Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Frosty Mornings, stunning skies

Today we faced the first hard frost of the winter, so time for our Early Birds group to find hats, gloves, long sleeved tops and brave the freezing sub-zero cold. Winter running has down-sides; hands and cheeks feel the sting, breathing can feel harder for those first few kilometers, and it takes a while to warm up and then just moments after you stop to feel the bite of cold on damp skin.

However, it has its plus sides too. When I set off to meet my Tuesday morning running mates, the sky was crystal clear, stunningly dark and littered with stars. Danny chose us a lovely route across the valley and we could see the glowing dawn on the horizon as we reached the end. There is something about clear, crisp, stunning days that really lifts the spirits!

And, as always, dragging ourselves out of bed and into the cold to meet friends and run and chat always makes us feel very virtuous. I just wish it had been light enough to see Penny's face when she realised that Westerhill really does come out at the bottom of Vanity Lane......

View from the Greensands Way
Church steeple against the sky-line (ok, iphones are not great for artistic shots - it was still quite dark)
Photographic proof that we braved this at silly O'Clock
Sun almost up by the time we got back to the start point.

My car was still frozen solid when I got back home

Today was one of those days where I would happily have done the school run (which is where I grabbed this photo) and then gone running again, rather than heading to work. I think that must be the effect of the Early Birds..... Thanks folks, really loved our run this morning!

As always, a reminder that this year I am even more determined to climb out from under that warm duvet and lace up my trainers in preparation for The London Marathon in Spring 2017......

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sunday is RUN DAY!

Sunday is run day. No long leisurely lie-ins for the next few months, this is the day of the week to squeeze in those slightly longer routes.

Today I met with Nick and Carolyn, and we headed out on a route through Coxheath, East and West Farleigh and back, making up about 11.5k with the horrible Smiths Hill somewhere in the middle. As always it was great to get a good, well paced run ticked off for the week and to be out with running friends rather than slogging away alone.

Someone (Mr Davis...) does need to be more careful though, and focus a little more on the terrain (and those huge big lamposts) and maybe a little less on what Pokemon are hatching/ out for catching.....

I spent the afternoon eating..... these two went and put their feet up ready to run again at Running Club this evening. Nutters!
Post -run selfie... or should that be 'Run-fie'?

The route

The splits. Why does knowing you've burned 900 calories make you go and eat about 3000s-worth?
And of course, if you want to make a donation to the charity I am supporting by training for and running this mad marathon, here is the link:

Thursday, 24 November 2016

What your contribution means....

I have pledged to raise £2000 for the Children with Cancer UK. More than 70 children are diagnosed with cancer each week in the UK, and Children with Cancer  fund research, treatment, equipment, financial support, welfare and days out, hospice care,  and campaign to raise awareness. So if you sponsor me, what does that actually mean?

  • £5 pays for laboratory consumables used in the diagnosis of leukaemia
  • £10 pays for the analysis of tissue samples to help understand heart failure after treatment for childhood cancer
  • £2000 will cover the cost of MRI scanning for 4 patients taking part in a project to develop advanced techniques to identify high-risk tumour sub-types.
Thank you!!!
So far, in just a month, we have reached over £400 purely in sponsorship. That makes me feel amazing! Any amount that you can contribute to support Children with Cancer will be so well received. If you can spare anything at all and are happy to sponsor me, please click on the link. I will also be running a few fundraising events such as Film Clubs over the coming months, so look out for those too. Cheaper than the Odeon!!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Stretch and Strengthen

Earlier this year I started attending a local Pilates class. My initial skepticism at how something so apparently slow could do anything to help fitness and well-being was wiped away at the end of the first session when I arrived home and felt like I'd been hit by a bus!! No so much the aches and soreness that you expect after a high impact session of some kind, but an all over sense of having worked very very hard without risking any pain or injury.

I have found over the months that if I mention a tight muscle group or slightly niggly thing to our instructor at the start of the session, by the end of it the problems are pretty well sorted. So, although my app tells me that Wednesday should be a running day, I go to Pilates whenever I can.

I'll switch my rest day from tomorrow to make up for it......

(I swiped these from our instructors pages, so they are from earlier in the year rather than last night, but you get the idea! http://www.glowingfitness.co.uk/)

Don't for get to smile. And breath. And as for the pelvic floor....


And just in case you've forgotten, I am aiming to complete the London Marathon and raise essential funds for Children with Cancer UK: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaAldrich

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Raining? TRAINING!!!

Our local running club started an 'Early Birds' group in April 2015. About this time last year, as the days were getting shorter and the weather colder and wetter, our Team Leader Danny posted up a message that said:

"Options for tomorrow:
1- Run
2- Don't Run (valid excuses only)

In case anybody is wondering about the qualifying conditions for Option 2, these do not include complaining about any of the following....

It's too dark
It's too cold
It's too hot
It's too wet
It's too early
It's too fast
It's too slow
It's too...... anything"

So, on the basis that I still can't think of an excuse that is not on the list of invalid excuses, I get up at 5:30am, get dressed in the dark with the wind howling and the rain hammering the windows, and head out to meet this group of fellow running nut-jobs.

