Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Finally - something to report.

Made it out to the woods today with TheO and some very grateful pooches.

4.1 miles in 37.25
9.21 average pace

10.30 for 1.1 miles

Could have gone faster at the end but was following TheOther and think I held back a touch ... got back to the car to discover that they had run 3.6 miles, not 3.1 as expected so I shouldn't have felt so bad about catching up with them. Was furious with myself for not really pushing it at the end - might have knocked another 30 seconds or so off my time... grrrrrr

A real reminder that running is personal and I shouldn't make assumptions for someone else, I should just run my own training plan and not get into weird mental tangles about someone else's pride etc. Just to be clear - TheO is not particularly fragile in the ego department, but I know I'd still feel a bit down if myotherhalf ran 4 miles in the time I ran 3! I wanted to make it a more encouraging experience full stop as they don't enjoy running very much, they're just doing to increase stamina in other sports and keep the ole heart ticking over nicely.

However, I was really chuffed as this was my first 2 sub-9min miles in a row in the real world (rather than on the elliptical machine). My legs do feel like I really pushed them, as did my lungs but I just LOVE THAT FEELING.

As my speed increases (in tiny little increments) I find that my ability to do the magical negative splits (which I've previously found no problem) decreases. Did anyone else find this problem as they got faster? Answers please.

On a final note how goddamn hot (well tepid) was it in Scotland today. I was in 3/4 tights and a thin long-sleeved sports top and I was boiling, had to keep pouring my water over my head (thank god there's no-one to see that horrible sight). The buttercups are out everywhere and the rabbits are fighting on the lawn like it's time for their spring-fling. Weird things are afoot my friends.

Now I've written this I expect snow is imminent.

Personality Tests and some Wednesday Philosophy

Now this is not running related (because I've been a lazy arse and today's run is happening later) but I thought it was interesting. Well, that fabulous internet combination of interesting and utter bollocks.

I took a freebie personality test online

This mammoth 72 question test told me I was type INFJ (to translate, Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging [only 1% for judging] ). This then led to the following personality types: rational, idealist, artisan, guardian. Also said only 2% came out as INFJ's (including Ghandi and Elanor Roosevelt - don't I feel special).

Now given that I think they are quite right with their judgement about me I now feel more rational and idealistic whilst simultaneously being an artisan and a guardian ....

Hang on here, I was asked questions like: "Are you happy in a crowd?" I think answering "NO" makes me an introvert. But this type of survey doesn't help with self-delusion: If you think you are the life and soul of the party then you'll tick all the appropriate boxes; and get the appropriate results.

So while I think that there's an element of simplistic truth (particularly on the introvert/extrovert level - having seen my friends' results) these tests show nothing apart from how interested we are in personality. It's the only thing that is unique to us. Our genetic makeup is a conglomeration of our parents' own features (ooooh, doesn't she have her father's nose, mother's eyes, etc) but our personality is ours alone.

With that in mind it made me think about blogging, and the nature of blogging. Whilst being an introvert by nature I love the freedom of blogging - much more interesting than keeping a diary that only I will ever look over. Blogging makes me feel like an extrovert because I get to put my thoughts and opinions onto a much larger stage regardless of audience numbers (still seats available at all prices!!!!).

Our collective interest in blogs is not just (in my opinion) linked to niche interests which can now be discussed and written about in much more detail; but it's about personality - we read blogs by people and we see them as whole people, not just bloggers with one agenda and perspective. Our knowledge of human beings fills in the blanks.

I wonder if someone will make a blogger personality test. Are our online personas so very different from our reality? Would I be an extrovert online?

Happy running people - I think my legs have forgotten how.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

10 days without blogging ... feels like a lifetime.

Hello all.
I've made it through the wilderness of the SECC trade show.
The wilds of London town.
And I have one measly little run to report for all 10 days!

Rest assured (and rest had) something approaching normal service will be resuming any second.

So, the SECC was an excellent experience and I made lots of great jewellery contacts but 4 days on my feet nearly killed me. I did walk about 12 miles over the 4 days though, which is something.

My only other exercise was room (I mean, cupboard) exercise. I managed sit-ups, leg lifts, wall press-ups and a few measly girl-press-ups. It was better than nothing but I really feel like I've eaten my way round Britain for 10 days... holy christ the scales are going to scare me.
After the SECC it was my birthday (another year where wrinkles and grey hairs make too much of an appearance for my liking); so we went out for a massive slap-up feed with some friends.

After the SECC I had a day at home to pack before London so obviously it was time to fit in a nice medium distance run:

On the 25th managed the following run:

5 miles
pace 9.41


Happy as it was my longest run for weeks and weeks. Also I think it's the longest I've ever maintained a sub-10min mile pace! Whooo Hoooo

But then came London. Arrived (we drove as it was easiest and cheapest - ridiculous, makes me furious) and went straight out to dinner at The Cinnamon Club - swanky wonderfulness and amazing food. The next day brekkie out, then tea (sandwiches, cake the whole 9-yards), then tasty tasty tasty Moroccan that evening - all too swiftly followed by Sunday Roast lunch!

I think I might POP!

A long run tomorrow and some serious chilling out/work to be done.

Ooooo - fitted in some lovely clothes and shoe shopping too - spoilt to bits as Birthday Girl.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Not out of the woods yet (never even made it to the damn woods)

*And Exhale*

That's how it feels today. Woke late (as usual) but after a rubbish sleep - I blame the lack of exercise recently. And knew that today I had to get the catalogue finished, and everything packed so I can go to Glasgae tomorrow. The trade fair cometh and my spirits wane somewhat.

Never mind, now I get to chill out for 4 days and try and convince people to stock loads of my stuff in their lovely, lovely shops. (Well, that's the hope anyway. If that fails I'll stuff myself on the free food, feel rubbish and gentle bang my head against the wall until the nice men come to take me away.)

Enough of that rubbish, you people came her for a running blog. So, I never made it to the woods; but I did haul my arse upstairs and punish my idle bones on the elliptical machine.

Setting was very gentle rolling - mostly on 3 (out of 14) but occasionally up to 5.

5K in 27.14 DELIGHTED!

Splits were:
0.1 mile in 0.45 seconds

This takes 1min 34seconds off my previous best ever for 5k. (But that was on the road and weight bearing ... I don't think I could do today's time in real life, only on the elliptical.)

Really helped at the end that TheO came up and said, "you're not really trying, honestly, put some effort in" - they were only joking but it had the desired effect.

Apart from feeling like it was the most successful run ever the lovely, lovely, druggy endorphins kicked in and I felt much more human again. TheO has been wonderful today, made lovely food, gone shopping helped me to insert business cards into tiny little paper corner things; pah! not looking forward to going away now.

Might get a quick "real run" fitted in tomorrow before I go away ... for days. You wont hear from me until Wednesday - unless I find an Internet cafe somewhere!

Friday, 19 January 2007

Quickest of posts before Bed

No time to blog. No time to run. No time full stop. On Saturday I head for my first ever trade show. I'm scared shitless. What if no one buys my stuff. What if this is the beginning of the end.

The only noise I've heard today is the sound of the printer as it desperately churns out catalogue after catalogue. (It's only an ink-jet, it never knew its life would be so hard.)

Tomorrow no matter what I'm heading to the woods and runnnnnniiiiiinnnnnngggggggggg.
But, that said - the cabinet is built (and dismantled again to pack into the car), the lights are checked, the catalogue is *almost* ready.

So, almost time for bed... just enough time left to watch some 24 and hug TheO (Even if they hate me becuase I made them go and get pizza as there was no food in the house - and it's a 40min round trip to get pizza!).

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I've been thinking.

In the wonderfully informative Runner's World there was a little box with the "Advice from Great Runners" and one bit was: (to paraphrase horribly) if you're feeling good do more than you planned.

Now, I think this advice sucks. If you're feeling good push your pace: go faster, not further! When I plan a run I almost always (90%) have a set goal in mind; generally a mileage. Because I try and stick to this aim like glue it prevents me from telling myself, "I'm feeling a bit crap today, lets cut it short and do more later in the week." It means that (unless real illness, not a sniffle, or injury prevent me) I manage to plan my training in any given week, and stick to it.
This repetition and commitment is one of the big changes that has taken place in my life. Apart from work this is the one thing I've really stuck to. (I'd probably manage to stick with surfing if you could just walk out the door and do it!)

I think I would overdo it on days when I felt great - and then be buggered for the rest of the week. I would also be tempted to quit on days when things weren't going so well. For me it's not flexible. As soon as I decide what the run is going to be (can be as late a decision as when I take the first bound) it must be that - or I feel like I've let myself down.

My plan is always vague but generally in a week I plan the following:
one gym session (weights only)
a good 5K
a 4-5 mile run
a longer run (anything from 10K - 20K)

Sometimes the 5k gets done in the gym, then the weights session happens.
Sometimes the 5K or the 4-5miler ends up being done on the elliptical machine.
Sometimes I manage t fit in a 30-45min yoga session. (Hah! Rarely)

The commitment is a big part of running for me. The beginning was so hard and so humiliating there's a fair degree of fear involved in keeping going. I'm so determined never to let myself get to that point again, I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Just the facts.

Finally, a run longer than 5K. Did 4 lovely miles today in record time.
38.05. The splits are a bit buggered up as I was using my watch and a known route rather than the GPS.

10.18 (I ran an extra .1 of a mile at the end to cover any miscalculation in the middle)

So an average of 9:31 per mile. Still beyond chuffed that I can maintain a sub-10 pace. (Also still a little surprised.)

Monday, 15 January 2007

The beast awakens

Competitive Spirit. The desire to "win" (even if you're only competing against your own time).

