I Found a Lucky Penny and Got Back to Running

This (lucky) Penny I found.  She’s wonderful.  An absolute joy!  Therapy dog.  She has the sweetest nature that makes the whole family smile – even when she’s up to no good!! She is the WORST advertisement for owning a dog because she’s so good.  She picks up commands easily.  She’s excellent with the kids.  Cats?  She gently herds them away from her food.  Walks/runs – There’s no fuss getting ready, she’s always calm.  Walking out of the door is a breeze, no pulling or jumping.  She walks by my side until we’re ready for  the harness and GO!!!!! She’s a full on pull machine having a fabulous time!! Other dogs? She’s super friendly!  I’m so lucky to have found her!

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LOOK at that face!! She even has a little love heart on her nose!  Maybe 2016 isn’t so bad after all.

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Therapy dog in session – her cuddles make all of us smile.

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Plus she’s got a brilliant sense of fun!! I asked her “where’s the kids?” This was the look I got!  She then went off to find them for cuddles.

So what else has been happening?  Why no blog posts?  Might want to get comfortable, this could be a bit of a ramble through some events and stuff I’ve been up to!

Ready?

As this is a running blog – I’ve not really been doing any running whilst I’ve tried to get well.  It’s taken a few months and hopefully I’m fully on the mend now.  The long distance running is back on the menu now my stamina has started to return.  I’m still not back up to full strength but I have plans to get myself back to a good level of fitness and start (AGAIN!!!!) to work on my speed!  Sheesh!! Since when is speed a good thing!! Sigh.

To start with – Farthingstone Foot Fest – 4th June 2016 – 8hrs 23mins

My first long distance event since getting ill this year.  I felt good, started strong and met up with Hazel Kurz who was walking the whole distance.  We got chatting and the miles flew by.  Bizarrely I was faster than last year.  I ran most of the distance last year!  This year I walked most of the distance.  How does that work?  It was a beautifully hilly come back event to distance and reminded me of why I love “The Distance” rather than speed.

Wales Trail Marathon – 18th June 2016 – that turned into a half marathon.

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I knew at the start that this event would be tough.  That’s why I love it so much.  It’s brutal! The terrain has everything – rocks, mud, path, road, track, hills, hills with hills and even flat sections with views.  The organisation is faultless with the start/finish at the coffee shop, mountain bike centre.  I set myself a target at the start – get to halfway within 3 hours.  Sounds like more than enough time but as I said, this event is TOUGH!  Thankfully I had some excellent company – that’s Katy Jones running ahead of me trying her hardest not to laugh at my antics!  We spent the majority of the route chatting and laughing.  It was brilliant fun.  By the time I got to halfway I was 15 minutes past my personally set deadline.  I wasn’t strong enough – yet!! So I finished at the half marathon point having had a fabulous time.

Giants Head – 25th June 2016 – 7hrs 15mins

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Asking strangers to take a picture of me before the start of a race?  That’s not normally me.  These strangers were thoroughly impressed with my colour coordination and especially the tutu.  No it’s not for charity, it’s not for a special reason, it’s because it deters horse flies from landing on my hips/butt and also I get “nice tutu” or “love the outfit” whilst out on the course.  Most importantly – it’s perfect for race numbers.  Who’s going to miss a purple person with a purple tutu?  See!!  There’s method to my crazy!! As for the race, well.  The hills were still there, the rocky path wasn’t so rocky, my daughter was helping out at an aid station and then at the finish and absolutely LOVING the whole atmosphere of the event, I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to bimble along knowing I could finish this course even with all the hills.  It was a grand day out!  Especially for my 15 year old daughter who rambled on about her adventures for the first hour driving home and then snored all the way home hahaha!!

From Here to There and Back – 3rd July 2016 – 7hrs 20mins

Having done this event before, I knew what was coming.  I still enjoyed it though.  Back again next year teehee!!

North Downs Way Marathon 10th July 2016 6hrs 34mins

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I was all for pulling out of this one.  I knew what the North Downs Way was like.  I knew those hills would feel like they never ended.  The route would be brutal.  The deadline for 3 hours at halfway was rattling around my head as I was not long back to running after a break and I’d not managed Wales Trail Marathon within that same deadline!! How could I do this.  It felt impossible before I had even started.  I gave myself a good talking too.  I’ve paid, what have I got to lose, just try, get out there and just TRY, if you don’t make the deadline at least you tried, better than not trying, you’re stronger than you think, move it move it move it MOVE IT!!! The route is an out and back course.  I remembered most of the route too from North Downs Way 50 (centurion running).  Close to the halfway point I was running at a similar pace with a very lovely lady – I’m terrible with names!! We stayed together for the rest of the race, chatting, laughing and having a brilliant time and then it was halfway – 2 hours 45 mins.  WOW!!!  Time to turn around and run back.  We chatted and laughed all the way back to the finish well within the cut off time and look at the size of that medal!! Seriously! It’s huge.  Now I felt like I was getting my running mojo back.

