Running on Empty

After posting yesterday about how poorly I was feeling, I actually started to feel better yesterday evening. This may have had something to do with the Max Strength Cold and Flu tablets I was overdosing on or perhaps the red wine I was drinking alongside this, but I felt better. So this morning I laced up and set off for my long run of 7½ miles. It had snowed lightly overnight, nothing like what we were expecting to wake up to, and by the time I set off it was sleeting lightly and the snow covering had cleared. It was still cold and windy and wet, but I’m made of sterner stuff and I really needed to get out in the fresh air for an hour or so.

I followed the gentle encouragements of Jeff Galloway and his magical 13.1 Half Marathon app on my iPhone. The 7½ miler was the last run of week 3 and I really think that the combination of interval training, threshold running and long easy runs is making a difference. In any case having Jeff’s drawl telling me when to walk, when to run and the beat synched songs keeping my pace constant is a winning formula for me. I really can’t recommend Jeff’s methods enough, although I realise that they won’t suit everyone.


The run wasn’t unpleasant. I had moments when I felt wonderful and the ground just melting away under my floating feet. And I had moments when I felt like I was running uphill on jelly. Most of the time I just plodded away, getting the job done. I surprised myself by running the four minutes of elevated pace easily on each run interval. I think I had to pull up slightly early twice towards the end when I was starting to run out of energy. I was happy to get the run done, but the beast in me wanted it done with around an 11 min/mile average.

Time: 1:23:25
Moving Time: 1:22:18
Elapsed Time: 1:23:46
Avg Pace: 11:07 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 10:58 min/mi
Best Pace: 8:30 min/mi

I managed just over the 11 min/mile, which is fine. From the turnaround point on I had the wind blowing snow/sleet into my face so picking my pace up was tough, although I did give it a go at mile 6. I made 5k in 33 minutes, 10k in 67 minutes and managed the full 7½ miles without blowing my nose or having a coughing fit. Which, for me today, is a major achievement!

It’s now snowing again and I’ve got my fingers crossed for at least a foot’s worth. At least.


Yes, I have a cold.

I’ve been trying not to share it, least of all with you, my running friends. On Thursday I had to cut my run short because my head just wasn’t in the right place and did 4.5 km instead of 6.5. My ab workouts have been all out of sync, with me not doing any one day and then doing two the next to make it up. Today I don’t feel like doing any and I don’t think I did any yesterday either. I can’t remember.

Today was meant to be Long Run Sunday, but it wasn’t. Although I do feel better than I did yesterday and the day before I didn’t think it worth trying to do my long run today. Instead I elected to leave it until tomorrow when, hopefully, I’ll feel even better! I have 7.5 miles to do.

The only issue might be the snow which, so far, has largely missed us here in Dumfriesshire. The forecast says to expect snow tonight, Monday and Tuesday, so I might get a chance to try out my cheapo Lidl/Aldi snow grips (not Yaktrax) if that’s right!

In the meantime I’m heading to the medicine cupboard again for another Lemsip!

Running in a Winter Wonderland

This morning it snowed.

My route, 6 miles of sleet and snow!

My first reaction was “shit” – I was due to do a 6 mile run but, if I’m honest, I was delighted to get outside despite the snow still falling heavily. I had worn my Nike trail shoes for some extra grip, despite the fact that I’ve not run that far on the road with them on, and they actually felt very similar in support to my Ghosts. Apart from my niggly left calf/Achilles, I felt great.

I stopped to talk to these lovely horses, who then ran alongside me for the width of their field.

The conditions slowed me down a bit, but apparently not that much. I had to slow down on some downhill sections that felt a bit dodgy and to say hello to the horses (well, you have to, don’t you?),  but at the rest I just trudged away ignoring the bemused looks on driver’s faces as they pulled across the road to avoid me.

I ran out along the shore road, thinking that it would be quieter traffic wise, and turned at 3 miles to head back in. I didn’t actually notice my time when I hit the stop button on Gary Garmin and so was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d run 10k in 65:45. It didn’t feel fast or strained, but that time is comparable to my 10k race time in 2011, just a couple of minutes slower than last year’s time.

A great start to my training anyway!

Nothing better than having some vague tree giving you the thumbs up on the way out!
Nothing better than having some vague tree giving you the thumbs up on the way out!
6.00 mi
Avg Pace:
10:58 min/mi
Elevation Gain:
104 ft
679 C


Breakfast : Porridge with banana and many cups of tea

Powerade Drink at 3 and 5 miles


Groovestar NZ base layer

Reebok Waterproof Running Jacket

Xcelerate Long Running Tights

Crane Knee Length Compression Socks

Nike Alvord trail shoes

Asics waist bag/drink holder

Crane reflective dayglo vest

BUPA Great Winter Run 2013

My husband is what is generally known as a ‘Reluctant Runner’. He doesn’t really enjoy it until it’s over and only really comes along to keep me company although, as he can’t string a sentence together when he’s running, he’s not much company at all! Last winter I asked him if he fancied training up to do the Great Winter Run and, much to my surprise, he said yes. The race itself came as a bit of a shock to him as it climbs Arthur’s Seat before it descends, but he did it in under 36 minutes. If I’m honest I was both proud and a bit shocked; when I started I couldn’t have achieved that! Come registration time I asked him again if he fancied it. He’d done another 5k since the last Great Winter Run, just a local one, and I wasn’t sure if he’d be up for another one. Again, to my surprise, he said yes.

