29 December 2013


Feeling a bit better but had a little trouble breathing while out running with the Miniature Schnauzer Menace this morning, still can't smell much of anything though--well except for the fertilizer piles at the farm we run by on a regular basis but that stink is so potent it will nearly knock you over.  Icy spots on the roads today as well, made it a bit interesting getting up the big hill so on the way back I decided to cut through a public footpath that I hadn't used yet......not sure it was much better because it cut through a well churned up cow pasture and I sank down to my ankles more than once and had rooster tail trails of mud up the back of my calves.  

We passed a group of horse riders twice and the first time I had to pick up Elsie and carry her past because she just wasn't going to run by them. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until we met up with them again and realized one of the horses had shoes that had sort of an echo "boom" when it clattered on the road.  Apparently it sounded like thunder to Elsie and spooked her.  

Anyway, nothing special about today's run other than I got out to do it even though I kind of wanted to stay in bed. I'm just writing about it because I'm a little bored and thought I would share some of that with everyone else ;-).  The pic below is from a run back in Arkansas last December, imagine mud instead of snow and you get an idea of what my shoes look like today. 

December 26, 2012

28 December 2013

Getting the jump on.......

Cross-training started back up on Boxing Day, call it my jump start on the new year resolutions.  Kicked it off with a full body 15 minute tabata interval style workout with my new kettlebells, yes there is some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) today.  In the interest of keeping it going and hopefully making it a habit again I also did another more structured weight workout along with some skipping rope and hula-hooping.  I also woke up still feeling blech and not breathing very freely so this made me feel less guilty about not taking Elsie for a run today but I can't blow it off tomorrow, it's not very fair to her.

Elsie when she sees me putting on running shoes

Today's workout:
--2 minutes jumping rope for warmup
--Pumps & Iron (LOVE her website!) upper body using 4 (8.8 lbs) and 6 (13.2 lbs) kg kettlebells.  Yes, I'm a lightweight at the moment and even worse the coating on the bottom of the bells is bright pink.  Also added in some figure 8s and body weight only windmills because apparently I'm not coordinated enough to do those with weights.

At least the jump rope isn't girly-girl hued

--5 minutes jumping rope
--15 minutes hooping with the weighted hula hoop (7:30 minutes each direction). I need to invest in a heavier hoop, can't remember what size I bought but it was on the lower end.

Now that Christmas is over I'm hoping that we will be able to start putting a gym together in the garage, it's kind of a pain in the butt having to scoot the (very heavy) coffee table out of the way before doing a workout. The hooping and skipping rope has to be done outside which was all right for today because it wasn't raining and the winds were relatively calm but you can't count on those conditions here in the winter. I don't think the hula-hooping would go too well in the 30 plus mph winds we have had so much of this month.

Drying out the trainers

In a sort of resolution based, keep the motivation going vein I've also joined 3 (so far) groups for working out in January--the Janathon 2014, the Jantastic, and the 30for30 challenge put up by one of the Truckin' Runners facebook members--yeah, yeah, I'm no longer a truck driver but it is still interesting keeping up with the group since I was a member almost from the beginning.

Hmmm, suppose I should also formalize everything else I hope/need to do better in 2014 but I think it's pretty much the same as every year: get organized, buy less, run better, eat healthier, foam roll more. Yep, that looks like it's the usual list.    

27 December 2013

Not so Festive relay

Running. I do that. Sometimes quite well, other times not so much. But I do run and while I love it most of the time occasionally it just sucks like today.  On a normal day I would love an event like the Christmas Relays--you got pavement, you got cross country, a little bit of mud and a few hills, people around you suffering just as much. Fun stuff.  Right up until you factor in the winds..........and not just a breeze, these were bone-chilling, blow you about winds.  Add in a somewhat stopped up nose and I felt like I was suffocating out on the course which in turn was throwing my heart rate into overdrive. I haven't felt this bad on a run since the Hogeye Half last spring. My pace went from 7:59 on the first mile to 8:37 on the second. Sucked. Oh well, on to the next, eh?

