Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy Hogmanay, and Janathon thoughts

My first full year of running (only started part-way through 2009) is nearly at an end and it's been a pretty good year all in all - first marathon, first half, first 10-mile race (that one didn't go terribly well), and PBs at all distances. Still not fast, but not last either, and hoping to see some improvements in 2011.

Recent weather conditions have forced me into the gym, where I've been learning to love the treadmill... well, "love" is putting it a bit strongly. "Hate a bit less" would be more accurate. It's not my first preference, and contrary to what many people seem to find, it always feels like much harder work than outside, but it has its plus points, a non-slippery running surface being a key one.

Gearing up now for Janathon and I think this is going to be a challenge. Having successfully completed and enjoyed Juneathon last year (I came 3rd! I won a prize!) I signed up for Janathon without too much thought, basically thinking it would be more of the same. But it won't be more of the same, because Juneathon was in June when the weather was OK and the evenings were light and I could fit in some shorter runs late in the evening, and Janathon is in January when it gets dark half way through the day and the weather is uniformly horrible (not necessarily a problem in itself, except when outdoor conditions are actually unrunnable in, which has been the case for much of December). So given that running on the spot while waiting for the kettle to boil probably doesn't count, fitting in daily runs could well prove to be an even greater challenge.

I like a challenge though.

Happy New Year, however you choose to spend it.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Goals for 2011

I don't know how realistic these goals are, but you’ve got to have a target in mind, right? :-) I got PBs across the board in 2010 (not that difficult since it was the first time I'd done some, OK most, distances) so it would be lovely to do the same in 2011.

So here are mine for 2011:

* Sub-55 10k (current PB 57:43. I’m not sure how plausible this one is, to be honest.)
* Sub-2:05 half (current PB 2:10:20 - I would love to say sub-2 hours but I think that may be beyond my reach at the moment)
* Sub-4:45 marathon (current PB 4:55:07 - I think this is definitely doable… I hope. The 4:55 – set at Loch Ness in October, which was my first marathon – is a bit of a soft PB, I think. Hopefully I can reduce it at Edinburgh in May. As long as it’s not too hot, as it apparently has been in previous years. I'd much, much rather run in the freezing cold than in the heat.)
* Lose about half a stone in weight in addition to what I’ve already lost – around 4-5lb so far. (I think this is achievable. My eating habits are definitely changing, although my weight seems to have stalled for the moment. And I know this isn’t exactly a running goal, but it’s related. )
* Complete 1000 miles in 2011 (Currently on 852 for 2010. 1000 in 2011 should be doable, all being well.)
*Increase my cross-training. (That would be "increase" from the "next to nothing" which is currently my cross-training. I am very bad indeed at cross-training. I'm a crap swimmer and I don't have a bike, but I do have access to a gym, so I really should start making better use of it than just running on the treadmill when it's too snowy and icy outside.)

To be reviewed...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Race Review of the Year

Things got off to a slow start in January/February, with the cancellation (twice) due to snow of the Lumphanan Detox 10k. By the time it finally happened I was already thoroughly detoxed plus it was still snowy and incredibly cold plus there was tennis on the telly and I didn't feel like driving umpteen miles to get there so I bailed :( Plan on doing it this year, though.

March was the Garioch 10k, my second ever 10k following the extremely snowy and icy beachfront Christmas Canter in December. It was a warmish day and a hillier course than I'd anticipated and I found it a bit of a struggle, not helped by getting a stitch half way through (after drinking a cup of ice cold water) which refused to shift :( Still managed to PB in 1:01:51 but had hoped for better.

April saw another 10k over at Balmoral, and I knew this was going to be tough due to the famed Balmoral Hill, and sure enough it was tough, although I'll have another shot at it next year now that I'm slightly (very slightly) better at hills. Finished in a Personal Worst of 1:05:40 :-O My performance was probably not helped by having to trek what felt like miles from the car parking area to the start with daughter on my shoulders (husband was recovering from a hernia op and hence excused carrying duties). Did enjoy the bacon roll afterwards, though.

My 2010 10k series continued in May with the large Aberdeen Baker Hughes event on a drizzly morning. I'd had sub-60 min hopes for this one but had a bad run on the day and finished in 1:01:09, still a PB though.

The quadrology (?) of 10ks concluded in June with another beachfront event when again the weather managed to be atrocious. It took place on a Tuesday evening and was wild, windy and very very wet. However, I somehow managed to smash both my PB and my sub-60 target, finishing in 57:40 :-) :-) :-) Probably because I was in such a hurry to get out of the rain and get home!

July saw my first half marathon attempt in the Stonehaven HM, which everyone kept warning me was Very Hilly. It was another lousy day (the joys of the NE Scottish summer) and the largely uphill first few miles were difficult, but I surprised myself with a 2:10:20 finishing time (having been mainly concerned to beat the 2:45 cut off and avoid getting swept up by the sweeper vehicle). A week later I ran the Big Fun Run 5k in a time of 26:45. But I still maintain the course was short.

August and September were focused on marathon training, which went reasonably well on the whole, culminating in October's Loch Ness Marathon, which was just a fantastic experience :-) I'd aimed for sub-5 hours so was very happy to finish the hilly course in 4:55:07, though of course I immediately started thinking about how I could have been quicker... Plan on hopefully improving on my time in Edinburgh next year.

I struggled a bit to recover post-marathon, feeling quite fatigued for a while and also nursing a niggly calf problem, but was well on the road to recovery by the time of the inaugural Aberdeen Fetch Mile in November, organised by the dynamic Nywanda. This was a great event which was enjoyed by all and it was brilliant to get the chance to run on the track at the new Aberdeen Sports Village. I ran the mile in 8:19, which hopefully I can improve on next time.

Due to the snow'n'ice and hence postponement of this year's Christmas Canter, December is a non-racing month. Looking back though I'm quite surprised at how many races I actually did in 2010 including: first marathon, first half, first mile, and PBs at every distance :-) (Not difficult given that I only ran three races in 2009, which was my first year of running, but gratifying nonetheless.)

Will think about goals for 2011 in my next blog post...

Monday, 4 October 2010

"All the way is far enough": Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon 2010 Race Report

Really didn't know quite what to expect from my first marathon... I'd done most of the training (although circumstances had interfered a bit over the last few weeks), I'd read every bit of advice I could find, some of it contradictory, I'd packed and unpacked my bag several times, tried to positively visualize myself crossing the finish line, studied route maps and elevation profiles and weather forecasts, and although I was wildly excited I still didn't feel a bit ready.

Got to Inverness, found our B&B more or less by accident, then walked down to registration in Bught Park, though the B&B turned out to be further away from the park than it had looked on the map and the little one was complaining of tired leggies. Registration was straightforward enough, got my race number and chip (strange loop thing) and got the little one registered for the Wee Nessie pre-schoolers' race which she was excited about and very pleased with her free Nessie t-shirt. She was also enthralled by the giant inflatable Nessie which greeted us on arrival at the park.

We were pretty hungry by this time and hadn't booked tickets for the pasta party, and I was a bit worried that everywhere would be full, but we managed to find a place to eat without much trouble and despite looking longingly at various other menu items I decided to do the sensible thing and opt for pasta, which happily turned out to be delicious. Then met up with some friends we hadn't seen for ages who were doing the 10k and had a pleasant few drinks before heading back to the B&B where I had a pretty restless night thanks to pre-race nerves.

Got up at 6.20am, put my gear on (rummaging about in the dark so as not to wake the little one, couldn't find my socks for ages even though I'd laid everything out the night before) and went down for breakfast, which I could hardly eat any of although the B&B lady had kindly provided me with a big bowl of porridge. I managed a few spoonfuls and then just couldn't eat any more, but took a banana to eat later. Said goodbye to husband and (still sleeping) daughter and headed off to catch the bus - it was a really pleasant early morning, not cold at all, I had my jacket with me but didn't even feel the need to wear it.

We were on the bus for much longer than I'd anticipated - nearly an hour and a half, reaching the start at about 9:25. The guy who sat down next to me didn't seem inclined to chat, enabling me to proceed with my planned programme of staring out of the window feeling sick. At one point we passed a garden centre which declared itself "Scotland's Best Garden Centre 2010" on a huge banner, which sounded good (though I don't know who had appointed them Scotland's best or whether they had just decided that they were) and I wondered if we would have time to visit it before we left before deciding that no, we definitely wouldn't. A bit later, one guy on the bus persuaded the driver to stop in a layby and a whole load of men piled out of the bus and stood in a line at the side of the road having a pee next to a fence. Since by this time I was desperate for the loo (despite having visited a Portaloo just before getting on the bus), this left me musing, not for the first time, on the unfair advantage enjoyed by the male anatomy in such situations.

We finally reached the start area, by which time the formerly pleasantly balmy morning had turned cold and wet and horrible. Dumped my bag at the baggage vehicle and headed off to stand in the queue for the Portaloos, shivering. I'd taken an old jacket to wear and discard but was still cold and actually looking jealously at the people who had fashioned stylish items of clothing out of bin bags and thinking I really should have done that too.

Thankfully it wasn't long to the start, and I congregated with my fellow tortoises near the back of the throng while the sound system blared out music and encouragement, oh, and the pipe band was a nice touch. The gun fired and, to the sound of Scotland the Brave, we were off - well, kind of - it took me a good 3.5 minutes to shuffle over the start line, but then I really was off, and downhill too, and already feeling quite emotional ("I'm finally doing it! And I've got to keep doing it for 26 miles!").

