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Sadventure Abandoned #12 Festivals, oh festivals.

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

"Run 5 or 8 k in August at the Cotswolds running festival. It’s also a weekend of camping with a festival attached and should be fun! See how the health-nut halves live and entertain themselves"

It's the Cotwolds twenty-four hour race and I am to waddle it.

Apparently, going to festivals in one's middle years is a sure symptom of a mid-life crisis. The furthest I've run in recent years is from the front door to the loo: a distance of three steps. Cripes!

On the plus, it's an excuse to go shoe shopping again as a quick inspection of my footwear reveals I own nothing sports-related.

Marching preparations...

Having discussed my impending death from running with a variety of friends, it was agreed that it was best if I start slowly. Really work up to it over time. I cannot remember the last time I ran anywhere. I have spent much time contemplating it.

So the plan of March was to buy some fancy running shoes. Ones with strong shoelaces, and grippy soles. Duly done. I contemplated putting them on for the remainder of the month.

Marching on...

March the first. The foolish day I decided I was going to actually retreive my shoes from the Amazon packaging. I fervently prayed they wouldn't fit. My prayers went unheard.

Thankfully, the God of Flu picked up my message and sent me to my couch. Where I contemplated more death by running. Death by running nose.


For me, I've always found the middle bit of a project the hardest. It's the bit that has no glory. Self-help books sell by the wagon-load telling us how to start a project, and how to close. No one writes about the arduous, dull, repetitive boring bit - which just happens to be the very lengthy middle bit. The tediousness of overfamiliarity of the task in hand. The lack of newness or freshness. In short, there's a dearth of material on strategies for keeping going. How to conquer flagging motivations. How not to cave when you've further to go, than you've already covered.

Especially when the gusts of wind ravage the countryside. Battering one's hatches down. Forcing one to remain firmly ensconsed on the couch.

Thus, I got through the first stage of my challenge of getting from 0 to 5k. Doing the middle-bit of 0k, turns out to be quite okay. I have contemplated running not once. I just got on and did nothing. One no-step at a time. And now to the starting bit...

Marching on...

There is only one way I'm going to master the art of running with an oversized arse. Either reduce the arse or run. I compromise and decide I really ought to just try walking 5k to see how it feels. I opt for a route to a small group of houses, further down the lane from where my trusty couch ordinarily resides. I figure that must be, at the very least, 5k. There's a gradual downhide gradient towards a small bridge and stream, then a small turning point for large vehicles to do a U-turn because their SatNavs, or the drivers, have failed to heed the 'Road Not Suitable For Large Vehicles sign', hidden behind a cedar tree.

I was disappointed to find that it only took me ten minutes to get there. There's no way I've marched 2.5k in ten minutes. I have a fairly good stride (powered by a large arse, you see) but even that seems a little ambitions. So I pootle onwards. I head up a small track, passing a 'Definitely Not Suitable For Any Vehicles' Sign - which I know for a fact is a lie. I've driven up it. Once in a car, and several times on Fierce Fanny.

This was no small undulating hill. Quite frankly, I cannot understand why people aren't training for Everest up this track. I decide that if I haven't died before I've got to its crest, that would be today's turning point.

At the crest of the hill, I am met by a white horse laughing at me heaving. I briefly contemplate riding it home but my legs are so jelly-like, I'm not sure I could even mount the thing. Besides, I've just mowed my lawn so I couldn't readily feed it. I'm also not sure it's in the spirit of 0-5k.

I walk home. My knee hurts. I wonder whether I've even managed 2k. I figure I'll check when I get home. I forget.

Day 2

I think I've got the knack of this now - all I have to do is get out of bed, into my sportswear, and charge out the door. No prevaricating. No coffee. No 'just quickly check the news/play a quick game on my mobile/bath' or any other activities which usually hinder the progress of my day.

I walk to the stream and then tackle the Hill of Everest. The white horse does not greet me as I stagger to its plateau. I walk on an additional one minute just because I have some vague memory of a boss saying something about 'stretch goals' when he doubled my workload on a whim.

I discover there are in fact two white horses. I suspect I have altitude sickness. I head home to my sympathetic couch determined to find out how far I've actually gone. I know lots of theories about finishing projects, I decide to actually run the final 25 metres just to hurry up the process.