Trafalgar Square, watching everyone take pics of each other

In other news, my partner treated me to an impromptu trip to London on Christmas Eve (which is probably where I picked up the stuffy head, lol).  We didn't do much, just wandered about a little bit and had a meal in one of the restaurants near the Google HQ (Union Jacks--food was ok, service was lackluster, overall nothing special).  Spent a grand total of £9 (excepting the meal and train tickets) and five of that was at Primark for a slip because my dress and tights were not playing well together.  There was a search for a kitschy ornament for the tree but because we arrived so late most of the stores were already closing.  I was a bit surprised that Trafalgar Square wasn't more "done up" but we really should have made our way over to Covent Garden/Carnaby Street/Regent Street for the Christmas decorations.

Where to next?

It's still a bit surreal to me to be approximately 2-2.5 hours away from London, it was even more surreal being in a train station there and seeing Disneyland as a destination, lol.  Can't wait for the first Europe trip via rail.

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope all who celebrate Christmas had a very merry one


Christmas was fine but there were a few clouds hanging over the festivities this year.  A friend of mine's dad lost the battle with cancer, it's good that he is no longer suffering but it is so tough losing a parent especially this time of year. While they may or may not appreciate it now, the closure that they have had with many of their family and friends during this and being able to say goodbye is so very precious.  Sending much love to them.

Another running acquaintance back in the states also lost her life just before the holidays--her funeral is today.  Unfortunately this time it was a case of domestic violence, her husband took her life and destroyed so much more in the process--they had four children who will have to deal with losing both their parents in the ugliest manner possible.  It's easy to say why can't people just let go but you can never predict how someone is going to react when they are angry and hurt when faced with the end of a marriage, something I found out firsthand.

So......live, love, hug, appreciate, don't take life for granted and most of all please be aware of what is going on around you, if there's ANY hint of violence please do something. It may be nothing but you could also be saving someone's life and this applies equally for men as it does women.

18 December 2013

Books, races, and shoes

I'm adding "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsley to my reading list after watching 3 youtube vids featuring her.  Seems like it would be a fun read and she comes across as quite charming.  

I started to sign up for the Stafford Half Marathon again since it's almost full (I ran it last March) but found this one instead, Newton's Fraction Half Marathon. Love the name, hopefully it will have a cool t-shirt and medal to match.  More importantly I hope it won't be near as miserable temperature wise in the UK as it was this year, so many people showed up to the Stafford race, collected their tee and medal (still seems odd they handed it out BEFORE the race), decided it was too cold to run and went back home.  Another tidbit that tilted me towards the Grantham race is that Brooks Running UK is sponsoring it, gotta love the #runhappy.

The bling--March 2013

Speaking of Brooks, I'm wondering when they will produce a shoe for the UK/Euro market specifically for fell running since the sport is huge over here. They do a shoe called the Aduro that's market specific but it's made for road running, not trail. I love my PureGrit 2 trail shoes but they are better suited for drier trails, the super-slick mud here in wet conditions leaves me sliding about a little too much for comfort.  In the meantime I've gone back to the Cascadia for the muckier stuff, I've even found some of the older 7s in stock online that my partner has bought me as part of my Crimble present.  

My old Cascadia 7s from 2012 along with a KT Tape sweat and mud fail (go with the pro version!)

Just for fun pic, trail runner "ice bath"

Also upcoming are the cross country Christmas Relays where I seem to have mistakenly been placed on the "fast" team. No pressure there then, lol.  This will be interesting because the only relay race I've done before was a road race, will have to see how this goes.  At least there won't be a long tunnel as part of the course......or there isn't as far as I know, I'm now having flashbacks from the Hogeye Half relay and my claustrophobia induced panic attack.  

Monday-Wednesday catchup

Friday's knee issue led to me taking two days off and I managed to catch a little something as well (sneezing, sore throat, achy joints, etc) so the weekend was pretty much a wash as far as getting anything productive done. Monday night was a short easy run with both the mutts to test out a Christmas present from my partner, the Silva Trail Runner II headlamp. There will be a more comprehensive review as soon as I get a chance to try it out properly.

