28 January 2015
14 January 2015
I love Timehop, it is always such fun to see what you've posted about on social media in the past--the good, bad, and the mediocre. Today the Nordic Walking tweet was the first thing on my timehop! Yes, it is the first anniversary of when I started learning how to walk with the poles. Honestly based on the first few sessions I didn't think I was EVER going to get the knack of it! Everyone else in our group seemed to grasp the concept of opposite arm/leg quite quickly but I kept trying to move the pole forward in conjunction with the leg on the same side (called "spotty dogging", NOT to be confused with another sort of outdoor activity!). After much patience and trying many different methods, Catherine finally got me sorted out! I ended up loving the sport so much that I first became a Nordic Walk leader and took the British Nordic Walking instructor course this past autumn.
13 January 2015
12 January 2015
The name however undergoes a slight tweak when it comes to the UK to "No Trousers on the Tube" and it's not just because of the Underground reference. Nope, when you say pants here, people think you are referring to underwear. This has been the single hardest word for me to transition over to saying!!!! Actually I still haven't gotten to where trousers comes out of my mouth first instead of pants which leads to some moments of blushing both on my part and the occasional man when it happens in mixed company especially if it's something like "I forgot my pants to change into" or "I am not wearing pants."
Yep, you would think after the first few times of confused looks or coughs to cover up chuckles and the myriad of times I've been pulled aside to be told "You do know pants doesn't mean the same thing here, right?" that I would remember it, but no as of yet I haven't. The last time just after Christmas I even went through 3 different variations of what I wanted to say before I finally got out the proper word for the context--very reminiscent of an angry parent yelling out different kids' names before getting to the correct one.
11 January 2015
Last winter the Trent Meadows BDL race was held on the first of December 2013 but I don't think having it in January changed the conditions much. It was bright and sunny, a little chilly but not near as cold as it should have been and just as bloody muddy. Today also marked a sort of anniversary because this was the first race I did wearing the IRC vest (FYI there are closer running clubs to me but this one was the nicest and bestest* in replying to my emails when I was looking for a club to join).
So what has changed between that first time and today? The course according to my garmin is slightly longer, we got to run by sheep and llamas (nice having something to distract you from the agony of running fast), and they added this steep little incline which required using your hands to get up and over it which we had to go over TWICE. We also fielded quite a large women's team--yay ladies!!!!! Another change was having appropriate footwear** for a cross country race, that made such a huge difference in my confidence about getting around and there was no almost falling over in front of another runner because I couldn't get a good foothold in the mud. The course was also much better marshalled this year in my opinion, no wrong turns today!
Despite having finished up a long run week (20 miler on Thursday) I was feeling remarkably strong and confident albeit not especially speedy at the start line. I think that might have had something to do with running 2 miles from my house to the car share meetup point with a heavy rucksack--all the pre-race nerves were already burnt off.***
With not having any speed expectations once the initial mad dash slowed I just settled in slightly behind one of the guys who usually finishes ahead of me and used him as a pacer (Thanks Alan!) even though he didn't realise I was doing so until after the race, lol. I also resisted the urge to glance at the garmin whenever it would beep at the mile points mostly because right now every time I look down too much on a run I end up with a nose full of liquid snot that is determined not to stay in my nose (yes, it's as gross as it sounds). It would probably be easier to just forgo the watch altogether but then you don't get the fun of comparing your Strava segments afterwards.
The aforementioned steep incline caused a huge bottleneck on the first lap so we all ended walking up it but on the second lap there were only 3 of us close together so I was able to scramble up it quite quickly, passing another woman in the process. It wasn't any less hellacious trying to get back into a rhythm after it though, a definite pace killer but that's part of all the fun of XC, eh? The finish this year also featured a very short but steep climb right before the chute and I got pipped to the line by one of our guys! I just couldn't muster up that last kick, great fun though!
Somehow I managed to finish up a minute and a half faster than last year despite the longer course (per my garmin connect stats) and I came in at 139th instead of my usual 180(ish) placement. Another bonus--I didn't end up near as muddy as I usually do after a xc event!
*Yes, I know that is a made up word
**You can get around in a pair of trail shoes but something with more aggressive lugs on the bottom will keep you upright and get you past other runners when it's muddy
***Not the recommended warm-up
A running tip that I thought everyone was familiar with but after a recent facebook convo found out differently is to stuff your trainers with wadded up newspaper after a wet run. Not only does it dry them out quickly (you might have to change the newspaper a couple of times depending on how soaked the shoes are) but it also deodorises them! The trainers are usually dry enough to run in the next day with this method especially if you place them near a radiator or under the refrigerator kick plate.
09 January 2015
08 January 2015
Probably more excited about it than I should be but after being waylaid with horrible sinus pressure headaches the past few days finding Clarityn rapid melt tabs on markdown for less than half-price at the shop has made me very happy. This in turn made me think of another difference between the US and UK regarding OTC meds--you can't buy in bulk here. Most supermarkets limit you to purchasing 2 packages at a time and each packet usually only contain between 10-16 tablets (the Clarityn were in packs of 10). However if you go to a pharmacy you can buy in packs of 32 and twice the dosage strength (up to the discretion of the pharmacist) but it is still nowhere near the packs of 50 or more (live large and go for the 500!) that can readily be purchased in the states. More information about this is on the NHS site.
