Jingle Bell Jog

It’s Christmaaaaas!

This year I promised myself I’d do the previously unthinkable, and run on Christmas Day. It would be quiet, traffic would be at a minimum, and it would help prepare my body for the onslaught of Christmas dinner, with a few hundred calories already converted to extra points. I really didn’t think I’d actually do it.

At 10am this morning it was looking unlikely either of us would actually get out of bed. Having started watching Pulp Fiction (for the 14th time) at Midnight accompanied by many, many mince pies – we were not in good shape. But Stella needed walking, and if we’re going outside anyway, may as well lace up. First we have an argument about the weather. I tell R off for being grumpy on Christmas day. He bites his tongue and we somehow manage to locate our phones, running tights, headphones.

Much to Stella’s delight we head out the dood for 10:30am. She is now so well accustomed to the routine that she get’s inordinately excited the minute when we put our trainers on and barks like a lunatic from when we leave the front door until we actually start running in the street. Maniac. She has also started insisting on running between us. If R is on my left and I have her on the lead to my right, all hell breaks loose and I nearly come tacky in the middle of  road while entangled in her lead as she tries to get to the other side. At no point should either of us be running too far ahead, she has to have us both in her sights. Which is rather good for pacing!

My fantasy of empty streets and quiet park lanes quickly dissolved as soon as we hit Holland Park. Children were out in force testing new scooters, remote control cars, and a few new puppies here and there. But with everyone in such a festive mood, I dont think anyone noticed Stella was trying to catch the new toys (but thankfully failing spectacularly). She settled for a big stick twice her size.

Having got to Kensington Palace Gardens, we slowed the pace, let her nibs off the leash to attempt to catch a squirrel for her Christmas dinner, and took in the Royal Parks. A beautiful Christmas morning, no snow unfortunately, but enough green and golden leaves to make it worth dragging ourselves out of bed. There is nothing like a run to clear the cobwebs, and it really reminded me how lucky I am to live in such an amazing city with huge open spaces for everyone to share (even the skateboarders were being civil today!), right next to the hustle and bustle of a mad metropolis.

Back home, with the wet (but now clean) dog wrapped up in warm towels, and the beginning of an amazing Christmas dinner on the go, I’m pleased to say I’m feeling the festive spirit at last, having been a bit bah humbug all December. I’m getting all grateful, blame the endorphins!

Happy Christmas all! May 2012 be bigger, better and brighter (and bring a few more PBs please…!)

Happy Christmas from us lot!

R&R

After a long week of little training (whoops!) and loads of Christmas dinners, my Sunday 5 mile route was hard going. But with blue skies and no threat of rain, at least I wasn’t being rained/ sleeted/ snowed on. Sure enough there was enough mud to keep Stella occupied, icy nights equals squishy days and a very dirty dog.

There were loads of runners out in Hyde Park today, clearly everyone has a spring marathon on their mind. That or they are trying to stave off the Christmas pounds. I’ve had to admit defeat and rejoined Weight Watchers in an attempt to get back into my skinny running tights for the Brighton half. Too much cake and not enough mileage! And its not helping the quest for speeeeed! Ooof. Just a bit to heavy going (ahem).

But it is Christmas after all, and the best part of this run in this wintry kind of weather is the recovery. I have a quick chocolate milk so I don’t pass out, a hot shower to regain the feeling in my fingers and nose and get into a big chunky jumper and my best tracksuit bottoms. Sexy.  Then, once Stella has had all the mud washed off of her,  and I’ve sorted out the muddy towels, sometimes the sofa cover and maybe a cushion or two (never turn your back on a muddy dog) –  nothing beats snuggling on the sofa with a warm dog, fluffy slippers and a cup of tea in front of Sunday afternoon telly.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow

The Road Home: Uxbridge Road 10km

Hooray! The silly season is upon us! Christmas get togethers, work functions and late night shopping is in full swing and I’m finding it tough to keep up my training and have a social life. And I refuse to forgo the christmas sales, mince pies and late night catch up with the girls! I’d like to have my cake and train while eating it. So to speak.

