Spanner in the works



, , , , , ,

The last week hasn’t been great, or I should say it has had some rather tremendous lows and a couple of highs at least where running and general health is concerned.

After Friday’s run with Lisa McKenna Brown on 9 October I was gutted that I couldn’t do park run because I had a day school for uni but I was appeased by the fact that I would be out running again in the week. Well those plans were scuppered when I became ill on Thursday. It actually started Wednesday night with some heartburn (clearly pregnancy related) which meant I didn’t feel hungry but I managed to eat dinner that night but then I felt so dizzy I had to stay in bed and rest. On the Thursday morning I didn’t feel any better and in fact felt worse and was even sick. I was actually so sick that I couldn’t even keep water down. Now I think you know me by now and I’m not someone who copes well being ill or incapacitated in anyway. That evening Andy drove me to the stables to bring Libby in. I bumped into Tina (the yard owner’s daughter) and asked if I could put Libby on full livery. I think its the first time I haven’t looked after her in years. She said she would happily bring her in now but I said I would be fine. She walked out with me as I went to the car to get the stable rent, as I was doing this I started to feel nauseous again. She said she would get Libby and I thanked her and then threw up at the side of the car….well I threw up more water as clearly there was nothing left in me. Disgusting!… and then I started to cry. I waited until Tina came past with Libby before I would get in the car. Andy was so sympathetic with me. Bless. I have to say though being a passenger in a car when you feel sick has to be one of the worst experiences ever..especially when you car has the suspension of a pillow.

So it was home to bed again. Thursday’s running with Lisa had been cancelled and then my glorious Thursday evening with Vicky Chapman also had to be cancelled. I really hate hate hate being sick.

Friday morning I felt fine, well not 100% but certainly so much better than Thursday. But as the midwife had told me to take it easy for the day I had to phone in sick again. I sunk into the sofa for the first part of the day and still didn’t feel really capable of doing much but managed to prop myself up by the afternoon. So yes as I say not 100% but much better.

Saturday morning I felt on top of the world so I set my sights on completing my 47th Park run at Warrington, Victoria Park. I was so surprised actually at how fresh I felt. Perhaps that’s because I hadn’t run for 8 days. I can’t believe that….not running for 8 days. (I did however manage to ride Libby on the Wednesday before I became sick so I didn’t feel that I had missed out on exercise completely).

There did seem to be a shortage of people I knew at the start of the race although I did manage to quickly catch up with Sarah Leigh. Looking forward to eventually having a chat with her about how she started running a few months after the birth of her third baby.

The thing is as I wasn’t actually expecting anything of myself having been sick I hadn’t anticipated getting anywhere near a 30 minute time. I was very pleased with a 30.51 time and very comfortably at that. It was actually the 2nd and 3rd kilometre that I slowed down on and was actually speeding up towards the end where I started to feel like I had warmed up and was ready to clock in some more miles. I was so happy to be back running again. Lisa wasn’t running as she was volunteering and I caught up with her a couple of times on the corner she was marshalling and we said hi and she cheered me and bump on.

park run 47 week no2

Rejuvenated after my park run I was keen to get out and run on Sunday as well to make up for the poor week that I’d had. Lisa said she was going to the Sunday social just to do the 5km so I decided I would give the 5km another go.

As the 5km and 10km warm up at the same time I was able to catch up with quite a few people I’d not seen in a good while including Sharon Howarth who got so busy chatting with me that she almost ended up on the 5km run instead. Also managed to catch up with Susan Plant who I haven’t seen in ages and again it was lovely to see her back running after being away with injury.

So the last time I’d run the 5km social run it had been too slow but I was pleased to find that this time around the speed was much faster, in fact in was actually climbing up to closer to the times for the 10km social so certainly there were no real beginners in this group and it was very different to the 5km social run I had done the time before that was very slow. What was also lovely was Dave Webb took a route around Warrington that I had never been on before so I experienced areas I hadn’t been before and we ran alongside the River Mersey for a stretch and saw two teams of long rowing boats travelling downstream, perhaps training for a race.

I must have been so distracted when I was talking with Sharon that I had forgotten to set my Strava, but Lisa had recorded the route which was exactly 5km (I only caught the last 3.1km). My average time was 6.24/km which for a chill out run wasn’t too bad.

sunday social 18 oct with lisa

It was certainly a good way to start Sunday morning and I hoped would kick me back into gear for the next week.

Unfortunately that was not to be as I woke up on Monday morning feeling light headed and dizzy again. It persisted all through the day and I decided to call in at the doctors on the way back from the stables on Monday evening. The doc checked my blood pressure and said it was a little on the low side. Basically that was the diagnosis. Next it was for me to find a cure so I could get back up and out again. Sitting at home and not being able to do anything is the most infuriating thing in the world for me. I really hate being weak. My first thought was these Omega 3 supplements I had started to take since the consultant had said they were okay last Tuesday. I had taken one on the Wednesday and then the following day I was ill. I hadn’t taken anymore until the Monday and again the symptoms appeared. It may have been a coincidence but I decided to cut them out. I did find on the internet some evidence to suggest they could cause low blood pressure. The other things to help raise blood pressure was to ensure to remain hydrated and increase salt intake. So lots of water was consumed by moi.  I thought a good way to help get the water and salt at once would be to take the isotonic sports drinks as these obviously are used to replenish fluids and electrolytes during and after exercise and hold “similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body” ( so it certainly would do me more good than anything. Plus I love the taste.

The reason it first came to mind is that during my reading about what to pack in my maternity bag to take to hospital there had been mention of taking isotonic sports drinks. “They’re quickly absorbed and give your body the right kind of energy for the physical demands to come.” ( So again another reason why I thought they would be a good choice to help plus I hate overloading on too much water.

Anyway its Thursday now and I am finally feeling like myself again. Here’s hoping that tomorrow I continue to improve even more and that I can get out and have a good run. Unfortunately Lisa is taking a couple of days away from exercise as she is exhausted. I am not surprised working three night shifts and not having any sleep. I am looking forward to catching up again for my 48th Park Run on Saturday…. getting ever closer to the 50!!!

Fingers crossed then that health continues to stay on track now and that this nasty little glitch has come and gone. I seem to have the heartburn under control now with some Gaviscon so hopefully I will be able to eat properly as that had been upsetting my diet. And I will try and make sure I am drinking enough fluids too. Don’t want the nasty dizzies to come back. Obviously I want to keep running for as long as I can. It isn’t just about a love of running either. As I mentioned I think before this is more than just a hobby, this running now is training for the labour which is getting ever closer. If I stopped anytime soon it would have a detrimental effect on how the labour would progress. There is clear evidence from James Clapp MD in his book “Exercising through your pregnancy” that stopping exercising in the final trimester does not have a positive effect on labour as exercising through to the final stages does. The percentages of the studies carried out are quite dramatic really. Such simple statistics from Clapp’s studies showed that “all the exercising women delivered in less than 10 hours”(Clapp, 1998, p94) reduced labour time by a third on average. In fact most of the exercising woman appeared to deliver between the 2-4 hour slot. Now that I have to say is very appealing. So train I will and train I must. Just 10.5 weeks ago….but perhaps less as I mentioned in the previous blog. Woman who exercise are more likely to give birth in the 38th and 39th week. So actually I could be looking at just 8 weeks to go!!!! Looking forward to seeing whether I follow suit with the stats or whether stubbornly my body and baby decides otherwise!!! Only time will tell.


On Fire 5 Miler


, , , , , , , , , ,

I woke up this morning and was ready by 7.30am but not really feeling ready for the 5 mile speedy challenge ahead.