Last night's workout with the club has been dubbed the Speedy Lampposts run by one of the other members and it can be a killer.  There's a pacer that maintains a 9 minute per mile pace and everyone else turns around and goes back 1, 1.5, or 2 lampposts then tries to catch back up to the "rabbit". Once you've caught back up, you catch your breath then do it all over again, it's much harder than it sounds but like everything it's all dependent on how much effort you put into it.  The difficulty is also increased by what is at first a slight incline that just keeps going and going.  After that part is done there is a much more laid back run up a steep hill then we run full out going down the other side of the hill.  Very good at simulating a race situation in that it forces you to keep pushing hard to catch up.  Good stuff, I love having the opportunity again to train with people who are faster and better than I am.

Speedy lampposts details

Today the conditions were less than ideal due to the 20 plus mph winds so Elsie and I headed out after lunch for a no-pressure trail run.  We both enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and since there wasn't anyone else out at that time, she got some off-leash running time. I'm kind of wishing I'd chosen a less hilly route though, my legs are still trashed from last night.  

Look ma, no leash! 

Fungi. Anyone know what type of mushrooms these are?

I think I should have worn my trail shoes. And turned the flash off.
Photo of Ben so he doesn't feel left out :-)

14 December 2013


RIP PureFlow 2 trainers

I had planned on doing another cross country style race today but woke up with my left knee all sorts of wonky and no idea why until my partner started giving me the third degree about it.  Afterwards I was walking down the stairs and a quick glance at the cupboard in the entry where I store my running shoes when it hit me--I'd hit my personal mileage "use-by date" on the Brooks PureFlows I wore on yesterday's run. The slight achiness in my knees that I use as the gauge to replace my trainers had been building up for the past few weeks and that one last run I kept promising to quit using them after kept getting postponed in the hopes of prolonging their life.  Alas, that final trip around the canals was yesterday, on a Friday 13th no less, which seems an appropriate date for their demise.  I can't complain though, these shoes made their running debut with me back in late August when I was still in Arkansas and have over 400 miles on them. Not bad considering the average life is estimated to be 250-300 miles and most of those miles were on the uneven surfaces of canal trails.

The running partner who was by my side most of those miles

10 December 2013

Hey, I'm an expat!

Interesting article that seems to be creating a lot of conversations on various forums. I agree with some and I think she has her head up her ass on other parts of it.  http://www.businessinsider.com/us-expats-in-england-2013-10

Yes, there are derelict buildings and strip malls in England, we passed what I would call a strip mall last night--not as prolific as the states and the billboard/signage is not as overwhelmingly obtrusive but we are talking a vast difference in the size of the countries. Note I didn't say population, just the sheer land mass difference.  Not everyone in the states has walk-in closets, basements, or garages and quite a few houses here have the latter two (basements are called cellars though, and as an aside it depends on where you're at in the states as to what nomenclature is used) but I will agree that walk-in closets are few and far to find. Shoot, closets in general are scarce unless it's a new build.

Most grocery stores (shops) here do offer delivery service but it's not used by "everyone".  In my experience it's about equal on the eating out or carrying your own for lunch in that with both countries it depends on the workplace.  I'm not sure what the conveniences are that she is referring to when it comes to housework and I air-dried my laundry quite frequently in the states.  I do concur with missing my American style washer and dryer but that is more of a time issue rather than the quality of the machines because I could usually wash and tumble dry a load of towels in less time than it takes to do only the wash cycle.  Tumble dryers are widely available here but in our case it would have to go into the garage (that mythical thing again, lol) and it's quite expensive to operate here so we have made the decision not to buy one. That's not to say that we don't have a dryer, our machine is the combination style and it simply takes far longer so it's easier (and cheaper) to just hang everything out when possible

The public transit is far more available than in MOST areas of the states but depending on the area it may not  be near as convenient as what she has in her corner of the UK. I can't speak as to the effectiveness of the NHS as of yet because I haven't lived here long enough but the US insurance system has bloated the health services industry to a point where it is disgraceful.

