Iberian sunshine and helado





Good morning runners! Here we are in our shiny new home* and here I am in Portugal. I arrived with the family yesterday after a few days in Sunny Seville. And when I sunny, what I actually mean is "good god I've been in colder saunas than this". Running in the morning was one thing, but even I wasn't quite insane enough to try an evening recovery run when it was still nearing 40 degrees at 9pm. Though I confess I was a bit tempted ...

It was brilliant, though, to be back in Seville - where I ran the the marathon in February this year** even it made me realise quite how little of a 26.2 mile course I actually take in when I'm racing. Bits of the city would suddenly look very familiar, though largely in a "Oh yes, that's where I nearly tripped over the tram tracks" way rather than a "Oh yes, I remember admiring the magnificence of the world's largest Gothic cathedral" way. Most of it, though, was a blur.

So while back in Spain, I might not have done a huge amount of mileage when it comes to running, but did walk a good 10km every day, which was pretty good going in the heat for the little ones. Fortunately plentiful excellent helado was at hand to cool them down. (In that picture on the right, I believe they are contemplating an emergency call to Spanish Childline).

And so to Portugal, where we arrived at Club Med yesterday. This morning I went out for a 40 minute run that took me into very familiar territory - near to Falesia where the 2:09 training camp takes place. So now for a day of hardcore relaxation, another run later, possibly some core work at the gym and a bit of a swim. Yeah, I really know how to relax. Then again, given the extent of the all-inclusive buffet here, I think I'll probably need to run about 26.2 miles a day.

So, over to you. I hope you've all managed to log in - any complaints, please see the management. Oh wait, that's me now, isn't it?

*I didn't invent the sign up system, sorry
**Did I mention it was sub 3? It was sub 3. Yes it was.

Comments

  1. Midweek, I was away in the campervan, staying right next to Chatsworth House in the Peak District. I was primarily there to cycle and had only taken one set of running kit with me. However, at the campsite, you were given a key to unlock a door into Chatsworth Park, so we decided to go and have a look the first evening we were there. Well, as you opened the door it was like stepping out into a magic kingdom for running! Beautiful open expanses of grounds with the most amazing views! After, my first utterances of “WOW” I think I said I’d be needing to wash my running kit so that I could run a few times.
    So, early the next morning, I was out running and exploring the grounds, and taking photos. I came across a herd of Fallow deer, who clearly had seen idiots like me try to get closer to get a photo, so they got up and walked away, but not without me managing to get something like a decent picture. I then ran to the local village, Edensor before making my way towards a tower on the top of a ridge. I had no idea how to get there but found a road, then a track that required me to walk more than run as it was so steep, at one point I felt like I was channelling my inner Markr23 and other trail runners. I got to the tower and then discovered that there was a road that lead me back down which I decided to take for safety reasons, but that was steep as well and made it much more difficult to run down than I’d imagined.
    My second run involved less climbing but gave me the chance to explore other parts of the park. This time I came across a herd of Red deer crossing the road as I was heading towards them. They were a bit bothered by the fact that there was me on one side and a vehicle approaching from the other. The good thing was that they decided not to move too far from the road, so I was able to get a good look at them as I ran past. Other than the deer and some staff heading into work, I had the place to myself, it was beautiful even when it started raining heavily for the last 1.5 miles.
    Then yesterday I was ready to run at 10.30am, late for me, but it had started raining heavily, and being a wimp, I decided to hold back a few hours until it was showery. I tried to work out what kind of pace would be sustainable for my upcoming HM. But given that I’ve got tired legs from a lot of cycling as well, I’m non the wiser at the moment!

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    2. I love the notion of getting a key!

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    3. And it was a old high brick wall as well OL, so you had no idea what was in store for you!

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    4. The Secret Garden was a favourite book of mine as a child, this is totally feeding into that fantasy! :-D

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    5. Sounds wonderful, BHP. Sometimes, when I'm out really early, the sun's coming up, and I'm surrounded by such incredible beauty, I marvel that I'm the only person experiencing it!

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    6. Pics looked lovely - and the secret garden nature of it makes it even better!

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    7. I wondered how you'd got into Chatsworth and why there was no-one else there Pete! What a lovely treat.

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    8. Your photos were lovely Pete, as is your write-up here

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    9. Cheers TrixieBacon, Caragh, squirblej, ruby & Paul. I'd definitely recommend Chatsworth as a place to run if you ever get the chance.

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  2. Morning everyone! Greetings from the Danish countryside where we're experiencing our first proper bad weather day so it's time for a cosy fire. The last week has been glorious with beautiful light, weather and whole lot of wildlife including cormorants, deer and a lot of unidentifiable flowers. At this time of year half of Denmark often smells like it's fermenting as all the summer fruit falls to the ground. There's an abundance of apples, mirabelles, red currants, plums, pears and even some cherries. The rosehips by the beach are enormous and so healthy looking but I actually don't have a clue what to do with them so I'm just admiring them a lot! On my Saturday run I picked up some red currants and ran the last 500m with them in my hand so we could have them in a salad. Amazingly they survived with minimal hand staining. Next challenge mirabelles...

