Wk40 into Wk41 and you surprises

Well, that was a quiet week training wise for me. After racing the half marathon I was a little sore for 3-4 days after it. Mainly my calves, but overall my legs. I listened to my body and took a rest week, running first after 5 days off, on the Saturday.

I ran 10k on Saturday morning with Debbie, and apart from that I walked my usual and did some stretching. I jogged a very short distance on Friday night, from my car to Asda front door and my legs felt fine, so I figured I’d be ok for the planned run on Saturday morning.

On Saturday, my legs weren’t 100%, but they’re getting there. So rest day on Sunday, and plenty sleep, walking and eating to recover.

A nice walk in Queen’s Park today and a walk in Bella Park yesterday. I’ve been doing about 6-8k steps a day without running.

My training for the last 4 weeks hasn’t been a little inconsistent now because of the holiday and my recovery week… and next week I plan to ease into some running and some gym work.

Now thinking about training for the next couple of weeks…

Mon: 5-6M run
Tue: Bodyweight Strength
Wed: 3-4M run
Thu: Bodyweight Strength
Fri: KB Strength
Sat: Rest or run
Sun: Run or rest

I’ll aim for 2-3 strength sessions and 2-3 runs a week.

Now, here’s a wee nice story. The other night I went to visit my good friend who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. They have 2 daughters, 3 going on 4 and 6 going on 7. The last time I saw them girls they were about 1 and 4, so they’ve grown a bit.

They’re lovely kids – and a nice wee family. The older one drew my picture and we had a good we nice chatting and being entertained. Kids are great.

The younger one is a bit of a riot (in a nice way) and I saw some of that on Friday night – very entertaining and a reminder that it’s good to be yourself and have fun.

I decided I’d buy the younger one a monkey toy (as she’s a little monkey, but I don’t think I said that out loud) and I found out what animals the older daughter liked – sloths, penguins and leopards apparently.

I got the older daughter a sloth toy, wrapped them to and put them in a box on their front door today… then text their mum and told her to get them to check their front door step.

They’ve given the animals names … the monkey is called Strawberries and the Sloth is aptly named Lazy. Hopefully it made them smile a bit anyway.

I got the picture above, apparently Strawnerries was tired after his long journey to their house and needed a sleep. Ha.

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Great Scottish Run 2019

I wasn’t totally sure how the Great Scottish Run half marathon would go for me… for a couple of reasons…

1. I’d just had about 10 days off running… detraining as a result of being on holiday to Boston for 9 nights, and getting over jet lag at the start of the week. 2. I had run before that, and in the week leading up to the run, but I hadn’t often run on my own – so I had no idea what my natural pace was.

My Garmin was telling me I was ‘detrained’ when we were away, then with 4 runs last week, I was ‘maintaining’ and finally ‘productive’ up to race day. (Then yesterday’s effort tells me I pushed hard!).

I felt ok on my runs last week, and felt ready for the race… although my feet were a bit sore from walking between 20-24k a day in Boston. A good rest day on Saturday (and more or less rest on Wednesday), and before we knew it, it was race day.

We walked into town – just under 2 miles and put my bag onto the baggage bus. My 7th time doing the race, and it really is very well organised. Here’s me in my warm gear before walking in.

I went into the white section and Fit Girl went into the green section. Then the half hour wait for the start… I had a foil blanket to keep me warm, and I was in my shorts, black vest and black arm sleeves.

I chose to stand about in the middle of the white section…maybe I was a bit far forward, but anyone faster than me could over take me if they wanted. The warm up started, and as usual i didn’t really join in. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what… or like the old guy standing next to me (refusing to join in too) said to me – ‘I don’t see the point in wasting the energy, I need it all for the run’. Ha ha. I’ll use that from now on.

As I was standing waiting, a nice Garscube Harrier called Claire stood next to me and spoke to me. She recognised my name from the BBC run group… and we had a nice chat. She was aiming for 1:40 and I admitted I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but it wouldn’t be near that. I noted that the water stations were at 3,5,10 and 11.5 ish with a clif station at 8 miles.

