Glasgow Santa Dash 2015

Nothing quite finishes the year and gets you into the festive spirit than joining 5,999 other Santas to run a 5k around your local city!

I did this event last year with 2 of my course mates and had a great time, despite the sleet, snow and rain! This year I was dragging my bf around for his first ever race (although he says it doesn’t count as its not timed!) I got into from work at 4.30am and my alarm went off only 4 hours later at 8.45! I bounced out of bed, into my outfit and had some breakfast (graze mince pie flapjack to really get me in the spirit of things!) before heading off to join my fellow Santas in George Square. I don’t know if it was the fact I was running (after a week of jog/walk/rest) or because it was a beaut day with blue skies, but I was in a great mood and feeling rather perky.

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After a quick warm up and a few photos we were off! I should say first off that is a fun run however for safety they do say that push chairs, dogs and small children should head to the back of the race – it appeared that no-one at the start line listened to these rules. It was crowded (standard) but I had to dodge buggies and animals which I don’t think was very safe – especially the buggies who just seemed to plough through people! Despite this the first few kms went seemingly well.

I made a big mistake of running up St. Vincent street (for those of you who don’t know Glasgow, St.Vincent street is a nice steepish hill that goes on for about 800m) and by the 4km my knee was starting to hurt and so we decided to have a walk for a wee while and appreciate the view down the Clyde. The atmosphere was merry and everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was loads more spectators out this year (although the weather could have played a part in that) and there also seemed to be more serious runners about as well!

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We finished in about 38 minutes (I forgot to start mapmyfitness, whoops) and were greeted with a mojito ice lolly, snowflake medal and a bottle of water for our efforts. Many people were laughing at the post race lolly, however I regularly have an ice lolly after races even in the winter – I find it really refreshing! We headed straight home and had some food and decided to stay in and do no more running (well Stu talked me into it) so I hit the sack for a nap and then watched the football.

All in all it was a great race and a great way to finish a year of running. Hopefully with some rest I will have a happy years running in 2016. I will be writing a post soon about the highs and lows of 2015 and what 2016 has in store!

Wishing you all good luck for whatever running the weekend brings!

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Injury update and Running Survey

I have to admit to being a bit of a Debbie Downer over the last few weeks – despite stretching/strengthening and cutting back on training my IT band is still giving me a pretty sore knee and now all race plans for Jan have been abandoned. At this moment in time actually completing the races is the only thing planned and as much as this will be an achievement in itself I can’t help feel a little bit disheartened after training since March for this event. I highly doubt I’ll be able to run the races and its just made me a little bit down after dedicating so much time, money and effort.

Anyways……

To cheer myself up I am going to reminisce on happier times and complete a running survey which I stole from the wonderful ladies at werundisney.com (a great blog if you ever think of running at disney or just want tips for packing for a runcation).

 

1. Would you rather run along a beach or mountain trail.

Definitely embrace the hills and run in the mountains. I’m not particularly a beach girl and although I’ve never done a mountain trail race (living in a city centre doesn’t present too many training opportunities) I do love hiking and wish I could get to do it more often!

2. If you could choose any flavour of Gatorade for your next race, what would it be? 

I’m not a fan of gatorade and only really like lucozade orange. I much prefer to drink water/nuun and get my energy from gels/shot bloks.

3. If you were given a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing you purchase with it? 

mmmmmm toughy as I will probably need new running shoes come Jan, however I am a sucker for new running kit. So probably some new funky nike shorts (I love their designs) and maybe a few new tops!

4. Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and fast you want to run?

If I have a goal race in mind then I love a training plan – theres something very satisfying crossing of completed work outs and hitting your weekly goal! When I haven’t got a race in mind I just tend to run on feel – although I usually follow the rule of two shortish runs during the week and a longer run at the weekend.

5. Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end on the uphill?

Probably get the hill out the way – like St. Vincent street and the Great Scottish Half Marathon. Saying that running downhill on spent legs is a fine art and can be as draining as running up hill!

