Slippin’ and a sliding

IMG_4011I know it’s winter (well technically it’s Spring) and that’s when it’s supposed the snow. I’ve also been hoping that if it were to snow that it would ‘proper’ snow. But that doesn’t  mean I want it to be there for a 16 miler.

No bother to me I’d thought. I have the gear and I’ve ordered Yak Trax so it’ll be fine. Famous last words eh!

I had all these plans of where i would go and which roads and paths would be the best for running on. Then I left the house. ‘This is great’ I thought as I ran to the end of the road but once on the main roads and paths…different story.IMG_4010

The paving slabs in Edinburgh have been changed and they’re really slidey when wet so in parts where the paths had started turning to slush it was rank and very very slippy. This is where my plan changed…I went up and down a long snowy road a few times (maybe 6) and it was great. The snow was compact under where the cars had been driving. Brilliant to run on. A tad boring after a while. So off I went to explore….

‘Why the heck did I come this way? Why oh why oh why?’ I thought (and possibly yelled out loud) as I turned a corner onto the front beside the sea straight into an icy headwind and very very wet puddle (I know you don’t get dry puddles so don’t be smart!). The paths was mush. My feet were absolutely soaking and my body temperature plummeted instantly.IMG_4017

I ended up turning into a part of town that hadn’t been gritted and ran the rest of the first eight miles up and down and up and down on the snow packed streets. With my groove back on I headed home for a quick pit stop. Toilet, water and change of socks.

Back out and onto a different part of town. The snow had clearly drifted and had left mounds that seemed to float into the roads like giant icebergs. Now it was a mix of mounds, slush, snow and gritted paths. I’m not sure running on gritted paths in Yak Trax is a good idea. At times I wondered if I should have switched to Trail shoes. Maybe they would have been better for this ‘multi-terrain’ experience.

16 hurt. The glare from the snow. The constant change underfoot and subsequent change of running style (as in length of stride and pace rather than anything fancy or reminiscent of Monty Python).

But it was done. I can’t say I enjoyed this run and I’m not sure if it’s going to have caused any injuries.IMG_4016


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Getting to where I’m going

Some days running is just hard. Generally because you can’t be bothered, the weather’s not great, you’re tired or you’d rather be at home eating pizza and drinking wine. But let’s face it, have you ever come back feeling worse than when you went out? The answer to that is probably 99.9% no. If you dress properly according to the weather, know that you’re more likely to have a better quality sleep and more energy and can feel less guilty  indulging in a slice and a glass or two (or 3 or 4….) then surely it’s worth getting your butt out the door? Sometimes I go out before I’ve even woken up properly, although that may not be the best idea. I never said I knew anything about running, I just enjoy the buzz (which you may not feel in your first ever run but it will come).

Some days running 1 mile is a killer. Each time I start back trying to get fit after illness or an injury it’s like starting back at the beginning again. But before you know it, after a few weeks of running it starts to feel relatively ok. When I started back yet again to do this marathon there were days I could barely manage two miles. And I certainly couldn’t call the movements I was making ‘running’. Things change. It takes about 6 weeks to form a habit but once it’s there things…

When I started training I had no idea if my body would cope. I was happy to reach 5k. It wasn’t comfortable but I could do it. So my goal changed. 10k. I had different goals with this. 1. To be able to run 10k without stopping 2. To run 10k in under an hour 3. To be able to run 10k consistently

At this point I began thinking that perhaps I could aim for a half marathon. This would tell me more about whether my body would still cope with distance. I can’ t exactly do the marathon if I can’t get round a half uninjured. So in my first half marathon race in years in April 2017 I made it. However about half way through I felt a few twinges. These continued and the last two miles were not pleasant at all. ‘That’s it’ I thought. Game over. However a quick trip back to physio and it was more about understanding that this was the longest and fastest run my body had been put through. Time to reel it back a little and not run before I could walk.

