Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Training for the Clarendon Half Marathon In Cyber Pants





It was my birthday on Sunday (not quite a fool, eh?), and what better way to spend it than to get up early and run eight miles over the Chalk in the chilly sun before breakfast.

I'm (tentatively) training for the Clarendon Half Marathon. It's not real training yet because the race isn't until October. It's more that I've got plenty of time to run the route in chunks before putting it all together, so might as well get used to it. I'm running ten miles without too much bother now, and a HM is 13.1, so my plan is to make that my usual running distance and then the HM won't be much more than a training run.

The Clarendon is a scenic footpath that runs from Salisbury to Winchester over a distance of 27 miles, mostly on the Chalk, so it's lumpy and challenging and the countryside it goes through is beautiful. The Half starts in Broughton and finishes in Winchester. M is running the full marathon (starting in Salisbury), and he'll be through Broughton before I start which means I will be chasing him. As he generally finishes this race in about three hours and I'm expecting to take two to do my bit I will be chasing him in vain, but never mind!

I'd done a fairly fast Parkrun on Saturday. The gang who went down to the Grizzly were all there to celebrate our friend Peat's 50th. The race director conducted an 850-runners strong rendition of happy birthday before the start, then a select few of us went back to Peat's house for tea and chocolate birthday cake, all covered in sweat and rather stinky, but we're used to that and it was well-earnt sweat after all.

I'm getting back to form after giving The Knees slower run times over the past 6 weeks while they healed up, although at 24:41 am still some way off my previous PB of 23:06, but I'm not sure how much I want to crack the 22 minute barrier at the moment; I'm enjoying going slower over longer distances. Anyway, as a result I was a teeny weeny bit tired on Sunday's run. By the time we got to the cows in the farmyard (about 5 miles in), I was glad of the excuse to stop for a bit and chat to them. I love the smell of cows' noses, there's something warm and comforting about them.

Ted had gone on with his Dad and Pop, and after a few minutes of sniffing noses with the cows I heard him shrieking. Thinking he'd either a) stood on a thorn or, b) seen a pigeon/ rabbit, I glanced up the track to see him coming hurtling towards me. M, not far behind and grinning, said some way up the track Ted had looked round, realised I wasn't there, slammed on the brakes, yelled at his Dad to stop, turned round and gone flying back down the track to find me. He really is the sweetest dog. I know I've said it before but he really is. Poppy, of course, had remained with her Dad completely unconcerned for my welfare. But she did give me a energetic tail-wag and a Jack-Russell Grin when she saw me, which was something I suppose.

We set off again and this time Ted was taking no chances of losing me - he super-glued himself to my ankles for the next mile to make absolutely certain I didn't wander off. We came out of the fields under two beautiful old Oaks onto a lane (past the company car tractor parked in the cottage drive) and picked up the old Roman Road that winds across the river and up over the Downs. Near the top was an impromptu runway across a field with two small planes waiting to take off. We waved at the pilots, who waved back, and watched them zoom off into the air. Coming off the Down we peeled right off the lane onto a track that went down through ancient woods which were a carpet of wood anemones and just-coming-in-to-flower bluebells. The path was narrow, zig-zaggy, slippery and dissected with roots while low-slung branches hung across it at head-height, so it was fun to run down at speed.

Once out of the woods we turned left into a long sweep of ploughed fields where yellowhammers sang in the hedges and buzzards circled high overhead, keening. I got my second wind and skipped along, Pop racing ahead, Ted galloping behind and M bringing up the rear. 

I've invested in some compression 3/4 length running tights (out of curiosity and scepticism) to see whether the latest running fad actually has any legs (pardon the pun). M says they make me look like a cyber woman. I can't work out whether that's a compliment or not. They are silvery blue with white stripes and I'm slightly worried they are vaguely see-through in the knicker department. Something not helped by the compression lines that run under the bum area, thus defining it further. They are definitely not the sort of attire one should wear if one has any complexes/ reservations at all about the size of one's posterior, or indeed cares for other people's potentially vocal assessments on the subject. I find I get less bothered as I get older. And anyway, I only wear them when I'm running so figure I can put on a spurt of speed should I meet anyone and then they wouldn't have time to notice the colour of my pants as I flashed past (unfortunate choice of words but you know what I mean) As my ex-husband used to say upon returning from the gym, Lycra is not a birth-right :o)

Compression running tights have special threads running through them that kick-in to support the muscles when they get tired. I scoffed at this but have to say on both the ten mile run we did last week and this weeks' rather tired eight miler I could feel them working, so maybe they are worth the dosh.

We climbed a stile into a field (the sun glinting off the cyber-pants, causing M to shield his eyes and Ted to blink several times) where some yearling horses were grazing. Possibly it was the cyber-pants dazzling them in the sunlight (although it could also have been Poppy scampering about), but they responded to our presence by whipping themselves up into a frenzy of excitement at our running across their field and joined in, galloping about with heads held high and tails cocked over their bottoms, much to Ted's horror and Poppy's glee. The fence was electrified (always fun) and the stile rickety, so nothing could possibly go wrong.