    My running is a struggle at the moment to be honest. It's been a tough few months at work and the heat seemed to wreck any chance of me sticking to a proper training plan. So I'm a bit hit and miss and I have no speed whatsoever again. I've managed to get out a few times as well as cycling but my legs feel like lead, not helped by running a lot on very sandy ground. I'm hoping that I'm ticking over sufficiently to get me into autumn race preparation with a bit of a foundation.

    Looking forward to continuing all the lovely connections here. :-)

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    1. My running's been a bit patchy in the heat, too. Looking forward to cooler autumn running – although I didn't make it out this morning : /

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    2. Rosehip jelly! Yum yum. Make it like crabapple jelly.

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    3. I was wondering whether you managed to make it back without eating (too) many of those currants, OL

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    4. I like the idea of a relay, and rather than passing the baton, you have to pass a handful of soft fruit to the next member of the squad. Penalty seconds would be given for damaged fruit!

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    5. You'd have to select your fruit carefully based on time of year and location. A unripe peach would be an unfair advantage

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  3. Hey! Happy to see this and congratulations, Kate. I don't think you'd told anyone about your sub-3. Details, please.

    Anyone got any advice about the ridding of Plantar Fasciitis, other than stretching, RICE and "just being patient like a Galapagos tortoise for two years"? It's not as agonisingly painful as it was at the beginning of the year, but a 10k run still makes me limp for the next 24 hours. Boo.

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    1. "I don't think you'd told anyone about your sub-3"

      You're kidding, right :)

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    2. My PF cleared in ten weeks and has not been back in a year. Aside from stretching, I did calf raises, massaged my foot and the front of my calf (tibialis anterior), cut back on hill running and did no speed running at all, did feet-strengthening exercises (crab walking, lifting/grabbing pens and towels, raising toes while keeping feet flat, balance board stuff...) and alternated between different pairs of shoes. No idea what was most beneficial (or if it was a combination of everything).

      I went to see a physio, who also gave some suggestions on how to strengthen my calf muscles once the PF had let off, which may or may not have contributed to it not coming back.

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  4. Glad you're relaxing Kate, it sounds an ideal start to post-Guardian life!

    I had the Inklusionslauf at Tempelhof at the weekend, hoping not only for a PB but a minor milestone of getting under 45 minutes for the first time. It was a bit hot but okay compared to recent temperatures in Berlin - started well, found it hard, clung on to the back of Speedy Mate pacing me and squeezed over the line in 42 minutes 9 seconds. For a magnificent 9.6km PB. Marvellous.

    I don't really resent the race for being short, it's a fun run for charity and inclusion rather than a serious competition as can be seen by 1) the fact they hardly separate skaters, rollis and runners in the listings and 2) me being fourth. But still...it would easily have been 44-something, box ticked. Gah.

    Anyway, I have another chance in a couple of weeks though I dunno if I'll manage without someone to follow...we'll see. I certainly won't manage if I continue eating like this weekend which contained pizza, curry and ice cream. Cracking at the time but I feel the size of a house now.

    Well done to everyone getting out and about, looking forward to reading all the stories in the brave new world.

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    1. "I don't really resent the race" Methinks the man doth protest... ;-)

      cracking effort HD at the once popular distance of '36 metres short of 6 miles'.

      I've a feeling you'd have skipped the 44s completely and found yourself with a 43.5x...looking good for the next attempt!

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    2. I can pace you on the bike if they're as easy-going as the Inklusionlauf!

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    3. Never mind the running HD, which was definitely of the PB category, consuming THAT pizza on your own would have given you an even bigger PB!

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    4. OL - thanks but I suspect SCC and Tierpark might be a little stricter!

      Pete - even trying that on my own would have left me whimpering in a ball...I think there was just over half a slice and some crust left between three of us. Four if you count Junior Handsome, though he didn't really pull his weight!

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    5. Nothing to stop you running ofc and bringing your visitors to the zoo!

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    6. Yes, yes, I'm still thinking about it!

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    7. Don't think I've got pizza eating as one of my cutomised Garmin activities. Would have made a nice new estimated best effort that.

      Oh - well done on the run btw!

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    8. Just seen the pic of the pizza 😮

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  5. I ran 5k on Saturday in just over 23 minutes...without a break.

    A post-prolapse PB (PPPB) by 13 minutes.

    Run(ning) Faster.



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    1. That's great asta! (Do we have to add the diacritics now?)

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    2. Well done that make with the hieroglyphs!
      Řűñ Fäśțêř¡

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    3. I hope you find that heartening, Asta. Well done.

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    4. I thought PPPB stood for Post-Pregnancy PB, but sure, I’ll allow it.

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    5. Yay! And that's only going to get quicker and quicker...

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  6. On holiday too near Abbeville in northern France and yesterday took on the locals in the Cro Magnon trail race. Just under 16km with 200m of climbing it needed a bit more preparation than I was prepared to give it on the second day of a week's holiday. Amazingly from a British perspective they put on a well organised race with a technical tee all for €10.

