Purple Flower

How was your week?

If any of you are feeling like me, then this week feels like a month. To be honest, this weekend feels like it has taken a fair few days to past. Isn’t it weird?

So, technically I am a key worker as I teach in a school and when I left work a week ago Friday they had asked me to go in on Monday. No one had any idea how many children were going to be attending school so I think they just wanted as many staff in as possible.

My daughter had been feeling under the weather on that Friday but played it down as she was desperate to see her friends knowing that she wasn’t going to be seeing them for the foreseeable future. By the Saturday, feeling under the weather had escalated to a full-on cold. Sneezing, coughing, temperature, so that was that. 14 days isolation for us all. So I haven’t been off my home plot since. We are so lucky to have a garden, so I have been outside, well the beautiful weather has been too good to miss.

Cup of Tea

I have been using the treadmill to get my runs completed. It was so hard to miss running in the sun, but still being able to run was good enough. I have noticed that when my brain is working overtime and anxiety is kicking in big time, running has helped so much.

Every morning this week, we have started our day with Joe Wicks PE lesson. 30-minute HITT sessions and I had some serious DOMS midweek. I’ve really enjoyed doing these with my daughter, giggling and just having fun. It’s a great start to the day.

Post HITT Workout

On Monday, I got tagged in the Instagram #see10do10tag10 so had to do my 10 press-ups. My upper body strength is usually and annoyingly my camera didn’t record the first set, so I ended up doing another set of 10.

To finish off my active Monday I completed my run clubs virtual session which was a killer. 10 minutes warm-up, then 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, minutes pyramid. Followed by 5 x 1 minute and a 5 minute cool down.

Let’s just say that I was ready for bed on Monday evening! As you can imagine there was a little bit of aching on Tuesday, so after Joe’s PE lesson I did a little yoga with Adriene on YouTube. A stretch was very much needed.

Having hardly completed any steps on Tuesday, I just walked on the treadmill. I am keen to stay active, as it is so easy to just sit on the sofa all day.

Even though I am starting every day with Joe Wicks, I also ran on Monday, Wednesday, Friday Sunday. Friday was another club session and was tough. I had planned to do my own Parkrun on Saturday but woke up feeling really sick. I ended up staying in bed until about 1 pm. It was really weird as by about 3 pm the sickness cleared and I felt much better. I decided to not run at all and just rest.

10K on the treadmill on Sunday completed my running for the week. I had planned for a longer run, inspired by Mrs Brems, who completed a half marathon on the treadmill. But as I hit the hour mark, messages started pinging on my phone and my daughter needed me to help her, so I called it quits. I am happy enough with my activities this week and hope that I keep this all up as the weeks continue.

One of the successes of this week has been our daily Video Call with my nieces and nephews. We play maths games and catch up and it is lovely for all the kids. If you have ever played 21 dares, we play something similar to that, although whoever lands on 21 is out. To make it more difficult, we replace certain timetables with words. For example, any multiple of 3 has to be replaced with the word buzz. We have also played bingo, helping them practices their times tables too.

I am going to lookup more games that they can play over Video Call as it is really nice for them to learn together, whilst they are still catching up with each other.

Please message me if you would like me to explain 21 in full. If you have any other suggestions for games let me know in the comments. Are you staying active? How are you keeping occupied?

Bath Half Marathon 2020 – Race Recap

THE BATH HALF MARATHON STARTS AT 11 AM! A weird start to a race recap, you may think. And you are correct, but let me explain. I did this race last year, yet the start time still was a shock to me (and others I might add) when I discovered this en-route to Bath on Saturday morning.

Bath Half Marathon Race Recap 2020 @rularuns Click To Tweet

Yes, I did receive all the pre-race information, which obviously stated the start time. Did I read it? Nope! I also had looked at the Bath Half Website MANY times in the lead up to the event, but did I notice the 11 am start? Nope! I even read my last years race recap but still didn’t register the 11 am start. Hence, this year I have started with that fact. Just in case I enter the race again next year. Hopefully, it won’t be such a shock! I also need to start paying much greater attention to detail! This probably applies to ALL areas of my life really. To be honest we are living in crazy times at present and I really did not think that this race would be going ahead.

