Monday, 31 January 2011

The End.

It's the end of Janathon! (Boo!) And the beginning of my marathon training! (Yay!)

Janathon has been an enjoyable and enlightening experience. I've loved reading people's blogs and have learned many new and interesting things, particularly about squirrels. I've marvelled at the amazing mileage achieved by some people. And I've loved running every day. It's been easier than I thought, actually, although there have been a few late nights hitting the treadmill when I couldn't get out during the day. But I've managed without *too* much difficulty (admittedly the last couple of days of feeling ill haven't been great) and I definitely feel stronger (even, maybe, very slightly faster) as a result of running every day.

I won't be continuing with daily runs - long-term, they're hard to fit in, and I think once I get well into my marathon training I'll be needing the rest days - but I can honestly say I'll miss them. Even the treadmill ones.

A million thanks to Cathy for superb Janathon organisation, especially as it has expanded so dramatically from previous Juneathons! I think Janathon can definitely be pronounced a success :)

Because I am an idiot, I looked at my marathon schedule this morning and immediately noticed that rather than being for 16 weeks as I had previously thought, it is in fact for 17 weeks. Oops. After a moment's panic I figured out this problem is easily solvable by simply beginning at week 2 instead, especially as week 1 called for a 7 mile run and an interval session, both of which I actually did anyway last week. Phew. Got off the mark today with a 30 minute easy run.

Today's stats

Distance: 3.18 miles
Time: 30:24
Pace: 9:34

Dull Janathon statistics:

Total miles run: 131.07
Total running time: 21:12:05
Average pace: 9:42
Races: 2
PBs: 1
Calories burnt: 14,340
Elevation gain: 4,762ft
Longest run: 9.09 miles
Shortest run: 2.22 miles
Janathon days completed: 31/31 yippee!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Still lurgified

Still not feeling fabulous today (sore throat, runny nose, blah blah blah) and was hmming and ha-ing about whether to go for a run. I had 10 miles planned for today and I kind of wanted to do it because it was bright and sunny out, though cold, and a lovely day for a run, but on the other hand I kind of didn't feel very energised what with the sore throat and blah blah blah. But then I thought well, it's the second last day of Janathon and it would be a shame to break the streak now, and I don't have to do 10 miles anyway since marathon training hasn't even started yet so I decided to just head out and see how I felt and maybe just do 2 or 3 miles.

Felt OK initially but I noticed my heart rate was right up and thought ooh, maybe that's because I'm not well, only then during the second mile it dropped right down and was much lower than usual, so I thought either I'm so ill I've actually died or else my HRM isn't working properly, and the latter seemed more likely (since I still haven't replaced the battery). So I disregarded the HR info after that and trundled along feeling not too bad really, along the road and up the hill and along the railway line (where I saw LOADS of other runners) and onto the main road and along the main road and down the steps back onto the other bit of railway line and thence home, and finished up doing 7 miles.

Day 30 stats;

Distance: 7.07 miles
Time: 1:09:38
Splits: 10:44, 9:46, 9:49, 9:53, 9:50, 9:3, 9:23
Average pace: 9:51

Total Janathon miles so far: 127.89

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Quick gallop (OK, trot) around somewhat undulating local 5k route today, as that was all I had time for due to impending tea-time visit of mother-in-law - am hoping to get out for 10 miles tomorrow, though. I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose this morning (I blame last night's red wine, which has clearly poisoned me), which has got slightly better over the course of the day but is still there. Felt OK during run, but very tired and lacking in oomph this evening. Am hoping missing energy has returned by the morning.

Day 29 stats:

Distance: 3.23 miles
Time: 30:16
Splits: 10:22, 9:09, 8:58, 1:46
Average pace: 9:22

Total Janathon miles so far: 120.82

Eat, drink, run

Janathon day 28 was a day of much eating and drinking and not much running, since I went out both for my lunch (to Nando's) and my tea (to the local hotel) which is practically unprecedented in one day, and also during the latter had the biggest glass of red wine I've ever seen, which may not sound much to the hardened Janathon drinkers out there (I know you exist) but I am exceedingly poor at drinking these days and felt quite peculiar as a result. Anyway in between these mad whirls of social activity I managed to squeeze in a trip to the gym, which was quite busy, probably because I was there in the early evening rather than at dead of night (10pm) when I usually go, and ran yet another 5k-and-a-bit on the treadmill.

Day 28 stats:

Distance: 3.29 miles
Time: 30:17
Splits: 9:35, 9:07, 9:00, 2:34
Average pace: 9:12

Total Janathon miles so far: 117.59

Incidentally have now surpassed previous highest mileage month of 116 miles which was, amazingly enough, during Juneathon last year.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Ah, Winterval, that eternal bĂȘte noire of the tabloid press, despite never having really existed, or at least not in the way they pretended it did. I have decided to reclaim the word and apply it instead to "intervals which take place when it is cold". Which today was.

We headed off to the outdoor track at Aberdeen Sports Village, which we had very much to ourselves apart from a couple of guys who were there at the very beginning and another one who came later and did a few terrifyingly fast 200m intervals. Oh, and a load of schoolchildren who all trooped through on their way to something else. But basically the track was ours. Felt very important and professional-affleet like, having a massive track all to ourselves, except when the fast guy was running about three times faster than we were.