I never thought of myself as a competitive person. I would willingly laugh in defeat at many, many games. I don't really get riled up over games. Well, I do, but nothing compared to the bunch of overly competitive freaks I like to call friends.

The damn obsession with running has changed all that.
It might not be *just* the running. The running and a sensible diet has reduced my weight (a bit, but not quite enough). As fat goes so does all the namby-pamby oestragen that it carries. As the physical activity has increased so has the competitive spirit. Now I want to beat myself ... let me rephrase: I have a strong desire to keep bettering my time/distance. I feel a certain fire on trying to go further and faster.

This new spirit is not only desperately attractive to TheO (who I feel might have seen me as a touch too namby-pamby in the past); but seems to improve my drive in regards to work too. I want to feel the same sense of achievement I get through running in all areas of my life now.

With that in mind, it's been 2 days since my last run and I'm getting twitchy. Might have to go out and stretch those legs tomorrow.

Some of this is not just competition, some is the desire to confound people's expectations.
Hmm, TheO recently said I was, "a bit like a 14yr old" recently. When asked to explain further, "well, you still think, to a certain extent, that the world revolves around you and that people care what you do/don't do". I wonder if this is how all bloggers end-up being described by someone?

Technorati - launching into the blogosphere

Technorati Profile

Just embeding some code so the lovely people at Technorati know my blog is, you know, my blog.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Exact times.

5K garmin times:
Good to note that they were exactly the same distance/time as the official race measurers.

9.57 (50% very gentle rise 50% uphill) Mile One

10.46 (80% uphill 20% downhill) Mile Two

8.44 (90% downhill 10% flat) Mile Three

1.13 (flat) 0.1 of a mile

So chuffed with the fastest ever mile (even though it was downhill).
Pleased with the hill time - a little faster than I expected to get up the beast.
Can't wait to see the marathon-photos pictures of the day - some friends took pictures too so there should be lots to see.

Enjoy your Sunday people.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

A little more info about the race.

Well, anyone who's contemplated the Great Winter Run knows that to do it is basically to conquer a BIG hill. On elevation from the start you run UP for 1.75miles, then get the rest to sprint downhill. In reality only 1mile really feels (and here I mean "hurts the lungs like swallowing fire") like up hill.

I was extremely nervous about this race, mostly because I was a race virgin. I didn't know if I'd find running with lots of other people oppressive/irritating/weird/distracting.
As soon as the warm-up started I felt more relaxed, and after the first 1/4 mile I'd really settled into the running. The weather was with us - well, it could have been worse. No rain and the wind only really hit you for about 100m on the hill, the rest of the time we were in the lea of Arthur's Seat. Working my way up the hill it really helped that I had Orwell with me. I knew exactly when I was over half way up the hill and could talk my way up the rest, "it's only 5 more minutes of this" etc etc. I could also keep an eye on my pace and I knew at about 2.5miles I might not get my hoped for time (sub30min), but I could keep on pushing.
The run downhill was brilliant - possibly the fastest mile I've ever done 8:?? (I'll check when I can be arsed to get Orwell out of the bag containing the horribly nasty running gear).

There were definitely some magic moments for me:
When all the runner came over the rise of the hill and every ones' pace changed you could hear the difference in the footfalls - it was brilliant.
Everyone seemed very happy, my elbow was knocked twice by people going past, they turned and apologised (unnecessary but wonderful).
Running down the hill and knowing that the worst bit was over and that I was still quite happy with my time.
Not beating my friend, even though I secretly wanted to, but being so chuffed with how much I'd enjoyed the whole experience that I didn't care.
Seeing so many friends on the way round, some who'd got up and driven for over an hour to come and see me run in the cold. They were spaced all round the course so it was constantly a surprise where people were.
Looking at my first medal - it rocks - it's huge and bronze.
My first race t-shirt. My first goodie-bag with a very nice amount of stuff in it. (Granola has never tasted as good as when standing in the cold after the race.)
The smile on TheO's face when they said how proud they were. (Vomit worthy memory!)
Knowing I never have to run 5K again. Not because I don't want to run, but just because I prefer running longer races - it's more mentally relaxing.

First Race Done!

It's done. The first ever race is done, done, done

The hill was bad but not as bad as last week.

I LOVED running with lots of people, so many it was anonymous.

All my mates were very supportive and it was lovely.

My first ever medal is a thing of beauty.

I might need a nap.

First ever official time:

5K time 0:30:40 (so a few seconds more than I hoped for - but I'm really pleased overall)

Race finish time (as it was 5.2k) 0:31:44
Finisher number 984 (only mildly chastening as there were meant to be over 2000 entrants).

Will bother to describe it all in more detail tomorrow/later.


This feels like a fantastic start to my shiny new blog.
The first real post occurs on the same day as my first real race, loving the symmetry.

IIiiieeeeeeeEEEEEEE*, 10th January, 2007

Just checked it on map-my-run. It's a full MILE going up, up, up.

And I looked at the elevation map. It's actually 1.75 miles going UP from the start to the apex - I feel sick now. (But you really can't feel the gentle rise bit too much at the beginning.)

I'm going to need more than luck to get through this one!


Hope you enjoyed the giant 2 day catch-up. Sorry I couldn't be arsed to backdate everything so it looked fab in the archive. ;)

Let's talk about HILLS ba-bee, 10th January, 2007

Today's hill session went so-so. I'm a hard task master and I tend to set myself the target to better every run... a little too demanding.

Today I wanted to tackle hills - but not necessarily do straight repeats as I needed to get another 5k done too. So here's what happened:

0.5miles down hill - turn- 0.5 miles straight back up - a decent hill with two really steep sections and about 0.1 of flattish. 10.34 - delighted with this time.

Keep Running

0.4 miles downhill -turn- 0.6 miles straight back up. This is a much longer straight climb up with no flat/rest sections. One steep bit. 11.10 - manageable time.

Keep Running

Back down and up the first hill. 11.15 - the hills are definitely taking their toll.

0.54 for the last wee bit.

33.54 for a very hilly 5K. Hmmm, don't know if I'm pleased because my recovery time seemed better with each hill section OR disappointed as this is a looooong way from my desired time at the w/end?! I know race conditions are meant to help and being surrounded by a flow of people is meant to makes hills easier - but it would have been satisfying to get a better time for psychological reasons.

I think the hill on Saturday is about 0.8 miles straight up - I'm off to check at map-my-run...

Pre-Race Week, 09th January, 2007

All I can think about is the damn race. I'm in turn excited or terrified. I've still got a bit of a cold but I don't feel too bad. I had a 30min coughing session today (which has mysteriously vanished) and I was almost in tears as a bad cough is the only thing (apart from broken bones/muscles) which could seriously hamper me. It takes all my effort to run up the hill and control my breathing (I mean heavy panting) - without the added pressure of a cough.

The plan for this week was:

1 x gym

1x hill session

1 x 4-5 miles easy (not that I've ever managed this ... every session is race pace to me)

Managed to do 1mile on sand today with the dogs as a warm up then into the gym. Really pushed myself to do every machine heavier than before and concentrate on doing 3 sets of between 15-20 reps. TheOther managed to make me crazy with fury as they niggled away and kept telling me I wasn't trying hard enough. Then they told me to turn the anger on the machine, not them.... arhhhgggg. I knew that what they were doing was ultimately helpful but it was sooo frustrating. It did make for a brilliant gym session though.

Very dull summary follows. But I've never written down my gym session before so I thought this would make a good record.

All machines are Precor and the number in brackets refers to the number of holes down I put the weight stick in. (I can't always read the numbers or get the alignment right so I remember it this way.) Also random listing, not in this order.

Leg Press (6) 3x20 (turning knees out further with each 20)

Shoulder Press (1) 3x20

Lateral Pull (4) 3x20

Lateral Pull for triceps (1) 3x20 (Standing and pulling bar from waist down to full arm extension then back to waist again.)

Hip Flexor knee up x 20 each leg (2); inner and outer thigh 20 of each for each leg (4)

Pectoral Push (4) 3 x15

Hamstring push (4) 2 x 20 (5) 1 x 20

Bicep Curl (2) 3 x 15

Two armed standing cross pull thing (4) 2 x 12 (3) 1 x 12

Tummy Curl Machine (7) 2 x 20, 2 x 20 alternating side obliques, 1 x 20 (8), 1x 20 (9)

Now I know that doing that many on the Tummy machine is madness and only helps me psychologically, not physialogically but I don't care. One day, when there isn't a layer of flab covering them I am going to have RIPPED stomach muscles! (That's the aim anyway.)

Ah, maybe tomorrow the hills and a gentler rest for the remainder of the week.

Trial Run, 07th January, 2007

Ah! Today was the day. A trial run with friends round Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh (with the thousands of others obviously running their xmas excess away).

OH MY GOD! The HILL is not to be underestimated. It sucks the life and energy from your very bones! Had I not been running with my lovely running friend who managed to point out, "once you get to that bench it's all down hill" I might have stopped... and walked... a lot.
I'd love to tell you all how long the hill is - I think it's about 1.2K but the damndamndamn GPS battery went about 500m into the run!!!!!!! It doesn't seem too bad but just at the point you want it to end it gets much steeper and I was gasping by the top. The run down is amazing though, still hard work but all down hill. And a lovely view to boot!

So due to the GPS dying I don't know what my time was - my helpful friend said it was "about half an hour". Unfortunately she doesn't realise I NEED TO KNOW if it was 29:50 or 30:28 ... it would be great to have a time to beat next week, something concrete to aim for. However I am happy to settle for about 30min and get my chip time as just under 30mins.

A few gentle runs this week and some serious hill work.

Good running people!

Shaking off the germs... 05th January, 2007

Finally made it out for a run today. I think 4 days without has been my longest time for almost 6 months! Just concentrating on the 5K for the next week.