As always I had a bit of stress about getting there but managed to arrive with 45 minutes to spare and this time queuing for the toilet when I arrived wasn’t as such of a nightmare!
Bumped in the Carolyn Arber at the start and we had a good chat! She ran it in 2016 when I did after just having Harmony. I ran it back then in around 44 minutes and Carolyn was on top form then and not injured and finished in around 40 minutes. I said I was hoping for at least 40 minutes but ideally wanted to get the club silver standard for a five miler which was 38.02. When I looked at that time last night I thought it really was not achievable. I knew it was 38 something but not that close to 38. Anyway I started to fell quite positive and just would see how things went. Also say Sarah Seddon as well who was also on her way to an easy run around with the Manchester Marathon coming up next weekend. I really do keep wondering whether I should enter one or not!
So I placed myself not too far from the front but not ridiculously close as obviously I’m not the fastest. It’s actually quite amazing how many really slow runners place themselves at the front – crikey the milestone pod didn’t actually pick up that I was running until 0.17 miles into the run as it only registered 4.83 for the five mile run where the Tom tom picked up exactly 5 miles. Its never been that way around!
So after finally picking my way around the big crowd at the start I managed to get into a bit more open road and at that point my speed was at 6.45/mile and I was finding it ridiculously easy. Of course I didn’t know if I could keep it up! The average for the mile was 7.27 but then with the very slow running for the first bit of the mile would account for that. At mile two there was a slight incline of about 27 feet and I did slow down a bit, but not finding it difficult, this slowed me down so that I was running roughly 7.10 minute miles but the average for that mile is 7.29. The steady pace continued with a 7.27 for mile three (although when I was looking at my watch it never really went above 7.20 for the first three miles so not quite sure how I ended up with these slower times.
It feels very much as if this race is run in three parts as it is a triangular route, the final third as you turn left is where there is a significant drop in the road. I tried to gain sum speed there as I remember that it went back up the hill. It certainly wasn’t as tough as I remembered and I passed a few people. There was one guy that passed me who looked like he hadn’t even broken a sweat. The fourth mile with a hill gain of 27 feet was a comfortable 7.24.
I was feeling so comfortable and relaxed, and not at all tired that I upped the speed for the last mile. If not for the hilly fourth mile I perhaps could have done it sooner. The last mile clocked in at 7.09. I heard Roger Seddon shout as I was approaching the finish line “take her” referring to the woman just ahead of me. I put as much of a sprint on as a could with my watch reading 5.46 (impressed with myself there) and crossed the finish line with the gun clock reading 37.02.
Talk about totally surprising myself. I am most definitely sticking with my two bananas, two coffees and skipping 100 ropes before all my races and wearing one of Harmony’s hair clips to keep hair out of my face from now on. This is the winning formula.

So what did the milestone pod say: 37:00 minutes for the whole run but only 4.83 miles so not sure when it actually started. Started with a 7.22, 7.49, 7.52, 7.47 and 7.27 for the miles. Again quite a bit different from the tom tom so don’t know which one to believe! Cadence at 178, ground contact 230 (best 217), 95% low impact, 46 inch leg stride, 95% mid leg swing and an amazing 5% in the high – just like a proper runner! And 88% run efficiency.

So I totally smashed the silver standard by a minute, but a good few minutes off a gold standard. I checked out the club records and unsurprisingly the 5 mile speedster is Georgina Walker for the 40+ female with 35.52. I’m not too far off though!!

So what now? I’m thinking I need to clearly run a good fast park run to get that 5km silver standard. Ideally under 22 minutes would be fantastic. I was so comfy after the run and I could easily have carried on for another mile for a 10km so I also think that a 10km under 45 minutes is also doable. And finally the other challenge is the 10 mile and I think I could do something there as well. Ideally again looking for a silver standard so under 1 hour 20 and if I want to get best female 40+ I just have to get anything under 1.21! For the best 10 mile time would need under 1.18!

Also I checked to see what my predicted half marathon pace would be based on my five miles today and it came out as 1.42 and however many seconds. That seems pretty crazy but as the times are staged with a formula they do work out quite accurately.

Mike Hall just message me about the Spring 5 miler on 11 April. It’s possible and I’m off the next day as well so even better. With a 7pm start we could be done by 7.35!!!

I am really quite excited now to get out running! This run today has given me the belief that I actually can do this. My mum told dad how well I had done and he asked if I’d won the race!!! Honestly!

Just a little update after official results in. I finished with chip time of 36.59 and 16th female in field of 251. 3rd in my age category of 44 with first in my she category being first woman in just under 28 minutes.

Are things improving?


, , , , , ,

Second mid distance speed run of the week. I certainly feel a lot better in myself today and those lethargic feelings not lingering. Even so I really don’t see how I will manage 8 minute miles for a half marathon. I finished a 7 mile run according to Tom Tom in just under 59 minutes and I wasn’t at all out of breath particularly when I got back. Even so I am not feeling confident. Those next six miles are really the hard part of a half and I’m not sure I’ve trained hard enough to get the results I was hoping for.

Once again I think I need to compare the statistics between the Milestone and Tom Tom and provide myself with an average.


Tom Tom
Average split between two
Average Pace min mile
Distance miles


Foot strike


Ground contact ms


Rate of impact


Stride length


Leg swing


Run efficiency









The other thing I hadn’t realised was that I had based the location of the pod on my shoe from what I read for the Galaxy trails, but as the drop is less than 8mm this means the pod should actually be on the third set of laces up from the toe and not the first. I don’t this will affect the mileage but it certainly may play a part with leg swing and foot strike I imagine at least. Guess we will see when I manage to go out over the weekend for my last long run before the half on the 18th.

There was actually a 3% log of toe foot strike on this one but I imagine this is because there were quite a few hills as can be seen from the elevation of 210 feet. The other thing that is potentially a bad thing was rate of impact which actually had 2% in high. I have a feeling this is when I hit a fast speed (7 minute miles according to Tom Tom as I was running down the last hill on Dane Bank Road) I could keep up with how fast my legs wanted to go down the hill and I could hear my feet hitting the ground which is something I don’t normally hear when I am running (although I hear it when I walk – heavy feet when I walk).

As I was running and watching the Tom Tom watch which basically seemed to be averaging around the 8:15 to 8:20 minute miles as I was going aside from the run up Bursford Lane where I went below £8.30 minute miles, I guess it was steady but I had been hoping to keep up to the 8 minute miles that I had done on Monday. I know this is a tougher run because it is much more hilly and looking at the elevation between this and monday, its over double the hill climb and that 210 feet is all in one hill.

I only discovered that I had ran well when I could compare it really with the results as they logged onto Strava. It turns out this was my best run up Burford Climb in 6:50. My best climb previously had been on 9 June last year of 6:58. In some respects this actually bodes well as this was just before I ran the Chester Half Marathon which I completed in around 1:47. There were a couple of other sections where I improved my times around the Crouchley Lane and Rugby club areas where there is also a sneaky hill. I passed a woman at this point walking her dog and I said “This is one of my favourite hills”. I’m not sure whether I was actually being serious or sarcastic. She respond “keep going, you are doing brilliant”.

The good thing is that the shoes are not causing me any foot pain as I was worried that with my previous history of weak arches and ankles that the minimalist approach was not going to work for me. I really do however need to tackle the strengthening exercises in the “Running Revolution” book to balance everything out. I was thinking of looking at that this evening but I guess I will have to see how the writing goes for the time being.

Whilst this run appears to have been 20 seconds slower according to Tom Tom, it was actually 6 seconds faster per mile according to Milestone. Very confused about these results. Did a quick search on the internet and read something about calibrating the Milestone because others found that it was a different distance that their GPS. I understand why the time is different because I had to stop at some lights so the Milestone pauses I didn’t always pause the Tom Tom.

So where does this leave me? Well I have one long run – aiming for just 11 miles as I don’t feel like I have the time to get more in over the weekend as we are working on our kitchen. After this kitchen is done then I am going to focus on running a marathon. Until the kitchen is done I am going to just get this half out of the way and then focus on shorter and faster races. After that I have perhaps the two mid distance runs next week and maybe one short run before the half itself.

At least I am not feeling as tired now.

Can I run a sub 1.45 half?


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First longer run in my new Salming Speed shoes. I’ve never really taken so much detail in about a pair a shoes before I’ve bought them and as I didn’t have the opportunity to try them out as I have with previous shoes with a gait analysis I was really taking a punt on these ones. Also as money is still really tight I just couldn’t be too choosy easy and this pair were £25 and had really good reviews. The reason I went for them is that the book I have tried to start reading “The Running Revolution” written by Dr Nicholas Romanov suggests that the first step to running faster, farther and longer and injury free is to get back to how we were supposed to run in the first place. The best way to do this is wear minimalist footwear with a small heel to toe rise. Now these Salmings weigh 7oz and the heel to toe rise is just 5mm. When I put them on they felt so light its like almost not wearing anything at all which I think is the point.