I was very conscious of not going off too fast and had a rough game plan of aiming for 11 minute miles, but also was aware that the first half has a lot of downhill and the second half more in the way of uphill, so although I know you're not meant to do this I also had in the back of my mind the idea that it might not be so bad to make up a bit of time in the first half, given that like many people I find downhills easier than uphills. I decided to stick to what felt like an easy, manageable pace for the first half (had decided against wearing HRM, which might have helped). First few miles were fairly undulating with a sharp uphill at around 5 miles - I did the first 5 in 51:48, hit 10 miles at 1:45:03, and 13 in 2:17:22, and that was the end of my sub-11 miles. To be honest though I can't remember much about it - it's all a bit of a blur. Stuff I remember: first glimpse of the misty loch; the person in front of me dropping their mobile, which broke; spectators at Whitebridge and Foyers; getting a text from husband at around 8 miles to say the little one had done her race and got her medal, and then trying to work out how far I still had to go when I'd done 8 miles. (My maths isn't usually that bad!) And the guy playing Scottish music from his car at the bottom of his lane - I can't remember at all at what point that was, but it was a nice boost.

Managed to stick to my fuelling/hydration plan with a combination of Shot Bloks, gels, plenty of water and Lucozade Sport, and I think it worked because although I was very fatigued later in the race I never hit the dreaded wall or felt that I couldn't carry on. But predictably enough the second half was much harder, especially when I reached The Hill At Dores (which had already achieved mythical status in my mind) in conjunction with the weather started to feel quite hot. I don't do well in the heat - I'll take rain and wind any day, for running in at least. I fast-walked up a fair bit of that hill and the one after (so did most people around me), and hit my worst point at the next uphill which didn't look as if it was ever going to end. That was the only point where I really felt like stopping for a breather, but I knew if I did I would struggle to get going again, and kept run-walking to the top. Saw the guy who had collapsed at the side of the road - I didn't stop, as there were several people round him, but was glad to hear subsequently that he was fine.

Marshals and spectators were fantastic, really encouraging, with cries of "You're looking good!" (not true) and "the worst is over!" (also not true, but a nice thought).

By the time we reached Inverness my legs felt really, really tired and my pace had dropped considerably - I was doing 12 minute miles by this stage, just trying to keep going, and spent the last few miles doing mental calculations as to how much leeway I had to make it to the finish within my target of 5 hours. Although I'd told everyone my aim was just to get round, I knew I'd be massively disappointed to be over 5 hours. Running through Inverness when I could hear the finishers on the other side of the river was tough and it felt like an awful long way to the Ness Bridge, though it really wasn't! I was barely noticing spectators at this time, apart from looking out for husband and daughter who were there somewhere.... finally saw them at the entrance to the park, ran into the park, saw the finish ahead of me and someone shouted "100 metres to go!" which by this point felt just as difficult as the previous 26 miles, but kept going, even managed a smile for the camera, saw the 4:58 on the clock, and finally stumbled across the finishing line in 4:55:07 on my watch (and official chip time), 4:58:59 on the clock, suddenly bombarded from all sides with goody bags, medals and bottles of Lucozade, shared an emotional moment with the girl who'd finished a few seconds ahead of me (another first-timers) and emerged into the muddy quagmire of Bught Park, very tired, achey and already thinking about the next one.

In summary.... although a lot of it is a blur, I had the most fantastic time. I don't know if my tactics were the best (probably not) and I should probably have done more hill training, and immediately afterwards I started thinking I could have pushed myself a bit more in the second half (first half in under 2:20, second half in over 2:35) but given how tired I was at the finish I'm not sure I could have done that much more, at least at my present level of fitness, as the hills in particular really took it out of me. Next time.....

Appreciated the shower afterwards and the great medal and t-shirt, though (a) a technical t-shirt would have been nice as would (b) one which didn't advertise the Scottish Daily Mail on the back, but hey, I'm not complaining!

Still stiff and sore two days later but still on a high, and currently considering the 2011 Edinburgh Marathon to try for a good PB....

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Taper madness

Final countdown is now on (dadadaa-da, etc). Head is spinning with logistical arrangements, what to pack, when to pack it, which trainers to wear, what music to put on my MP3 player, etc. Making lists of stuff to do gives me the illusion of being in some kind of control, as the harsh reality that I’m going to have to RUN 26.2 MILES on SUNDAY has not yet fully sunk in. And probably won’t, until I’m halfway along the course and thinking oh shit, I’ve got another 13 miles to go and my legs are already giving up the ghost.

Thinking this way is obviously Not Allowed as according to them what know, you have to do positive visualisation of how great it’s going to be, imagine yourself going strongly at various points, pacing correctly, crossing the finishing line in the desired time, etc etc. I don’t seem to be very good at this. When I try to visualise me running the marathon the positive images which I try to force into my head are constantly elbowed out of the way by visions of conking out in exhaustion before the first mile marker, pulling up with cramp, getting an unshakeable stitch, collapsing in a heap and getting trampled by other runners, etc. This isn't helped by the onset of anxiety dreams where I forget my trainers, forget my race number, can't find the way to Inverness, etc etc. Or somehow manage to forget all my clothes and have to run in my nightie.

The other notable aspect of this week is the number of aches and pains which have suddenly appeared. So far I've had a twingey knee, achey shins and sore foot, all of which have mysteriously appeared and equally mysteriously subsequently vanished. Also, I seem to have the most incredible ravenous appetite. Carb-loading is all very well, but at this rate I'll be standing on the start line two stone heavier than usual. Which is never good.

The weather I'm not worrying about yet, since there's sod-all I can do about it. It's a horrible day here today, torrential rain and strong winds. Since my last, longest run was in similar conditions, I'm not unduly concerned about wind and rain, although I suppose freezing sleet directly into your face for 26 miles might not be entirely fun. A cool, breezy day with a little light rain would suit me just fine.

Remind me why I'm doing this again? Actually, why am I doing this?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Marathon training update

Yes, I know I've been rather less than diligent in blogging my marathon training. I have been doing the actual training (well, most of it), I just haven't been blogging. Which is annoying, actually, because it would have been good to have some kind of record to look back on (just in terms of what it felt like, etc, as all my training in terms of miles and hours is logged on Garmin Connect and Fetch).

It's been up and down, really, as I seem to have alternated good runs and crap runs. Happily my longest run of 19 miles was one of the better ones, despite weather conditions which may well have been the worst I've ever run in - howling gales, torrential rain, etc. Got more drenched than I've ever been, including having a small lake sloshing around inside my trainers, but managed to run the entire distance in 3:28:18, i.e. just under 11 minute miles, which I was pretty pleased with, and felt surprisingly good most of the way, even grinning dementedly at the passers-by who, huddled under their brollies, no doubt wondered what on earth was wrong with me. Enjoyed this run much more than the previous week's 17-miler when I struggled most of the way and took ever increasing walk breaks from about 10 miles onwards.

It may be that atrocious weather conditions suit me best. This may be good preparation for Inverness in October.

As ever one of the main challenges has been fitting in the time to run. Long runs have been OK as I've been doing them on a Tuesday afternoon when daughter is at nursery. Everything else has had to be fitted in as and when. With the inevitable result that a few (though not many) have been missed. Unfortunately over the past few weeks the ones which have been missed have tended to be the speedwork ones, and I definitely seem to be getting slower, although I did manage 7 miles at 9:43 pace on Sunday - but it was hard work. And that was on a flat route, with not even many hills to contend with.

Phoned the B&B yesterday to confirm booking and request an early breakfast. Apparently B&B is chock full of marathon runners so early porridge and banana no problem. Just as well, as have to be at the pick-up point at the unearthly hour of before 8am for transport to the start. Since the race itself doesn't start till 10am, this seems to potentially involve an awful lot of feeling sick and queueing for the toilet time.

Nerves are starting to kick in now, as the magnitude of the undertaking gradually dawns on me...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

M-day is looming...

Can't believe I'll be (trying to) run a marathon in just over 2 weeks :-O

Must remember to confirm B&B booking and ask them if I can get an early breakfast. If not, will have to make do with instant oat sachets or some such.

Working on my "stuff to take" list:

scary Enell bra
(2 x all above items, just in case)

charity vest
charger for Garmin
waist pack with gels
Body Glide
gloves (just in case it's freezing)
mobile phone

plus all obvious prerequisites for overnight stay (pyjamas, toiletries, clean pants, etc)

what am I forgetting? (apart from "being properly trained", perhaps)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Fun on the dreadmill

I haven't been to the gym for ages but last night I thought I had better start getting my money's worth, or some of it anyway, and went for a run on the treadmill (really should have done some strength stuff as well but didn't have time). I managed 4 and a half miles of running up and down imaginary hills (well, not down, but it feels like down when you put it to 0 after going up for a while) before I couldn't stand the boredom any more and also the gym was about to close and everybody else had gone home, clearly having better things to do at 10pm on a Thursday night. Still have not quite figured out why running on the treadmill (even when not uphill) feels like harder work than running outside, i.e. greater perceived effort for the same pace. Was meaning to wear my HRM so I could compare, but forgot.

