Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thursday 29/10 - How I overcame the hair "problem"

Distance: 2.45miles
Time: 20mins
Pace: 7.52min/mile / 8.24min/mile I decided I wasn't going to let a stupid little problem like not wanting my hair to get wet deter me from going a run, especially since I had the chance to go while it was still light. So I put a shower cap on and pulled all my hair up into it (hear me out)...and I put a beanie hat on on top of that. I did look slightly like a man with love heart earrings...but I made sure there was a wee bit of hair sticking out the bottom of the hat so that it looked slightly more feminine. (My sister called me a fanny as I was standing at the mirror adjusting the little bit of hair before I left)...and I kept on adjusting the little bit of hair as I did my run. It was quite funny really though of course I ran past the secondary school and ended up amongst school kids. Grr. Not so funny.

Anyway, a good run in the end, though short.

Weather, urgh!

I don't think I'm going to be able to go out a run today unfortunately! I'm not long in from a short day at work, but have to finish some stuff online before going to get the train to Inverness this evening. Ordinarily I would make time for a run, but this weather is appalling! This sounds very sad, too, but I have my hair in a plait so that it'll be nice and curly later...if I go outside it's going to get soaked and all my efforts will be for nothing! ( My hair is naturally long and very's nice to have it curly once in a while!)

Ok now that little very sad, girly excuse is out the way I'm back to work (though thinking about wearing a shower cap out a quick run ;D )Anyway, last night's run follows.

Wednesday 28/10

Distance: 6.59miles
Time: 53min 26 secs
Pace: 8.10min/mile (9.00, 8.18, 8.33, 8.41, 7.46, 7.20)

Maybe my Nike+ battery is ok after all...I do think this is exactly the pacing during that run. There was a huge dip in the middle as I ran a big, gradual downhill to (effectively) the bottom of our area, then had to run all the way back. I did take a detour in the middle though so I wasn't doing a big gradual uphill back, so that I could go to the highest point (which is a bit out the way of my house) but then run back down from there. That doesn't really make sense reading it over, but it does in my head!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tuesday 27/10 - No run today

I didn't manage to get out a run today unfortunately, but glad the weather wasn't on my side anyway! What is it like? I can't believe it has been raining like this so much, it's horrible. I was in work today but left at 3pm as I needed to go sort out some stuff in the village. Ended up forgetting all the documents I needed to take to the post office (d'oh!) though so the trip was a little unworthwhile. I got in and it was getting dark so I changed into some comfy clothes and then got started doing some work for the Higher I'm doing through open learning. Was also filling out some documentation and ended up having a dominos pizza for dinner (was meant to be going out)... I'm not sure what stance runners have on pizzas...are they considered carbs? I had about half a vege delight and half a box of potato wedges. I didn't feel partiuclarly energetic (the exact opposite, in fact) afterwards, so decided to head up to bed and just relax.

Moral of the story runs BEFORE pizza dinners =D

Monday 26/10

Time: 27mins 20secs
Distance: 3.37miles
Pace: 8.20 min/mile (8.03, 8.35, 8.30)

Still not sure if the Nike+ is working properly yet...and I don't actually know how to replace the battery! Uh oh. The chart looks awful...evenly paced. This isn;t my normal running style. Ah well, I will monitor the problem and see what happens!

Also, out this run something weird/annoying happened. As I was running back through the village, I saw some young girls ahead. Now normally I'd be thinking "Damn", as I usually get stuff shouted at me out running at night (do they have nothing better to look at?!) But I saw all these girls were dressed in army gear - they looked like they were in the t.a or something. So I felt a bit better. Ran past them, without looking at them but they all turned and looked at me. As I moved away I heard some things being shouted, so I turned my music off and heard them shouting stuff like "look at her" (Unfortunately in a very unimpressed/derogatory way). I turned back around to see one of them doing impressions of somebody running in a really stupid, stupid way (i.e. legs and arms flaling all over the place)

Now, I'm fairly sure I don't run like that (I'm sure a good friend would have told me by now if I did) so I can only presume they were taking the piss. Excuse my french, but people like that annoy the h*ll out of me. Seriously, what was funny? The only thing that MAY have been funny about me at that point in time was that I PERHAPS had a visible pant line (hey, it's pitch black, who've I to look good for?) So me being me, of course, slowed down substantially and yelled back to them "SERIOUSLY, what age ARE you girls?"