So how did my longer run go in them as I have only run 5km distance so far and then just three runs. Can’t believe I have had these shoes for over two weeks and run three times in them. I have been choosing to stick with the trail shoes on other runs this week because of the weather and having to run with the buggy. And of course then it snowed so everything really was out because it just because so icy and I didn’t want to chance the risk of a fall and I simply just haven’t been feeling 100% either.
The running felt good at first and I was averaging 7.30 minute miles and I was getting super confident thinking to myself these shoes are great I can run faster without putting any more effort in but before mile two I started to feel really exhausted. Obviously this wasn’t down to the shoes and I think whatever made me feel tired on Thursday and kept me in bed that morning was still lingering on. It was tough going and I thought that I wasn’t going to make it. I ran around Warburton triangle and then headed down Mill Lane and did contemplate taking the shorter route back but the determined part of me said I have to take Wet Gate Lane and get that 5.2 mile run in.

So what do the results say. It’s now difficult to know how well or badly I am doing because the results vary so much between Strava/Tom Tom and that of the Milestone pod. My only way to determine things is to find some middle ground.

Details Milestone Tom tom split between the two
Average Pace min mile 07:25 08:01 07:43
Distance miles 5.71 5.26 5.49
Duration 42:20:00 42:10:00 42:15:00
Cadence 176 195 184
Foot strike 100% heel
Ground contact 249
Rate of impact 95% low
Stride length 48 inches
Leg swing 99% mid
Run efficiency 84
Elevation 90 ft
Ascent 80ft
Descent 80 ft


The time for the run was extremely accurate then by both as Tom Tom said they took 10 seconds off for standing still for a period of 10 seconds.

It is very interesting to see the cadence as the milestone clearly has to record this accurately as it is attached to the foot and is picking up how often you move your feet and the length of each stride. I am assuming that the TomTom makes an assumption on the length of what your likely stride is and then calculates the cadence for that. In any event the split between the two was what the milestone recorded as my best cadence of the run.

So the distance is where the results of the pace come into account because the Milestone is supposed to accurately follow the route you are taking where the TomTom can only follow you on GPS. You would think therefore that the Milestone is more accurate but the distance that is actually travelled is probably what the GPS is showing on the Tomtom. When I ran park run with Mike Hall on Sunday the 3.1 mile distance recorded on the milestone as 3.52 which is obviously quite a bit longer than the actual measured distance. We all know that the Warrington parkrun is slighter longer than 5km but it’s not that much longer.

So when it comes to working out how well I am doing in preparation for a race perhaps I need to go off what the Tomtom is saying because that is covering the route distance and not the actual ground covered. I am simply guessing here.

The race number came in for the Wilmslow Half as well which is a week away on Sunday and I am really not feeling up to the challenge at the moment. The challenge being a sub 1.45. This would mean 8 minute miles all the way. Now if I am feeling well then the start of this 5 mile run bodes well. But if I am still under the weather and everything feels tired and lethargic I don’t see how I am even going to get close to 1.50. I can then only use the race as a judge as to how far behind I am with where I want to be and go from there. I may just try and challenge myself on a shorter race. I have the Hale 5 miler in mind for that with an aim for sum 40 minutes of course. I haven’t run that since four months after Harmony was born and that was two years ago now.

So what are the club standards for me at age 43?

43 Female 5k 5 Miles 10k 10 Miles Half Mar. Marathon
World Best 00:15:30 00:25:21 00:32:00 00:52:34 01:09:51 02:26:02
Platinum 00:18:36 00:30:25 00:38:24 01:03:05 01:23:49 02:55:14
Gold 00:20:56 00:34:13 00:43:12 01:10:58 01:34:18 03:17:09
Silver 00:23:15 00:38:02 00:48:00 01:18:51 01:44:46 03:39:03
Bronze 00:25:35 00:41:50 00:52:48 01:26:44 01:55:15 04:00:57
Copper 00:28:41 00:46:54 00:59:12 01:37:15 02:09:13 04:30:10

The obvious aim is to go for the silver standards because that is where I am at. The Bronze standards are easily achievable and I had already achieved the silver for 5k and 10k times last year age 42 so these times are even easier to achieve now – really! So the Silver standard is 50% less than the world record time for someone who as run it at that age group. Jo Pavey I bet has a lot to answer for achieving such great times in her 40’s!

So if I do want a silver standard half marathon I do have to run 8 minute miles all the way or less, because I think 8 minute miles get me to 1.44.29 if I remember rightly from a chart I looked at a while back. I know I can do that 5 mile in 38 minutes if I’m feeling well. Just have to hope that I get over whatever it is that is running me down at the moment (pardon the pun) unless of course it is just fatigue from never having a proper nights sleep and just feeling generally exhausted with everything that has been going on in my life.


Wilmslow 10km and Santa Dash


, , , , , , , ,

The year is drawing to a close and to complete my challenge for my charity Mind I need to complete two more events for the year.
The 11th event was the Wilmslow 10km. It was great making my way down there with some of the runners from Lymm Runners. Its wonderful to feel part of something. I haven’t really had a chance to see many people the second half of this year as I’ve only been to park run a handful of times and since July have only run the Sandstone Trail.
We parked at the finish this year as I remember last year having parked at the start that it wasn’t great having to walked the best part of a mile back to the car. Much better to finish the race and have the car just around the corner.
I can’t believe how well I remember this race from last year. Each mile seemed so clear to me and I remembered where we were going which is really odd since I’ve only ever run the route once before. Obviously I was hoping for something better than last year which was 49.01 but I really didn’t know how I would fare given I’ve not really been running at any great speed except for my attempt at park run the previous week in 23.38. So I did know that I had something in me but it was whether I could keep that up for twice that distance.
The first mile was good and I felt really relaxed. I don’t think it was actually as cold as it had been the previous year and the first mile was gone before I knew it in 7.25 minutes and passed the 50 minute pacer at this point. I could see Emma Nunnerley just ahead of me and used her as a guide to keep my pace. I could see she kept checking her watch. During mile two I passed her with a 7.28 minute mile and then she passed me back. She stayed about twenty foot ahead of me the whole race. Mile three was also another fast one with the continual down hill trend in 7.32. I had run three miles in 23.30 which I was very pleased with. I doubted I would keep the pace up knowing that there were a few hills coming in the second half and in particular the one near the end where people have died at this section on the half marathon.
Checking later online my official 5km time was 23.19 so actually that was faster than the miles logged on my strava.
The second half proved a little tougher but I still felt fine and had no problems with my breathing. Mile four in 7.46 and I was still going strong. I did start to feel a little discomfort under the arch of my left foot (damn I need new shoes) after that but I kept pushing on although mile five proved to be the toughest with a 7.54. I did find that mile six was hard because I was trying to catch up with Emma but just couldn’t make the ground up. I’m not sure whether she sped up as well or what but she was always just that distance away.
I didn’t see the sign for the last 400 yards but apparently there was one. I imagine it was on the hill and I was very focused on just getting up that last hill. The 200 yard sign I did see and tried to make a concerted effort to increase my pace for a final sprint. I finished with a 7.48 mile six and an average out pace of 7.37 for the last 0.2 miles so I did have it in me after all to speed up.


I finished with an average split of 7.39 a mile and my official time was 47.29. For those who may be interested Emma’s chip time was just one second faster than me so we basically crossed the finish line together. Didn’t get to see her after the race to congratulate her on a PB. As well I was happy with my time as I really hadn’t expected to do so well and another 10km PB.


We were told to take an unusual photo with our medal and post it – I took this but then didn’t post it….now I have!

Overall I am really happy on how the running year has panned out.

I have finished with two silver standard times with the running club for a 42 year old female with a 22.41 5km time and 47.29 for a 10km. Sadly my half marathon time just didn’t cut it into the silver standard but it was bronze with 1.47.29. Need to chisel off a few minutes next year if I want that to be silver. Shame now that I didn’t try and run the Hale 5 mile earlier in the year.

I am not going to sum up the year just yet as we still have a few weeks to go and my challenge for next year is still something I am pondering.


With my running buddy and friend Mike Hall

I have somehow since last October managed to run 100 miles every month and each month at least 50% of those have been with the buggy. I love having Harmony with me on the runs as we chat and sing and she says “mummy running” or more often than not “more toast”.

I wonder what will happen next year….will she want to get out and run instead. I understand from other runners that that seems to be the case!

