Half Marathon Training | Week 6 | Diary of an Injured Runner

We welcomed the ‘Beast of the East’ this week and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty relieved I didn’t manage to get into the Bath Half Marathon this weekend as it didn’t go ahead which is a shame! England was pretty much at a standstill on Friday and Saturday due to the high volumes of snow and I ended up having two days in the house because it was just too dangerous to drive anywhere.

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Monday| Week 6 | Rest Day
I was working away from the office today and after a good few hours in the car I was knackered. That and having a poorly pup, I’ve been missing out on some sleep these past few days. I welcomed a lovely early night with the heating up watching some Friends on Netflix.

Some photos went up on Facebook of the Slay the Dragon 10k race yesterday and I have to give massive credit to the photographers because they were so encouraging! Usually at a race I don’t even see a photographer but on Sunday they were shouting out things like ‘come on ladies, let’s have a massive smile, you’re doing great’! It was much appreciated and I actually ended up with a photo of me running and smiling (alert the elders this has to go down in history).

Tuesday | Week 6 | 30 Miles Spin Bike
It’s beginning to look a lot like…. spring will never get here! What’s with all this snow??

I’m not one who shirks away from running in the cold weather but I just didn’t have it in me today so I went on the spin bike while I watched Derren Brown’s The Push (he’s my not so secret crush, I just adore him).

I perhaps didn’t push myself as hard as I should/ could have but my legs were still a little weary from Sunday’s race and I’m still tired from getting up with the dog in the night. So. Many. Excuses.

Let’s have some real talk here, I was this close to sitting on the sofa and eating snacks…. but I’d weighed myself this morning and did NOT like what I saw staring back at me and that was a massive incentive (let’s ignore the fact that for dinner I had some party snacks and a cider)!

Wednesday | Week 6 | Reflection Day
I always enjoy analysing weeks and months gone past and try and work out how I can make the following months better. I’m a stat nerd and I write everything down and pour over where I went wrong and what I did well. You’d think that I’d be some kind of planning genius and have my life together right…. well not exactly.

This month I feel like I did pretty decent mileage considering how my legs have been. The change up in running shoes I think had helped massively and I did many more miles than I had planned.

I’ve also not been neglecting my stretching routine after running and it’s made a huge difference in my opinion as my foot pain is zero while running and nearly zero the rest of the time. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

My problem is (and always has been) my diet. I know exactly what to eat as I’ve eaten healthily pretty much my whole life and have managed to maintain my weight easily. However, lately I’ve had an appalling diet and this habit has been hard to kick and the scales are showing that. It doesn’t help that I HATE cooking… with a passion. It brings me zero joy except for the fact I am doing one of my favourite things at the end which is eat… and that lasts all of 5 minutes and then it’s gone. Maximum effort with minimum reward is not my style (don’t come at me with all the health benefits etc I know it’s not logic but it’s my logic). So that’s a goal for March for me to do better at.

Thursday | Week 6 | Snow Day!
In all of my years on planet earth, I don’t ever remember a time it was this cold and don’t even get me started on the snow (thanks Storm Emma + Beast of the East)! I had to take the Labrador to the vet in the evening and I was the only one there, with the exception of a spaniel and a little boy rolling around the vet car park (we don’t see snow often, it’s a novelty here). The Labrador also loves snow as much as that little boy…

While today was never a planned workout day anyway, it was so cold, we got in bed with the electric blanket on and watched Netflix which was perfect. Oh and I also had to fix the loft hatch that flew down last night and scared the living days out of me and subsequently had cold air blasting down into the house all night!

Friday | Week 6 | Snow Day #2
Snow is such a novelty that I couldn’t resist trying to take some photos of my lovely new running shoes in it (I might not see any for some years!). Friday is usually a run day for me but there was no way that I was going out running in this…. although could have tried out the trail shoes that are too small for me, my toes may shrink in the cold and they may fit perfectly… or….?

