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?

York ParkRun and York 10k Recap


In Which You Get Two Recaps For The Price Of One! (Price: £FREE)

York ParkRun Recap – 3rd August 2019

4am. Alarm bells were ringing. Well, the alarm on my phone was ringing and it’s more of a whiny beep but you get what I mean, you’re clever like that. ‘Why though,’ you ask, ‘why so early?’ WELL:

I’d signed up to the York 10k race on the Sunday, but as I live in Edinburgh I was travelling down on the Saturday and staying overnight, to wake up fresh for the run. However, when I looked at cheap trains the cheapest ones were early in the morning, leaving around 7am from Edinburgh and arriving in York around 9.30am.

Somewhere in my little mind a voice said ‘that’s ParkRun time that is!’ But the little voice didn’t realise that York ParkRun starts at 9.00, not 9.30 like so many others. Why’s it start at 9.00? I have no idea. To be honest I’ve not even thought about it till now. Do your own research for once.

YorkTired

SO ANYWAY that meant that to get to York in time for the ParkRun I had to leave even earlier. My alarm went off at 4am, I left home at 4.15, bus to Edinburgh at 4.30, arrived in Edinburgh at 5.15, train left at 5.50, arrived in York at 8.25, walked the two miles up to York Racecourse and arrived with about 5 minutes to spare.

I’ve only ever done my local ParkRun, Meadowmill, which is a newish one and attracts 75 – 100 people a week whereas York has around 400-500. A guy with a speaker said York gets busy because people like to do a ParkRun for each letter of the alphabet and there’s only York and one other that begins with a ‘Y’. (Yeovil is the other. There’s a Q in the form of Queen Elizabeth ParkRun but for a Z you’d have to go to Cape Town (Zandvlei), Poland (Zielona Góra) or Zillmere in Brisbane, Australia.)

I lined up mid-pack (behind a few buggies and next to a dog) and then it was go time. It’s a nicely set out run if you like to see where you’re going because its a one and a half lap of the race course. (horse racing.) In that respect there’s not so much I can tell you about it except I ran in a big circle, then carried on for another half circle. I tried to stay kinda steady with my pace due to the 10k the next day and also carrying my rucksack full of my stuff for the weekend but got carried away a bit in the last mile. Finished in 27:32. (Got overtaken by a running buggy at the end but no animals, thank dog.)

Then, because York is my favourite place in the world, I walked back the two miles into the city centre, bought five books at a second hand book sale and had a wander round. I was sensible and kept my beer intake low (few pints) then carbed up a bit with a lamb kebab from a stall in the Shambles market. Spent a bit more time being a tourist and then made my way to my cheap cheap hotel which, as it turns out, was next to the race course. (So again, walked two miles up to it.)

YorkMinster

Time was getting on a bit (4pm) and I was tired from getting up so early so decided to nap. I set my alarm for 6pm and woke up at 10pm. Bugger. Luckily I’d bought a load of cheap food from Poundland so had a bit of carbs then went back to sleep around 1am.

York 10k Recap – 4th August 2019

I was awake at around 7am. Dunno why I couldn’t sleep much longer… My friend Rob was travelling from Bradford for the race so he was well on his way. My original plan was to sleep on his sofa but the hotel was cheap and figured that after the cost of York to Bradford then back to York this morning it was only costing an extra £10 or so. Plus it meant we had a place to keep our bags and then shower afterwards. Clever like a FOX.

I needed a coffee and because it was a cheap room there was no kettle, so I wandered to the breakfast area:

YorkCoffee

Full of caffeine, back to my room for a sandwich (carbs) then I walked up the road to meet Rob. After dropping his bag in my room we walked down the small field which brought us nicely out onto the race course where the 10k would start and end. (same race course as yesterday but started on the opposite side and went away from it.)

Rob wanted under 1hr 20mins and I was toying with the idea of under 50mins but it was already a hot day and I don’t do so well in the heat when walking, let alone running, so figured I’d follow a 50min pacer until I started flagging and then I’d drop back, but would stay in front of the 55min pacer. (All the tactics!) Rob went to the back of the pack and I said I’d meet him at the end.

The countdown was on, then we were off. York 10k is a funny route that takes in plenty of the local sights, but has a fair few turns. Like so:

York10kRoute

I kept the pacer in my sight but took me the first couple of kilometres before I caught up with her properly, as it was hard to navigate through the field of runners until we all leveled out a bit. I was quite warm and sweaty already so told myself to stick with her as long as possible, but not to over do it. I was carrying a bottle of water with me which was a good thing because I completely missed the first water station (3.5km), somehow managing to avoid the dozen or so volunteers thrusting water towards parched runners.

Running over the river for the first time, we approached the minster and a nice supportive crowd cheering everyone on. Then 5km went by and I still felt kinda good. To be honest, the motivation from the pacer was the main reason (COME ON KEEP GOING). Constantly shouting support at everyone around (EVERYONE DOING OK?) and giving advice such as pour water on your wrists instead of your head helps cool you down quicker, massive massive help!

Cliffords tower was the next landmark around about 6k and I got into conversation with the pacer who told me shes trained in Rio for the Olympics (!) and would also be pacing at York Marathon in October so knew I was in good hands (feet?).

7k approached after a long straight stretch along the river (IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING FIND AN ARSE TO LOOK AT AND CONCENTRATE ON THAT) then back over the bridge for the first of two quick out and back sections (IF YOU CHEAT I’LL BREAK YOUR LEGS) and then 9k went by.

Deciding to try finish strong I sped up as much as I could and got over the line in a 2nd best ever time of mine of 48:45! I’m not a dickhead though (not much…) and so made sure I waited for the pacer at the end to thank her for getting me round in such a decent time. Made her have a selfie with me, because that’s the age we live in.

YorkPacer

I hung around for Rob who finished a LOT quicker than he expected too, in 1hr 9mins. Then, obviously, we went for celebration beer. (After using the hotel shower and getting freshened up obviously.) Another great thing about York is the amount of pubs. We managed a few…

YorkMedal

YorkBEER

Next Up: Darlington 10k on the 11th August!

 

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…!

 

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!