Minutes before the start, as the elites were being announced, I realised my trekz headphones weren’t connected to my Garmin. A quick fiddle, and it was sorted. I was glad, as it’s good to get the heart rate and pace feedback from the watch as you go. I benefited from it the whole way around… keeping me on track with my race strategy… I go by heart rate and see what happens.

Up St VIncent Street and I unconsciously sort of kept pace with Claire… until she and her mate…. steadily pulled away from me. My heart rate was around 155 or so…and it was then that I decided I’d try to get it to 165 – 170, keep it there the whole way and see what happened. This is my way of pushing myself, but being careful not to push myself too much. It did go up to 175 near the end, but I tried to keep it between 165-170 for the most part.

I know the route well by now, and before I knew it I was running over the M8 flyover and feeling good… 5k in and I was about 23-24 minutes…and on and up towards St Andrews Drive. I took on some water, and kept the bottle to put in a bin. I’d taken a caffeine shot (175mg before we started) and I decided now would be a good time for a cherry caffeine gel…

4 miles in and I was doing well… up towards Pollok Park… the mile splits were ticking off under 8 min miles and my heart rate was as planned. Into Pollok Park and I got into a bit of banter with a guy in a blue top called Kevin… we’d started roughly together… and I could hear him making noises about the effort he was putting in. I joked with him that he had got cheered on along the route, and he retorted by saying he knew the hill was coming… I said something about it mostly being downhill apart from that. Two waters at the next stop.

4 miles in I thought I’d split it down to – 4 miles, 7 miles, 10 miles, 13.1 miles…

The forecast rain didn’t materialise and it was a pretty warm run the whole way. i usually run with a water pack as a safety blanket to make sure I drink enough, but I just made sure I drank along the way instead.

We got to half way in Pollok Park (going up the hill) and I clocked my time of about 52 mins. A quick calculation and I could be on for a (sort of unexpected) 1:44 half marathon. I figured the last half would be a bit slower, but I’d try to hang on in there. I took on a SIS pineapple gel (very tasty) and managed to throw it into a bin in Bella Park and get it in. I cheered my success at Kevin and then continued to have a conversation about him and I both having a good run.

About Bella, i noticed a runner, in black shorts and a vest that was camouflaged colours. She would be running on ahead of me, and then would walk… repeatedly. I clocked her name, and from then, I encouraged Maria to get running again. This happened repeatedly right until about a mile before the end… and it seemed to work. I’d catch her, and she was grateful for me giving her the nod to start running again.

In Bella I was handed to Clif gels…thick raspberry ones… I’d have preferred the bloks, but missed them. And i missed the water…as I didn’t realise it would be there. I tried the gel, but it was a bit thick, especially without water, so I threw them in a bin. (Pity I got two as I heard they ran out for runners at the back of the pack). On to 9 miles in and although my heart was feeling ok, ticking along at 165-170 beats… my legs and feet were starting to feel it.

9 miles into 10 along Paisley Road West and my calves were tightening up with slight cramp starting. I was still feeling good though, a bit like I was on autopilot cruising along. I saw a girl who looked like she was about to bonk, weaving along the road and notified a steward to help her.

I gratefully took a 500ml bottle of water from a small boy who seemed to be providing it from his parent’s shop… it was a bit hot, and I poured water on myself as well as drinking it. Left towards Festival Park… and I was grateful to see Susan with her bike, cheering me on. She said I was looking good… but I felt a bit like my legs were about to stop working or fall off… (I didn’t say that to her… but smiled and thanked her for being there anyway).

Along to the end of that road and I knew I had about 2 miles to go… one final push and I might make 1:45. I came across Maria again, outside the Village… encouraged her by saying, come on Maria, let’s go.. and she did. She got my name and thanked me again for the push, and I told her then that I expected her to beat me to the end.

I missed the shower just before the Squinty Bridge… but didn’t know it was there and didn’t have the energy to move over to it. Up and over the Squinty Bridge and I was counting down how far it was to go in my head. A quick bit of concentration to smile for the cameras at the end, and to take in the crowds there… before the last 1.5 miles to the end.

By this point my calves were screaming and give it another half mile and my right quad started to cease up a bit too. From about half way, my pace did drop, but my heart rate was still where I wanted it to be.