So for my final event I ran the Santa Dash with Mike Hall. It was a really chilly day and it had been snowing. In fact as we were waiting to start the snow started to fall again. It was perfect really. I know it isn’t a race but because it was going to be my final event I really wanted to give a good go at it. It was tough to get through the crowd of Santas at the start but Mike and I made good progress with an 8.30 mile. The second mile down the trans pennine was muddy and ended up quite icy on the second section of trail but we still clocked in with a 7.48 minute mile. Now on the last mile I really couldn’t help but keep on pushing, with Santa outfit swinging around my neck. I sprinted towards the finish with Mike close on my heels. He probably was thinking who is this crazy girl in the Santa outfit; but we ran that last mile in 7.38. So whilst we were going to be gaining any PBs on the run we were one of the first across the line with a very respectable Strava time of 24.44.


Andy and Harmony had come to watch and take a few photos but because Harmony wasn’t well Daddy took her home. I managed to stay out for a one cheeky glass of mulled wine before heading home for cuddles with Harmony and family time.


Hoping that I can update again as the years draws to a close and fill you in on my year’s achievements, next years goals and my inspirations from 2017.

My charity challenge is complete so if you haven’t already dug in those pockets and supported me it would be absolutely amazing if you did.  My charity is MIND who help people suffering from mental illness and very much support the use of physical activity in combating this debilitating illness.   Obviously I tried to set up a link but that hasn’t worked but you can find me on Just Givings website under Gaynor Seymour!  Thank you everyone for all your support and help with my motivation issues this year!  Just keep running!


Signs the run mojo is back


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So my last post seems to have struck a chord with many friends and family who have raised their concerns to me about my motivation issues. Thank you for all your support.
I hadn’t realised the last post had been so negative as I was actually on the cusp of a turning point. I think we are now finally around the corner. I went to parkrun on Saturday. I have missed it so much. It has been two and half months since I’ve been to parkrun and the last time was at Delamere so I can’t actually remember how long its been since I went to Warrington. It was fantastic catching up with everybody. I have really missed chatting and just generally feeling park of Warrington parkrun which has held some very special moments.
Big thank you to Kevin Lakin for you big hug and support. Great to see Louise Blizzard and Bobbie Nelson doing well and running brilliant. Also brilliant to catch up with Lymm Runners and I’m looking forward to the car run down to Wilmslow 10km with Fiona Eaton this coming Sunday. Jennie thank you for telling me to stop being so hard on myself and that I am doing amazing as a running mummy and balancing everything. Sometimes it just needs a bit of support from friends to see you through the tough times. Hopefully I will be down at parkrun again soon. It will be my 100th Warrington parkrun next time around! Thanks for pointing that out Mike Hall as I hadn’t realised!
Because I haven’t run at speed for some time I really didn’t know how I was going to fare around the parkrun route but the plan was to give it a good go without over- stretching myself. I like to always feel that I have something in reserve. After the first mile it seemed like I was on for a decent time with 7.46. My breathing felt really good and not laboured or straining for air as it had been a few weeks ago so perhaps whatever bug I had that has taken over a month to go has finally been laid to rest. The second miles was not much slower regardless of that field at 7.47 and then the final mile I really did decide to speed up. I noticed Germaine Holmes up ahead of me and set her as my goal to try and catch her up or at least be not too far behind. I did start to gain on her but she kept the pace up the final stretch and she ended up about 20 foot ahead of me. I finished the last mile in 7.34 and probably my fastest mile in months. It felt good and I felt great going over the finish. I ended up with a 23.37 time which I was really chuffed with. 3rd in my female age category and 8th female overall. Finished 69th in a field of almost 400 runners so for my first time back I have to say I was over the moon. Definitely kept me buzzing for the rest of the day.

The run mojo continued into Monday’s run as well although it took my head a bit of convincing to go out because lets face it the weather isn’t great at the moment. I headed over to Wet Gate Lane as its a quiet country lane and I get to see cows in the field. Now previously I had been struggling running because I was bored of running the same route. Now here is one reason I know the run mojo is back. I decided to do another loop of Wet Gate lane because I like the road. I would never had done that when I was feeling unmotivated. Seeing the same stretch of road was just not on the cards. I was running into the wind on mile 2 on the first loop and it just made me feel so happy. The second reason I know the run mojo is back. I was enjoying running into a head wind. Plus I was actually looking forward to the same stretch on the second loop! Third reason I know the run mojo is back is that I just couldn’t stop smiling whilst I was running. This was just the best run and after a really stressful day at work it was all that I needed to get me back into a calm state of mind.
And yesterday I ran the Wet Gate Lane loop again with Harmony. This time however it was full of puddles and it certainly lived up the “wet” part of its name. Some of these were proper lakes across the road. Harmony absolutely loved us going through the puddles and was after “puddles”, “more puddles”. Naturally I indulged her. The second mile around Wet Gate Lane with the buggy and Harmony was a very surprising 7.41 for the mile. I don’t think I’ve ever run THAT fast with the buggy before – that’s what I need to chase puddles! Yet another reason I know the mojo is back – I loved getting absolutely soaked! Mainly because it made Harmony so happy!

So to sum up the run mojo being back:

1. Love to run in all weather – wind and rain and puddles
2. Enjoying running the same routes – even on the same day
3. Running faster again and not feeling like losing the motivation as I go
4. Smiling whilst I run

So what has helped to make this change? Obviously support from friends and family who understand and know how important running is for me and my mental health and how when I don’t run I do get very sad. And I think the breathing has made a really big difference. The fact that now when I speed up I don’t feel like my lungs are struggling to take in air has been a huge part of where my confidence and happiness in running had started to fail me. Now that niggle is gone. I know I am due for some new pairs of running shoes but I’m going to wear these pairs for the rest of the year and then hopefully Santa will bring me some new pairs for Christmas because I think I’ve been a good girl for most of the year!


So one final word : Thankyou!


1000 miles


, , , , , , , , , ,

Okay so I have been a little bit remiss in writing about hitting the 1000 miles for the year. I achieved in the middle of October and due to lack of motivation to write I simply haven’t. My motivation has been at an all time low over the last few weeks and I have struggled to get out and run. It may not look like it on paper but I really have found it difficult and questioned why I should even bother.
I think I may be through the dark tunnel now and thankfully as well my breathing has improved as whatever the cold/flu-bug was that I had at the start of October when I ran the Sandstone Trail it really set me back with regard to getting anywhere time wise.
I don’t think the lack of speed has helped with regard to motivation as when I discovered that I could actually run faster if I engaged my glutes months ago, I then just seemed to be getting slower and slower over the past couple of months.
The last few runs I have been on have felt easier in relation to breathing and whilst I still don’t feel 100% I do think I am heading in the right direction.
I don’t think I am going to achieve anything special at the Wilmslow 10km on 26 November 2017 as I haven’t run at speed since the summer. I think I achieved 49 minutes for this last December so it would be nice if I could get something faster than that. I am a long way off the 45 minute goal that I had for a 10km this year. We were heading to that time nicely towards the middle of the year but the I lost my edge and as the motivation just started to slip away I have since been just trying to find ways to keep myself going.
I have been bored with the runs as well, seeing the same thing all the time and going around the same roads. What the Sandstone Trail did for me what introduce me to something that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy so much, which was running cross country. It is for this reason that I have been quite excited about the winter season’s Lymm Runner’s events. I’m going to run the Arrowe Park Cross Country on 10 December for the fun of running cross country. I would enter more but I think my goal next year is to enter less races, but try and put some focus in what I want to achieve from the races I do enter.
I probably do need to get entering into them but at the moment the Wilmslow half in early March next year is the next big goal and I want to try and focus on a reasonable training plan incorporating some speed work so that I can try get the time down to 1 hour 45 minutes. I can try and work something out with the buggy running as again whilst this does slow the times down I can try and do some work at improving these times as I am going. Harmony seems to enjoy it when we go fast around bends. Again, again, she shouted out yesterday as we were heading back home and I lifted the front wheel of the buggy to take the bend faster. My speed merchant daughter who isn’t yet two years old and her favourite movie is now “Cars” because she loves seeing the cars crashing and going fast and faster!
I have been reading a couple of interesting books about runners, the last of which was called “Runner” the autobiography of Lizzie Hawker, this amazing ultra runner who ran the Mont Blanc Ultra around the mountains covering 161km most of the races, and winning it several times, I think she ran it about six times. She was truly inspiring to read about, but it really did bring in to question to me how unmotivated I actually was. This woman truly did let the running lead her lifestyle. I think perhaps I do have a balance going and the running isn’t everything. It is extremely important to me though as it has been a lifeline and a way to help me regain focus and de-stress through a period, particularly over the last few months where I have been so stressed with work that I have at times felt almost incapable of moving. At least I have the patience to know when I am running that the de-stress doesn’t happen straight away. It usually takes a couple of miles before I can feel my body relaxing, the breathing coming free and easy and my mind releasing all the bad thoughts that have been building up.
I can stress enough how important running has been to me. It is really part of who I am and one of my happiest moments is enjoying watching Harmony as she runs. She says “running, running” and “run, run, run”. I think the time will come soon when she doesn’t want to go in the buggy but will want to run herself. IMG_20171008_085055