Training has been intermittent. Hubbie hates our tiny treadmill, saying that it pains him to keep his feet close enough together so as not to hit the sides. What little training we did we managed by travelling into Dumfries or running up and down the village. It wasn’t really sufficient, but he could run for over 3 miles if we put in walk breaks every 3 minutes. That would have to do.

We always make a weekend of it, arriving the day before so that we can get settled into the hotel and suss out the buses. This time on Friday night we had a pasta meal (gluten free for me) at Bella Pasta before heading across to watch The Hobbit at the Vue in the Ocean Terminal at Leith. It’s a perfect arrangement.

The following morning we were up bright and early and breakfasted at 8am. The bus then picked us up right outside the hotel at half 9, delivering us safely at Holyrood at just before 10. The race was to start at 10:35, so we had just enough time to walk across to the bag drop off point and back to the start. Perfect timing thanks to the benefit of hindsight! Last year we’d got there a good hour ahead of time and gradually got colder and colder whilst we waited for the start.

Of course this year we knew what to expect – a climb for almost 3 km followed by a descent of 1.5 km and the last bit on the flat. Last year we had started at the back and found ourselves struggling to pass people who were walking up the hill. This year we had been given green numbers, a full tranche towards the front, and we made sure that we started further forward. If we were going to walk we knew that we would keep to the side, so as not to get in anyone’s way; some people are not so considerate and just walk wherever they stopped running. I find that kind of attitude selfish.

After a rather awkward warm up (really, we are packed in behind those fences – doing a full arm/leg workout is nigh on impossible without taking someone else’s eye (or worse) out) we set off. We ran a steady (slow) start and attacked the hill sensibly. Straight away the difference between my hubbie’s fitness level and mine showed itself; whilst I was happy to run uphill for the full 3 minutes, hubbie couldn’t and we took more walk breaks as he struggled to get his breath. I tried to be encouraging without making him feel as if he was letting me down. It’s a tough job being a coach!!

We did our first mile in 13:01 which, considering most it was up hill, wasn’t bad. The course starts to level out after a mile and this is where I wanted to make up time, but hubbie was still winded from the climb and taking longer walk breaks. I didn’t want to leave him behind so I tried to distract him with the fabulous view, the mileage countdown boards and Capital FM at the top of the hill! It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped and mile 2 came in slightly faster at 11:59.

Once we’d past the half way point we were heading down hill. It’s a rookie mistake to fight gravity. Let the hill take you down and lean slightly into it, I kept telling him. Leaning back just hurts your shins and knees! Mile 3 was far faster at 10:13. Great what a “bit of a hill” can do for you when you’re on its tail!

We crossed the line in an unofficial 36:43. It was slightly slower than last year which we clocked in 35:54, but at least hubbie didn’t look as if he was about to puke by the end! For someone who doesn’t “run”, rarely trains and is a good couple of stone overweight, I think he did really well.

He tells me that he is now in retirement and will be happy to be my wingman next year. If I’m honest I’m itching to tackle this 5k untethered and see what I can make of it.

Goodie Bag!

Our Goodie Bags were amazing! I was initially disappointed that despite requesting a small t-shirt when I registered I was only offered a medium which, as a man’s size, is massive on me. That’s another shirt I won’t be wearing outside of the house. Regardless of that, we had a great medal and a bag full of freebies. Other race organisers should pay attention! We pay a hefty price to enter these races – great sponsorship means we get more for our money.

I really recommend this race to anyone close by. It isn’t huge in terms of entries, but it has a big race atmosphere and organisation. Alongside it runs national cross-country races, which are great to watch.

Hubbie, at the finish
Yours truly, triumphant!
Yours truly, triumphant!
An awesome medal

Get a Catchy Title

I get a lot of spam posts which you’ll never see, thanks to a wonderful tool WordPress provide which filters out all potential dodgy comments. I do get a chance to read each suspect post though and one made me laugh yesterday.

A very helpful spammer had written to tell me that my titles weren’t catchy enough and advised me to visit a particular site and see how it should be done. It was one of the more helpful comments from someone intent on leading everyone who looked at their link to a porn site they were promoting!

However, it did make me think about what I write. I don’t write to attract attention or get followers. To me this is more like a diary that I get to share with a few people who care to read it.

And basically you can take it or leave it!

Resolutely Resolute

Happy New Year everyone!

Just a quick note to say that I’ve added a new page to my blog here, Resolutions 2013. On it I’ve listed my goals and promises for 2013 as well as a race schedule!

I’ve been busy this morning, entering the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in April at Edinburgh and searching through Runners World and the Running Guides for Scotland and Northern England. The list isn’t conclusive – there are gaps that need filling and I’d like to do another half in June or July.

My biggest decision was to not enter the Great North Run. I got as far as to have my credit card out and the ballot page open, but thought hard and decided on the RnR instead. I’m happy with my decision and pleased that I’ve finally made my mind up!

I’m away now to plan out my training!