I didn’t leave the house all day which meant I also didn’t eat properly as I didn’t have enough food in the house which meant I couldn’t workout in the evening which means I suck! Apparently milk and bread and other essentials were out of stock in a lot of the shops (not that I eat either of those things) because everyone was panic buying.

Saturday | Week 6 | Snow Day #3
Snow. Is. Annoying. I went for a walk this morning to the shop to try and pick up some supplies but when I got there, it was closed! So I went home empty handed and only ate some chicken dippers and supernoodles all day #facepalm. Unfortunately I’m not the most forward planning kind of person which meant I’ve been super hungry all day and I’m THAT person that cannot workout unless I’ve eaten plenty. So I had yet another rest day today which isn’t ideal as I’ve only managed to get one cardio session under my belt so far this week.

Sunday | Week 6 | Oh Gosh, it’s ANOTHER Rest Day
Although, to give myself some credit, I wasn’t ‘resting’ all day! I got up early and walked the Labrador in what is now just horrible slush after all of the snow and I’ve been working hard on Belle’s Running Blog things. I actually think I’ve been staring at the screen for far too long because a line, which I know is straight, is looking suspiciously curvy! This does mean that I’ve missed out on another workout day today though so I’m pretty disappointed in that. I still have the ‘food issue’ where I’m working my way through the cupboards of anything I have left which isn’t particularly nutritious.

Weekly Summary
So I didn’t do too well on the running / exercising front this week but that wasn’t intentional I think it just required a bit more forward planning on my part and the snow didn’t help either as there was no way I was risking twisting my ankle! My next race is on the 11th March and it’s a nice close one. I’m actually really looking forward to this race, I feel like I might be able to pull a decent time out of the bag (I’ve gone and jinxed it now haven’t I!).

How was your training week this week? Did the Beast of the East stop you from getting out and running?

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Cannock Chase 10k (2017)

The 2017 race saw the 4th Cannock Chase 10k event. Based in the Area of Outstanding Natural beauty of Cannock Chase. No concrete, no traffic; just nature, woodlands and peace. The course is entirely off road. The race starts on a field at Lady Hill Coppice where you’ll begin your run through the forest. You’ll join the Fairoak trail and run through Stony Brook and past the Stony Brook Pools where you’ll cross a stream. Don’t worry, there are big stepping stones for those of you who wish to avoid wet feet (I was a wuss and didn’t run through it but I absolutely loved this part of the race, I felt like I was on a ‘proper’ trail run). From here you’ll run up to the top of Jockey Hill and run parallel to Marquis Drive. Then you will loop around and down to the Fairoak Pools, watch out for the fishermen. You’ll then race uphill for a quick loop before returning to the Fairoak Trail and back through Stony Brook. Keep an eye out for the Go Ape Forest Segways. Then comes the final climb back to Lady Hill Coppice ~ Race description from official website

About the race
When: –
Sunday 6 August 2017 @ 10:30

Where: – Birches Valley Forest Centre, Rugeley, WS15 2UW

Cost: – £17.50 unattached

Organisers website: – www.cannockchase10k.co.uk

Cannock Chase 10k Race Map ~ Garmin

Cannock Chase 10k Elevation Chart – Strava

Facts about Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase is an area of countryside in the county of Staffordshire. It’s best known for its open heathland, pine forest and its mining and military history (the Chase has several war memorials including German and Commonwealth war cemeteries) which stretches back several hundred years. Cannock Chase was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958 covering 26 sq mi and is part of the Forestry Commission.

The area gained notoriety in the late 1960s when the Cannock Chase murders made national headlines; the remains of three young girls were found buried on the Chase after going missing.

Sightings of Werewolves, UFOs and Bigfoot have appeared in the local press, however, no conclusive evidence has been produced so keep your eyes peeled for any of these!