Sandstone Trail Adventure


, , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been finding it really difficult to get time to type or be in the mood to write anything at all. My friend Liz Hedgecock suggested to me that I try dictation rather than typing, particularly given the pain and suffering that I’ve had in my arm as a result of my job typing. That in itself is another story. Because of the anxiety I have been suffering as a result of my work I’ve turned to a book “Run for your Life” by William Pullen in relation to running and mindfulness. It talks about Dynamic Running Therapy and how you can use running and/or walking to help you clear your thoughts. There is a certain set of processes to utilise to do this. I haven’t really put them into practice yet but I’m just working through the text. The general gist of it though is that you set yourself a question when you go out on your run or walk. Then run that question through your head. It doesn’t matter if you deviate or go somewhere else it’s just a way to help you look at one particular aspect of something that may be bothering you or troubling you. The book seems to suggest certain questions in certain orders depending on what you’re trying to combat; whether it be anxiety, anger or low mood. Again I haven’t actually gone through the whole book yet.
The book also suggests that you have a mantra to use to help you. I’ve had a good think about this while I was out on my morning run with Harmony. Mantra: “I’ll try and be more accepting and love myself”. In relation to being more accepting about things this includes things that mainly are out of my control like computers that run too slowly, phones that when you press the buttons they don’t activate immediately; I’m someone who likes things done very quickly and I have to learn to accept that that’s not always the case. I also have to learn to accept that life revolves around many people as everybody has busy lives and that it’s not some attack on me when I can’t see my friends anymore because they have lives too and because they can’t see me at times when I’m available means because they’re working and they can’t see me when I’m when I can’t see them when they’re available because I’m looking after Harmony.
One big stress that I did have was now it’s come to the time of year where Libby is coming in and wondered how I wasn’t going to be able to fit that in as easily now that Harmony is walking and quite active. But it seems to have been easier than I imagined and we are able to turn Libby out together to the field. It’s actually quite fun although it just takes a very long time to get there. We also enjoy mucking out the stables together and Harmony likes stealing the apples for me when I make Libby’s dinner.
On Sunday, 2 October I ran my first race in over two months. The 10.6 mile Sandstone Trail Race. The logistics are actually getting to the race which started at 11am were quite frustrating. We had to get to the end part of the race at Delamere by 8a.m. as we booked onto the coach which was leaving by 8:15am. Mike and I got on the coach and we were actually at the start of the race at 8:50 a.m. which was over two hours before the race started. We sat chatting on the bus which was nice but I think my back started to get a bit tired from sitting there for so long. We ate a couple of jam sarnies and a banana and eventually got off the coach. Made a couple of trips to the toilet at Beeston Castle and stood around. I had my silver foil to keep me warm pre race and then we walked our way over to the start line.
One of the other issues here was that one of the stiles we had to go walk over to reach the start line, was actually part of the race. This resulted in us meeting runners racing the A race which had started at 10am and seven miles further away. Not particularly great for them.
Mike and I both started in the first wave of the B race. Fortunately we clarified the group before we started as we wouldn’t have actually set off in the first group. We were supposed to running in “good for age” although I certainly wasn’t feeling well enough for it. I had a cold and had headache for the last 3 days and I just generally felt under the weather. We set off anyway. I didn’t feel too bad in fact the first section has quite a steep hill and I sprinted up that. Looking on Strava it appears that I’m 7th woman of all time up the hill with 1.07 minute sprint. Mike was a bit behind at that point and I think that was the only point I was actually a head of him during the whole race. I was too hot which is why I ran up the hill so fast so that I could take off my jacket and tie it around my waist once I got onto the straight bit and downhill on the road that followed.
We then took a right turn across the fields and this is where we really discovered how muddy it was going to get. it was tough going through the mud and I did wonder if I was going to make it. Just before the A51 road crossing I witnessed a lovely sight where a man with this a little boy were waiting to meet a female runner (obviously mummy) with a bottle of water and support which I thought was really lovely. It kind of made me feel a bit sad that I didn’t have that with me. We reached the A51 road crossing where the chip time was paused. Unfortunately the road was actually clear which meant that we didn’t have much of a breathing space between the chipped timer pausing and un-pausing; it was something like 30 seconds and then we are off again. That was only around 2.5 miles in.
Mike and I had already done a recce of the run but only ran to basically the half way point and back. I knew we were getting closer to the point where we turn back. The Farmers track around this point leading onto a road it’s quite muddy and I think it’s pretty much going uphill. Once we crossed the road we were onto the section when Mike I had previously turn around. We were then on a small narrow pathway going around the field where there were many rabbit holes to avoid I said to Mike this is where we turned. From here we entered into a field full of cows and there was a big hill and I knew that I couldn’t run any faster.
The cow field basically marked the half way point and it was it this point that despite keeping a good time with times of 8.04 (albeit there was more waiting in that mile so it was probably longer)9.04, 9.21, 8.53 and 9.13 for the past five miles, I needed to walk up the hill and in fact when we crossed the field the hill that awaited us there was the one that we hadn’t got to on the recce as we had turned back at five miles. Boy that was some hill when you feel tired and unwell. So we trotted it a bit, and walked a bit, there were quite a few poeple walking it so I didn’t feel out of place.
Once at the top we had the pleasure of the spectacular views which I had seen once before when we had run the route from the end to the half way point. This is when I started to feel some positivity coming back, knowing that we had now passed the half way point. That sixth mile was a tough 10.58 minutes and from there we headed down through another field which previously had a horse it on our recce. Onto the main road and left down there until the next entrance to the trail. Past the water station which I didn’t bother with although I did take one of gels to see if it work some magic.
Then I remembered as we turned right back onto the trail that this next section was all uphill. An unrelenting hill at that and looking at Strava mile six was 134 feet gain and then mile seven was 178 feet gain. We did slow a little but there was no walking, maybe perhaps for a moment but we were steady with 10.08 I remembered the route well but not well enough and when I that at the next turn we would have reached the flatter ground, I was wrong and the hill kept going. It was along this point that I chose to have a brief walk as I think my mind had already told my body it wasn’t going to have to work as hard around the corner when in fact it did.
Finally we reached the woods and the hill came to its end. But what this meant was that the decent was actually down into the woods with tree routes, stones and all sorts of muddy sections to avoid so whilst you may think that you can make time back on the decent it isn’t always the case. If the down hill section of path had been similar to the up hill we may have made up some time. As it was though I really enjoyed the decent, all 150 feet of it. There were a couple of runners ahead of Mike and I and it was lucky that Mike was there and familiar with the route as there wasn’t really any signage of where to go and they were asking if it was left or right at the bottom of the first hill. It was left and then we had to make a right turn back into the woods which again wasn’t obvious.
Thinking that there was some more downhill to come I then realised that there was the really steep uphill rocky climb up though the woods. It was a lot harder than I remembered and we did walk a section but mainly because we were behind these three runners before I decided that I wanted to push on. Just finishing our eighth mile we were heading towards Kelsall Hill Equestrian where the race would take us through the fields I had ridden the farm ride with Libby. Just before it there was a stretch of trees and Mike flew over a root that was protruding from the ground. He got straight back up and it was only later that he felt his shoulder sore. The runner behind me joked “watch oout for the root”. Moments later just as we were reaching the field, my foot wobbled precariously on a rock, I managed to keep my balance and didn’t go over on what was once upon a time a very weak ankle. Again our joking runner said “watch out for the rock”.
The entrance to the field was blocked in a sense by a ten foot wide puddle of who knows how deep. Mike boldly went forward and I followed, there was no way that feet would be dry after that one and they were certianly soaked through.
It was then straight on down the hill. I chatted with the runner who had been behind me while Mike flew down the hill. I then said I had better catch my friend up and went off chasing Mike down the hill. That hill as my joking running companion said would be great to toboggan down. I can imagine that Harmony would love that so much.
There was then the section of the farm ride which I hadn’t realised was so hilly. I guess it’s not something you notice as much when you are trotting around a field on a horse! We came back out on the road where the Farmer’s Arms is located. Happy days remembered of our stop outside there to take a photo on our recce and then it was time to face the one road hill. At least at this point I knew that this was mile nine and we were close to the end. One very brief couple of stides in walk and we pushed on up the hill. I knew the right turn would be coming up and despite feeling very tired I insisted I was going to run to the turn because I knew it was in sight and then it would be downhill again. The ninth mile in 10.02 with an assent of 97 feet, so not as bad as the earlier couple of climbs but still it felt there was more ups than downs.
Then onto the final stretched as we entered into Delamere. The country lane leading to it was a lovely way to start the last mile and a half and we took it very much in our stride picking up pace. A lady pointed out to me that I looked very fresh and I was pleasantly surprised to hear it given we were nine miles in to this very hard race.
Now having to recall the last section after several weeks it feels difficult and I am sure my memory is different. As we reached this farm track we caught up with David Faulkner from Lymm Runners. I had seen both him and Emma Nunnerley at the start of the race, but they were ahead with the gates so we were at least 20 people or so behind them by the first mile. Mike had spotted this woman from his club and he decided we should get a sprint on to catch her. I said he could do that but I was going to stick with the pace we were doing. Given we had already sped up down the hill and the 9th mile was an 8.30 minute one I think we had started to make good time. Now for the last tricky section which was a narrow path with a drop on the left hand side. Thankfully the shrubbery was clearer than our last venture down there and we kept our speed going. The finish had slightly changed but that last half mile seemed to go on forever. Finally the right hand turn came up and I could see the crowds of people perhaps 100-200 metres ahead but I couldn’t see the finish funnel. I was only about 20metres away when I actually spotted the funnel and made a last dash to cross the line. The last 0.6 miles averaged at 8.29 giving me on Strava a moving time of 1.39.16. Obviously Strava decided to take out all the stoppages at gates so if they weren’t there this would have been the constant time. However the official finish time for me was 1.45.01 finishing 20th female in a field of over 150 and just 15 minutes behind first place. Emma Nunnerley did super well finishing as first female Lymm Runner and a few minutes ahead of me.
Overall I was very pleased with the result because I felt so rough particularly for the first half of the race. The second half it was more race tiredness than illness; I think I had scared the illness away!! If we do enter next year I guess the plan is to try and improve on the times and at least I know what I will be in for. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy trail running as much as have done. I really enjoyed this race as tough and at times mentally debilitating that it was. I think had I been in full health it would have been my favourite race ever.