That shut them up ( =D ) they looked at one another and I tutted before running away (a lot more speedily than before, may I add...there were 6 of them and they were in the army for goodness' sake!) I was shocked though - I would not have expected that kind of juivenile behaviour from those girls. Just goes to show, people can be eejits!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday 25/10

Type: Long
Time: 1hr 9mins
Distance: 8.36miles
Pace: 8.15min/mile

Not blogged for a while! I have been away in Porto visiting my friend from my undergrad course who moved there to do a PhD. It's a beautiful city - split by a river with some beautiful bridges over the river. One designed by "Mr Eiffel Tower" himself. Arrived home though feeling ready to start running again - despite not being able to walk properly one day on holiday after getting a horrid pain up my shin. think it was from walking around for miles in flip flops all day, but it only seemed to flare up that day and was fine the rest of the time! Weird...

Anyway, today's run was good, though wet! I just bit the bullet and went out because I really wanted to. I thought if I was going to wait for the rain to go off I'd be waiting a long time! (My cycling friend, however, got to the end of his street practically before turning back as he was "soaked" .... pfffft ;D ) Met a runner at about mile 5 and smiled at him, then just as I was finishing on a big downhill he was running up in the opposite direction. We gave one another a "yeah, we're both insane, aren't we?" smile as the rain pelted down around us. I also waved at him from close proximity which was a bit weird, but he laughed. That's runner fellowship!

Also, I'm not sure my Nike+ is really doing it's job properly. Here is the pace chart from today's run:

I walked up a hill at the end for about 100metres for goodness sake! Although I do feel I kept a consistent pace, I have no idea how this could have happened! Maybe I am becoming one with my internal pacer......or perhaps the battery on my Nike+ needs replaced. Either way, I like the straight line very much (:

Friday 23/10

Type: Short Fast
Time: 28mins
Distance: 3.42miles
Pace: 8.10min/mile

Tried to stay really quite quick throughout this run, despite being starving after leaving work and stuffing myself with bananas to compensate! I remember speaking to somebody in Cardiac Surgery during my work experience, about how they use Potassium injections to induce a temporary stop to the heart before bypass surgery. I wonder hiw many bananas I'd need to eat before that would happen... *ponders* ... Best not to find out, I think.

Thursday 22/10

Type: Steady
Distance: 4.62 miles
Pace: 8.25min/mile av (7.44, 8.33, 8.56, 8.40, 8.30 splits)

First run after coming back from Porto. A good one, though slightly erratic pacing.

Tuesday 13/10

Type: steady
Distance: 5.61miles
Pace: 8.20min/mile average (8.24, 8.09, 8.15, 8.25, 8.24)

A really good run the day before I went on holiday. Felt quite pleased I managed to keep a good pace, considering the profile was quite hilly. Also the darkness suddenly fell whilst I was out running! Left and it was quite light, got home and it was pitch black. Despite my complaints I do love the wintery nights!!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Saturday 10/9

Type: Short Steady
Time: 43min 30 secs
Distance: 5.11 miles
Av Pace: 8.30min/mile (7.50m/m, 8.45m/m, 8.44m/m, 9m/m, 8.30m/m + short sprint)

As may have already been seen from the post quite early this morning, my cycling friend and I had a little bit of a debate about what cycle to do the end I didn't wake up until quite late and he was going into town so I decided to bite the bullet and do that always-unpredictable "first post marathon run". So here is a little speed chart along with an elevation profile.

Last year I remember my first post marathon run after Loch Ness was an 11 miler. It went well as I recall, but I think that I got back into the swing of things way too early. In retrospect, that may be why the Edinburgh marathons generally don't go so well - because I build up to my 17 mile runs around xmas time and by the time April comes around I'm knackered!!

I think, if anything, the marathon last week has shown that training really is quality over quantity. I only started training for Loch Ness properly mid-late August. I was doing a lot of swimming and x-training before that. It's the tactic I will be following again this year, but with a few twists.

Firstly, I will push the speed on my 8-13 miler runs, I think with the view of maybe beating my half marathon pb. I need to treat these as less of a training run and more of a race. My dad has recovered well from his mild heart atttack (which he had in August) and I think he may be up for doing the Edinburgh half again next year which is great! I would love so much to run with him again.