Pre Race

Had the organisers not sent out an email on Thursday before the race saying that the event was going ahead, then I think they would have followed suit with most other races on FRIDAY 13TH MARCH. Once London and Boston announced that they were rescheduling, cancellations escalated quickly.

Bath Half was not the only race to still take place, but they did appear to be taking most of the negativity on social media. These are unprecedented times and we need to remember to be kind to each other.

It must be so hard for event planners to know what the correct decision is. They can only be led by the Government and Scientist. Public gatherings hadn’t been banned when the race took place. Being honest, I didn’t know if still attending was the correct thing to do. But I did and I know not everyone will agree with this decision but here is my recap. It may be my last recap for a while, so get yourself a cuppa!

River Avon, Bath

After taking part in this race last year and enjoying the weekend (notice, I didn’t say run!!) we booked up again fairly early. The accommodation that we stay in an ideal location, is not too expensive and Bath is such a lovely city it seemed a no brainer.

Saturday

We left early on Saturday morning so that we could have some time walking around Bath as it is such a beautiful city. I had a mini scare on the way down as bath Half released another statement via Instagram. We thought we would be turning around, but they actually said it was too late for them to cancel.

  • Bath City Centre
  • Bath Telephone Boxes
  • Bath City Centre
  • The Ivy, Bath

We had a little shakeout run in the afternoon too. It is nice to be able to stop, look around, and enjoy the surroundings. It’s not always possible during a race as you need to be aware of those around you too.

I had booked dinner at Prezzo’s at the beginning of the year. Thinking that it would be really busy, I tried to be organised and book way in advance.

After lots of giggles and a very enjoyable time with my club mates, we hit the sack. Well, that was the plan. I ended up reliving the past four weeks with Tracie. We cried lots and eventually turned the lights out around 1 AM. Not the most ideal race prep!

Sunday

I haven’t really been sleeping all that well lately, so I was fairly pleased when I slept through until 5 AM. Four hours sleep before a race, what could possibly go wrong!

We kept to tradition and headed to Costa for breakfast. The heavens opened whilst having breakfast and I really wasn’t feeling this race at all. I had almost sacked the race off during the week. With everything that is going on in my life at the moment, my running mojo has disappeared a little.

I had a bit of a funny turn after breakfast, feeling really poorly, so I again questioned whether I should be taking part at all. I finally changed into my kit after ALL the procrastinating possible. Then, as if I didn’t have enough things going on, my period started! Really! Well, at least it explained my funny turn earlier!

Sorry for my bad language!!

With the weather being SO rubbish, we left it until the last possible minute to leave to get to the start. Luckily our hotel is about a 10-minute walk to the race village. The race village was an absolute mud-fest. Is this what Glastonbury is like?

As we were so late getting there, after using the last set of toilets (in the rugby stadium, so they were ok and had no queue!) we walked straight to the start line. We didn’t have to wait in a pen or wait to start. We started our watches, crossed the line and were off.

The Race

The first mile is slightly downhill and the road is wide, so it’s a lovely view of runners ahead. Within the first mile, we got to see our club supporters. We came across a HUGE puddle as we started the first loop, so had to take a little detour. There was a surprising amount of support around this point and around the square section in town. There was less support as you head out of town, but that is not surprising really. We seemed to approach the bridge and turn around point much quicker than I expected. The road on the way back does feel like it goes on forever though.

I was running with Tracie and we were trying to be sensible with the pace. Tracie had picked up an injury recently so her training hadn’t been ideal. We did not want to start to fast. Just after the 6-mile marker, we saw our friends again. We stopped chatted and had a photo taken and then was off again.

Photo Credit goes to “Sparks”.