I'd vaguely planned to run some 400m intervals at my goal 10k pace, which is currently about 8:45/mile as my goal for the year is to get under 55 minutes, but when we got there this seemed a bit unambitious particularly as we have another mile race coming up in Feb so after the first couple of laps I decided to aim for around 7-7:15 pace.

After a couple of laps warm up, I managed 8 x 400m intervals all in well under 2 minutes, as follows:

Time Pace
1 01:54 07:47
2 01:54 07:52
3 01:47 07:14
4 01:43 06:56
5 01:49 07:17
6 01:43 07:03
7 01:46 07:08
8 01:43 06:56

Now if only I could run at that pace for longer than 400 metres...

Had plenty of recovery time for the first 4 as we were chatting in between, but tried to do the second 4 a bit quicker with much less recovery time. Pace felt manageably hard, not flat out but pushing myself a bit. I really enjoyed it and am going to make more use of the track from now on, I think - v reasonably priced for off peak hours at £1.90 per person for an unlimited time.

Total miles today including warm-up: 2.54
Total Janathon miles so far: 114.3

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New shoes + mud + no sense of direction

Day 26 and hurrah! a new pair of trail shoes arrived in the post, courtesy of I Run Because I Love Food. Well, strictly speaking they arrived yesterday, but I was out at work, so the postman put a card through the door. Also on this card was a confession that he had accidentally put two other, smaller parcels through the door of a neighbour on the next street. Who happens to be on holiday. Grrrr. I'll have to do without my Graze box for a while then, and it was a particularly nice one too.

Anyway, I picked up the shoe parcel from the post office this morning in great excitement, and very nice they are too. I'm planning a longer trail run at the weekend to try them out properly as I'd only planned a short run this morning, but the shoes and I went on a little jaunt together up a muddy hill and along the path and then I departed from the path slightly to have a look at some building work (where there didn't seem to be much work going on but several men were sitting around in vans) and unfortunately like an idiot got slightly lost and finished up doing 2.87 muddy miles rather than the intended 2. Will write a detailed shoe review later once I've been on a longer run, but can report that they seemed to cope well with the churned up mud around the building site where no building was being done.

Day 26 stats:

Distance: 2.87
Time: 27:26
Pace: 9:34
Splits: 9:16, 10:13, 7:57

Total Janathon miles so far: 111.76
Plank record of the day: 45 seconds

Into the final week

Lovely 6.6 mile day 25 run along a route I haven't done for a while - down the hill, over the roundabout, along the river and back up the railway line. It was a beautiful afternoon for a run and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Was quite pleased also to do the first 10k in under an hour, which I thought wasn't bad (a) for a training run which (b) included some (OK, slight) inclines, and (c) also included some stopping to cross the road. My 10k goal for this year is sub-55, though I need to find a race where that might just be doable, since the Balmoral 10k (best known as "the one with that bloody hill in it") certainly isn't going to be it.

It's the last week of Janathon! Though I start my marathon training on the 31st, so I'm not exactly going to be getting a rest from running, even if I won't be doing it every day. I think I'm going to miss running every day, actually. What will I do with all the free time? Well, there's always planks.... I'm now up to a mighty 40 seconds.

Day 25 stats:

Distance: 6.62 miles
Time: 1:03:18
Pace: 9:34
* 10:16
* 9:21
* 9:30
* 9:40
* 9:31
* 9:28
* 5:33

Total Janathon miles run so far: 108.89

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Core strength

I’ve been forced to conclude that I don’t have any. Well, not much. Well, none, basically. I know this is bad. I just haven’t made much effort with it up to now. For the last couple of days I’ve been doing planks till I’m blue in the face (literally, almost) and I can hold them for a bit longer before collapsing in a quivering heap, though still not for long at all (I think 30 agonising seconds is my record so far, which is an improvement on the 5 seconds I managed the first time I tried) but blimey, they hurt. I think it’s doing me good, though. Even now, sitting at my desk, I can feel my stomach muscles aching, so something must be happening there.

Maybe it’s time to dig out and maybe even remove the plastic wrapper from the Core Fusion DVD I bought, er, over a year ago.

Weird treadmill run last night. Felt as if I was working really hard (and my HRM concurred) but only covered just over 3 miles in just over 30 minutes. Maybe they’ve changed the calibration of the treadmill. Or maybe, and admittedly this is the more likely explanation, I’m just knackered.

On the plus side, I’ve now done over 100 miles in January.

Day 24 stats:

Distance: 3.06 miles
Time: 30:08
Average pace: 9:50
Total Janathon miles so far: 102.27

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Quiet heart

I had 9 miles planned today, which would represent my longest run in quite some time. I dug out my heart rate monitor, also for the first time in ages, and made the decision that today I was going to do my best to not think about pace at all and just concentrate on keeping my heart rate at a manageable level. This is because while I *know* I should be running slower on long runs especially during marathon training, that it's not so much about pace as about time on feet, I have an awful habit of continually looking at my Garmin and thinking I was quicker than this last time and I really should speed up a bit.

To this end I set my watch to show heart rate only and set off along the railway line, my intention being to check distance only occasionally (so I knew at what point to turn back) and to check pace not at all. This worked pretty well, actually (with another episode of Marathon Talk on my MP3 player to provide distraction) and while my heart rate did drift very gradually upwards as the miles went on, I managed to keep it at a reasonable level most of the time. Had a really pleasant and comfortable run (if wet, muddy and still icy in places), enjoying views over the fields and later the river, never felt particularly tired or inclined to stop, and was quite surprised to find at the end that my pace was still a fairly respectable (for me) long run pace of 10:12/mile.

Today's stats:

Distance: 9.09 miles
Time: 1:32:42
* 10:32
* 9:54
* 10:00
* 10:23
* 10:17
* 10:23
* 10:39
* 10:00
* 9:50

Average pace: 10:12

Total Janathon miles so far: 99.21

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Today's run was soundtracked by the latest episode of Marathon Talk, a podcast by Martin Yelling and, er, another bloke whose name escapes me, which I had heard of but never listened to before. Was quite interesting, featuring a long interview with Liz McColgan (former Commonwealth gold medallist, winner of various marathons), whose place now is just over from where I used to work a few years ago in Carnoustie. (Sometimes known as "Car-snooty" due to it being quite an affluent area.) There are 54 episodes to listen to and they seem to go on forever, over an hour anyway, so that should keep me going for the foreseeable future.

I'm hoping to get out for a longer run tomorrow but today's was just a quick 4-miler. It had been intended as an even quicker 3 miler, but I decided on the spur of the moment, because I'm just such an exciting and spontaneous type, to do something which I for some reason never normally do and turn left up the hill (that'll be the reason) rather than right at a particular junction, and that added a bit more onto the distance. So it finished up as

Distance: 4.19 miles
Time: 39:02
Splits: 10:06, 9:24, 9:22, 8:45, 1:26
Average pace: 9:19

Total Janathon miles run so far: 90.12

Friday, 21 January 2011

(21 days of) Janathon

Thought I would do a little end-of-week-3 Janathon review.

Running every day has been going quite well, really. I don't feel unduly tired. I don't ache. I think I have more energy, in fact, and am warming up into my runs more quickly. Admittedly I haven't done any particularly long runs - 8 miles has been the longest so far - but I'm thinking I will have more than my fill of long runs once my Edinburgh Marathon training starts at the end of January, so it's just a case of ticking over at the moment. I haven't done any runs of less than 2 miles so far in January and most have been 3 or more, which is an improvement on Juneathon last year when quite a few runs were a mile-and-a-bit.

Running every day hasn't felt especially arduous, although there have been mornings like this one when I felt lethargic and disinclined to head out of the door - but it's always fine when I get going. Finding the time is a bit of a challenge, and blogging every day is definitely a challenge! I'm in awe of the people like Shazruns who get up in the wee small hours of the morning to go out for several mile runs and then come back and blog it. I don't think I could ever run at that time of day, and if I did it would probably wipe me out for the rest of the day. At least.

Today did a quick out-and-back 5k (and a bit) along the railway line after dropping daughter off at nursery. Ran the 5k in 29 minutes, which I was quite pleased with given that the first bit was uphill and I had to pick my way slowly across a few still-icy bits. Did not see any wildlife apart from a couple of dogs taking their owners out for a walk.

Distance: 3.16 miles
Time: 29:27
Splits: 9:43, 9:19, 9:11, 1:14
Average pace: 9:19

Total Janathon miles run so far: 85.93
Total Janathon running time so far: 13:58:13
Average Janathon pace: 9:45
Juneathon day 21 equivalent distance: 80.37 (running time 13:10:27)

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Very pleasant trot around Hazlehead Park with running friend today. Sunny, but very cold. We are thinking about possibilities of getting a parkrun started in Aberdeen (which would be ACE) although there are a few hitches. Hazlehead would definitely be my preferred location, though, as there are miles of trails over a variety of terrain, a few up and down inclines but nothing too terrifying, and it's widely used by runners. In fact we saw lots today, including a bunch of unenthusiastic looking teenagers who looked like they were on a PE lesson and didn't think much of it.

I usually run on my own but it's nice to have company for once and not have to think about how fast I'm going. We did just over 5 miles at a pretty (well, very) slow pace, but it was fine. And Maggiee will no doubt be relieved to hear that we saw NO SQUIRRELS. Not a single one.

The campaign is working!

Day 20 stats:

Distance: 5.15 miles
Time: 58:20
Average pace: 11:18

Total Janathon miles so far: 82.77

Another day, another 5k on the treadmill...

Back in the gym for day 19 Juneathon effort. It wasn't as busy as Monday, in fact there weren't many people there at all. I'm starting to think I should make an effort to pick one treadmill and try to use it every time, though, since I swear all six of them are calibrated differently and 5k on one bears little relation to 5k on another. Of course, if I do do this, sod's law will inevitably dictate that every time I go, my chosen 'mill will be occupied by somebody walking very slowly for ages. Bring on the lighter nights when I won't have to go to the gym in order to run in the evening and can use it for cross-training like wot I intended when I joined. Having said that, though, I'm kind of enjoying the dreadmill when I use it, although I wouldn't want to be on it every day. I'm doing around 5k of intervals (including a warm-up), at between around 6.6mph and 7mph for the intervals and then down to 6mph for the recovery.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to do more cross-training, but I've been very poor at sticking to that one. Have done a bit (and I mean a bit) of weight training in the gym, and an even smaller bit of "Yoga for Runners" from my book, and, er, that's about it. I even bought some weights to use at home, but I haven't used them much so far. When I start my marathon schedule at the end of January, it dictates 1 or 2 days cross-training per week, so hopefully that will give me a bit more motivation to actually do some. Hopefully.