Thanks to Jennifer Z's post on facebook this is today's earworm! While perhaps Leon Russell's cover of "The Battle of New Orleans" isn't everyone's cup of tea I do quite enjoy the sped-up version. Check out what History.com has to say about the historic battle if you're like me and all you remember about it is from the song (don't guess I should admit that I'm horrible about recalling history!).
05 January 2015
The usual yearly recap but I've forgotten a few because I wasn't keeping very good track of the events as I did them this year. Hmm, so there is this year's resolution, keep better records! Trending slow last year but there was a sprained ankle back in May and October was a wash due to stress and not feeling well.
· 6 April Derby 10K 53:01 gun time
· 19 April Beeston parkrun 23:48
· 26 April runNTU 5k Nordic Walk
· 3 May Beeston parkrun 23:41
· 4 May Wirksworth Wiggle 10k 59:06
· 11 May Awsworth 5k 23:53
· 13 May The Stute BDL 5.23 miles 40:03
· 8 June Ramathon Half Marathon 2:26:27 chip time (personal worst)
· 10 June Denby BDL 4.59 miles 37:37
· 20 June Hairy Helmet Relays 2 miles 16:33
· 22 June Carsington Pasture Orienteering Event 5 miles 1:28:12
· 24 June Riber Run 4.36 miles 51:15
· 28 June Derwent River Relays 3 miles 24:44
· 8 July Carsington BDL 4.4 miles 37:33
· 13 July British Nordic Walking Challenge 10k 1:28:10
· 5 August Shipley BDL 5.19 miles 40:50
· 16 August Beeston parkrun 23:26
· 7 September Wilne 10k 50:01 gun time
· 21 September Stanage Struggle Fell Race 6.09 miles 1:04:21
· 5 October Red Bull Steeplechase (1st stage) 8.97 miles 1:55:34
· 12 October Shipley Park BDL xc 4.25 miles 39:00
· 9 November Chaddesden BDL xc 4.49 miles 41:45
· 15 November Colwick parkrun 24:22
· 30 November Bakewell BDL xc 4.38 miles 39:01
· 27 December Christmas Relays xc 2.42 miles 18:12
*2 March Rushcliffe 10k 51:01
After much hemming and hawing* I finally signed up for Janathon again this year. There probably will not be any more blog posts than usual but it is a great way to interact with other runners to keep the motivation going through the cold, dreary days of January. I've kind of let the cross training slide a bit so maybe seeing everyone post will get me back on track with that as well.
On the subject of running, yesterday I under-dressed for the temperature and never warmed up despite running 5 miles at an 8:23 pace per mile...Today I over-dressed thinking it was going to be close to the same conditions and was pulling off the buff and gloves plus pushing up the sleeves 2 miles in. The flip side of today despite the wardrobe miscalculation was that I planned on 30 minutes but felt so good I ran for 70 minutes instead. Hopefully it will be this mild for tomorrow's Nordic Walking class!
*Is that phrase used in the UK? I've not heard it here but then again it is not that widely used in the states much anymore
04 January 2015
I was a very happy girl last night when I found these in the yellow sticker section of our local shop, I have been craving some roasted okra for the past few months and it's just not something that's stocked very often (at least where I live).
There are a couple of other interesting things about okra here in the UK. First, quite a few people call it lady's fingers or ladies fingers which is not to be confused with ladyfingers the biscuits (aka cookies in the states)...yes, I was "corrected" on the name the first month I lived here! Second, check out the original price on the package--£1.99!!!! With today's exchange rate that is equivalent to $3.05 for a tiny 5 ounce package, ouch. Now you can see why I was so excited to get these at 20 pence. I've mostly converted myself to not thinking in dollars but the price on these blew my mind because okra was always available fairly inexpensively in the southern United States.
A quick tip for those who have never liked this because of the "sliminess" associated with boiling it or don't want to eat it dredged in cornmeal and deep-fried, try it roasted. Coat the okra lightly with olive oil and season with coarse sea salt and whatever spices you prefer and roast in the oven to your desired level of crispiness. I don't bother with cutting off the ends because if the okra is young enough they are edible too. Even my notoriously picky partner who isn't crazy about okra went back for seconds when I prepared it this way for him.
03 January 2015
01 January 2015
Happy New Year to everyone! Hope all were able to celebrate the departure of 2014 and welcome 2015 in the manner they wanted, I couldn't manage to keep my eyes open until midnight so was sleeping away and missed all the fireworks. It was nice to wake up and discover all the snow and ice had melted away overnight though!
I've not really formalised any resolutions or goals for this year other than to try and not get injured but considering my track record that might be a lost cause! After all I did get a "Little Miss Whoops" award last year (still amongst my favourites!)...
30 December 2014
29 December 2014
One result of me not being able to keep a decent pace is that I didn't mind stopping to take pictures.
My little obsession with visiting trees* didn't begin with discovering the list of 50 Great British Trees...It actually started last February** when I was searching for off-beat things to visit en-route to the Peak District. It was then that I found out about a yew tree in Darley Dale that is estimated to be around 2000 years old! As an added bonus it was in a churchyard (St Helens Church)--we also tend to gravitate towards old cemeteries for some reason.
**This is an exceptionally late blogpost even by my standards