The race is a week tomorrow - I've got the number, the chip, the new base layer to wear under my RNLI vest. (Ooooo soooo co-ordinated dahling!) And I still have a cold. Felt beyond dreadful last night when I went to sleep but a solid 9h seemed to fix me right-up. I know that I'm going to get that horrid feeling back this evening but at least the day has been enjoyed!

So, to the run. A simple 5K on the flat in the usual woods. Just a watch, a dog and me. But I know the 5K route well so I can give rough splits.





A grand total of 29.00 - it wont win any prizes but given I'm not on top form I'll take it.

My next run is a trial run of the course on Sunday - with friends who've all run it before. I prepare to be ashamed by the HILL. I can't believe I seem to run sub 10min/miles now! I can't believe I'm running in a race!

Off to wash off the feeling of incredulity!

whoo Hooo *cough splutter*,04th January, 2007

Well I received my FIRST EVER number and timing chip in the post today. I would be so over excited and jumping for joy if I didn't have the most horrible sore throat.

Glad I went out a few times over xmas and New Year because this bad-boy feels like it's settling in for a good few days. At least it is now and not over the race!!!! Got to keep my strength up somehow.

Any hints?

Now I've been thinking ... 30th December, 2006

All this time not running (but actively cleaning, cooking and running round like the proverbial chicken must count for something!) has led me to thinking. [The three days I've had without a run is the longest for 5 months I've gone without ... will my legs forget what to do?]

I love Nike running stuff BUT it really irked me that when I started to exercise it didn't fit (particularly the tops); and that many exercise brands stop at a size 16 (many stop at a 14). It struck me as silly that the lard-ar$ed among us are encouraged to move our big behinds and do stuff. We often sweat more and expend more effort therefore sports gear that wicks, and doesn't chafe isn't just about looking good - it's about not being in pain.

More thinking though has made me reassess this point. Clothes are one of the things that make larger people feel 'normal'. (I do know what I'm talking about I've been a size 22 at 5'5".) But maybe normal isn't good enough - maybe there should be a cuff-off for many clothing brands based on a rough healthy weight. I still have a stone and a half to lose before I am a healthy BMI - for my height and bone structure this seems to be about right. I'll probably stick within the upper limits of my BMI as I'm quite well muscled and a bit curvy up-top. But why should clothing companies pander to my lard and make me feel like I fit the same clothes as everyone else? Are they helping me to delude myself?

So while I couldn't buy a nicely shaped, fashionable brand I think I should still be able to buy some clothing that works for full on exercise! That gives us something to work out in and something to aspire to - surely the best and healthiest of both worlds. *

*I do know that companies don't really care about BMI or anything except their price-point and the profitability.

Have a great New Year everyone - we're going to party like it's 1915 (in a world where the First World War never occurred, costumes are mandatory and it's kill or be killed!).

Boxing Day Run, 27th December, 2006

Made it out on Boxing Day. Just a quick run round up past the quarry - HILLS!

5K - 30.28





Average 9.50

Best 6.40 (ohhhh the downhill was loverly)

Felt so much better for going for a run. Beginning to get a bit panicy about work over the next 3 weeks - and fitting in the running, and first races, and everything else.

Christmas was wonderful though, very relaxed and chilled out. Made a nice change.

Tough today, 23rd December, 2006

For some strange, unknown, reason it was really tough today. First time in months I've thought, "I could just walk for bit." Kept playing mind games with myself saying I was only going to do 5k, then 4 miles, then I finally made it to half way and managed to just push on to the end of the 5 mile stint I'd set myself.

Was just using the watch and a known route today so the splits aren't spot on. Overall a fairly decent run, just a tiny bit slower than the 7miler a few days ago.

5 miles in 50.55 so average of 10:11 a mile






I always want to go faster at each run - bad habit. It's good as it makes me push myself but bad in that sometimes the satisfaction can be lower than I should really feel.

On another note all the xmas shopping (food, tree etc) is now done and tomorrow is left for decorating the house and TREEEEEEEEEEE and lazing around. Possibly a spot of yoga. I went into town today to get the last few things and I expected it to be jam packed (as predicted by finance bods) but it was fairly quiet (usual Saturday really) in comparison. Hope too many small retailers don't have too bad Christmas.

Good running people!

PBs and Paranoia, 21st December, 2006

Finally managed to fit a long run into the Christmas madness. The good news is the presents are bought and wrapped - all we need to get is a tree and some foooooood.

Run today was in the usual woods. 7 miles.

7 miles in 1:09:15

Average pace 9:53









My 10K time smashed 1min 26 seconds off my previous best - new time of 1:01:08. Think I might manage to get under that 1h barrier soon. All the resting and fine dining has obviously done me the power of good! Still need to work on upping my distance a bit as I feel I've let things slip a bit since the 1/2 16 days ago... Might have got the hang of consistent running though.

Oooo, exciting news; the lovely woman at the RNLI got in touch and I've got a charity place in the Forthside Half in April! It's so exciting and means I'm officially signed up to 3 out of my 4 races for next year. Still a bit nervous as I've never actually raced with other people. I hope I don't find it too intimidating, and busy... I'm so used to running on my own in deserted places where I have to think about nothing but my own breathing.

Just realised the title I gave this. There was a (probably very nice) bloke in the woods who overtook me TWICE on his bike which was a bit disconcerting so I think my speed on the way back was helped by a (I like to think) healthy paranoia for my own personal safety. I had the blackpooch with me, and she never noticed his silent bike until he'd gone past!

Merry Crimbo everyone.

Work it... 18th December, 2006

*Just* the gym today. It's a tough week for food as we've got loads of meals out - so burning some additional calories becomes a necessity.

Started ok this week. No run today but a hard burn gym session. 5 fast mins on the rowing machine (on level 10) then 5 min interval training on the upright (owww, my arse hurts) bike.

Then onto the weights, really pushed myself on all the weights, did my maximum lifts and really tried for quality over quantity. All the arm machines, the leg press, the cross pull and the tummy machine! I expect to awake with Angelina's body tomorrow ... lets see shall we.

Socks, socks, socks, 17th December, 2006

Well this week has been a LOW MILAGE WEEK, it would be great to say I'd spent all my time working on flexibility and muscle tone, but I haven't.

Did manage to get another run done on Saturday (16th). Went to the usual woods with TheOther and the dogs, decided I needed to do a longer (well not 5k) run. Did 5.1 lovely miles in 51min. Was delighted with my time, that's 5 x 10min miles. (Doing happy dance.) Splits are non-existent as I was running with my watch and just using a route I knew. Puppy seemed quite happy with the pace too.

Gym -K- Nah, 13th December, 2006

What a terrible title.

My usual gym is closed for the annual 4 week Christmas refurb (where they do nothing). So yesterday I headed off to another one - with new machines - terribly exciting.

I plopped myself onto the running machine to get my running for the day done (it was so miserable outside it had to be an 'inside job'). I started and kept hitting the speed-up button. I knew things were going a little crazy when my speed hit 8 and kept having to go UP to find a comfortable rate. My first reaction was, "sod it, this machine's broken". Slowly it dawned on me that the distance was also climbing at an alarming rate. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh kilometres, the penny drops.

It was extremely tough to watch the K's go up, knowing that 2.5 was 1/2 way and not near the end. Also a pain to try and pace my miles. But the result was 5k in 30:13 with some small hills at the beginning and a wonderful flat at the end. It was v hard work and I suddenly appreciated the freezing-ness of the other gym.

Then on to the machines.

The shoulder machine - a revelation - never seen one before, gave an oft ignored part of my anatomy a bit of a work out.

Usual torture on the leg push thing and the tummy machine.

Gave the triceps a punishing too (they've been so lazy recently).

Then used the lateral cross pull machine - that thing is incredible and really hard going. Ooooo look forward to trying it again, it;s nice to do something that feels like it works the whole back.

Merry Christmas people!

K I S S, 11th December, 2006

Or: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Ran round the hill due to time constraints. 2.3 miles (2 loops of the hill).

Average pace 11:18

25:34 total time




It was 50% uphill, 50% downhill. So I'm relatively happy with the time, and I managed to run all the way (including up the big hill twice - although there were bits where it said my pace was 13:45 ....).

What a week. 08th December, 2006

Aww people, this is just getting silly. I'm so ridiculously buzzed I'm going to start making people sick; then you'll stop reading, then I'll get depressed, the running will go down hill - then you'll start reading again, the running will improve, and the hamster wheel will continue to turn. (Might be a little light headed....)

First run after the 1/2 today. Decided to make it a short one. Started well so decided on the hoof it might as well be a speed session. It was all on the flat though - thought I'd be kind to the legs.

5K in 28.50





Three stonkingly sub-10min miles and I've taken 1.02 off my previous best-ever time for 5K. (Early November for those who care.)

I don't know what happened to me this week but it feels like a real breakthrough. I feel like I can confidently call myself a runner. I've confounded the expectations of friends, and to be honest, expectations of myself too.

The knowledge that I managed to complete a 1/2 makes me feel somewhat invincible: like I can't be knocked for the extra weight I'm still trying to shift, like I'm using my body to it's full potential and it feels amazing, like I've transformed myself in some subtle way that TheOther has noticed and friends are beginning to catch on to. (Some waffle to do with inner confidence.)

The confidence that comes from setting yourself goals and achieving them (in any field) cannot be bettered. Whatever you're doing this w/end set yourself a goal (anything from that long extended run, a faster paced session, or just getting the damn Christmas cards done) and bask in the glory of completion, revel in pushing yourself just that little bit.

Friday sermon is over now folks, I'll remove myself from the 'running pulpit' where I love to hang out and let you get back to your respective Fridays.