Day 19 stats:

Distance: 3.3 miles
Time: 30:06
Average pace: 9:07
Total Janathon miles so far: 77.61

Current weight: 9st 11
Total weight loss: 8lb (but am ravenous today for some reason)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Happy runner

Day 18's Janathon effort was a very pleasant 6.5 mile run around a loop I haven't done for a while - down the old railway line (now largely ice-free, though there were still a few dodgy patches) to Duthie Park, and back up the main road. I took it easy, but was pleased to find that the "hill" (not much of one, really) around halfway which used to terrorise me and send my heart rate skyrocketing when I ran this route as part of my marathon training (even when I was only a few miles into a long run) now seemed like no big deal whatsoever. I did run slower up it, but it didn't feel like particularly hard work. So maybe I am getting fitter. Generally felt good today, particularly in the last couple of miles. I love running on days like this.

Must get my HRM back into action, though. Last time I used it, which was a while ago, it was all over the place and recording silly figures (I seem to remember 240!) and I figured it needed a new battery, but have yet to get around to replacing it. Mission for this week: buy new battery for HRM. ("Putting the battery in" might be too ambitious, I'll settle for buying it...)

Day 18 stats:

Distance: 6.52 miles
Time: 1:04:41
* 10:49
* 9:56
* 9:57
* 10:32
* 9:56
* 9:08
* 4:22

Average pace: 9:55

Total Janathon miles run so far: 74.31
Janathon days completed: 18/31

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Running on the spot

Just a quick blog post this morning, as I didn't get around to blogging after the gym last night. Yes, it was back to the dreadmill for me, as I had no chance to get out during the day, so off I went to the gym to investigate whether the January influx continued apace or whether they had started flagging yet. There were still quite a few people there, not as many as last time, but more than usual for 9pm on a Monday... The only other person on the treadmills, though, was the same Chinese man I saw last time, still wearing loads of clothes (shirt, warm-looking sweatshirt, long trousers). If I tried to run for even 5 minutes in all those clothes, in the already warm gym, I would probably faint. It didn't seem to bother him though.

Ran 5k-and-a-bit on the treadmill. I know it's not what people usually say, but I find the treadmill much harder work than running outside. I think it's a combination of there being nothing to look at except my own increasingly beetroot-like reflection in the mirror (why do they have to put mirrors there?), it being hot in the gym with no breeze to cool you down so you sweat more, and the fact that I'm convinced those treadmills are not accurately calibrated... Whatever the reason, running at a similar pace to outside feels like much harder work.

I quite enjoyed it, though.

Day 17 stats:

Distance: 3.34 miles
Time: 30:11
Average pace: 9:02
Splits: 9:26

Total Janathon miles so far: 67.79

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Eight miles high. (Or not)

I decided to have a go at 8 miles today, since I haven't done any runs of longer than about 10k since [checks back] November *gulp* and it's about time I started building up my distance again if marathon training isn't going to come as a complete shock to the system. To be honest I already can't remember how it felt to do 18-20 mile runs during last year's marathon training, because a measly 8 today felt like hard work. I did get into more of a rhythm after the first few hillyish miles and started to quite enjoy it around half way, but I wouldn't say it was one of my better runs. Legs felt heavy for a fair bit of the time and I just didn't have that much energy. Maybe Janathon is finally catching up with me. Or maybe it's just one of those days.

Had a look at last year's Juneathon Day 15 for comparison purposes and it was interesting to see that on that day I ran 11 miles, my furthest ever run at that point, as part of my half-marathon training. Amazing to think I've run a whole marathon since then. I also tried my first energy gel on that day, and they didn't taste any nicer then than they do now.

Have signed up for a half marathon in March - I ran the 10k there last year, but have no idea what the half will be like. It should fit nicely into my Edinburgh Marathon training, though. Even if after today, the thought of running 13 miles - let alone 26.2 - seems quite far away.

On the positive side, most of the ice has gone :)

Today's stats:

Distance: 8.11 miles
Time: 1:20:37
Splits: * 10:40
* 10:52
* 9:47
* 9:43
* 9:16
* 9:47
* 9:42
* 9:54

Average pace: 9:56

Total Janathon miles run so far: 62.23 (which is already 20 miles more than I ran in THE WHOLE OF January last year despite being only halfway through!)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Thinking ahead

The end of Janathon (though at just under halfway through, that's still feeling like some time away) should segue nicely into the beginning of my marathon training, about which I have been doing some thinking. Suddenly 22 May doesn't seem *that* far away, all things considered, and I need to decide which 16-week schedule I'm going to follow. Although at the moment I'm worrying more about transport and accommodation arrangements than the actual race itself.

I'm seriously considering attempting a sub-4:30 schedule. This may sound foolishly ambitious given that my current PB (in my only marathon so far) is 4:55:07, but bear in mind that (a) that was on a hilly course and Edinburgh is fairly flat (though heat may be a problem); and (b) my 10k and half-marathon PBs (the latter also on a hilly course) suggest that sub-4:30 shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility for me. I've had a look at a schedule, and it looks doable for me in terms of the suggested paces and distances. Any thoughts would be welcome!