In October I completed another half. In Aviemore. I’ll be back to tackle that one again!!! A time I was happy with but more importantly, no injury. This sealed the deal. London was definitely on. The aim is to finish it without injury. At the back of my head is that niggling question – will my body get me through an ultra?

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Behind the scenes

Oooh ooh behind the scenes….

‘What’s occurring?’

Well me lovelies, as part of my fundraising efforts I’ve opted to run a few little events in addition. One being a raffle. I started with old fashioned letters and moved on to emails. I’m shameless. I’ve approached friends and people I just happen to be in conversation with but mainly local businesses. There have been a few knock backs, some which were surprising, others not and a number have been ignored. Who cares about that as I have been absolutely overwhelmed by peoples’ generosity and kindness. From ice-cream to PT sessions, massages to whisky and champagne brunch to trampolining the prizes are truly awesome. I am absolutely gutted that I can’t buy a ticket for this raffle! I’m aiming for a ‘marathon’ raffle with 26.2 prizes. ‘.2′ I hear you ask…’.2′ I nod.

My intention is to announce the winners after the marathon if I can still communicate…


Then there’s the 80s night with DJ Elbow (that’s a whole other80s-night-optimised story about where that name came from!). It’s gonna be hilarious especially if folks dare to get right in the spirit and get out their lycra and legwarmers….and no doubt drink a lot of spirits too. Can’t wait to see the dancefloor filled with 80s moves…

‘Doing 5k your way on the same day’ was a wee idea I had to try to get people more involved so they feel part of my journey to London. The idea here is to get people I know from around the World, home & away to do 5k within a 24 hour period which allows it to take place on either Saturday or Sunday and allows for time differences. I’m asking the ‘Away’ troops to gather pals and walk, run, cycle, swim, scoot or whatever and to collect loose change and donate along with a selfie if they are willing! For those who live nearby they can do this with me and a few others (it’ll be more a leisurely chat and cake)  or with their own pals. Someone is going to get their hockey team involved as they knock out way more than 5k per game! How cool is that!

Fundraising isn’t fundraising without a ‘guess the …’ so of course it’s gonna be ‘guess the time!’. How long is it going to take me to complete the London Marathon? Good question and one I don’t even know the answer to! Do you?

Choosing a charity is impossible. There are so many I’d love to raise funds for. As I couldn’t decide between charities I’ve opted for two Edinburgh organisations. Richmond’s Hope & Juno who are lesser known than many of the big organisations who have more publicity.




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Dancing on ice

The plan says 10. My head says 0. Why on earth am I going out today? Why oh why oh why? The roads and pavements are covered in ice. I skidded along to a few roads to try to get to the cycle path which has been gritted. It was ok for a bit but I find it ridiculously boring. Because it had been ok on the cycle path and park I decided in my head that the pavements would be fine. And they were in one or two places. I spent most of the runs up against walls as most ice had melted where the walls met the pavements but I must have looked like a right numpty at times. To be fair, I’d have laughed at me if I’d seen me trying to stay on my feet and run at the same time.

I prefer running on long paths as I check my watch less and can just go and go. But with running in figures of eight past amazing aromas from loads of packed cafes I seemed to check my watch a fair bit which made the run feel even longer. My body felt so tense I knew I’d be sore after but the aim was to do the miles at whatever speed but return injury free.

I ran through part of Stockbridge. It was fairly busy with cars and people. Then I turned a corner and all is can say is…black ice! Arms and legs in all directions. So proud of myself for staying on my feet. That could have resulted in an extra red face. Enough was enough though, I had to run on the road beside the cars.

I was glad to get home in one piece. I didn’t enjoy the run but the thought of pizza and a night out with friends kept me going. And yes, I really should invest in some ice grips to go over my runners.

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Now I have crazy ass dreams. Not about butts or donkeys. Just generally crazy. I’ve had ‘Inception’ style dreams where I’ve woken up to realise I’m still dreaming. I once dreamed that Des Lynam had died and spent the entire day listening to the radio (pre internet) for the story. All the chefs I worked with at the time were huddled round the radio at every announcement. Nothing!