Rest ye weary legs ...07th December, 2006

Oooowwwww I'm suffering. I went surfing yesterday. It was brilliant. Really perfect beginners’ waves, wonderful crisp sunshine, huge gaps between the waves - it couldn't have been better. I also stood loads which I haven't done in ages.

However - I should have rested. I felt fairly fine yesterday - my muscles were quite happy; a bit stiff but not too achy. By the time I went to bed last night I was IN PAIN. It took me ages to get to sleep as it hurt to lie on my thighs (and I'm rubbish at lying on my back).

TheOther gave me a bit of a massage this morning and it really helped. (But I'm not sure the tears were appreciated.) Dinner last night was found in a perfect pub (cosy, friendly, great menu) where I had the steak and chips I desperately needed. Feel a bit crappy today - like I've over done it (quelle surprise). Catching up on work and not using the legs.

I know where I want to focus my energies now. 10k and halfs. 5ks to improve speed. That's the plan - as soon as my legs let me do something!

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!, 05th December, 2006

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!, 05th December, 2006

I did it. I ran 13.1miles - I ran a half-marathon. I'm amazed and, quite frankly, could cry like a baby, if I had the energy. I ran to St. Andrews and then out to the West Sands (then did a big lap round the west sands to use up those pesky extra miles). The course is fairly flat with only a few small rises but definitely more 'rolling' than my legs are used to. Also more hard surfaces than they are used to too.

All the stats:

13.1miles 2:23:39

Average Pace 10:58 (just keeping within my 11min/mile goal)

Best Pace 8:26

Calories - 2041 (whooo hoooooo)











----------- furthest I'd ever run before




1.23 (for 0.1of a mile)

I'm still in lala land. And my legs ache. I've had carrot cake and loads of water but my brain still feels a little fuzzy. Might go and soak under the shower - before soaking in the bath and having a nice nap.

If I can do it, seriously, anyone physically able can get out there and do it. I've been a morbidly obese chain smoker - and now this!

Okay, I do have the post-run evangelical zeal in my eye, but even so. I never imagined running from my home into St. Andrews - it was a long-term goal when I started running, but not one I imagined would be so achievable.

This was my first ever run where I was running from somewhere to somewhere else and it made a massive difference to me. Rather than plotting arbitrary routes through a forest I was actually going somewhere. I could see the town in my sites and it kept getting closer - it was such a great psychological boost.

Going surfing tomorrow for the first time in months - can't wait. Might be a bit stiff - but I don't care. Off to cleanse.

Motivation, 05th December, 2006

I'm lacking it today. I want to go for a looooooonnnnnnggggggg run but I'm a bit tired. How feeble does that sound?

However I take one look at the lovely RNLI running top and tshirt and know that I should get out there. It's a bit grey but nothing to actually stop me. I've had my porridge. TheOther has semi-volunteered to come and pick me up if I decide to stop somewhere that's not home.

*big sigh* There are just somedays when the mind and body aren't that willing. Nevermind - just a bit more water, and changing into the running gear will get me set - surely.

Oh, and another thing (not procrastinating, honest) I was speaking to a runner friend recently and talk about "people's perception" of you. We were chatting about the Great Winter Run which is round Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. The race is only 5k but I was questioning him about the hill, the infamous hill. It's big and he was telling me about the hideousness. Then he said (and he's not normally a patronising bloke - he teaches kids how to be fit and stuff s is big on encouragement) "you should make it round". Now I was too flaberghasted to reply but... WTF... I know he doesn't read my training blog but ... oh it's so frustrating when people expect you still to be the unfit, lard-arsed, blog you were 6 months ago. Never mind, I'm sure he meant it in an encouraging way. Makes me more determind not to be foiled by the hill (which only scares me a little - it appears to be about 1 mile of the 3 mile course, and to have a super steep bit on the final section of that mile - damn it).

Party Pooped, 04th December, 2006

When did it become a sensible idea to work all day, go for a run, then go to a party?

Saturday work was good, v busy.

Run was excellent. 3.5 miles in 36min averaging 10.23 p/m





It was freezing cold and a bit damp but I just ran it all away. I just managed to fit the run in before I had to shower and glam-up for the party... think that pushed me on to a slighter faster pace than the previous day.

Party was also wonderful, lots of friends there. But had to go at about 11pm as the temptation to drink too much and be hungover for work was too great. So I was tucked up asleep by 12:30 - very unlike me. 9h kip - absolute bliss.

Right, off to bed now I'm home, unpacked, and have caught-up with the blog.

City Running *1 ,04th December, 2006

Hello, hello. I'm back. This is my update of the runs in Edinburgh.

My first evening run after a hard days graft (selling your own wares is very stressful, honest). Ran along well-lit roads past too many pubs with clouds of smokers outside... grrrr v. irritating - even as an ex-smoker.

It was a hard route as I had to deal with real world hills (those gentle rise things that last for 1/2 a mile or more; they don't look like much but my legs can feel them). Also had to deal with real world idiots. Ok, I call them idiots but it was really quite funny:

There I was running along, in my own world, about to reach the half-way point. Suddenly right behind my head there's the sound of really loud thunder (at least, that was my little brain's interpretation). In actuality 2 guys had coasted their car behind me, one had leaned out and applauded right behind my head. I scare easily and leapt in the air and squealled like the girlie I try not to be. They sped off laughing so hard the car rocked and waving. My heart began to return to its knackered rate.

So, bearing in mind the hills and traffic lights. Run was as follows:

6.5 miles in 1.10.00 averaging 10.50 p/m








The Hills are Alive ...30th November, 2006

The Hills are Alive

... with the sound of me beathing quite heavily.

Despite the fact it was a short run today - 5k- it was superb. It was cold, windy, beginning to rain and I stormed out of the house having had a v. minor tiff with TheOther. Wow, I should start all my races angry - it really kept me going. I went along a route near home that includes 3 small rises and one hill.

Splits were:





And, most happily for me, I didn't have to walk at all. The hills seemed surmountable, I just had to attack them properly and suddenly I was at the top. Feel amazing today. (Which I think just rubs TheOther the wrong way as their cold has headed chestward and makes running impossible.)

Bit nervous as my usual w/end running has been stopped this week as I have to work. Might manage a quick city run over the w/end though... or I might just relax.

Warning rant alert @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Ironically for those reading the Charity emails previous to this I had my first communication from Shelter today. They were asking if I still required the running stuff (despite an email begging them for it last week) and saying could I let them know if I was doing the FLM... as I'd told them I was! They got exceptionally polite short shrift. No contact for almost 2 months then they ask me to contact them again and then they accuse me of not letting them know about a race I was never doing. I was delighted to be able to tell them my money was going elsewhere - somewhere where the money spent on fundraising and clerical matters appeared to be used efficiently.

I'm really sad by quite how badly their internal systems seem to run - they are a great charity and the money should be used efficiently. (Officially my end of charity rant.)

Charity *2, 30th November, 2006

Wow - what a difference. I emailed the RNLI yesterday and 10 hours later I received a fantastic personal email apologising that their standard form has bits that don't apply to me (as I'm running multiple races for the same cause). And telling me all about their running pack - which is fantastic and includes big running plans, t-shirt, vest, and (if I want it) I can borrow a miniature inflatable lifeboat to run in. (As I'm still a bit of a biffer I might not want to draw this much attention to myself ... but it's a great idea for the future!)

I feel so relieved that I've had the determination to change. It feels horrible to leave a charity but these situations have to work two ways. I've filled in the forms, I've set up a shiny new justgiving site and now I really have to train hard. I've committed myself to 4 races for them - so I run a MARATHON distance (... I'm such a wimp) for them and commit myself to 6 months of consistent running. Should be good for their coffers and keep me away from the coffin.

Just had my oatybics - off for a run later (despite the minging weather) - I'll let you all know how I do.

Charity ... 29th November, 2006

After much thought I've changed charities. Mostly because I thought I'd been treated very shabbily. I know they are busy people, I know answering phones all day can be tedious but when you're told something will be done - it should be done.

I contacted Shelter 3 months ago to say I wanted to run for them and would like a runner’s pack. My first contact was by email. The email resulted in two identical leaflets - neither of which I wanted. So I called them to request exactly the same thing. They were polite and helpful. I've emailed twice since then to ask where the pack is and to request the same thing... nothing. I give to Shelter on a monthly basis, I'm not asking for a bonded place in anything ... I'm paying for all my races myself - all I want from them is the fundraising runners pack. If they'd have replied at all it would have been great.

Am I being harsh?

I've moved across to the RNLI - this was an emotional decision as my great grandfather was a coxswain for them and my whole family are closely tied to the RNLI. I wanted my charity to be a mental rather than an emotional decision. But now I just want to run and raise some cash for a fantastic organisation. They don't claim to have a running department or to have a runners pack so anything they can provide will be great - it's a case of having no expectations.

I've read about lots of runners being treated in an offhand and slack manner by their chosen charities - it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Hill Session (a real one),28th November, 2006

Finally - after putting it off for so long I went out specifically to do a hill session. This is easy-peasy as I live on a hill - it's about 1k from bottom to top. The rise is probably about 30degrees for most of it.
I did a nice gentle 1mile run to warm up it was mostly down hill or flat. Then I did 8 x 200m/0.13mile hill repeats. Each repeat took about 1:25 - 1:35 to do so I just about managed to keep to an 11min pace. The 'jogs' down did vary from a decent jog to a slow walk... as the mile times will tell you.

4 repeats were ordinary, 2 were on an especially steep section and

2 were back on the ordinary hill.

3.03miles total 'run' - 39min

Average pace 12:55





Despite it being a really tough work out I felt so much better for doing it. It felt like it gave me much more confidence about hills in general and I was happy that I could do the hill repeats. It drives me to make sure I do at least one hills session a week. All my regular training is sooooo flat that this will make me more prepared for actual race conditions.