After a few minutes of nail-biting scrabbling during which the cyber pants snagged on a bramble and I was aware of the ticking of the electric fence uncomfortably close to my bottom as I struggled to get free, we were over the stile (unstung) and back out onto a lane that runs back into Broughton where we'd started an hour earlier. M, who had his beloved map, got it out to check exactly where we were, but I had heard Rooks cawing and, seeing the Rookery, knew that we must be just down the lane from the car. I rather like navigating by nature.

It was a great run and now I have some idea of what the first 5 miles of the 13.1 I'll be doing in October look like (hilly, steep, long, relentless and a bit arduous, and I believe it only gets worse!). We'll be doing the next eight miles in a few week's time after a clutch of competitions are out the way.

Hope you're all well and that the runners among you are fit as fleas and racking up the miles? 

CT x






23 comments:

  1. Glad that the running is going well for you, you seem so happy when you write about it, so it is obviously a great thing for you! It is so adorable that Teddy was so concerned about you, it is funny how some dogs do that and others like Poppy just don't care isn't it. I should have guessed that Teddy would be a caring sort! I am so glad that I don't have to wear anything special for my walking, I wear leggings, but just the normal kind and they are embarrassing enough - my coat covers my bum thankfully, but goodness knows what I will do in the summer, invest in some very loose tshirts I guess - so at least I don't have to have those super lycra worries. Hey though if they make you go faster and safer and more comfortably or any of those then go for it! Happy running my friend, I will think of you as I walk! xx

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    1. Dear Ted, he is the kindest of hounds. There are some lovely tunics that hide all manner of things we prefer to keep hidden. I have several for the summer! Enjoy your walking, lovely Amy xx

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    2. I just realised that I forgot to say the most important thing. HAppy birthday!!!!!!!🎂🎂🎂

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  2. Hey CT,
    Alas the hamstring is still being a nuisance. Gave it a week off, ran Sunday and had to pull up at 51/2 miles. So resting it some more, and will put in a couple of shorter runs at the weekend. 10k is on May 3, she not unduly bothered; I know I can run the distance when match fit. I'm not particularly fast, but can sprint finish the last mile or so, which always pulls up my time. I love that final bit actually. I feel really energised as I feel my legs step up a gear.
    In other news I now have a completely knackered computer, so reading blogs from my phone. God knows when I'll be able to afford a new one, and really quite put out about it all.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Bum on both counts, muscle and computer :o(. Prays try a much shorter run- a mile or so to test the muscle? 5 miles was maybe too much too soon. You'll do your 10k no probs even on very little running between now and the race if my experience of the Cub is anything to go by. Xx

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  3. I'm chortling as usual as I read your post. Compression tights eh...photos please:). Love Ted, what a wonderful companion he is. You never need to worry if he's around. Think of me tomorrow; it's 25 minutes in one go. I can do it, I can do it....... Navigating by rooks, that could be the title of your book when you write it. Have a great week. B x P.S happy birthday. It seems we share the same birth month. Aries are the best yeh!

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    1. You CAN do it! I know you will. I will look forward to reading the write up. Great idea for a book title- I like it. No wonder we get on so well, both born under Aries xx

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  4. Hope you had a good birthday; I have another friend with a birthday on that day as well. Love the close-up nose shot, nice. No picture of the compression tights though? I have done my best to imagine them. I suspect they are not for me. Love how Ted looks after you, he is very sweet. Give him a little squeeze from me. Well done on the running, you do run in a most beautiful part of the world. Keep it up! CJ xx

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    1. Perhaps I'll post a photo next time :o). Poor Ted had a tick on his eyelid. The dear boy let me pull it out without grumbling at all. Poppy was very sceptical about the whole business. X

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  5. Happy Birthday 🌷🌷 I'm imagining the compression tights to be like those airline socks you get for dvt, not sure that's a good idea though. Great day for your latest run, sounds very uplifting. x

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    1. Thank you :o) I'm not sure whether the cyber pants look after circulation or just support the muscles... xx

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  6. Happy Birthday, Fancy Pants! I enjoy the smell of cows generally, but I've never sniffed their noses in particular. I'll remember to give it a try next time I'm in the vicinity of one! Good old faithful Ted, looking out for you; what a star, and I'm sure that Poppy was more concerned than she was letting on! I'm sure you'll rock that half marathon. xx

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    1. Oh Gawd, is that a nickname that will stick now d'you think?! Defo give cow-nose-sniffing a go (perhaps when no one is around) and let me know what you think :o) xx

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  7. I'm exhausted just reading about the run...though it sounds like it would be a wonderful walk...that's my speed limit I'm afraid..though my pace is quite brisk!!

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    1. You see more walking I think- more time to look around :o)

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  8. As for Ted's reaction of you not being there...reminds me so much of our Trojan...if me and the hubby were out walking together and he got to far in front then Tro would circle round back to me and glue himself to my hip!!

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  9. Oh my goodness, I am just catching up with your blog and all the comments. I was going to comment about the running and your sweetest little doggies but Im crying with laughter about the cow sniffing!!! Happy Birthday to you, keep running, keep on writing. I think that half marathon will be a breeze. Xx

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    1. Don't knock it till you've tried it, Shauna :o) Hope all's good with all of you xx

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  10. The cows...the smell of home! The running, no way! Dearest Ted...just what Heidi gets like if she can't locate me. x

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    1. They do smell like home, I agree. Dogs are great, aren't they? x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x