How Was Your January?


In Which I Reach My First Goal Of The Year (Smuggly)

My aim for January was 100 miles. And, now realising the above sentence ruins any surprise, I may as well tell you I did it. Thanks for reading, bye. NO WAIT! I’ll give details and stuff, come back!

New Year’s Day, the day usually put aside for beer recovery and tiredness was instead given over to running a 10k. I recently moved into Edinburgh city centre and found a nice Park area that’s flat and easy to lap so that’s what I did, ran around it four times. Scenery didn’t change on ANY lap because nature is lazy.

2020JanNewYear

(1st Jan: 6 miles down, 94 to go.)

The next few runs were short ones, all around 3 or 4 miles before doing another 10k on the 12th January followed by a 5 miler the next day. Trying to keep in the habit of running after my (12hr) day shifts and before my (12hr) night shifts. I usually have my son before the nightshifts and drop him off at 5 which then gives me enough time to do a 4.5 mile run before getting to work for a shower. Also, my first medal of the year arrived. It was a virtual 10k run from MedalMad and couldn’t resist when I saw it.

2020JanMedal

(16th Jan: 41 miles down, 59 to go.)

Saturday I decided to try test my legs on a 10k run so lapped the Meadows (the park area I mentioned and did the 6.2 miles in 50:21. Very happy with that! So happy in fact that the next day I decided to do a steady 10 miles (longest run of the year so far) and then a very steady 10k on the monday. Motivation seemed to be hanging around so was taking full advantage.

2020JanLaps

(20th Jan: 63 miles down, 37 to go.)

The next friday I ran 4.5miles before I worked the nightshift (1830 – 0630) then got home, had a WHOLE hour sleep and decided to go do the ParkRun. There’s a few near me but heard that Portobello was a decent one, so went there. Wasn’t entirely sure that it was a great idea, having run, worked, napped then forced myself out of bed but I’ve done worse things. (See: Vegas Marathon, hungover to balls.)

There was no way I could’ve pushed myself even if I wanted to (and I really didn’t want to) so started mid-pack. The run came to a walk as soon as it started for a few seconds before it managed to even out and people got moving.

Portobello ParkRun is three laps of Figgate Park which (as all ParkRuns do) gives you 5km total distance. It’s a nice steady loop, going by a pond and a wooded area before coming back up the other side. (This is why I’m not a travel writer.) Finished in a respectable (given the circumstances) 30:32. Went home to bed.

(25th Jan: 75.5 miles down, 24.5 to go.)

2020JanPorto

The Sunday was another steady 10 mile run staying local to home and then a few smaller runs to bring me up to 100 for January. I was gonna try build up tension and drama and make myself sound like a hero, but I’d stuck to my plan and schedule all month so reached the goal with a couple days spare. I almost ran into a kid on a bike on the last run if that helps the drama? Wait no, let’s give it a cliffhanger!

2020Jan100

“On my last run, on the second to last lap, I could feel myself getting nervous. The 100 mile target was within distance. RUNNING distance. When suddenly, as if from nowhere, a child. A bike. A child on a bike. (Same child, one bike.) I neared. They swerved. Came at LEAST two foot closer than I liked. Two wheel closer. Wheely close. And then…”

TUNE IN NEXT TIME

 

Scottish 10k and Great Cumbrian Run 1/2


In Which I PB At Both! (Wait, Spoile… Too Late)

Scottish 10k – 22nd September 2019

I like the Scottish 10k. It’s local, reasonably priced but more importantly very FLAT, and so (after a pre-run microwave burger and a short bus ride) I found myself lining up for the race for the third year in a row.

It starts at Musselburgh Racecourse and you run 5k into East Lothian before turning back to the start, in a nice out and back route (which are my favourite kind.)

My second favourite course type is a ‘loop’ when you run in a massive circle (such as York Marathon) then my third is a ‘point to point’ where you start and finish at two different places. (Such as Great North Run.)

Scottish10K_Route-map-e1540398254354

I set off, as always, too quickly. (Do I ever learn? I do not.) And I could feel a stitch coming on around the second mile. In a race I try not to look at my watch until halfway (if there’s no pacers) and run by feel and I felt I was going to blow up.