There are only so many hours in the day, and although I have tried many many times to get up before 6am, I have failed miserably. I am not a morning person (yet!) and the snooze button is just too tempting. Lunch time running is invariably impractical and involves me looking sweaty and ridiculous in close proximity to my work colleagues (this should only happen when we’re looking at budgets). That just leaves the evenings, and these are booked up between now and January 18th. Yes really.

R has managed to injure himself a tad, after not heading my recommendations to rest after a long run. Quote: “I need to figure these things out for myself, just because YOU need to rest does’t mean I need to” Of course, turns out I’m right. Have your humble pie served HOT boyo!

HOT pink. Sort of. 

As a result I’m training on my own this week, and I have decided the only thing for it is to forsake my oyster card and use my legs to carry me home, 3 times a week. Problem solved!

I was rather excited by this prospect this morning while packing my bag with trainers and other running paraphernalia. No trudging up the high street, no rushing for the next train at rush hour, no falling asleep and missing my stop (or getting stuck in the doors when I remember too late!) This would be good. Me and the road. It’s only 9km after all. In a straight line. Easy.

Then the fear stepped in, which usually happens when I try a new route, what if I get lost? What if I pull a muscle and I get stuck in deepest darkest Acton? What if I just wimped out? I packed £20 cab fare, just in case.

But after the initial shock of leaving the office dressed in bright pink high vis subsided with a few raised eyebrows behind me, I got into the swing of things.

Uxbridge Road is not pretty. 9kms of it, filled with dodgy chicken shops, and very sad looking shopping centres with bargain shops. But the pavements were wide enough so I didn’t need to dodge cars and people. Best of all, Uxbridge Road happens to have a slight decline when running from west to east. So that helped cheer me up.

Got home in just over an hour, without that feeling of being harassed by TFL, and possibly exposed to everyone on the tube’s winter cold. Plus I got the listen to this album most of the way through; Result!

Baby its COLD outside!

I really need the motivation to get running at the moment  – gorging on black coffee and mince pies (already!) may have something to do with my very irritable and slightly sluggish demeanour of late and I have this overwhelming desire to hibernate on my sofa.

Yes, Winter has finally arrived; brittle, windy and frosting up the windows in full force. It has taken its merry time, with November being so balmy I didn’t need to dig out my thermal running gear once. This time last year Stella and I were avoiding black ice and sloshing through melted snow on the pavements.

So its been rather a shock in early December to suddenly remember how my chest sometimes hurts when I run in the cold because the air is near freezing. Or that my nose runs constantly from about 5kms and that my ears start to go ever so slightly numb. And its dark by 4:30pm so there’s not even the illusion of warmth from the setting sun. Cold, dark, windy and rainy, got to love December in London, veritable runner’s paradise. Ahem.

But as they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing. So I’ve hit the online outlets and bought some thermal base layers, headband ear phone covering thingamingers and some new iphone arm band whatyoumacallits. Sorted. Any excuse to wear neon pink outside of an 80’s club night.

I only managed around 6kms this evening (coffee +  gross train food + dehydration = awkward run), but I got out there. In 3 degrees and middle of the night darkness. But I feel better, less irritable and a that good kind of tired. Not exhausted, but just tired enough to know I won’t have mental dreams about killer penguins in medieval England (I’m blaming George RR Martin. Obsessed)

Few things that got me through the run today:

1) This amazing lady finally releasing a few singles that I’ve added to my playlist, check her website Azealia Banks  *warning* VERY explicit lyrics, but seriously good tunes. 212 in particular. AND I’m totally envious of her legs. So that keeps me running a little longer (thinking denim shorts in summer 2012)

2) Seeing this quote on the interweb – I can debate for over an hour. May need to tattoo this on my  arm.

3) Reliving some of my misspent youth (without the hangovers or getting grounded)
I’m not usually a fan of compilation albums but this has some real gems, and is helping take my mind off the aching lungs and right back to 1996. Even the cheesy tunes, 15 years on, sound pretty good (but that could be the endorphins talking!) Ministry of Sound: Twenty Years

4) And of course, always worth remembering: