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

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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.

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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).

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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 – 27th Feb

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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 – 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.

86.8/1000 – Scary Dug Field and beyond

Saturday saw me clock up another 10 miles in preparation for the Glentress half marathon at the end of the month. 

I’d had a busy day and so couldn’t get the time to fit in anything longer, so I headed out for a steady 10 with Johnnie, who I’ll be running Glentress with.

We both decided early on that we were going to take it slow and not worry about pace and I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed the run; I hadn’t seen Johnnie in a while and it was a lovely way to catch up with him while getting some time in the legs.

We ran down Dumfries estate out towards what is called Scary Dug Field (SDF) as there is a mental collie that stays there which will literally herd you out of the field. I love dogs, but I am genuinely afraid of this one and when it ran at us on Saturday, I did the incredibly brave thing of pushing Johnnie in front of me and hiding behind him. After SDF, we ran through some more fields up into Auchinleck estate and round the gorge, before heading the same route home.

It was a properly mixed terrain training run, with road, fields, trail and some slippy, slippy mud. Although our pace was relatively slow and steady throughout, there were points on the stretches of road where we were hitting around 7.20/mile pace pretty effortlessly, which was very encouraging.

By the end of the run, I still felt fresh and like I could have continued running further. It told me that I have the stamina to push to go a little faster in the half marathon and the stamina and endurance to run the distance – fingers crossed!

Pic a day – 7th Feb 

Pic a day post and a running update! Got out late tonight due to work so was tired heading out, but glad I got at least three miles in the bag.

Semi happy with my pace tonight, had a fast first mile, although maybe should’ve slowed this down a little considering I was tiring a lot by the end of the run.  It was a super cold night tonight and only to get colder as the week goes on – spring can’t come quick enough!!

This now takes me to 76/1000 miles for the year so far. I’m pretty happy with that considering I am balancing it with cross training and strength workouts as well, so not running every day. This is something that I find benefits my body, mind and running, especially in winter. I’d get fed up pounding pavements or treadmills on cold winter nights after work. Not long until the lighter nights come in though – yey for running in daylight!

Long run excuses – 4/2/17

This weekend’s long run was a bit a mixture of good, bad and ugly. My route took me out from Cumnock along the trail into Dumfries estate. From there I ran around the grounds of the estate for a couple of miles before heading out along the trail towards the Barony A Frame and Ochiltree and back the way I came – a total of 13.1 miles exactly.

Overall, I felt much better physically than on my long run last week. The pain I had in my back last week is pretty much away, so I think it was a bug or a virus rather than a muscular thing. I also wasn’t so tired, at least initially. 

I knew that the full run would be on the trails more or less, so I was running for time and miles in the legs rather than a particular pace. It took me around 2 hours 6 minutes, which although I wish I was faster than, I am feeling ok about as my splits were pretty good and it was all off road. Also, I’m pretty happy that I can now run off road in much the same time as I ran my first road half marathon.

Although I feel like I was making excuses for what I feel was a bad run, it was such a gorgeous day and I really enjoyed myself just being outside adventuring (there was a bonus loup over a fence or two) and I was utterly starving when I got back, which meant I had ALL THE CARBS. Basically, I think I just need to suck it up and enjoy each run for what it is, rather than being disheartened by numbers.

Hopefully this run will set me up well for the Glentress half marathon in a few weeks time.