Sunday 30 December 2007

Hogmanay Handicap

OK, Hogmanay it's not until tomorrow, but it's Sunday today so the organises tried to cash in on bigger turn out. It's my first attempt at the Jack Shirley Memorial Race. Usually I'm on a boozy European city break for the celebrations, but this year Marco and I are heading to Glencoe.

(picture: All runners. Although I look like a junior, I ran with the grown-ups)

The 4.2mile (undulating) race is open to all - seniors and juniors. It's a handicap, so the start times are (loosely) based on runners' 10K times. Big Charlie was first to go and I was 17 minutes behind him. I had the start time as Willie. I've seen in club get-up at races, but never seen him at training. At the horn I realised that with all the gibbering I had forgotten to do a warm up. The temperature was verging on chilly and I had yesterday's 16-miler in my legs. Oops. I was a bit rusty at first. Willie tried to stick with me - right next to me, actually - along the road past the Rangers training ground. It's a narrow path, so I was forced to run on the road.

Turning left over the hills of Langbank, I lost Willie on the first major incline. I could only hear his footsteps for about half a mile. Result. There was no way a grown man with a ponytail longer than mine was going to beat me.

There are some stonkin' inclines on this course, but it's one of my favourites. Nice rolling hills with some fabulous views.

About three mile in, I could hear some steps behind me. I was slightly worried about who was catching me up, then a hobbit-sized junior appeared at my side. I was breathing out my ears and he was smiling and enjoying the view. I don't whether he stuck with me because he wasn't sure of the route or he was thinking of seasonal charity work and helping the aged. Thankfully he shot off after a few hundred metres.

I passed Charlie - the loveliest man in the world - on the last hill into Milngavie. It was all down hill from there. Marco passed me in the last 500m (tsss) to take the fastest time.

I finished in 32.52. Average pace was 8.07. Slower than half-marathon pace, but I didn't take it too seriously. It's a festive soiree after all. This morning I was planning on going along to be official photography. I changed my mind when I realised I didn't have time to get showered and changed. Just enough time to jump in to my running gear. At the end the day, I'm pretty happy with my performance. My training schedule for this weekend was hills on Saturday and 16-miles on Sunday. I just reversed it, but don't tell Lesley.

The jury's out, but it looks like Marco may have broke the race record. The organisers are checking past results for the verdict. Actually, Marco's been on the net for the last hour trying to find out for them. I had to talk him out of emailing the previous record holder (sorry Stephen) on the grounds of bad taste.

Saturday 29 December 2007

Long run fun

Once-upon-a-not-so-long-ago a 16 miler was a very respectable distance for a LSR for me. To my new WHW race buddies, this probably isn't worth getting out of bed for. In a vain attempt to redeem myself, I should not that it's a hilly course and I did most of the distance at marathon race pace. This might not wash for those Way bloggers who are filing 30+ mile runs every weekend. I'm aiming for adequate preparation instead of over training.
It was still very dark when I started out. Felt really sprightly after my rest day yesterday. Headed along to Balloch, over the horseshoe and down through Dumbarton.
The wind really picked up through Bonhill. And to add to the discomfort there was a icy rain behind it. The was forecast for snow, so I was prepared for a challenge.
After last week's cold-hand drama, I tried to get mitts for running. I always find that if my fingers are together, they heat up better. Had troubled finding such a thing, so I was out this morning using socks for gloves. Running through the streets of the Vale on dark winter's morning with socks on your hands could be potential footage for youtube.

Finished the 16 mile route in 2:16:42, which was 1:30 faster than last month's run. Horseshoe in 1:16:48. Average pace was 8.33. My goal marathon race pace is 8.20 and that's breaking my PB by 10 minutes, so (fingers crossed) I'm on track for my target time. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6:21.

Thursday 27 December 2007

Tough day in the office

While the rest of the nation are sitting with their feet up watching their DVD boxsets and demolishing a selection box or two, I've been slaving away in the midst of the cut-throat newspaper industry. To recap...I got to work at 9.15am, surfed for a while before going shopping for a couple of hours. Back in the office. Bit of surfing and blogging. Out for a seven mile tempo run. Showered and more surfing. Headed back out to the shops for another couple of the hours. I'm exhausted, so I'm taking a break to file my run ;-)

Well, I did my usual seven-miler from the office round the west end (centre-Dumbarton-crow-anniesland-Great Western-Charing Cross). Felt really good and legs felt light. The head wind was a bit challenging in parts, which could have slowed me down. It was one of the winds that follow you. Despite being a circular course it was in face the whole way.

Top of Byres road in 43.28 (which was 1:32 faster than six weeks ago). And completed the 7.5 mile route in 58.45 (about one minute faster). Considering the wind and the long run from yesterday, I'm chuffed to bits. Average speed 7.57.

Seven miles of running and five miles of shopping. Now that's what I call quality training. Now, where do I hide my shopping bags...;-)

Boxing Clever

Or not so clever as the case may be. After a whole day of over-indulgence, I felt more stuffed than the turkey. The only solution was to meet up with my fellow Garscubians for a 12-mile trail run. I probably had enough calories in me to fuel me on the full West Highland Way, but we opted for a small section starting at Kirkhouse Inn in Strathblane.

(picture The Consani Brothers)

A small group of 10 met at noon in the car park. There's usually more of a turn-out, but I guess the weather forcast and/or the previous nights' drinking was an incentive to watch repeats on TV. We met at the more civilised hour of noon - to allow for drivers to sober-up below the legal limit.

Captain Athole shouted "Everyone know the route? Yeap. Yeap. Good" before heading off and leaving a few startled faces behind. Thankfully I was more than familiar with this killer course.

The first few miles - out of the village and on to the trail - were up hill. I always find hills on cold muscles really tough, so I slipped to the back. By the time we got to the Carbeth Huts I had caught up and overtaken. The Way was much more pleasant and less scary than Saturday's skating. Unfortunately the mud patches were back to ruin our trainers and splatter our clothes.

We stopped at Beech Trees to regroup. Wee Ann had taken a fall in the mud, so turned up looking like a farmer's wife.

Setting off as one group, we past another WHW runner in training. I was frantically whispering and pointing to Marco when he past. I recognised him from the race profiles on the race site. After a search when we got home, I discovered it was George Reid. I knew I recocognised the Fetch shirt and the buff.

We turned off the Way (I've had enough for one month) and headed up the stouter of the hill to Killearn. Call me an sensationalist, but I'm sure it's a mile long. Usually I have piercing pains in the thighs and calves at the top, but I felt fine 'n' dandy - albeit slightly pink. Despite being Boxing Day, the temperature was strangely warm. We thought we had managed to escape the predicted stormy weather, until we headed past the farm and back on the trail. The strong head wind was pretty fierce. Thankfully the trail follows through woodlands, so we were sheltered for the remaining five miles home. There was lots of cheery families out, so it was lovely to see some smiling faces.

Finish the 12.01 route - without stopping my watch for breaks and gates - in 1:54:46 Average pace was 9.33, which is not too bad currently the terrain. The last time I did this route it was June. Although I had a hip problem and I spent most of the time gossiping, I took me well over two hours.

Tuesday 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas y'all

There are few offenses more certifiable than a rep session on Christmas morning. I think the back of my head is still burning from all the glaring eyes. Hey, it's on the schedule so it had to be done. Coach Lesley did say that I was to be flexible round the festive season, as even she didn't think I was mad enough to follow it so strictly.

I had a very restless sleep last night. Despite being 32, I still get very excited about Christmas. Marco opened his eyes at 5am to have me glaring and shouting: "Can we get up yet? Can we? Can we get up YET?". He finally succumb at 5.30am saying: "Maybe we should have kids, so we can have a lie in on Christmas morning". Santa brought me lots of great goodies including a digital SLR camera, a Garmin 50, a lightweight headtorch, ipod radio connection and lots of pamper stuff. I feel positively spoiled.