The gym was nearly deserted anyway apart from a woman in a pink top who at one point got on the treadmill next to me and walked at a leisurely pace for literally three minutes before getting off and going for a drink of water. Not that I'm in any great position to criticise anyone else's fitness efforts, but I did wonder what fitness gain could possibly be made from a three minute gentle stroll on a treadmill, unless perhaps you're actually the single most unfit person in the world for whom a three minute walk represents a massive effort. Then again she was probably looking at me and thinking "look at that idiot, red faced and sweaty, I'm glad I'm not like that..."

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Longest run ever, and Garmin mayhem

So, this week's schedule called for a 16 miler, which I approached rather trepidatiously (I don't think that's actually a word), as last week's 14 miles went all to pot in the last 3. My action plan was to reduce my slow pace to an even slower pace, aiming for 11 minute miles, in the hope that this would enable me to complete the distance without walking, or at least with as little walking as possible.

However my cunning plan immediately ran into difficulties as my Garmin 405 went doolally in the first couple of miles, registering 3 miles when I knew for a fact I'd done less than 2, including a completely imaginary second mile in 01:29 (impressive, I think you'll agree). Link here for anyone who fancies a laugh Link (roll over me to see where I go) - I really wasn't galloping all over the place at the beginning as indicated on the map, and it wasn't 17.5 miles either, it was 16, and it wasn't a 9:53 average pace, it was more like 10:49. Things settled down after that but I spent the entire rest of the time trying to figure out how far I'd actually run compared to how far Mr Garmin thought I'd run. This was actually good as it distracted me from the actual running.

On the plus side, the run itself went pretty well :) although I did feel like I was about to die in the last mile, but I thought it was pretty good going to have avoided feeling impending death until then. Continuing my policy of experimenting with various drugs, I mean "fuelling options", today's stimulant of choice was Shot Bloks and I decided to take one with some water every 20 minutes. This felt ridiculously frequent but actually seemed to work, as I managed to keep running for nearly 3 hours without stopping :) Well, I did have to stop for the odd traffic light, which was not unwelcome. But otherwise, kept on going, in stark contrast to last week when I was reduced to run-walking the last 3 miles of the 14.

Am also pleased to report that my Camelbak Delaney waist pack/water carrier thingy whatnot had a successful first outing, I found it very easy to use and hardly noticed it was there (except that the long end of the belt thing - the bit you pull to tighten it - kept coming loose, making me look as if I had a tail. This was probably my fault for not securing it properly though.).

All in all, reasonably pleased with today's effort, but not very pleased with Mr Garmin and his shenanigans in the first couple of miles.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Things I love about running

Last night (while sitting in the car at midnight waiting for my son to emerge from his job at Cineworld) I was mulling over some of the reasons I love running, and wondering why I didn’t take it up earlier…

A lot of people can't understand how there could be anything enjoyable about running. They assume it's something you have to reluctantly force yourself to do to keep fit, or to lose weight, citing as evidence the sometimes pained, not to mention anguished, expressions on the faces of runners they've seen (plodding up hills while they pass in the car, or on the television during the last few miles of the London Marathon). No doubt, this is accurate for some people. But I do actively love running, despite (or partly because) it is frequently hard work and despite the fact that I do at times have to reluctantly force myself to do it, and here are some of the reasons why.

I love the scope for improvement. Admittedly, from my starting point, improvement was basically the only way to go. But I love the fact that in not much over a year I’ve progressed from run-walking a mile (and thinking I would drop dead if I ran for more than 60 seconds at a time) to having run – even though not quickly - a half-marathon, several 10k’s, and am currently engaged in marathon training. I love the fact that when you put the effort in, improvements occur as if by magic. I love that I – hopefully – still have a good while yet of getting better until old age kicks in and I start to get worse again.

I love the fact that there’s always something to challenge me, that every goal met can immediately be replaced by a new one.

I love the way I look forward to my next run on the in-between days, even if it’s sometimes an effort to actually get out of the door when the time comes. I love the fact that I’m always, always glad I did make the effort to get out of the door, and the pleasurable tiredness after a hard effort. I love the shower after a long run and the putting on of fresh, non-sweaty clothes.

I love participating (I won’t say “competing”) in races, the camaraderie among other runners, the moment of crossing the finish line, and most especially the high of setting a new PB (even if I have yet to make it out of the last quarter of finishers in a timed race). I also particularly like getting medals and race t-shirts, especially ones which actually more or less fit and don’t look like they could double as a maternity dress for someone pregnant with octuplets.

I love the way my legs have changed shape, my resting heart rate has dropped, and I feel generally fitter and stronger and was the only person not to be out of breath at the end of the very short nursery sports day parents’ race despite probably being the oldest mum there.

I love the fact that so far I've been lucky enough to avoid injury, even though just saying that is probably tempting fate.

I love that it's time to be alone, where I am free from external demands (except for those of the marathon training schedule).

I love talking, reading and thinking about running. (When did I get this obsessed?)

Things I don’t love: big hills, the price of trainers, the cost of race entries, the taste of energy gels, the fact that I didn't know about all the wonderful things many years ago...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Ballater 10 Mile Road Race: Race Report

I found this really tough! Was feeling relatively confident, as I had heard that though a bit hilly, it wasn't as bad as the Stonehaven half which I ran three weeks ago, but I actually found it worse. Maybe because it was hot, and I don't function well in the heat... Also, we were running late as usual (not my fault!) and I was panicking most of the way to Ballater about not getting there on time, especially as it was a pick-up-your-number-on-the-day type race. We made it with 15 minutes to spare, in the end, which gave me just enough time to get and attach my race number and make a much-needed loo visit.

The race started well enough, running through Ballater and out on to the country roads, with the first couple of miles being flattish - managed these in an easy 9:34 and 9:44. There was a longish uphill section between miles 2 and 3 (10:48), and then a steep uphill in the 5th mile (a disgraceful 11:44, which did involve some walking). I found the hills really hard going, and struggled to keep control of my breathing. Found that I was being overtaken on the uphill sections and then overtaking the same people on the flat and downhills - this happened repeatedly with the same people throughout the race - clearly I need to do more hill work!

That was the worst of the hills over with although there was another uphill part around mile 8 (followed by a nice downhill section), but I was still struggling to pace myself and feeling really tired. The change of terrain to off-road for much of the second half of the race, while it made a change, did slow me down too but I had managed to make some ground and even overtake a few people on the downhill and just about managed to maintain my position! The shoogly bridge (I think at about mile 7, though it's a bit of a blur now) was an interesting touch although I could have done without the steps up to it by that point! The last mile was along a very narrow path surrounded by long grass, before emerging back into the playing field where the race began and running a lap of that before thankfully passing the finishing line.

I finished in 1:43:47, which I was a bit disappointed with as this represents an average pace of 10:24 which is the slowest I've been for ages and considerably slower than my (also hilly) recent half marathon pace! For whatever reason I never seemed to manage to get into a proper rhythm today and walking on the hills played havoc with my time. (Husband later said "I thought you would struggle, because you don't do well in the heat" which is true enough, although it wasn't really hot enough for this to be a very convincing excuse!)

However it was a nice scenic race with plenty of variety, even if the course could do with a good ironing before next year. The encouragement from the marshals was really appreciated - another water station might have been good, though! The yummy chocolate in the goody bag was also much appreciated by my daughter who scoffed half of it in the car on the way back.

Splits: 9:34 9:45 10:49 10:00 11:45 9:51 10:53 11:07 9:25 10:41

Note to self: get better at hills. (I thought I'd done a fair bit of hill training, but it clearly wasn't enough...)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

In a wild rush of enthusiasm following the recent half-marathon, I entered a 10 mile race in Ballater, which I have suddenly realised is, in fact, on Sunday. I’d been thinking, ha, 10 miles, that’s nothing, I’ve just run 13, but 10 miles now seems, y’know, still quite far, given that I haven’t actually run that distance very often, and not in a race apart from the half marathon, and it’s not one of those enormous races where people are still straggling in at tea time but quite a small one with proper runners in it, so I may in fact be last. Oh well. Someone has to be. (I’ve never yet come last in a race, although I came close with the snowy-and-icy beach 10k just before Christmas when I came 79th out of 83, but I comforted myself with the idea that the awful weather would have put off most of my fellow plodders and only mostly proper runners would have turned up.)

I do need to ramp up the mileage, though, because I have the marathon in, er, 10 weeks, and my Runners World training programme calls for a 9 mile run this week and 10 miles next (after which it all starts getting a bit scary) so I thought I would do the 10 miler this week instead. Other thing is, we’ll be on hols (in a caravan in the Lake District) for two weeks from Monday, so I don’t know how the running is going to go, though I’m hoping for lots of lovely scenic probably hilly runs.

I’ve been keeping up with the programme not too badly so far and managed a 5 mile tempo run in 45 minutes on Saturday (woo!) with, get this, an average pace of 8:59. And every mile except the first was sub-9 minutes. So I was pretty pleased with that, even though I felt knackered at the end, and indeed most of the way come to that. Then did 7.61 miles yesterday in boiling heat (well, what passes for boiling heat up here in the frozen northern wastelands where anything above freezing point has us casting off our cardigans and heading for the beach). Not only was it hot, but some of it was uphill, and I did do a bit of walking.