I went down to about 8:20 min miles, then pushed it and kept steady around 8:10 minute miles to the end. I chatted to a few more runners… and could see Kevin just ahead in blue. I was thinking I could maybe push it to get to him… but realised he was just too far ahead for me to push at this stage.

Then along the Broomielaw I passed Maria for the last time, as she stopped to stretch… I said I’d maybe see her at the end… under the bridge and through the smoke and loud music (who’s idea was smoke on a run?)… along the final stretch. I looked for messages of encouragement on the big wall, but none were there…:-(…

0.3 miles to go on my watch and I realised my Garmin was ahead of the route… pushing that last bit… I ran under the arch in Glasgow Green and my Garmin ticked off 13.1 in 1:45:27… that was me done… now I just needed to finish the race. Chip time was 1:46:52…

2024th across the line…
239th female across the line..
50th 35-39 female across the line.
Pleased with that effort.

I tried to smile for the cameras, but I doubt I mustered much of a smile… I crossed the finish line and kept walking slowly. Grateful it was over, and pleased I’d managed to keep going strong to the end.

Walking through the finisher bit I met the lovely Tania the Bella Harrier and had a good chat with her, and not so long after I met the amazing VIP Sandra Beattie, who was through from Edinburgh. We had a good chat and got some pics as we walked gingerly to the baggage buses to get our bags.

I went over to the P sign in the meet up stations…where I’d arranged to meet Fit Girl, and started my recovery. A recovery milkshake, and a tasty clif bar from the goody bag… I stretched, drank water and slowly put on more layers to keep warm.

When I was waiting there, Maria came up to meet her parents. And we had a little chat. She said it’s just how she runs…. she needs to walk, then run, but she really appreciated me getting her going again. Each to their own, and she got a great time considering she walked – at around 1:46 too.

Afterwards, Fit Girl and I walked (slowly) home and then went for a burger… this was a double American burger and chips (for me…soup for her)… but I was feeling a little nauseous by then… and that stayed the rest of the night. We had a wee hour nap to get over it… then a small dinner before an early night.

The next day and my calves are sore enough to impede walking… and my quads, abs, back and shoulders and neck are sore. I had RUNger most of the day, even with a steak and eggs breakfast… I’m going to take some rest after this. I know I need it.

I ran with my heart rate on average 165 or about 91% of max… and 175 max (97%). I noticed that I ran the Scottish Run last year, a second faster, but my heart rate then was 174 on average, and 199 max. So perhaps I’m fitter this year, perhaps the route was easier, or I nailed my strategy this year.

Whatever, I felt good throughout the run this year, and felt like I pushed it just right to get the best I could on the day. I’m pleased with how it went, my splits and how i felt up to the end. I’m not so pleased with the DOMs and after effects today, but it’s probably worth it. I’m just glad I had the day off work on Monday!

And… in other news… I helped coach some people to do the Berlin Marathon… Camilla and Fiona did their first marathon there on Sunday and Audrey and Nicola did it together yesterday too. (I hadn’t coached Audrey and Nicola this time around but kept in touch with them to see how their training was going.) They all did very well indeed. (As did LIv from work, well done Liv).

That’s me done three half marathons this year:
– Inverness in 1:54 (avg HR 165, max 176),
– Alloa in 1:48 (avg HR 162, max 178),
– Great Scottish Run in 1:45 (avg HR 165, max 175).

And I managed to run 70 miles in September… 710 miles for the year so far. If I want to get to 1,000 miles for the year I’ll need to do about 100 miles a month in October November and December and see if I get there … or not. At the moment my legs and feet are saying no way… but perhaps some rest will do them good.

Well done to everyone who was racing at the weekend. I hope you had fun and your legs aren’t as sore as my legs and body are today. Ha.

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Great Scottish Run half marathon route & elevation

Here’s the route and elevation for the Great Scottish Run half marathon which takes place from 1130 on Sunday. (As long as it hasn’t changed from last year).

If I remember rightly, there’s a hill at the start, up St Vincent Street, and through Pollok Park 6-8 miles in. Also up to when you get onto the motorway (2 miles), and again up to St Andrews Drive (3-4 miles).

From about Bella into Paisley Road West it tends to go down most of the way, towards the Clyde and finishing in Glasgow Green.

