Friday 29 February 2008

Funny tales for the week

Firstly, forgot to mention my disappointment from the Blackpool half. After discovering that there would be London Marathon Runner's World pacers on the course, I thought it would be a great idea to find and stick with the 8m/m pacer. Let someone else sort out the times for me. Easy. After spotting a group of tall athletic specimens loitering at the start, Marco asked which one I'd be following. Looking for the mile splits on their flag poles, I said: "Don't care as long as he's got a nice bum". Yep, you got it, the ONLY female pacer was taking the 8m/m- ers. The law of Sod, eh? I thought Marco was going to end himself. The race photographer was taking a group shot of the pacers, so Marco and I stood behind them - chatting in a casual kind of way. We thought making it into Runner's World would REALLY upset Ian.

A newspaper front page that got me giggling is today's Daily Star (although I'm sure none of you will admit to seeing it) which states "When Harry met Tali". Genius.

Last but not least. Whilst watching Colleen McLaughlin Real Women, I witnessed a cracker. Colleen was searching for a gal with generous assets to model the new Ultimo (for larger woman) lingerie range. When asked if she liked being blessed with such assets a very perky, very blond gal commented: "I used to be very self unconscious of them..." Brilliant!

By the way, I didn't run today.

Thursday 28 February 2008

Testing time over a mere nine

I'm sure you've all had one of those runs where nothing seems to work. Everything is against you and you mentally throw in the towel every few minutes. I think Sunday's race, followed by two speed sessions has taken more out of me than I expected. I started out this morning with the aim of running 20 miles. Ambitious would be an under-statement. Not only was I slightly fatigued and the wind was out in full force, but I've pulled a muscle in my shoulder and my hip's playing up. I tried everything to keep going - gels, positive chat, easy pace, happy tunes and promising myself post-run treats - but my heart wasn't in it. I could only muster up the energy for a miserable nine miles. I was hoping to get a long run in during the week, as I'm doing the Deerstalkers adventure run this weekend. Hey ho, I'll just bank this one as an easy week. My aim for this year is to make every run count. I was struggling with this one today. I also like to take a positive for every run - even the bad ones. So, cutting the run short meant I had time for trip to the gym for a spa and sauna. Bliss.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Just a tiny tempo

After signing up for next month's Wuthering Hike, I haven't been able to get the Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights song out of my head. I downloaded the album on to my ipod for tonight's run. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea to put the song on repeat, but it really put a spring in my step. I couldn't help but to screech out the lyrics of Heathcliffe and Kathy and had a overwhelming urge to stop and dance like a tree blowing in the wind - a la Kath Bush style. Think I've got it out of my system now.

OK, back to running. Opted for the same five-mile route (from Anniesland round Knightswood) I did last Wednesday. Started out easy, picked-up the pace for the second mile and ran at tempo pace for mile 3, 4 and 5. Finished in 39:24 with an average pace of 7:52. Splits were 8.42, 8.21, 7.22, 7.20 and 7.33. Thanks, Kathy. Hope you can get me through 31 miles of Bronte-land.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Split session on the cards for Garscube run tonight...whatever that is. I soon found out it's a tempo run with sprints/hills at the end. Excellent. I love a session that's mixed-up. Makes it much more interesting. We started out - with Coach Lesley cracking the whip at the back of the pack - out Maryhill, Canniesburn then picked up the pace to Bearsden Cross. Over something-or-other street on to Roman, upped the pace down Milngavie Road...sorry, even I'm falling asleep...back to Garscube Estate. The idea was to find a sheltered area to do some 50m sprints, but it wasn't going to happen. We ran the fastest 10 x 50m reps with the shortest recoveries that even we were capable of, before scuttling back to our cars.

Spirit of the Marathon

When I was dossing about on the internet today (high pressure job) I stumbled across a movie website, promoting The Spirit of the Marathon ( Has anyone heard anything about it?

Here's a bit about the film: Spirit of the Marathon is the first ever non-fiction feature film to capture the drama and essence of the famed 26.2 mile running event. The movie brings together a diverse cast of amateur athletes and marathon luminaries. As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike. Filmed on four continents and in five countries, the film stars legends such as Dick Beardsley, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, Toshihiko Seko and Grete Waitz.

It was released in the US last week. Can't find any UK screenings so far.