I was enjoying having someone to run with, but I was also aware that Tracie doesn’t always like running with others. It puts extra pressure to run at their pace, so I kept trying to judge if I was helping or hindering.

I said that I would stick with her until we passed all the hills and then she could tell me to get lost if needed. At mile 8, Tracie needed to stop for the toilet. She told me to carry on and I did. I felt she knew, that had she said to wait I would have.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when off on my own. Would I speed up? Go too fast? Not enjoy it? Get bored? I decided not to look at my watch and just run. I looked at the people around me and tried to take it all in.

A girl at mile 10 answered her phone and I heard her say ‘hello mum’. Well, that was all I needed. My eyes welled up and I had to fight to hold back the tears. Oh, how I wished I could take that same phone call.

I was starting to get period pains, so was finding the run uncomfortable at times. I knew my friends would be around mile 12, so concentrated on trying to find them in the crowd. When I spotted them I stopped to chat. I knew I only had about a mile to go, but I just needed to stop.

As soon as I left them, I tried to speed up. I decided that I wanted my last mile to start with a 9:xx. The last section is uphill and last year. I remember, really struggling up it. This year I felt strong and ran it quite hard. It was quite pleasing passing people. Starting my push for home too soon is a habit of mine, so when I turned the corner and saw the finish gantry, I pushed on again. I probably wasn’t going as fast as I felt I was going, but I was definitely working hard.

My finish time was 2:21:46. Not a fast half by any means, but one that I actually quite enjoyed running.

Finisher photo.

So who knows when we will get to race again. Parkrun is cancelled, my club sessions are cancelled, but try to stay safe and be positive. How do you plan to stay active?

Official Big Half Marathon 2020

The Big Half Marathon 2020 – Race Recap

Half marathons seem to be like buses; You don’t take part in one for ages and then two come along in consecutive weeks. This is my third time taking part in the Vitality Big Half Marathon and to be honest, I have had shocking races for the last two (read here) But, as I always say, there is something special about running around the streets of London.

Official Big Half Marathon 2020

It was another early alarm clock and I was close to sacking this race off on Saturday night. Being at my mum’s all day, helping to arrange funeral details, I had not eaten too well, I had drunk a fair bit of tea, but hardly any water. I had cried a lot, so when I got home with a headache, sore throat and generally feeling rubbish, I wondered if it was a good idea.

I had hardly seen my husband and daughter all day and knew that this half marathon would mean that I was out for most of Sunday too! When I told my husband that I was thinking of not going and he responded with, ” Go and do it why you have the chance, you never know when you won’t be able to do these things.” So very true, so I went and got myself organised.

The weather has been so crazy that I didn’t know what to wear. I ended up sticking to the same as last week, mainly because it was at the top of my washing basket (Freshly washed!). My alarm was set for 5:10 am and I finally got into bed at 22:59!

Race Day

Official Big Half Marathon 2020

Myself, Dem and Naomi all travelled together. Dem drove us to Burnt Oak tube station and we got the tube to London Bridge. it was so bright as we got out of the station at London Bridge and the sky was blue. Yes, it was still VERY cold, but it was so nice not to have rain.

Although we left a similar time to previous years and the journey seemed to go smoothly, I felt a bit rushed as we approached Tower Bridge. We quickly sorted our bags and kit along the embankment. We only had about 15 minutes until the baggage trucks left, so we quickly made our way to drop off bags. Bag drop is well organised and very efficient, it is just always SO busy with people.

After dropping bags, you have to walk across Tower Bridge. The weather was amazing and London was looking pretty spectacular. The wind blew a bit on the bridge and I did wonder if I had kept enough layers on. I hadn’t kept a hat or buff over my ears and walking over the bridge made me think this could have been a mistake.

The Start

The start pens are immediately over Tower Bridge. I was supposed to be starting in wave D, but some of the people I was with were wave E. We decided to see if we could move back and they let us. We hadn’t seen any toilets near bag-drop. But I remembered there were some in the start pens, so waited until then.