Activate the Glutes


, , , , , , , , , , ,

So at the moment I haven’t got any more races coming up until the Sandstone Trail in October. I think I need to rectify this and am thinking of doing the Birchwood 10km and the EHM but can’t decide.
I am so happy with the new farm that Libby and I have moved to so with that finally okay I feel like things are moving forward positively.
Went out on Saturday with Mike Hall to run the second half of the Sandstone Trail. We ran it backwards to the midpoint and then back again. Mike wanted to show me some of the tough sections of the trail. We have a good laugh. Took plenty of photos on the way and really didn’t hit the kind of pace either of us are hoping for on the day. We will have to get working hard in October if we want to get out time around 1:32. We finished 10.7 miles in around 1:52 minutes averaging around 10.41 a mile. Obviously we weren’t going for a race pace, although the last couple of miles were more the speed we were looking for between 9 and 9.30 minute miles.
It was a good and positive way to finish off the miles for July with 106 miles for the month. I have managed every month since October 2016 now to clock my 100 miles and it has become quite a challenge to keep it going trying to fit it around my life. I did think that August was going to be the toughest month of all as it is the holiday time and we had plans to go away and I won’t be running whilst we are away so that lets me with less days to clock up the 100.
It’s now 7 August and I’ve managed somehow to manage 36.8 miles and 27 of those have been with Harmony and the buggy. My goal this month is simply to clock in the 100 miles. There are no races as I can’t enter the Birchwood 10km with Harmony and the buggy as some of the sections of the race are too narrow so they don’t deem it appropriate for buggy’s to be in the race. It’s a shame but I will see I can find something for the last week in August perhaps.
Something came up recently at my physio appointment that may actually assist my running if I can work out how to do it and that is to engage my gluts during runs. Apparently my glutes are not strong and that my hamstrings are doing a great deal of the work for me and as a result this is causing a strain on my back. I need to strengthen my glutes and look at ways of doing this. Obviously I have been given exercises but over the last couple of runs I have been focusing on what has been happening back there and I have to say “not a lot”.
Clearly if I could use this rather large muscle it would surely assist in improving my speed and getting me moving across the ground faster. I just need to look at ways to do this.
I have been given a bridge exercise to do to help teach me to engage the glutes and I need to leave to use this when I am running so that when I push up with my legs I am activating that muscle each time.
This activation will also help with the periformus issue that I have as this little muscle is always getting tight and is obviously overworked. Whilst I don’t actually suffer any pain because of this it will clearly help me if I get all these things working correctly. I am going to do a little bit of research to see how I can work on this and then update on my progress over the coming months. I am sure I will be able to work on the speed part of it really as I will mostly be out with the buggy over August but who knows perhaps I will see some time improvements there.

The first step will be to do the glutes strengthening exercises which will help me to engage the glutes and strengthen then so that when I run they will actually be able to play a more active part in running!

Having a quick look through various sites on improving your glutes I picked up the following which I’m goinhg to start off with as my pre-run warm up to activate these dormant glutes. It’s really important that I start to work on this as my hamstrings are taking the brunt and also according to a runners world article as well the ITB (ilitibial band) is also compensating for the glutes lack of activity. (

Exercise 1 : Donkey Kicks

This is probably one most people are familiar with where you are are on the hands and knees and whilst keeping your knee flexed you raise it up and back that hopefully this is when the glutes are then engaged.

Exercise 2: The Bridge

Whilst lying on back draw your bottom up from the ground by squeezing your cheeks together and pushing upwards. The hamstrings should remain loose (this is where I have been pulling up and they have been tight) Also the stomach muscles should not be pulling up either. IT should all be coming from the glutes.

Exercise 3: Single Leg Bridge

Similar to the bridge but advancing it so that whilst in the bridge position you then extend one leg out whilst keeping the other in the bent position. You need to start in this position before then pushing up by using the glutes as stated under “The Bridge”. The core should also be engaged here.

Exercise 4: heel raises

This can be done either from standing or better if on the ground (depending on whether the ground is wet). IF standing put hands against the wall and then with one knee bent up and the flat of your foot facing backwards pushing back keeping the sole of your foot vertical.

If you do this lying down, lie on your front with one knee bent at 90 degrees. Then push the flat of you foot upwards trying to make sure that it stays horizontal. Maintain the 90 degrees – anything greater is likely to activate those hamstrings and in may case they are already working too hard! The intention is to do 8-10 reps on each leg twice but we’ll see how that goes!

Exercise 5: Straight Leg Walking

Walk forwards with your legs straight out in front of you so no bending. As you bring your leg back squeeze those glutes until the foot returns to teh ground and repeat on the other side. For a image of this one check out They also provide an example for straight leg running too but I think these will be giving me plenty to go on with for now.