I headed out for my run at 10am - full of Christmas joy and high on Liquorice Allsorts. Nothing too tough. It is Christmas after all. 4.5miles of one minute intervals. Finished my Balloch - Bonhill Bridge route in 33.57. That's 18 seconds faster than a few weeks ago and almost three minutes faster than October. Surely that deserves a chocolate or two?

Monday 24 December 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

After a day off yesterday, I was raring to go for the scheduled mile reps. Thought I may struggle, as I was bright-as-a-button at 5am. Unlike the rest of the world, Marco and I had to work today. Mind you, by the time he got up, I'd wrapped all the presents, spent an hour ironing and tidied the whole house. Apparently he slept through the whole ordeal. Likely story ;-)
Anyway, I met up with the Consani brothers for our (alternate) Monday night mile reps at 3pm. Yep I skived off early - after spending two hours last-minute shopping.
After Marco and Paul's usual competitive jovial bletherings, we set off on a warm up. Their warm-up pace is probably equivalent to my tempo, so I let them set off on their own. Usually we're in the dark for this session, so it was quite motivational to see them in front.
Completed three one-mile reps in 6.40, 6.34 (PB) and 6.41. For some bizarre reason, my last one felt the fastest. Good news is, my slowest rep was my fastest last time.
Before we departed, the guys discussed their plans for Friday morning's run up Ben Lomond. They're both planning on wearing their running lock up your daughters ;-)

Sunday 23 December 2007

Icemen not Drymen

WHW group run: part deux. We met at Milngavie station at 9am. As usual Marco and I were late, so we missed the group photo. Chatted with some familiar faces and folks from last run. With the wonders of the internet, I feel as if I know everyone already. Finally met the great John Kynaston. JK is to jogging and blogging as JK Rowling is to child wizards. I'm sure he's filed his report before he's even unlaced his trainers.

Today's it's Milngavie to Drymen...and back again. Quite familiar with this section route, so I knew I could get away with using my road shoes. Or so I thought. I would have been better off with a pair of crampons. The temperatures were below freezing during the night, so when the rain started in the morning, it had turned to ice.

Out of the town and through Mugdock the grit trail was OK, but it was like dancing on ice from there on in. I was running on my own for most of the first section. Not because I lack social skills, but because the fast group were too fast and the slower group were, well, too slow. I think Marco felt bad about my no-friends situation, so hung back to run with me. Actually he ran off and then stopped to let me catch up. I found it really hard to run on the ice. It was like running on a treadmill. My legs were doing to revolutions, but I wasn't actually going anywhere. Now I know what a hamster on a wheel is like ;-) The slow pace meant that I couldn't heat up. I've got really bad circulation, so my hands and feet were like blocks of ice.

I sent Marco packing before Drymen. I was planning on getting there and turning straight back. The thought of sitting about in wet clothes in the freezing cold was less than appealing. By this point I was so blue, I looked like a smurf. John Kennedy (winner of this year's Devil o the Highlands race) passed and warned me about the bridge at Drymen, as the ice had made it quite treacherous. He also commented that he'd seen my My Race feature on the Devil's race. Oooh I felt like a minor celebrity. When I got to the bridge - as I'm slightly accident prone - I decided to make that my turning point.

The road from Drymen back on to the trail was my lowest point. The roads were a nightmare. I passed another three WHW runners on their way to Drymen. Looked like some of the group dropped off en route, as there was definitely more that set out. I could have easily thrown in the towel, but I had motivated myself with an incentive: to burn enough energy to enjoy guilt-free pizza and chips that night. Yes, I'm that shallow.

After the most boring part of the WHW, I was relieved to reach the steps back on to the trail. I met an elderly rambling group at the Way marker. I warned then about the ice on steps and the extremely slippy duckboards. As I ran off, I heard the distant sound of shrieks and whooping.

Heading towards the Killearn turn off the sun was trying to come up. Thankfully I was thawing out and feeling less murderous. The fast (er) boys past me shortly before Dumgoyach. Ian Beattie told me that he was: "keeping Marco at the back to slow him down". That made me giggle, as Marco is usually like a Labrador that's just been let out of a car.

My encounter with them was short-lived. I was on my own until after the Carbeth Huts, when I ran with Tim for a while. We parted when I had to stop for a comfort break. The fourth of the day. That's frosty weather for you.

On through Mugdock Park, there was a few hairy moments with unleashed dogs. Back on through Milngavie town centre and it was all over. 24 miles bang on. It's amazing how you can programme you brain to tell you body what you need. If you're out to do a 24 mile run, it's mind over matter. Tell yourself you're only doing five miles and your body will give you the energy for five miles, but not a step further. Don't know how my legs will react when I have to tell them 96 miles is on the cards.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Brass monkeys

Sweet lord it's bitter today. Up early to go to the gym. Bit of cycling (4k), bit of arm reps (2k), core work and leg weights. Whilst watching the weather report from the comfort of the gym, I had to chuckle when I thought of Marco out pounding the streets in sub-zero temperatures. I got my comeuppance though. When I headed out on my run at 7pm it was not only -2 degrees, it was very foggy and very dark. What was supposed to be a steady seven-miler with hard 15 minutes at the end, turned it to run as fast as you can to fight the freeze. The pavements were a tad of the slippy side and roads were packed with motorist cautiously moving through the fog. My head torch didn't work so well in the fog, so my Bonhill-Dumbarton route was a little more adventurous that usual.

Got a PB though. Even with the ice. Finished in 55.57. That's 23 seconds faster than two weeks ago. I finished the last mile hard, but not as hard as I could have. I knew I was on for a PB so I was a little more relaxed.

Before I started with Lesley's training plan, I usually averaged about 1:01 on this route. Pretty pleased that I've shaved off about five minutes. My aim is to get it under 55mins by end of January.

Not that I'm getting better, I'm off to do what I do best. Shopping, eating and drinking wine. It's the Daily Mail Christmas party in London tomorrow night, so I'm hanging up my trainers for two days. Perfect taper for Saturday's WHW training run. I'm sure there will be lots of carb loading too ;-)

Tuesday 18 December 2007

Fartlek Fever

Gawd the things you can find on google images ;-)

Yes, you've guessed it, it was fartlek tonight.

I generally view this as the fairy of rep sessions. Verging on the not-to-bad side of tough. Unfortunately tonight, I was teamed up with three packs above me. Therefore I was the goose breathing out my ears at the back of the group. Managed to keep up for bursts, varying from 100m, two minutes, 800m, 200m, 1000m, more random sprints and hungry hill to finish. It was only on the longer reps that I noticed a gap. Jill (coach for the evening) said that "it was a better session, as the runners were closer together. No waiting about". I'll take that as a compliment. Cheers, FB ;-)

Monday 17 December 2007

Step class

It's still over a week to go until Christmas and I feel I need Priory mini-break already. Last week passed in a splurge of over-indulgence. Red wine and chocolate were the main components of my diet. After Marco told me before yesterday's race that "Elves aren't supposed to smell like winos" I thought I better dry out for a couple of days. But not before another Christmas party. The Garscube annual ceilidh. My Marco is very enthusiastic when it comes to our traditional dance. Needless to say after a couple of JDs and a few gigs in girlie shoes, I'm black and blue and my arms need re-socketed.

I also presented Garscube: The Oscars. This is the club's alternative awards. More of a p*ss take. Verging on the offensive.

Anyway, after waking up feeling slightly delicate...and confused as to why I was wearing Marco's Santa suit as PJs...I was surprised that I was still looking forward to Kelvingrove step reps after work. Any other suggestion would have been thrown out, but this is my favourite session just now. I took most of the day to convince Marco into joining me. And it took us about 20 minutes to get out of the car. As the cars around us were freezing over, the great outdoors was less that inviting.