Reaching the turn around at 5k I glanced at my TomTom and it said I’d done the first 5k in just over 23 minutes… A lot faster than expected! However, like I said, I was blowing a bit and so had to walk a little to catch my breath.

I could feel the chance of a PB though (47.57 to beat) and did my best to get my legs going. As I’d started near the front I was getting over taken by plenty of fit people and that also meant lots of encouragement as they ran by. Listening to them and trying to focus on a PB, I pushed, and grunted a fair bit too.

Finishing line in sight, didn’t seem to get nearer for a while, but then before I knew it I was done. NEW OFFICIAL PB OF 47.15!!

The rest of the day was spent with beer. Standard.

Scot10kMedal

Great Cumbrian Run 1/2 Marathon – 6th October 2019

Two weeks after the Scottish 10k was the Great Cumbrian Half Marathon, taking place in Carlisle. (Don’t think I’ve ever been before.) As it’s not local (ages away) I booked a cheap room for the night and went down on the saturday.

Numbers weren’t posted out so went to the Sheepmount Stadium on Saturday afternoon to collect it. Also realising I had no energy gels with me, I bought one I’ve not tried before, KMC Chocolate Mint Gel.

After I got my number I went and checked in to the B&B (a LOT nicer than the price suggested!) and then I went to the cinema alone like a loser and watched Joker (which is about a loner loser. Its AMAZING.)

An early night followed but I was woken at 3am by torrential rain. Not the best of signs… Ah well, went back to sleep as I can’t change the weather so no point worrying. Woke up at 8am (race starts at 10) and had my (standard carbs) of a microwave burger. (IT WORKS FOR ME).

I then checked out and made my way to the Stadium once more.

GCRsign

On this race (a loop) you sort yourself into what ever start time you fancy so I made my way into the Sub 2hr group. I once did a sub 2hr half marathon but that was in training so I don’t really count it as official. Think my official-official time is 2.02, but with the previous 10k PB I was kinda confident.

HONK! Time to go. (That was a horn, not like an angry goose.)

Turns out this route is hilly. VERY hilly. The first 5km is almost a straight line (of hills) before you start looping back around anti-clockwise. I was feeling quite good though and felt my pace was working well. Again, trying not to check my watch until halfway I waited until just after 6 miles, thinking I was running around about 9mins a mile I was happy to see it registered at 8.50 a mile.

Still felling quite good I told myself to get to 7 miles then have the energy gel and see how my legs are feeling. Handily, at 7 miles most of the hills are done with and its more or less flat or downhill until the end. (With a couple hills still, of course…)

cumbrian.jpg.gallery

7 miles flew by and then the rain came. FULLY came. It was the same sort of rain as through the night, pouring and pouring. But, I ain’t sawft so kept on keeping on. Before long I got to 8 miles and realised this was the longest non-stop running I’d done in years.

Fully preparing myself for needing a walk break, I told myself to get to 10 miles first. 10 miles came, I kept running. 11 miles… 12… chuffing hell, am I gonna run the whole route with walking any?

Too chuffing right I did!

And you know what? I did it in 1.52.44! Massive PB!

Seems my training is going quite well this year. Next up, York marathon on the 20th October. Can I get another PB? We’ll see…

GCRmedal

Either way they’ll be plenty of beer afterwards!

 

Edinburgh 1/2 Marathon Recap


In Which I Run VERY Tired

Edinburgh Half Marathon. As I live in Edinburgh, it’s my adopted hometown 1/2 Marathon race.  (That and the Scottish 1/2 Marathon in September which actually goes by my home…)

The previous two years I did the full marathon, finishing both years in around 5hrs (and last year being sponsored by a beer company, I got a HELLA lot of beer given!) This year however, I’m concentrating on York marathon in October so didn’t want to commit to doing two in a year. (I’ve run two a year in 2016, 2017, 2018. Gets tiring!)

To make the half marathon easy on myself I agreed to work the night shift just before. So I started work at 6.30pm on the Saturday, finished at 6.30am on the Sunday and the race began at 8am…

I hung around work when I finished as it was starting a few minutes walk away. I carbed up on a crappy microwave burger (seems to work for me!) and then got changed and set off in the pouring rain to the start line.