New Beginnings


, , , , , , ,

I feel that I need to start this blogging business afresh as its actually had me bogged down trying to write down what runs I do and all that and then I started adding in how things were going with Libby and it just all became too much for me and I stopped actually enjoying writing about it as it just felt like a chore I had to get done.
I have two draft blogs that I wrote earlier in the month or they may actually have been from last month and I’m just going to leave them sitting there.
The last few weeks have been the happiest I have experienced in such a long time and I think it has a good deal to do with the move – Libby to a new farm. I hadn’t realised how unhappy I had become at Laskey as I had always considered that my safe and happy place. We’ve moved to a new home and hopefully things will carry on as they have for the past few weeks as Libby seems so very settled and we are actually getting to ride in a “proper” arena and I even had a riding lesson. Got that awful left canter going on the correct lead leg and things finally seem to be coming together.
Since I last blogged I’ve managed to continue my 100 miles a month regime although at times it has been tough to keep that going. But that’s the point of a challenge isn’t it!
I’ve run in four races so I think that is what I will focus on for this blog:

Dunham 5km
WRC Summer 5 Mile
Lymm 5km Trail Race
Lymm 10km Trail Race


Dunham 5km was receded by an upsetting event at Laskey Farm and I was seriously upset and totally knocked off stride and seriously considered not running the Dunham Massey 5km because I felt so down on myself. I managed with a little bit of encouragement from Georgina Walker (Lymm Runners super best runner) and my hubby to go down and run. I didn’t want to leave Harmony and for some reason I have got so I don’t want to be away from her even more now. I really don’t like being away from her. I am not getting any real time to myself at the moment so I suppose it was important to go down to Dunham for the race. The obvious goal in mind was the beat Park runs 5km time of 22.41.
The weather was not too bad but it really felt like there was no air at all. I struggled to breath the whole way around. My legs felt absolutely fine. Set off down the first downhill stretch and clocked in 4.19 for the first kilometre. I tried to keep Georgina in my sights but she sprinted off at the start and I lost sight of her. I carried on feeling focused for the first mile (7.11) and actually the first 1/2 mile was 3.11 so I was really going something then to try and catch up with Georgina. I lost sight of her at the bottom of the hill when she turned right. I got a text message into the second mile as we climbed up the offroad hill section. I started stressing about what it could be about and then lost my focus. Slowed down on the middle mile to 7.35 and then felt really annoyed with myself.
I managed to regain focus for the last mile and really pushed it as much as I could, still struggling with the air. The last mile was 7.23 so I did gain back some ground but not enough. The last kilometre also had the same focus once more as the first with 4.20 but I need to work on maintaining the focus in the middle where I basically just try and get through the miles. My official finish time was 22.51 so I was actually disappointed. I know that I can’t compare it with park run but I was really hoping that I would get a time closer to 22 minutes. I need to find a really good flat 5km race to test my speed out and see what I am capable of. If I had managed to keep Germaine in my sights I would have got the time I was after. She finished in 22.08 and Georgina flew in in 21.48 I think. David Faulkner also passed me on the first uphill climb and he gained a PB for his time in 23.30.
The one positive I can take from it is that it is only 10 seconds off my PB so it means that the time is not a fluke and that I am more than capable of hitting that sort of time. I just need to be able to work on the speed more regularly!


I was still not feeling focused again for this one and seriously again thought about not bothering. I was also feeling somewhat under the weather and had been for a few days. As it was just a head type cold I had decided to get myself together and head down to Collier’s Moss for a race where I really didn’t know what to expect – which was partly why I had entered this one in the first place! I had thought at first it would give me a chance to work for a 5 mile PB but then realised that it was more a trail run so I really wasn’t going to be able to crack that one!

This was a tough trail run but I really enjoyed it. May mean that I will switch my focus more on what runs I enter over the winter season. I didn’t think trail running was my thing but because I wasn’t really aiming on time and figured this was more about strength and enjoying the event for what it was rather than the elusive PB I really took everything in my stride. The first mile started off quite easy but quickly became more challenging with traversing streams and steep inclines upto the top of a hill for an amazing view. Mile two required a snake like path amongst trees. It was impossible to pass anyone at that stage so the pace was dictated by the runner ahead so this did slow things down a bit and I probably lost at least a minute over this section. I was tired really by mile three and the hills kept on coming but I carried on with a man behind me/in front of me talking with his friend and he never stopped going on how this was just a jog for him and that he was just helping someone out and that he wasn’t really putting any effort it. Always good to have that kind of talk around you when you are trying your best and hardest! I am sure if I had felt 100% and not felt somewhat feverish then I would have knocked a minute or two off. Georgina was well out of sight after the first bend so I knew I had no chance of catching her and she would be minutes ahead of me. She actually came in first in the V35 category with 40.28 and finished 4th overall. I didn’t finish to far behind, finishing 15th female with 44.25. The last mile had a section running through fields of maize and then a climb up an embankment where the photographer was waiting at the top to take some interesting photos! I was pretty happy overall with an average pace of 8.57/mile. I hope I can manage that kind of pace for the Sandstone Trail in October.


I decided for some crazy reason to enter both the 5km and 10km on Sunday 9th July for the trail races. I figured I normally run 9 miles on either a Saturday or Sunday and this would be good practice for the Sandstone Trail.
The 5km was supposed to a warm up for the 10km and I still didn’t feel 100%. When I realised however that I was quite close to front I decided that I would push on and see how well I could do but making sure I didn’t push too much and have nothing left. I passed Emma Nunnerley around the 3km mark and shortly afterwards she shouted out to me that my lace was undone so stopped to tie it. She passed me then and then I passed her again. I finished 8th female overall and 4th in Lymm Runners. Guess who was first – Georgina! My time 24.47. So happy again with that for the trail race. I ran it a couple of years before I really got into running in around 31 minutes. Goes to show how far I have come since then.



There was a half hour gap roughly between the two races and I had a massage of my calves from Sam Foxall who was attending on the day! Standing at the start line again seemed a little bizarre. I think I was one of a handful of people who had entered. The advantage was that the 10km had been measured a little short so it wasn’t going to be a full 10km distance. The boring part was that it was two more loops of what I had done for the 5km.

The heat was what had made the 5km difficult so it made it even more difficult with the 10km. The first half it didn’t seem as warm but having already run 5km my legs were warmed up but lacking somewhat in energy. I seemed to be going fine though for the first half and I actually paced myself better.

The final loop was tough and I really felt it by that point mainly because of the heat. My legs didn’t feel too bad. At kilometre six I heard the announcement that the first man was crossing the finish line in 31 minutes. At least it gave me a good indication of where I was at so I knew if I kept going I would come in just over 50 minutes and not dissimilar really to the pace I had already set for the 5km. I actually crossed the finish line in 51.12, finishing 16th female and 3rd in Lymm Runners. I wonder where I came overall with those who ran both races. If I get an opportunity I will have to look into that. Would be interesting to see times for those who had entered both events! It was actually something that Mike Hall mentioned to me just the other day. The run appeared to be short quite a bit 5.7 miles on my Strava.

At the end of that event I was left in 3rd place at Lymm Runners Summer Championships having entered 4 of the qualifying events. Those placed above me had entered 5 and I was one point off second place. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be entering anything else for the rest of the season unless I enter Birchwood with Harmony in the buggy. Food for thought.