I could go on and on and there are quite a few insightful points made in the article I do agree with but there were just a few that had me scratching my head and wondering if she'd traveled much into the rest of the UK.  However I am still very new to living here myself so my perceptions and experiences will continue to evolve.

09 December 2013

Monday meandering

Things. There are certain things I have too much of......like clothing.  Some would also say shoes, especially boots, but I am willing to put up with that opinion and ignore it.  The recent move from the states where built-in closets are the norm to the UK where they are most decidedly not common (not including new builds of course) has hammered home the importance of being more discerning with your (my) purchases. There were several purges over the previous year knowing that I was going to be moving someplace with limited storage so it is almost sickening at times seeing how much I own. The problem is that I've built up an interesting wardrobe that includes quite a few vintage pieces and I'm reluctant to part with any of it. I also stocked up on running gear before moving because the selection here is not near as extensive as what I had access to nor are the prices as pocket friendly (hello clearance racks!).  Yes, definitely first world problems and I've put myself on an indefinite clothes buying moratorium with socks and tights being the only exceptions.  Of course it doesn't hurt that I personally don't have a steady source of income at the moment :-(

On a less whingy note, Elsie the Miniature Schnauzer Menace and I had another running adventure yesterday with the route being based on visiting an intriguing geological feature, The Hemlock Stone.  A quick search on the history of it reveals that basically no one really knows the origins other than it is ancient and prehistoric but it is certainly intriguing, and HUGE.  The pics do not show the magnitude of the size of this formation.

View from the road--note the people standing in front of it for scale

Coming around the back of the stone

Elsie is more interested in a nearby dog than posing for a photo

After stopping to read the information sign and taking a few pics I continued to climb to the top of the hill and discovered some amazing trails and even more amazing views.  They are quite extensively used and maintained by local cyclists (mountain bikers and down hillers) so perfect for trail run training! Yes, I'm a little excited by that, the park across the road offers even more uphill trails AND there's an ice cream van for a snack afterwards :-)

Trig point

There's always litter (albeit not much) but why is it always a Foster's or Stella Artois can?

I apologize for the quality of the pictures but it was cold so my phone was having trouble going from being warm and snug in the SPIBelt against my sweaty back to the chilly and damp outside air. Just means I will need to make another trek out there with the good camera.  Elsie and I had our longest run to date in the UK (not counting my half marathon last spring) at 11.7 miles so we were both close to useless for the rest of the day.  Fortunately we weren't in the state of this poor thing we saw on a deserted trail in between two fields ("roadkill" in the UK)

Polecat, escaped ferret, or hybrid? 

08 December 2013

Things that make my life easier

It's a silly thing but I adore the octopus shaped sock hanger/dryer from ikea. Keeps my sock mating issue under control and we all know how frisky those pesky socks can get with running away all the time. I can't even blame their disappearing on Elsie anymore, she's finally gotten over her sock chewing problem, it took years of "therapy" aka me yelling bad dog but it's no longer an issue.


I have seen sunsets in all of the lower 48 states, Canada, the Mexico border, and Malta but I swear the most beautiful ones I've experienced so far have been in the UK.

05 December 2013

Better than expected

I must confess I wasn't looking forward to tonight's run. My legs are tired from being on my feet for so long yesterday and the 40-50 mph wind gusts that we woke up to was not helping my "Not sure I wanna do this" attitude.  Fortunately the winds dropped down to 11 mph by the time we were to run.  I was almost late and the group had just started off when my partner dropped me off, happily some one spotted me as I was trying to catch up. It had started to rain with occasional sleet and the odd snowflake here and there as well, not the best night to forget my cap........but things improved much to my surprise, or rather my mindset did.

