February Recap


In Which I Can’t Believe It’s Already March..!

After January last just under 18 weeks, it’s a shock that February only lasted 12 days. How is it March already?!

My target for Feb was the same as January, 100 miles. The crappy weather made it a much tougher challenge this month and I’m VERY much looking forward to Spring springing it’s way here.

As well as wanting to run 1’000 miles this year, I’m also wanting new PB’s (Personal Bests) for 5km, 10km, half and full marathons, so it was very nice that my first run of February, on the 1st, was a BRAND NEW 5K PB! 22:41 according to my watch! (Previous was 23:00.)

The next day I had a long, steady run planned of 13.1 miles. (Half marathon y’annow) but as it was a steady run, I took it steady. Took 2 hour and 14 minutes and it actually blows my tiny mind that only a few years ago that was my PB, now it’s training pace!

Next few runs were a mixture of 10k’s and some hill work. (Hills make the runner!) Luckily I live near an extinct volcano (Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh) so that’s handy for hill training.

2020FebHills

Where does that put me miles-wise… Hang on, I’ll check… 30! 30 Miles by the 7th Feb! Very much on target. Next day was a Saturday, so to ParkRun. With a respectable time of 24:17, I earned a big fat breakfast.

Then a few days later a storm hit, so I didn’t run. And I know what you’re saying to yourself, you’re saying ‘you should run in all weather’ and you’re right, as usual. But this was TORRENTIAL. So, no running.

The next run was also cut short by the weather, it was so windy that I almost ended up in Oz. Then the NEXT run I was battered by more wind and rain, so my targets weren’t getting hit. I was getting hit. By weather.

The miles needed to be done though, so went out later than usual for a long run thinking that I’d get finished before it got dark, and I almost made it! 7 miles run, last one in VERY unsafe conditions…

With five days of February left I was on 73.5 miles. Looking at my work schedule I couldn’t see that I’d be able to reach 100 miles for the month but decided 75 is still impressive. Then decided I’m not sawft so went out and ran 10 miles.

Then the next chance I did a short run, just to get a few more done. This left me with the wonderful task of running 13.5 miles on the last day of February. (Thank chuff it’s a leap year!)

I’d had a few too many beers the night before so wasn’t really feeling my best. Slow and steady though, walk if you need to, just do the distance. It was actually a really nice morning for it, but my hangover didn’t agree.

2020FebASeat

Ran by Arthur’s Seat (see pic), down the Innocent Railway, through some wooded areas, along the beach in Portobello, then back around the other side of Arthur’s Seat, towards the Meadows and did a couple laps which gave me 13.5 miles and my SECOND MONTH IN A ROW OF 100 MILES RUN!!

Bradford 10k in two weeks times back in my home town.

Can’t believe it’s March already!

If you want to keep a close eye on me, and let’s be honest why WOULDN’T you, I’m on Strava:

STRAVA

and Instagram:

INSTAGRAM

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

 

2019 Running Recap


In Which I Recap…. 2019’s…. Running

(Very brief recap of the year, there’s blog posts about most of the races that go into more detail!)

January 2019: RED Attempt

RED – Run Every Day. Sounded like a good idea to get 2019 off to a good start, running everyday for the entire month. (Probably decided to do it when drunk on New Years Eve.)

Gave myself a goal of a minimum of a mile a day running. Might not sound much, but being the parent to a very new (three months old) baby boy, it was as much as I could hope to get out for on some days.

2019Jan

Shortest run of the month was a mile (on a few occasions) and the longest was 7.8 miles. I managed quite well, did a full four weeks (28 days) of running every day but then on the morning of the 29th I got hit with a sickness bug that knocked me sideways.

Total Miles: 101

February

No running. Zero. No motivation. ZERO

March

Decided I needed to get back out running. February was a failure and so written off, running-wise. Finn (my boy) was now old enough where he was allowed to be in a running buggy while I ran and pushed him along. (He’s still yet to push ME in the buggy. Lazy thing.)

I was still on parental leave from work (six months at full pay? Oh yes!) and so I had no excuses not to run with him and the buggy. We took it easy at the start but then quickly realising that the running buggy sent him to sleep, I started running a bit longer.

2019Mar

They take a bit of getting used to (running buggys, not children. Although…) but we soon had our 10k time down to just under an hour. Bet it won’t be too long before he’s managing this without a buggy.

Total miles: 46

April

Back to work. Boooo. Was a bit of a shock having to get up and leave home and Finn I tell ya. But, I suppose it was nice to see work people and get back into a routine. I do a shift pattern of two days, two nights, four off so wanted to try run after both my day shifts. The weather started being a bit kinder (for Scotland) so it wasn’t too bad.

