Monday, November 28, 2011

Skies 87 - 108

How time flies and so many skies to upload!

14th November.

The fog descended during the previous evening and didn't clear all day.

15th November.

The fog just got worse and worse. Thank goodness we didn't need to travel in it as it would have been treacherous.

16th November.

Phew, the fog is nearly all gone with just a bit hanging in the valley.

17th November

Then we had glorious blue skies and it was so warm that I am still running in a vest and shorts and the horses still haven't got their winter blankets on.

Unseasonally warm in fact and that really isn't a good thing for so many reasons, not least that it has been the driest November on record in our area and they're already talking about water shortages looming large. Plus all the plants and wildlife are confused with things in flower that should still be sleeping and insects that should have died off still buzzing around.

18th November.

Another glorious day and I took advantage of it by running across the fields.

19th November

The sun is setting such a long way away from when I started taking the photos back in September. It's fascinating watching the changes.

20th November

21st November

22nd November

23rd November

24th November

25th November

26th November

27th November

I just managed to catch this partial rainbow in the morning as it was getting light. There had been a short shower followed by the sun rising and the rainbow only lasted a few seconds.

Although the days are bright, the temperature has started to fall and so it was time to light the woodburner in the evening.

Tinker was very pleased about that!

28th November

We had our first ground frost last night and I took this at the back of the house just as the sun had risen, at the front, as I liked the pink tinges it gave the clouds.

29th November

30th November

1st December

2nd December

3rd December

4th December

Phew all up to date again on the sky front.

Later will be news about running, knitting and other crafting.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marathon training, Skies 78 - 86 & Esther (but not in that order!)

It's been a hectic week and not all in a good way. I noticed that Esther was resting her offside rear hoof one day, the next day she could hardly walk on her front feet. She's never been laminitic before to my knowledge but her stance and soreness suggested it immediately.

So it was action stations all round - Mike turned into DIY superman and transformed one of the field shelters into a stable using things we had lying around in the garage as she needs box rest whilst I flew round packing out her nearside front hoof which she could hardly place on the floor and then making a deep bed in the stable so she had something comfy to stand on rather than bare earth or concrete, then it was time for the vet.

In the meantime I'd given her some bute to ease the pain which is why she looks much happier in the stable - also the deep bed takes the pressure away from the sore hooves.

The vet agreed with my initial diagnosis but was confused because Esther isn't so much overweight to bring on laminitis. She asked me if anything had changed in her diet recently and it hasn't so she decided to do some xrays to check what's going on inside the hooves.

They had to wear these very attractive jackets which weigh a ton because they are full of lead to protect them from the xrays. Esther was such a good girl throughout. The xrays didn't show anything too awful thank goodness and the farrier will be able to improve things even further when he visits this week.

Looking at the photos now it's amazing how much brighter Esther looks after just a few hours on the deep bed system and with a bit of pain relief. However, she's now got to stay in the stable for 6 weeks to let everything get back to normal and she's on a very bland diet of soaked hay (which removes all the nutrients) to allow her digestive system to recover.

Of course it's now a week later and she looks bright as a button and is raring to get out into the field. Convalescing is never easy but I think watching Kizzy out in the field doesn't help much!

Now for the skies. There are 2 missing as dealing with Esther's health took priority over taking photos:
4th November

5th November

6th November

8th November

9th November

10th November

11th November

13th November

Now for my training. Running wise it was sometimes great and then others rather lacklustre - I blame the weather for the bad days when the fog didn't lift all day and everywhere was damp and dreary! There were only 2 off days anyway so no worries really.

The other 3 days were focussed and most enjoyable, especially yesterday when the weather was beautiful. As it was Remembrance Sunday I wore my poppy and I made sure that I was home well before 11am so that I could share the 2 minute silence with Mike.