Monday 25 February 2008

Blackpool half marathon

My official time was 1:43:46. I knew the chap with the clipboard wasn't paying attention when I passed ;-) I finished 447th (out of 1186). 60th female and 25th in my category.
Splits: 7.57, 8.07, 7.51, 7.53, 7.52, 8.09, 8.08, 7.57, 7.58, 7.59, 8.14, 8.14 and 7.51.
Miles 1,2,6, 7, 11 and 13 were into the headwind.
Marco came in 10th with a fantastic official time of 1:17:09. Average pace 5.53. Just 15 seconds behind his PB. Think he might have a few marmalade pieces before Balloch half next month.
We're taking a rest day today. Rest days are my favourite training days. Off to see Rambo tonight. I'm sure I'll be able to bank a few chick-flicks out of this.

Sunday 24 February 2008

PB by the sea

Hope everyone has enjoyed the stormy weather? When I was driving in to work on Friday, my car was rocking all over the Erksine Bridge. As traffic cones were flying past me, the most my little Aygo could manage was 10mph. When I reached the other side - a nervous wreck - the traffic boys were out to close the bridge. The wind didn't ease all day. So what did Sonic and I do over weekend? Headed to Blackpool to run the in the half marathon, which involved laps round the seafront. Even the donkeys weren't out to brace the blustery conditions.

What was once a popular seaside holiday resort is now the pits. We walked for about an hour before we could find a decent eatery. All that was on offer was fish 'n' chips, Burger King, KFC, McDonalds and an abundance of Blackpool rock. All was not lost though, as we found a fabulous authentic Italian restaurant. With real Italians. Unlike Sonic who, despite being called Marco Consani, is about as Italian as a Tunnock's Teacake.

Our hotel was a hoot. The New World hotel was owned by a gay, pony-tailed ex-cruise ship worker. Each room was decorated by a theme: the Scotsman, Venetian, Parisian...we got the Safari room. Top to bottom in animal prints. It was so tiny, you could barely swing a mouse let alone a cat. We did get a seaview though. Well, if we could have seen out of the filthy windows. After crashing out early I was woken by a drunken skinhead, who was banging at the front door. After getting no response, he started throwing coins at our window. After letting him (and his half-eaten kebab) in, I lightly dosed listening to the wind howl through the windows and praying it would calm before morning. Not to be. It was pouring when we got up. On a more positive note, the hotel breakfast was fabulous and the service was a home from home. The owners were shocked/confused that we turned down the full English and opted for cereal and toast. I did, however, eat enough marmalade pieces to give Paddington Bear a good run for his money.

Slightly stuffed and nervous about the conditions, we headed along to Hilton for the start of the race. The route was uninspired, but as flat as a pancake. Great PB course, if the wind had been kinder. It involved a two mile lap towards the North Pier and then two 5.5 miles laps out and back towards the North Pier, followed by a short u-turn back to the finish line. All good apart from the ramps up from the lower promenade and the waves that were crashing over. I finished in 1:43:44 (according to my Garmin) which is two and half minutes off my previous best in the GSR in 2006. Sonic finished in 1:17:09. Full results and positions to follow.

Thursday 21 February 2008

Gone with the wind...

...or should I say back with the wind. After a few weeks of relative calmness, the wind was back with force tonight. I'm sure my training has suffered without the quality resistance.

When we drove through the Garscube Estate the trees were bendy at 90 degree angles. Even the neds on the five-a-side pitches were being blown about like Subbuteo players. Hope they managed to light their fags at half-time OK. Even the "girl's" football looked like they were struggling. Although I'm sure their weight kept them more grounded. I say girls, with tongue firmly in cheek. When I bump in to them in the ladies, it's a multiple choice to work out whether they are animal, mineral or vegetable. And don't even get me started on the ladies' rugby team. Why can't girls be girls? Mind you, I'm sure if my Mother would be horrified if she saw me drinking pints, firing snot rockets and peeing al fresco.

Anyway...Nothing too taxing tonight. Just a six mile tempo. Out with wee Ann, Shauna, John and Stuart (who I have been calling Chris for the last four months). Kept the pace steady along Maryhill, down Scaethorn and up Dorchester. Picked-up the pace along Great Western Road until Botanics. What started as marathon pace ended in seven minute miles. Easy up Queen Margaret Drive, then upped the pace along Maryhill Road until the railway bridge. Steady/easy for 400m and then a hard finish. Finished the six mile run in 51:21 (average pace 8:31). This time includes the warm-up and cool-down. Splits as follows: 9.09, 8.50, 8.05, 8.32, 8.33 and 8.01.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Cadence run

Having spent months reading (Ok, flicking through) a variety of running books and magazine, I have now become very conscious of my cadence. Running cadence is basically the measure of how many strikes (either the right foot OR the left foot) makes in one minute. I'm beginning to realise that I have been attacking "speed" work all wrong. Instead of having my cadence go faster as I picked up speed, it felt easier to let it stay the same and lengthen my stride as I ran faster. By doing this my legs have got used to running at the same cadence no matter what the speed. Apparently this is very inefficient and exhausting to the body. Over-striding, which is landing the foot fall too far in front of their center of gravity, actually reduces momentum and increases the chance of injury. The long 'n' short...if your cadence is slower that 85 stride per minute, your feet stay in contact with the ground longer, which means that you legs are supporting your body weight for a longer period of time. On the flip side, if you cadence is over 85 strides per minute, you'll spend significantly less time on your feet, saving valuable energy. The target should be 85-90 (around 95 for elite athletes) stride per minute - regardless of speed.

