5×50 Day 51! 3.3 mile run: 424.4/1000 = 575.6 miles to go!

5x50 2015 - done!

5×50 2015 – done!

That’s it! The 5×50 Challenge is finished for another year! I added on an extra day today as I missed Day 40 due to working at the elections…

I ran with Becky L today who was feeling a bit demotivated after a brutal weekend of training. She’s entered “The Avenger” at Ragley Hall, Alcester, on 21st June – it’s a triathlon event with a range of options in terms of distance, but she’s opted for the half-Ironman distance, the nutter! A 1.2 mile open-water swim, followed by a gruelling 56 mile bike ride, topped off with an off-road half marathon – ouch! When I bumped into her at the Alcester Food Festival on Saturday afternoon she was just about to go out for a 10 mile run, having already been swimming in a lake that morning, then she went on a 40+ mile bike ride on Sunday….wow, what a woman!

Anyway, I think our little 5km trot around Alcester cheered her up a bit, even if it did rain on us!

https://www.strava.com/activities/307111068/embed/ef5f1e6c0d8c23d90aef1cbdd72599fce2c724c3

5×50 Day 50!!! 6 mile run: 421.1/1000 = 578.9 miles to go!

With Becky T at the start line of Leicester's Big 10km

With Becky T at the start line of Leicester’s Big 10km

The final day of the 5×50 Challenge!! Well, sort of. I missed Day 40 because I was working all day at the elections, so I’m going to squeeze in an extra activity tomorrow. But today was the official end of the challenge, and I went out in style!

First some background: when I was doing the 5×50 Challenge last year, I got added to a Facebook group of women who were also taking part in the challenge. They were friends and friends-of-friends of my friend Ruth (if that makes sense!), many of whom live in Lincolnshire, and most of whom I don’t actually know in real life. The group was set up so we could all encourage and motivate one another as we completed our 5kms every day, and it was so brilliant that we kept it going and renamed the group “Totally Awesome in Trainers”, or TAITs for short! After last year’s 5×50 we helped each other through Juneathon 2014, and have taken it in turns to set little monthly challenges for the group to keep us all inspired to keep fit and live healthy.

At the finish line, sporting our Leciester's Big 10km technical t's

At the finish line, sporting our Leciester’s Big 10km finisher’s shirts. 

Anyway, we decided as a group to do 5×50 again this year, and because some of us live in Warwickshire and others in Lincolnshire, I thought it would be a great idea for us to meet up somewhere approximately half way to do a run together. Fortuitously, today, the last day of the Challenge, was Leicester’s Big 10km, and Leicester happens to be almost precisely equidistant between Alcester and Lincoln!

As it turned out, only me and Becky Turner (pictured) could make it – others have been injured or had other commitments (or hangovers in birthday girl Ruth’s case! :-P), but although there were only two of us, it was great to meet up with Becky (who I had actually met a few times before as we briefly worked together), and it turns out we’re pretty well-matched running buddies! We were both aiming for a similar PB time so decided to run together as far as possible – we ended up sticking together the whole way round and crossed the finish line together. I came in at 54:01, while Becky pipped me by a second to finish in chip time of dead-on 54 mins – a fab achievement and new PBs for both of us!

I don’t think I could have gone any faster, but I definitely would’ve gone slower if it hadn’t been for Becky. Her husband, two daughters and two dogs also cheered us on, which was very much appreciated! Thanks Team Becky!

Here’s my Strava activity: annoyingly my Garmin recorded the distance as only 6 miles, not 6.2 – but I’m assuming the course was measured correctly so I’m still counting it as a PB!

https://www.strava.com/activities/306266138/embed/681c708c729d09d3541e1b78b9138b4a3f5201ae

So, that’s five races in five months done! I’m hopefully going to do the Whale Ale Relay on the 29th June, but that’s “only” a 2-mile leg per team member 🙂 My next bigger challenge is another 10km race, the Two Castles on the 21st June. It’s a hilly race I’ve done twice before, but I’ll be looking to chip away at the PB again!

5×50 Day 49: Alcester Food Festival walk

2015-05-16 12.49.01I did in fact cover over 6km walking today, but I’m not sure if it counts if it was fuelled by a massive hot dog and a pint of cider?!

Today was the legendary Alcester Food Festival, a big foodie market right in the middle of my town that happens twice a year, once in Spring and once in Autumn. It’s brilliant – Alcester is usually quite a sleepy little town, but thousands of people flock in for the food festival, and the sun always comes out!

Alcester Food Festival May 2015

Alcester Food Festival May 2015

The first 1.5kms of my walk was just going up and down the stalls, trying nibbles of free tasters before eventually indulging in a huge and delicious sausage bap. I did wander off around the river to make up the distance (and hopefully burn a little bit of the sausage off!) and finished up with a final lap of the high street to quench my thirst with a cold pint of Stowford Press!

It was so sunny that when I got home I optimistically changed into my bikini to do some work in the garden – didn’t last long in my rather shady garden before I came in shivering! Still, summer is definitely on the way 🙂

5×50 Day 48: 3.9 mile run: 415.1/1000 = 584.9 miles to go!

2015-05-15 15.51.45After yesterday’s horrid downpours it was a lovely day today so I popped out for a wee run in the afternoon. I felt pretty good, so rather than just doing one of my ‘usual’ 5kms today, I added a little bit extra on to go a little bit further. Annoyingly 0.1 miles off of 4 miles (really should change my Garmin back to miles from km!).

https://www.strava.com/activities/305058679/embed/4d8870901db713327dbf9dab781a83fdc9fff74c

5×50 Day 47: Birthday walk with Tom

It’s Tom’s birthday today! He’s the grand old age of 34. I felt a bit sorry for him as I had to go to Wales for work today so I couldn’t spend the day with him, and his back-up plan of going to watch a cricket match at Worcester turned out to be a washout!