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  7. Ran my 2nd 10K on Sunday in Carlisle. Really enjoyed it and knocked almost 2 minutes off my previous 10K time

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  8. If I don't run the local parkrun, I'll be volunteering at it. My general plan was to run the Saturday one, and volunteer at juniors. The damn heat means I've been volunteering more on Saturday, as I can't be doing running in the hot. This week I ran the first one for a while. It felt marvellous to be chilly before setting off, and it was cheering that various people said how glad they were to see me running. It also felt hard, but I wasn't a slow as I could have been : )

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    1. 'I wasn't as slow as I could have been' is a great motto Trixie! I can relate.

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  9. I intended to go out early for my long run and finish wat my local parkrun who were celebrating heir 100th Run. On the plan was a happy-making but slightly terrifying jump from 1hr45 to 2hr15 “easy” (oh how things change - wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at that just over a year ago) so I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel. Anyway, MrB is currently suffering random bouts of insomnia, so he’d only had 3 hrs sleep when the small boy woke up just as I was about to go out. I’m an idiot quite often when it comes to over-prioritising running but for once I managed to shut out my “but that was the plan” voice and stayed back until one boy had had more sleep and the other was back asleep (having covered me in a fine film of porridge). That meant that I didn’t get out until 9.30 so not my normal inning comfort zone but I’m pleased to report that bar an extreme case of Runger 1hr in (I never used to get that) it was indeed an easy run. I even took in some of the Harrow Half route (3 weeks time - can we get a TMD takeover? There’s spaces) and 18miles. Still can’t quite imagine another 1hr15 / 8 miles....

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    1. So, other people have "that was the plan" thoughts that are difficult to suppress as well. And Runger, I had my first bad experience of it yesterday and felt really dizzy, had to slow down but didn't stop!
      But great going, 18 miles is no mean feat when there are other pressing issues that take precedence!

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    2. I am very lucky to have an OH who gets it. i suspect that a lot of us on here have that “it’s in the plan” - it’s a blessing and a curse! Would never get the consistency of training without it but it also has the danger of not judging when it’s time to ease off

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    3. Ah, the dreaded child interruption. Last week it was night terrors every two hours for my second child. Made the morning run a bit more epic than intended. Well done for going out anyway!

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    4. Runger! That's brilliant. And I most definitely had a bad case of it on my (dreadful) run this morning.

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    5. @Squirblej yeah... it's a joyful issue to have but my runner brain means that ti sometimes takes me a moment to remember that. For example this morning we were going away on hols. Thankfully the MiniB slept until 8 (after his night sessions) so I then was late again going for my morningrun and Mr B wanted to get going, so we agreed to do a buggy joint run in the evening at our holiday destination. But Mr B's calf issues flared up again 1 mile in, so then I had the 'do I stay back with you or go on' debate... Moral of the story - always go for a run first thing (and get your husband to do his stretches)

      @Ruby GeeGee I kid you not - I used to do pretty much all my training unfuelled (on the way to work) but since having the MiniB my runs are at different times so less are unfuelled, which means I've got used to food AND then of course I'm more active during the day and breastfeeding too... which all adds up to the new and not very welcome raging runger!

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    6. I don't think I was ever not hungry while breastfeeding - the runger must be unbearable!

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  10. Hello, folks. Well this is exciting, innit? Brave new world that has such people in it (mostly the same people who were at the Guardian, like).

    A so-so week for me, spent mostly on the treadmill due to yet another period of intense heat. Felt great on Thursday and ramped up the pace for the last couple of km of 9, then got through 5k outdoors on Friday, which was really tough. My plan said 18km for Sunday, and that was only ever going to happen on the mill, so I prepared myself for a long indoor session. Started out well, but possibly increased the pace too much early on and gave up at 16k. A 16k at average 6:00 per km should be ridiculously easy for me, but Tokyo summer does terrible things to my running. I’m still feeling a bit wiped out today. Autumn can’t come soon enough.

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    1. We got a taste of autumn over the late August bank holiday weekend ThD. Yes, much better for running but I'm missing the hot sun already!

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  12. Great to be here in said shiny new home! 🏡

    So after basically an unplanned week off on hols last week I got back on it on Sat. 8 miles at 7.30 pace followed by 16 miles on Sunday morning and 4 in the evening. Taking part in the Reebok Ragnar White Cliffs relay in 4 weeks so piling on the mileage...