I could have taken the opportunity to cut the run short on 3 different occasions--the first when a few decided not to take the longer route and twice more when we edged dangerously close to where I live.  So glad I didn't because once I settled in and decided to stick it out it ended up being quite awesome.  Yes, running in the dark (with a head-torch and reflective stuff, this Brooks Nightlife top for me), sleet, rain, snow, trails, muddy pastures, and trying to stay out of the way of a police car on a narrow lane is my idea of weird fun. My partner referred to us as insane, lol.

Finally contacting a running club was a great decision, I might should have done it sooner but at the same time I am glad I waited to get something of a base built up.  Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and making sure to look out for me since I don't know the area as well.  It's certainly building back up my endurance and speed and I love hearing the sound of other runners' footsteps surrounding me again.

Off topic but my home state of Arkansas is bracing for a major ice storm. Hoping all my friends and family are able to stay safe, sound, and warm and that the power outages are kept to a minimum.  The UK has been hit with a horrible storm as well, fortunately for the majority it has not been ice but very high winds and flooding.

3 Flamingos would have been a welcome treat after tonight's run even with it being so cold. Thinking of frozen yogurt makes me think of my friend Missy though, which makes me a little homesick (hi Missy!!!).

Best froyo evah. 

04 December 2013

Rambling around

Whew, I am knackered.  Last night was the running club's handicap 5k (not quite a 5k per my garmin but close enough) and I managed to pull a 23:21 out of somewhere.  Don't ask me where it came from because my last two 5ks back in the summer were 25 and 26ish each, the spring races were in the 23 minute range but that has been a while back and speed training has only recently restarted.  Gives me hope that last December's pb of 21:50 is achievable again.

Top that off with heading out mid-morning today with Elsie for a ramble through the area with a local walking group and my legs are ACHING.  We put down approximately 9 miles in just over four hours--there was a pub stop, hence the longer time.  Most of the route I'd already explored while running but it was a welcome change getting to traverse it with people who knew the history of the area.  Elsie was a huge hit, she was loving all the extra attention and at the end when the group was continuing on she kept pulling on her lead to go back to them when I cut off to take a shortcut back home.  Kind of fun being one of the two youngest in a group as well, lol.

Elsie leading on the Monk's Way stones

If only these walls could talk

Parts of this church is from the 13th century according to a web search, but most is from late 14th century

Love the doggies and horses welcome sign

Great view across the valley but marred by the telephone line

Deep thoughts

Wow. Breathtaking, I am in a bit of awe of the simplicity and beauty of this short film from the aeon website.

Thank you. 

02 December 2013

junk miles or not

Not sure anything I'm doing right now can be classified as junk miles since I'm not exactly training for anything formally or I suppose they could all be referred to as such since that's the case. Personally I'm just calling it running for the fun of it and to learn as much as my surrounding area as possible.  Junk miles for those who aren't familiar with the term are miles ran that aren't serving a specific purpose in a training plan, ie not a speed workout, long run, recovery run, etc.  It can also refer to miles ran just to hit a certain arbitrary number because you think you have to run x amount--kind of like running around a parking lot when you are at 5.89 because you must have 6 or running an extra mile for the week to round up to 40 miles instead of 39, that sort of thing.  Personally I have no problem stopping my garmin whenever I have reached my car or front gate and it's driven several friends crazy that I will pause it at 4.98 or 4.99 instead of running that extra few seconds for it to "click" over.  You know I really like you if I will run with you that extra little bit so that you can have the even number for your run :-)

Today would have definitely been classified as a junk mile day, my only goal was to get out and move a bit while checking out a few public pathways I'd passed on previous runs.  That and to get Elsie out for a bit since she didn't get to race with me yesterday.  What an amazing time it turned out to be! I spied a very fat hog that I'd never noticed before and Elsie got to "meet" another Miniature Schnauzer just after I stopped to take pics of Mr. Oinker.  I always forget she is small even for a mini until she is standing next to one that is a normal size for the breed.