Two minds – lost focus

My head is very much in two minds as what I am doing at the moment and I am feeling quite torn.
I had a great half marathon but then over the past three weeks since then not really much has happened. I have been putting more miles in running with the buggy than I had been previously and I ended May with 58.5 miles ran with the buggy out of a total of 104.1 miles. So far for June the percentage of buggy running has increased even further with 19.8 or the 23.9 mile run with the buggy! Today I did a split run with 4.1 miles by myself before going to collect Harmony in the buggy. Unfortunately the buggy had a flat tyre so it was a nightmare pushing it. Have a feeling a got something stuck it in the wheel on Wednesday’s run with Lymm runners as we did a bit across the May Queen field and down Whiteleggs lane and with it being off road there is always a chance that I missed seeing something that could have got stuck in the tyre. Another trip to the bike shop is in order!
So I’ll give a brief run down of the last three weeks which started with a 2.8 mile schooling session with Libby in the paddock just in walk and trot. Once again I feel like we are improving and she is listening to my aids. So whilst we had a big set back with that bucking session on the Trans Pennine I feel once more we are moving in the right direction with this session.
Couple of midweek runs with Harmony including Wednesday’s Lymm Runners. Harmony isn’t well though as she has tonsilitis and we have been up for a few nights and I have felt quite drained by it. Harmony enjoyed the offroading session that we did – it seems Lymm runners like to do quite a lot of trail running and we went through Spud Wood. Had a chat briefly with Fiona and David. Chatted with Sarah who asked if I had entered the Sale marathon and I said I was feeling quite depressed and disilliusioned about everything at the moment as I am struggling being away from Harmony which would probably explain that all my running miles have basically been with her along. Even if she goes to sleep in the buggy I can still see her in there and I still feel like we are together. As I was running with the buggy to go and collect her today I couldnt help but look into it and then remembered she wasnt there yet!
I really am finding it extremely difficult to motivate myself at the moment. I manage to get out and run and once I am out I really enjoy it, but the getting out is a real struggle.
Didn’t manage to ride Libby again until the weekend where she definitely wanted to canter but I had to keep holding her back. We didn’t ride for long as I was stressed because Andy was waiting with Harmony in the car as she kept crying whilst she was on the yard because she seemingly wanted to be with me. I had hoped that I would have been able to have a canter by now but I really don’t want to when there is no one around and with Andy in the car park I still felt that it was a risk. I have really lost my confidence again and I don’t know whether I am going to get it back.
In an attempt to motivate myself I decided to go for a long run with Harmony on Sunday 28 May. I ran down to the stables via the Trans Pennine Trail and just kept going until we got to the section where there is a ramp (the part I normally enter/exit with Libby) and then down All Saints Drive in Thelwall and back around past the Little Manor meaning it was a 3.7 mile run to the stables rather than the direct route of 2.5 miles. We had a bit of a tootle around at the farm and I checked on Libby and then headed back the way I had come. I decided that I wanted to get up to the 8 miles so I added Bollin Crescent on and then ran up to the Sainsbury and back to get to 8.1 miles. The 8 miles were covered in 1.19.59 and I pushed really hard for the last couple of miles to get in under the 80 minutes for 8 miles. Really pleased with that as whilst it isn’t particularly fast, covering 8 miles with the buggy is the furthest we’ve gone and its a good average pace over that distance. I intend to try this route again and see if we can improve even further.
Andy., Harmony and I went to the Warrington Horse Show on the bank holiday monday and I really enjoyed watching the show jumping. I would so love to do that with Libby but I am just not good enough to even consider it. I am going to see if I can find a rider or look at how you can go about finding someone who would be interested in taking Libby showjumping. When Lucy Worsley used to ride her they jumped some great fences and decent spreads. Libby has so much potential to compete but she is just let down by me and my failings as a rider. I really do think that she would do so well as a show jumper and it would get her thinking and focused which I think is what she needs to be doing. She has basically had a year off with my having a baby and now its time for her to do something. If I can manage to build up some confidence and lose the negativity that has developed maybe we can do something together but at the moment I think sadly that isn’t going to happen.
Hadn’t intended three buggy runs through the week but that was just the way it panned out. On Tuesday I went on the stage lane/wet gat elane run to get Harmony to sleep. She fell asleep around 1.5 miles in and we completed 4.2 miles as I added Reddish Crescent and Bollin on as well. It was like I just could ‘t stop and wanted to keep going. We averaged 10.14/mile. It felt like a very comfortable run with the buggy.
Wednesday I decided not to run with Lymm runners but go on a longer and faster route just with Harmony. We went via Crouchley Lane and Kay Lane, where Harmony proceeded to lose a shoe. I only noticed at the end of Kay Lane where I saw her trying to take the second shoe off. I didn’t have time to go back as I had to get back for Mum who would be arrriving in less than 30 minutes and with just over two miles to go I was pretty pushed for time. I decided I would drive up to Lymm dam the following day and then do a shorter run in search of the said shoe.
We actually covered 5.5 miles that morning, which was pretty humid with an average pace of 9.38/mile with a fastest in 9.07. I think the buggy training is working well. I feel positive because I have Harmony with me. I do hope she will enjoy running in the future and that we can run together. At some point it will be me trying to keep up with her.
So Thursday whilst I wasn’t in the mood and the weather was even more humid I set off again with the buggy, having parked the car at Lymm dam and ran back down Crouchley lane. The shoe was as I suspected down Kay Lane and was 1.6 miles into the run. I immediately headed back after taking photos of where I found the shoe. Harmony seemed quite pleased with herself. If I had have run from home it would have been 2.7 miles into the run, so basically which ever direction I had gone to get there it would have been the half way point. Glad I chose to park up. I didn’t fancy another 5.5 mile run two days on the trot.
Friday I managed to have a rest before meeting up with Lucy Worsley at Heaton Park Park Run for what turned out to be a faster than expected buggy run. Lucy as I have mentioned previously is just coming back after having a baby six months ago so she has just crept her time back into sub 25 minutes. I have managed a 26 minute 5km with the buggy and given the amount of people at Heaton Park was not expecting anything. The first mile, whilst down hill so we had gravity on our side, was completed in 7.49 minutes. Now I was surprised as I don’t think I have gone that fast with the buggy before. The second mile, which included the first hill was in 8.11 and then on the alternate course that had been arranged it still meant that the second time all the way up the hill would start around the 3.5 kilometres in. Lucy asked if we could slow it down a bit up the hill to my relief. I was thankful to her and said so. I didn’t think I would be able to keep on pushing at that rate up the hill. Having said that whilst I slowed down for the last mile it was still around 8.48 and I ended up finishing with a buggy PB of 25.40, which I was very pleased with. Lucy was also very happy with her time as she had not expected to go so fast around with me and finished about 30 seconds ahead of me as I said she should go on ahead for the last kilometre.
It was fantastic catching up with Lucy. She said we would have made great running partners as we both clearly motivated the other to keep going. I can’t imagine hitting that sort of time with the buggy with anyone else especially whilst also still chatting away.
As planned on the Sunday I managed to get out for that long buggy run again. Mike Hall had agreed to meet me. Actually his words were “can you run with the buggy so I can keep up”. At some point I know he will be back on form. He is certainly clocking up the miles again and cleared more than 100 miles for May. I know he’s already on over 50km for June and it’s only the 9th and he’s not run today yet!
We ran the 3.7 mile long route to the stables and miraculously missed the downpour of rain which started as soon as we arrived. I parked the buggy under the eaves of the stables and Mike lent me his waterproof so I could go and check on Libby in the field. After I’d done that we waited a while longer. Harmony had fallen asleep on route so I covered her over with a horse saddle cloth, which quite usefully could be attached with the straps over her legs to protect her from the inclement weather.
The rain lasted perhaps 15 minutes and then we set off again. The ground on the Trans Pennine was surprisingly wet considering the short period it had rained. We were running very steadily under the 10 minute miles and when we actually got back around the Bollin Crescent and back to Mike’s car on Reddish Crescent (a slight deviation from my route the previous week) we clocked in the 8 miles in 1.18.58 (so 1 minute faster for my 8 mile buggy run). I felt really good and again it was just the last mile that I felt my body tiring, more than anything from pushing the buggy.
The tightness that I had been experiencing in my periformus during the half marathon were not present. I am still trying to work out what actually really sets it off. Is it down to running hills at speed or is it running with someone else at speed and not running at your own stride? These are both factors where I have noticed it (EHM with Mike last year, Helsby with Susan and Amanda and Chester with Amanda). When I ran Manchester by myself it was flat and my periformus did not tighten up at all. It seems to start kicking in around mile seven. I ran the 8 miles with and without Mike and the buggy and it didn’t happen then, but the ground was flat and we were not going fast.
I did mention this with Amanda when we chatted at Lymm runners this wednesday. On the again off roader where I think my tyre may have sustained a thorn or some such sharp object that I could not see that has left me with yet another flat tyre. It was a really enjoyable run and it turned out to be a lot warmer than I had expected. Before I set off I actually changed from my t-shirt to a long sleeved top as it felt cool. That was the wrong decision to make!
So for the third time in a week I ended up running down Crouchley Lane. Had a good chat with Sarah who is still marathon training. She said if I do want to train for a marathon as I said I may have worked out a way to get the longer runs in with Harmony (where I do the first half with Harmony and the buggy say up to 10 miles and ten the second half and/or remaining miles alone), that I should try and sort out the tightness in my hips and IT band. I felt relatively positive after that and started again to look forward to what lay ahead.
Now as I am writing this almost three weeks have passed before I have had the impetus to actually work on my blog. Starting to wonder what it is all about at all. Will finish this blog off and then try and start the next one but it all feels like I am treading water. I am not even sure that I want to even bother writing anymore either. Everything has just got on top of me and I am not liking the person I am. Sorry that this is such a negative way to end this blog but I can’t see a way out of it at the moment.