Secondly, I will do more distance runs mid week. It's always so hard to think I have to go out and do anything over 7 miles when I've been really busy all day, so I'll maybe try doing these in the morning again like I did for my first marathon.

Thirdly, I'll include a cross training day in my work out schedule. I love going to the gym and playing around on the machines. I have a teensy little non-manly "6 pack" making it's appearance and I'm very proud. I plan to cultivate it nicely with the view of it building my core strength =D

Forthly, (and this is still under debate) I have been thinking about starting to train for an ultra. Now, I know this requires a huge amount of commitment, and I think I have proven quite clearly to myself that I can do anything I want when I put my mind to it, but I just want to be sure that NOW would be the best time to do it. Obviously I have finished my MSc, and am currently at a little crossroads, with some free time whilst I look for what I'll be doing next. My worry is that training for an ultra would become such a huge change to my marathon running sometimes is what with having to eat the right foods, get enough sleep etc. It's not a big deal, but being at the age I am at it can be a little struggle sometimes. I'm not a party animal by ANY means, far from it, in fact. I hardly drink (when I do I seem to get drunk prrreetty easily...) and I don't like going to clubs or whatever. But, that said, it is nice to hang out with friends and go with them to a restaurant/bar or whatever on a Friday/Saturday night, without having to worry that I get my protein/carb intake and enough sleep for the long run the next day. I want to commit to training and running an ultra 100%, but this could prove tricky right now considering it would be so much more of a commitment than a marathon. The idea of getting out there though - West Highland Way or wherever - and just running and running is one which is incredibly tempting!!!

Oh well, let's just see how it goes.

Something funny I've seen, though, is my official race photo's from the Loch Ness Marathon. I'm totally grimacing as I run up the home straight!! Not pretty. But this one is quite funny. It was taken at 25 miles and I spotted the guy and waved to him...but just kept on waving. HE eventually had to give me a "thumbs up" to get me to stop =| Oh well, at least I look happy!

A wee break...and a WHW cycle report!

Well, I haven't run since the marathon. My legs were pretty sore on Monday, Tuesday and only started to ease off on Wednesday. Feel much better I could go running again but whilst I'm resting I'd like to get out on the old bike for a while. Trying to plan a route with my cycling friend but his back is sore so we can't do anything too strenuous. Both of us really wanna try and do the WHW in 2 days, just seeing how far we can get to on day 1.

Now, I can see both ups and downs of this idea. On a plus, it would be amazing to finish it intensively like that. Last time we cycled it we went over 3 days in April. Started off about 10am as a group of four, hitting rowardennan feeling good late afternoon. However, the rain then hit and my friend's bike broke (something to do with the cog which turns the pedals or something). Then my boyfriend's brother got cramp. We stood just outside Inversnaid for ages using what little phone signal we had to get my friend's parents to bring him a part to fix his bike. Our night's stay in the Bunkhouse was great! I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

Getting back on the bikes, however, I would not recommend! Day 2 is always the worst for bum pain. Carrying the bikes on our shoulders up the side of Loch Lomond was hellish also. Bear in mind I am a girl and do not have any muscles in my upper body! So that part took us FOREVER. Literally about 2 hours to cover a couple of miles. Then on the way to Bienglas farm, too, there are all those little drainage ducts which you can't cycle over(as my boyfriend is only too aware of...3 bust tyres!) Then the chains started snapping. Seriously, I have never seen this happen before and get every single person's chain snapped at some point on that ride (apart from me - *smug* ) While day 2 was fun, we were approaching Tyndrum as it was getting dark, and still had to push on to Bridge of Orchy. We realised that if we did push on, we would miss dinner at the hotel. We thought about leaving the bikes in Tyndrum, getting a taxi to BoO and then just coming back for the bikes in the morning. It seemed like defeat though. These were all options we were mulling over whilst in the reception of the really nice hostel in Tyndrum. From somewhere behind us we suddenly heard a train, and it was as though all our dreams had come true. We could get the train to BofO! I know it was kind of cheating, but it was only 7 miles and we had carried our bloody bikes for miles that day!

This was where the fun began. Ok, so the hostel owner says to me "that's the train at lower tyndrum station" and we hear over the tannoy that some people coming off the train there had gotten on the wrong train, and needed to get across to upper tyndrum station to cacth the train that was just arriving there. This was our chance. We all jumped on our bikes. In our haste, however, the hostel owner said something which I completely misunderstood. He said "do you know where you are going?" and I seemed to think he meant "do you know what you are doing?" so I shouted "yes" and the 3 boys followed me on their bikes. So I shoot out at the end of the street onto the A82, battering furiously towards the Green Welly stop. It was then it hit me, I really had no idea where the hell Upper tyndrum station was.