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  13. We weren't a million miles from each other, Kate. But whereas you were enjoying 40C heat last week, we had snow! Not for nothing is it called the Sierra Nevada. In fact, I was in Sevilla a few weeks ago... ironically after spending ten days in Portugal en route from northern to southern Spain.
    I've just finished my toughest training week yet. I bagged just the 128 kilometres, but the headline figures are the 15 hours I spent on my feet running up 6,100 metres worth of mountain. I'm in my ante penultimate week in Spain, so I'm filling my running boots with all the mountains I can. My week's running started last Monday (normally a rest day for me) with a vertical kilometre. I did this up unrelenting-yet-runnable gradients (averaging out at about 7%) in 11 kilometres. The following day I did another vertical kilometre, reaching the same high point (which is about 2,400 metres above sea level) in just five kilometres. This was straight up out the village, with gradients reaching 40% in places. Wednesday was an easy recovery day with the crazy ascents continuing on Thursday. I was going to run to a mountain refuge at 3,000 metres above sea level, but mummy cows with babies blocked my path. My knowledge of bovine body language made me turn round and rethink my route. I headed up an unknown path to me, and soon found myself balancing along a narrow path with a sheer drop to one side. This was quite scary as one tumble could have been fatal. I had to remember to pick my feet up and not trip over one of the many rocks. Tough for me as my running style can be best described as 'languid'.
    After another easy day on Saturday (13 kilometres with 500 metres of climbing), I got up early yesterday to head into the high sierra. I couldn't decide on a single route, so I did a mish-mash of several. I climbed 1,700 metres and ran 37 kilometres in a little over four-and-a-half hours, which featured a little pit-stop to eat some bread and honey. It was nice, but bread and peanut butter sustains you more when you are in the mountains!
    I'm feeling good for the races I have lined up when I'm back in the UK. The first two are a 50 km and an 80 km, which I'm treating as training runs for the 132 km in deepest, darkest November. That'll come as a shock after 14 months of skies of Iberian blue.

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    1. Love your exploits Mark, though they are in a league that I can't quite imagine. Your other half must love you or be glad to see the back of you!

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    2. Probably a little bit of both, Pete!

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    3. Don’t know how you do it...!

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    4. I gaze open-mouthed at your Strava as you leap up mountains literally every day. I always had this belief that you did one of those incredible runs a week - now I know you're truly super-human (or half goat).

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    5. Brillaint Mark. I have really enjoyed my virtual year in Spain

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  14. Delighted with the cooler weather last week, a couple of very wet lunchtime runs were joyful. Oh how I’ve missed being able to regulate my own body temperature. 40degrees would have had my whimpering in the most air conditioned place I could find.
    Yesterday was the Great Aberdeen Run half marathon, a glorious 12degC, heavy rain forecast but didn’t appear until much later in the day, so pretty decent running conditions. All went really well. Had a bit of a wobble around the 9 mile mark when the course turned into a pretty brutal headwind. Along the beachfront, no shelter. Pace dropped from a steady 7:30 to nearly 8min miles. Started to see a PB chance slipping away. Turned out of the wind, but then into a slightly uphill and twisty part of the course and felt I’d lost momentum a bit. Was able to convince myself I had lost too much time, PB was still doable, just had to get my head down. There’s a steady drag uphill to just past 12miles, but then there’s a sharp turn and it’s straight and downhill to the finish. Turned up the speed and went hell for leather for the finish (lastest fastest mile again!).
    1:38:46. A PB by 36 seconds. 25th woman and 6th vet. Not bad.
    Marathon training starts now!!! 8 weeks to get into longer run shape for the Dramathon. Doing it as a long easy run (i.e. not a race race) and running it with my other half, but do need to get some proper long runs in over the next few weeks.

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    1. Brilliant running Caragh! It keep you going when you know that if you're going to get a PB it's going to be by seconds, though the mental maths are usually bloody awful by the end of a race!

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    2. My only attempt at math went like this - ‘400m to go, look at watch, 1minute left to finish inside pb, no way I’m doing 400m in less than minute, bugger, wait it’s 2 minutes not 1, keep going it’s a banker!’
      I don’t know why I bother trying to do the sums!

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    3. That’s great running - I always see 9 miles onwards as the real business end of a half-marathon, where it becomes really mentally tough - well done for pushing through and getting that PB.

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    4. Great effort...I imagine moving forward at all into a headwind on the beachfront takes some going!

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    5. Amazing running, well done

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    6. It looked a really good run - very well done Caragh

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    7. It was a fabulous race Caragh, enjoy the feeling of invincibility as long as you can!

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    8. I am in awe of any maths, let alone mid-race and as part of a PB effort. Hat tip.

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    9. Fantastic effort Caragh. Congratulations on the PB, that's an amazing time. My maths goes completely to pot when I'm racing.

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    10. Fab run, and great description! I was sorry to miss GAR this year, but I had a horsey weekend planned. Looked like another good event tho!

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  15. Well it's nice to move in to our new home, I like what you've done with the place Kate 😁

    My only running this week was a 12km local run on Sunday through my local park, down onto the beach around the peninsula, down the beach on the other side and back home. It's my normal 'I could run it with my eyes closed' route.

    I've decided to re-enter the HM I did in mid-October last year (my first), so had better get with the programme!

    Auckland is still cold and wet, can't wait for Spring.

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    1. I’ve not managed to do my first HM again (it’s very close to my birthday), but would be great to do it and see the difference / improvement. Though the maxim ‘it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster’ probably means it’d still feel as hard!

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  16. Hello all, it’s nice to have this forum to share our running and life chats. I’m on holiday armed with running kit but have tweaked my calf falling off my kayak in the North Wales surf and following it up with a very long game of beach cricket. I will get out onto the Llyn Peninsular Coast path later this week having explored it with the dog earlier. I was very envious of a couple of runners going down the steps to Fisherman’s Cove near Aberdaron so the calf injury won’t stop me for long because I want to do that too. Happy running, everyone!