This whole long run pace business, not to mention the taking or not taking of walk breaks, has me a bit conflicted. The RW schedule (after I put in my best race time) has me doing long runs at near on 12 minute miles (McMillan Running calculator suggests between 11 and 12 minute miles), and I know the theory about long runs being slower, but I really struggle to run that slowly. Except when going uphill. My natural pace seems to be around 10 min/miles and even when I try to go slower I invariably speed up. Plus, even though nearly every advice source says Do Long Runs Slowly, I can’t really get my head around the idea that if I’m doing them all at 11:30 pace, or whatever, I can suddenly magically run faster in a long race. As it is, my "race pace" (for the half marathon anyway) and long run pace are pretty much the same rate of ploddiness. Although I did think afterwards I could have done the half a bit faster.

The other thing is walking breaks. I know it’s a can-of-worms topic among runners. The experts seem to have widely diverging views on this, from "Never walk, you’ll only regret it" (Graeme Hilditch in his marathon training guide) to advising regular, planned walk breaks throughout. I think the chances of me running an entire marathon without any walking are slim, but I don’t know whether it’s better to keep running for as long as I can and only take short walk breaks when I feel I absolutely have to, or schedule in walk breaks from the start whether I need them or not. Current approach is more along the lines of the former, running as much as I can but sometimes (not every long run, but some of them) walking a little bit on some uphill bits or when I feel especially knackered, and then starting running again when I feel able or, more likely, when I see someone coming towards me and am embarrassed to be seen walking. But maybe, if I ran slower, I wouldn’t have to do this? Hmmm. Or maybe I just need to toughen up and be less of a wimp.

20 July

Distance: 7.61 miles
Time: 01:15:48
Splits: 9:27 9:44 9:55 10:08 10:23 11:14 9:25 5:32
Average pace: 9:58

17 July

Distance: 5.01 miles
Time: 45:01
Splits: 9:10 8:54 8:58 8:59 8:52
Average pace: 8:59

Thursday, 15 July 2010

“Marathoning is just another form of insanity.”

Post Juneathon, and post-half marathon, I’ve been pretty crap at both running and blogging. Well, I’ve done a bit of the former, and none whatsoever of the latter. But I got my Loch Ness Marathon magazine and race number (205) through this week, and have booked our B&B accommodation in Inverness, and it’s now just a short 12 weeks away, and I’m starting to get excited. Not nervous yet, but I know that will come nearer the time. Spent time today reading blogs from last year’s race and poring over the race website and wondering if I am, in fact, mad to be planning this. But I’m committed now. So I guess it’s happening.

I felt fine, to my surprise, after the half marathon – a bit achey later that day, but A-OK the next day and even the day after when delayed onset muscle soreness can suddenly set in after you've been lulled into a false sense of security. But 26.2 (undulating) miles is of course a very different proposition from 13.1 (also undulating) miles and I know I won’t be feeling fine after that, or indeed after the first 18-20 miles of it. Or at least, I shall be very very surprised if I am.

Didn’t do a lot of running last week – just an easy 3.5 miles on the Thursday, and then a 5k race/fun run on the Sunday, which I finished in 26:45, which I would be thrilled with were it not for the fact that I’m pretty sure the distance was not actually 5k. But still, I knocked two minutes off my time for the same event last year, so happy enough with that. It was a nice run anyway around the trails of Hazlehead Park, though with a slow start due to all the people who start at the front, sprint 0.1 of a mile and then immediately start walking really slowly right in front of you. There were quite a lot of those people. Excellent goodie bag, though, and it was nice to for once see husband and daughter waving to me near the finish line, and sit with them afterwards watching all the walkers slowly filter back.

Started my marathon training this week with an 8 mile run on Tuesday, which was a boiling hot day so it was a fairly hot and sweaty experience, but I listened to the first hour and a bit of the second of the Audiofuel mid-intensity long run mix and that kept me going, as did regular drinks of water from my new Stonehaven half marathon water bottle, courtesy of another goodie bag. Still don’t like carrying anything while running, but I guess I’ll have to get used to it as the long runs get longer.

12 weeks – 11 and a half in fact – to marathon day. Eeeeeeek.

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 1:18:36
Splits: 9:44, 9:37, 10:18, 9:43, 10:00, 9:32, 10:06, 9:36
Average pace: 9:50

Days till marathon: 80

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Stonehaven Half Marathon 2010

Weather forecast for today's race (my first ever half marathon) was not promising - "heavy rain" was advertised. I'd been hoping the weather wasn't going to be too hot (I really don't cope well in the heat and the thought of running up miles of hills in scorching temperatures didn't appeal) and it looked like I was going to get my wish. Reports from Stonehaven folk in the morning on Facebook confirmed that the rain was, indeed, heavy, and that strong winds were adding to the fun. I don't mind rain, but torrential downpours didn't sound that great.

Rain got heavier as we headed down the A90 to Stonehaven and husband dropped me off outside the sports centre. Daughter had been agitating to go to the beach, but looked at the windswept rain-drenched prospect and announced "I don't want the beach after all, I want to go to a nice warm home". They did go for a short walk in the end, in wellies and waterproofs. I wasn't very sure where to go but adopted the traditional method of finding some people in running gear and following them across a field, and made it to the registration area in plenty of time. Could've been better signposted, though. Registration entailed standing in a long and slow moving queue in a very windy and rainy field before eventually being issued with a number and timing chip. Glad I had my waterproof jacket on although I then didn't know what to do with it and ended up tying it round my overstuffed (phone, sweets, energy gel) waist-pack thing. Was also needing the loo for the 250,000th time of the morning but by the time I'd finally managed to cackhandedly safety-pin my race number on and lace the timing chip through my laces, everyone was heading off to the start and I didn't think I had time, a decision which I knew I might come to regret.

Kept hearing people at the start saying "After the first four miles it's all downhill!" which frankly I did not believe, rightly as it turned out because they were in fact big liars. After the usual milling about the race finally started and off we went, me still thinking about how I really should have gone to the loo and wondering if there would be any suitable bushes to hide behind, and up the first small slope, and along a flat bit, and up another hill, and I settled into my near-the-back-of-the-pack pace and actually felt OK, apart from the whole needing the loo business.

First mile marker came before I was expecting it, or rather before my Garmin was expecting it as it said I had only gone 0.9 miles, but I was feeling fine and very glad I had loaded up my MP3 player with the free Audiofuel running music I was lucky enough to receive as my 3rd place Juneathon prize (THANKS SEAN! And everyone else involved!) and rather belatedly fired up the first hour of the Run Free compilation, which was brilliant and really kept me going. Also at around this point I saw a guy quickly disappear into some trees, presumably to answer a call of nature, and wondered if I should do the same (although obviously not following the guy because that would just be weird) but as we all know these things are much easier for people with XY chromosomes and also I didn't really want to lose time and I wasn't desperate so I just kept going.

I had heard about the hills and even seen them, as I drove over the course last week, and the course profile looks like this (sorry about crapness of picture, which was all I could find/manage to insert) -

which obviously looks quite scary, but in fact I didn't find them as bad as I had thought. Although I did walk a bit on some bits. It's also perfectly obvious that it is NOT all downhill after the first four miles although the first four miles are definitely the worst. But as I said, not that bad. I even managed to overtake some people on the hills! It was mostly country roads so there weren't really crowds of cheering spectators a la London Marathon etc, just the odd person in a car, but there were loads of marshals, people handing out water, etc and they were all really encouraging. At about the 7 mile mark we came on to the appropriately, if unpleasantly, named Slug Road which leads from Banchory into Stonehaven and there was a bit more traffic on that, though still not much, and we were ordered to KEEP LEFT, which I did, although one car did seem to come perilously close. A particular highlight at this point was the bus full of waving, clapping passengers which was sounding its horn and flashing its lights (I *think* in a supportive way. I hope.).

I had been fully expecting a slow first few miles and was quite surprised to find that I had done the first 6 miles in pretty much an hour exactly (OK, it is slow for most people, but not as slow as I had expected). I'd been aiming for, though not really expecting, an average pace of 10:15, and was ahead of this by around 15 seconds per mile, although pace was not exactly consistent. However by around the halfway point was very hopeful that I would achieve my secret target of 2:15:00 and in fact the further I got the more it looked like I might actually beat this in spite of being a wimp and walking some bits. I also found I was very gradually overtaking some people (the field had thinned out considerably by this point and there were very few runners in sight) which was nice, although the bloke in the blue t-shirt who I had been alternately overtaking/being overtaken by almost from the start did pass me at one point and I never saw him again. At around mile 11 I gradually gained ground on a girl who was running with her boyfriend, who was clearly a faster runner than her as he kept running ahead and back and generally leaping around waving his arms and encouraging her, while she was more of a plodder like me. I think I would have found this very irritating had he been my boyfriend and would in fact have been tempted to punch him, but maybe she liked it. Thankfully I got past them and was into the home straight, heading down into Stonehaven, although it still wasn't all downhill as advertised by the big liars at the start as there was an uphill bit which went over the dual carriageway, with men at the top handing out water and encouragement. By this time (incidentally further than I have ever run before) I was feeling pretty tired and exhausted and there was a strong headwind and I was still slightly needing the loo though not any more than I had been at the start, i.e. not desperately, despite having guzzled loads of water and Lucozade Sport, and was well into the second hour of, in fact approaching the end of, Audiofuel, which as it turned out had been perfectly timed to finish when I did.

And I ran down the hill and towards (though not into) the sea and round the bend onto the road leading back to the field, which was a bit weird as there were lots of people who had already finished walking the other way along it, and into the field and over the finish line in a time of 2:10:20. Woohoo! Actually, on reflection, I think I could have managed a bit faster... probably not the fabled sub-2 hours, but 2:05 might be within my grasp for the next one...