They were all a bit pissed off (and exhausted), but noone more than the 4 japanese tourists (the ones who had been on the wrong train and had gotten off at lower tyndrum) running behind us knowing we were also heading to catch the train at upper tyndrum. So we did an about turn and battered furiously back down the A82 out of the little village. Then we saw a sign for the station....up this mother of a hill! (hence the "upper" tyndrum, I guess) Needless to say the tourists surely caught up with us at this point. Knackered as they were, they managed to run quite quickly up the windy road to the station. As soon as we started cycling up it, yes, my friend's chain broke! It was wonderful. So here we were; me, 3 boys, and 4 japanese tourists making our way up the almighty hill through the means of running, cycling (slowly) or running whilst pushing a bike.

We made the train, though it did have to wait for us and we got some awful glares as we sat down. But, we arrived at BofO safe and sound, enjoying a large meal and a nice Gin and Tonic for our efforts. The hostel wasn't the nicest, and my boyfriend's brother was put off by being initially assigned to stay in a room where 2 people were sharing one bed (hmmm). A team meeting at dinner brought to light the fact that we probably wouldn't make it to Fort William by 5pm the next day...since that would be over 35 odd miles, including the Devil's staircase and that almighty b*tch of a hill out of Kinlochleven. A consensus was decided. My boyfriend's brother would get train back home to Inverness in the morning, and us 3 would go for a wee day cycle then come back and get train home at night. I was sad, but it seemed like all hope was gone.

All hope was gone until the morning, however. 4 fry ups, £40 for those 4 fry ups (!), and 10am came around. We said goodbye to Invernesian David and went on our way, cycling towards the next part of the WHW. Lunchtime rolled around and we arrived at Kingshouse unscathed. Soaked, but unscathed. Everytime (all both of them) I have been at Kingshouse I have been soaked to the bone. It's not good! We realised then, though, that we were making good time and really, we could probably get it finished. So we did. Without much going wrong, we finished it and arrived in Fort William about half 4. Of course, the hill out of Kinlochleven was awful. And I did feel like a prize a fanny overtaking some young boys just before the Devil's staircase where they swiftly overtook me as I came right off my bike. Also wasn't so great when I cried and threw my (boyfriend's) bike down in frustration half way up the Devil's staircase. He consequently broke his back running up to the top carrying his bike so he could come back and carry the one I was carrying up for me. But....I found some strength and took mine the whole way! Oh yes.

Overall, it was a very good cycle. I don't think I could do it mid-marathon training again, as it didn't really do me any good fitness-wise. But it was a good trip and I'm glad we stuck it out right to the end =D

A photo journal:

At the start

When we found the Stargate...all we needed was the address to engage the chevrons...

My bike at the end of day 1 (not really)

look at this manual labour!

Yes, there were many obstacles in our path...(this was NOT as fun as it looked, the mud was pretty damn deep)

My boyfriend (in the stupid hat he found and insisted on wearing over his cycling helmet, ignoring how it did NOT make him look like a "gangsta") at the place we all camped when we walked the WHW in 2008

Me having a tantrum half way up the devil's staircase (yes, I was actually sitting in a retrospect it was a bit childlike)

And we were all happy to finish, pleased at our magnificent biking skills (but incidentally not our self-timer camera ones)

A fun trip had by all!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sunday 4/10 Loch Ness Marathon

What a beautiful way to start the post! This was the Loch Ness marathon - which I claim I finished in 3 hours 51 mins, despite the championchip saying 3hrs 52. My Nike+ hasn't failed me on timings, and even then if it was slightly out, it still said 3hr51min20secs. I don't see how it could be out a whole minute!

Anyway, let me begin. I had an awful night sleep the nigh before the marathon, and only managed to eat a small amount of porridge in the morning. I felt so nervous, more so than any other marathon! Speeding down the A82 towards Ft Augustus we got stuck behind 3 identical minivans - they must've been tourists, as I don't think anyone in Scotland would do under 40mph the WHOLE way down the side of Loch Ness! I was panicking badly, as we then got caught behind the swing-bridge thing at Ft Augustus! Had to wait there for ten mins. I arrived at 9.55am, parked and ran to the start line, only to see a handful of people. I nearly wet myself.

