A non-race weekend

Tree-maggeddonTree-maggeddon

Well many of my recent posts have been all about the races I’ve been doing. It is now two weeks since I’ve actually raced. Yes, this was another non-race weekend!

What to do on a non-race weekend

To be fair, the anomaly was more that I’d had such a concentration of races. I wouldn’t generally plan three consecutive weekend races (although this is my third such occasion). The fear of picking up an injury is usually a good enough reason to limit the impact of racing.

Enter some races

Instead, I seem to have been entering races. By the bucketload. If races came supplied with a bucket (possible goodie bag addition?). So far we have a list looking like this:

  • Round the Runway (entered)
  • White Peak marathon (entered)
  • Round the Resers (not yet entered)
  • Offerton 10k (not yet entered)
  • Alderley Edge 10k (entered)
  • Hatter Half (entered)
  • Big Stockport 10k (entered)
  • Congleton Half (not yet entered)
  • Chester marathon (entered)
  • Snowdonia marathon (entered)
  • Langley 7 (not yet entered)
  • Wilmslow 10k (entered)

That’s about double the number of races I did in 2016!

Do some baking

It’s partly due to the running and, apparently, partly due to my medication. I’m eating loads. Anything to hand. At least now I own a set of scales I can see if I’m adding weight.

One way I try to counter my liking of sweet foods is to bake them myself. I figure if I can see all the sugar and fat going into them, I’ll be sensible. Today it was flapjacks and the usual loaf of bread. It amazes me the cost of buying bread in the supermarket. And as soon as you add nuts or something else to the bread, it’s suddenly worth £2 per loaf. Apparently. So I do it by hand and it costs a fraction of the price.

Flapjacks and Bread

Flapjacks and Bread

Recipes can be found on the link at the top of the page 🙂

Go mental with a chainsaw

OK, this one needs a little explanation.

One of my larger trees in my garden is splitting down the middle. For a change, this is nothing to do with anything I’ve done. However it is a big concern. Sooner or later one half will remain standing. The other half has a choice of 3 sheds to squash. Only one is mine.

So on Friday I decided to do a bit of tree pruning. The usual tools of the trade; chainsaw, axe, weird evil blade thing I inherited from my Gran.

Whilst some of the planning was pretty good, starting 90 minutes before sunset was not good planning. My chainsaw, a cheap electric machine, would probably be great to cut butter. When trying to cut into the bough of a large Laburnum, it’s rubbish. I mean, I could probably do a better job with my teeth. Although no, I didn’t try (Laburnums are poisonous anyway).

The axe was almost as  puny in effort and I found myself at dusk with a lump missing from the tree, but not felled. At this point I should have walked away, it was sturdy enough and the weather wasn’t forecast to do anything violent.

Instead I started with the evil blade thing. Turns out it’s designed for this job. So at the point of darkness I have a large bough balanced in another tree with the top side in next door’s garden. Not, as you might think, a great way to leave things.

Lets just say, under cover of darkness aided by a security light, all components of felled Laburnum bough were removed from neighbour’s garden. AND from the other tree. And safely deposited in my own garden.

Tree-maggeddon

Tree-maggeddon

Go for a long run

My running group at Stockport Harriers are predominantly long-distance racers. A good number of whom have earned, or are on the cusp of earning their GB vests. Basically it’s a great group to run with, both personally and from the wealth of experience in the group. Their routine is for the Long Steady Run to be done first thing Saturday morning. After the trials of Tree-maggedon the previous evening, I almost didn’t go. For a start my irksome heels have had a bit to say of late. I was also conscious that, having finished my ‘gardening’ in the dark, I had no idea what devastation was left.

As it happens, I’d cleared up much better than I realised. I also conceded that I **needed** this run.

This is something I think that only runners understand. Some intrinsic annoyances can only be shifted in this way. I didn’t have anything specific on my mind, but the need for a run was there. So off I went.

It was a big group. I had no desire for speed so loitered at the back with a couple of the others. Now, these aren’t slow runners; one is in the championship group at London marathon. The other is the fastest VM70+ in the country looking to earn his GB vest at Manchester next weekend. Anyway, 16 miles later, home and showered by 10.30am I was in a much better place.

The rest of the day involved cutting up the felled bough into

  • bits for the log burner
  • kindling
  • other bits to go off for recyling

I slept well. But I did have a very early start due to the clock change and more volunteering!

Direct an organised running event

It’s the 4th Sunday of the month, which means it’s the Trust 10 event across a number of National Trust properties. I’m the Run Director for the event held at Lyme Park. Whist it sounds fancy, the reality is rather mundane. Get there VERY early, set stuff up, brief the marshals and the runners. And then send them off running whilst you tidy up after the start. By which point the front runners are nearly back so it’s getting ready to do the timing.

What is nice is that this event isn’t a race. We’re not even supposed to do the timing, but it feels like the right thing to do at the event. So we get a mixture of experiences and abilities. And it’s fantastic. Our course is very much a trail-running 10k event and is hilly. Somebody coined the phrase ‘Brutal but beautiful’ which is now our strap-line. It’s tough, but I think that’s one of its attractions.

Here’s all the details. Do come along if you want to give it a go. It’s free, what more can you ask for?

Go for a short run

Having watched and encouraged 91 people around the Trust 10, a number depleted by another local 10k race, I guess I was feeling left out. The ‘angry man’ which lives inside my head was beginning to kick up a fuss, so I grabbed my running shoes and went out. The route wasn’t planned in advance, but 10k seemed about the right distance. I know the area well enough to be able to generate a route of roughly the right length whilst I’m running it.

A local run

A local run

I realised that this was the first time in months I’d actually run on my own. Up until last October, I always ran on my own, that was my preferred approach. However with the Harriers group and my own Lyme Runners group (which I lead), all my runs recently have been with others. I’m comfortable with either approach. Both work well to deal with the angry man. I guess the bit I like about my solo runs is the flexibility. If I set out thinking a 5k would do, but then change my mind and do 13 miles instead, that’s fine on your own. In a group, mutiny is likely!

And that was the weekend!

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