EMFhalfStart

People were soaked but their spirits could not be dampened. (I’m proud of that sentence!) The PA system was counting down by the minute and everyone looked excited and/or nervous, with lots of family and friends at the side lines cheering them on already.

EMFhalfCrowd

Then, we were off. Slowly, walking to the start line. It’s a huge undertaking I’m sure, getting all these people organised into start pens and making sure it all goes off without a hitch but it doesn’t stop people complaining that they have to walk a few minutes to begin the race. See it as a bit more of a warm up why don’t you?

The race starts very central to Edinburgh and within a few minutes I was running by Greyfriars Bobby and then my workplace. (National Library of Scotland.) The guys on the day shift said they’d be out front looking for me but they got confused and thought I was running the full which didn’t start until 10am. Turns out at 10am they spent AGES looking for me, but obviously I wasn’t there.

After the library we ran over the Royal Mile and down a hill called the Mound which lead us to Princes Street Gardens and a bit of people congestion so had to slow right down. Didn’t take long to get going again though, and we looped by Waverly Train Station and back on to the Royal Mile (which is a bit longer than a mile.)

EMF_MARATHON_2018 I felt surprisingly fresh after a 12hr night shift and was running quite well. Not fast, but I wasn’t struggling either. My plan for this run was just to enjoy it, finish and get the medal. We then ran in front of Arthurs Seat (a HUGE hill) and at 5k we left the city behind. (But not the rain.)

I was expecting to have to walk at the water station but carried on running. Mile 5 soon arrived and then we stuck to the coast line for the next three miles before coming slightly inland and running near the historic Musselburgh racecourse and that brought me to mile 9, which is where my tiredness caught up and I had a walk break. NINE miles constant running after a night shift though! I was VERY chuffed with that! I could see the finish area on the other side of the road but still had a way to go.

After that it was 2 miles on the same road before turning back for the final 2 mile stretch. The sun came out for a couple minutes, didn’t like what it saw and went away again. The last few miles of my race was a mixture of running and walking and I was enjoying myself more than I thought I would be. Time flew by and all of a sudden I was in the final stretch, down the finishers chute and done!

In my head I wanted around 2hrs 10mins and I completed in 2hrs 5mins 8secs. Can’t argue with that! Handily, the in-laws live close to the finish line so I went there for a shower and some cuddles from my baby. He made sure the medal wasn’t fake.

EMFhalfFinn

And there you go! Turns out that I can run okayish even when tired which is good news for marathon training surely? I usually run after my 12hr day shifts but this is the first time ever I’ve run after a night shift. Next race I’m entered for is Leeds 10k at the start of July and I want to get close to my PB of 47.57. If I do or if I don’t, there’ll be plenty beer afterwards..!

Speaking of which, you thought I’d forgotten!

EMFhalfBeer

TA-DA!

Running into Fatherhood


In Which I Get My Own Little Runner Bean

Oh hi there, didn’t see you. Were you hiding under the table? Very odd of you. ANYWAY stop going on about yourself I have news.

I had a baby!

Well, technically Hayley had a baby but he’s half mine and he’s perfect even though he quite often stinks.

He turned up six months ago, so now we have a six month old baby because that’s how time and aging works.

I’ve not had so much time to concentrate on proper training since he turned up (but did York marathon again in October). I managed to run most days in January but then had sickness for the last couple days. Then had a few days in Vegas with my friend Rob and that took a couple weeks to recover from…

Which brings us to March! Been out a few times with the boy in a running buggy that we bought. (Boy in the buggy, me pushing.)

I’ve entered the Edinburgh Kilomathon (13.1km) in April, Edinburgh half marathon in May and of course Yorkshire marathon in October. Decided that this year is gonna be a year of PBs and learning how to Dad.

Can’t wait!

A Month To Go


In Which All My Panic Sets In

DA-DA-DAHH-DAHH

Yesterday was five weeks until Edinburgh Marathon. Which now means its four weeks on Sunday. Add in the taper week and I have three weeks of training left but I’m on nights for the next couple of days (well, nights ya’know) and so that’s like two weeks left so next week is the last week and I may as well just give up on my training altogether.

Ahhhhh the familiar pre-marathon race panic. Kinda feels nice it’s back.

DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH

But in a good way five weeks today it’ll be all over and done with. London Marathon was yesterday (I didn’t get it, AGAIN) but I knew a few friends that ran it in the stupid heat and all finished and now all have a brand new shiny medal. (One each, even!) Then this morning Runners World magazine landed through my letter box, so it’s all run run run this week. Except I haven’t run in a couple of weeks. Not through lazyness (promise) but through what felt like major chub-rub. (I’ll save the picture for when I see you.)

DA-DA-DAHH-DAHH

I was doing chuffing great with my training. My shift pattern is two 12hr days, two 12hr nights, four days off so I decided that after both day shifts I would run 4 miles straight after work, and then run 10 miles to work for my first night shift. (We have showers at work, don’t panic.) Then I’d fit in a 3 mile and a 6 mile run on the days off. It worked well. I’d actually managed to run a bit further than 10 miles on my way in a couple times, one of 11 and one 1/2 marathon distance.

halfmara

DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH

But then week before last I went out in the afternoon on a day off for a 10k run. I struggled all day to motivate myself out the door and finally got off the sofa and went to get into my running kit. Bugger. I’d forgotten that my running kit was all in the wash. I searched through a few boxes of clothes which I’ve yet to unpack (we only moved here eight months ago, plenty of time yet) and found an old pair of shorts and a Bradford 10k finishers t-shirt and then I was off. From home I have loops of a mile, 5k, 5 mile and 10k. Thought about doing the 5k loop twice but the 10k loop has more hills. Couple miles in and I could feel my thighs chafing. Quite badly.

DAH-DA-DAH-DA-DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHHHHHH

ALSO now that I’m typing this I remember that I got mugged off by a kestrel. It was hovering around the edge of a field so I stopped my watch, took my phone from its armband and I tried to take a picture but it flew further down the edge. I started my watch, phone back in, and ran 50 metres or so to where the bird was now hovering. Same again, watch stopped, phone out, kestrel flew further. And repeat. Watch go, phone in, run down, stop. FIVE TIMES the feathery mouse-eating bastard did this, before FLYING ALL THE CHUFFING WAY BACK TO WHERE IT FIRST WAS. Got mugged off by a squirrel on my way to work a few days ago too. But anyway.

runningwoods

Finished the run and got home then in the shower. (Again, pics when I see you.) What I didn’t realise was that the lining of my old shorts was ripped in a few places and so caused what I can only describe as ‘major rubbage’ on the inside of my poor thighs. I’ve honestly never seen thighs this raw since I was last at Asdas chicken counter. It felt like sunburn and not Scottish summer sunburn. Like actually sitting on the sun, burning. The pain put me out of action for well over a week and it was even painful to walk let alone run.

My legs finally started to heal and I stopped walking like I’ve not got to the toilet in time. Just in time for our holiday as it happened and so I packed my running kit in my suitcase and decided I’d run 3 of the 4 days we were away in Montenegro. Problem with THAT plan was the all-inclusive food and alcohol in the place we were staying. Didn’t run once, but funnily enough got actual sunburn. On my legs…

I say funnily enough but it wasn’t funny at all at the time. We did find a pub named after me though!

hemingwaybar

No, not ‘Tosser’, Hemingways!

So I figure I’ve got a couple weeks to get my training back on track and then it’s onto marathon number nine. I’m running to raise money for Prostate Cancer and am taking any and all donations at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hemingway-run

(You look nice by the way)

Thanks.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN! DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH! DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH!!

(heh.)

 

Running Recap 2017 & Looking Forward To 2018


In Which I Admit Where I Went Wrong And Aim To Go Right

2017: Quick review

In February I ran Mad Dog 10k again (Fifth year in a row) and I also ran the Yorkshire Marathon (October time) for the fifth year in a row. I got a Mad Dog PB but only got my third best time in York.

I ran the Scottish 10k, Blackpool 10k and York 10k races for the first time and enjoyed them all (Even though I don’t enjoy Blackpool!)

I ran Edinburgh marathon and got seriously sunburnt.

I’ve done rubbish at blogging this year.