After a short warm up, we headed to the steps with a view to completing a set of 12. My muscles were cold and tight, but running made me feel so much better. Good start to the detox. Only three more sleeps to the next party ;-)

Times were 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36 and 0.35.

Bloody Elf

Garscube's annual Santa race today. It's a just-for-fun 5K (ish) course through Bearsden. Well, it's a lighthearted event for most people. I had to talk Marco out of wearing his racing shoes, only to get there to see a few other members in theirs.

The race was hilarious. Running down the switchback to the sound of honking horns and cheering pedestrians. Took the focus off my red wine hangover and aching legs. Finished in 24.55...without spewing.

It's the club's Christmas party tonight, so we booked a hotel for the night. I don't know what was funnier, going round Asda for the post-race munchies or checking in to the hotel. Dressed as Santa and an elf definitely raised a few eyebrows. It could be the new festive fetish.

Saturday 15 December 2007

Royal Mail red-faced tale

Decided to take it easy today. Not for any tactical reason, only because I'm feeling festive and therefore idol. Choose the 10-mile round the ol' faithful Balloch Horseshoe.

Struggled for the first few miles until I warmed up. Didn't take long as, even though it's mid-December, it's still really mild. I took a pip-stop at three miles to remove some clothes. After that I felt like I'd been reborn. I've never been a fan of hot-weathered running. Give me 12 degrees with slight drizzle any day. I won't drivel on, but if you want to hear me hiss, just mention the 30 degrees of this year's Paris Marathon. Sssss.

Feeling cooler I started to pick up the pace. One thing I've noticed about running that wee bit faster is that there's been an increase in the number of "emergency stops" I've made. I'll spare you the details, but I'm sure any runner reading this will be nodding knowingly. At mile five I had to make an emergency sprint into the grounds of a country estate. Just when I thought I was at my lowest ebb, the postman decided to drive through %-) We've become quite familiar, as our routes pass frequently on a Saturday morning. It was the quickest I'd moved all day. Deeply embarrassed when he beeped and waved. Die. Hope there's another post strike soon.

Anyway with a redder than normal face (and I usually look like a Halloween cake) I pushed on. Feeling great, I was making up for time lost in the first few miles.

Finished the horseshoe in1:15:54. Home in 1:24:20. Average pace 8.32. Two weeks ago my times were 1:17:47, 1:26:03 and 8.43.

Thursday 13 December 2007

Skiing backwards

Tonight's training plan was in danger of going t*ts up, with the on slot of the Editor's Christmas lunch. Basically this is an excuse for my superiors at the Daily Mail to get bladdered. Apparently I'm always invited as "part of the senior management team". I, on the other hand, think I'm one of the token burds. I was determined that I was staying the wagon and going to training tonight. Unlike last year when I was adamant I was going to the club committee meeting - Marco found me in McPhabb's at 10pm and had to be literally poured into the car. I've never batted for the "one's enough for me" team. I sway more to the "once you've got a taste for it..." team. Anyhoo today I managed to exert some control - much to disappointment of my companions. I consumed two pregnant woman's portions of wine, three glasses of water and a coffee. Admirable or what? Especially on a free bar. Managed to escape as the round of Zambucas arrived.

So it was off to training for me...we did the Bearsden (ski centre - Stockiemuir) route in reverse. Didn't arrive in time for a proper warm up, so the uphill route through Bearsden was a bit of a struggle. Picked up the pace from the ski centre, down Stockiemuir, through the park and on to Milngavie Road. I was really keeping an eye on pace, but new we were under 8m/m from the ski centre onwards. New bloke, Davie, ran with wee Ann and I. Think we were a bit slow for him, as he was far more chatty. Finished the 5.6mile route on an average pace of 8.29.

Home feeling quite self-righteous. I'm sure there will be a few sore heads in the office tomorrow morning. I'm presently celebrating my abstinence with a lovely glass of red wine ;-)

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Take two

As I had a club committee meeting this evening, I had to squeeze in my seven (ish) mile tempo beforehand. Decided to give the Knightswood route we did last Thursday another bash. Last week we ran it as a tempo - 2 miles steady, 3 miles at 10K and the rest easy. I felt that I could have ran that harder, so going out at my new-found pace would be a good comparison.

When I left the Garscube Estate there was another running club in front of me. They kept slowing and looking round at me, as if they had left someone behind. Thankfully they turned down another street, and I followed on to Anniesland. Managed to keep marathon pace up to Knightswood and then picked up the pace to Lincoln, down to Danes, past Victoria Park and up to Anniesland. The last mile up to the Garscube Estate is our equivalent of Boston's Hungry Hill. A lot of our routes finish here. Just when your legs are tired, it's up and up. Nice fast finish down to the end though.

Covered 6.07 miles in my 10K PB time (0.6m faster than last Wednesday's tempo). Finished route in 50:21 (last week 55:43, although we did more of a recovery up last mile). Pace was 7.58 (last week 8.43). First time I've broken the eight minute barrier.

Tuesday 11 December 2007


Finally, after two years, I've got my head round this. Basically it's a speed session run in groups. Tonight it was just two people, so it wasn't too complicated. Or so you would have thought. Marco and I took the session, as the real coaches were having a meeting. Announcing the session, was like trying to demonstrate ceilidh moves to a bunch of English people. A sea of blank expressions. "OK, it's an 850 circuit. Choose a partner of equal ability. Start back-to-back. One person starts at recovery pace, the other runs hard. When you meet up, turn round and swap. So, one person is running at rep speed and the other is on recovery. And we'll do this for 30 minutes". There was the usual gasps and tuts. And complaints about Stevie making them do 20 minutes. Bla bla.
I teamed up with new boy David. He hasn't done any races for a while, but I think we were about the same. Although I'm sure he was slacking off towards the end, as I seemed to be covering more of the circuit. Even on the recovery. Hey ho, I didn't have my Garmin with me, so don't know what the distance was.

Monday 10 December 2007

Park life

It was time to undo the damage done at the weekend. No party without a punchin', so I did the mile reps round Knightswood Park with Marco. It was pretty cold. I felt like my lungs were freezing. My legs felt OK, but my feet were slightly cautious of the ice patches. Don't want to have to ask Santa for my two front teeth for Christmas.
Not really much to report. Did three reps in 6.45, 6.43 and 6.42 (two weeks ago is was 6.54, 6.43 and 6.43).

Saturday 8 December 2007

Sweet Sixteen

There's an inspirational tip in this month's Runner's World about ditching the junk miles : Cranking out endless miles won't necessarily make you a faster finisher, according to Dan Robinson. The 'one run fits all' approach to training, he says, is what doner kebabs are to healthy eating. "Try to avoid junk miles where you're just running for the sake of it. Make every run count, whether it's a recovery run, long run or speed-endurance session."

This is a quote that I'll keep in the back of my mind, as I've spent most the this year just getting the miles in my legs.

I've really focused on speed and pacing over the past few months, so for today's 15-mile run I wanted to concentrate on hills and running form.

I chose a route from Hardgate through Bearsden, over the Langbank hill and then back through Milngavie. It's very undulating to say the very least.

I've been researching running form, so tried to put some theories into practice.

Running uphill: Increase forward lean (but not from the waist). Shorten stride. Increase arm, foot and knee drive. Switch to ball-heel foot action. Maintain breathing. By shortening stride and maintaining strike rate, it should be easier to keep moving at pace when you've reached the crest. Since the rate it there, you only have to extend stride length to regain speed.

Running downhill: Take the breaks off and roll. Lean forward from the pelvis. "develop a feel for downhill running so you flow smoothly with the hill like a mountain stream". The key is quicker turnover. Decrease stride at the start of hill. On steep declines, land on the ball of your foot. Push off from the heel. Strike lightly. Arms not needed for power - just balance. Stay relaxed.

The main aim was to try and keep a consistent strike rate - regardless of the gradient.