Still, he had a nice enough day and went to the pub with a friend lunch. When I got back from Cymru it had finally stopped raining so we went out for a walk using one of the new OS maps he got for his birthday from his mum and dad. *Such* a middle-aged present, but actually pretty awesome! We live pretty much on a boundary between two OS maps so while we’ve walked many of the footpaths on this side of the River Arrow, we’ve never had the map for the other side. Today’s little trek took us over to Coughton Court and through some recently planted forest. Lovely.

Photo to follow!

5×50 Day 46: Evening walk

2015-05-13 20.40.01I didn’t get out for my official 5×50 activity until it was getting a bit late today – it’s Tom birthday tomorrow and I was busy making him a cake (which turned out a bit wrong in the end, oops!). (By the way I’m writing this retrospectively, after his birthday, so I haven’t spoiled the surprise – the cake looked a bit naff but it tasted lovely!)

Oh well. My evening walk was a little bit short of 5km, but I had already walked to and from the bank earlier in the day, so I more than covered the distance today.

5×50 Day 45: 3.3 mile run = 411.2/1000 = 588.8 miles to go!

2015-05-12 13.22.31I’m off for a sports therapy appointment this afternoon, then Tom and I will be going up to Birmingham to go and see a band tonight, so I needed to get my run in early. Set off in the glorious sunshine and came back in a downpour – oh well! I still enjoyed this run 🙂

In other news, our friend Chris emailed this morning, dangling the carrot of an ‘entry level’ ‘half ultra marathon‘ in the Chiltern hills in July…My first thought was, “Good god, are you mad, Chris?” My second thought was, “Ohh, I haven’t got an event in the diary for July yet…” My third thought was, “It’s only 16 miles – I’ve done 13.1 before, what’s a few extra?!”

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do it or not – the distance doesn’t scare me so much as the fact that it’s all off road, but I am leaning more towards yay than nay! I think it might be a good challenge, and if I can do that then I can certainly do a full marathon (which Becky’s trying to convince me to do in September…!). Stay tuned!

https://www.strava.com/activities/302986363/embed/87784186db9ffd6c371480bdfed0783348c48b16

5×50 Day 44: 2.8 mile run: 407.9/1000 = 592.1 miles to go!

2015-05-11 17.44.22

At the mechanic’s farm. Sunny!

Tom’s car has been at the garage for the last week. It’s an ancient T-reg Peugeot 206 with bits falling off and things not working here, there and everywhere, so we asked our mechanic to assess whether he thought it was worth fixing up to go through its MOT, or if we’d be better off scrapping it! Amazingly, all it needed was a new exhaust and a replacement windscreen wiper motor, and our man managed to salvage parts from scrap so the whole job including the MOT only cost £160. We still have two cars!

Our knackered old Peugeot is (amazingly!) still driveable!

Our knackered old Peugeot is (amazingly!) still driveable!

Anyway, the reason for me telling you that was just to introduce today’s run – Tom and I both ran from home to collect the car. It’s a fairly tough route, despite being a bit short of 5km, as it goes up and over a big hill and is largely offroad. I suffered a bit with hurty calves and ankles so did do a bit of walking, but even so 28 minutes for 4 1/2 km isn’t *too* bad!

I made up for the shortfall later in the evening by playing in a netball match (we won!).

https://www.strava.com/activities/302626734/embed/6e6e3aa62ed44364a8766a3f8a56b83226a45a23

5×50 Day 43: 5 mile woodland walk

2015-05-10 16.58.31A stunner of a walk today! Despite having lived in my town for over 5 years, it wasn’t until about this time last year, when I did the 5×50 Challenge last time, that I discovered the nearby Oversley Woods. And it wasn’t until today that I discovered there are many more footpaths than just the 2.3 mile circular loop I usually do – amazing! I intended to do this loop again today, but when I got to the entrance to the woods and noticed a track diverting away from the main path, I decided there and then to have a micro-adventure and see where it went!

20150510_164750So glad I went off piste! The path was pretty muddy but led right through the trees (as opposed to the main trail which is very wide and open) so it really felt like a ‘proper’ woodland walk. It led up a hill with a beautiful view at the top (the couple sitting on the perfectly placed bench must have cursed me for discovering their secret place!), and oodles and oodles of bluebells and other wild flowers. Loved it!

5×50 Day 42: 3.3 mile run: 405.1/1000 = 594.9 miles to go

2015-05-09 10.33.02I marshalled for the first time at parkrun today – after 22 parkruns, 18 of which at Arrow Valley, I thought it was about time I did my bit!

I had the marshall station at the start of the 2nd lap/just before the finish line, so I had great fun calling out people’s lap times as they passed me. It was brilliant seeing the determination on so many people’s faces, especially as they heard their lap time and realised they were in with a shot of their PB!

It was also really nice to have the chance to see *everybody* at parkrun – I usually finish somewhere in the middle and am heading off home before some people have even finished – I hope that doesn’t sound obnoxious but what I mean is, today it was great to see the whole spectrum of people who come along to parkrun. The super-sprinters who finish in 17-18-19 minutes have usually gone home before *I* finish, so it was brilliant to see them whizz by me. It was equally awesome to cheer on the people who finish in 40-45 minutes. Every single person who comes along and gives it their best shot is brilliant brilliant brilliant 😀

I went for my own little run afterwards, going backwards around the parkrun route for one lap, and then a little detour around the inner lake path for the second lap. Nine-ish minute miles seem to be my standard these days – how far I have come from 11-12 minute miles!!!