That's a happy pig

After that we continued on our merry way until I reached the public pathway that cut off from the one I'd always taken and received a "hullo, luv" from an older man we passed (sorry but that never gets old!).  So far so good, right up until we reached a field that the path was supposed to skirt the edge of according to the OS map.  The only problem was that the farmer had tilled up the field up to and OVER the path, I knew I was in the right spot for once and I could see two people ahead of me wearing small day packs with one clutching a map that were tripping through the clods of dirt.  We had no problems catching up to the two confused looking women who looked even more so when I asked them if they were searching for the path as well. I think it was a combination of my accent, saying "y'all", and the fact that I looked like a wannabe ninja in my black tights, black top, and black trainers.  They would have been even more freaked out if I'd been wearing the GoPro on a chest harness like I'd initially planned for today.  Alas the battery was dead so it will have to go out on a maiden run some other time when I work up my nerve to look absurdly conspicuous.  

Once we got out on the main trails again we met up with ANOTHER miniature schnauzer that was beautifully groomed but before I could ask its owner who did it we were all beset by an over friendly cattle dog who kept trying to herd both the smaller dogs, lol.  With them staying on the lower trails of the country park I decided to head up the higher one through another field where we were greeted once again by more dogs, this time 3 huge (compared to Elsie) farm dogs.  She was none too happy with their attention and fortunately their owner was out in the garden who walked down to shoo them off. I was so glad to see her though because in addition to the canine company, there was a small herd of red and black highland cattle standing on the path just on the other side of  the stile.  It was nice having reassurance that it was safe to pass by them and according to her they were very spoiled. They were certainly beautiful.  

You would think that was the end of our adventuring but nope, once I reached the end of those paths and had to make the decision to head back home or continue running, I chose the latter.  While it was a damp cold that felt like it could start snowing at any moment I just wasn't ready to quit (hello endorphins!).  That was a good decision because we ended up finding this:

Up the stairs we went and lo and behold another photo opportunity was at hand. This time I decided to make Elsie model for me. 

A bit scruffy but she's loved

It truly amazes me how much I find every time I venture out, a little further down on the path (well further and another fork later) we came upon an apple tree.  Of course the phone came out again for a few more pics. This little section reminded me of a fairy tale for some reason, guess it was the combination of apples and the winding path through the trees.  

I came home a little over-excited I suppose. Barely managed to unleash Elsie and slip off my running shoes before I started gushing about everything we'd seen and done to my partner so much that he laughed and told me to take a moment to just breathe :-) 

Which way Elsie?

It does what???

I'm sure most of you have read about the beetroot juice benefits of boosting performance, lowering blood pressure, and a myriad of other health-related good for you type stuff.  Better blogs than mine have listed links, explained the science jargon, and extolled (or not, depending on their viewpoint) the wonders of what some are starting to refer to as a superfood.

Sorry, but you are not going to get all that here, that's what google is for, lol.  Unfortunately I can't take the chance of drinking as much as what is recommended because of the blood pressure lowering benefits, something I find that I have to watch after an incident last year with drinking hibiscus tea because my bp tends to run low anyway.  What I do enjoy is the True Blood-esque experience of drinking the beetroot juice out of a wine glass.  That alone is worth buying it for (yes, I'm a geek at times).  Well that and the joys of finding out it turns everything that comes OUT of your body a very lovely shade of rose pink.  Hmmm, that just adds to the vampire illusion--or it would if vampires had to deal with biological functions.  Yep, it turns your urine pink, I'm not sure what would happen if you combined it with the fluorescent yellow properties of B complex vitamins.

What's in my fridge

This is not a sponsored post by the way, the BEET IT juice is just the kind I happened to try, liked it, then bought some more.  Would love to try out the ginger infused flavor at some point but haven't spotted it on the shelf yet. Oh, and I shop at Tesco most of the time (AND I like it!).  By the way, before anyone points out the coconut milk is extremely out of date, the UK style of writing dates is day/month/year as opposed to the US way of month/day/year, something my partner tried to point out at a local Kroger back in Arkansas over the summer when he noticed some British food products being sold past their expiration--or expiry if we are going all English here ;-)  

01 December 2013

XC Muddy Madness

Today was my first race with the club in the winter cross country series, reminded me how much I love the crazy muddy madness that is the sport of XC.  The league (is that the correct term?) rules are similar to the RRCA Grand Prix in the states in that you must have at least 3 women and 4 men on the teams. As for anything else, I'm not sure yet about the ins and outs of how it works other than it was free if you are a paid member of a running club and must wear the club kit during the race.  I will have to go and do my research because this was so much FUN!!!! Love the camaraderie and encouragement.