It was pretty windy out there and the hills really emptied my legs. The course takes in a few stonking hills. The last one nearly had me on my knees. Even the last two miles downhill was a struggle.

Finished in the 15 miles (drenched, frozen and cross-eyed) in 2:16:58. Pace 9.08. Pretty gutted, as I wanted to keep long run pace under 8.45, but the hills really slowed me down. On a more positive note, according to McMillian my long run pace (for my target 3.40 marathon) is 8.54-9.54. Check me out, trying to stay upbeat. Now I just need to get some life in my legs for my office Christmas party. After ceilidh dancing in heels, today's adventure will seem horseplay.

Thursday 6 December 2007

Six and a bit

Had a wee bit of a manic day today, so was dying to get out for a run. Don't know if I'm premenstrual or just grumpy, but everyone was annoying me. En route to Garscube, my mind was so full of mush that I ended up going through a red light at Anniesland Cross. Oops.

Six mile tempo was on the cards for tonight. Or at least it was six miles until I took the troops on a wee detour and added on an extra half mile. Another oops. Route though Knightwood and back up Crow Road. We picked up the pace down Lincoln Drive (which is the road we shouldn't have been on) to 7.45 or 10k pace.

I couldn't help but notice that Knightswood must be the international culture capital of the world. There was so many different nationalities kicking about, it was hard to believe we were in Scotland. The girls were reminded of their location when a random runner sprinted through the middle of us, forcing me to collide with some tree branches. The harsh vulgarities I spat, were definitely apt for a Glasgow scheme. Little did we know that we were running in the path of Victoria Park's club race and were soon to be stampeded by superfast six-year-olds.

Tempo continued up to Anniesland. Felt this pace was quite steady for me. Could have easily pushed it. Glad that I can "lead" quite comfortably without have to kill myself trying to keep up.

Wednesday 5 December 2007

Wet 'n' wild

Switched on the radio on the way home, to hear the weather report: "The wind is going to die down from 50mph to 30mph". Sweet lord. My car was all over the place, so I was dreading my seven-mile tempo.

Started out OK. Didn't really hit the head wind until mile three. Being that little bit faster these days, I didn't find the wind as bad as usual. It was pretty full on most of the way home - with mile 3-5 being the worse. I was actually looking forward the dark, dingy bit, as I would at least be sheltered by the trees. The traffic at that bit was busier than usual, so I spent a fair bit of time hopping on and off the pot-holed footpath.

I covered 6.01 miles in my 10K PB time, so fingers-crossed I should be on for a smasher next time I brave the distance. I always been quite vocal about my hate for this distance, but now I'm really looking forward to it. Jack Crawford on Jan 12 is my goal.

Finished in 56.20 - that's 45 seconds faster than last week. Considering the blustery conditions, I was absolutely delighted. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6:21.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Science class

Tonight's Garscube session was reps round the science park. This may sound quite exciting, but in reality the science park is a business estate on the outskirts of Maryhill. Inspired. Leaving the Garscube Estate and heading over, we were joined by a group of gobby youngsters. I know I'm aging, but I swear they looked about seven-years-old. It was funny enough that they started the warm-up running alongside us, but it was even funnier when one wee girl stated calling me "big t*ts". Considering I'm a 32A this was the best thing I've been called in years. Actually, maybe she was saying "you are a big t*t".

Anyway the group were split in three. Our pack was moved up to the intermediate gang. I knew it was going to be tough, because some of the faster boys had dropped back for an "easy session". There was me and three of my E pack that were pulled along.

The circular route is about 450m. A few sharp bends, but no hills. The wind picked up, so the last stretch was a struggle.

We did 10 reps - with a 3.5minute turnaround. Just for the record (the boring bit) my times were 1.41, 1.40, 1.39, 1.39, 1.39, 1.38, 1.41, 1.40, 1.41, 1.39.

Monday 3 December 2007

Step reps

Convinced Marco to go over the Kelvingrove to do the step reps at Park Circus. As previously stated, it's three flights of continuous steps.

Marco's a wee bit tired after his PB in the East Kilbride 10K yesterday came in 14th in 35:45. Funniest thing was that was the time I predicted for him. I'd even worked out the splits for him for that time. I'd even given him a lucky penny I found yesterday morning. Therefore, I'm taking full responsibility ;-)

Anyway, enough about him and more about me. Used his weak state to try and close the gap during the step reps. Hey now I'm a Consani I better state getting a bit more competitive.

We went for 12 x up and down. Times were 40, 39, 38, 38, 38, 38, 38, 38, 37, 37, 36, 35. Marco's average was 34 seconds. Close but no cigar :-(

Sunday 2 December 2007

Balloch Horseshoe

This week's five speed sessions and early rises have taken it's toll. Up at 6.30am, as I wanted to get my long run early. Marco's doing the East Kilbride 10K later, so I'm off to cheer him on. I set out with the intention of running 16 miles, but decided to cut it short and aim for quality rather than quantity. Ran the challenging 10+ miles of the Balloch Horseshoe. Great hills, nice scenery (when it finally got light) and perfect weather conditions. Home - round the circuit - corner in Bonhill in 1:17:45. Back home in 1:26:03.

Now I'm off to the land of the roundabouts. Oh the glamour.

Saturday 1 December 2007


This deserves a whole section to itself. My darling husband is amazingly supportive, but he comes out with the most wonderful statements.

I forgot to tell you about the cracker her came out with this week...

Apparently when he does his Wednesday morning run round the west end, there's a girl he passes on Crow Road. And apparently she's my double. So much so, that he's convinced it's me. At first I thought she was out running at this time, but he duly informed me that "she looks like she's never ran a step in her life". So, how can she look like me, Marco? Eh? He did try to retract the comment by saying: "I was just saying that she looks like you from behind". It's a good job I'm thick skinned.

Magic minutes

Got all the gals coming round for lunch today, so I've been up since 6.30 acting like a crazy cooking/cleaning lady. Decided to take a breather and go for a wee run. Opted for the one minute on/off session I do round Balloch. Usual route of 4.5 mile (Balloch-Park-Bonhill Bridge-Home). Warm-up to Balloch roundabout and then one minute sprints with one minute recovery. Lost count, but think I did about 9/10. I'm using this route as a gauge to see how my training's going. My first attempt five weeks ago was 36.40 and two weeks ago was 35.34. My aim was to get it under 35 mins before Christmas. My legs feel a bit stiff today, so I was utterly surprised to finish in 34.15. Woohoo. Big tick.

Friday 30 November 2007

Up with the larks...again.

Today was my third day in a row of getting up around 5am. It's getting beyond a joke. Went to the gym on Wednesday and planned on doing the same again today. Marco was on the red-eye to London yesterday, which pretty much means I was awake as soon as he was. Although he's as quiet as a bird, I just can't sleep with him moving around. For some bizarre reason I'm still holding it together. I really like early mornings. It's the late nights that kill me. I'm worth nothing after 10pm. It was Marco's plan to go out early this morning, as he missed training last night. As soon as the alarm went off he was trying to wriggle his way out it. Pah! I was awake so it was up and at it. Anyhoo, I'm starting to waffle a bit..

15 minutes of rowing (3070m), 10 minutes on the bike (3.6), some core work and leg weights. Nothing too crazy, as today's a "rest" day. Think the tank was a bit on the empty side though. My stomach was making ridiculous sounds and I could feel the acid rising. Lovely. Now I'm struggling to drink coffee, as it's burning me apart. How am I supposed to cope with this afternoon? Right, I'm off for some Rennies.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Nothing unusual to report...just a hard 5.6mile run with club tonight. It was on my favourite route though - through Bearsden, up Stockiemuir, pass the ski club and along Drymen Road. The first three miles is mostly up hill, so it was easy to steady pace. Picked up the pace to 10K-1/2 and then flat out to the Arnold Clark garage. Average pace was 8.30.