With races in mind I think I've decided on my race plan for next year. I'm going to run a marathon for Shelter - BUT I'm going to run it over 4 races. A half, a 10k, a 5k and - somehow a 6k (that's the race I'm still looking for) - I think I've got the maths right.

The story for today is: I don't hate/fear hills quite as much now and I've not a new training exercise to do. Increase the length of my hill reps until I can run up the whole hill. Then... try and incorporate a hill into a longer run. (This might take some time.)

Expectations, 26th November, 2006

This is a classic case of mental being beaten (to a pulp) by physical. I don't think I realised what a hard week I'd given myself when I went out for a run on Saturday (25th). Mentally I thought I was prepared to give 13.2miles a go. I kept planning and re-planning my route. I like to mess with the distances so I'm always having to recalculate (it gives me something to do while running).

I think I planned too much; I think I was too tired. I couldn't really control my pace. I kept trying to slow to around the 11min a mile point and failing. I kept worrying about not being able to do it (quite unlike me). To top it all my shoulder muscles and pecs were aching from the gym and the action of running didn't help matters.

But after all the whinging above I decided to keep it to 10k.








1.05.06 Total (pace about 10.32)

Overall it was a great run and I was happy with it. But I think my indecision was a massive factor in not achieving my goal for the day.

It was my highest mileage week (actual weight bearing running - rather than miles on the elliptical as part of the count) so far though so that's got to be good.

Looking forward to next week. Might manage to run the 5k route I need to do in January... find out how bad the hill really is. Eeeek.


On Sunday just went for a brisk walk with the dogs. They were delighted, it was a great evening. About 1.5miles strolling across the hill.

Friday Philosophy: Are you a fit person?,24th November, 2006

Where does fitness start?

Glib answer: with the first step.

But it's a tougher question. Well, I think it's a tough question and one which has been bouncing around my brain for a few days.

Does how we perceive ourselves affect our training: do we train harder if we believe ourselves to be a 'runner'? Do we allow ourselves to devote more time/energy to "training" than we would if we thought we were 'just jogging'?

Do we perceive ourselves differently if we enter a race? For me I know having set goals helps me to plan my training. Now I might (if asked) say that I 'run'... it feels truthful, but it took me a long time to come to that conclusion. TheOther hasn't entered any races and that doesn't stop me seeing them as a runner. Their pace is different to mine but that's it; they train as many times a week and are building up their long run as it suits. Entering races doesn't confer any special 'runner' status in my eyes.

This line of questioning was prompted as I said something the other night about "fit people" (it was complimentary I assure you) and TheOther said, "but you're a fit person". Now, my first thought was, "aww bless". A bit like your loved one saying your home cooked meal tastes great when you know it was only so-so. I intimated as much. There was some spluttering and they exclaimed: "But if you asked anyone they'd say that someone who could run 10miles was fit!"

Now this really stunned me because, if asked, I too would assume that someone who could run 10miles was fit. But that's not how I see myself. I'm still a minimum (by BMI) of a stone and a half overweight and I don't feel like a fit person. But then, how would I know how a 'fit person' feels? It is out-with my realm of experience.

Is this all some sort of perception dysmorphia: Do I see myself as more unfit than I really am? But, in turn, does this help me to train harder and achieve more goals, rather than relaxing into my new found status? (Comparable to seeing ourselves as fatter than we are; this can be a state which isn't dangerous to our health - it just stops us reaching for the cake, too often.)

Most of these questions must have plagued new runners over the years but it's this mental side of running that isn't discussed very often. Race tactics and mental strength are often discussed but how we see ourselves - how we perceive ourselves is all too often ignored. My self-esteem has certainly improved through running as my fitness and body shape have changed. But my brain is still playing catch-up. I can't comprehend my level of fitness until I'm actually doing it. Is this part of the buzz? A true natural high of experiencing something you can't imagine.

Think Big - Run Big


I might go to the gym later but it'll be the usual stuff and not as interesting to write about as this lot.

Quick Gym Update,24th November, 2006

I did manage to go to the gym today (before pegging it to Starbucks for coffeeeeeee and cake). 10min / 1mile on the elliptical thingy - lots of hills and high effort. But it was just to warm up really.

Then I blasted my tummy, arms, and back. I'm definitely going to feel it tomorrow. But it's the weekend, and I'm not doing anything apart from making stuff for xmas, running and chilling out.

*warning - undulating surface*, 23rd November, 2006

*warning - undulating surface*, 23rd November, 2006

Went out today for a run - after a half hour discussion about whether to go to the gym - or go for a run. Decided that it was only fair on the dogs to go for a run.

They hate us, the two little pooches did not want to go; they did not get excited getting into or out of the car. They ran behind us (mentally flicking 'v' signs) and generally behaved like teenagers who were forced to go to Auntie Gladis' 80th rather than the uber-cool party with their mates. We think they might need a rest.

It was only a short run today so I tried to make it quick. I ran through the woods (the old, old way if anyone remembers that far back) which is a wonderfully undulating course. No rise is longer than 3 paces - but it was a fantastically demanding change. The bumps are like ripples in a pool - it's a constant up and down while weaving in and out of trees. It keeps your wits about you and you have to focus on the run, you can't just plod mindlessly.


9.14 - ooooooo fastest mile ever - how exciting ;)



Total: 30.35

Were the splits for 3.1miles.

Average pace was 9.52.

It feels very satisfying to manage to increase my pace but I still prefer going for longer. Hopefully the two will come together. I can't believe I'm still so psyched by running. It's just running ... I'm dumb struck.

Shoes or Feet? 22nd November, 2006

Shoes or Feet? 22nd November, 2006

Just a gentle dog walk today. 1.5 miles - does include BIG hill, but still not exactly taxing. The pooches were off lead and ecstatic - running around like little devils.

Feel a bit heavy and lethargic today - hormones not helping me at all. Walking boots felt like lead at the ends of my feet instead of trainers.

Ooohhhh, need to ask a question about trainers. I got mine at a Sweatshop and I tried on about 15 pairs before I got them. I'll give you all a summary of the situation first then ask for the advice:

I cannot wear ASICS as the heel grips too tight. Saucony felt all wrong shape for my feet - too narrow. Brooks were fine (I chose others as I felt they weren't bouncy enough), but I bought NIKE STRUCTURE triax in August. These shoes were all recommended to give me extra structure as I have no cartilage (I do mean this literally) in one ankle. It causes me no real problems (occasional stiffness and a sharp pain if jar it) but support shoes were recommended. The lovely lady shoe fitter did not think I over-pronated but I think after running a lot, I might tilt inward ever so slightly.

I love them, I think they are dead comfy. BUT On my right foot I have one black toe nail (not from pressing the front of the shoe but from it gripping super tight when I walk or run - if I wear Birkenstocks it becomes clear that it's my 'gripping' toe). Also I have one blister on each foot (which after healing and let to become hard skin - stops being a problem). These matching blisters are placed on the inside edge of my foot just where the arch becomes the ball of the foot (but right on the very edge of the foot - just below the usual hard skin).

These blisters only ever occurred after a run of 8miles plus; before that no problems. The black toe nail occurred when I first ran 10k and is still there after about 5 weeks.

So what I need to know is:

Are my shoes wrong - or are my feet just getting used to running?

Thursday, 11 January 2007

New week - new pace!, 21st November, 2006

After the rest and lethargy of last week I failed to start this week with a bang. So, Tuesday is now the 'fresh start' day. All of last week appears to have been caused by PMT ... but that aside.

Finally went for a long run - only 13 days after the last one (lazy bones that I am), and did not even attempt to extend my long run (10miles) but decided that anything over 10k would be fine. I had an appropriate brekkie and eventually headed for the woods. (With TheOther, and the dogs this time.)

I think my pace has improved. (Huge grin here.) I did 8 miles in 81.29 or 1h 21min 29sec for those who think in hours not minutes (I may have rewired my brain to only think in minutes). My average pace was 10.11 and all miles were sub 10:30 and 5/8 were sub 10:15. I now have a new distance pace to keep to (sub 10:30... but fast heading towards sub 10!!!!!!!!!!).

Splits were:




----------5k time was 31.05




------------- 10k time was 1.02.34



Warning!! Garmin rant:

I think I might have managed to make the last mile a few seconds quicker had Orwell (the Garmin101) not managed to pi$$ me off so mightily. It went from 7.8 to 7.6 then to 7.84 and kept saying "weak GPS signal" - luckily I'd run out for 4 miles and could remember where I started so I didn't need it's ridiculous confirmation. But even thought I knew all this I still slowed down and held it above my head as it desperately tried to find a signal somewhere it's never failed to find a signal before. Damn thing!

But, the GPS aside, the run was brilliant. I felt like I really pushed myself and enjoyed it simultaneously. The pooch was running well and only occasionally tried to trip me up. I think - although I'm going to have to check back all my notes - that this 8 miler also included my fastest ever 10K.

I'm going to watch the footie and celebrate with steak and a cider tonight. XX

The antithesis to running, 19th November, 2006

I might have over-egged the title slightly. I'm sure some of you are now expecting me to tell you about a wonderful Sunday when I didn't leave the house and all I ate was chocolate. Sadly this isn't the case. Today (after about 6 months of neglect) I did 30min of yoga instead of going for a run.

I remembered all the things I loved about it; the flow, the calm, the deep regular breathing. I expected my muscles to be tight because of the running (last time I did yoga running was in-no-way a part of my life). However they were not too bad and my legs feel miles better from having done a nice calm set of stretches.