6. When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do? 

I used to play hockey and swim a few times a month when I lived in Edinburgh and I’m hoping after the new year to take up hockey again and maybe check out some pools nearby (I actually find swimming wayyyyyyy more draining than running, but its a great all over work out). I’m also a fan of pilates and would like to do this more than once a week.

7. What’s your preference –> out and back or point to point or loop runs? 

During training I’ve been running a mixture of two loops close to my flat, which has been great. For a race however I like point to point races or where you do one big loop – no repeating sections! Out and back I find a bit depressing especially in a race when you see all those lucky souls miles in front of you!

8. If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a…?

Ooooooooh I’d probably say, for ladies, definitely a good sturdy sports bra (I use shock absorber and have never had any problems). This would be closely followed by good shoes and then injinji socks (lifesavers!!).

9. Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?

Most of my training is in the city centre of Glasgow, so apart from a few pigeons then no!

10. Ever gotten lost while out on a run? 

Gladly no. I’m pretty boring and keep to the same routes, makes me feel a bit safer when running outside (classic paranoid me).

11. If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days, what would that meal be?

Ahhhhh this would kill me as whenever I’m doing anything over a 5k all I do for the majority of the run is decide what I want to eat – and I get massive run induced cravings all the time!! Seen as its winter though probably homemade chilli with lots of cheese on top.

12. Capris or shorts…what do you run in most often?

Shorts – I don’t usually like anything covering my knees when I’m running, but when I’m outside capris are a must in this winter weather. I still can’t run in long leggings, my calves just can’t handle it!

13. At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?

Definitely takes me a few kms to warm up – which is probably why my 5k time is so slow when compared to my 10k/half marathon pbs. Once I hit 2 or 3 km I’m usually into my stride and get into a nice rhythm. This is why I always tell new runners not to give up after 1 mile – your body probably isn’t in the groove yet!

14. What do you do with your key when you run? 

I always run with a waist belt to keep my phone and keys safe. I don’t like armbands for running and I need several keys to get into my flat so cant just attach them to my shoe! I’m hoping Santa is going to bring me a new waist belt as my trusty old H&M one gave away a few weeks ago 😦

15. If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one would it be? 

Can I choose two pretty please?? No, okay fine then! Probably the Liverpool Rock n Roll 5k this year – mostly because I ran it with my little sister, but also because the route and organisation was just amazing. If you want an actually answer regarding the race I ran then probably the Great North Run this year. It wasn’t a pb for the half marathon, but I beat my previous time by 18 minutes (in one year as well) and although the route was super crowded and I could have gone faster, this gave me a chance to fully appreciate why this run is so famous. Also when I crossed the finish line and realised I had beaten my time by 18 mins and was in better shape than last year, gave me a great feeling knowing how much I had come on in just 12 months (and 4 of them I didnt really run!)

 

Hope this wasn’t too long and I didn’t sound too depressed at the beginning! This week I’m going to have another rest week and see how my leg is after that.

As always sending the injury free vibes your way!

Dopey Training – Week 19/20. The inevitable injury.

I am so sorry for the lack of training post for last week! I’ll confess I’ve been a bit busy (started a new weekend job which is late late hours) and I’ve also been in a bit of a grump. After getting over my motivation slump, I found my running mojo with a couple of outdoor cold, but dry, runs. It felt good to be back, I even managed to do 13k on the dreadmill the other day and not want to kill myself afterwards! This all seemed to be to good to be true and last weekend I went out for what I thought would be 18k, only to return an hour and a half later with only 12k under my belt and a limp. I was soaked to the skin, freezing cold and to make matters worse I’ve done something to my leg – I suspect I’ve hurt my IT band. Now you should all be aware that I am usually one of these people who get injured and still carry on thinking if I keep running it will all go away. I couldn’t that day and I can confess that a little tear my have left my eye when I was limping back to my flat feeling pretty damn sorry for myself.