It then started raining absolutely torrentially and I had to phone husband to come and get me and stand in the sports centre car park waiting for him while getting totally and utterly drenched by the deluge, in fact I might just as well have gone and jumped in the sea. But who cares! It was a great race, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the organisation and support from all involved was fantastic and I will definitely go back next year.

Not very flattering picture taken outside my back door as I sadly had no loving husband and daughter waiting to applaud me and photograph my moment of glory at the finishing line, since they mysteriously didn't want to stand around for ages in a field in the pouring rain. I don't think it shows but I am completely drenched from head to toe.

Many, many thanks to everyone who sponsored me for Marie Curie Cancer Care. I have nearly, but not quite, reached my target amount so if anyone still wants to sponsor me it will be much appreciated!

Distance: 13.02 miles (bit short according to Garmin, not sure why)
Time: 2:10:20

11:21 (this was the hilliest bit)

Average pace: 10:00

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 30!

And so endeth Juneathon 2010. It's been brilliant. Challenging, yes, but in a good way, and I'm pretty sure my running has improved (admittedly I might not be saying that when I disgrace myself in Sunday's half marathon).

I'm glad of a rest, though. No idea how Ron Hill has managed to run every day for 856 years or however long it's now been.

Things I have learnt:

1. Even when I really, really don't feel like going out for a run, I nearly always forget about that as soon as I'm out there, and I'm ALWAYS very glad I went.
2. I'm very lucky to live somewhere with nice places to run (and indeed to be able to run at all) and I should appreciate it more.
3. Foam rolling is fab. Though painful.
4. Audiofuel is also fab, not painful and really helps!
5. There are loads of really nice people involved in Juneathon, most of whom are far better at (a) running and (b) blogging than me. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice and encouragement, it is all much appreciated! And of course thanks to JogBlog for organising it and the independent adjudicator for independently adjudicating.

Juneathon firsts:

- 10k race PB (8th June along the beachfront, wet and windy)
- training PBs at every distance from 1 to 11 miles
- most miles logged in a month (116)
- most miles logged in a week (29, last week)
- first black toenail

I'm glad it was a Juneathon and not a Decemberathon though because nearly all my runs have had to be late in the evening and I would never have managed in the dark and the snow and the freezing cold.

Today did 4 miles round and about, up some hills, down some hills, etc. Music: Audiofuel, the Jam, XTC. (Strangely, just as the song got to "the church bells softly chime" bit, I was running past the church and the bells did indeed start to chime, though not, it has to be said, particularly softly.)

Distance: 4.08 miles
Time: 39:54
  • 10:18
  • 10:03
  • 9:20
  • 9:24
Average pace: 9:47

Total Juneathon distance run: 116.22 miles
Total Juneathon running time: 19:03:28
Average Juneathon pace: 9:50

Juneathon days completed: 30/30 Yay!!!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 29

Maybe Juneathon is catching up with me, or maybe it's just the weather, but feeling absolutely knackered today and decided to defer the planned 5-miler till tomorrow. Did a very slow, very short, undulating 1.3 miles instead, and still got ridiculously hot and sweaty. Dear weather gods, please, please can we have a cool day on Sunday? Please?

Can't quite believe Juneathon is nearly over, and I've run every day. I will miss it, but I'm glad it's finishing now because I think my legs really need a few days' rest before Sunday's race. Plan to run tomorrow, rest on Thursday, easy run on Friday, rest on Saturday, and am hoping that will leave me feeling reasonably fresh on Sunday.

All things considered, though (and this may be tempting fate), I'm surprised by how well my body has held up to daily running. Admittedly, a high proportion of the runs were pretty short ones, but there were plenty of long ones too, and aside from the normal aches and pains I haven't really had any problems. A few twinges in my ankle caused brief concern, but nothing to get worked up about, and the knee twinges which I had a few months back haven't recurred at all this month. Definitely think using the foam roller on my calves has helped loosen things up, too, even if it does hurt like hell. Which it does.

Incidentally, the route my Garmin apparently thought I ran today was way off - it had me starting my run at the top of the road, running through people's houses, through hedges and across the river before finally settling down. I'm sure I didn't really do that.

One day to go!

Distance: 1.31 miles
Time: 14:11
Splits: 11:04, 3:06
Average pace: 10:50

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 112.14 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 18:23:34

Monday, 28 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 28

Into the last few days of Juneathon and just a "quick" 5k run tonight, along the railway line which was heavily populated with cyclists (why do they never move over? why is it always me who has to move over?), back up the road (a longish hill, much huffing and puffing - I knew there was a bus stop at the top of the hill and kept seeing bus stops up ahead and thinking I was nearly there, but hadn't realised there were also so many decoy bus stops along the way) and along past the allotments to home. Hardly saw a soul except the cyclists and a man with a dog who gave me a funny look, and who can blame him really. Fab Audiofuel Juneathon mix kept me going for most of the way, then a quick blast of the Jam and that was that.

Distance: 3.19 miles
Time: 30:31
  • 9:52
  • 9:50
  • 9:12
  • 1:37
Average pace: 9:34

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 110.83 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 18:09:23
Juneathon days completed: 28/30
Average running pace over month: 9:50

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 27

Eight mile run this evening - it felt far too hot to run earlier in the day, although I may well have to do so in next week's race. Just hoping next Sunday isn't a scorcher. Anyway, ran three miles along the old railway line to Duthie Park, once round the park, back up the railway line (where I saw a very cute hedgehog at the edge of the path along with the usual many rabbits) and a bit further along in the other direction before turning back towards home. Also on the subject of wildlife, as invariably happens on evening runs, quantities of suicidally inclined small insects decided to do kamikaze dives into my eyes, up my nose, etc. Really must remember to wear glasses. Or a surgical mask, or something.

Anyway, even on a coolish evening and on a flattish route, tonight's eight miles felt like hard work. Don't know how I'm going to manage next week when it's hotter (probably), hillier and further. Well, there's not much else I can do now... as long as I finish within the cut-off time, and don't have to be picked up by the famous sweeper vehicle and ignominiously transported to the finish line, I'll be satisfied.

Also tried another energy gel tonight, not because I really really needed one but just to see how my body reacted to it, as last time I got a possibly coincidental upset stomach later that day. I took it - or about half of it, probably - after around 5.5 miles. Feel OK so far, although I can't say I noticed a massive improvement in my energy levels.

My black toenail has now turned blue - not sore any more, though. Maybe I should paint the others to match?

Oh, and I've just passed the 100-miles-in-a-month mark, for the first time ever. Woohoo!

Distance: 8.23 miles
Time: 1:21:26
  • 9:50
  • 9:27
  • 9:41
  • 9:41
  • 10:12
  • 10:30 (this involved a bit of walking and gel-opening/eating)
  • 10:11
  • 9:56
  • 1:58
Average pace: 9:54

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 107.64 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 17:38:52
Juneathon days completed: 27/30

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 26

Surprised myself on today's run - an easy three miles along the railway line (longer one planned for tomorrow). Wasn't pushing myself at all - expecting to do around 10 minute mile pace - and was taken aback to notice that I had done the first mile in 9:01. The second mile felt a little slower and I was completely amazed to find I had done it in 8:58. I actually did wonder if my Garmin was broken. But it would seem not. Third mile, I thought I'm not going to push it, I'll just take it easy, and it was another 8:58. So, three miles, without consciously pushing myself at all, in an average pace of 8:59... looks like I really am getting faster.

Distance: 3:01 miles
Time: 27:03
Splits: 9:01, 8:58, 8:58
Average pace: 8:59

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 99.41 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 16:17:26
Juneathon days completed: 26/30
Average Juneathon pace: 9:50

Friday, 25 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 25

Very small window of running opportunity today due to husband coming home from work and promptly going out again to a leaving do, so given the limited time available I decided to do something I have vaguely thought of doing for a while and see how fast I can run a single mile. I suppose you could call it a time trial except that that would sound rather too professional. So I did a rather inadequate warm-up consisting of jogging slowly up the hill, then started my Garmin and set off along the old railway line at what felt like a fast pace. I rapidly noticed that (a) I was running at 7-minute mile pace, and (b) this was distinctly too fast for comfort. (How do people run long distances at that pace or faster? How?) So I slowed down a bit, though still pushing myself, breathing hard, etc, ran along the railway line to the bridge, down the path past the allotments (where my name is on the waiting list and probably will remain there for the rest of my life) and home along the main road, and did the first mile in 8:11 (7.34mph), which is not that amazingly fast I know but is a record for me. Felt absolutely knackered at the end, though.

Distance: 1.39 miles
Time: 11:22
Splits: 8:11, 3:11
Average pace: 8:11

Juneathon distance run so far: 96.4 miles
Juneathon running time so far: 15:50:23
Juneathon days completed: 25/30
Average pace over month: 9:52

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 24

Twenty-four down, six to go...

Another 6-miler today, and an opportunity to test out my scary new sports bra. Have been feeling quite tired and leg-achey today, and running felt like hard work, not that it doesn't always, but particularly so today, and it wasn't a fast one. First two miles were pretty uphill, and accordingly slow, did pick up the pace a bit after that but not by much, nevertheless felt thoroughly knackered by the end.

Scary new bra performed admirably, however. And at least I didn't have to play an 11-hour tennis match, or look like a complete plonker bowing to the Queen.

