Jingle Bell Jog

It’s Christmaaaaas!

This year I promised myself I’d do the previously unthinkable, and run on Christmas Day. It would be quiet, traffic would be at a minimum, and it would help prepare my body for the onslaught of Christmas dinner, with a few hundred calories already converted to extra points. I really didn’t think I’d actually do it.

At 10am this morning it was looking unlikely either of us would actually get out of bed. Having started watching Pulp Fiction (for the 14th time) at Midnight accompanied by many, many mince pies – we were not in good shape. But Stella needed walking, and if we’re going outside anyway, may as well lace up. First we have an argument about the weather. I tell R off for being grumpy on Christmas day. He bites his tongue and we somehow manage to locate our phones, running tights, headphones.

Much to Stella’s delight we head out the dood for 10:30am. She is now so well accustomed to the routine that she get’s inordinately excited the minute when we put our trainers on and barks like a lunatic from when we leave the front door until we actually start running in the street. Maniac. She has also started insisting on running between us. If R is on my left and I have her on the lead to my right, all hell breaks loose and I nearly come tacky in the middle of  road while entangled in her lead as she tries to get to the other side. At no point should either of us be running too far ahead, she has to have us both in her sights. Which is rather good for pacing!

My fantasy of empty streets and quiet park lanes quickly dissolved as soon as we hit Holland Park. Children were out in force testing new scooters, remote control cars, and a few new puppies here and there. But with everyone in such a festive mood, I dont think anyone noticed Stella was trying to catch the new toys (but thankfully failing spectacularly). She settled for a big stick twice her size.

Having got to Kensington Palace Gardens, we slowed the pace, let her nibs off the leash to attempt to catch a squirrel for her Christmas dinner, and took in the Royal Parks. A beautiful Christmas morning, no snow unfortunately, but enough green and golden leaves to make it worth dragging ourselves out of bed. There is nothing like a run to clear the cobwebs, and it really reminded me how lucky I am to live in such an amazing city with huge open spaces for everyone to share (even the skateboarders were being civil today!), right next to the hustle and bustle of a mad metropolis.

Back home, with the wet (but now clean) dog wrapped up in warm towels, and the beginning of an amazing Christmas dinner on the go, I’m pleased to say I’m feeling the festive spirit at last, having been a bit bah humbug all December. I’m getting all grateful, blame the endorphins!

Happy Christmas all! May 2012 be bigger, better and brighter (and bring a few more PBs please…!)

Happy Christmas from us lot!


After a long week of little training (whoops!) and loads of Christmas dinners, my Sunday 5 mile route was hard going. But with blue skies and no threat of rain, at least I wasn’t being rained/ sleeted/ snowed on. Sure enough there was enough mud to keep Stella occupied, icy nights equals squishy days and a very dirty dog.

There were loads of runners out in Hyde Park today, clearly everyone has a spring marathon on their mind. That or they are trying to stave off the Christmas pounds. I’ve had to admit defeat and rejoined Weight Watchers in an attempt to get back into my skinny running tights for the Brighton half. Too much cake and not enough mileage! And its not helping the quest for speeeeed! Ooof. Just a bit to heavy going (ahem).

But it is Christmas after all, and the best part of this run in this wintry kind of weather is the recovery. I have a quick chocolate milk so I don’t pass out, a hot shower to regain the feeling in my fingers and nose and get into a big chunky jumper and my best tracksuit bottoms. Sexy.  Then, once Stella has had all the mud washed off of her,  and I’ve sorted out the muddy towels, sometimes the sofa cover and maybe a cushion or two (never turn your back on a muddy dog) –  nothing beats snuggling on the sofa with a warm dog, fluffy slippers and a cup of tea in front of Sunday afternoon telly.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow

Snap, cackle and stop!

Week 3 has not got off to a good start. This has nothing to do with R, who after my last blog has tightened up the routine and got his act together getting out the house (the mighty blog strikes again!) 
Having taken the decision to bring Stella the Dog on our first hill training route around and through Holland park, I had the hound for the duration, which means a bit of stopping and starting initially – so I had to catch R up. 
Note to self: sprinting up Ladbroke Grove when not properly warmed up is not a good idea. Not matter how much fun Stella thinks it is. 
I spend the rest of the run worrying about my calf. Then, at 3km, my hair clips fall out. Disaster. Growing out fringe is now flapping around my face and getting in my eyes. I almost run straight into a spider web and veer left, freaking out R and dog. I’m not having a repeat of the ‘Attack of the Fake Widow’ on the canal…  
Thankfully R doesn’t get easily fazed. One of the benefits that I have started to appreciate more and more! And there are a few  
1) Feeling safer
 Meaning we can try out some slightly more out of the way back streets, and that way we are discovering new routes
2) Being able to hand the dog over
A great option when she’s in chasing squirrel mode, eating god-knows-what mode or generally being a pain in the arse when trying to get the pacing right!
3) New motivation when taking on killer hills
 Particularly when you’re eating their dust, or they’re giving you a push while passing you by
4) Sharing the views
 Yes, even in darkest West London around the streets, the full moon over Portobello is pretty breathtaking. And the people watching while cruising by is priceless. 
Stella was still embarrassed by her human

6) Or when your sports bra snaps. On Holland Park Avenue. With a fair amount of traffic around. He didn’t laugh too much.

So I limped home, with an aching calf, mussed up hair, and a serious wardrobe malfunction – he kept me company and didn’t point and laugh. Too much.

Now I sit wrapped up in my ‘try again next time’ London marathon fleece (which you get when you DONT get in the ballot! I am rather relieved…) and my calf wrapped up in a tea towel with frozen peas – hunting the web for industrial strength sports, erm, gear!