Race Awesomes
Race pack sent via post with chip timer on the back of bib

You can buy a Cannock Chase 10k race t-shirt (I didn’t in 2017 but it was cute, I missed out there)

Toilets easily accessible at race HQ

Incredible scenery. I’m a bit of a photography nut and take photos of everything; it was so beautiful I had to stop myself from having a quick ‘photo break’ every other step!

Free and easily accessible parking. You can see race HQ from the parking spots

This is a personal favourite of mine, when you’re running you can hear the sound of the gravel trail underfoot. This area is so quiet is was mesmerising just listening to everyone’s footsteps.

Even though this race is trail, it’s mostly gravel which was nice and clean. I didn’t come away from the race (as I usually do on a trail run) with muddy shoes.

I didn’t wear trail shoes on this course and I felt that, personally, I didn’t need them

Race Naw-somes
I’ll be honest, I loved every second of this race and in my opinion there was nothing bad about it. But for the sake of fair criticism I’ve come up with a few downsides of the race

You are not permitted to listen to music while running. However, I believe that this would have totally ruined the race for me had I been listening to music.

Even though you are running entirely off road, the race is still open to the public and there were people walking around many of the trail routes and there were a lot of mountain bikers. This also meant that you had, at times, random spectators to cheer you on which is always a bonus

If you’re not into that kind of thing, the elevation was crazy and it was hill after hill. At times I couldn’t even attempt to run as it was just too steep (but I don’t mind this at all)

There isn’t much for any spectators that may come with you to entertain them. Because you’re in a giant woodland area, it’s beautiful and you can walk around for hours, however, if the weather wasn’t as pleasant as it was on the day I raced, you might find some fair weather spectators hiding out in their cars

As there was only one road in and out to leave the Cannock Chase, the traffic was a bit manic when it came to leave

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:08 | Pace: 11:26 | Mile splits: 11:11, 12:50, 11:20, 11:18, 11:11, 10:26
Position: 477/651 | Gender position: 165/283

Total runners: 654 | Fastest Male: 38:08 | Fastest Female: 40:29 | Slowest Finisher: 1:33:58

Watch my YouTube running vlog below

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 Twitter @CannockChase10k
Official hashtags: #CC10k

Distances from Major Cities
London
: 2hr 49 | Birmingham: 38 min Bristol: 2hr Cardiff: 2hr 31 | Exeter: 3hr 08

Next event: 5 August 2018 (check Twitter where they’ve posted that ‘everyone gets a free photo’ for 2018)

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
Where do I even start with this race, I absolutely loved every single second of it and it ended up being my most favourite race of 2017. Even though this was a bit of a trek for me travel-wise, I would have travelled there the next day to do it all over again. The views were just like nothing I’d ever seen before on a race and I could have hung out there all day (I was lucky, it was a sunny day!).

I mentioned that there’s not much for spectators to do at race HQ, I think that entirely depends upon what their interests are. You’re in the middle of a giant field in the middle of nowhere and you can’t leave the Chase to go anywhere else.

One of my favourite parts of the race was when you go past the lake and the fishermen, I just had to stop here and take a cheeky photo (who cares about race times when you’re in a place like this right… I’m probably the only one that holds this opinion).

The medal was just awesome, it was well made and I enjoyed the design which has the Cannock Chase 10k tree logo on it. While I thought the race was good value for money (because I just loved it), you get the medal and a goodie bag and have to pay for a race t-shirt if you wanted one, being totally honest, you could have run the same route alone, but let’s face it, it’s not the same!

Would I run it again? Absolutely, without hesitation heck yes. This for me is the race that all future trail races I run have to live up to. Compared to some trail races that I’ve raced in 2017, the ground is very uneven and I often have trouble staying upright, but this was nothing like that. I loved the little stream that you cross near the start and I must have nearly had a smile on my face the whole way around (I’m weird like that).

So if you’re looking for a trail race as a beginner I highly recommend the Cannock Chase 10k. The trails are on even ground for the majority of the time and you won’t have trouble finding your feet (but you might find they’re wet if you go through the stream at the beginning).

