Training – 1/05/17 – 7/05/17

This week started with a holiday and was full of pretty spectacular summer weather. It was also the start of a new month and marked nine weeks until I head off on holiday so it was with a fresh set of motivation pants on that I faced this week.

Monday 1st May

Today was a holiday which meant I could run during the day and still be home in time to do normal people things like relax, watch TV and eat dinner not at 9pm (although most of these things didn’t happen as I got stuck in about the garden when I got back). Today I ran 10k through the trails. It was the first really warm day of running that I’ve had since last summer, so it felt great, but also took some getting used to!

As you can see, I started out too fast and this hindered me in the rest of the run. Also, this shows only 5.2 miles because I hit the wrong button on my watch and started the first mile as a cycle…😐 anyway, my total time was around 52 mins and I was quite happy with this given that I ran on the trails the full way; a change I am still getting used to.
Tuesday 2nd May

Back to work today and back to focusing on my nutrition – spinach, bacon, eggs and tomatoes for breakfast, smoothie and yogurt for lunch and chilli burrito for dinner. I had snacks too throughout the day and when I got back from bootcamp tonight. Found that I had a headache by about half seven but putting this down to having less carbs than usual! Tonight’s training was bootcamp at the gym and it was a great session. Quite a bit of running involved with different stops around Auchinleck to do body conditioning exercises. Really enjoyed it.

Wednesday 3rd May

Headed to the track tonight to do some intervals. Decided to do 10 one minute intervals with one minute recovery and found it surprisingly enjoyable. Usually I am not a fan of intervals and can find it hard to push myself if I am on my own. Ran a total of three miles including to and from the track and was chuffed with a best pace at one point of 5:14/mile. Assuming that happened for literally a milli second, but at least it is there 😝

Thursday 4th May

Thursday is my usual PT day and is a busy evening afterwards so usually I don’t run. My PT was good tonight – focussed a lot of strengthening my legs and core. I find doing this is slowly but surely helping my running. I recover faster and don’t get injured as much as I used to. 

Friday 5th May

Had a rest day today as I was feeling tired and had heavy legs. I had trained pretty hard every day since Sunday and planned a long run for the Saturday so wanted to make sure I was fresh! Went a walk in the sun with the dog to keep my legs nice and loose. 

Saturday 7th May

Today was my first long run (double digits anyway) in a while and it felt really great. I ran off road for about 90% of the run so I am feeling pretty happy with my time. This run took me through Dumfries Estate where there are loads of lovely little paths for running. I headed out towards Ochiltree and did some 3 reps on the bing on the way out at a slow and steady pace. On the way home I met a man who had run 5/6 marathons and he gave me some good training advice – he was an advocate of hills so I felt glad to tell him I had put in my reps that morning. Came home and stretched and iced my feet and ankles in a cold bath – never gets pleasurable!
Sunday 7th May

A rest day! Walked the pup to get ice cream and found the shop was shut – disaster!

All in all I am quite happy with my training this week. As always there are areas I want to work on and improve, but I am seeing slow and steady improvements in my running. Time will tell! 

Pic a day – 2nd May

Today was back to normal work day after a really horrible, bitty week last week and then a long weekend. I’ve a cheek to moan considering I was off yesterday, but I found getting up today really hard! Think my body was starting to relax by yesterday so to get back to routine today was a bit unwelcome!

None the less I got up and walked Murphy and had a nice healthy breakfast – spinach, tomatoes, eggs and bacon. It’s nine weeks today until we head off on holiday for a week and I entered another half marathon last night, so I am trying my best where I can to make sure I’m eating well and in line with my goals.

Right now, I am loving eating my breakfast at the dining table. The sun shines right in the window, Murphy lies by my feet and I make sure I have got time to eat properly and read a little of something. This photo is of the jar of flowers I have in the middle of my table. It’s my bouquet from Amanda’s wedding and the flowers make me feel so happy and summery.

Glentress Half Marathon – Race Report


So I have finally got around to writing my review of the Glentress Trail Half Marathon which I ran almost a month ago! Not a good blogger!

The Glentress race was on Saturday 25th February and it was my first trail half marathon as I have recently started to transition from running continuously on roads to more and more on trails and hills.  It’s an interesting transition as I am seeing my longed for 7 odd minute miles disappear and become 10 and 11 minute miles at times as I traipse through mud, dirt, hills and try to keep my balance, but it is a transition I am loving none the less.  My step dad Johnnie has also recently taken up trail running and as he decided to enter this race, I decided to go along with him. We put in some good miles on the trails in the lead up to the race, and I had managed two 13 mile long runs in the month prior to the race.  I was aiming for around 2 hours-2:15, which is a little slower than my usual half marathon time of around 1:50 at the moment, but I was trying to factor in hills, mud and nerves!