Also, they started up a ParkRun very close to home so gave that a go on the Saturdays I wasn’t working.

Towards the end of the month I entered a 10k race called the Dalkeith Bluebell Trail Run. However, I was still suprised that it was an actual trail run (even though it had ‘trail’ in the name…) It was hilly, very warm and I got around in a respectable 55m 17s then went and watched the Avengers.

2019Apr

Never had a wooden medal before! Wood you believe it?

Total Miles: 55

May

Started May with a 5k PB at ParkRun of 23:36! Training seems to be paying off! Not sure what happened in May but my running missed a week. (I’m writing this post based on what Strava is telling me. Tells me I missed a week in May and I believe it.)

May is the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, held towards the end of the month. On the Saturday there’s a 5k and 10k then on the Sunday there’s a half or full marathon. I did the full in 2017 and 2018 but found the second half of the marathon quite boring so decided on the half this year.

Happily, it was the morning after my night shift so I worked 12 hours then hung around work for an hour, the went to run a half marathon… Not the BEST idea I’ve ever had. But saying that, I ran the first nine miles without a walking break and finished the race in just over two hours. Not gonna complain about THAT.

2019May

Total Miles: 35

June

June I wanted to get more hills into my training so I started running up and around Arthur’s Seat a bit more. (Arthur’s Seat is a massive hill in Edinburgh. I want to say it’s an extinct volcano, and I could easily check Wikipedia as I’m on a computer but let’s leave some mystery in this relationship eh?)

Being June, and being Scotland, one run was raining and the next was sunny, the next was in the rain and the next in the heat. All month long.

2019June

Total Miles: 36

July

NOW we’re talking. July meant a trip down to Yorkshire for the Leeds 10k, which I’ve done every year for around 5 years now. Being an almost home town run, I met up with friends the night before and had beer. Too much beer. Then the run was a hot one, so was happy enough to get around in 53:31. Then was equally as happy (if not more so) to get to the pub for a recovery beer. It’s a hard life, this running.

The rest of the month was a mixture of slightly longer runs and plenty of ice lollys afterwards. All well earned.

Total Miles: 50

August

After Leeds 10k myself and Rob (running buddy for many years) had a good talk and decided to enter a few more races for the year. First up was York 10k at the start of August. I traveled down from Scotland VERY early on the Saturday to be able to do York ParkRun (27:32) then did the 10k on the Sunday morning.

As it was a big event they had pacers, so I followed the 50 minute one. She was good at her job and I finished in 48:47 which was my second fastest 10k EVER. Celebrated with Rob, and with beer.

The following week we went to Darlington for their 10k. It was only a week after York so wasn’t expecting much but was VERY happy with a time of 49:55, my second sub 50 minute 10k in a week!

Total Miles: 52

September

The first few weeks of September were trying to concentrate on a bit of speed work. I was feeling positive about York and Darlo 10k times and as Scottish 10k was at the end of the month, I was eyeing up a 10k PB. (Currently at 47:57)

On the morning of the race I woke up to ideal running weather. Kinda overcast but not too cold. This was the third time I’d be running this race and as it was near where I lived, I’d run the route plenty times.

I pushed a bit hard at the start and so had to walk a little at 5k, but pushed and pushed myself to get going, and got finished with a NEW PB of 47:15. VERY chuffed!

2019Sept

Total Miles: 31

October

First week of October was the Great Cumbrian Half Marathon in Carlisle. I stayed over the night before (and went to see Joker, it was great!)

I had no idea of the route or elevation because I didn’t check. Turns out it’s a hilly one. I felt good all the way around, and for the first time ever I ran a whole half marathon with no walking breaks at all. NEW HALF MARATHON PB of 1:52:43.

2019Oct

October 20th was York marathon. My 7th time there, 11th marathon overall. What with the recent 10k and 1/2 Mara PB’s I was kinda confident that a Marathon PB could be in my future. (Currently 3:59:15, but you know that.)

On the day it wasn’t meant to be. I managed to run 17.5 miles before needing to walk (best ever!) and after that I didn’t quite hit the wall but I definitely knocked into it a bit. Finish time of 4:19:22 gave me my second fastest marathon time, and all the beers later that night more than cheered me up.

Total Miles: 54

November/December

Lazy. Total of 5 miles over TWO MONTHS.

Finished the year on shirt of 500 miles.

Let’s get 2020 kicked up the arse yeah?

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!

Marathon Season Approaches!