At the finish, a pack interloper offered me some "constructive criticism" about stopping runners hopping on to the road to overtake. I was practically chewing off my cheek, as it went in one ear and out the other. I mean, we're all adults. If I started acting like a dictator instead of a guider, I'd be huckled off the nearest bridge. Mmm now that gives me an idea... ;-)

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Hat trick

The plan for tonight - route from home, which involves a few briefs stints in total darkness. Following the frustration of trying to run with Marco's head torch a few weeks ago, I went on the search of a alternative. Santa (well, my Sister) is bringing me a super lightweight one, but I stumbled across this cap light on my search. Anyone who knows me, knows that I barely ever run without my cap. I'm practically naked without it. To the capped-fraternity this nifty little invention is pure genius. It's marketed at fisherman, but their missing a trick with runners. It weighs next to nothing, but lights up the path better than the headtorch. I was a bit dubious when it arrived. I wouldn't have been surprised if it was like a couple of matches on your head. But for about £5 from ebay, it's a sound purchase.

OK, praises over...let's talk about running. I'm very excited to write that I did my seven-mile tempo in 57.05 - that's 1.5 minutes faster than a few weeks ago. Average pace 8.07 - which is faster than my half-marathon pace. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6.31

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Porsche hill reps

I have a love-hate relationship with this session. It's a great route, but my lord, it's tough. Let me explain ;-) There's a steep killer that goes on for about half a mile (OK, OK about 200m), then plateaus round in a circuit. At the next corner (heading back to the start) there's steep descent at recovery pace, before you turn back and blast back up for about 30 metres. Recovery back down...and it starts all over again. The "less able" clan and I managed four. Fast guys did six. And I think Ali Mo is still out there.

Don't know what my times were, as the circuits were continuous. Whole session covered about 4.5 miles. Felt really good and light on my feet. Especially on the shorter hill.

Hi Stephen. Hope the blog's going well. Sorry about the wee breather award. You're now going to the big bad fire.

Monday 26 November 2007

Monday miles

I never usually have any trouble on a Monday morning. I'm generally quite annoyingly positive about starting a whole new week, but this morning I struggled. After a weekend of over-indulgence, travelling and lack of sleep, I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. My body ached and my eyes looked like swollen, sunken slits. Even copious amounts of coffee and lots of web surfing didn't help me through the day.

So the best way to counteract a weekend on the sauce is to get straight back into training. OK, it's also the best way to secure heart failure.

I was keen to do some reps. Possibly something between 200-600 metres, but somehow Marco managed to convince me to do mile reps. So after work we headed to Knightswood Park to do the mile route round the parameter. This is a route that Marco and the fast boys used to do on their special invite-only training nights. He wibbered all the way up about this being a rough session, but it was the best session to help with my race times. I don't know whether he was preparing me for the worst or simply limiting the moan factor.

Anyway, it was tough. But I really enjoyed it. Well, apart from going over on my ankle on the first leg and the pesky dog owners who let their horse-like hounds chase you down the street. At least the geese were well behaved.

Planned on three milers, with 2/3 minute recoveries. Times were 6.54, 6.43 and 6.43. Going to try for four next time, with a view to getting up to six. Aim to get reps under 6.30 by end of January.

Friday 23 November 2007

Frozen Friday

I'm the first to admit, I have been getting a bit cocky about running of late. Some might say obsessed. But it's the first time I've ever been inclined, let alone focused, on improving my speed. After this morning's performance, I've definitely been grounded.

As I'm off to London for the weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze in a long (ish) run before work. OK, it was only 11 miles, but I thought it was better than nothing. I thought wrong. As my dear old friend Kas would say, I ran like a bag of spanners. Now, in my defence there were various factors against me: I was pretty gubbed after three hard training sessions on a trot, I had to get up just after 5am, I didn't have much for dinner last night and completely avoided breakfast. Excuses, excuses. But the main reason was it was BALTIC this morning. -4 when I started. I just could not heat up. My muscles felt really cold and stringy the whole time. The pavements were sheets of ice, so I spent most of my time tinkering round them. Even the rabbits were looking at my funny.

I would have thrown in the towel, but I decided than a tough run on empty would be good training for the WHW. I even managed to convince myself of this when I passed the tube station.

By the time I got to the office, my eyeballs were frozen, I had icicles hanging from my nose and my skin felt sunburned.

The route from Bowling to the office is exactly 11 miles. I'm not even looking at the time or pace. The salty tears might sting my weather-beaten face. Next time, I'm taking a recovery day. Aye, right.

Thursday 22 November 2007

A nice hilly six-mile club run through Bearsden. Yippee. More hills. Just what I need after yesterday's session. Moaning aside, I was glad we weren't going over the west-end. I think I've had my quota of Maryhill Road and Great Western Road for the year.

Took out pack E, but met a stranded Pack C-er on the way out. She taggled behind us for a couple of miles. Stopping and looping back on Rannoch Drive really slowed down my average pace (I know, I'm an a*se now). Made the decision to leave her after Boclair. Thankfully her friend, who runs in our pack, stayed back with her. Ran the rest of the route with Dave Heppell. I still don't know who was trying to kill who, but we kept up a ready good pace. Up Kilmadinny, along Manse, down to Station Road and then up the dreaded Pendicle %-) The fast boys started to overtake us at that point. Ali Mo looking like a gazelle - with his wheezing disciples on tow. Marco was getting slagged for upping the pace when he saw me ahead. And there was me thinking he had given up trying to impress me ;-) Up last the hill past the Porsche garage, Dave and I were still pushing each other. I gave him the big spiel about Lesley saying I should finish hard, which I don't think he was delighted with.

6.2 miles. After initial stop and start, my average pace was only 8.48. Pants really.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Hilly and chilly

Opted for lunchtime reps today, as I'm off to a show tonight. In true Glasgow style it's dull and p*shing of rain. I was almost tempted to use the treadmill in the gym, but remembered that it wouldn't count. I'll save my treadmill rant for a quieter moment.

Headed out to Kelvingrove with Marco, with a view to do some hillreps. It was supposed to be a steady run out, but managed to get caught up to my 10K pace. In the park, I introduced him to the cheeky wee number that Sara, Ali and I used to run. Approx 100m with a tough steep bit at the top. My description of hills are legendary. Marco chose Kenyan hills, whereas I went for the straight forward up-round the monument-and back down as fast as possible. Managed five averaging 1:47.

Then it was over to the steps at Park Circus. A set of three continuous flights, to get the fast twitch muscles into gear. I've finally found a session that I keep up with Marco. Actually, I think he was trying to humour me, but hey ho. I like being humoured. Six sets - with 0:38 being my best time.

Back to the office looking like drowned-rats.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Timed Efforts

Yep, that's what the Garscube schedule stated. Like every other member, I turned up expecting a 5k time trial. That's what the coach sneakily described it as before. I never thought I see the day when I said this, but I was disappointed it wasn't a time trial. It was a rep session based on pyramids. Reps on time (ascents and descents) rather than distance.

Despite my morning trauma of my morning tooth extraction, I was really looking forward to the time trial. More because I wanted to gauge what improvement my new training plan had made.

Anyway, it wasn't to be. Timed efforts it was. The packs were broken up differently tonight. Usually I do Tuesday sessions with packs slower than me. But tonight I was out with the three packs above me. It was very tough, but very worthwhile. It gave me more confidence to know that I could hang on behind them.

5.5 miles. Reps 1min, 2mins, 3mins, 3mins, 2mins, 3mins, 3mins, hill up to the top gate, recovery.

Had a long chat with coach Lesley regarding next step in the training plan. We discussed key races, club runs, speed training, tempos, training pace and WHW training runs. She going to compile a plan based on this. My main focus is a January 10k, Balloch half, London Marathon and WHW.