I have, probably for the first time in my life, decided that rest is what my leg needs right now. I am going to head to the doctors sometime these week, however with a little bit of internet reading I do think it is my IT band and therefore have been giving it some love with stretches and foam roller/massaging it. I’ll admit I’m a bit scared for January now – I had to miss my 18 miler on Sunday with the thought of not wanting to risk not completing the marathon due to injury pitted against not being fit enough.

I’ve been training for this since March and having trained for 3 half marathons in between then, I thought my base mileage would have been sufficient enough to start my training plan. I have dedicated a lot of time and energy to this and at the moment the thought of not doing it is so damn depressing. I really don’t have the option to defer – due to the cost of plane and hotel – so I’m hoping the injury angels are looking down on me kindly and are going to grant me a swift recovery, well recovered enough that I can complete this and then collapse at the finish line!

Any advice on IT Band issues would be very welcome at this point! I’m so sorry for being on such a downer this week, however in some very happy news two of my friends had little baby boys this week! All healthy, happy and no problems with the births to report! Two weeny rays of sunshine on my grey rainy week!

Wishing you all an injury free week!

5 lessons that 1000km has taught me

1000km since March, this was my achievement of the week! I am pretty proud of myself – never did I think at the start of March I would have ran that kind of mileage this year. Now for some seasoned marathoners and ultra marathoners out there, this is probably pocket change to them but this is the first year I’ve taken running semi seriously so it seems pretty big for me! I should also point out that I am by no means an expert – heck I still don’t call myself a runner – but I have learned a few lessons along my way so thought I would share my experiences with you all.

  1. Training plans are great for some – but are not the be all and end all. Something that I think has really worked for me this year is keeping to a training plan for races that I’ve wanted to race/try and pb. I did this for the Edinburgh Half Marathon (where I got my pb), the Great North Run (where I got a course pb and could have gone faster but y’know crowds) and I am currently 2/3rds of my way through my Dopey Training with the aim to finish. I love having a bit of structure and aims for the week, but I’ve also learned that missing a training run every so often isn’t the end of the world, nor is changing runs around during the week to fit my schedule (I should point out that I have never missed a long run, more skipped some shorter/medium runs due to being run down). Also ticking of my runs acts like a countdown for an event and gets me even more excited!
  2. Listen to your body. Sounds cliche I know, but things happen during runs and risking further injury/illness is not worth it in the long run. This works both ways however and sometimes I felt pretty crappy heading out for a run, but after the first 20 mins, when my muscles have loosened up, I’ve felt great and gone out to complete the longer distances (even sometimes with a smile on my face). I also suffer from pretty bad IBS, one of the reasons I stopped running when I was younger, and this does affect my training however I have found that regular running/exercise does help ease my symptoms, a welcome side effect!
  3. You can’t outrun a bad diet, but post run pizza is heaven! Now I confess my diet is nothing to boast about, however I do try and keep to the 80/20 rule (‘good’/’bad’ food) as I think allowing treats prevents me from going crazy! If I don’t watch my diet and have a week of eating crap I do feel more lethargic and that my running suffers. There is plenty of advice on the internet surrounding nutrition and nutrition for runners however you  need to be wary that what might nutrition-wise for a stranger on the internet isn’t necessarily going to work for you – plenty of people swear on a pre-run coffee, I tried this twice and both times spent the whole run resisting the urge to vom! (Side note, I will be writing a future post of what I eat pre/post run but again what works for me might not necessarily work for others!)
  4. Technology is great, but so is technology free running. For training purposes knowing how far and how fast you run is great – it allows you to track your progress, predict race times and, for those wanting to loose weight, allows an estimated prediction of calories burnt. For longer runs having my phone not only gives me a sense of security but also my music for entertainment. I’m not particularly technology mad or savvy but I cant imagine living without my phone, its just too handy. However every so often I like to leave all my gadgets at home and just run – doesn’t matter how far or fast, just run. I find it very therapeutic  just listening to myself plod along and the occasional bird.
  5. I have a pretty decent support group. And by decent I mean great. My poor mother and father get weekly/daily updates on my training and listen to all my running ailments whether they want to or not! I’ve dragged my poor boyfriend out running as well as my younger sister when I’ve been home. They come to my races when they can and stand for hours waiting for me at the finish line. My mum, sister and boyfriend are all joining me in Jan and they’ve all had to put up with an excited me for the past few months (and its only gonna get worse, sorry guys!) They’re all amazing and deserve a slap on the back, thanks guys 🙂

