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I’ve been a bit slack on the blogging front this year because life has been really busy. Between work, training, doing up a house and studying sports massage therapy at college, there hasn’t been much time for writing. But I’m still here and still running! So here’s a bit of a catch-up post. I haven’t had time to blog about most of the races I’ve done this year (although some I have reviewed in the past), but if you have any questions about any of them, please feel free to shoot them over.

 

I did quite a few events in the spring as training for the Hardmoors 50 and The Wall ultras. I wanted to pack in as many long, hilly runs as possible, and doing those as events means you get variety, support and people to chat to, which I think just makes training much easier and more enjoyable. Among these were regular favourites such as the Temple Newsam Ten, Harewood House Half, Daffodil Dash, Vale of York 10, Ravenscar Half and Top of the Wolds 10K; plus some new races like the Hardmoors Saltburn and Wainstones Marathons, Endurancelife Northumberland Ultra, Helmsley 10K and the Hardmoors 110 (as part of a relay team). I also did the North Lincolnshire Half (a road event) for fun with a friend who hadn’t run for a while.

 

 Sadly I DNF’d for the first time ever at the Hardmoors 50 in horrendous conditions (more on that here). I felt bad about it at the time, then discovered that many others had also pulled out, so fortunately got over that pretty quickly. However, I had a great day out at The Wall and really enjoyed it. My review of that is here.

 

 So what’s next? I had a week off after The Wall followed by a couple of easy weeks, because I think it’s really important to let your body have some recovery time after a long event like that. Even when the DOMS have faded, your system is still recuperating. But I have the Hardmoors 60 coming up this month, so did a couple of hilly half marathons for fun to get me back into the swing of things; the Conquer the Forest Challenge at Dalby Forest and the Yorkshire Wolds Half, which is part of Bishop Wilton country show. This is such a great, low key event, and you get a lovely handmade pottery mug at the finish. I can’t think why more people don’t do it!

  

Last month I did the Hardmoors Farndale marathon. I say marathon; this is a Hardmoors event, so of course it was actually 30 miles! It wasn’t an easy day, as it was really hot and there was lots of climbing, but it’s a beautiful course so the amazing views make it worthwhile.

 I also did the Princess Challenge at the end of August with a friend, because it’s great fun – and when else will I get the chance to wear a tutu and tiara at my age?!

 

Back in the spring quite a few of my friends did road marathons and I must admit I suffered slightly from FOMO. After the furnace that was last year’s London Marathon I said I’d never do one again, but I now have a bit of a hankering to have one last shot at Good For Age and have entered the Nottingham Christmas Marathon at the end of November. Over the last year or so I’ve focused on endurance rather than pace, so after I’ve recovered from the Hardmoors 60 I’m going to have a go at switching that around a bit. I got my PBs at 10K, half and full marathon in 2016 and I’m not sure I’ll ever better those, but maybe it will be fun trying – or maybe not, we’ll see! Oh, and I’ve entered the ballots for the London and Tokyo Marathon, although I don’t hold out much hope of getting into either. Now I’m really looking forward to autumn, my favourite season for running. I’m currently enjoying tapering for the 60 and making some plans for next year – and hopefully now blogging more frequently.

Anyone else up for a Christmas marathon?!

 

I haven’t blogged about running for a while, and there’s a good reason for that; I haven’t done much running! I’ve had a niggling problem with my foot since I did the Race to the Stones 100K in July. Every time I’ve tried to run since then I’ve  had pain in the arch of my left foot after about half a mile, and also around my left ankle. I was told it was plantar fasciitis and had been doing loads of rolling and stretching to try and relieve it, but it just wasn’t getting any better and I couldn’t run at all. I’ve been doing some turbo training on the bike to try and retain a bit of cardio fitness and slowly getting more and more frustrated. The thing that annoyed me most was that Cancer Research UK had asked me to be an ambassador for their Tough 10 event in Leeds after the fundraising I did for them in the summer and, while I was persuading other people to take part, I wasn’t actually sure if I’d be able to do so myself!

Then last Friday I went to see another physio (recommended by a friend), who finally diagnosed me with tendonitis. It’s in the tibialis posterior tendon, which apparently runs from somewhere behind the shin, round the ankle bone and along the bottom of the foot. I had some ultrasound therapy and was given a special stretch to do, which I could feel working the exact bits that hurt!

Apparently it’s OK for me to do a little running, as some light loading can actually help with recovery… so obviously I took myself off to Tough 10 the very next day! I reasoned that if my foot started hurting, I’d simply start walking. I just really wanted to complete the event for CRUK. The good news is that my foot was absolutely fine. Maybe it was the time off, maybe it was the magic ultrasound, or a combination of both. I don’t know, but I was a very happy bunny!

So what was Tough 10 like? Well, it certainly was quite tough (unsurprisingly), but I really enjoyed it. It probably felt harder than it should, as it was my first run for over two months! The event was in beautiful Roundhay Park in Leed. The course was a mixture of tarmac, woodland trail and grass, and featured some great scenery – and, of course, lots of hills! It was pretty wild and windy on the tops too. Participants included runners of all abilities, from speedsters who finished in well under an hour, right through to those who were clearly doing it for fun – a really inclusive event. And it was great to see and chat to various friends who I’d signed up as part of my CRUK ambassador activity, including the lovely Run with Rachel.

The last bit of the course was particularly harsh – up and down the same hill three times. I’ve never finished a race with hill reps before! But I didn’t mind walking a bit, and was entertained by a group of lads just ahead of me all running together in various hats. “Are they a stag party?” I asked a spectator who obviously knew them. “No, just idiots!” he replied. Great fun anyway. It felt sooo good to be running again, even though I could feel I’d lost some fitness. Inclines I would have run up three months ago during Race to the Stones were a bit of a challenge! But I was delighted just to trot round and finish pain-free. At the end we received the all-important bling, an energy bar and a bottle of water. Even though I was pretty slow I wanted to cheer and punch the air, I was so relieved!

I feel a lot more positive about running now. I’ve been injured before and I know now I’ll be back in action soon. I still need to be a bit careful for a while, but the only Christmas present I really want is to be able to start proper training for the London Marathon in the new year.