I'm concentrating on building a solid base ahead of my marathon schedule but I'm also doing 1 session of speedwork each week. I still secretly hope that I'll get chosen in the Runner's World competition even though it's highly unlikely as people still seem to think that I knit during all my marathons rather than just at London marathon even though I always stress that when interviewed. I write this because a reporter from a well known newspaper wanted to write about my achievements this year but lost some interest when he realised that I don't knit during every marathon plus another reporter from a knitting magazine asked me for some tips on how people can take their running out on their training runs. Hey ho.

So, again, for the record, I run all my marathons and I have only ever knitted whilst running at the London marathon and it is purely to draw attention to Alzheimer's Research UK and not because I can't bear to leave my knitting behind!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some pie, a 9 minute special & Sky 77

Well it's not really pie, it's a pear and almond tart with scrummy homemade raspberry jam on the base.

It was such a grotty, dreary day and I know it's really naughty during the week but we had a slice each after tea and jolly nice it was too.

I shall have to run a few extra miles tomorrow to burn it off!

For my run today I tried a short session that Terry, a fellow forumite on the Runner's World site told me about. It's a session he read about in the magazine many years ago and he incorporates into his schedule on the week leading up to a race - as a sharpener. After a good warm-up you run 50m flat out then 50m fast for 9 minutes. I did it on the treadmill so I could check my pace and I really enjoyed it. My pace was 8 minute miling for the flat out bits and 8.5 minute miling for the fast bits. I think I shall use this to check on my progress, perhaps once a month. It would be fab if I could run something beginning with a 7 eventually........

The sky this evening was pretty nondescript.

Cloud, cloud and more cloud in varying shades of grey.

Still beautiful though.

7 minutes less & skies 73 - 76

Now sometimes improvements in your running are hard to come by even when you try really hard and sometimes they just happen quite unexpectedly when you aren't trying hard at all.

Yesterday fell into the latter category.

It was another glorious day but with the weather forecast being dire for the rest of the week I decided that I would head out at lunchtime through the fields on one of my favourite 7 mile routes. As a footpath warden for the Parish it gives me an ideal opportunity to check the stiles etc en-route whilst enjoying the glorious countryside.

As I headed off I felt strong but wasn't paying any attention to my pace as it does me good to just run for the love of it every so often. The route heads along the lane for just over a mile and then goes down a cinder farm track in Bodiam. I glanced at my watch at the 2 mile mark and was surprised to see it said 19 minutes as I'd already negotiated a couple of short, sharp hills.

Onwards and upwards across 4 stiles and 2 overgrown fields where I had to do high stepping in order to avoid the clumps of grass! I noticed that the Red Indian man was performing some sort of ritual outside his caravan. The first time I saw him walking along the lane in full headdress I thought he was going to a fancy dress party but he wasn't and he's the genuine article. He always looks peaceful and content with his simple life in the corner of a field.

I managed the descent through the first orchard without slipping (I have been known to slide down the hill on my bum in the winter months - and not by choice!) and then up the other side. Then a ploughed field which wasn't too bad yet as the weather has been dry. In the wetter periods a ploughed field is jolly hard work as our land is on clay and you end up with huge clods of it attached to your shoes.

I ran past the churchyard in Salehurst with sheep grazing and stopped to look at them for a few seconds. Then it was more hummocky grass for about a mile followed by a sharp climb on mown grass through another orchard. That one was tricky as there were still lots of apples on the ground and I kept slipping on them. The final stretch is a gentle climb through the woods followed by 1/2 mile on the lane and when I reached our gates I checked my watch and could hardly believe my eyes - I'd done it 7 minutes faster than usual and I hadn't pushed at all!

It's moments like that which make all the hard work worthwhile.

30th October.

A morning sky for a change.

I love seeing the mist hanging in the valley like that and that lovely pinkish glow on the horizon.

There's a light frost on the field too.

31st October.

Back to the sunsets.

1st November.

Lazy clouds sitting atop the hills!

2nd November.

Another morning shot as I liked the way the rising sun was illuminating the golden leaves at the back of the house.

I really must take some photos of my knitting projects but I keep forgetting as I have so much on the go at the moment!