Then there were the times I dreamed I’d got up to go to work, then where I’d walked to work and finally one where I’d arrived. Exhausting, as then when you do wake up you still have a day’s work ahead!

‘Normal’ nightmares like dreaming I missed an exam never really happened. In fact I never once dreamed about disasters with exams. But the other night I had another London Marathon dream.

So the story goes…

I was running along quite happily, all was going well. No injuries or cramps. It was smooth. I was managing my pace and holding back a little. In my head I knew there was a point in the closing straits where I could pick it up and go for it. Just at this point the marshal pointed me along towards an old building and the path went down and into a tunnel. Which randomly passed through a museum…anyways I welcomed the coolness of the air and being out of the sun. I was ready to pick up the pace at the other side.

Then I realised this was the wrong way. There was no tunnel in the route. I knew that because I’ve been visualising the route for months. I turned back.

Finally (cause I know you’ll want to know what happened), I found my way out and back to the real route. At the end I was trying to process what had happened. I opened Strava and instantly could see on the map that the ‘tunnel’ was beside the route but the weirdest thing was the orange Strava lines going backwards and forwards in squiggles where I’d been running to find my way back.

Now rewind to earlier in the day where I’d been reading an article on Facebook where someone had proposed to their girlfriend by running streets that came up in the shape ‘Marry Me!’ on their Strava feed.

Slightly concerned that I keep getting lost on route. Ending up in the pub was the preferred nightmare so far.

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A mile is a mile is a mile

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, a mile is still a mile.

Before heading out for my 9 mile long run of the week I read a wee article about keeping long run pace slow for marathon training. I kept this in mind the whole way and even when I was tempted to pick it up on a downhill I held back.  It’s about building time on your feet and increasing your aerobic endurance . On top of this you build muscle and mental strength. Runs throughout the week have different purposes and generally incorporate speed and hills. There are a multitude of ways to go about these too to mix it up a little and keep the fun going. There’s nothing worse than getting bogged down in training and losing the enjoyment of running.

This was the first time back on the roads too. A chest infection set me back a few good weeks, right over the holidays when childcare was available, there was daylight and let’s face it sometimes it’s easier to run at different points during the day. I’d been planning on upping my game by doing more runs and gym work and building the distance I was covering. Oh well! Once I’d accepted that I was just going to have to take time out it led me to focus on my goal. The London Marathon. So I researched a few training plans and tried to find one that looked achievable and would fit in with everything else, aka LIFE. Hal Higdon to the rescue.

Travel and accommodation are booked. Training plan is printed and on the fridge – where else would it go? Mental preparation has started. Fundraising has begun!

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Running into depression

“OMG you’re so inspirational!”, “I see all your posts on fb about running”, Yeah ok sometimes it might be overkill and all I post, but is it about inspiring you or me?…To be honest, I’m never really quite sure. Probably both.

I love reading articles about how running is good for mental health. It’s so current just now so there are loads to read and I love each and every one. And yes it is. Mindset. Habit setting. Socialising, Sleep…Blah blah blah. I know I harp on about this all the time.

But what about those other days. The ‘behind the scenes and closed doors’ days?

I’ve been getting so psyched about running London. Training has been tricky with finding the time, non icy conditions, daylight (reduces risk of injury rather than enjoyment issues), child care but hey the holidays were coming. Well they’re here. I’ve got time, daylight, decent conditions and child care but I’m sick as a dog. Now that’s ok, I can cope with that as I have a positive mindset and fully believe that if I believe it will pass quickly then it will, so it’s a case of suck it up and get on with it. Well it’s almost a week and it’s showing no signs of shifting. All I can see right now (as in right at this second) is that my training schedule is going backwards and I’ll have to work twice as hard to get it back to where I was at, then I have to up it. I’m totally gutted.

But this is today. Right now. And tomorrow (and after this hot toddy) is another day…



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