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    1. Enjoy the breezy conditions GJ. Hope the leg recovers!

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    2. It's always the extra-curricular activites that cause the injuries. I lost some running time earlier in the year tobogganing. Llyn peninsula is lovely. I am envious.

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    3. Hi Pete and Glenn, I did that run this morning. Only 5.75k but great. Those steps into the coves are killers. I noticed on Strava that these are segments and people on the Llyn Peninsula ultra just skipped up them whereas I was huffing and puffing like Ivor the engine. Beach sprints planned for later in the week.

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  17. After running a lot last week, I did slightly less but at a slower pace. My legs were still aching from my long run by Tuesday, I sat back during the club run Wednesday, Friday was my birthday (Yes, cake) so just tried out my new watch and enjoyed it a bit, then Sunday I took my own advice from last week and did my long run pulled back a fair bit. Paced a friend as well during that, we managed 23KM at 5:00/KM so he's happy with that. Taper now for the GNR, I'm not sure if I'll manage a PB (Edinburgh is a very easy course, so will be hard to beat) but it's always an enjoyable run anyway.
    That said, if the weather was like yesterday I'll have a fair chance (Polar opposite to Portugal and Seville with 10 degrees, cloudy, and very little wind).

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  18. Oh dear. Here were are. Hello everyone! I had to change my screen name to a bit of a portmanteau of a pre-existing name and my guardian name. Although I think, as this is in service to running, the new hybrid moniker would more correctly be called a 'sportmanteau'.

    Friday marked week 3 of my all-out sprint experiment. 8 90m sprints punctuated by about 15 secs of walking. This is on an indoor track, which accounts for the odd distances. I try to focus on form and forward movement. The effort is genuine; it probably looks ridiculous. Afterwards, there are quivering quads followed by soreness and a plodding 30 minute run on Saturday.

    Yesterday, I was back out at the local gorge for another go at the 10k loop. At 6pm, the temp was 33C. The trails were a fun mix of mud and slippery rock. I picked it up where I could but it was slow going and I was wary of the heat. I had to take a small break when a mother-and-child deer combo on the path declined to yield. Then the fawn decided it would approach me, with the mum paying no attention. Hooved mammals are my specialty, I know, but angry mums of any species are not. Eventually, mum took notice of me, called junior to order and they shuffled off into the brush.

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    1. Right, here goes. I Had a decent week of running. Did a local 10k I'd never done before that has a free ice-cream at the end, in fact it starts at the ice-cream shop to motivate you. Weather was ok but there is a definite change now and there was a strong wind to make you work that wee bit harder. The route was a pretty straight out and back so you get plenty of time to see how far you have to go which is in no way dispiriting...at all.
      I also try not to look at my watch now, bar a glance at halfway, so I just give it everything I have and hope for the best so at the 5k point I saw I was setting a good pace of 26 minutes but wasn't sure I could sustain it. The route was mostly flat but there was a climb and I felt myself flagging on it so put a bit of a spurt on when I reached the top. I had company from a local club runner for the last 2km and that helped keep my pace higher than I might otherwise have managed, although she left me for dead with a sprint in the last 300m or so. Crossing the line I near doubled up from the exertion but obviously stared blinking and gasping at my Garmin...52:31! BLOODY HELL, absolutely smashing my previous best by over a minute. I'm not saying the lure of ice-cream was the cause but I can't deny it tasted amazing once I stopped gasping and blinking.

      Saturday saw me at Parkrun as usual. This one was pan flat as I was doing a cycling sportive on the Sunday which was full of hills so I just wanted to stretch my legs. Inevitably 'taking it easy' is never an option and I ended up setting my fastest time yet on that course.

      Sunday was a very different matter but unless this becomes a Cycling blog too I'll save that for elsewhere

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    2. Great PB! Ice cream would be a good motivator for me too. Cycling chat is OK with me!

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    3. I can't believe you aren't going to talk about your cycle sportive BVP! Some good climbing there.

      And what flavour of ice cream got you over the line in your new pb? Congrats by the way!

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    4. Cheers guys. It was Raspberry Ripple that spurred me on. I'll do a blog for the sportive (once I've recovered fully, some time in 2019 I think 😆)

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  19. So... this is where all the cool kids hang out. Good to see everyone, now I feel silly for crying so much.

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  20. The main even this weekend was the long drive back from France, where I enjoyed several good, if hilly, runs. So I delayed my long run to this morning and it wasn’t one I was entirely looking forward to: 16 miles at marathon pace. After a struggle to get up to speed for the first couple of miles, I got into a decent rhythm and completed the session in reasonable shape, though I’m still not sure it’s really achievable for the full 26.2.

    Anyway, it’s a relatively light week from here on, with the Maidenhead half on Sunday as a tune-up to look forward to.

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    1. The half marathon is going to be a great test of how ready you are! Hard to do 16m at MP after such a good week of French bills...

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    2. Yes, looking forward to it, though my ability to translate my half marathon times to the full distance hasn’t been the best to date.