Saturday 17 November 2007

Balloch Horseshoe

A tough 16-miler is the essential prerequisite to an afternoon in the pub. Scotland play Italy today, so we're meeting the crew for a bender.

I woke up at 4.30am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Tossed and turned before giving in to BBC 24 viewing. When I set out for the Balloch Horseshoe at 8am, I was a little on the tired side. My legs were fine, but my heart was racing and my chest was really tight. After a few miles I was right as rain. Started to pick up the pace, even though the route is fairly hilly and I was cursed with the runner's wind. No, not the too many brussel sprouts wind. The runner's wind is the wind that's in your face no matter what direction you're running in. Considering I always run circuits, I always find this phenomenon hard to explain.

Route - home - Balloch - horseshoe - bonhill - Dumbarton - Renton - home. 16 miles. Total time 2:18:14. Pace 8.39. Weather wet and windy.

Even finished my last mile with a hard run. From the sweet shop home in 6.31. That's 20 seconds faster than last week.

Don't think my post-run bagel and apple lined my stomach enough for a day on the sauce. I was gubbed before the football had even started. Obviously the kebab-shop demolition on the way home was a fabulous idea. A feast for athletes.

Thursday 15 November 2007

hard five

Club run tonight. Shocked to see that the schedule had a hard five run, considering a lot of folks will be running the Glasgow Uni 5-miler on Saturday. Or maybe the coaches realised that the majority of the Scottish population will be watching the football that afternoon.

Had a really good run. Legs were totally fine from yesterday. The route was 5.5miles round the west end. A few cheeky wee hills to slow you down though.

I realise and understand that there are varying degrees of ability within our club, but let me tell you about something that really annoys me :-x The faster runners who wants to join our pack because they "feel rubbish/sh*te/unwell". As if that's not patronising enough, when they out with you they start skipping along beside you. Feeling charitable if they slow down and wait for you. Bugg*r off, we're not taking any strays anymore. Rant over.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Best west test

Went out at lunchtime and did my usual 7.5 mile route round the west end. Aimed for two miles easy and then tempo. I usually use this route to test how far I can run in an hour. Managed to take three-four minutes of my time! Woohoo tempo runs seem to be working for me. Finished the circuit in 59.34.

Off to Tiso tonight to hear Simone Moro talk about his adventures on the seven peaks. If I detect a glint in Marco's eye, I'm out of there.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Short but sweet

One minute intervals. 4.5mile route from my house through Balloch over the bonhill bridge. Set my watch for one minute alerts (yes, Marco, all by myself) and off I went. Why oh why do all the fast minutes happen to be on hills? Felt really light, even when I started. Thought I might have to crank my legs after Saturday's journey. Finished route in 35.34, which was over a minute faster than last time. Aim is still sub 35 before Christmas. Nice wee route to test times.

Monday 12 November 2007

You Know You're A Runner when ....

Your partner complains about how cranky you are if you miss your training run
You have to think of your run schedule to remember what day of the week it is
You can name at least 3 writers of running blogs
The family holiday just happens to coincide with a race in Paris, or New York, or Rome ...
You actually think "It''s only 26.2 miles"
You wake up thinking about today's run and go to sleep thinking about tomorrow's run
You drive your route after your runs to find out how far you went
You even dream about running
Giving directions, you give the distances to the nearest metre
You use the words "easy" and "long run" in the same sentence
You continue running despite the fact that your eyelashes are stuck together with ice and snow
You cross the finish line of a marathon and you start considering when the next one will be
You can say "fartlek" without a single hint of a laugh
You spend your free time reading nutrition labels and race results
You are running a race and your calves are cramping and your knees are aching and your lungs are burning but you still find yourself thinking, "This is fun!"
You'd rather run than have s*x
You notice that the only footsteps in the snow are yours and they are from yesterday
You leave the New Year's Eve party at 11pm because you have a race in the morning
You have to drive for 20 miles before you find a road you haven't run on
You have your race schedule set out for 5 years in advance but can’t remember your work schedule for tomorrow
You pee in public when you aren't drunk
Your partner suggests that you give up running for Lent

Saturday 10 November 2007

Meeting the gang

After weeks of nervous anticipation, I'm glad to say I survived my first WHW training run. I neither want to question my sanity or fake an injury. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm really looking forward to it. Meeting some of the "family" has put me at ease. We met at Drover's Inn at headed north to Tyndrum. After about a mile we naturally split into groups. No guessing where I was. And you won't need clues to guess where Marco was. Yep, I was at the back with the social ones. Marco was up the front trying to put everyone in an early grave. So much for his race tactics for being the "dark horse" ;-).
The run was great - albeit wet and windy. It was nice to share nerves with WHW virgins and gain some knowledge from the more experienced.
I chat mostly with Ellen. She's off to do the Everest marathon next week, so we gibbered about running, trekking and altitude.
When we got to Tyndrum the lead group had been there for sometime. Davy was contemplating which way to reject the Cullen Skink that he had consumed. Not an obvious choice, but I'm sure there was reasoning. I didn't hang about for long, as I had to get back to Drover's toute Suite. Marco and I had a wedding reception (Tom and Caroline's) to go to in Aberdeen. I ran the whole route back by myself. The rain had stopped, but the wind was still pretty strong. The Way backwards is actually much tougher going south in this section. There are some nose-bleed hills. Anyway, made it back in one piece. No aches, no detours, no dramas. I must thank Sharon for the en-route text entertainment though.

By the time we got to the hotel, the wedding party were mulling about. We were trying to disguise ourselves at the check-in, whilst the reception stared us up and down. We were slightly mucky with crazy hair.

Once we were cleaned and spruced up, we un-did all the good we had done by drinking copious amounts of Corona. Our legs were a little heavy, but we managed to dance all night. OK, it might have been more of a upper-body shuffle. By 10pm the energy burning run had taken it toll and Marco took out woman and children to get to the buffet. Watching him devour stovies and macaroni pies (only in Aberdeen) was not the romantic break I had in mind ;-) I won't even begin to list what he demolished for breakfast. Or explain his theory behind his "extra stomach when the food is free". Again, thus confirming his status as the fattest skinniest man I know.

Thursday 8 November 2007

Park reps

I'm off out tonight, so will miss training. Went out to Kelvingrove Park with Marco at lunchtime for some reps instead. There's a wee circuit (about 600metres) that we used earlier in the year.
My lord, it was windy. leaves, litter, cars flying round about us. My legs felt a bit tired, so battling against the wind and dodgy the suits on the way through Park Circus was not pleasant.
Opted for five reps. Marco, on the other hand, opted for nine - for reasons which escape me. He set his Garmin for one minute recoveries. My session was much less structured. I ran. And then ran again when I felt like it.
2.23, 2.18, 2.17, 2.18, 2.15. Now before you laugh, there's a belter of a hill in the middle. Well, that's my excuse.
Now I'm off to a curry comedy night. My life is just oh so glamourous.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Love shine a light

Thought I best add some light to my dark back road runs, so I swiped Marcos head torch. If anything, it would be good training for the first and (fingers crossed) final stages of the WHW. After about half an hour of adjusting - cap, no cap, over ponytail, under ponytail, adjusting straps, maneuvering lamp - I headed out on my usual seven mile tempo. After the initial drama, I had it off before I got to the end of the street. OMG! It's like running with a table lamp on your head. It's far too heavy. And that's the lightweight one. I ran with it in my hand until I got to areas without street lighting. The light's OK until a car comes along. Then it takes awhile for the eyes to readjust. Think it may take a few shopping trips and trial and error to get use to using it.