We decided to move up to Edinburgh in Scotland in the summer and since then I’ve not got myself into the routine of running. When we were in England I worked around 2.5miles away so would run home from work most days.

edinburgh

My new job is 11miles from home and so it’s too far to run home after work. (I’ve done it once so far.) Plus I now do a mixture of days and nights, all 12hr shifts so it can be difficult to get motivated when you’ve been on the go all day.

I only managed just over 350miles in 2017.

And so! I need a plan. A new plan. A good plan. An easy to stick to plan.

The plan is this: Do better.

It’s a good plan.

2018: Looking forward

January: Edinburgh Winter 5k, February: Mad Dog 10k, May: Edinburgh Marathon, October: York Marathon. (Others as I find them.)

I’ve decided to be healthy for the whole of January which includes NO alcohol, NO junk food and NO fizzy drinks. Limiting my coffee intake and eating healthy meals. I’m coping so far, but it is only January 2nd… Not long left though!

healthy

Every day off in January will be a running day, even if it’s only a short distance. No more of this “ahhh I deserve a full day of laziness” because I end up saying that on EVERY day off and that’s VERY lazy.

This year I’ll get a new 10k PB (currently 47:56) and a new Marathon PB (3:59:15.) I’ll blog more and take more pictures. I’ll be posting more about healthy eating and probably a few recipes here and there so I have more to blog about.

But mainly it’s so I can take more post-race-beer-pics

beer

Like my pics?

Instagram: @zepalm

Scottish 10k Recap 24th Sept 2017


In Which I’m Not In Berlin 

Quick catch up:

I’d signed up to run Berlin marathon for charity, and agreed to raise £500 for the cause. The marathon was yesterday, in Berlin, but I wasn’t in Berlin and I definitely wasn’t a marathon. (How would that even work? Why would you even think that?)

The reason I wasn’t in Berlin is because I was in Scotland. The reason I was in Scotland is that I now actually live in Scotland, and so find myself quite often in Scotland, what with living there and all that. I work there too! In Scotland.

“But you live in Yorkshire! In England!” You cry. 

No. Scotland now. Keep up.

ANYWAY that’s why I wasn’t in Berlin, because I’d met a wee Scottish lassie and we decided to move here (Scotland) last month. Moving ain’t cheap, and so Berlin has been deferred until next year. The charity is fine with this, which is good.

So what with living and working in Scotland (Edinburgh to be precise) I looked for a run somewhere around to take my mind off Berlin and found a run three miles from my front door. Can’t get much more local than that!

Sunday

The 10k route was a relativity flat, out and back route starting and finishing at Musselburgh race course, just outside Edinburgh (in Scotland.) Hayley (wee Scottish lassie) dropped me at the race course at 8:40 and went off to park up while I lined up and watched people stretch and looked at clouds and stuff. 

There was a half marathon going on too which started a way away but finished at the same bit as the 10k which meant less runners doing the 10k. Just over a thousand (according to results.)

Turns out I must’ve been quite confident on signing up as I was right behind the elites. Bet they felt nervous when they saw me looking all athletic and with my number hanging off.

Few minutes to go. Minute to go. Ten seconds. Go.

Hayley and her little sisters were at the start cheering me on and the elites sped off into the distance like the chuffing show offs that they are.

I wanted under 50 minutes but decided the run the first half on feel and without looking at my watch. Needed a pace of around 8 minutes a mile to get under 50. The weather was nice and overcast and at 2km I was feeling quite well.

This event would be ideal for someone’s first 10k run due to the lack of hills, but unfortunately there was a lack of support on the route. A few people were knocking around outside their houses but nothing major. Unless they were all waiting on the 1/2 marathoners coming by later? How should I know, do your own research.

4k went by then before long the turn around and the 5k sign. I was averaging 7:45 a mile! Quicker than I thought! Just realised that this is gonna be a very boring post as not much happened. Didn’t see any fancy dress or cats or anything so if that’s what you’re after then you probably want a refund.

Got a bit of an ache in my right knee so took it a bit easier as York marathon is coming up next month. Walked a little at each km marker and had a sip of water too. Before long, race course was back in view and I could see the end. Gave Hayley a wave as a flew by and then I was done!

WELL under my 50 minute target! Chuffed! Rest of the day was spent relaxing, visiting, and drinking beer. Standard recovery.

Next up: York Marathon! (5th year in a row!)