Well, let’s just say that it is lucky that you have so long to wait until the start. The queues were HUGE. It didn’t help that the queues entwined with the people waiting for the race to start. It was a little confusing as to who was waiting. I think we may have queued for between 30-25 minutes. Our pen had started to make their way to the start line before we even used the toilet. Luckily, we knew that the start line was still a little walk from the starting pens, so didn’t panic and caught up.

A tip for anyone that runs this race; Do not discard you extra layers until you can see the start line. It’s a long walk to the start and they sometimes make you wait again until you start.

Official Big Half Marathon 2020
Startline smiles

The Race

Dem had completed a trail marathon the day before as you do. His son was running his first half marathon, so we decided to take it easy. This is a new concept for me. The previous two Big Half Marathons, I have set off WAY too fast. The tunnel that you go through goes on forever and it is pretty much downhill the whole way. This year there was a mist/dust towards the end of the tunnel that worried me a little. You soon realised how warm it was in the tunnel as the cold hit you when you came out.

Canary Wharf sneaks up on you pretty quickly and that is where your GPS goes crazy. I think my watch clocked 4 miles half a mile early. Considering how cold it was, the spectators around Canary Wharf were amazing. There were a lot of bands on the course too. I love the steel drums, they are just perfect to run too.

After leaving Canary Wharf you are just looking forward to Tower Bridge. The cobbles that come before the bridge are not so pleasant, but Tower Bridge never disappoints.

After Tower Bridge, there are quiet parts of the course. I felt pretty strong up until 10 miles, where I had to dig in. We took a water break during every water station. I knew I hadn’t hydrated well the previous day (or probably that morning too) so I needed to be sensible. I was also very hungry and looked forward to the Lucozade station around 8 miles.

We past Frank Bruno around mile 11 and then it was just about head down and getting it finished. Dem saw a friend around 12 and a half miles and stopped. I did think about carrying on as I thought that was the only way that I would beat him. But no, I stopped and waited. Only for him to leave me for dust in the final 600 metres!

I wanted to dig in and keep up with him. My legs and to be honest, my head just didn’t have it. The 26.2 miles the previous day had obviously been a good warm-up for him!! A win’s a win – well done Dem.

Official Big Half Marathon 2020

The finish line area is pretty special. The crowds are epic and finishing beside the Cutty Sark, especially in the sun is lovely. The queue to collect bags was not so lovely. I started to get cold, but that is the joy of taking part in a mass participation race.

A week break from racing and then Bath Half is on the 15th March. Did you race at the weekend?

Brighton Half Marathon Medals 2014-2020

Brighton Half Marathon 2020 Race Recap

Just to warn you, this race recap is probably going to be very different from my previous race reports, but here goes.

If you follow me on social media you will probably be aware that my mum died on the 15th of February. This was a complete shock to us all and I am currently still trying to process it all.

Rularuns
Both of us in Chicago back in 2019

My mum was my rock and the thought of her not being here anymore scares the hell out of me. I’m not sure how you go on, but I know you learn to cope. I learnt that when I lost my dad back in 2010. So why am I sharing this, in this post? Well, I have run the Brighton Half Marathon every year since 2014. (Read previous race reports here 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). I love this race, my mum even came with me back in 2016.

 

So deciding to even turn up for this race I was in complete turmoil. Who runs a half marathon the week after they lose a parent? What will everyone think? Will they think I have just moved on? Will I even be able to run it? What if I cry all the way around? Shouldn’t I be with my family?

 

There were so many things going through my head. Then I remembered something that my mum had said to me when we were in Chicago. We were having dinner and I was talking about running – like you do! It must have been so boring for her, but she said: “Ruth, don’t ever give up running as your face lights up whenever you talk about it.”

Remembering that, made up my mind, I was running it and I was running it for my mum. I kept questioning if this was sensible, especially when the weather forecast was predicting 45 mph gusts of wind. Part of me wanted the race organises to cancel it, as I knew that there was no way I was not going to show up. Well, they didn’t cancel it, so show up is exactly what I did!