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  21. Thanks for setting the new blog up. I would have missed my Monday running fix otherwise. I did contribute to the blog a couple of years back but have just enjoyed reading the comments recently. I managed a 10 mile pb at 1h12min59sec this weekend - https://www.strava.com/activities/1798199093 - (very) slowly making headway to my ultimate goal of a 40 minute 10k.

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  22. Just an easy 10-miler on Sunday, with a fast finish.

    Wednesday I head to Ireland, and on Saturday I will start (and hopefully finish) the Dingle Marathon. I'm starting to feel rather nervous.

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  23. Black Hill Park run for me on Saturday. Which I get to do about once a month but is the only park run I do due to an inability to get out of bed in time to travel further afield. I was feeling decidedly under the weather on Saturday morning but gave it a go and knocked about a minute off my PB getting around in 25:20. I thought, if I can do this feeling rough, what could I do if I was feeling my usual healthy self. Actually, I didn't just think it, I didn't shut up about it all weekend...but you guy's will understand that..right?

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    1. Taking a minute off your previous best is really good - well done!

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    2. Thank you Paul. I hadn't even realised I'd got a PB until the results were emailed through!

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  24. Hello all! A first really good week of running for me for many months - I don’t know if it was the summer heat, a new job, or a virus (or some combination) but have been struggling with intensity since June.


    But last week managed a 21k treadmill session at 6k 4.05, 1k 3.50 repeats, and then 33k at the weekend without feeling achey and tired afterwards. So feel back on the mend, severe cold and cough notwithstanding.

    Just need to manage through a trip to the Philippines for 2 days next week (!) and then planning a long run with lovebison on the 9th as we tune up for our respective marathons. Feeling good!

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  25. Really good read again, glad you have continued writing after The Guardian!
    Couple of short runs logged while down in Norfolk, now to keep my form going in the not-so-picturesque suburbs of Manchester.

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  26. No running for me this weekend as I was in woods in deepest East Sussex, helping set up for a festival. Saturday was mostly spent banging things into other things, and lugging stuff about.

    Anyway, about four weeks ago I signed up for Rutland Water half marathon in a 'I should really get one in before my first trail half' sort of way, then going through my training plan realised I actually had very little time left to actually - erm - train. So I've been upping my long runs steadily since then and this week had the delight of doing 12.

    You know when nothing comes together? I knew after about four miles that it was going to be a struggle, legs felt like jelly, head was asking for at least another three hours in bed and I had the runger (thanks Gill) bad. I was also pacing it appallingly - my splits were all over the place. At 9 miles I texted a friend with a pathetic cry for help. She replied 'Keep going superwoman, it's the tough ones that make us runners'. It did the trick: I repeated that to myself over and over and somehow managed to struggle through the final four. Everyone needs a running friend at the end of a text.

    Looking back at Strava it wasn't actually that bad. But I felt dreadful. Why do we have those runs? Last weekend 11 miles felt like a walk in the park!

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    1. >> Saturday was mostly spent banging things into other things, and lugging stuff about.

      Oh, have you taken up CrossFit?

      :)

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    2. My memory of the paths I've been on around Rutland Water is that there are some short sharp inclines but nothing horrible. Whilst the paths are used for cycling as well I do remember that they are not very wide. I do hope that they leave all the gates open though. Good luck with the training, today was a bank holiday blip, put it behind you and tell yourself you got through an unpleasant 12 miles - great preparation!

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    3. That's helpful Pete, thanks. I'm not anticipating it being a PB course that's for sure. We all have crappy runs from time to time - I've not had one for a while so it was probably owing.

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    4. Jer/Remember - the way my body felt the next day it may as well have been Cross Fit!

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    5. Well done for struggling through Ruby. Your friend is dead right. You'll be all the stronger for this.

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    6. Always always there's a bad one. It's so you know you can push on through it. Just as valuable a thing to practice as any other part of the race.

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    1. Sounds more like some training for extreme heat running... perhaps MdS??!

      Despite still not feeling right, I ran for the first time in over 4 weeks on Saturday morning in my local parkrun. I had a gentle jog down to the park, with every intention on plodding round just to see how I'd do.

      It was the 9th anniversary of this parkrun, and they changed the course around so it turns out I was standing right at the very front of the start line. Turns out that I'm rubbish at sticking to a plan, I went out very quick, thinking I've got no endurance at the moment from not running, so I'll drop off as soon as I start feeling it. Felt it but decided that I could rock on through. Didn't really slow that much at all, overtook a few people on the way round, legs went when the end was in sight, but forced myself on.

      The course was slightly short, but I did get a new parkrun pb (I won't claim a 5k pb though) of 19.14, came 17th and 2nd M40-44, which is bizarre given the lack of running I've done. Definitely paying for it now though, legs are knackered.

      On the injury front, turns out I need a steroid injection in one of my calves to try help the recovery process (full of scar tissue from years of tears), and I'm going to have surgery on my back to part of the disc cut away which is impinging on the nerve on the right leg. Waiting to hear when surgery will be now, but happy that I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

      Have a good week all.

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  28. I have a race in 2 weeks which is short and steep. 14km and 700m ascent. I ran a 16km/700m at the weekend and it felt ok. The race will be a bit different from training though. It will be at a higher elevation and instead of running in the gentle embrace of tall trees I will be running along some sections with exposure (the race directions say 'a fall from here would have very serious consequences'). So, we will see.