So heres to another happy and healthy 1000km!  Happy running peeps!

Dopey Training Week 18 – Motivation where art thou?

I had been warned when signing up to the Dopey Challenge that the training was hard – any training is hard when the race involved is a huge step up from your current fitness level, whether it be a 5k or marathon. For me so far the training has been manageable – I find the weeks where I have 5 days of running planned I am a lot more sleepy and a LOT more hungry, but the overall increase in miles ran per week hasn’t had to much of a damaging effect! What more people warned me about, and what I never thought would happen to me, is the weeks where your motivation and enthusiasm is somewhat lacking. This week I felt as though I had to drag myself out for every run and I was seriously dreading the 17 miler I had planned for the Sunday. Whether this was due to the weather (it has been rather soggy and windy all week in Glasgow) or because my runners knee was making an appearance I don’t know – but I was just not feeling my training this week.

Sunday morning rolled around and the weather had not changed and my motivation just wasn’t there. 17 miles is a long run, its even longer when your heart isn’t in it! I made a deal with myself – run a 10k, see how your knee is and if its hurting then come home. I also had read online about power walking up hills instead of running to try and help runners knee so I decided to do that (and before you say it, I know internet advice isn’t always 100% but I saw no harm in walking up hills instead of running!) So off I went, wrapped up in my waterproof jacket and thermal top, into the wind and rain.

The first few miles were as damp and dreary as I had imagined. My feet were wet, my hands cold and my legs felt like lead. Yet something amazing happened once I hit 10k – my knee didn’t hurt and in all honesty I hadn’t realised an hour had gone by. So i decided to go up to 10 miles, test the knee a bit more. Again 10 miles came and went and I felt fine. This carried on for the next few hours until amazingly I had completed the whole 17 miles. What was even more amazing is that I felt great afterwards and this morning I woke up without any aches or pains – god only knows what I did last night to be so ache free, but whatever I did worked! The combination of 17 miles yesterday and feeling relatively good today has somewhat sparked my interest again and made me feel a teeny tiny wee bit more confident for Jan. Some weeks don’t always go to plan (and I’m not just saying this in a running sense) but I learned more about myself this week than I have after any of my ‘good’ runs.

Wall of text aside, this is what I planned for this week

Mon – rest

Tues – 6.5k

Wed – 11k

Thurs – rest

Fri – 3k

Sat – 11k

Sun – 27k

And this is what I ended up doing. Me and the bf were in Edinburgh over the weekend, hence why I moved my Saturday run to earlier in the week as I knew I would never get it done otherwise!

Mon – Rest

Tues – 7k @ 5.43 min/km (treadmill)

Wed – 12k @ 6.16 min/km

Thurs – rest

Fri – 12.5k @ 6.39 min/km

Sat – 3k walk

Sun – 28k @ 6.34 min/km

Total kms for this week – 62.5km 

Overall a good (but slow) week. I’m hoping to hit the gym this week for some weights and stretching and have just gone and booked my first pilates class in about a year! I used to do pilates 1/2 a week back in Edinburgh but since moving through to Glasgow I never got round to finding a new class. My gym offers a free, 30 minute class on a Tuesday lunchtime so going to give it a try tomorrow, wish me luck!

What do you do when your motivation needs a reboot?