Day 3

Absolutely no difference from Day 2. Except, I have a houseguest this week. She thinks I have finally gone mad. I am inclined to agree. She barely gets to say 'Good Morn....' before I'm out the door with my bed head to greet mother nature and stomp on tarmac.

I walked a little further down the other side of Hill Everest, a distance of one minute further still, to be greeted by two hawks having a conflab. I ran the final 50 metres home. This is not getting easier. I still have no idea how far I'm going. I am distracted from finding out by a power outtage at my home.

Day 4

The tedium continues. Houseguest remains staggered by my abrupt dramatic leaving of the home - from the toilet to the front door in 2.4 seconds. Cat glad to have houseguest to remember to feed him.

I stretch myself by going a further minute down Hill Everest. I am nearly taken out by a squirrel darting across the lane with a cone in its mouth. Dangerous this country running malarky, it really is.

I run the final 100 metres. It takes another 45 minutes before I can have a comprehensible conversation with houseguest.

Day 5

I was hoping to see a unicorn...

Alas, I did not go anywhere. I had a workman in to fix the power problems I have been having so I couldn't enact my 'wet the bed, run like hell' motivational knack.

On the plus, I walked it on my phone. I was a bit disgruntled to discover that it was a mere 1.3 kilometres that I covered yesterday. Day brightened when I remembered that I had walked there and back and thus I had actually marched 2.6k.

Day 6

What a gloriously sunny day for a walk. So glorious, in fact, I reckon I gave myself heatstroke as I actually ran for a short bit. Discovered this hurts the boobage. Fortunately, the tarmac did not crack under the strain. Arrived home to take Houseguest out to enjoy the sunshine and local scenery. She was asleep. By the time she woke up, I was asleep. Baked a cake instead.

Day 7, and last day of Marching

Running injury 1: Have picked up a knee injury. I say, knee injury, I mean I couldn't be arsed. Marched to the kitchen and ate cake instead. Houseguest is a highly-qualified medical professional who informs me that a day of rest periodically is an essential part of training. She may have made this up.

Monday, April 1st

April Fool's Day. And the first opportunity for April showers to arrive. Alas, they did not. Walked the furthest distance yet. Managed two short running sprints, and a 100m dash home. Discover why I haven't run for most of my lifetime: it's positively loathesome.

Day 2 of this month.

Hallelujah! The April Showers have arrived. Perfect excuse to not run. I retrieve an umbrella that I haven't seen for donkeys years and decide, finally, I am going to adduce exactly how far 5k is on my route. Walked with umbrella for a long time at a steady pace. Hill Everest is becoming just about bearable. Trotted down the other side to a beautiful valley with lots of running streams and rapids and things. Turned around just before the Hill Mauna Kea got fierce.

Running injury 2: Got home to discover right bicep is frozen solid and I'd only walked 4.5k.

Day 3 (again)

No showers again today. Decide today is the day I am FINALLY going to adduce exactly how far 5k is on my route by actually checking the route on my phone before I walk it. Am gutted to discover, not only I am going to actually have to stomp up Hill Mauna Kea, but also walk along to an intersection of lots of country roads. The signposts provide a handy landmark for turning around. Turned around at exactly 30mins. Got home at exactly 1:00. Never google how fast it should take a woman of 44 to do is heartbreaking.

Running injury 3: Picked up an ear worm on the ascent of Hill Mauna Kea.

Day 4

The challenge for today is to walk 5k in less than 1 hour, using the 'I've wet the bed, must dash!' approach to getting out of the house once again. Still heaving with rain. Stomped up Hill Everest, Heaved up Hill Mauna Kea, waddled around the signpost. Spotted a heron and a hawk studiously ignorning one another. I studiously ignored them - 'cos I'm a woman with a mission.

Mission accomplished: 58 mins!

Day 5

Challenge for the day: Walk 5k in less than one hour.

Mission failed: rested legs instead.

Day 6

Decided yesterday's mission was so successful, I must repeat it. Mission accomplished!

Day 7

"Fancy a 12k walk with me?" my friend asked. "With a coffee break at the half way point?" , prompted a movement in my face from a frown to a smile. Turns out it was 8k not 12k. It took 2 hours, and according to her app, we burnt 700 calories. Glad I had a large lunch with my coffee. Also learnt it is impossible to hold a conversation when walking uphill.