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    1. The idea that falling leads to "serious consequences" makes me feel nauseous! But you trail runners seem to be able to compartmentalize these things! Good luck Glenn.

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    2. To some extent, Pete. I just try to relax, smile and only look at the trail and remind myself that nobody has died yet on that race. But if I don't post after next week.. Well, at least I was out enjoying myself.

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    3. These types of races are always good at focusing the mind, Glenn!

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  29. Evening all; may as well start as I mean to go on, ahem. After trying a 2 month break from running to try to let my ankle recover (without success), I have been trying a new strategy - to try to "work" it and increase its tolerance by running a little at a time, 2 to 4 km at moderate pace, trying to adjust to running every 3, or even 2, days. It started okay, but my last run was probably too much - 4.5 km at 5:15/km which is tempo pace for me - I would probably be better off more at endurance pace, and a bit shorter. Anyway, result is left ankle is quite painful now all the time and right knee also has a problem.

    Before this latest run I saw a new physio, my 3rd(!). I would have been happy to go back to the 1st one I went to last Autumn, but she isn't available on the work medical scheme I've since joined. The 2nd one I saw this June/July was a disappointment - not once did he lay hands on my ankle to examine it, and seemed to be giving me general exercises rather than ones targetted at my injury. I didn't have confidence in him. So after 3 sessions, I decided enough was enough and fortunately Nuffield let me transfer to someone who is also a runner and was recommended by a keen runner I know. What a difference! He asked probing questions, watched me stand, walk, squat and lunge, all without pain but with poor form. Then, on the bed, he started manipulating the ankle, flexing it (pain) and pressing in key spots (big pain). My homework: no exercises for the time being, but alternating hot water/cold water foot baths and, especially, lots of self-massage of peroneals, really getting into the tight spots. It seems to be a peroneal tendinopathy thing, also with some ligament stress. After this, work is required to build strength (glutes I think) and hip stability, to improve poor biomechanics, otherwise it will likely keep reoccurring. I really can't wait to do a parkrun again and am just trying to do what I can to keep cardio fitness.

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    1. Glad that you're at the point that you have faith in a physio and can see a way forward Paul. It's horrible when you get a physio who seems to be missing the point, I've been there and it's frustrating.

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    2. Definitely always worth having a physio who is also a runner - makes a huge difference. Have you considered aqua jogging Paul? It worked wonders for me when I couldn't run, and it's surprising how much it helps maintain fitness. It's useful finding someone to go with if you can though - doing it alone does make you feel very self-conscious!

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    3. Yes, the physio was wearing shorts, running shoes and Garmin, so that alone was a thumbs up. Re aqua jogging Ruby, it may come to that - would have to get over my dislike of chlorinated water. Pete often posts about having a pool all to himself so quite envious of that.

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    4. Hold on to that physio and never let them go! 🙂 hope they help to sort you out so you can run pain free again!

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  30. Hmmm. I am sorry to hear that Paul. It sounds quite serious, but at least you have a plan now. I hope you can get back together with running soon

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  31. New blog seems to be working out well, Kate. I really enjoyed the counterpoint in the photos between the grand gothic cathedral and your two grumpy-looking children.

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  32. Dear Kate, Portugal sounds amazing! I’m currently in Italy (Garda Lake) and struggling to prevent myself from eating all the pizzas and gelato :-) I’m running a marathon in less than two weeks so I’m also trying to fit in some runs. Keeping balance is though though. Have a great time in Portugal. And kudos to your girls! Ciao!

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  33. Any one here ever run Mexico marathon? Just been reading about the cool medals that made loads of people want to cheat. Shame such a great idea backfired

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  34. Hi all - great to see so many of you here!

    Saturday morning was intervals for me - 8x600m targeting 3m55/km and, for the first time in ages, actually getting close to that on all of them. I think the cooling of the weather has a lot to do with that.

    Sunday and today, just 2km quick blasts. Going to haveha bit of a cut back week now, I've done >60k/wk for the last three weeks and on my longer runs I'm really struggling to hold paces I know I should be able to, so an easier week without so much volume seems to be called for.

    At least, I hope that will help. Else I'm nowhere near as fit as I think I am...

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  35. On holiday in South Devon eeking out the last of the summer. Managed three swims, three runs and three large fish and chip suppers. Did 7 miles on the glorious coastal path this morning. At one point I ran down a hill onto a beach with both my arms outstretched (having a phoebe moment). Felt good to be running.

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    1. There's something about running on coast paths. On holiday in Norfolk this year I would have been happy to have run on it every day, for the entire summer.

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  36. Evening all. Nice to read about everyone's exploits and Seville looks fabulous Kate. Well the summer seemed like a distant memory yesterday when running the Severn Bridge half in filthy weather - almost constant rain and blustery winds. Easier than the heat we've had in previous weeks though and once you're wet you're wet.