Dorset Invader – 17th July 2017 – 6hrs 51mins

After my daughter had enjoyed herself so much at Giants Head marathon, how could I not bring her back for the Dorset Invader AND in fancy dress no less!! To say she got right into the whole event atmosphere and again thoroughly enjoyed herself is an understatement!  I got thoroughly hot and sweaty trying to run in fancy dress – thankfully my backup plan of purple tutu underneath fancy dress was a great idea as I couldn’t wear the costume after about 10 miles in due to the intense heat.  This event was like London Marathon in the hills and fields of Dorset – runners dressed up as romans/warriors and even warriors in chariots!! Even the start finish was Roman esque along with the majority of the marshals dressed as romans.  It’s definitely a sight to see along with the beautiful views along the course.

Lakeland 50 – 30th July 2016 – 20hrs 38mins (1hr pb!!)

THIS was the event I was waiting for.  I am thoroughly hooked on this event.  I don’t know why it has captured my soul so much.  I don’t think I want to know.  I’m drawn back each year since my first failed attempt in 2013.  I got to complete the course in 2014 and then marshalled in 2015.  I was like an excitable puppy marshalling, skipping around like a loon, ready to please, get drinks, help.  So coming back again to have another go at this course was perfect.  Just perfect – please body, no more getting ill, just for this event, please!!!

This event has a specific kit list, I knew the list well, over the years I’ve collected and picked up new bits and pieces.  This year I had bag issues – My kit was lighter and smaller so everything fitted (just) into my small salomon vest.  If I used my bigger/better salomon trail pack it would feel like everything was rattling around, there wasn’t enough to fill the pack anymore!! Oh the joys of having lightweight kit hahaha!!

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Fun Times at the Start

That smiling bundle of loveliness in the yellow calf compressions is Kate.  This was her first time attempting Lakeland 50.  Hahaha!! She was still smiling at the end, thankfully!!

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Rocky Horror!!

So here’s a typical Lakeland 50 “footpath”.  These footpaths range from normal to just plain gnarly like this one! To run across something like this you definitely need to be channelling your inner mountain goat.  Amazingly I didn’t twist anything on these paths, others weren’t so fortunate!

During this event I had a urine status scare – pee the colour of cola is not good.  I slowed down, drank more and hoped that it was a glitch and my kidneys were having a moment!  Thankfully at the next checkpoint everything was back to normal.  Phew!!

I then helped a lovely guy who had twisted his knee on one of the “footpaths”.  He wanted to get to the next checkpoint because his family and hotel was there.  It was getting dark and he was struggling.  I had bags of time so how could I leave him alone?  I just couldn’t.  After he met up with his family I kicked back into gear and even though my feet felt a bit mashed I still felt strong.  A quick check through on kit and lighting and I was off into the night passing so many people.  By the time I got to the last checkpoint my mood had darkened.  My clothes were rubbing, my skin was on fire, I was emotionally unstable and just wanted to get this over with knowing I had a really difficult path ahead of me.  The people at that checkpoint were angels, just angels.  They took me in, sat me down, cup of tea and got me thinking straight.  I was angry at myself.  Really angry for feeling this vulnerable.  Pack back on, tea drunk – lets get this last bit finished.  The last climb was tough but manageable, the descent was fairly easy!! I’m sure it was more difficult last year.  I past more people who were really struggling and there was me, jogging along like I was out for a morning jog.  I started getting angry at myself again and the bad mood returned.  I finished strong.  The marshals at the finish – another set of angels.  I’m terribly sorry for my mood and was even more angry at myself for that.  I wanted to get OUT of my clothes.  They hurt!!  I got my medal, my finish time and quickly headed back to the B&B to get into a hot shower and get rid of the painful rubbed skin pain.  Clean dry clothes – bliss!  I spent the next 6 hours shivering and coughing whilst sleeping.  I then woke up feeling fresh and okay.  Stairs, no problem.  What was going on!!  It took me a couple months to get to grips with what happened.  I’m still not sure why I finished angry but I’m thoroughly pleased now that I did finish strong.  It was all very odd!!

Salisbury 54321 – 14th August 2016 – 7hrs 3mins

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Breakfast on the road before taking on Salisbury!! This event is anther hilly, beautiful scenery, wonderful marshals event that starts and finishes at Salisbury fire station.  This was also Carolyn’s 100th marathon celebration run.  It was a grand day out with a grand finish at Pizza Express celebrating a fantastic achievement!! Well done Carolyn.

Bad Cow Marafun 20th August 2016 5hrs 55mins

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Bad cow – it was supposed to be a double marathon weekend but my mood wasn’t in a good place and even though the hotel in Bournemouth was 20 mins from the start I was alone.  What made things worse is the fact that there was an Air Festival in Bournemouth that weekend.  Jets flying by, fireworks until late in the night.  My nerves were rattling and I just wanted to chill out and rest.  Andy and the gang at White Star Running really did try to help but like I said.  My mood was not in the right place that weekend.  As for the run – It went really well.  I felt strong all the way up to 20 miles and then my legs decided to cramp up on me for the first time ever!! The pain was incredible!! I walked it out and finished in a respectable time but I knew running the following day was going to be even more painful so I decided to head on home instead of staying.  I’m glad I did, the following day was filled with painkillers and sofa surfing!! Ouch!

Are you still here?  Wow!  Thank you.  Bet that tea/coffee has gone cold though.  That’s me, all up to date with running and stuff.  Hope you enjoyed the rambling.

Enjoy

Hels

 

 

 

 

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