The Start

It was a very early alarm as I was getting a lift down in the morning, which is different from normal as I usually stay over. I was surprised that the weather didn’t appear to be that bad, but it was early so who knew how bad it was going to get. The journey was fairly easy and we parked at my friend’s friends house and then he drove us into Brighton.

As we walked towards the start line, I did find myself get emotional. The wind on Maderia Drive was insane. It was VERY cold and I needed the toilet, so we went in search. We didn’t need the bag-drop and we saw a LONG queue for toilets but we had plenty of time so just joined it. After about a 5 minutes wait, other runners, shouted to say that there were more toilets further up the road, so we headed for them. I’m not sure we gained any time as the queues were still LOOOONG there too.

We made it to the starting pen with about 15 minutes to spare. I think a lot of people had decided not to travel as it didn’t seem as busy as it has been in previous years.

Standing in the pens was very cold and I couldn’t make up my mind when to remove layers, if at all. I had a long layer on, my MND vest, a long sleeve London Marathon rejection top (that I was planning to throw away) and another jumper on. A buff around my neck, a buff over my ears and a hat. Is this helping you to picture how cold I was feeling?

Let’s just say that I only removed the top jumper and the rest stayed on. There were sections when we were out of the wind that I considered discarding layers, but I knew that the last three miles along the promenade may make me regret that, so I didn’t!

Being completely vain, the only problem with all those layers and the silly hat meant that my race photos were shocking! Hehe 

The Race

Rularuns - Brighton Half Marathon 2020

Due to the high winds, the race organisers hadn’t been able to put up the start/finish gantry, so from the start pens, we couldn’t see how far away we were. We crossed the start line fairly quickly. I knew that there was a point just past the start line, where my mum had stood years back. I looked for her and the emotion started. But as I started to get lost in my own emotion, the gusts of wind started which took my mind off my own grief.

As we headed up and out towards the marina, all the runners looked drunk. The wind was blowing us all over the place. Luckily for us, the wind was behind us, helping push us up the hill.

The speedier runners were already on their way back down the hill and you could tell by their faces that were having to work hard running into the wind.

Usually turning at the top of the hill, knowing that you have downhill for a few miles is great. Well, the headwind made the downhill harder than the uphill. It was quite nice when we turned to run past the Brighton Pavillion as we were sheltered from the wind for a while.

Turning on to the Kings Road was crazy. The wind was so strong and blowing straight into our faces. The route changed slightly this year, with us running around Bedford Square and Grand Avenue; both were very welcome breaks from the headwind I would love to be able to share a route plan with you, but I managed to leave my Garmin on charge in my kitchen that morning!.

At one point running along the Kings Road, there was a break in the buildings. The wind blew so strong that it moved my leg, almost making me fall over. It was insane!

Turning at 10 miles with ‘just a parkrun’ to go, I was starting to flag. I walked a little but then the wind blew behind us. 3 miles with the wind pushing me felt far more appealing than a headwind.

Listening to the wave crashing against the sea wall was amazing. The sea was so ferocious that the waves spilt over on to the promenade. I had to stop and take it all in. It was then that running the race just felt fitting.

My mum loved the sea and once said to my Aunty, ‘When I am gone, I would like people to just walk along the beach and remember me’.

As I crossed the finish line, the tears came. I wasn’t sure if that was due to relief or sadness for my mum, but I found it hard to hold them back. Funny enough, as I crossed the line I tried to stop my Garmin, only to remember that I had left it on charge at home! It was probably one of my slowest times, but I really didn’t care, as this race was not about times.

My world has been turned upside down and I currently can’t think too far ahead. I have the Official Big Half this weekend, which I am currently planning to run. But beyond that who knows.

Also, I am in the process of changing the look of this blog; it’s helping me occupy my mind! So if things aren’t where you think they should be, please let me know. 