I still feel a tiny bit dodgy and TheOther was having a footie day so going for a run just seemed too knackering. I'm amazed that yoga can still make me 'glow' - it doesn't feel like it's hard work most of the time (and then your shoulders and hips crack simultaneously and you realise that maybe, just maybe, you might be giving the joints a bit of a work out).

I've only ever been to one yoga class (loved the yoga - couldn't stand the chanting) as there are no Ashtanga courses near me and I like this faster, flowing form as you get to stretch and work-out. So I'm going to recommend David Swenson's YOGA SHORT FORMS to any beginners. There are 3 programs on the disk 15, 30 and 45 mins. I will still use the 45 as a challenge - but all the yoga here is designed for beginners. I'm not affiliated to the company in any way - I just find it a really great workout CD and running mags etc are always suggesting that runners remember to stay limber and supplement their training with yoga!

Monday's fast approaching, maybe tonight I'll go to bed at a sensible hour.

Felt crap - went for run - felt better, 18th November, 2006

The title really does sum it all up. I woke up this morning with a slightly scratchy throat, sinuses feeling strange and a lovely dose of lethargy. After some coffee (but no brekkie) TheOther said they were going for a run, and did I want to come? I looked up from my chair, surrounded by duvet and suddenly couldn't stand the thought of not running. (Possibly the competitive beast inside me awoke at this moment.) So I chugged some water, obliterated a banana, and headed out the door.

Off we went (and the little dogs too) to the woods. It was a beautiful day, damn cold - just the way I like it. We decided it was only going to be a short run - just 5k. We headed off together, TheOther appeared to use me as a pace setter - and wow, the form was good today; I made it to the first mile in 10.01 which really surprised me as I felt like I was just pootling along quite happily. The second mile was 10.06 - then the competitive beast went bezerk and wanted me to get to 5k in under 30min - ("make it a proper speed session", the voice yelled in my head) so I upped the pace and finished in 31min flat. I was pleased with the run as at the 2 mile point I felt quite relaxed and would have been content to make it a longer session. I might have managed to increase my speed a little over the last week - which would be brilliant.

I have a confession to make: my name is SAM and I think I'm addicted to exercise. I think the buzz has got to me. After today I felt on top of the world - and I felt like it was just what my body and mind needed.

I feel a bit more rubbish now but TheOther just made me a hot toddy so I'm sure it'll all melt away soon.

I'm off to bathe and enjoy the rest of this 'lazy' weekend - enjoy yourselves, whatever you're up to this w/end.

Rest, 17th November, 2006

After a lovely meal with friends last night woke up this morning feeling a bit out of sorts. It might be the weather - cold and wet, or it could just be being a little bit less than 100%. I was a tiny but sneezy yesterday - hope it's not a fully blown cold.

Also, bizarrely, the top of my feet hurt. All I did yesterday was the run on the treadmill so there should be no reason to it. They just ache a bit but it feels like one of those injuries I shouldn't aggrivate.

The outcome of all this is a well earned rest-day. I feel rubbish, the weather is rubbish - bah humbug in general.

But, you know, if I feel better later I might make it onto the elliptical machine...

I did breathe some outside air today, 17th November, 2006

Well, the black mood has lifted. The headache is merely lurking. And all is almost right with the world. Still no running done but a lovely 1mile walk done with the dogs - just as it got dark. Cold as hell, icy wind, but wonderful skies.

When we were 3/4 of the way round, heading up the big hill, TheOther turned to me and said, "Remember when we were puffing and panting by this point?" It was a good memory in that I never want to be that person again. Now I'm frustrated because I can't run up it... ah the irony.

Hopefully there'll be a long run over the w/end - but I don't think I'm going to extend my run this week as I'm not feeling up to it. Somewhere between 6 and 9 miles will just have to do.

Gym-tastic, 16th November, 2006

Back to the gym today. Feels like it's been forever- it was a delight to get myself reacquainted with the running machine (where there is no aircon and you swealter) then the weights (where the aircon is set to arctic temps and you freeeeeeze).

Did 5k in 31.15 - so I'm calling that my speed session for the week. It was exceptionally hard and I sweated buckets - to the extent that when I stopped a woman on the elliptical said, "oohhh, you deserve a sit down now".

Average 10.25 speedwise which is hardly sprightly given that it appears to be identical to my distance pace - what's that about? I did finally set the machine on 1 for the incline rather than just running on the flat. Think my calves could feel the difference.

Then the weights which always make me feel good. The leg press to work those inner thighs and to keep my supporting knee muscles in shape. The tummy machine :) Some work on my triceps (try and tighten-up those bingo wings) and the chest-press thing - 'cos I feel I should.

Total: 31.15 running and 20min weights.

Was out for dinner last night - and have to (poor me!) go out for dinner again tonight... have to do something to burn these calories.

If I read back over these posts I can recall not being able to run for 20min. One day, I'm sure, it'll be the same for running up those pesky hills!

******* hills, 15th November, 2006

Insert your own expletive,

Hills suck, they really, really, suck.

My run today was 2.8 miles in 30min.

It was both short and involved a lot of walking.

Ran 0.6

Walked 0.1

Ran 1.6

Walked 0.2

Ran 0.2

It was just too steep - my muscles don't mind but my lungs just give up on me. On the flat it can feel like wings are on my heels ... on the slant it reminds me of my vast lard and why gravity hates me.

I'm going to have to get used to the hills though (and it will be useful) as there's been some "business restructuring" done chez moi. After the summer rush (I'm a craftsperson handmaking silver jewellery - Lucklaw Silver) the business took a mini back-seat as I ran, dog walked, went away and generally had too much fun. Now it's a return to structured days (shudder), getting-up early, and working my **** off.

No matter what - the running stays. I've just got to fit it in now rather than luxuriate over it.

Running off the w/end excess, 14th November, 2006

Ah, back to the running. It felt like a relief to know it was still fun. I'm worried that one day it'll feel really crap, I'll get put off, then I'll leave it a few days; those few days will turn into weeks and suddenly my fitness will vanish and I wont be arsed to get it back. I'll be in a spiralling decline of chocolate and lard...and pizza.

I might just have been in a worrying frame of mind this morning as more and more white hairs stared back at me from the mirror and new wrinkles show themselves daily. But, that aside, the legs still appear to work.

Went to the usual woods with the pooches and ran a good 5 miles in 53.24. Pretty sure it was accurate but it might have been a teeny, weeny little bit short. I was just using a watch and my usual landmarks.

Averaged 10.40 a mile for 5 miles.

Splits were: 10.34 / 10.32 / 9.14 / 10.37 / 12.24

Think I should add about 1.15 to the 9.14 as this was where I estimated my 1/2 way point. But even so that would make it 54.39 which would still be on target for my 'distance' pace.

I'm definitely suited to longer distances as I don't feel now that I 'settle' until after the 2mile point. I don't relax and just run until I've got the first 20min done. Makes 5k feel like a real anti-climax; I've just settled down and then it's all over.

I was delighted with today - it was good to get back into it and be in such a positive frame of mind. After a few days off it was great to run again, I possibly did really need the rest after the 10miler last week.

First time that rest has felt such a positive force for me. Feel like my maintenance run has crept up to five miles. Must remember to do some speed sessions for the 5k - January begins to feel mighty, mighty, close.

It feels good to be back!

She's Back, 13th November, 2006

Just a quick post to say - I'm back. The dogs are alive, the house is intact and I had a great time.

Instead of an exercise diary of the w/end let me give you a food diary; read this and feel much, much better about whatever you've been eating!

Friday - ate sensibly on the train (took own food) - that evening had a huge, fancy Indian - 2 courses, wine ... the lot. Did go for a 2miles walk though (super-slow tourist pace).

Saturday - lunch was dim sum ~ thank got for low fat Chinese dumplings. Evening was a wonderful and huge roast cooked by my brother-in-law. It was delicious especially when finished with individual tarts (and ice cream). Walked for miles round Canary Warf - nothing like a bit of window shopping.

However - I went for a 33min run on Saturday - MapMyRun tells me it was 2.5 miles so it was super-easy pace. I can image this as I was running underneath the London Eye and trying to get through people was a complete nightmare. But it's better than nothing. London runners were wonderfully friendly: everyone nodded or smiled and one bloke spoke about how crowded it was before he sped past me. It was a really great experiance, the views were amazing (even if the traffic fumes made me feel like I'd smoked 20 fags).

Sunday - well, despite Saturday night, Sunday was Roast Beef at a hotel. Then Vietnamese take-away in the evening - can anyone say STUFFED!

Monday - Out for a delicious full-english at a little cafe and some wonderful Upper Crust baguette on the train (and crisps, and brownies).

I'm off to weigh myself and bemoan my complete lack of activity. Despite never trying to I seem to fit in one easy week per month by accident. I'm sure it's done nothing but good for my running and as weight can go up - it can also go down.

Just before the off... ,10th November, 2006

After yesterday I expected to ache a bit more than I did; just one slightly tight calf. It eased off after a 2mile walk on the beach with the dogs. They were delighted to be off lead, roaming free and chasing after the ball.

My knees didn't hurt this morning which pleased me greatly. I know that joints are for life (unlike muscles which repair themselves etc) so I try and heed any warnings they give. When I first ran 10k they ached a bit but now they don't complain - which is reassuring.

The knowledge that I was going to be stuck on a train all day tomorrow with only my eye and brain muscles used pushed me to do 30min on the elliptical before I started to pack. 30min on interval setting. I know the first 15min took me to the 1.5mile point but after that the incredibly temperamental distance counter stopped working (again). Ah well, never mind. The resistance was tough, I'm still pretending it's hill training despite knowing that in the real, outside, world gravity is a mean task master when I'm trying to haul my **** up the hill.

Right, must go and finish packing... arg, train leaves in 8h 15min.

