Changes

Since I started this blog 3 years ago many things have changed. Luckily the two main elements of the blog have remained – cakes & running, despite my laziness trying to hamper both of these. Ok it’s not all down to laziness, I have been busy too, as I alluded to in my last post.

The biggest change is no longer living in London, so a little blog rename is probably in order. Running, cakes and Yorkshire doesn’t quite have the same ring to it so I may incorporate Puppies into the title instead.

Anyone who knows me will know this is a popular topic of conversation, mainly about pooping and general dog naughtiness.

Bob is the latest addition to the Beecroft household. He’s about 6 months old and a Springer Husky cross!


Most of all he’s super cute. Very chilled out compared to Elfie the GSP.

Currently we are going through ‘poomaggedon’ (I may copyright this!), where he poos in his cage and ends up covered in it. This is mainly down to a bad case of diarrhoea so hopefully isn’t a habit, as it’s pretty gross and not a nice 5am wake up call.

Elfie ‘loves’ him, she has someone who always wants to play, and who she can lord over – for now. He gives as good as he gets, and is quite vocal.

When we picked Bob I was hoping for a nice small manageable hound, but it turns out he’s going to be massive – 35kg probably! Hopefully his chilled temperament will mean he’s easier to handle than Elfie.

Running up hill is hard!

My lack of updates on this blog are down to several things:

  • We got another puppy – Bob, he’s cute, and takes up a lot of time
  • We moved house – Again!
  • I’m working way too hard
  • Winter up north is wet, so limits activities
  • I haven’t found a baking club in the North!
  • My running successes have slowed, along with my speed due to the massive bleeding hill round here

Luckily my inner competitive streak keeps me going with the latter, but even my runs and training are very sporadic.

Even when I was running on the lovely flat roads of London I was never going to be fast enough to win anything, but now my new goal is to not coming last.

Fell running is a nasty beast. No two runs are the same – even the same route. The weather and terrain can drastically change the conditions and run ability of a course. And of course those pesky hills. I’m lucky if I can run around a whole fell race, usually resorting to a trudge up the hill, and a cautious canter down steep, slippery hills. I miss racing on nice flat tarmac.

Having said that, there is a perverse thrill of running through a muddy bog, hoping your shoes follow you. Or the feeling of your lungs wanting to jump out of your throat as you attempt to fast walk up a hill, just to overtake a 70 year old, who will likely beast you on the decent.

As I am unlikely to ever run a fell race at a nice average speed of 9 minute miles my goal is to not come last. So far I can claim this victory, even if I am amongst the amazingly fit 60 and 70 year olds, and I did drop out of a particularly long and nasty fell race because I knew I would come last if I carried on.

This was Heptonstall fell race and I was pleased to tackle this again this year and actually finish it, and not come last. It was 15 miles with almost 3000ft of climbing so quite an achievement, even without my own silly goals.

I’ve joined a lovely local fell running club, Calder Valley Fell Runners, and there is a nice mix of abilities that you can always find someone to run with and encourage you. Unfortunately I don’t get down enough to train due to work and puppies, so this probably hampers my progress.

As a nice treat I have decided to enter the Leeds Half Marathon on the 8th May, and I can’t wait to run some nice tarmac miles, with very little hills.

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Our GSP Experience

Just before Christmas hubby and I bought ourselves a little gift. It was quite an undertaking and would take some commitment and patience on our part.

In December we bought home Elfie, our first puppy.

 

Elfie the GSP

After much deliberation we chose a German Shorthaired Pointer. We wanted an energetic breed as we eventually wanted to take her out on runs with us, we also wanted an intelligent and trainable companion.

We chose from a litter of 11. It was tough. We narrowed it down by sex, then we purely went on looks. We wanted one with distinctive markings, and we wanted a lively one. Boy did we get that!

 

not keen on car travel or missing her family?

Actually given we had a new puppy in the house the destruction wasn’t as bad as I feared. She quickly learnt toilet training and rarely chewed anything that wasn’t hers anyway.

We only had 3 sleepless nights when she 1st arrived and she soon got used to sleeping alone. We always cage her at night, to limit destruction and accidents, but mainly because her den is her safe place.

We promptly enrolled her into puppy training classes, as we live in the middle of nowhere we wanted to make sure she still had contact with other dogs. She was a handful and whenever a human approaches she just wanted to jump and nibble.

She picked up sit and lay down easily with treats. Heel and stay have been more of a challenge, even 7 months down the line. She’s even pretty good at paw, but the here command is always a challenge, particularly when there’s any kind of poo to be eaten (except her own or other dogs, which I guess is a blessing).

GSP’s are very strong willed and can be quite obstinate. I’m sure Elfie often feigns deafness when it suits her, but I guess all dogs do that.

Unfortunately she’s yet to make friends with our 8 year old ginger Tom. More on his part then hers. She just wants to make friends and play, Gary the cat has never experienced other animals before so is not quite as keen. As a result he now lives upstairs, where the dog cannot go.

 

Gary checks out Elfie when she 1st arrived

 

She loves frisbee chasing, avoids puddles and mud, requires your help when drinking from streams, and will do almost anything for sausage.

 

Elfie love frisbee

 

A few random things we have discovered since getting a GSP.

  1. We meet a lot of people who have one, but they never seem to have it out with them!
  2. She is very lazy in the mornings
  3. She doesn’t like tomatoes
  4. She’s not keen on puddles or mud
  5. She loves running – fast
  6. She loves frisbee
  7. She loves going to the pub – embarrassingly super keen in fact
  8. Pointers love to pull on the lead – a lot!
  9. A face harness sorts point 8 out
  10. She’s always super happy to see you – even if you only left her sight for 5 mins
  11. She has a wind problem – both ends – but she’s not embarrassed by it

She went through a phase of constantly barking in my face of an evening. Getting her to stop barking can be a challenge and usually it’s because she’s bored. She can be quite boisterous but never in an aggressive way.