Distance: 6.37 miles
Time: 1:03:41
  • 10:40
  • 10:47
  • 9:30
  • 9:43
  • 9:44
  • 9:37
  • 3:39
Average pace: 10:00

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 95.01 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 15:39:01
Juneathon days completed: 24/30

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 23

...And the final week approaches.

Just a (very late) 2-miler today, after yesterday's disappointing effort, out along the road and back along the old railway line, which was probably a bit stupid as it was nearly dark, but luckily there were no potential attackers lurking in the bushes, or at least if there were, they stayed lurking in the bushes and didn't bother attacking me. I think the idea that they might did make me run a bit faster, though, in an effort to get home before darkness completely fell.

Earlier, watched some men in red shirts playing football against some men in white shirts, which seemed to go reasonably well for once, although probably just delays what will now be the inevitable exit against Germany.

In other news, got another letter from the Traffic Enforcement people in a place I have never been to where a car which is not mine was recently being merrily driven around in bus lanes by someone who was not me. Happily, it appears my "representation has been accepted", which is apparently their way of saying "oops, we was wrong, sorry". Well, they did write back quickly, so they get brownie points for that if not for the original cock-up.

Distance: 2.01 miles
Time: 20:02
Splits: 10:44, 9:13
(actually the first mile felt faster than that, but I guess Gary Garmin doesn't lie. Or does he? No, probably not.)
Average pace: 9:58

Total Juneathon miles run so far: 88:64 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 22

Well, that was embarrassingly dire.

Was planning a long run today (last one before half marathon). It's hot, and I wasn't feeling great, and I thought Maybe I won't do a long run today or maybe I'll just do a shorter one than planned. Then I thought no, the half marathon day might be hot and I might not be feeling that great but I won't be able to just not do it or say I'm doing a shorter version instead. Or at least, I could, but it would be a bit rubbish and the people who have sponsored me might ask for their money back. So off I set in my shorts and Baker Hughes 10k race t-shirt with my water bottle and chewy sweet things and fully charged MP3 player, even though I hate carrying loads of stuff with me.

However. Two miles in, I was already knackered, hot, sweaty and my legs were killing me. Three miles in (this is the embarrassing bit), my thighs started chafing uncomfortably. I don't know why, I've worn those shorts before without incident, so I can only assume it was (a) due to the heat and general sweatiness, or (b) that my legs have suddenly, i.e. in the last few days, got significantly fatter (which seems unlikely). Whatever the reason it got sorer and sorer and I was reduced to a crappy walk/run type effort for the rest of the way home, and only managed six and a bit miles in a rubbish time, which is just shameful, and yes I am thoroughly ashamed of myself and my confidence has taken a definite knock because I need to do twice that distance next Sunday.

However at least I now know not to wear those shorts on race day. Or maybe I need to try that Bodyglide stuff?

Off for a good cry now.

Distance: 6.26 miles
Time: 1:04:51
  • 10:16
  • 9:55
  • 10:07
  • 10:41
  • 10:34
  • 10:17
  • 2:21
Average pace: 10:22

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 86.63 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 14:15:18
Juneathon days completed: 22/30

Monday, 21 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 21

Half-marathon now in less than two weeks, and I’m starting to panic. To be honest, it’s the hills that are worrying me. If it was flat, I would be slightly more confident. Though only slightly. Admittedly the hills are mostly for the first 4 miles (map with elevation profile here). But still.

When I first looked at the website it stated there was a cut-off time for the HM of 2 hours 45 minutes, and that anyone taking longer than this would be "picked up by the sweeper vehicle and taken to the finish line" (yikes!). This conjured up alarming images of me, stumbling along at around the 10 mile mark, desperately trying to keep one step ahead of a vehicle with brushes intent on sweeping me up. However, this now seems to have disappeared from the website, or if it’s there I can’t find it. Not that I plan on taking as long as 2:45 anyway. But you never know.
Anyway, I’m planning on doing my last long pre-HM run tomorrow and am thinking of trying to do the full distance (except without so many hills), mainly for the psychological boost of knowing I can do it. Assuming I can, of course. Any expert thoughts on whether this is a good or stupid plan?

Any thoughts on what time I should be aiming for would also be welcome. My 10k PB (longest race so far) is 57:43, but that was on a flat course. My longest training run to date, just over 11 miles, was at 10:03 average pace, but again not as hilly as the race will be. Race predictor type things seem to suggest around, or just under, 2:15 but I think this may be over-ambitious given the hills. (Did I mention the hills?)

Just a short run tonight, anyway, after last night's 10k and ahead of tomorrow's long run.

Distance: 2.22 miles
Time: 21:16
Splits: 9:51, 9:31, 1:55
Average pace: 9:35

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 80.37 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 13:10:27
Juneathon days completed: 21/30

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 20

Apart from Tuesday's 11-miler, I've been doing really short runs all week (5k on Friday was the longest), so today seemed a good day to do a slightly longer one, although I'm saving my longest pre-half-marathon run for this Tuesday. Tonight's was a more-or-less-10k trot along the old railway line and back along the main road. Definitely am getting faster, though, because although I was deliberately keeping to an easy pace (and consciously slowing down at some points where I felt I was going too fast) I ran an average pace of 9:39, which I would have struggled to achieve over this distance not long ago.

In other news, I am now the proud owner of my first ever black toenail. Lovely!

Distance: 6.28 miles
Time: 1:00:36
  • 9:38
  • 9:40
  • 9:41
  • 9:48
  • 9:31
  • 9:40
  • 2:38
Average pace: 9:39

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 78.15 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 12:49:11
Juneathon days completed: 20/30
Black toenails: 1/10

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 19

It's nice to be over halfway through the Juneathon experience. (Yes, I know the halfway point was actually a few days ago, my maths isn't that bad.) I don't know about anyone else but I always find the halfway point to be psychologically important on my long runs, as that's the point where I can start thinking I now have less distance yet to run than distance already completed. (In fact I sometimes start doing complicated sums in my head about percentage completed and percentage still to go. Yes, it's an interesting place inside my head.)

Anyway, today I decided to weigh myself, which I very rarely ever do because I'm not really all that fascinated with how much I weigh, and I'm not overweight although I am a few pounds heavier than I used to be (I blame turning forty, although I suppose having a baby might have had something to do with it as well), and after all I didn't take up running to lose weight, which is just as well because I never do seem to lose any. Even running every day for Juneathon. You would think that a person who is running every day would weigh less than the same person doing no exercise at all (i.e. me, about 18 months ago) but this does not seem to follow. Suppose I must eat more than I think I do.

Just a short run tonight, though involving a couple of steepish, if thankfully short, hills.

Distance: 1.72 miles
Time: 17:25
Splits: 10:18, 07:06
Average pace: 10:08

Total Juneathon miles so far: 71.87 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 11:56:76
Juneathon days completed: 19/30

Friday, 18 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 18

Well, looks like I am definitely getting faster :)

After watching some football, about which the less said the better, headed out in the near darkness for a 5k run at tempo pace, which I managed in the record-breaking (for me) time of 27:09. To put this in perspective, it's the first time I've ever managed more than one consecutive sub-9 minute mile, or had an average pace of under 9 minutes.

Maybe Juneathon is working.

Distance: 3.34 miles (5.37 km)
Time: 29:14
  • 8:52
  • 8:42
  • 8:53
  • 2:47
Average pace: 8:45

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 70.15 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 11:31:09
Juneathon days completed: 18/30

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 17

Continuing this week's general theme of bizarre car stuff, I received a letter from a distant council demanding I pay £120 for a motoring offence committed by someone who is not me, driving a car which is not mine, in a place to which I have never been (although apparently Jogblog was born there). I have to write to them explaining why I don't think I should have to pay this £120. Where to begin....?

Later, got in a panic about impending half marathon and went out to force myself up some hills - didn't have time for a longer run today, but managed 25 minutes. On the downhill last half mile I thought I'd have a go at running at seven-minute-mile pace, just to see what it felt like. Well, I can confirm it feels - for me - uncomfortably fast, even downhill. How anyone can run marathons, or 10k's for that matter, or any distance at all really, at a considerably faster pace than that is beyond me. Then accidentally trod on a large stone which someone had considerately left in the middle of the pavement and narrowly avoided doing something unpleasant to my ankle. That'll teach me to look where I'm going.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 25:31
  • 11:09
  • 9:49
  • 4:34
Average pace: 10:12 (quite pleased with this given the hilliness of the route, although I guess it was lowered ever so slightly by the microsecond during which I ran at seven-minute-mile pace)

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 66.81 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 11:01:55
Juneathon days completed: 17/30

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 16

Over halfway and onto the home straight. :)

Decidedly dodgy stomach in the middle of the night last night and again this morning, and in fact all day. Did wonder if horrible energy gel was implicated, though it seems unlikely I can blame it for upsetting my stomach twelve hours later. Seems a coincidence, though, as usually have cast iron stomach. Not sure whether to try again next week or try something else. I did buy a packet of something called "Ride Shots" (I think they're meant for cyclists, but don't see why runners can't use them) after seeing them in Holland & Barrett, so might give them a go, and will also get some jelly beans as suggested by Eating Trees and Iliketocount. Got to be tastier than the gel. (PS, just read article in magazine - not an advert - stating that these exact gels come in a "range of tasty flavours". I don't know what the writer's usual diet can be like if they seriously consider that sugary, medicine-like monstrosity, which shall remain nameless, a tasty flavour.)