Hope to run in London, my first urban run. I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

Just waiting for the hot water... 08th November, 2006

I truly stink. I really do. I'm blogging before a bath in which I'm going to soak my very weary muscles.

Despite all training plans telling me to take it slow, that mileage should only be increased in 10% increments etc etc I decided to go for another big run this week and try and build on last week's success. I also know that as I'm away in London for 4 days I might eat more lard and run less for a few days so my muscles have time to recover from this present punishment.

I'm still buzzing although I'm starving - and might have to raid the fridge before TheOther makes me steak and baked potato (I'm drooling at the mere thought!) with loads of green veg. [Some Walkers Baked Crisp things have duly arrived in front of me. Carb me Up!]

Right: this morning I ate my toast, I missed the rain (miracle), I went for my long run sans TheOther or either dog. It's my selfish time, my time to run, and run, and run; and not think if someone has to wait for me back at the car, or wonder if the dog is happy. It's brilliant to do this mid-week as I don't then have to contend with the millions of dog-walkers and cyclists who use the forest too.

10 glorious miles - average pace 10.38 - total run 1.46.14 - this was well inside my estimated time of 1.50.00.

Splits were:




------- 5k - 31.54




------- 10k - 1.05.12






I'm over the moon that I managed to make them all genuinely sub-11min miles (rather than just an average). This was the first long run where I felt like I'd really stretched myself and I was delighted to stop. 9 miles plus was super tough and my legs were beginning to feel sore rather than just tired; I could feel my breathing getting a bit ragged too, so I had to really focus and get it smooth again.

When I stopped it was a bit like getting of a trampoline; my legs were walking but they were rising high and making running motions and I couldn't really stop them; I must have looked like a clown doing some silly walk preparations.

I'm so chuffed - and the new running gear did its thing admirably: the 3/4 tights are thicker than my other ones so they did well for the temperature. Under my super-light running jacket I had on a long-sleeved top for the first time ever - and I wasn't too hot (this was my major fear). I kept nice and toasty for the first 3-4miles and then the long sleeves stopped me from getting to cold in the shade. Made a nice change to being a bit parky the whole way round.

I'm off to get clean. Thanks for listening.
If anyone can recommend a small half-marathon in Scotland (east-coast for preference) in Feb/March/April please let me know. I've read bad things about the Forthside 1/2 - but I might still be interested as it fits in well. All advice welcome. (Can't believe I'm even considering this!)

Good Day, 07th November, 2006

Ah, finally. The coffee was delicious, the weather mild, the dogs well behaved. I went for a run, in my usual woods. I thought - I'll run for 4 miles - and I did. After yesterday's seemingly lack-lustre gym workout my arms have reminded me that they aren't too fond of weights (oooh the ache).

4 miles - splits were: (roughly as it was watch timing and miles done by usual landmarks) 10.35/10.55/10.59/11.35 - so 44min total. It might have been slighly more than 4 miles so I'm chuffed with this run. Kept to my distance pace and felt like a decent work-out. My last mile was slow as I started to plan things for the coming weekend (off to London) and before I knew it I was crawling along - my brain is obviously not yet cabpable of both thinking and running.


I'm v v v excited about running next (hopefully tomorrow) as we went SHOPPING and bought some fantastic Nike dri-fit 3/4 tights; a Nike thin grey (with pink swirls) dri-fit long sleeved running top & a brilliant deep fuscia wind resistance top which is sort of fleecy on the front and ordinary at the back. So even when it gets really cold I've got some long sleeved stuff now. Almost want it to get cold immediately so I can wear everything.

*toot toot toot toooooot* (sound of trumpets), 06th November, 2006

Well I finally tracked down the last bottle of vanilla syrup in Starbucks. 3 towns, and several days - the trek was long and arduous but, finally, a bottle of the golden nectar is resting upon it's small, velvet cushion.

You'd think this would mean a day of unbridled joy and wonder. Unfortunately the horrors of PMT and the "world's worst diet"™ led to immense hideousness. Not having breakfast was the start of it. Then trying to exercise. (You know what's coming - I did too, and the horror just kept coming, like it was in slow motion.)

Tried to run round a rugby pitch (devoid of players) - managed 3min. Yes, that's minutes - not miles. The horror of the very rough surface and the long grass was such a pain to run on that I stopped; that and being a miserable bugger. I just dog-walked for a bit and then headed into the gym, thinking running on the treadmill would be easy in comparison. It was NOT my day - I just felt like lead and hated every minute. I stopped after about two min..

I did manage to give my muscles a fairly decent workout on the weights, although it had been a month (couldn't believe it was that long) and I was as weak as a kitten. I did at least 3 x 20 reps on all the machines I usually use, and the masocists special on the tummy machine.

I had a late committee meeting this evening and we hadn't had time to go shopping so I had to pick up horrible take-away pizza on the way home (at 10:15PM). You know you've had a bad day when the onion on the pizza and the Smoothie ice lollie are desperately being totted up as your total fruit and veg for the day.

*Off to go and drink some orange juice in atonement.

A day of redemption, 05th November, 2006

I didn't want to do anything today and I knew TheOther was going to be watching a good deal of footie - so we walked the dogs - about 2miles including a decent sized hill. Then, my lethargy had to be shaken off so I climbed onto the elliptical machine once again. It was definitely an "exercise as medicine" moment - you know it's going to help in the long run, but why is it so damn horrible!

I still haven't managed to fix the distance counter or the calories but the time ticks down as it should and more importantly, the resistance is most definitely working. A full 60min interval program ranging from 4-14 resistance (15 being the max). It's damn hard work and only slightly frustrating that I don't know how far I went. It was a ridiculously expensive buy and I'm hoping it's just a loose wire - that's what you get for ignoring it for about 3 years... punishment, from a machine!

What is it about the elliptical machine that makes we sweat like a P.I.G.? Is it being inside? Is it the resistance? Outside I do sweat but it builds up slowly and doesn't really start until about 15min. On the elliptical I'm only 5min in and I'm already dripping! Just one of those quirks I guess.

So, my mileage has really leapt this week - I imagine the elliptical machine for 60min covers a minimum of 5 miles.

My weekly total is therefore:

25.3 miles running or elliptical

3.5 miles walking

28.8 miles overall

I'm really chuffed and only hope I can keep it going. A friend (rightly or wrongly) summed up the number of runs per week as:

2 = maintenance

3 = steady slow improvement

4 = improvement at a rapid rate

We didn't question more than 4 runs a week - that would surely be madness.

With madness in mind I'm now thinking that I might like to run a half marathon (one day - in the future). It's so weird to me that it now feels possible - it was something I literally never imagined... funny how the possibilities expand as you go along.

It was that thought that made me realise one of the reasons I love running is that you can set so many goals - they can be huge or tiny. I started by wanting to run a mile... then I wanted to run a loop where I usually walked the dogs (2.4miles) and now I'm building up to 10miles... it all takes time but it feels like every day (including rest days) is another day that I'm fitter than I've ever been in my life.

Running - mental and physical, 04th November, 2006

Having got up early to make breakfast for some friends I'm knackered and will probably not run today (but who knows... the desire might hit me).

I just wondered, in a nosey way, what do people think about when they run? And (as a sub question) does listening to music make you more, or less, thoughtful?

My own response is to run without music. I like hearing nature around me, my own breathing (listening to it helps me control it), and knowing if people on bikes are coming up behind me. I've never tried running with music as it just doesn't appeal but I know lots of people who feel completely lost without their ipod/mp3.

As to what I think about - I've tried to remember, even just after a run I've tried to recall. It seems to be a bit of a dream state for me where I must think about some things but as soon as I stop running I have no idea what they were. I also know that all too often I'm thinking about the distance and calculating how far/long I have left to go. I'm counting paces, I'm considering how my feet/knees/lungs feel at any given moment.

Running has a weird meditation like affect on me. It really calms my brain down and lets me be mentally blank for a bit. Being so tired today and not having had a good sleep for 2 nights made me realise that my running isn't just about the exercise, it's also about the mental quiet.

That said I know so many people who would say that running was indeed mental - and not in a good way!

Finally - a 'speed' session! 03rd November, 2006

Writing a blog is the strangest of all diary forms. It's public, but it's private. It feels like bragging when things go well - but it's not; if we were all terribly British and said that everyday was 'ok' or 'fine' then the blogs would make rubbish reading. The successes of others are so incredibly inspiring - reading back through a blog and seeing what everyone can or has achieved drives me to set myself more goals and try desperately to achieve them. Commiserating when others have a bad day and nothing goes their way also make our own bad days a bit less negative as we know they are universal. And if all else fails we can blog the occurance and get it 'out there' so it stops driving us crazy. (I still haven't got any Star-$'s vanilla syrup... not that I'm obsessing in anyway!!!)

I realise this is a bit of a tangent from the running log but I feel that how important the blogging has become as part of my running has really surprised me. As soon as I'm done and returning home I think about taking my 10min out and sitting to write the blog - it's the mental part of the physicality of running.

Okay - before this gets far too wordy on to today's run.

It's another milestone for me (hence the pre-amble).

5k in 29.52 (cutting it oh so close)

Average Pace was 9.39

Mile 1 - 9.30

Mile 2 - 9.34

Mile 3 - 9.57

0.1 of a mile - 0.49


This was really, really tough for me. It was NOT my natural running pace, it was all hard work but it felt great at the end. Completely lung-busting! However it also made it clear to me that I much prefer running at sub 11min/mile pace for a long way than running at sub 10 for a short way... I suspect this might all just be fitness related. (Maybe one day all my miles will be sub 10min.... what a thought.)

Now I know I can run 5k in sub-30min I just have to work at putting hills into that equation. Round Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh - not the zero elevation course I'm used to working with. I've got two months to get from sub-30 flat to sub-30 with hills. Wish me luck - I'm going to need it.

