Beach, bog and brownies

The Grizzly. 20(ish) brutal miles of typical East Devon terrain. Surely you’d have to be mad to do that…???

When we first moved down here, it’s fair to say I took a bit of convincing. But as soon as you’ve realised that everyone does it, the FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in and before you know it, you’re clicking on the website as when entries open. Once you’ve sampled the fantastic atmosphere and impeccable organisation, you’ll be hooked, and telling your friends they’d actually be mad not to do it!

I previously ran the full distance in 2014 and, having been away from all things Devon while on a cycling adventure for 15 long months, I was especially eager for a return appearance. Slight snag….I’d run just ten times in those 15 months, and would have only four months to train. AND I had a grumbly knee from too much cycling. Could I do it?

I thought I probably could. I settled on a training plan which started with the lowly goal of running just three miles, three times a week. I increased my weekly mileage by just 10% at a time, topping out at a rather unimpressive 25 miles. My longest run was just 16 miles, and that was on the flat…. But I was in one piece. I ran consistently three times a week for four months, with a couple of weeks off due to a cough and a niggly calf. I saw the physio twice about the niggles…AND then did my prescribed daily dose of rehab exercises, stretching and foam rolling with something approximating to enthusiasm 😉

Race day dawned, and I was in one piece! As long as I took it super easy, drank and ate well, and managed not to fall over, I was confident I would make it.

As the title suggests, there was beach:

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Two sections in fact, this one is only a few miles from the end and you know what, I ran the whole thing. At the pace of a snail….but I was still running!

And there was bog:

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Two bogs, in fact, deep joy! Quite fun I suppose, but I could have done without the ton of mud and stones in my trainers afterwards. Sigh. Moving on!

There were also hills a-plenty, culminating in the ‘staircase to heaven’ which is infamous, but not actually THAT bad. Or maybe I was just distracted by the view.

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There were also thousands of smiling runners, hundreds of cheering marshalls, and an excellent cake stop which we ran through twice. There was also a bagpiper. And a samba band. And various ensembles and quartets to keep us entertained. So much going on, I barely had time to feel tired….or maybe I just wasn’t running fast enough for that 😉

I was the slowest runner in my entire running club, and yet I felt prouder of my achievement than I have when closer to the top few. Grizzly 2019, done! I’ll certainly be back.

I promised brownies. Disclaimer: the brownies I actually made for Grizzly weekend weren’t particularly good. I’ve used the same recipe a couple of times and it seems to split – not sure what I’m doing wrong. So instead, here’s my reliable Green and Black’s recipe which I think I will be reverting to in future!

You will need:
* 200g butter
* 100g dark choc
* 350g dark brown sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1tsp vanilla extract
* 200g self-raising flour

I use a square brownie tin, lined with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat (I can’t be bothered with a bain-marie but it is probably a good idea to stop things splitting!)

Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Beat the eggs and add to the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and stir into the mixture.

Pour it all into the tin and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins until the top is crispy but the insides are soft.

Enjoy! Best serve warm with vanilla ice cream 🙂

Keep calm and carry on training

I’ll be upfront here. No cake this week. I did have a lovely piece of carrot cake earlier today, made even lovelier by the company of Becca, but I failed to take a photo. Must do better!

Enough about cake (or lack thereof). What about the running?

I had a bit of a setback last week, in the form of a cough. Not ideal at the best of times, and especially worrisome when you’re already on a bare minimum training plan. It was oh so tempting to keep training….but I resisted. Because, as a wise rowing coach once said, ‘you’re no good to anyone if you’re injured’.

It was particularly poor timing because last week was supposed to be my second-biggest week in terms of training load, second only to this week. So that’s gone down the pan somewhat. However, the wise old Husb saved the day by pointing out that a 3 week taper was probably excessive for someone running so (comparatively) little. So I’ve allocated next week as another big(ish) week, and then my feet will largely be UP until the big day.

Far too much nitty gritty I know. I will try to be less running bore from now on.

After testing myself out at parkrun on Saturday (Phoenix Park in Runcorn, what an absolute gem), I was almost confident that I could manage 16 miles with Shazruns today. Mostly because she’d run a mahoosive PB at the Dursley Dozen yesterday, so would be suitably tired. And also because it would be flat, albeit muddy.

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Rosie the cat supervises shoelace-tying

Spoiler: I made it! 16.5 miles no less. Devon treated us to a wonderful day so, along with the excellent company, the views kept me suitably distracted.

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The muddiness is in no way illustrated by this pic

I’m now firmly on the sofa and looking forward to not being able to move until at least Thursday 😉