When you get to Festival Park you have about 2 miles to go. The weather looks ok for running tomorrow – 13-14’C and a bit rainy.

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How many half marathons?

As you might know, I’m running the Glasgow half marathon on Sunday. Someone (who doesn’t know me very well) asked me today if it was my first half marathon… I quietly said no, I’d done many before (including quite a few Glasgow Halfs)… but I couldn’t remember how many I’d done.

Garmin is clever in that you can do a search for activities and distances, so I searched on Running and 13.05 – 13.25 miles.

Since about 2010, it looks like I’ve run 37 half marathons, so Sundays will be my 38th. Nearly 500 miles of half marathons (484).

Events include, in no particular order:
The Chicago Half 2011
The Barrathon 2012
Inverness Half x2 2018,19
Balloch to Clydebank x3 2010,11,15
Great Scottish Run (Glw)x6 2010,11,12,15,17,18
Scottish Half Marathon 2018
Skye Half Marathon (PB)x2 2014,16
Kilmalcolm 2017
Alloa 2019
Mull of Kintyre 2013

And the rest are just training runs. The images here show them in order of time – fastest at the top (a time I know I’ll never get close to again – my PB days are over.)

My favourite half was probably the Chicago half… with the Skye half a contender, and the Barrathon too… to be honest, they’ve all been good (although I remember not liking the weather at Inverness this year). And I do prefer a looped route, rather than an out and back.

My times range from 1:38:08 (which was a whole 11 secs faster than my previous PB)… to 2:21 – which was meant to be pacing 2:20 for the Great Scottish Run in 2015.

My PB was the Skye Half Marathon in June 2014 – a great event and one I returned to two years later to run, and finished it 13 minutes slower! My avg HR in 2016 was 165, and in 2014 it was 169… I tend to have a strategy to aim for 165 on average and let it creep up towards the end.

Not sure what was happening in 2016… apart from maybe me not focussing on time any more as it had become less important to me. Or maybe I was flying in 2014, never to be repeated as running fast is hard!

The Barrathon in 2012 was memorable, not just because it’s a really well organised event, with a big massive hill near the end… but also because there were a lot of friends of mine running it. Including (randomly) my best friend, her brother and Dad, and a bunch of friends from Glasgow all running for fun. I think it was sort of before it became really well known too.

It was my first run I’d ever placed in too – 3rd senior female I think it was, and I got a glass for my efforts. It wasn’t an especially fast time (1:45) but the limited field who had travelled so far, maybe made my placing better than it had been before.

My most recent half marathon race was the Alloa Half in March this year. A good event (they all seem to be good lol)… a nice route and well organised… I did it in 1:48 and had a good run. I think I’ll be back to do it again.

The Great Scottish Run seems to be the one that gets my avg HR the highest – perhaps I get carried away – avg 172 for 1:45 in 2017 and 1:45 in 2010 (dressed as Super Girl)… 174 for 1:45 in 2018.

I’ve run it 6 times I think.. including one year where I did the 10k before it too…. In 2011, I ran the 10k in 49 mins, then ran back to George Square (0.9M) and then ran the half in 1:39:36!… 6 days before running the Chicago Half Marathon in 1:41. Ha… that was all good fun.

In the last few years, I’ve focussed more on not pushing myself and my heart rate up… rather than trying to beast it for a time. Running fast is hard, and I don’t tend to do it if I can help it. Although sometimes at events I like to see what pushing myself can achieve – effort + conditions = outcome.

I’m good with the fact that my PB days are behind me… and I’m good to just run and enjoy events. Or run with others to help them. :-). The run above and most of the ones below are runs with others, or pacing runs.

There we have it… 37.. and my 38th half marathon will be on Sunday.

I have no idea how I’ll do, but I plan to take it all in and enjoy it. Maybe I’ll push it (avg HR 165 ish +), maybe I won’t. We will see.

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Runs this week, training status & oats

Just over 10k this morning for me… the first 4 miles were with Fit Girl, we got totally soaked in the first proper rain ☔️ heavy shower I can remember this year. Soaked through. 😂🙈

Then I had a quick change and ran 1 mile up to physio to get acupuncture for my neck. The pain has nearly all gone, but still a few wee twinges.