Anyhoo...back to the run. Felt really good and light on my feet. Really thought I was on for a good time, but was gutted to notice that I'd messed the timer on my Garmin with the stopping and starting for heargear rearranging. Did the last stretch (from the sweet shop) hard run in 6.49. Last time I timed it, I was 7.22.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

First day on the job

As a newly qualified coach, I was in charge of taken out the packs A-E for 1000m reps. I was hoping to wiggle my way out of training tonight - playing the I've just raced card - but needs must. Jill had emailed me to see to the "less able" ;-) I hope she was referring to the pack beneath me, and not my troops.
It was a bit of a drama, as there was a big split in ability. Even the warm up down to Great Western Road took some maneuvering.
I managed to fit in my reps - at 4.30m - around looking after the gang.
There was even more of a drama when a random refugee decided to swipe Ailsa's jacket - which she'd tied to a fence. She found him in a bus shelter trying to stuff it up his jacket and gave him a colourful mouthfull of Glasgow hospitality. Girl Power!
By the time we'd finished with the reps and I got everyone back to Garscube it was after 8.30.

Sunday 4 November 2007

Ready, steady, Eddie

Eddie's half-marathon today. Considering my DNF (barely started actually) in Glasgow and my performance in gale force winds in Prestonpans - the only way was up.
Decided I wanted to finish in a reasonable time (average for me) rather than going for a PB.
Started out very steady, as there's a gentle incline for the first few miles. Paced the race pretty well and finished in 1.47.17. I wish I had gone faster in the middle, because I practically sprinted the last few miles. Loads left in me. Suppose it's better to finish strong. Definitely gives me more confidence for the next race.

Mr Debs put in a dazzling performance. Finished in 5th place with 1.17.

Got home in time to watch the end of the New York marathon coverage. Paula the great outsprinted her nearest rival to take first place. It was very intense viewing. I was screaming and jumping so much, I'm surprised I haven't got an ASBO.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Tempo six

Club training tonight. Six mile tempo. Two/three miles steady. Two tempo and one steady. Not a bad wee session. Felt better than I have done on Thursdays of late.

Bloody boiling tonight. 16 degrees. In November. At night. Who said global warming is over-rated?

Marco kept up with Alasdair Morrison - huge milestone in our household - so he could barely turn the key in the ignition. Somehow I think I'm going to be hearing about this for the next couple of days ;-)

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Ooh I put some new shoes on...

...and suddenly everythings right.

I popped out to post a package this morning, and came back with new gear and new trainers. Don't know how I do it, but I love it. New Saucony trainers. Shunning my usual Brooks Adrenaline for another specimen. And no, I didn't choose them because they were pink.

Well, they didn't make me go faster, but they definitely put a spring in my step. Went out for a 4-5 miles steady. No Wednesday tempo, as I'm "racing" on Sunday. Got a bit bored and started on 1min reps. I have been known to do sporadic non-effective things.

(Balloch-Park-Bonhill Bridge-home 36:40. Target sub 35 before Xmas).

Hilarious watching the "kids" out trick or treating. Overweight teenage girls in fairy outfits - complete with over-spilling midriffs - out feeding their sugar addiction.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

The beaten track

Decided to bow out of track session with the club tonight. Don't really see the fun (although I know it's effective) running in circles in Scotstoun. Marco and I opted for reps on the squinty bridge. Went to the gym at lunchtime, so my legs were a little heavy. Marco even joined me at the gym and gave his all on the rowing machine. His hand are now covered in blisters. Not that he moaned about it ;-) Hope the blistered hands don't reflect badly on our marriage ;-)

This is the second night in a row I've trained with Marco. We did the 7-mile Bonhill Bridge route last night - with a personal worse for me. Don't get me wrong, I love spending QT with my husband, but I simply can't run with him. He practically trots beside me whistling away and giving advice, whilst I'm verging losing a lung. Needless to say we've usually fallen out by mile one.

Anyhoo, he decided to put up with my dummy-throwing-tantrums one more time..

Easy run over to Squinty Bridge and 10 x reps. One day I'll work out the exact distance, but reps were 46, 42, 45, 41, 44, 40, 42, 40, 43, 38. Finally broke 40 seconds. Actually I'm too scared to work out the distance in case it's only like 100m.

Saturday 27 October 2007

Missed the national cross-country (woohoo!) as I was busy lunching with the gals. The hell that is my life. Got a bit of a hangover. Gawd, I'm such a lush. Marco and I managed to tank two bottles of Moet whilst watching Ugly Betty in our PJs. Eck, how does stuff like that happen? :)
Anyway, needs must, still went out for my run. It was supposed to be fartlek, but I opted for tempo. Took old route from work through the west end. Even managed a PB. Not bad for a gal who had her head down the toilet at 7am.

Thursday 25 October 2007

There's no time, like Consani time

I was late for training tonight, thanks to the Consani brothers ;-) In this world there is two time zones: the real time. And Consani time. Unfortunately,follow the latter and you will be late for EVERYTHING. OK, there was a legitimate reason about planes, trains and automobiles being late, but hey ho. I had to practically throw myself out of a moving car to meet up with pack as they embarked on a six mile training run...with me running to catch up behind. No warm up, so my legs were like led.
New boy in our pack tonight. He's out though, as he nearly ran the troops in to the ground. We were obviously a bit too slow for him.
My run was OK. Feeling Wednesday's tempo run though. Felt good until the last mile. The hill from Scaethorn up to Maryhill was a nightmare.
No stats as I messed up my Garmin. How did people cope without Garmins anyway?

Ps: Hi Paul. Get out for a run. There are only 170 days until London. Minus three weeks taper and there's only 159 training days ;-)

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Hour power

Did my usual seven-mile tempo run (Bonhill bridge to Dumbarton) and finally broke the one hour barrier. Actually I did 58.30. I don't know whether it's the training, the cooler temperatures or the fear of running in the pitch black through the back roads of the Vale ;-)
Don't think I'll be able to do that route at night anymore. I had to rely on passing cars to guide the way when I was on the back roads. I had enough reflectors to light up Manhattan, but drivers still insisted on blinding me with full beam. Running down the middle of empty roads (to avoid pavement potholes) defintely put a spring in my step.

So glad Autumn's here. Not a big fan of running in hot (ter) climates.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Squinty reps

That's rep across the squinty bridge, not sprinting in diagonal directions.
Marco had to pick up his car from the garage, so we didn't make it to club training. Opted for steady run out to the bridge, reps and then on to the garage. Of course Marco's steady run (well, recovery) was my tempo pace. When we got there, he was warmed up, whilst I was gubbed.
10 x reps (approx 200m over the bridge). Times 41-43 seconds. Entertainment and abuse from passing Rangers supporters. Choosing a night that Rangers were playing at home wasn't the best idea.
Another 2.5miles on to the Honda Garage. The waiting room had a fridge full of Calypo Cups. You can tell I'm now a Consani, as I tanked four of them.

Sunday 21 October 2007

Hangover heid

After a night on the tiles with Sharon and Amanda...and my good friend Jack Daniels, I figured today's run was going to be a real treat. Especially when I woke up still wearing my clothes and shoes ;-) Hey, there's no party without punch. Sharon called off as she was having trouble digesting the post-pub kebab shop murder. So it was just me, my ipod and the pulse in my head. Opted for a hilly 14-miler over the Glen Lora. The first few miles, which were uphill, were a bit of a struggle. Once the cobwebs were blasted away, I got more it to it. It wasn't my best performance, but I managed to up the pace, survive and get rid of the hangover.

Saturday 20 October 2007

X-country debut

I'm managed to wriggle my way out of it for years, but this winter I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. Actually, it was more of a reason to buy new shoes.
One purchase of brand new bright yellow spikes - complete with black laces - I lined up for the Dunbartonshire relays looking like a bumble bee.
One lap round the Garscube estate. I think I was broken in gently, as it was more of a trail run. The only difficult bit was when the route crossed over roads. Not so easy with spike on.

Thursday 18 October 2007

This IS my 10K pace!