Just an easy 3 mile run today, along the road and back, due to limited time. Not too much ice apart from that which seems to extend in a half-mile radius from my house in all directions.

Distance: 3.02 miles
Time: 28:07
Average pace: 9:19
Splits: 9:59, 9:19, 8:38

Total Janathon miles so far: 54.12
Juneathon Day 14 equivalent: 51.49 miles

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Unlucky 13

Why is all this ice still here? Why? Why? It's not even *that* cold any more but there are still great bloody lethal sheets of the stuff exactly where I want to run. GRRRR. I blame David Cameron. And Nick Clegg. I'm sure I can find some way of making it their fault if I try hard enough.

I thought I would venture on to the old railway line path today because the last time I attempted a run there was a few days ago and the ice seemed to be retreating slightly and I thought it might have retreated a bit more. But no. It was worse. I was skidding about all over the place, grabbing onto branches, barely managing to stay on my feet, barely managing to avoid bursting into tears at the sheer frustration of the whole enterprise. Saw one other person, a cyclist who was going even more slowly than I was and cursing all the way.


(Note to the weather gods: this does not mean I want more snow instead.)



Distance: 2.26 miles (had planned 3 or 4 but thought "sod this, I'm going home" after two icy miles)
Time: 22:10 (included much slipping, stumbling, skidding and swearing)
Average pace: 9:48
Total Janathon distance so far: 51.1 miles

Twelfth night

No chance of getting out during the day yesterday, and running over black ice in the dark sounded like an even worse idea than doing so during the hours of daylight, so it was back to the gym. Which was fuller than I've ever seen it. The fabled January rush at last? I counted 12 people in the cardio room at the same time as me (it's not a huge gym) which is, in my experience, remarkably busy. Luckily there was only one other person on the treadmills, so I was able to get my run in, overlooked from behind all the while by a line of people on bikes. By the time I finished, though, they had all mysteriously vanished, perhaps sick of looking at my backside?

It suddenly occurred to me that it would be interesting (or maybe not) to compare Janathon's statistics with last year's Juneathon statistics, so I went back for a look at last year's day 12 blog, which was a very dull one, rather like today's in fact, and I learned that after the 12th day of Juneathon I had run 44.4 miles in 7 hours 15 minutes and 20 seconds, so it looks like I'm ahead for the moment, though not by much.

Today's stats:

Distance: 3.26 miles
Time: 30:14
Average pace: 9:16
Total Janathon miles so far: 48.84
Total Janathon running time so far: 7:53:08

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Slip sliding

A very pleasant, if cold, 6 mile trot around the local area today, apart from the bit where I slipped on some ice, nearly fell into the path of oncoming traffic and had to hang on to a wall to save myself from potential death, and the bit when I rounded the corner onto the bottom of our road, slipped again and had to grab onto a parked white van (luckily empty of white van men). Managed to avoid death but not embarrassment. Yes, there is still ice around. Most of the pavements are OK but then you get bits which are just terrible. The big piles of ice aren't too bad, at least you can see them and take evasive action, but the patches of black ice are lethal.

Apart from that, an enjoyable, undulating run incorporating a couple of minor hills and some nice downhill stretches.


Distance: 6.23 miles
Time: 1:00:28
Splits:* 10:47
* 9:59
* 9:29
* 9:17
* 9:34
* 9:27
* 1:54
Average pace: 9:42
Total Janathon miles so far: 45.58

Gym'll fix it

A late day 10 blog for me – was unable to get out during the day yesterday, so it was back to the gym and the treadmill in the evening. When I went in I could see loads of people in there through the glass wall (plus a glamorous looking young woman in full makeup and brand-new-looking gear having an induction chat in reception with one of the staff) and I thought ooh, this must be the January influx, I hope I don’t have to wait for a treadmill. But by the time I had changed, most of them had mysteriously evaporated and the treadmills were empty except for two women at the end having a gentle stroll and a nice chat. They quickly disappeared too and I had the place to myself apart from a bloke on the cross-trainer at the other end, oh and one man who came in, walked on the treadmill next to mine for 0.05 mile then clearly thought (probably understandably) “I can’t be bothered with this” and left again.

I thought I might be a bit tired following the previous day’s 10k (I know 10k shouldn’t tire me out too much but most of my recent running has been shorter distances) but actually I felt fine. Didn’t want to push it though – as I think the key to Janathon completion, as it was with Juneathon, will be not overdoing it – and ran just over 5k in 30 minutes.

Hope to get out for 5-6 miles later today, although have already found the pavements to be perilous in places (bit of alliteration for you there, partially perilous pavements) so hoping I can find a reasonable stretch and get my run in without fracturing anything.

Official results still not up from Sunday’s 10k.

Day 10 stats (a third of the way through, just about!):

Distance: 3.27 miles
Time: 29:59
Average pace: 9:10
Total Janathon miles so far: 39.35

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Aberdeen Beach Front 10km Christmas Canter: Race Report

Another Sunday, another 10k (the second of the year so far, and it's only the 9th of January) and today it was the postponed "Christmas" Canter in aid of MENCAP which was supposed to take place in December, but was prevented by the weather. It's basically a gallop, canter or trot, depending on your speed, along the upper and lower proms of Aberdeen beach, which is flat and quite boring but good for PBs (I got my last 10k PB of 57:43 there in June last year). The weather was still very cold and icy today but luckily the race route was fairly ice-free.