Gently, gently, 02nd November

After the rush of yesterday all today conjured-up was a gentle 1.5mile walk with the dogs - who were beyond delighted (having missed out yesterday).

It was wonderful weather, crisp and sunny - long may it continue.

The legs feel good, a little tightening in the calves but nothing a gentle stretch can't shake off. My knees are finally used to running and don't give my any gyp and force me to rest them now. BUT the toe is turning darker and darker and it aches, especially when I wake up in the morning.

I've read lots of theories about this but I have a suspicion my toe is caused by sustained pressure as I use that toe to grip very heavily inside the shoe. I could be wrong but that's how it feels.

Extended the big run, 01st November, 2006

Right, having replaced the batteries in the keyboard, and had a drink (makes the hands shake less) I'm ready to recount tales of wonder, tales so fanciful I might still be dreaming and be about to awake. (Lets hope not.)

After the trials of this week (illness, lethargy, treacle-legs etc) I decided that today was going quite well (apart from Starbucks being shut and Costa having NO vanilla - it took all my energy not to reach across the counter and strangle him). So I had my carbo loaded pastry (not ideal but damn tasty) and my banana (sensible option) and after a suitable gap headed for the woods.

I thought I might finally increase the BIG run. 8 miles was the secret target in my head. And here is how it went:
8.2 miles in 1,29.16 I added on the .2 to prove to myself I wasn't a 'stopper'.

Average 10.53 per mile (delighted I could maintain my sub 11min pace)




---------------34.15 for 5k




---------- 1.08 for 10k


10.24 - So the 8 miles was in 1.26.54 under my 88min target!!

--- & 2.20 for .2miles

I'm really blown away by this, it feels like real progress - I'm quite emotional about it as it's the sort of distance I never imagined running when I started.

[Just had a break in writing this as TheOther came in and told me I smelt so bad I had to have a shower at that moment before the fug became any worse!]

I'm trying to be detailed about this run and why things went well. I think the temperature helped overall (damn cold - about 8C) but may have affected the second two miles as I got used to it.

I obviously have a psychological improvement after 1/2 way - as if I save some energy reserves until I know I'm heading home.

Ooo, I also forgot my water so I had Lucozade Sport in my runners aid bottle - it did feel better than drinking water. Luckily it was (just) cold enough that it didn't matter that I had nothing to pour over my head.

I also wonder if it's not just coincidence that 2 of my most successful (in time or distance) runs have come after some hill work... that's definitely a point to consider for the future. I might add an elliptical workout into my week and see if it makes a difference. (I might also try and re-set the damn machine to see how far I'm going too!!)

At the end I felt like I could have continued so it took some effort to stop but I know that over stretching myself will only lead to injury and disappointment.

Sorry this has been such a long post folks but I think it was all (well maybe not the bit about coffee) worth writing as I'm a big girl who was at one stage bloody HUGE and it's taken a lot of effort to get to this point. The weight is beginning to drop (as predicted by many runners it takes several weeks before the lbs start to fall) and my energy levels and (bucket ready) 'happiness quotient' are right up there. I never imaged when I started running that I would enjoy it so much, or have a blog, or want to inspire others. GO on people, get your trainers on - you know you want to.

Bleeuuurrrghhh, 31st October, 2006

After a joyus recovered from the mystery stomach bug - it randomly reappeared. I'm just a bit fed-up now, I've also had a stonking headache all evening; the pills are just kicking in and I'm off to bed with a good book.

Went for a run anyway (about 2pm - my favourite time) and decided that a mid-length run might be a good idea. So I plodded away for 4 miles. This was a new distance (Normally it's 5k or 10k and not much in between.) and it felt like an achievement as I've not managed a run longer than 5k for 2 weeks; two weeks feels like an eternity now :(

4miles in 48min - I didn't have Orwell so it was estimated (but I knew the route well) but even so, bleeding heck was I disappointed with my time. I know that having had some time off my legs aren't used to it; and I know that not being tip-top makes me a bit slower but it feels like I'm running through treacle at the moment.

I'm just going to go to the gym tomorrow and get some nice conditioning work done. Finally my tummy feels ok - v plain food today must have helped.

Tomorrow should be another lovely bright crisp day where everything will feel better and I can get back to normal. That includes no more moaning on the blog - I'm sure you're all delighted to hear that!

The sweet smell of ... sweat, 31st October, 2006

Finally I feel a bit more back-on-track. Today I shunned the lovely autumnal weather (and dog walk with TheOther, who is still sulking nextdoor), put on Radio4, and slogged away on the elliptical machine.

The bad news is that the distance and calorie counters registered zero for the whole run. The good news is that the course I chose - INTERVAL ranging from 4-10 in resistance, for 60min did what it said on the tin. I could rage on about how frustrating it is not to know the distance etc etc but who cares? My point today was to sweat bucket load and feel like I'd worked out - job done!

It's the longest I've ever used any machine for - I think my previous best was 40min. I'm really chuffed and my body loved the change of pace (something with more gradient than a snooker table). I was desperate to push myself after indulging in a full breakfast (not a greasy one though). A return to real food and my one-a-day coffee habit have returned me to being the ray of sunshine (cough, cough) my nearest and dearest are used to.

Clocks Shmocks, 29th October, 2006

First let me tell you how much I hate this time of year. I've just come back from Spain where it was lovely and light in the evenings; I move back one hour, then just as I'm depressed about how dark that is the clocks go and change! Hmph, and to top it all the forest park where I run changes its hours to suit winter time so I've got to run when it suits them, not me. Pah! And to top it all (again) I ran out of vanilla syrup - my morning saviour in my skinny latte.

So today was a perfect lazy Sunday where the weather was crisp and sunny. Got out the pathfinder book of local walks and took the long-suffering dogs on a brilliant off lead walk along the banks of the Tay across a pebble beach and through some stunning mixed woodland - it was perfect. Total exercise - 1hour of gentle rolling walking with the dogs. Might try and do a lovely long run tomorrow... maybe add a bit of distance to my 10k - finally feeling on top form again.

First run in 6 days..., 28th October, 2006

Well the trainers have been back on, the wicking fabric has wicked, and my legs feel like a steam roller went gently over them.

A rather unfabulous 5K was achieved in 35.37. The first mile was a stonkingly slow 12.50! By the end I'd crept up to 11.15. It was really super tough but I'm glad I went out.

I think my tummy bug has (fingers crossed) finally vanished, but I ate then went for a run 4 hours later which might have been some sort of personal torture. It was a real reminder of how important a level of consistency and nutrition are on a day-by-day basis. It also made it clear to me that I'd rather enjoy my running than my chocolate/chips/insert vice of choice. I'm still trying really hard not to have the extra portion of anything and to make 'good' choices nutritionally and from a lard-ass point of view. The illness has dropped a few lbs from me and now I just have to try and not put them on again - increasing my weekly mileage should help this.

I know now I've only got 11wks until my first race and some serious speed and hill training to do if I want to achieve my goals - it all becomes much clearer after a wee break.

Last Run Pre Holiday, 18th October, 2006

After the wonders of Monday today was a nice short run. Orwell was with TheOther and was telling lies AGAIN... are all Garmins (Garmine?) a bit temperamental? And, why does it work for me - but not them - and then why do I (all too often) get the blame?!

However, lies and statistics aside, ran to the picnic spot and back down the road. Can't believe I now choose a dull road to run down rather than through the woods - the desire for speed and ease is definitely overtaking me. Was chasing TheOther for the first 1.5miles so my time reflects this: 13.36! The whole run was taken at a higher tempo speed and I think it was 5k in 29.46 which is brilliant for me. I suspect however that it was just under 5k in reality, but I don't know if that is just because I'm a pessimist at heart.

Excited and nervous about going away - there's going to be 16 of us, a mixture of friends and family, and 3 generations. At least I can go for a run if it gets too crazy... that's the plan anyway (and we're in the hills so I can start my hill training... uuurgggghhhh). I will not be able to blog, but I'll keep a note of all exercise done and fill you in on my return.

Ups & Downs,16th October, 2006

Since my last run on the 12th the exercise level has been a little lower than usual.

A lovely but very, very, short beach walk with the dogs - probably about 1mile. Then, Saturday's (14th) epic climb. To celebrate 'the other's' birthday we climbed East Lomond. We parked (wonderful car park about 1/2 way up the hill/mountain) and started our mission to the peak.

It took about 30-40min to get to the top - which was properly steep and involved using feet AND hands to get up the steepest bits. Lung-bustingly good fun though. Not the best ever view due to the mist which was swirling about in the valley - but the sun kept peeking out and giving wonderful views of Falkland.

I was terrified about getting down as I am properly scared of heights and had just steeled myself not to look down on the way up. However, we were heading down into Falkland to get some pub lunch so we were heading down the other side which was mercifully much more gentle. The walk down also involved a wonderful wander through some woods and gentle paths rambling down into the village. There were far too many of those hideous woodland steps. You know the ones too high to walk down easily, too wide to take one stride per step - just bloody irritating - and they make the legs work way too hard!

It was about 2.4miles total - but measured by gps so it doesn't give any idea of the distance UP the way... think it might have been a bit longer if flattened out. And it took us about 1h 40min at a relatively gentle but not dawdling pace.

Sunday we just chilled out. But mygoodness, having never climbed a hill before (not one that steep) can I just say that there are bits of my thighs that feel like someone used them as a punching bag. I definitely need to do some more (or any) hill training.

Great experience though and helped to combat the vast amount of birthday food and cake that was consumed over the w/end. Off to Spain on Thursday so have to get some serious exercise done before then - but I'm taking my trainers with me.