I know that once we get going, I will enjoy it. We chat, laugh, grumble, loop back for each other, moan all the way up hills, holler "Car Coming" warnings to each other, and even on days when we get soaked through to the skin, we know we will do it all again in a few days time.

Spring races mean Winter training, even when it is raining, and I am very lucky to have friends to get up and run with twice a week. It was still very dark when we finished this morning (so yes, we are posing under a streetlamp) but every cold, wet, dark run is one in the bag towards that marathon goal next year.

Thank you Beginners2Runners Early Birds!


(I've posted about the Early Birds before - here is the link in case you missed it 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Storm Angus

Last night Storm Angus blew in, bringing high winds and torrential rain, so we woke to a blustery and gloomy day today. It is always tempting to stay in bed in the warm, but a 10K was scheduled, so a 10K is what we did.

I planned a circular route; the main problem with any circle round here is that we live on a ridge, so at some point you end up running down hills.... and what goes down, must come up. We tackled our local running nemesis, Vanity Lane. It is STEEP and also quite long, but we did it, and in the 10th kilometre too so we were pretty happy with that!

Yep, the marathon is flat. Yep, we all hate running up hills. In fact, running down them in wet, leaf-strewn conditions is not easy, but it all helps to build stamina for those 26.2 miles. Just over 5 months to go now.


Yvette and me, at the top of a hill, after which my face was a great match for her hat

A very imposing sky today; hills do at least bring stunning views

Yvette powered up Vanity Lane. I was flagging by this point!! 

Pretty much everything North/ South is a hill....

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Finding time, MAKING time....

The app I downloaded suggests 4 runs a week as training for the Marathon. Over the past two weeks I have been kind of ignoring that extra run that it is prompting me to undertake, three being my norm....

I'm too busy
I'll end up with an injury
It is dark
The kids have a lot on at this time of year
I'm tired
I'll build up to it eventually....

And then over the weekend, I was chatting to my marathon-mate Sarah who is also struggling to add in that extra session, and she very sagely said "It feels like an impossible ask to fit in another one, but it is only for 5 months, and we are only doing this thing once"

And of course she is right. The training has an end point, we don't need to find time to run this schedule forever, but we DO need to MAKE time to fit it all in over the next few months. So I set the alarm this morning and headed out for a 7k before breakfast, and as always I did enjoy it once I got going. I also spotted my daughters at the bus stop, which they were quite delighted about, so a hug and a kiss and two smiley faces to spur me home on the last 500m.


Chose a long flat route today

Love seeing the last of the leaves; it is pretty out there today!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Phase 2

My app tells me that this week marks the start of Phase 2 - getting faster. I have been surprised and slightly relieved to find that this training app nags you for going too fast; it gauges your marathon pace based on the data you give it about your age and usual running pace and sets a marathon pace to suit that.

Phase 2 says I will run 243k over 9 weeks. Seems a long way, but one run at a time...... and the first is now ticked off, following a run with the Early Birds.

One down, 31 to go.....

Monday, 7 November 2016

It never gets easier, you just get better at it....

This came up on my Facebook memories today and reminded me of how far I have come in three years. When I started running and asked a friend if it ever got easier, she said 'Nope - you just get better at it.'

She was right, of course. The first few kilometres of every run always feel hard, but the distances have got longer and the recovery a little faster.

Just need to keep pushing now....

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rugby Run

I needed to drop my son off in Aylesford today, so plotted a route through East Malling and Ditton. It is harder running long distances alone, but it was a stunning sunny (cold!) morning, and I chose some good music to run to. When I started running I tried listening to 'Running' albums, but it is not really my sort of music. Then I read an article that said choose music you love and that makes your spirits soar, so that is what I do. Doesn't do much for pace setting, but it does distract me and keep me going!

There is always time for a selfie :)

Blue skies!!!

Happy enough with that today

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Each and every time someone sponsors me via Virgin Money Giving, I get an email notification. Today's notifications told me that Mum and Dad have both donated a large sum to this amazing charity. Their support made me cry (selfie taken and sent to poor Mum to demonstrate what they had done to me!)

I don't need everyone to donate so much - anything you give will contribute to the total and enable Children with Cancer do continue their brilliant work.
Totes Emoshe

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Last of the sunrises

For the past 18 months I have been running with the Early Birds branch of our running club. We meet twice a week at 6am for a 5/6K run. We are a mixed bunch of speeds and abilities and it is simply the best way to start the day. During the summer we get up at 5:30am in the light, run in the light and get home in the light. Spring and Autumn give us stunning sun-rises. Winter is a slog, getting up, running and then getting home in the dark. One thing we know, though, is that even though it is SO SO hard to haul yourself out of bed in the cold and dark, you never regret it. Not ever. Even in the rain or frost, it sets you up for the day.

The clocks going back at the weekend has given the Early Birds a bit of a reprieve, and this morning we were treated to a sunrise again. By the end of next month we will probably not be seeing another and then that will be it until the end of the winter.

This morning's running mates

What is NOT to LOVE about scenes like this? So worth getting up for