I woke up with a sore throat this morning so wasn't expecting to do tremendously well but was looking forward to it anyway as I was planning on meeting a few pals there (some running and some supporting). It's a pretty small and low key, no-frills event and there was not a huge field of runners (especially given the weather) but I am rubbish at estimating numbers so won't attempt it. I set off near the back at a reasonably easy pace - there were no kilometre markers (I said it was no-frills!) so I was relying on my Garmin for pacing. Did the first mile in 9:24 (bit slow), the second in 9:03 and the third in 9:02. Spent most of the way trying to work out in my head whether I was on course for a PB! I thought I probably was. During the second 5k I found myself gradually overtaking people (the field had thinned out greatly so we were fairly widely distributed) which was satisfying and I was happy that except at the very beginning, nobody overtook me the whole way. There was one woman who I was more or less level with during the 3rd and 4th km but I managed to leave her behind at around the 5k mark. I was also greatly cheered by the presence of our 3 supporters at 2 points along the route, it's amazing how motivating a bit of encouragement can be!

Did the 4th mile in 9:09, the 5th in 9:17 (flagging a bit by this stage)and the 6th in 9:04. It seemed an awfully long way to the finish line, or rather red line on the ground which I couldn't even see so I didn't actually know where the finish line was, though all the people standing around gave it away a bit. I was delighted however with a PB of, according to my watch (no official results yet and no clock at the finish either) 56:55.

One of our number, who is in the F50 category, won the entire women's race in an amazing time of 41:39, which wasn't even a PB for her, just brilliant!

My goal for this year is a sub-55 PB which would entail taking 20 seconds per mile off my time... doable? Not sure. My longer term goal is a 10k PB which is lower than my age :) Currently trying to figure out in how many years this might be possible....


Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 56:55
Average pace: 9:10
Total Janathon miles so far: 36.08

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Would you like more ice with that? No thanks.

Had planned an easy few miles today ahead of tomorrow's 10k (assuming it's on) - well, it was a few miles (3 and a bit to be precise) but it wasn't easy, thanks to underfoot conditions which were even worse than yesterday! Another load of snow last night didn't help. I set off along the same route as yesterday, then turned the other way along the railway line, intending to extend my run a bit before turning round for home. However, after half a mile of ice during which I continually felt my feet slipping under me, expended more energy staying upright than moving forward and frequently had to run on the grass verge which was also far from ideal, there was no way I was retracing my steps so I decided to keep going to the point where the path meets the road and run back home along the road instead. So that's what I did. Unfortunately this involves a big hill - well, not that big really, but it looked big and it felt big to me today - and the pavements still weren't great so I often had to run in the road. Made it home alive, somehow.

Just for interest, I've been thinking of having a fitness assessment done at the plush new Sports Village. I thought it would be enlightening to see what it comes up with. Anyone had something similar?

Today's stats:

Distance: 3.19 miles
Time: 33:14
Average pace: 10:25
Janathon miles so far: 29.87

Friday, 7 January 2011

Slippery people

Janathon day 7 - first week completed!

Since I was doing intervals on the treadmill less than 12 hours ago (and have a 10k race on Sunday), I decided a short and gentle plod would be in order this morning. Or, given the state of the pavements, possibly a not-so-gentle skate, or, if I'm unlucky, a decidedly ungentle fall on the behind. I dropped the little one off at nursery, put on all my luminous gear again and headed out into the freezing cold with some trepidation.

First bit didn't seem too bad, but it rapidly got worse, and I had to go very slowly indeed to avoid the risk of an unplanned bum/pavement encounter. When I got to the relevant point, and on the basis that it couldn't possibly be any worse, I decided to run up the path past the allotments and see what the old railway line path (usually one of my favourite routes but a no-go area in recent weeks due to the weather) was like. It wasn't too bad at first sight but I soon discovered that large stretches were fairly lethal. I managed to keep going and remain vertical by running at the very edge of the path where the ice was slightly - though only slightly - less treacherous. (Incidentally this description of roads as being "treacherous" always amuses me a bit, as if the roads had promised not to do something and then gone and done it anyway. Kind of like the Liberal Democrats, really.)

After a mile or so on the path I left it to run down a steep road (that bit was VERY slow) and back along the quiet road which luckily was OK to run in the middle of as you can hear any cars coming from a distance, and home to complete a very slow 2-and-a-bit mile loop. On the positive side, my legs felt fine, and it was lovely and peaceful out without a soul around. Clearly nobody else is foolish enough to go out in these conditions when they don't have to!


Distance: 2.14 miles
Time: 23:06
Average pace: 10:48
Total Janathon miles so far: 26.68

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Weighty matters

Janathon has come at a good time for me (weather conditions notwithstanding) because not only does it get me off to a good start for my planned 1000-in-2011, but I’m also properly trying, for pretty much the first time in my life, to lose some weight. I’m not overweight – 5’7 and 10st 5, BMI of about 22.7) but I am, or was, about a stone over what I used to be and what I would like to be . (That’s what having a baby at nearly 40 does for your figure… the weight just didn’t come off the way it did when I had my first child at 23, regardless of how much breastfeeding I did. Which was a lot.) Anyway four years on the extra weight is still there, mostly around my middle where it seems to have settled in and made itself comfy. I think it’s definitely time for it to go. Plus I might run faster if I was a bit lighter… well, you never know.