Johnnie and I got up early on the Saturday morning and I fuelled up with porridge before we left.  I was feeling excited and ready for the race and to be honest, the day out!  I always get nervous when I packing for something incase I have left anything behind, so after packing and re-packing my bag, we set off for Peebles.

On arrival at the race, the grounds were fairly busy with people getting ready to go sign in or people warming up.  I’ve not competed in too many races and when I arrived, I started to remember why.  I get really anxious with all the people around and the build up of the pressure to well.  I started telling myself that I didn’t need to worry about time and that I was just there to experience the run, but my brain didn’t listen.

Johnnie and I queued up to sign in, and I would say this was the only bit of the race I didn’t like.  There were three distancs that day – 10k, 21k and 42k, but all competitors had to sign in at the same set of tables, which meant a gigantic queue – not ideal.  However, after waiting for aroun 20-30 minutes, we got signed in, got our t-shirts and headed back to the car to get ready.

JJ and I ready to go

We arrived back at the sign in area ready for the pre race talk and then headed up to the starting line.  I was really nervous – worried about pacing, setting off to fast and to be honest, I hadn’t researched the course enough so I was really heading out into the unknown!

We set off at a pretty slow pace as there were lots of runners which meant there was a bit of a back log, but once the race got going (although this was around 1.5 miles in), everyone spread out a bit and I was able to get up to a pretty good rhythm.  So much so that my third mile was completed in 7:43.  But there ended the fast miles and the course got very tricky, steep and technical from there.

Around mile three I met a man running from Glasgow, we talked for a while about some different races we had entered and he chatted about his son and how he can’t wait to get out running with him.  I passed him quite a few times through the race and got talking to him again at the end, along with a few other people throughout the race and it was so nice to actually meet and talk to runners.  Everyone was very friendly, courteous if you wanted to speed ahead a little and was really just there to have a good laugh and a good time.

As the race continued the path got steeper and at points running was simply impossible.  But with these steep inclines came rewards – the views.  There was a moment just around mile 5, where the view was so spectacular that I had to stop and take it in.  I didn’t take a photo of it as I felt like I just wanted to be there in that moment – proud of what I was achieving and happy to be there.

There were more amazing views as the race continued and this one was my absolute favourite around mile 10(ish).

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Simply stunning – what it’s all about!

As the run climbed up and up, the weather became less favourable.  What started as a relatively mild, cloudy Scottish day cooled quickly and began to get wetter and windier.  At points you were running uphill through burns of ice water and melting snow (Storm Doris having played a part in this just a couple of days previously).  My dreams of finishing in around 2 hours or even around 2:15 slowly were slipping away from me.  But, I was surprised at how ‘not bothered’ about this I was at all.  I was having so much fun and really felt like I was pushing myself to achieve something difficult.  That was what was really keeping me going.  That and the thought of peanut butter snadwiches waiting for me at the end (I had taken a nakd bar with me as fuel, but didn’t delve in!).

As the run started to slowly descend (and by slowly I mean, tiny bits of descent followed by more steep uphills – how we ended up back at the bottom I’ll never fathom…) the trail started to become more technical and was very soggy from the rain and snow.  I fell right on my bum more than once but got back up and kept going, the only thing bruised being my pride.

Just as I thought it couldn’t get any longer, steeper or (by this point) sorer on my legs, I approached the finish line, which being true to the rest of the race was at the top of a small hill.  I ran through it glad to be finished and stopped my Garmin – final time of 2:28:21, which given the type of run it was, I was pretty pleased with.  I got a drink (dying of thirst as during my falls I dropped my water bottle into lots of mud meaning I couldn’t take a drink from it) and chatted to some of the people I had been running with at points and who had finished around 5-10 minutes before me.  They were so nice and it made me feel even better about my time as I realised that these people were proper runners, more seasoned than me to races like this and even they found it particularly difficult.  After around 10 minutes chatting I went back to the finish line to wait on Johnnie coming through.  He finished around 20 minutes behind me and I couldn’t have been prouder of him!

We headed back to the car, got changed, laughed about how sore we were and I went to get us both a hot cup of tea and coffee, which I enjoyed along with my peanut butter sandwiches.

Overall, I would say that this was an excellent event.  It was fairly well organised, well sign posted throughout the race and full of wonderful runners.  The course itself was hard, technical and stunning and it alone would make me go back and do it again.

Pic a day – 7th March

Some more Tuesday thoughts! I have been catching up on old running magazines I haven’t managed to read yet.  This was from an article in Trail Running from a few months ago with legendary trail runners Kenny Stuart, Joss Naylor and Billy Bland.  It talks about their accomplishments and how they achieved them. These three men have achieved so much and I can’t even begin to imagine their mental strength.