In Which I Make My Yearly Promise To ‘Take This Seriously’

For a month or so now I’ve been taking this running business quite seriously. Every year when York Marathon is on the horizon (It’s in October. You knew that.) I always tell myself that this year will be a PB (Personal Best) but then I don’t do enough running to be able to finish well.

(I know what you’ll say, finishing a marathon is an achievement in itself and you’re right, you’re very wise.)

But still, I want to do better. My PB is 3h 59m 15s (it was THAT close to 4hrs) and I set that way back in 2015. In the same year I got a 10k PB of 47:57 and that still stands too. This year, however, I’m aiming high. Or long. Far? I dunno, I want new PBs dammit!

I have three decent shots at a 10k PB over the next few months. There’s Leeds 10k in July (I finished that once in 50 minutes), then Musselburgh 10k (Not done that one before) and in September there’s the Scottish 10k where I finished one year in 49 minutes.

That would bring me nicely to York Marathon in October, where I want to get around 3h 45m. Which is why I’m running a bugger load just now.

Dalkeith Bluebell 10k (Trail Run) 28th April 2019

Dalkeith Bluebell Trail run is set in Dalkeith Country Park, which is in Dalkeith and is a park. The run is on trails. This was my first official trail run ever, in just over seven years of running! It was quite a warm day and I didn’t really know what to expect from the route. We’ve been to the country park a few times and I’ve noticed hills while I’ve been there but was hoping there wouldn’t be too many. I was wrong.

bbellhouse

We started in view of the big country manor house and then were straight onto the trails. There was a 5k or 10k option on this one, both starting at the same time. The 10k was the 5k route and then a different second half, with plenty hills.

5k went by quite quickly with a VERY steep hill just before the 5k point and then we were into the second half of the run. Ran by plenty cows and over lots of trees roots, and of course (as the name suggests) there was loads of bluebells knocking around. The sun came out and it became a bit of a struggle, dealing with the heat and the hills but I kept my head on and ran the entire 10k without any walking.

bbellroute

Total of 386ft of hills pretty much killed me off, so I then went into Edinburgh to meet for beer and went to see the new Avengers film, followed by more beer. The medal was a very unique home made wooden one! Never had a wood one before! This race was on the same day as London Marathon, and of course I’ve entered the ballot yet again for a space at London next year. They must let me in at some point!

bbellmedalbeer

I have a couple more recaps waiting in the wings to be posted but figure I’ll space them out to keep the anticipation going. That’s if anyone still reads my blog…!

 

Edinburgh Mararthon 27th May 2018


In Which I Get An Unexpected Sponsor And I Become Internet Famous

Well hello there, thanks for dropping by. I didn’t expect you so soon but, as is your way, you just turn up whenever don’t you? Ignora… I mean welcome!

Edinburgh Marathon has come and gone. It was my second time giving this one a go and felt like I’d done quite a bit of training leading up to the event. (running up to the… n/m.)

Since moving to Edinburgh I’ve made some friends. (YES I HAVE THEY’RE REAL) One of which was also running Edinburgh, which was her first ever marathon and so I gallantly offered to run the race with her. (She’s a much better runner than me so I was only really there for moral support.)

On the morning of the run, I had my traditional microwave burger for fuel, kissed Hayley g’bye and then went and met up with Rosy who drove us to the park n ride where we then got on the coach which took us into Edinburgh. (Keep up.)

We had time to spare at the start and it was crappy weather so went and stood inside a university building for warmth and to use the facilities. Before long it was time to line up and then go time.

My plan was to try stick with Rosy until halfway round then let her run off and do her thing whilst I struggled with the second lot of 13.1miles. And that’s what I did! The first few miles were fine, we got into a decent rhythm soon enough and felt well. We ran through Edinburgh city centre then turned towards the coast where it started to get warmer.

The day before, Hayley’s mum had told me to watch out for her sisters at around 10 miles in as they’d made me a sign. I saw them at the side of the road but didn’t register the sign straight away as thought it was an advert.

ING16

How good was that! Wasn’t expecting it to look as professional as it did! Amazing. A bit further on I saw Hayley’s mum cheering me on too.

Around 13 miles I told Rosy I couldn’t keep her pace any longer (just over 2hrs for the first half) and I knew Hayley was waiting somewhere near so would be stopping for a chat and a pep talk. Found her at the side of the road (waiting for me, not like, on the floor or anything.) She also had a sign:

ING13

Again, amazing! Didn’t want to think how much these had cost them to make. The signs are well over a metre tall! She gave me a couple of energy gels and I carried on, running by our house and forcing myself not to run inside.