I started a couple of weeks before Christmas (yeah, I know) logging my food intake and exercise on . I don’t think my diet generally is that bad – I don’t really have a taste for sweet things or (much) junk food - but I probably eat too much. Especially bread. I love bread. I make my own and I find it very hard to resist scoffing it in large quantities. Running, even when I was marathon training, hasn’t had any effect, so I could only conclude that my calorie intake was too high.

Finding out for the first time how many calories are in things has been an interesting experience and logging what I actually eat has definitely made me think before reaching for a snack. I’ve cut down (without drastically changing) what I eat, and so far have lost about 6lb, taking me below 10 stone for the first time in four years! Of course, the extra running necessitated by Janathon won’t do any harm, either…

Anyway, I had planned an outside run today but (a) pavements like sheets of ice and (b) the little one's playgroup not being on meant I was back in the gym instead, where they must have got well and truly sick of the sight of me over the last couple of months. Ran for 40 minutes on the treadmill and felt good. In fact, around the third mile I actually started to feel quite euphoric, not an emotion I normally expect to experience on the treadmill. I do love running.

I hope the ice is gone tomorrow though.


Distance: 4.2 miles
Time: 39:58
Average pace: 9:31
Total Janathon miles so far: 24.54

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Learning to love the dreadmill

Didn't manage to get out for a run at a reasonable time today so instead I went to the gym in the evening to pound the treadmill for a while. I'm having a disorganised day and I didn't realise till I got there that I'd forgotten my Garmin. You might think a Garmin would be unnecessary for running on the treadmill, what with being indoors and all, and you would be right, but I like to use a footpod when treadmilling and it's interesting to see how the distance measured by the footpod compares with the distance measured by the treadmill (they're not identical). However I am not a sad person who cannot run without a Garmin attached to my wrist, no no, definitely not, and I didn't even consider going home to get it... well, only briefly.

Actually I really enjoyed my run on the treadmill and I didn't even look longingly at my left wrist very often. When I got there the gym was pretty quiet (I don't know where all those January people are, maybe they have already given up?) and only one of the 6 treadmills was in use. It was occupied by a big beefy guy in a singlet who was (and I swear this is true) running while leaning forward and literally hugging the front of the treadmill. I mean literally. His arms were around the front of it and his legs were running. Maybe this is some new treadmill technique in which I am as yet unversed, but it looked very odd. He carried on like this for about two minutes, walked for about 10 seconds, then scooted off out of the room. Maybe he thought I was giving him funny looks, or admiring his singlet, or something. Then another bloke came in and ran for five minutes while holding on to the side rails. I don't know what the experts have to say about this but it doesn't look right to me. It's not as if you have side rails when you're out running in the great outdoors, after all.

Anyway apart from these small diversions I was alone in the gym and I did some (not very fast) quarter-mile intervals for 35 minutes, and covered 3.53 miles by which you may deduce that my intervals were indeed not very fast, but that did include a warm up and cool down, and rather to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then I did a little (and I mean a little) on the weights machines, which I really don't use enough because I'm not very good at them. My legs are reasonably strong from all the running but my upper body is pretty feeble. I know that's a reason to do more strength training rather than less, and I do plan to start doing more.

Garmin-less stats:

Time: 35:00
Distance: 3.53 miles
Average pace: 9:55
Total Janathon distance so far: 20.34 miles

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Whoops there goes another year...

Day 4 of Janathon today, which takes us, um, about an eighth of the way through? (Disadvantage of Janathon over Juneathon: 31 is much less easy than 30 to work out percentages of.) It's also, though obviously far less importantly, my birthday. Yay! I'm 43, which sounded a bit depressing, but then I thought that if I live till 86, which seems perfectly feasible looking at the rest of my family and the great ages they tend to achieve - the women, anyway - I'm still only halfway through my life and not even halfway through my adult life, which was a much more cheering thought. Also takes me one step nearer to my grand plan of continuing running until I'm so old I'm the only person left in my age category at races and might therefore actually win a prize.

Anyway I had planned 6 miles today but what with the need to entertain and dole out cake to visiting relatives (I wasn't allowed to make my own birthday cake, so had a pink Disney Princess one from Sainsbury's instead, chosen by guess who), time was short and I only managed 5-and-a-bit. I did get to use my nice new birthday Brooks hi-vis gilet from Run4it though, which I was quite impressed with, though I did initially feel a bit as if I was about to go and dig up a road. It will certainly get me seen, though, which I guess is the main idea. It was very light and comfortable to wear, has pockets which is always nice and even a little inner pocket for your MP3 player, although I didn't discover this until I got home and hence didn't use it. I did look a bit like an explosion in a paint factory with my blue long-sleeved top, purple gloves and fluorescent gilet, but never mind. I didn't overheat, which was my main concern as I do tend to warm up very quickly when I run and hence hate wearing too much. I'm always amazed by the people I see out running in big jackets etc.

Also a word of praise for Run4it who had exceptionally fast delivery (ordered in the afternoon, arrived by courier the following morning) and even threw in a free packet of jelly beans. Good service.

After yesterday's icy experience I decided to do a loop starting by running up the hill and leaving the icy bit till last. The icy bit wasn't quite as bad as yesterday, though still hazardous in places, and it was an enjoyable (and highly visible, just as well given the dark and drizzly weather) run.