Manchester Marathon training Week 5

Manchester Marathon Training Recap – Week 5

Well, this is going to be a short and sweet post. Week 5 of Manchester Marathon training hasn’t really gone to plan, but when does marathon training ever go smoothly?

Monday

With my hip/side still painful, even when just walking, I rested today. Hoping that I would be able to run tomorrow. I stretched my side lots, but it actually felt like the stretching was making it hurt more.

Tuesday

I thought that I was going to be able to run today, but the pain was still there when walking. It is such an awkward place that resting it is almost impossible. Every movement in bed, when I walk, standing up, just everything seems to make you engage your obliques. Saying it’s my obliques is totally self-diagnosed; not ideal but going to see a physio at the moment is out of the question.

Wednesday

With my hip rested and feeling a little better, I was struck down with a cold. Very annoying! I was in bed by 8 pm, asleep by 8:20 pm and then slept through until 6:30 am the next morning. I am sure you have gathered but no running again today.

Thursday

I was still not feeling great today. I went to work, but I had that feeling when your eyes are sore and all you want to do is close them and lay in bed. So, day 5 of no running. Can you see why this week hasn’t quite gone to plan???

Friday

Feeling better, I decided to go for a test run to see how my hip was. I thought it was going to be lovely, as the weather was nice and it was still light outside when I got home from work. I got my music ready and was about to head out when my daughter said she wanted to come with me. Ahhh, how lovely I thought. Well, that didn’t quite go to plan as she whinged after just 30 seconds and made me feel like I’d forced her out 🙂 Well, after returning her home 1/2 a mile in, I completed the other 1/2 mile on my own, with Oasis playing on my headphones.

I could feel my hip, it was tight but not sore. I felt VERY unfit, but it was lovely to be running. I stuck with just a mile as I wanted to see if there would be a reaction.

Saturday

With no obvious reaction, I decided to head to Parkrun with Christine. I thought I could just walk when I needed too. Irchetser Parkrun isn’t the easiest, but luckily we started towards the back and that meant that we started slowly as it is congested.

I was surprised at how my breathing was; feeling ok and enjoying the running, we didn’t stop at all. My hip felt tight and I was aware of it the entire run, but it was hurting.

Parkrun band and tag.

It was really lovely to be running again. It was only a week without running, but it felt like a lifetime! I stretched lots when I got home and kept my fingers crossed that there was no reaction.

Sunday

Luckily there was no reaction with my hip, but Storm Ciara was visiting so I actually enjoyed a lie-in. Tea in bed and a lazy morning was so nice! I had decided that I needed to run again, I am very aware that Manchester Marathon is getting very close and I haven’t really logged any big miles. I decided to get on the treadmill and see how many miles I could bank.

Does anyone else find it really hard to motivate themselves to run if they haven’t got it done in the morning? I knew I didn’t have the mindset to just run long on the treadmill and I still wasn’t totally confident with my hip.

So, I ran a mile then stopped and stretch. I increased the speed a little and then ran 2 miles. With a little speed increase again, I ran 3 miles. I would have liked to run 4 miles, but I knew that I didn’t have the time as my husband and daughter were waiting for me.

Manchester Marathon training on a treadmill.
The usual sweaty treadmill selfie.

I was really enjoying the running, singing along to the music; well miming, as no one needs to hear my singing voice! I was constantly checking my form and I could feel my hip, but it didn’t feel as tight as yesterday. Funnily, everything else seemed to hurt!

But I was happy with 6 miles banked in total. I would have liked more, but I don’t want to push it too soon.

Manchester Marathon Training.
How annoying is that 0.01!!!

Overview and Stats

I would be lying if I said I was confident for Manchester. I already felt so behind with my training, so missing last week hasn’t helped at all! But 8 weeks is still a long time, so let’s see what happens!

10 miles banked for week 5

Let’s hope that week 6 is ‘back on it’. Fingers crossed. Remember you can subscribe by adding your email address below. It means that every time I post, you will get it straight to your inbox.

If you have missed the previous weekly updates, read them here.