My legs are so stiff, I'm walking like a Thunderbird puppet. In vain attempt to rescue them, I booked myself in for a lunch time sports message. OMG! Why don't those tables come with handles? Or at least something to bite down on. After 1/2hr of needing and squealing, my legs are feeling much better.

Five mile "hard" run with Garscube, was probably not as hard as I should have done. Legs feel better than they had done on Tuesday and Wednesday. Still feeling a bit bunged up, so snortered and spat my way round the course. Yep, you can't buy class.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Kili Killed me

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd say "I've still got Kili in my legs". Jeez the trek wasn't really that bad, but it's really taken it toll. I think it's more to do with the lack of running and the long journey home though. I relieved to hear that Jill and Sara are suffering too.

Decided to go to the gym before work. Hey, got get back into it some time. Rowing was a bit of a chore. 5830 in 30 minutes. My PB run is over.

Went out for a 9-miler after work. It was intended as a 7-miler - even though my plan said 9 - but I thought I'd break myself in general. Anyhoo I ended up on a slight detour, as the river path was closed.

I don't know whether my legs were heavy or my shoes are dones, but I felt every strike of my foot. But hey, I put nine miles in my legs. And I even enjoyed it. Decided against trying for my usual Wednesday tempo, and opted for just getting round. And maybe even enjoy it.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Post-holiday Garscube blues

OK here goes my first run after Kili. And there goes my hope of the break doing me some good. Wow the 800m reps were worse than I've ever experiences/imagined. I'm sure I could breath better at Uhura Peak. Got I bit of a stuffed nose, so snot rockets were the order of the day. And my legs were gubbed. My stride was even shorted than normal. Marco told me I looked like I was doing my half-marathon pace. In hindsight, that was probably a compliment.

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Do summit really tough

Finally reached the summit of Kilimanjaro

Wednesday 3 October 2007

I'm off to Africa

But before I go...I managed to squeeze in a wee four mile recovery. What a complete waste of time that was. My heart wasn't in it. By the time I realised, I was too far out. So I just trodded on the rain.

Kilimanjaro here I come.

Tuesday 2 October 2007

Out and back

Don't quite understand the reasoning behind this session. Apparently it's about pacing. The idea is you run out for a give time and run back in the same time. Anyone with half a brain works out you run a little lighter on the way out, as not to make the return too hard.
Anyway, the route was a dull as the project. Out the main gate and along great western road. After 22.5 minutes, turn around and run back. There was a lot a sneaky wee inclines on the way back, so even though I thought I was upping the pace, I finished in 44.55. Five seconds ahead of schedule. Not bad, considering last time I was about two minutes ahead.

Sunday 30 September 2007

Hills of hell

OK, next on the agenda was a hill run. So, any normal person would have gone up the Whangie. Possibly the Cobbler. Or Ben Lomond at a push. Oh no, not Marco and I. We opt for 24 miles across the seven munros of the South Glen Shiel one day!

I've been a keen Munro bagger, since my debut in May 2005. In over two years, I've notched up over 80. I could safely say, that my two great loves are now hillwalking and running. So, why have I never combined them both?

To set the scene: We drove up to Glen Shiel last night and camped near Cluanie Inn. It was four degrees, so it was a quick dinner and into the sleeping bags. Awaiting on a crisp and misty morning, we realised that the car battery was dead. Calling the AA we had to hang about freezing until 9am until the car was mobile again. So we didn't start until 10am - three hours later than planned.

The epic route started with a gentle jog for six miles along to the start. Most walkers take two cars to save this journey. It was most walking/stomping on the way up. But we were moving faster, due to footwear and light load. Up to the first cairn we ran down and over to Munro number two and then on to number three. Slight navigational error and we were on our way to number four. I started to slow and wilt with the exhausting gradient. Marco hit the nail on the head when he said: "It's like hillwalking, but with less clothes, less food and less grip". Trail shoes aren't really the best for rocky hills. And we packed extra light with just some biscuits and oatcakes for fuel. A few hours in and it was a game of peaks and troughs. And by Munro five it was mostly troughs and troughs. We were out there, practically naked, exposed to the elements. When the cold rain started, my mojo hitched a lift on the wind. Even the power of the oatcake (I should be an ambassador of oats) coudn't save the day. After the last Munro I had enough energy to run all the way off the hill and then down the four mile military road back to the car.

So, back to my original question. Why haven't I combined running with hillwalking? Because they don't bloody well belong together that's way. They are both glorious pastimes that deserve there own special attention. I missed my sack full of protective gear, nice lunches and comfy waterproof boots. So, will I do it again? Damn tooting. Seven Munros in nine hours is nae a bad day oot.

I came.I saw. I conquered. I'm broken.

Saturday 29 September 2007

Relay Virgin

Well, I did. Bite the bullet and turned up for my first road relay. I've always managed to wiggle my way out of winter races with the club. But the for sake of variety, following my pace and a potential piece for My Race, I signed up for the George Cummings relay in Houston.

Bit of background: Course is 2.7miles. Teams of four males or three females.

Beth and I ate a serious amount of Haribo this morning, so I was practically in sugar shock when I go there.

Arrived at the church hall feeling slightly intimidated with the task ahead. I'd always associated these kind of races with the elite. Far too competitive and far too fast. Jill O'Neil put me at ease with "now you kind do your marathon pace round the course, one-speed". Followed by an impression of Ali Whinship "Every second counts you know". I apologised to my team mates(Ailsa and Kathryn) for being landed with me and sloped off to get ready.

Down to the starting line...I was a bit nervous and desperately scanned the crowd for participants I could beat.

Alisa came in at 17.50. And I was off. Course was a bit hilly, but really pleasants. Mix of town, rural, road, trail and hills. Managed to make up one place. AND NOBODY OVERTOOK ME!! A girl was catching me, but I left her on the hills. Boy I'm loving the hills these days. Up the last hill, I knew it was downhill to the finish. Met Alasdair Morrison on the way up, who I was convinced was shouting "Dig in big chap" when in fact it was "dig in there's a big gap". Rob and Marco were waiting at the top. Rob shouted at me about losing form, and Marco was his eternally supportive self. Over the finish line in 20.23. Not too impressive, but it has given me a real incentive to get faster for next year. I think these kind of races really make you want to run faster.

Friday 28 September 2007

Gym sesh

No running for me today. Just a bright 'n' early session in the gym before work. 2min reps on the rower (32mins and 6k), stretching and ab work.

Had a big lunch at Grand Fish and Chips with Marco. Then we went to the pics to see the Brave One after work.

Thursday 27 September 2007

A dreary seven

Marco was in London today, so I went to training myself. I did think he was away working, but he texted me this afternoon to say he'd just won the climbing wall competition %-) Apparently my sympathy for him having to get the red-eye was totally unjustified, as he was actually away on an office jolly.

Anyway, someone in the family has to stick to the armed with a few extra layers, I went along for the seven mile pack run. The route was the most unimaginative ever. Top gate to Anniesland, St Georges and back along Maryhill Road. Basically the reverse of what we did a few weeks ago, except we caught the long hills on the up instead of the down. We ran together at a really good steady pace. I was pleased, as I've struggled to keep up with the 'faster' gals over the past few weeks. The hill up from St George to Maryhill was challenging to say the least. Still feeling really good on the hills though. Finish in 58mins.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Getting tougher

After half-marathon on Sunday and 5K time trial last night, I wasn't sure how I'd be on my Wednesday tempo jolly.

First thing I noticed was the fact that the temperature has dropped. Unfortunately I didn't notice until I was down the street in a vest and short breeks.

Did my usual route over Bonhill bridge down to Dumbarton and on to the back road to Renton. I always been a creature of habit. Plus it gives me something to gage my time against. First few miles steady, three at half-marathon pace, one steady and then flat for the last mile from the sweet shop. I never thought I'd see the day, that I'd dread seeing a sweet shop. Finished in 1:00:18. Still can't break that one hour. Maybe I need a friend to push me.