This will be my 3rd run of the week, and I’m planning an easy run on Friday morning, rest Saturday then the Glasgow half on Sunday. Followed by some more rest.

My Garmin 645 has this clever little function that tells me how my training is going… for nearly 2 weeks on holiday I was ‘detraining’ (no running), then I managed to get up to ‘maintaining’ and now my training is ‘productive’.

It’s a good way of tracking things and includes status like peaking and recovery.l to help you to know you’re on track with your training. And the detraining was good, hopefully just what my body needed.

Autumn is coming and this week I had my first bowl of overnight oats in the mornings after my runs:

Here’s the recipe:

40g rolled oats
30g blueberries
10g sultanas
10g flaked almonds
200mls milk (full fat)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dab of vanilla essence

456 cals
46g/22g/16g c/p/f
42%/14%/44% c/p/f

Put all in a tub or bowl the night before and cover. Then heat for 2-3 mins in the morning, stir half way thru.

(There would be less cals if used semi skimmed milk. And more protein could be added if fage Greek yoghurt put in 100mls and Just 100mls of milk.)

Good energy / recovery for after a run.

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Got my number

I got my number for the Glasgow Half marathon…

I haven’t run in a couple of weeks, so hopefully my body will remember what to do on Sunday. Eeeek.

I’ll get some miles in this week to see if I can still remember how to run.

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Holiday outcomes / numbers

Well, here’s the outcome of the last couple of weeks of doing totally different things (eating and exercising very differently to my usual).

What we do, gives us the outcomes we get.

I ate lots, and we walked lots. We also slept more than usual too.

As I said ate lots on holiday, but really we ate differently too – 2 big meals a day (breakfast and dinner), plus the rest / snacks to keep us going …

I had … 4 ice creams, 3 pizzas, 3 burgers, 2 breakfast steaks (with eggs and potatoes), 3 blueberry pancakes, 1 french toast, 2 omelettes, 1 (massive) Teriyaki chicken, 1 little mac n cheese, 1 chef’s mess (below). A few coffees, a few bits of peanut butter snickers and some m&ms. I had whatever I fancied.

The chefs mess from Martin’s Coffee Shop in Brookline was maybe my favourite, scrambled eggs with goats cheese, turkey bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, avocado and rye toast. (Although breakfast steaks and eggs were good too.)

I did put on weight, but not too much, and it’s a good starting point to see what changes I can make in the last quarter of the year.

31 Aug: 138lbs / 16.5% body fat
22.8lbs body fat / 115.2lbs other
110.4lbs lbm / 79.9%

23 Sep: 139.8lbs / 16.5% body fat
23lbs body fat / 116.8lbs other
111.8lbs lbm / 80%

That’s an increase of 1.8lbs, which includes a smidgen of body fat, and 1.4lbs lean mass. (Or so my scales say). Body fat % stayed the same.

Walking lots and eating lots… I maybe ate a bit more than I needed, but that’s ok – I was on my holidays. 😉 The food likely fuelled all of our walking. I did no other exercise, in 12 days.

I’m back at nearly 10 stone again, and now I plan to reign in my intake and get some good exercise / training during in the next few months / autumn / winter and see what happens.

Some other measures that changed include:

My resting heart rate has dropped, from 45-52 at the end of September, to 38-43.

My walking max dropped from 120 to 77 too. Running gets my heart rate up to 150-180 and that didn’t happen, so I guess my walking fitness maybe improved instead.

My blood pressure has reduced / changed, to 94/73 from 105/65 in July.

I don’t feel much different, so that’s ok. But exercising / training / running should increase both my resting heart rate and my blood pressure (in an ok way).

All of that was from a result of walking around 20-26,000 steps a day, having a big breakfast and good dinner, with a snack / coffee or small lunch if we wanted it. Plus whatever else we wanted.

Oh, and an average of 10+ hours sleep a day… I could get used to that! Sleep is magic.

I managed to get a bit of sleep on the plane home, perhaps helped by me taking some melatonin that I bought over there… and then yesterday I managed to stay up until bedtime without being tempted to go to bed far too early.

A good sleep last night and some more this week should sort us out going forward. 👍🏻

Now, I’m hungry again… what will I have for breakfast? 🤪

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