After a few month of having her a friend asked if I loved her yet at the time I said I’m not sure (she could be annoying and a handful). But when I think of all the crazy and silly things she’s done, such as eating my postal ballot, getting car sick, trying to sit on my lap even though she weighs 18kg, always walking between my legs, the joyous look on her face when you get the frisbee out, her perky ears when you let her off the lead and she can run like a nutter, the way she sometimes fusses with her food but as soon as you pretend to eat some she gobbles it down…yeah I think I do love her!

 

me and my girl

 

1st Yorkshire Fell run!

Since moving to Yorkshire my other half has embraced many northern past times, such as hiking, growing a beard, driving a landrover, chopping wood, wearing wellies, and what we moved here for, fell running.
Some of these I have partaken in too, I’ll leave you to guess which ones.

Now I like running (sometimes) as you can see from this blog. But I’m not really keen on mud, hills, bad weather, so boy have I moved to the wrong place.
However, I am of the opinion that if I can get the motivation to train in these conditions, then my nice flat Manchester Marathon should be a piece of p*ss (in Harley lame running terms) come April.

So, very kindly, the other half arranged for me to go out for a ‘nice’ 8 miler with a friend’s wife from his running club.
I was worried!
The day before I had failed miserably at Burnley Parkrun on only my 2nd attempt – passed performance had always had me tracking positively on the ole Parkrun PB front. But damn this northern climate, I was off form! But that could also be the lack of any training whatsoever.
I had also failed spectacularly at my 1st personal training session the night before, by almost passing out and puking. Man I must be super unfit!

So the thought of unleashing my shitness on new people had me worried. I had no idea of the course, what type of hills we’d climb, speed of my running buddies, or their tolerance of ‘pretenders’. The only good thing on my side was that it wasn’t raining for once.
I geared up – never worn so many clothes, especially especially compared sunny Dulwich running, and headed over to meet them.
We were going to take a bunch of beginners out for their 1st off road fell run. Yay I thought, thinking back to the nice tame beginners at DPR, and how this may not be as bad as I feared.

I have no idea what they feed on round here, but these guys were ace. I decided to take up the sweeper position!
I don’t think I ran up one hill! Talk about baptism of fire!
But you know what…I loved it!
It was tough, but I know it only means I can improve. They were a fab bunch and I’m gonna look forward to slowing them down again in the future.
Might even infiltrate the ‘beginners’ course when it starts again.
I even didn’t shy away from the mud. Apparent it’s good for the skin! My feet will be beautiful in no time!

The good thing is it’s banished my fear of joining a fell running club, although, ask me that again once I’ve done my first run in sheeting rain! ­čśť

Manchester Marathon here I come….

1st Parkrun of 2015

Yesterday I started my road to my 2nd 26.2 miles with my 1st parkrun since March 2014.

We recently moved to Yorkshire so our local Parkrun is now Burnley.

As you may have noticed I have an internal competitive streak but not enough motivation to really push myself, so the prospect of running what I anticipated would be my slowest Parkrun yet was not appealing. I foresaw me struggling, walking and being at the back.

Now don’t get me wrong the last time I ran wasn’t March 2014. I had done a marathon in April and a couple of half marathons since then, but I’d only run 60 miles in total since April, and sporadically at that.

Burnley Parkrun is set at Townley Hall Park and is a nice course, albeit a course with laps in it. But luckily not a lap course where the leaders lap you unless….gulp!

I set myself a goal of finishing within 30 mins. That may have been a slightly comfortable target, even my first Parkrun was better than this. My slowest park run was 28.51 at Dulwich back in Feb 2013, but I had eaten a lot this christmas.

There was a good turnout running, a great number of volunteers and pacers. I decided just to go at my own pace and set off comfortably.
There was a slight uphill and an inevitable downhill. Unfamiliar with the course I wasn’t sure where to reserve energy or go for it. As a result the last large loop was a little tough. Also the finish straight was uphill and this is usually where I dig in and push for a strong finish. Not today.
I did however finish in under 28.30, so I have a nice starting benchmark to improve on. I wasn’t last, I didn’t walk and I came second in my age group, which was a nice boost. There may have only been two of us running though ­čśť

Looking forward to improving on this time and getting PBs each week as I train for the Manchester Marathon.

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New year, new things, new goals…

Hi, it’s been a while. How have you been? Sorry I’ve been remiss and generally bad at updating this blog. A lot has happened since I last wrote. Too much to recount but to summarise (in no particular order):

– Ran Big Sur Marathon in 4hrs 55mins
– moved to Woolwich
– moved to Yorkshire!
– got a new job
– got a new car
– went to disney world
– got a puppy
– got fat!

Now, that last one is important as I’ve signed up for the ASICS Manchester Marathon in April, and I’ve hardly run a mile since Big Sur last year. I’ve got podgy, lazy and complacent. I will be fixing that over the next 4 months.

I have a target, 4.30, I have a personal trainer, and I have a boat load of hills to build up my strength! Unfortunately I also have wild Yorkshire weather to contend with so training should be fun and bracing!!

Moving out of London means no baking club, so my waist line should benefit. I made some lovely friends at Band of Bakers, and I’m sure I’ll continue baking but my blog may end up being more about running.

A new job will keep me challenged mentally and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth in the role, and to making a new bunch of friends.

The new puppy will also challenge my patience but will be a great companion once she’s big enough to keep me company on runs.

So no booze for January, healthy eating and a manageable fitness regime. Hopefully I can keep to this better than I keep this blog updated.

Here’s to 2015 and fun times ahead…

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