Then, however, one of the marshalls told me that the buses had been delayed leaving Inverness and had technical problems. When I thought back, I remembered seeing them all going the opposite way (towards Dores) as we were driving through Ness at around 8.50am! Apparently one bus from Ft Aug had broken down and the runners had to walk 3 miles uphill to the start! Oh dear. Needless to say, I was relieved but we actually didn't start until 10.55am. It worried me slightly, as I was freezing and had only had a little meal for brekkie.

Started off strong - kept the pace up on all the uphills and belted the downhills - figured I may as well make up some time on those! At about ten miles I started to feel a little low...simply because Dores was my point where I knew I could start pushing the pace and that was 7 miles away! What kept me going tho was the magnificent podcasts I was listening to on my ipod. Scott Mills from radio 1 - I was actually laughing out loud at some of the stuff. It is a fantastic way to while away the hours whilst you plod along.

At Dores Derek was waiting for me (almost missed me as he didn't have his glasses on!) He took a pic and I kept going. The hill out of Dores was a toughie but I kept going. Stopped momentarily at the top but had a few people in my sight who had slipped ahead of me at the start, so was a good incentive to push it and catch up with them. The hill at 20 odd miles though, ouch. That was a tough one. Nonetheless I kept some people in my sites and at 22 miles the people from the Scottish veterans' Residencies were there - providing some isotonic drinks and a great energy boost! I really picked up the pace from that point, without having looked at my timer the whole way. I figured that I would regret it if I didn't.

The last mile was TOUGH. In every sense of the word (I was using it loosely before ;D ). I really struggled to keep the pace and the loop round the park to the stadium seemed to go on forever. Looking over however, about 400m from the finish I saw the timer above the finish line. 3 hours 52 mins, it said. I was overjoyed! Just pushed it and gave it my all...grimacing as I crossed the finish line and completely missing those cheering for me (sorry!!!) but crossing the finish line feeling like I wanted to cry. I had done it. Pushed it and got a great time. Still makes me smile (:

Thank you to all who came to see me finish, and thanks to Derek, for being my designated driver. Also thanks to the guys from SVR who gave me great words of praise at the end. What a fantastic day!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Loch Ness Marathon

What a great day! Despite a 50min delayed start (buses from Inverness were late!) still managed to get a good time - 3 hours 51 mins!! I am chuffed to pieces - one min over my pb and a staggering 20 mins faster than my last marathon in May! I'm a happy bunny though my legs do ache a bit today....

Am still in Inverness so will have more time to write up a full report later (:

Saturday, 3 October 2009


As I type this I am chilling out in Inverness before the marathon tomorrow. Planning on going to pick up my race number later, have a nice coffee and chillax some more. I think it's really going to be a case of playing it by ear. I built my mileage up quite nicely but after the 20.95mile run a few weeks ago I kind of let my long runs slide, so will just have to wait and see what kind of effect that has. Will be meeting the guys from the Scottish Veterans Residencies at the end and my boyfriend will be en-route hopefully, taking photos, providing general cheer etc. I hear there are over 7000 people running this year so should be good!

Feelings at the moment: a little nervous, excited and craving some caffeine =D

Anyway, my runs for last week are as follows:

Friday 2/10

Type: Short
Distance: 2.65miles
Pace: 8.20min/mile

A really good run in the west end just before I went to get the bus to inverness. When I did get to bus station (around 4pm) the 4pm bus hadn't showed,so when 4.30pm came around and our bus arrived there were about over 100 people waiting at our stance! When the bus did show up though she called the people only going to Inverness and Perth - oh yes! We were one of the first on! What luck.

Wednesday 30/9

Type: Short fast
Distance: 3.4miles
Pace: 8.15min/mile

Felt good on this run, but didn't want to go too far. A lot of people I come in close proximity to every day (inlcuding the 2 girls I work with and my little sister) have developed a flu (of the swine nature?) of late and I'm trying hard not to try my immune system too much this next week. Taking zinc tablets regularly and lots of vitamin C!

Tuesday 29/9

Type: Short
Distance: 2.8miles
Pace: 8.40min/mile

Just loosening my legs up on this one really, though felt I could have ran fine after the long run on Sunday.