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.