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

* I’d also like to thank my spectator who came with me to this race. I know you love it really but thanks for always trying to get the best video of me finishing, even if sometimes it is accidentally of the ground xxxxxx

Westonbirt House Summer 10k (2017)

The event sees competitors take on a 2 lap course, finishing directly in front of the stunning stately home. The race starts and finishes in front of the house and heads through the school grounds until a right turn onto a quiet country road. At the end of the first and second lap you run through the beautiful Westonbirt House gardens. The finish straight is a spectacular stretch in the house gardens, culminating in a finish line directly outside the Westonbirt House ~ Race description from official website

About the race
When: –
Friday 4 August 2017 @ 19:30

Where: – Westonbirt House, Westonbirt, Nr. Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8QG

Cost: – £24.22 unattached

Organisers website: – www.dbmax.co.uk (there is a great promotional video on here of the race)

Westonbirt House 10k Map ~ Garmin

Westonbirt Race Map and Mile Markers ~ Garmin

Westonbirt 10k Elevation Chart ~ Strava

Race Facts
Westonbirt House is an Elizabethan style, Grade I listed country house which belonged to the Holford family from 1665 until 1926. Since 1928, the house has been occupied by a girls’ boarding school.

There is also an Easter (March) and a Winter (December) race at Westonbirt House.

Race Aces
Race packs are sent via post and it’s a chip timed race

Free parking on site

The race finish line is up the beautiful steps leading to Westonbirt House. When you’re racing to the finish, the spectators cheering you on is amazing and you feel like a rock star.

The medal is also a bottle opener (and why not!) #finishinthebar

Race HQ is absolutely beautiful. You get the chance to look around the gardens which are fantastic and go into  Westonbirt House where they had stalls and the bar is open for anyone to enjoy a drink.

Race Unlaces
The race finish line is up the beautiful steps leading to Westonbirt House! Who doesn’t love the final push of a race going up a bunch of steps. It was all I could do not to trip over in front of all of the spectators who line each side of the steps.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of 2 lap courses. I always feel really defeated seeing the 2km sign quickly followed by the 8km sign and thinking ‘gosh I’ve got a long way before I’m back here again’.

Race is on open roads and at times there was busy traffic down the country lanes. At one point we had a giant bus drive past us

No headphones allowed due to the open road

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:01 | Pace: 10:05 | Mile splits: 9:59, 9:18, 9:57, 10:38, 10:19, 10:16, 1:20
Position: 410/597 | Gender position: 196/352

Total runners: 597 | Fastest Male: 34:35 | Fastest Female: 39:10 | Slowest Finisher: 1:37

Watch my YouTube running vlog below

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
dbmax_timing | Twitter: @dbmaxevents
Official hashtags: #finishinthebar #dbmaxselfie

Distances from Major Cities
London
: 1hr 45Birmingham: 1hr 30Bristol35 minCardiff: 1hrExeter: 1hr 45

Next event: 30 March 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
Overall I thought this was a really charming race. Westonbirt House and the surrounding gardens are just stunning and race HQ is a delightful place to be, especially on a hot sunny day as it was on the day that I raced; my spectator enjoyed the atmosphere and the House and gardens. The race medal was attractive, well made and it looked great with my collection of medals (even if I couldn’t open a bottle with the bottle opener on it!). The only downsides for me were that it was a 2 lap race, of which I don’t enjoy so much, and while the country lanes were quite scenic there was also traffic on the roads. People would shout ‘car’ when there was a car coming and that was your cue to run tight against the embankment, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to overtake another runner.

Would I run it again? Possibly. I saw the Winter medal and it looked splendid so I’d be tempted to run that one and also the Easter one to add to my collection but race-wise, I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I’d run it again based solely on the route itself.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

* I’d also like to thank my spectator who came with me to this race. I know you love it really but thanks for always trying to get the best video of me finishing, even if sometimes it is accidentally of the ground xxxxxx

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