Snap proof please!

Running for Trouble

Week two and we haven’t killed each other yet. Result. Although its all to play for if we’re still speaking after another 18 weeks!

So far we have argued about:

1) Getting out the door on time
When you run on your own, you just leave. You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything, its part of the reason why I love it. Running with R now means I have to take into account his sense of timing (not related to actual reality) and my irrational need to be a complete control freak (again a recurring theme). The silver lining is, he gets me out the door. Even when I’ve used every excuse I can think of. The fact he’s lacing up his trainers means I can’t not!

2) Clothing
 ‘Are you going to wear that?’ Note – this is not a good line to use when a woman is getting ready to leave the house. No matter what the occasion, running included. Cue irrational rage and usually a change of top. ‘I only say that ‘cos I think you might get too hot’. He’s probably right.

3) Crossing the road in the right place
R is currently is under the illusion that he is a) immortal and b) made of high vis material and can therefore run across he road in traffic with no real forethought. Cue irrational rage (part 2) and some shouting about safety and considering my feelings half way up Holland Park avenue. Much to the amusement of some tourists, and my embarrassment. Hot, sweaty and shouting. Not a good look. I was just cross he was running faster than me…

4) Pace
I like to think I understand the whole pacing issue. Slow and steady, recover as you go, etc etc. Honestly its a bit hit and miss. But watching the other half fly past you and then near collapse at the traffic lights is a bit disconcerting. Really its just an extension on point 3 – I was just cross he was running faster than me. Ahem.

5) Route
With R studying the Knowledge I can’t argue his organic sense of the streets of our neighbourhood and the rest of London ‘6 mile radius from Charing Cross’… yes I have heard this many times! But I like my routes, R has other ideas. This will be good in the long run. I just want to show off my self taught ‘knowledge’ of the fastest traffic lights, least pedestrian filled streets and widest pavements. Today we did this:  Sunday Run

Once we’ve hit 3km and I’ve let go of my overbearing irrational control freak nature, I’m really enjoying it. We’ve kept to a great schedule, clocking 16km this week and 15km the week before. R is running 5km comfortably and we’ve even signed up for the Richmond 10km in Nov which is great mini goal to work towards.

Week 3, bring on the next 17kms….

Working off the Brunch!

After a weekend of birthdays, full on ‘big-fry-up-with-everything’ brunches at Mike’s Cafe and a very glamourous hen do the sunday run was really needed!

Still really struggling with motivation, but after about 2kms, the aches and pains ease up, I hit Hyde Park and I remember why I keep doing this! Happened to see a spectacular sunset over the Great Western rail lines en route back from Royal Oak around 8.5kms and avoided an overly keen Doberman in the park. Never a dull moment.

Two weeks to go until the big race and I’m starting to think about upgrading some of my kit.
Here’s the wish-list:

New arm-band for the old iphone, ‘sexy’ new dri-fit nike vest and a pack to keep the nurofen/jelly babies/extra shoelaces at hand (just in case). I don’t ask for much. My trainers are good to go for another 100 miles, so I cant be forking out the big cash just yet.

Stella could do another 100 miles tomorrow given half a chance, speedy madam out paces me every time. Giving some serious thought to entering her into the Women’s Running column that they run monthly featuring people who train with their dogs. May need to invest in a new collar for a  proper photo shoot, diva that she is!

Tuesday – Holland Park/ Kensington Palace Gardens 11K

Variety is the spice of life, right? And I need some of that! Lately it feels as though my world revolves around work and training for this race.  Route mapping, ipod shuffling, calorie counting, and rescheduling social engagements to catch up on the miles. Alternate with late nights at the office, and a very busy time of year and I am exhausted! And in need of something new.

Getting home this evening I didn’t have the energy to map an entirely different route, so I just reversed the one I have been building on, and added another km. Nike+ have also just added a mapping function, so check out the link here:  Reversed Route 11K
Funny how such a simple change can make such a difference – and great to switch the hills up a bit. Ended up with more energy than I began with. Brilliant side effect of running I’m finding. 
So, besides the iPhone cutting out at 8.5k, great run and feeling more confident with 10k going by without a stitch or any pain in the joints – so clearly I must be getting fitter! 
Stella, on the other hand is enjoying a week off the training as I need to work on speed (she slows me down a bit with general pit stops) so has been chilling on the sofa. Hard life 😉

One month to go!

One month and counting until my half marathon in Sept! Have completely bitten off more than I can chew, but that seems to be a recurrent theme in my life at the moment – bring it on! (ish…). I’ve booked our tickets up to Glasgow, started my sponsorship page  here : Sponsorship page! and received my running vest from Starfish Greathearts so its all happening whether I like it or not!

Training has been going at a decent pace. Having survived the vicious spider bite (yes really – some mad beasties happen to be hanging out by the canal in Ladbroke Grove

We think it was a ‘false widow’ (for added drama) and this bugger managed to savage my right ankle which then involved two trips to the pharmacist, one to A&E and a final trip to the local GP for proper hardcore prescriptions – mainly antihistamines that wouldn’t make me fall asleep in meetings (few embarrassing moments in the past three weeks!)

That hurdle out the way, Stella and I are back to pounding the pavements and the routes in Hyde Park. 10K tonight, which I am pleased with, pace was slow, but decent mileage ahead of my long run on Sunday, and even managed to tire her out!

This didn’t last long (approx 10 mins), she’s back to her ninja dog antics already. Maybe the 16K I have planned on Sunday will have a longer lasting effect.