The next few miles were tough. Hugging the coast all the way to the turn around point at around 16/17 miles, then ran through Gosford House grounds which is a big stately home kinda thing, then aimed back for home. Again, my actual home as I had to run by it on the way out AND on the way back. Waved to my house then got my head down for the last five miles of the marathon.

After 30 minutes or so, further down the road, I could see ANOTHER of those signs! Thought that was odd as I don’t really know anyone else up in Scotland yet. Getting closer though, I realised it was Emma who was jumping up and down like a mental. She told me that she was gonna be at the end of the race to come round for drinks but obviously Emma is a bit of a liar because I could see her. And I knew exactly how far away from the end she was:

ING2miles

Don’t ask me how, I just knew.

Last couple of miles. Struggling. Sore, hot, sweaty, thirsty. End in sight, so looked as hard as I could at the crowds to try to spot Hayley. Didn’t see her though. Ah well, FINISH LINE!

4hr 53mins.

Not my fastest, not my slowest. Possibly my middlest.

INGbling

I message Hayley saying I was done and she told me they were at the opposite side that I’d come out of so I made my way over. I found her there, along with people I didn’t recognise. I did, however, recognise the brand name on their t-shirts.

Innis & Gunn. The lager people from the signs!

me2

Turns out they’d been following me and updating their Facebook page to get people to cheer me on all the way round! Hayley (the con artist) had been in touch with them prior to the run and told them that I was raising money for charity and as part of my training had stayed off of Innis & Gunn (which is in fact my favouritist Lager ever. Not even just saying that!)

Also, they had a photographer there. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY they had a cold can of Lager and a pint glass for me to help recover. Which was EXACTLY what was needed. The Facebook post got thousands of likes and hundreds of comments and I actually felt like a celeb. Especially being featured on their website too!

Actually cannot thank them (and Hayley!) enough for all the support that they gave. Also can’t thank them enough for the 48 cans of lager that they’d filled my fridge with… Which might explain why it took me so long to remember to update my blog.

They best do the same for me next year.

INGENDboth

UPDATE

They also sponsored my JustGiving £150. Wonderful people!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.)

 

Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap


In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)

(Roughly.)

There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!

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Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.

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Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.

Chuffed.

So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!

LOOK AT THE GOODY BAG!

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Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

Great Edinburgh Winter 5k Run


In Which I Wasn’t Expecting To Go So Far Up

Saturday morning. Odd day for a race, a Saturday. I think every other race I’ve taken part in has been on a Sunday. Probably because there was a televised cross country run around the same area later on in the day, but still. A Saturday. 

We woke up around 7am then snoozed til around 7:20, as is the tradition. I got up and made myself and Hayley a wonderful home made breakfast (microwave burger to share, I normally have one to myself but as it was only a 5k that felt greedy.)

Got to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived (handy) and stayed on it for around 40 minutes before getting off quite near Holyrood park where the run was taking place. (Which is obviously why we got off there…)

Ten minutes steady walk and a quick look around then it was pretty much time to line up for the warm up. I don’t usually take part in the warm up for two reasons:

1. I use the first mile as my warm up, and:

2. I don’t want to look like a knob.

However! I took part this time for two reasons:

1. It was a 5km run so not long enough to use a mile as a warm up, and:

2. It was chuffing freezing.

Warm up done, it was go time. I’ve not been around this area so much but figured that it would be a lap of Arthur’s Seat and so nice and steady. Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and popular with climbers, it’s not too hard to get to the top. (Been there, done that.) The views from the top of Edinburgh are amazing. 

Back to the run! Started off easy enough, nice and flat route for a few minutes then we turned a corner and… hill. Big hill. BIG hill! Should’ve checked the route.

Turns out the first mile included 200ft of climb. And I felt every foot. In my feet. And legs. But the views from the top were amazing. There was a bloke playing bagpipes at the top and he must’ve had a lift up because otherwise he would’ve not had enough air in his lungs to play. 

The down hill section was fun though. Not done many 5k races and so it seemed over very quick. Especially the last mile. Before I knew it I was over the line and getting my goody bag with a brand new medal and t-shirt. 

Found Hayley easy enough and we watched a few of the runners finishing before heading off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast and to recover. 

I love food. Normally, right around now I’d show you the medal draped over a cool, refreshing pint of lager. Unfortunately I’m still doing Dry January so here’s my medal with diet coke instead. 

Looks just as good, right?

Next Up: Mad Dog 10k on Feb 4th. Can’t WAIT!