    Apart from the two traverses of the old bridge, most of the race takes place on the English side and was more or less undulating the whole way, but nothing too taxing until we came to a bastard of a hill at about halfway which has got to be the steepest thing I've ever raced up. I say raced, by the top it was baby steps only but I did run the whole thing while everyone around me was walking (I felt I was going to keel over by the top but having passed a couple of dozen people on the way I couldn't give up). The lumpy nature of the course and the lumpier nature of my recent training meant that I achieved my worst ever competitive time for a half (1:54:26) but after a difficult few weeks recently I was pleased to have got this under my belt.

    Unfortunately it leaves me with no idea how to pace Berlin in here weeks. I'm tempted to still go off at 4 hour pace and see how it goes but having missed a big chunk of my training I'm worried I'm massively undercooked.

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    1. Are you on Strava Spiller? I'd love to have a look at that race profile!

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    2. I am now. No idea what I'm doing with it though.

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  37. Developed a nasty cough whilst on holidays (what is this with the Illness Police?  - “you can stay healthy while you’re at work but as soon as you’re on Annual Leave you’re nicked mate”).  Managed a daily march to the beach and back for some light swimming - that counts as cross-training right? Probably that would have been about it in any case - mid 30s is too hot for running for me and getting up at 5:30am is not readily compatible with enjoying local hospitality in the evenings. Looking forward to some early morning runs in the autumnal cool now. Enjoying the new site and comments all.

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  38. Brave new world indeed (had to change my Blog username to match the guardian :) )
    Portugal sounds lovely Kate, especially after the constant rain of sunday (typical bank holiday).
    I might struggle to post or comment much this week/next week so going now, despite having little running to talk about, as we are moving to Paris on Friday, so life is upside down (the house almost literally - who knew we had so much stuff)! I hurt my back (whilst running) two weeks ago and have been struggling to run since. I can go about 3km before it starts to really hurt, no pain really day to day though. :( We went ahead with the original plan to do our local parkrun as part of a goodbye 'party', and loads of my lovely running friends turned out which was nice. I got about half way in a good pace at which point my back started hurting so slowed down with the aim to just finish. Spent the afternoon in pain so managed to get an appointment with an Osteopathic running friend. She says i have an irritated disk so given that we are moving this week to 'try' to take it easy and certainly no hard running, so i might be able to jog but certainly going to have to miss out on the last track session that i can go to. :(
    Next time i post it should be about explore-running in Paris! :)

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    1. You're back doesn't sound brilliant pip, so with the move, it makes sense to be conservative. You don't want to have difficulties with it at this point. But the move to Paris sounds very, very exciting! I think I can speak forthe others when I say we'll be looking forward to reading your running reports from a beautiful city. Bon voyage!

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    2. Exciting times for you. Good luck with the move to Paris, hope all goes well there. And I hope your back improves soon - at least it gives you a good reason to take the supervisor role during the move and let someone else to do all the lifting.

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  39. Dont mind me... I'm just sulking in the corner... no, no, you just carry on ...

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  40. Great that this is continuing. I enjoy my weekly fix of this positive supportive group... Even if I don't post often.

    My weekend was trying to fit in a long run while working in Italy. Managed to finally get out for a 16 mile run along the canals and parks overlooking Venice as the sun was starting to set.

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  42. Well isn't this a nice place to hang out, loving what you've done with the decor Kate.

    The traditional rainy bank holiday weekend proved a blessing for this runner at least, cool and overcast for both parkrun and a longer 12k yesterday that looped through some of South London's not-so-hidden gems in Crystal Palace, Sydenham Woods and Dulwich Park.

    Saturday's 9am jaunt rather took me by surprise, as I turned up at Gladstone park without feeling the need to research the course and finding that, yep, you could say undulating! Tore off at the start only to hit the first incline like a man running through treacle.

    23.39 was rewarding, in the circumstances; extra entries for stopwatch bingo, alphabeteer and another towards LonDone.

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  43. I had a fairly good week, highlights being my fastest ever miles on Tuesday. I'm a 8.30-9 minute/mile girl as a rule, but for some unknown reason, I did 4.5 miles at 7:53 pace. Did wonder if my Garmin was malfunctioning, but I was feeling really strong and speedy (for me) miles were the order of the day, so I was feeling very pleased with myself.

    Sunday was long, slow run day - set off aiming to do 12 miles, and was feeling great until around 10 and then the delinquent left hip began to protest. I pretty much hobbled to mile 11, then was a bit better 11-12. Was pleased to stop and not push on, with a view to Crathes HM in three weeks time. Highlights of the run were the forest, Crathes castle, the river Dee and a steam train in action. That was a first.

    The only downside was that Mr R&R was away, so we didn't meet up for our usual post-run hearty lunch. Disappointing.

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    1. Wow! That's a great turn of speed, it must have felt pretty amazing! I'm available for stand in duties if big lunches need eating, wouldn't want you to miss out!

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    2. Thanks, BHP! I'm sooooo greedy. As soon as one meal is over, I'm thinking about the next one. I'm really a Labrador, trapped in the body of a human.

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  44. In Madagascar so no running and very chubby indeed having spent the summer bitching about the heat while eating my body weight in ice cream.
    This will change as soon as the temperature drops.

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