Distance: 5.1 miles
Time: 50:18
Splits: * 10:51 (up the hill!)
* 10:04
* 9:17
* 10:00 (up another hill)
* 9:15
* 0:50
Average pace: 9:52

Monday, 3 January 2011

Just bimbling along

What with having done a 10k yesterday and, more to the point, the fact that it has rained all day today, I decided to opt for a leisurely 2 mile out-and-back bimble along the bottom road to Garthdee. This turned out to be a less than amazing idea as that road seems to be the only one where the pavement is, despite the rain, still extremely icy, resulting in pretty hazardous running conditions. Well, it was either that or run in the road, which is hazardous for different and obvious reasons. I managed to totter precariously along on the pavement for most of the way, with the occasional foray onto the edge of the road when it got too un-navigable. Also got drenched twice by passing cars, I prefer to assume accidentally.

Hope tomorrow is a drier day.


Distance: 2.12 miles
Time: 21:59
Splits: 11:11, 9:49, 0:59
Average pace: 10:23

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Lumphanan Detox 10k: Race Report

Was looking forward to this race, which is billed as Scotland's first road 10k of the year, which I presume it is, not that I've conducted any research to verify it or anything. Had a bit of a mass turnout of people from Fetch who live vaguely locally, either running or supporting, which was fab. *wave*

Being on 2nd January it's called the "detox" 10k, though having had a fairly sedate New Year I wasn't particularly toxed in the first place. I was more worried about the hill and what with that and not having done any runs longer than 5 miles for a while, I wasn't expecting a good time and was happy to be within or just over the hour. Due to the conditions underfoot because of recent weather, the route was changed slightly to remove the off-road section, which had the unfortunate side-effect of resulting in having to run up another hill back into Lumphanan at around the 8k mark. Boo!

Even more unfortunately, it turned out that Lumphanan had no water :-O presumably due to frozen/burst pipes, which must have been a nightmare for the organisers and resulted in the obvious problems for the usual pre-race toilet visits. Flushing was, shall we say, somewhat occasional. There was some discussion about whether the race should have been cancelled as a result of the water issue, but it was either too late for them to cancel or they just decided to go ahead anyway.

The race kicked off at 11.30, and was immediately uphill, which continued for nearly the first 2k - the first kilometre was the steepest, though, and I was pleased that I managed to run the whole thing as I was totally expecting to walk some of it. Still, thanks to the uphill the first mile was a pretty slow 11:52! The gradient eased off a bit in the second kilometre, but was still uphill, then began a much pleasanter long descent! (At the top of the hill someone shouted "It's all downhill after this!" which as usual turned out to be a big lie.) I managed the second mile in 9:04, the third in 8:54 and the fourth in 8:56 (hurrah for downhills). The view over the snow-covered fields was lovely, and the underfoot conditions weren't too bad apart from a few icy patches where you had to watch your footing, but mostly it was fine. Then came the climb back into Lumphanan, courtesy of the changed route, resulting in a fifth mile of 10:08, though I managed to regain a little bit of time with a sixth mile of 9:07.

The kilometre markers were a bit dodgily positioned, especially the 10k mark which for some mysterious reason was about 200m before the finish (thanks for that), meaning that you passed it, ran on, turned a corner expecting the finish to be right there but it was still what felt at the time like ages away (it wasn't). I was neck and neck at the corner with another woman, but managed to find a burst of speed from somewhere to burn her off at the finish :) and finished in, according to my watch, 59:16 - about a minute and a half over my PB, but I was glad to be under the hour. (My watch also said it was 9.91km rather than 10, but everyone else seemed to find the distance to be correct if not slightly long, so I don't know where the other 0.09km went - I swear I didn't take any short cuts.)

The soup in the village hill after the race was welcome, even if the toilets still weren't working! And we got a nice t-shirt with a picture of an exhausted-looking detoxing runner on it, though no medal.

All in all a fab morning out and a nice start to the racing year.


Distance: 6.16 miles (see above)
Time: 59:16
Average pace: 9:37 (mainly thanks to the slow first mile!)
Best pace according to Mr Garmin: 6:08 (gulp)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

..Or a few thousand steps. I'm planning on completing 1,000 miles in 2011, so the journey starts here.

Happy New Year everyone! Had a pretty sedate night last night and got Janathon off to a good start with a really enjoyable 3 and a bit mile run this morning, ahead of tomorrow's 10k. I've been treadmilling a fair bit lately what with the weather (snow alone can be manageable off road, but the ice which has prevailed over the past couple of weeks has rendered most surfaces unrunnable). However most of the pavements - though not the paths, which are horrendous - are now largely clear apart from a few isolated icy and slushy patches, and I managed a satisfying, if cold, out-and-back run along the main road. Would happily have gone further, but my training hasn't been that great lately and I didn't want to overdo it before tomorrow, which I suspect is going to be a bit of a struggle anyway (there's a big hill at the beginning, although lots of downhill thereafter). But since I haven't done more than about 5 miles in nearly a month, I'm not expecting a great time.

I did feel really energised and positive today, though - probably because I was running outside in the fresh air rather than in the hot and sweaty gym with the crappy music and nothing to look at but my own hot and sweaty reflection in the mirror - so the month, and the year, feel like they're off to a good start.

Today's stats:

Distance: 3.43 miles
Time: 32:41
Average pace: 9:32