Discovered I do not walk down hill correctly, according to my friend, I should not do this on tippee-toes, but the heal of my foot. Turns out this is far less painful on one's knees....

Running injuries: Sore calves!

Day 8

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than one hour!

Had to get up at silly o'clock to get my 'run' in today. Perhaps I need a cold frosty morning to keep me at a faster pace.

Mission failed! 1 hour, 2 mins. No idea why it took 4 mins longer when there was no rain, and no need for a brolly, and I can walk downhill on my heels far faster than on my toes. Ate a massive bar of chocolate to cheer myself up.

Day 9

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than one hour!

Meant to get up at silly o'clock. Decided bed was better so walked late afternoon when it was gloriously warm and sunny. Despite, gasping out a conversation with the gynaecologists ringing to say they hadn't got to the bottom of Fierce Fanny's latest issues, I managed to accomplish my mission: 58 mins.

Day 10

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than 58m

This would mean running. At least bit of it. Detested every step of it but managed three sprints. No longer distracted by wildlife. No time to talk to the sheep. Woman in a hurry. And no one rings at 6am in the morning either.

Mission Failed: 58 mins!

Day 11

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than 58m (attempt 2)

Nearly quit half way up Hill Everest as legs were hopping mad - only lazier and more painful. Glad I didn't as I saw two Monkjack - one of which appears to have eaten all the heads off my tulips, 2 giant hares and a pine marten. I'll say that again: a pine marten.

Here is a picture of a pine marten I didn't see...

Suffice to say, the pine marten ran faster than I did. Came home and mowed my lawn #hardcore

Mission Failed: 1h, 2mins.

Days 12 & 13

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than 58m (attempts 3 & 4)

Mission Failed: 0h, 0 mins!

Day 14

Aim for the day: Walk 5k in less than 58m (attempt 5)

Lovely, cold, crisp, foggy fine day for walking. Saw 1 heron, 2 squirrels, 1 hawk and no pine martens. Said hello to lots of smiling sheep. They laughed back at me.

Mission Failed: 59mins!

Day 15

Aim for the day: Walk/Run 5k in less than 58m (attempt 6)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: 56mins. Saw bugger all because I was so busy hyper-ventilating.

Day 16

Aim for the day: Walk/Run 5k in less than 56m (attempt 1)

Concentrated on the tarmac, the potholes and trying not to wee myself. Succeeded on all three counts. Delayed by a very friendly border collie crossed with something his mother's mother would not have approved of. Came home and collapsed on the sofa. Pulled right buttock muscle on landing.

Sportng injuries: Frozen right buttock.

Mission Failed: 56 mins.

Day 17

Aim for the day: Walk/Run 5k in less than 56m (attempt 2)

Due to walking in circles - as right buttock remains sore, decided my linear training route would not suffice. Soaked in the bath with some bath stuff which promised to 'enliven and re-invigorate'. Fell asleep, woke up when bath water cold.

Sporting injuries: Very frozen right buttock

Mission Failed: 0mins.

Day 18

Aim for the day: Walk/Run 5k in less than 56m (attempt 3)

Overtaken by two joggers - proper ones. One friendly, one too knackered to say hi. Got to the halfway point in 27 mins - really thought today was the day I'd do sub 56 as the second half is more downhill than up.

Nope. Mission Failed: 56mins.

Day 19

Day of rest. I have been told that I should 'up my magnesium'. I enquired how one could do that to be told eat more green leafy vegetables and dark chocolate. Opted for the chocolate. Figured that milk chocolate started off dark at one point.

Day 20

Aim for the day: Walk/Run 5k in less than 56m (attempt 4)

Disaaaster - pulled a muscle half-way up Hill Mauna Kea with a proper 'twang!'. Figured it was my hamstring. Then remembered I am a life-long vegetarian. I probably don't have one. Hobbled my way through the rest of the course.

Mission Failed: 1 hour exactly. Proving, if nothing else I have previously been running for four minutes collectively.

Sporting Injuries: Torn Quorn Hamstring.

Days 21 & 22

Limped to the kitchen and back many times. Upped my magnesium with more chocolate. Ate a lettuce sandwich out of guilt. Hoping to discover that coffee has magnesium in it too.

Day 23

Aim for the day: Walk as much of the course as I can muster.