Other new thing I did yesterday was to try out my new foam roller on my sore calves. OW. And again OW. Instructions say "Pause at any tender spots". Um, what are you meant to do if entire lower leg is composed of tender spots? Is, in fact, one large (not THAT large, thank you) tender spot? Strangely satisfying, however, in an AAAAARGH THAT HURTS kind of way, and calves are not at all sore today.

Various other aches and pains have started to pop up, though, most noticeably a pain on the top of my left foot. I made the mistake of googling "pain on top of foot" and, inevitably, immediately wished I hadn't. Well, it's not too bad, so I'm adopting a policy of ignoring it at the moment. Also got a black toenail on the other foot, and then proceeded to stub it painfully on a table leg this morning, so that's a bit sore as well.

What with dodgy stomach and sore feet and whatnot I didn't feel hugely like running today, but finally made it out of the house for a very short and easy run after yesterday's 11 miles (though it did include a couple of short, but steep, hills), and my tum behaved itself and I forgot about the sore feet after the first couple of minutes, so all is well.

Distance: 1.54 miles
Time: 16:51
Splits: 11:03, 5:48
Average pace: 10:57 (this might actually be my slowest ever average pace...)

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 64.31 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 10:36:24
Juneathon days completed: 16/30

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 15

Celebrated Juneathon halfway point with my longest run to date. That's ever, not just during Juneathon. Thought it would be sensible to use this opportunity to do as all the books advise and Practise My Race Strategy. This entails "refuelling", which it would appear does not mean stopping off at the petrol station for a tenner's worth of unleaded, but ingesting various weird and wonderful (legal) substances designed to prevent you from collapsing into a whimpering heap at the halfway point. Accordingly I took a drink with me, which I hardly ever do though I know I should, and my first ever energy gel, since I thought I might well need some extra help during the race and I really ought to try them out.

Strictly speaking, Practising My Race Strategy would have involved running uphill for four miles, since that's basically what the first part of the Stonehaven Half Marathon entails, but I'm not hardcore enough to do that when I don't absolutely have to, so I started with a quick (actually not that quick) lap of the park, back past my house, along to the Bridge of Dee roundabout, along the river to the bigger park, and back up the old railway line. Basically the same route I did on Sunday, but extended at both ends.

Feeling pretty knackered by the 6 mile point (it was quite hot, which didn't help) and decided to give the gel a whirl, which was easier said than done, as ripping off the top of it proved less straightforward than one might think. Then I had to actually swallow the bloody thing which was also easier said than done as it was foul. Think a tenner of petrol would have tasted nicer. I only took about half the packet. However, it did have somewhat of the desired effect as I felt a bit sharper and less like sitting down and not getting up again. Could have been psychological, of course.

Really need to get my head around this refuelling business a bit more. Are there any gels which don't taste horrible?

Distance: 11.18 miles
Time: 1:52:21
Average pace: 10:02
  • 10:49
  • 10:22
  • 9:50
  • 10:15
  • 9:57
  • 9:54
  • 9:52
  • 10:17
  • 9:47
  • 10:19
  • 9:18
  • 1:39
Total Juneathon distance run so far: 62.77 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 10:19:32

Monday, 14 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 14

Today , and indeed this week, got off to a great start when I couldn’t start the car. Daughter had to get to nursery, I had to get to work. Car would not start. Key turned in ignition OK, engine turned over, but the reassuring sound of the engine firing was conspicuous by its absence. After ten frustrating minutes I gave up and called the AA, who assured me someone would be there within the hour. Daughter and I proceeded back into the house to while away the time playing with dinosaurs and washing the breakfast dishes (and harvesting my Farmville crops). AA man continued not to arrive. He finally materialised at 10.20, tried my key in the ignition, immediately asked me if I had a spare key, which I eventually hunted down among all the other spare keys, tried the spare key in the ignition, and lo and behold, the car started. How much of an idiot did I feel, knowing I could have got the car going in the first place by the simple expedient of trying the spare key (which never occurred to me for a second) and would not then have had to wait an hour and a half for AA man to solve the problem in five seconds. Apparently the old key had "lost its coding". Well, how was I to know? It looked the same...

So I finally made it to work, where I wasted some time reading Juneathon blogs and wondering how the Independent Adjudicator is going to decide the winner. If it goes on total miles run, or indeed entertainment level and professionalism of blog (or for that matter, considering the above start to the day, intelligence of blogger), I have no chance, even though I’m almost certain to do more miles this month than ever before. However, I do think Juneathon is having a positive effect. My legs don’t feel sore at all today despite yesterday’s 7-miler and I have tons of energy, despite having to stay up late last night to pick son up from his job at Cineworld at past midnight.

Anyway 14 days of Juneathon completed, 2 weeks of daily running, so I guess having come this far I'll just have to keep going. Unless I get injured, or ill, or drop dead, or something.

Just a short and (very) slow run today, though. In my defence it did involve hills. I still hate hills.

Remind me again why I'm doing this half marathon in less than three weeks?

Distance: 2.07 miles
Time: 22:12
Splits: 10:59, 10:25, 0:47
Average pace: 10:42

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 51.59 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 8:27:11

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 13

Had planned 11 miles today, but only managed 7. Weather was crap and I wasn't feeling all that great either. Rain did clear up slightly later in the afternoon and I couldn't put it off any longer. First 2 miles were horrible, even though it was partly downhill and I tried a new route which included running along the riverside and back along the old railway line. I actually stopped at one point, ostensibly to admire the prettiness of the river, really because I was knackered. Doubt I was fooling anybody. Then I put on the nice Juneathon mix kindly made available by Audiofuel, and that helped.

Actually, just noticed that was my best ever 7 mile/11km time. So maybe not that crap after all. Just not long enough.

Definitely going to do the 11 on Tuesday, though. Half marathon now only (eek!) three weeks away.

Distance: 7.12 miles
Time: 1:09:57
  • 10:09
  • 9:49
  • 9:55
  • 9:51
  • 9:48
  • 9:41
  • 9:32
  • 1:14
Average pace: 9:49

Untitled by sheri3004 at Garmin Connect - Details

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 49.52
Total Juneathon running time so far: 8:04:50
Juneathon days completed: 13/30

Juneathon: Day 12

My Garmin gave up the ghost directly before I was due to go out on tonight's run. It seems to be a week of flat batteries - last night my MP3 player conked out after two minutes. Anyway, I didn't have time to recharge my Garmin as it was another late evening effort, so had to go for an unmeasured, unrecorded run, which was a slightly worryingly strange experience. Am clearly a slave to technology and find it difficult to believe I've actually done it without lots of numbers and a little map on the computer as proof.

Anyway, both Garmin and MP3 player now fully charged ahead of Sunday long run. Phew!

Distance: 2 miles (approx)
Time: 20 mins (approx)
Average pace: 10:00 (approx)

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 44.4 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 7:15:02
Juneathon days completed: 12/30

Friday, 11 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 11

30 minute fartlek style run out and back along old railway line. Was going to do 40 minutes but it was getting dark. Really must try to get out earlier in the day, but it just isn't working for me at the moment. Quite like evening running, but prefer not to do it in near-darkness.

Anyway, weekend running plan (to be fitted in around football viewing): nice short easy run tomorrow, ahead of long gruelling effort on Sunday. Will try to improve on last Sunday's 10 miles. Will also try to squeeze in yoga session somewhere. Not feeling too bad on 11 continuous days running, but definitely think I need to improve on my stretching.

Distance: 3.22 miles
Time: 30:08
Splits: 9:52, 9:07, 9:04, 2:04
Average pace: 9:21
Best pace: 6:55

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 42.4 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 6:55:02
Juneathon days completed: 11/30

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 10

Juneathon challenge #376: finding clean kit to wear every day. Have managed reasonably well up till now, but today was forced to raid the back of the drawer and hit the streets in a pair of baggy three-quarter length trousers and a voluminous race t-shirt. Looked like elderly skateboarding type person, especially with addition of baseball cap as disguise. Not a good look. Fortunately only did 2 miles (same out and back route as yesterday) - was planning a longer run today but precluded by time constraints/domestic commitments/the fact that it was getting dark out. Definitely doing interval session tomorrow, though. Although I suppose Juneathon running, and indeed life in general, for rest of month will also be constrained by World Cup watching commitments.

Distance: 2.26 miles
Time: 21:50
Splits: 10:21, 9:19, 2:09
Average pace: 9:40

Total Juneathon distance run so far: 39.18 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 6:24:54
Juneathon days completed: 10/30

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 9

Recovered from last night's windswept, rain-drenched, PB-busting beachfront 10k with a gentle evening jog of one mile (slightly uphill) out and one mile (slightly downhill, obviously) back. Nothing interesting to report. Saw a man walking a dog in full running gear (the man, not the dog, which would have been more interesting) but showing no signs of actually running. Perhaps the dog was tired.

Distance: 2.05 miles
Time: 20:37
Splits: 10:37, 9:34
Average pace: 10:03

Total Juneathon distance so far: 36.92 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 6:03:04

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Running Shop Beach 10k Race Report (and Juneathon: Day 8)

When I signed up for The Running Shop Beach 10k I had visions of a lovely sunny evening down at the beach, clearly having temporarily forgotten I live in Aberdeen and mistaken it for somewhere with a pleasant temperate climate. My delightful vision was, of course, completely wrong. Wind. Rain. Cold. Runners huddled together for warmth at the start line. Etc. At least, unlike the last time I ran this race, there was no snow and ice underfoot.