Winter is Coming…

Ahhh probably the most over used line from one of my favourite series, but sadly theres no other way to describe the change in weather the last few days. Gone were the days I could run in a T shirt and not worry about getting a chill. Living on the west coast of Scotland I’m used to the wind and the rain (although I’ll admit that I never run in heavy rain as I don’t want to catch a cold) so I have a pretty good wind and shower proof jacket but up until this week I was fine wearing that and a vest top. Yesterday I wore that AND a long thermal top and was still pretty cold the whole way though my run. I fear that since its only the start of November we might be in for a chilly winter – or it could just be me over exaggerating! I love winter and the chill it brings, as long as I am wrapped in my big coat, hat, scarf and gloves – not running along the clyde in leggings and a thermal top!

Its also been rather soggy in Glasgow this last week although I have a feeling this isn’t really seasonal and just Glasgow doing what it does best! Rain + fresh leaves on the ground resulted in a slippy and mushy run yesterday afternoon – something my new bright beautiful boosts did not thank me for!

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They had already been wiped down and cleaned before this photo. I luckily didn’t have any falls during my run but the ground did feel a little slippy so take a little extra care if you’re running on leaves – even if they look dry!

Apart from the cold and wet, the recent event of putting our clocks back means that running outside is now not allowed past around 4.30. I’ll admit now I am scared of the dark and don’t feel comfortable running in it – even in a busy city centre with street lamps. If, unlike me, you still prefer running at night outside (instead of battling the dreadmill) then don’t forget to be properly prepared – a little LED lamp on your outfit will make running much safer and as well as wearing bright, reflective clothing if you are going to be running near or crossing roads. I hate to sound all dreary and lame, but every year theres reports about people being clipped by cars who were running at night with no reflective gear on, and its so sad.

However on a much cheerier only 49 sleeps until Christmas!! I love this time of year and have asked Santa for a new running belt and maybe a new gym bag. Fingers crossed Santa has looked at my training for this year and deems it worthy of a new belt! Anyone else got any running gear or race entries on their wish lists?

Devon

Dopey Training week 17

Ahhhhhh 9 weeks and counting! This week all I seem to have done is look at costumes – not just for Halloween but for the races as well. My plan is to run in fancy dress for the 10k, half marathon and marathon so I’ve started looking at ideas and ordered the first few parts! I’m not going to reveal who I’m dressing as just yet (even my fam don’t know all of the plans) but I am seriously far too excited about being like a child in Disney again! Any advice on running in costumes will also be welcome, I’ve never done it before but most of the base of my costumes (tops/shorts etc) I have ran in before so hopefully this is good enough!

Now to the serious part – my training this week. This is what I was supposed to do

Mon – Rest

Tues – 6.5k

Wed – 11.5k

Thurs – 6.5k

Fri – Rest

Sat – 16k

Sun – Rest

Anddddd this is what I ended up doing (including excuses!)

Mon – Rest

Tues – 6.5k @ 6.09 per km

Wed – 6.5k @ 5.42 per km (treadmill)

Thurs – 12.5k @ 6.05 per km. I was hoping to do my 16km run that day but had to cut it short due to my knee being a bit dodgy again. I probably could have pushed through but didn’t want to injure in any further, especially with increased mileage this week.

Fri – Rest

Sat – Rest (not going to lie, was pretty jealous of all you who got to run Halloween themed races!)

Sun – 6k w. lil sister @ 7.25 per km. (Gold star for lil sis for not stopping, not even once!)

Total km for week – 31.5km 

So there you go, a couple km’s shorter than intended but with my knee not playing fair I though it was needed. This brings my total km for October to 187km!! My highest mileage for a month ever!  I know for seasoned marathon runners this isn’t particularly high, but I’m feeling pretty good despite the ramp up in training and hoping for an equally good November, then I might start feeling a bit more confident and less scared for Jan!

Wishing another solid week of training – but be careful on any slippy leaves!

Devon