I liked this quote because although maybe my runs haven’t been as tough, long or as ground breaking as these men, but I know that feeling. That feeling where everything clicks into place when I am running, when my legs are loose and free and my breathing is set to a smooth rhythm. I live for those runs and I want to build on them to maybe achieve something even a little close to what these men have. 

Kenny Stuart shared some advice in the article which I also loved and has given me some motivation – “Keep the faith. Believe you’ll be a world beater in the end. In my teens I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it and believed I could be what I turned out to be.”

Pic a day – 4th March

IMG_3876[1]This morning I woke up and went a run with my pal Jim.  Ran five miles in under 40 minutes which I was very happy with, although my last mile was super slow.  This was because I ran the first four at a really good pace and used the last one as a bit of a cool down.  Managed my four miles is 29:15 with a 5k of 22:22.  Really happy with where my speed is at just now, considering I have been feeling a little down about it and haven’t really been working on it so much as my focus has been more on distance.  Onwards and upwards in that department 🙂

Tonight was the hen night of my best wee pal Amanda.  I am so excited for her and Jad to be married and tonight really just made me even more excited! It was a great night and really good to get to meet all of Amanda’s other friends before the big day in four weeks time!  It’s going to fly in and I can’t wait!!

Pic a day – 1st March

I have spent most of tonight sitting here and my PC working at I still haven’t even made a dent in my workload!! I am very tired though so I am going to have to call it a night!

Tonight’s workout was at the track. I ran 1.5 miles there and then did 5x400m reps with 200m recoveries.

My Garmin app tells me that my average pace was around the 9 min mark, which considering I had walk recoveries is alright. However it also told me that my fastest pace at one point (and yes, it was probably for about two seconds, if that) was 4:51/mile.

I am a little bit proud of that, even if it was for a split second! 

And with that pride, I am off to sleep.

Pic a day – 28th Feb

Last day of February is a wee time for reflection. February is the shortest month of the year, but a lot has happened. 

Our kitchen is more or less finished and we have a brilliant new dining table to sit and chill out at, which I do on a pretty regular basis (all the time). 
We’ve had a few good nights out and in catching up with pals, family and catching up on ourselves.

I’ve run the toughest but best run of my running career so far which has set me up and motivated me for more. I’ve ended the month on 125/1000 miles so still a ways to go, but I will get there.

There’s been a big change in the length of the days. More daylight = happier Aly! The early morning light right now is gorgeous and I am loving that there is now “evening” again, which is one of my favourite times of day, and not just night, slightly less dark night, a couple of hours of day, night again.

Looking back feeling grateful for a good February and looking forward to spring, March and all the plans we already have cooking away.

Pic a day – 27th Feb


Today the photos from the Glentress trail race came out – which yes, I still need to write a review of!

This is the best picture of me that I could find! I’m not totally enamoured with it if I am being honest, which is why I haven’t bought it yet, however, if I do I will probably post about it!

This photo was taken about 3 miles into the race when I was feeling pretty good about it and myself! My legs were fresh, I was taking it easy going up the hills and I had just about hit a 7:30 mile.

Obviously from there things went uphill literally but downhill metaphorically in terms of my pace!  But it was still such an enjoyable race.  I’ve never had a come down after a race or a run like this! I must’ve had one million endorphins shooting around my brain.  I am so psyched about my training just now and want to do it right and get signed up for the next thing!

Pic a day – 25th Feb

Today Johnnie and I ran the Glentress half marathon. I’ll do a full race write up of it later, but I’ll just chat a bit about it too! It was such a tricky course, with lots of technical bits and many many hills. One of the guys I ended up talking too said he couldn’t believe it basically climbed up solidly for around 15km yet we still ended up back at the level at the start!

It was such a tough run, I’d say it was one of the hardest runs I’ve ever done. The ground was very wet, slushy and muddy, thanks in part to the left overs of Storm Doris! That made the climbs even harder and saturated my trainers!

It was honestly so much fun though and I can’t wait to sign up for the next one.

When we got back home, Martin had been working hard to prepare a delicious dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties and then pulled pork done in the slow cooker. We had my mum and Johnnie round and had such a nice night.

Pic a day – 23rd Feb

I found this picture on the Twitter of one of the race organisers for the Glentress half on Saturday. I am super excited for it but also very nervous!!

This is my first trail half marathon so it was always going to be a challenge, however, looking at the weather forecast (which looks very very wet) and seeing what the conditions are like there currently, I think it is going to be even more challenging.

Don’t get me wrong though, I cannot wait to get going. It’s going to be quite an adventure! Looking forward to getting home after work tomorrow and getting all my kit set out and ready to go.