It's a nice flat route, though, if a bit lacking in anything to look at other than grey sea and matching grey sky, and what with all the training I've been doing lately, I had definite PB hopes. Set off fastish, possibly a bit too fast I thought, but I felt OK and went through the first mile in 9:23. Second mile still felt OK and did it in 9:16, worried I was going too fast (as my plan was to stick to around 9:39 min/miles with a view to squeezing in under the hour). But I think the training is paying off and I am definitely getting faster, because I was still happily plodding along and did the third mile in 9:15. Wind and rain was playing havoc with my Garmin, though, which kept whizzing from screen to screen, and around the halfway point it suddenly occurred to me that I could, in fact, lock the bezel to stop it doing that, so I did, but not before I had accidentally stopped the timer and had to restart it again. Continued to plod and found myself actually overtaking some people, including the bananas who seem to do every race I ever go to and run at about the same pace. But I left the bananas far behind this time so I must be improving.

Did feel pretty rough in the last mile and was severely tempted to stop and walk (why? why does this always happen to me in races?) but managed to keep going and finally dragged myself over the finish line in, according to my Garmin, an amazing 57:43, a good 3.5 minutes better than my previous PB, and 5 minutes faster than the last time I ran this course, six months ago. (Official time might be slightly different as it took me several seconds to cross the start line and I'm not actually sure exactly where the finish line was, but shouldn't be radically different.)

No medal or t-shirt, but I did get an Asics gym bag and a plastic cup of orange squash. And a big PB. Woohoo!

I love Juneathon.

Distance: 6.22 miles
Time: 57:43
Splits: 9:23, 9:16, 9:15, 9:20, 9:15, 9:07, 2:07
Average pace: 9:17

Total Juneathon distance so far: 34.87 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 5:42:27

Monday, 7 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 7

Concluding the first week of Juneathon, and (nearly) a quarter of the way through, I thought it might be a good time to review how things have been going so far. I’ve run every day for a week – not quite on a par, admittedly, with Ron Hill running every day for 100 years, or however long it now is, but a first for me. My concerns a week ago were mainly around (a) finding the time to run (and blog), and (b) not overdoing it, since I’m not used to running or indeed doing any other form of exercise every day and I didn't want to either wear myself out completely or, worse, pick up an overuse injury. My hopes were, basically, to get fitter (and win all the prizes, obviously, but that goes without saying).

Anyway it may be tempting fate but: so far, so good. I've managed to run every day (albeit very short, easy efforts on the "in between" days) and I'm not knackered, or injured, in fact I have noticeably more energy. And it's probably too early to tell, but I think my running may be improving, as I seem to be able to maintain a faster pace for longer (cf. yesterday's long run and Friday's 10k). Fingers crossed it continues. I have a 10k race tomorrow so will be interested to see if I (a) blast my previous PB to smithereens, or (b) collapse and die.

Just to completely undermine all of the above, I didn't really feel like going out for a run tonight, as had attack of tiredness probably brought on by lack of sleep last night (daughter had nightmare at 2am which resulted in whole household having to wake up and then stay awake for ages trying to get her back to sleep). So once she was in bed tonight I more or less conked out and seriously considered not bothering to Juneathon. Then thought No! The gods of Juneathon (and the Independent Adjudicator) must be appeased! so got off my lazy backside and out for a very short and very slow jog along to the park and back. Saw a young deer peeping out from between the trees on the way back, which was worth going out for in itself.

Distance: 1.22 miles
Time: 13:01
Splits: 11:02, 1:59
Average pace: 10:40

Total Juneathon distance so far: 28:65
Total Juneathon running time so far: 4:44:44

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 6

Didn't really feel like going out for today's planned 10 mile run, partly because the weather looked unpromising, but mainly because I felt stupidly nervous about it, given that on the only previous occasion I attempted to run 10 miles I felt awful the whole way and only managed 9 and a bit. So was hoping, indeed needing, to remedy that today, as half-marathon is now a mere 4 weeks away, but I can't say I felt confident. Spent morning buying daughter a new car seat and "helping" husband buy new football boots in JJB Sports, where I discovered an entire, pink section of the shop devoted to women's exercise equipment, which was a bit perturbing. Why would you want pink weights?

Anyway, finally set off for run about 3.30pm with freshly loaded MP3 player (didn't feel in the mood for music so had downloaded comedy podcasts - Alan Davies' World Cup programme from Radio 5, and Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy, guess middle age really is setting in) and stupid bum bag type thing which won't stay put and bobs around my waist annoyingly, containing phone, key and a handful of jelly beans. Never used to bother taking my phone but then thought "what if I fall down a hole and twist my ankle in the middle of nowhere" so now I do take it. Sometimes. Didn't bother with a drink, although I was going to take one and probably should have done, in the interests of Good Hydration as advised by all the books, but I don't like carrying stuff, so I didn't, even though I bought one of those oval shaped bottles specifically for this purpose. Maybe I will use it next week.

So anyway, I ran up the hill (slow first mile, as always) and along the main road towards Peterculter, and luckily the rain more or less held off for most of the way, and some of the time I felt quite good and some of the time I thought, there is NO WAY I am ever going to manage 10 miles, but I kept going, ran through Peterculter, turned round and ran back through it the other way, then back onto the old railway line (at about 5.5 miles) towards home. Confess I did have a couple of short walk breaks at this point, one at about 6 miles and one at about 7 miles, but in my defence they were very brief. Reached the path heading down towards my house and had only done 8.7 miles so pushed myself on a bit further and managed to complete the 10. Yay! And amazingly, even with the walk breaks, in an overall average pace of just under 10 minute miles, which as I am aiming for 10:15 minute miles in the half marathon, I was well pleased with. Though to be fair, the half marathon is hillier, at least in the first few miles. But still, yay.

Distance: 10.08 miles
Time: 1:40:17
Splits: 10:59, 9:51, 9:51, 9:41, 9:57, 9:52, 10:19, 9:46, 10:02, 9:17
Average pace: 9:57

Total Juneathon distance so far: 27.43 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 4:31:43

I'm going to try and upload the Garmin data here, but it won't work, because it never does, and I don't know why, because although it looks OK when I preview it it never seems to show up in the actual post.


Don't know whether this works any better.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 5

Didn't get out for a run until evening again today, mainly because mother-in-law was coming round for tea and therefore I obviously had to spend the entire day cleaning the house and cooking the tea. Although all this additional housework may well have qualified as extra exercise, I thought it probably sadly wouldn't count as Juneathon, so hauled myself out of the house for a short run. Definitely a short one tonight as I did 6 miles last night and am planning a 10-miler tomorrow, and the last time I attempted a 10-miler I felt awful the entire way and only finished up doing 9 and a bit and even then had to stop a couple of times during it, so this time I don't want to knacker myself too much beforehand.

Ran up two hills very slowly and then slightly but not much faster on some flat and downhill bits, once round the small park, up the short but evil incline at the end of the park, and along the road back home. Uneventful. Smiled at man walking towards me along the narrow pavement on the way home but he pretended not to have seen me. Even though I was running towards him along a narrow pavement.

Distance: 1.8 miles
Time: 18:45
Splits: 10:41, 8:04
Average pace: 10:25

Total Juneathon distance so far: 17.35 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 2:51:26

Friday, 4 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 4

Maybe this running every day as per Juneathon is having a positive effect, even though it's only been 4 days, or maybe it's just a coincidence, I don't know, but fabulous run this evening. Didn't manage to get out till nearly 9pm, ran along the old railway line (didn't see the llama on this occasion but did see zillions of young rabbits nibbling grass and scooting back and forth across the path, very cute, wished I had taken camera), and then back along the main road. Felt great the whole way, even the first couple of miles which are usually horrible till I get warmed up, did feel I was flagging a bit in the last mile though actually managed it in fastest split time of whole run. Listening to Neil Young, XTC and early REM on my MP3 player. Barely thought about my pace the whole way and was surprised to find I had run 6.25 miles in 1:00:16 without particularly trying.

Now, can someone tell me why I can't manage a sub-60 10k in a race?

Distance: 6.25 miles
Time: 1:00:16
Splits: 10:03, 9:46, 9:42, 9:45, 9:28, 9:21
Average pace: 9:39

Total Juneathon distance so far: 15.55 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 2:32:41

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Juneathon: Day 3

So this has been the first Juneathon day when I have really struggled to find the time to run, which I knew would happen. Had to work in the morning (so unreasonable that they expect me to show up from time to time when I'd far rather be out running), then had daughter to look after in the afternoon, then husband didn't come home till lateish and promptly wanted to go out to play football. So today's very short run had to be squeezed in before tea - along to the park, round the park, back home, short but hillyish, just over a mile. Hardly seems worth bothering to put on my trainers for a crappy 10 minutes, but I did say I was going to do short little runs in between the longer ones in the interests of injury prevention and not getting excessively knackered. So that's what I did. And will do some of my Core Fusion Body Sculpt DVD later for good measure.

Distance: 1.13 miles
Time: 10:37
Splits: 9:28, 1:10
Average pace: 9:23

Total Juneathon distance so far: 9.3 miles
Total Juneathon running time so far: 1:32:25