Still clean and almost 5 miles to go

Just a brief recap. Had my usual pre-race nervous upset stomach but thankfully got it all out of my system before heading out the door to the race. Didn't warm up (oops!). Dressed too warm for racing (know better). Wore regular running shoes instead of trail (haven't broken them in yet) or spikes (don't own any).  Two laps for 4.8 miles and part of that was spent slip-sliding around trying to not fall in the churned up mud.  Nearly face-planted directly in front of a woman runner right on my heels (all I could think was if I go down, she's coming over the top of me!). Twice through a just over ankle deep water hazard. Threw my gloves at my partner who was taking pics, then yelled thank you on the next lap.  Missed a right turn along with two other runners because the course marshal had moved (shades of Sara Low 5k, eh?). First 1.5 miles was spent thinking ohmygosh why do I do this, next part was settling in for the plod (but trying not to fall-recurring refrain, lol), final part was thinking where in the hell is that finish line, are they moving it about on purpose to tease me???  Best of all? Getting to hang out with like minded, crazy runner types :-)

click to see larger image for the lap splits

My splits are a bit abysmal but I'm not complaining, this gives me a goal to beat for the next one and hopefully make those a bit more even.  Improper shoes definitely played a part as well as the lack of speed training (more the latter I'm afraid).  Besides this was just dirty wholesome fun for a bright December Sunday, the weather was certainly near perfect. 

The aftermath

Love my Brooks running gear #runhappy #runmuddy

The "reward" after the race, Costa coffee stop for a large latte, egg sandwich and gingerbread muffin.

The partner also bought me a HUGE canister of Celebrations mini chocolate bars afterwards, he either loves me or is trying to fatten me up ;-)

Sunny skies, trails to explore, and some laughter

After a craptastic run on Sunday, the week mostly looked up running wise, had a few gorgeous days and two very gloomy ones. I think at some point we need to invest in some of the full spectrum bulbs for the gloomy doomy days to alleviate some of the moodiness.  Wednesday it was a warm enough day that it was comfortable wearing shorts on our run and I think I could have gotten away with short sleeves.  Tuesday and Thursday were the club runs in the evening and it's nice having others around that are pushing me beyond my comfort zone. Would love to be up to the condition that I was in this time last year (hello 21:50 5k PR!!!) but it's going to take far more work than what I'm putting in at the moment. I think I'm stuck in the 24-25 minute range again.

Elsie the Miniature Schnauzer Menace kept stopping to roll in the leaves so I finally decided to take pics. All the ones with her were blurry though 

You can't make them out in this shot but in the distance there is a wind turbine and water tower that I run by on one of my other routes

Love this shot. Hard to believe that on the other side of me was a busy motorway

Yesterday's run was an attempt to follow a route that I had mapped out the week before where I'd missed a turnoff and ended up doing 2 extra miles. I made the correct turn this time (right after the second field!!) and only had a bit of confusion in a different spot, figured it out much quicker this time, lol.  Maybe I will learn to read an OS map eventually.  

I occasionally do non-running related activities..........this week it was going to see Al Murray aka The Pub Landlord live in an opera house.  Quite entertaining and thankfully we had nosebleed seats so the American (me!) in the audience didn't get singled out. Beautiful venue as well but at the end of the show everyone got shuffled out the doors and you had to wait in line outside in the cold to go back inside if you wanted to purchase a signed copy of his book, very frustrating.  

Our view of the stage pre-show

Beautiful but my phone wasn't cooperating with taking nice photos that night

The Pub Landlord in action