when it comes to training) and apparently he did 60 miles over the weekend, 30 miles each day in the Cotswold Way Challenge.  Well Done Ben, that’s great – brilliant achievement!! Lessons learnt from Ben which I will certainly take on board:

  1. Look after your feet and accept that you will need to stop / rest for a few hours over the day.  You’ll get back the time later by moving quicker
  2. Pack light – I took way too much with me on day 1.
  3. Change socks and t-shirt during the day – makes you feel mountain fresh for at least 10 mins which is well worth it!
  4. Drink lots
  5. 60 miles is a F-ing long way to run/walk.
  6. Take music for the dark times – I didn’t.
  7. Walking is bloody SLOW… be prepare to think way outside running times. i.e. 10k to go is not just over an hour at 20min mile ‘plodding whilst crying’ pace.

Thanks Ben, I think this has highlighted just how much I need to up my game….. 

Right, it’s time to snap out of this – lets put our positive pants on and get on with it.  We run for fun right, that’s why we are doing this – personal achievement and for enjoyment so this is exactly what we need to do.  Lovely weekend coming up which includes an enjoyable parkrun / long run and then a jolly cycle for some cake (stay off the road chaps).  9 Days until Spitfire, I am so excited for this!! I’ve got my packing spread sheet ready…. Who want’s a copy??

Oh, and it turns out I misunderstood the meaning of Arthur (not Arfa after all) – completely stitched myself up with that one didn’t I 🤦🏻‍♀️

Just call me Arfa

Yep, I’ve done it again – bit worried this nickname is going to stick at this rate (please Phill, don’t make this one stick!).  It’s not something I want to get into the habit of I can tell you, but 10 miles yesterday just wasn’t meant to be.  It feels like I am constantly making excuses for my poor performances.  Although I felt ok in myself – it was warm but I was enjoying the pace and running in a Trio, the pain in my hip just wouldn’t give up. Every downward step on that left leg I felt pain and it wasn’t fading.  I was worried I was making it worse by continuing to run and didn’t want to risk being out for the week if I continued so I made the decision to stop after the 5 miles instead of completing the full 10.

To be fair I am happy with my time for the 5miles but I am disappointed I didn’t do the 10, such a crap feeling when you don’t manage to achieve what you set out to do. The run itself wasn’t quite what I had expected – I thought there’d be a lot more running through the woods and tree’s with shelter but it felt more like we were running in open fields in direct sun which I know some people really struggled with.  The marshal support was brilliant and everything was very well organised in the lead up to the run and on the day, plus I still got a goody bag, t shirt and mug for completing the 5 miles so that’s always a bonus.

I tell you what did cheer me up whilst I was uncomfortably trying to sit, stand, stretch, ice (get the violins out) – we had our picture taken with the one and only Frank Bruno (who’d started the race)!  We then got to cheer our Zoe and Chris through the finish as they completed the full 10 miles (yep, hardcore these two).

Half way through the year already – how?!

I thought I’d put some effort in to parkrun this morning, why oh why is it just getting harder and harder?! OK I wasn’t pushing to the point of wanting to vom but I was still giving it some, there was sweat, a red face and a time which is about 3 minutes off where I want to be.  Always disappointing when I know I can do better, but I just need to keep pushing on and putting the effort in – I’m sure I can get there, can’t I?!

1st of July, how did that happen!!  Half way through the year, I guess this is a good time to look back and take in how far I have come.  Although I feel like I am in a bit of a dip right now, when I look back over the last 6 months I should be feeling proud of my achievements.  To be fair to myself I haven’t done bad.  Not only have I actually managed to run a whole marathon – something I wasn’t sure I was capable of at the beginning of the year but I have also got a few PB’s along the way.

4 PB’s – not too shabby 😏

Looking forward to the second half of the year I still have many challenges coming up and I hope to make some satisfying progress along the way.  I’ve still got a lot to learn and whilst I’m not quite where I’d like to be with my running at the moment, it’s a great learning curve so I am making the most of that.  Priority is remaining injury free and enjoying my running and I am confident that progression and improvement will come naturally with this as long as I keep putting the effort in.

I have had some lovely comments about my blog this week and if writing this blog helps to motivate or inspire others then that is probably one of my biggest personal achievements so far this year.  Whether its reading about the anxiety, the running or just generally making you want to get out there and be active – I love that you are reading it and the supportive comments mean so much to me.