Today I've decided to dust off the poor man's running device - the Garmin 50 - and try out a cadence-focused run. One of the (few) advantages of the new Garmin 50 is that is works using a footpod, so can measure cadence very effectively. I believe the 305 (and the soon to be released 405) has an add-on footpod device too. Oh I while I was at it, the session gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my new lightweight Asics DS trainers. You know me, any excuse for shopping ;-)

I had to fit in my run before the club's committee meeting. After having a head-banging day at work, I needed it before facing the knights' of the round table. Opted for a relatively flat route. Started from Anniesland, along Great Western Road, down Lincoln, up Danes and onto Balshagray Ave and back up Crow Road. Finished the 4.5m route in 37.19 with average 8.22m/m. As I said, this run was about cadence. I've since discovered that I'm an elite athlete. My extra layer of fake tan not only makes me look like a Kenyan, but my average cadence was 96! The variation from start to finish was 90 - 98. This might suggest (not half!) that it's my stride length that lets me down. Once I've got my cadence cemented, I'll start working on lengthening my stride.

New lightweight trainers are pretty good. This is the first time I've paddled in the pond of the over-cautious racer. I didn't find a huge difference is weight, as I have hobbit-sized feet anyway. Mind you, what I lost in shoe weight, I gained in winter clothing and extra gadgets.

I'd like to say a shout out to my Brother-in-Law, Paul. He is a keen follower of WHW blogs and the drive behind Marco's competitiveness. Paul's a great track runner, but is attempting his first marathon in London this year. Look out for his training plan: How to run a marathon on 400m reps! He only slightly undermined my status as a serious athlete by saying he likes to read my blog because "it's pink and cheery".

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Winter warm-up 800s

The wine is finished and the hip pain has subsided, so it's time to get back to training. Thought I'd ease myself in with a pilates class at lunchtime. Surprisingly I'm still able to drag Marco along. Not only because he gets to sit in a room full of bendy burds in lycra, but he also gets to take embarrassing his wife to new levels. Last week, during the core conditioning class he disappeared over the back of a gym ball with a dramatic splatter on the floor. Today was special though. When I bending over to pick up my mat, he wandered over and slapped my a*s. When I looked quite startled, he whispered "it's so people don't think I'm gay". I nearly collapsed with laughter. That, folks, is just a snippet of my life with Marco.

Feeling better and itching to get my trainers back, I was actually looking forward to tonight's long reps. I didn't even huff too much when I was told that it was 800s round the winter warm-up. My legs felt good at the beginning, but started to struggled with only one minute recoveries between reps. Finished the set of six - complete with two hills and six speedbumps - in 3.28, 3.28, 3.27, 3.31 3.30 and 3.33. Coach Lesley then led a cool-down that was so long I thought we were just combining Thursday's pack run. Hey ho, I'm a wannabe ultra-runner, so bring it on.

Saturday 16 February 2008

Sunny day on the Way. Novel, but true.

Started out from Drover's Inn at 9am - joined by Sharon, Graham and Jim. Weather was perfect, unlike previous WHW training runs. Wind-free, rain-free and almost sunny.

Been having a few problems with my right hip for the last few weeks and today it really played-up. There was more serious dramas though. Ian went a*se over elbow before Bridge of Orchy and bounced back to resemble a post-match rugby player - head-to-toe in mud with complementary black eye. Ellen also took a tumble, resulting in a tennis ball size lump on the back of her hand. Didn't make me reassess my moaning over my hip though. In the right location, I could have made money out of my hip loosening rotations.

Jim and Graham left us not long after the start. I was chuckling with Sharon, just waiting for them to blow up. We gibbered most of the way, so the time flew by. The regimental high-five at every mile mark, was really uplifting. I had to laugh at Sharon when she asked why the route had to pass over the main road, up to Auchtertyre and back over the road again. I told her that I would ask our ancient ancestors why they followed the Way instead of using the A82 ;-)

Right on cue we passed the boys just after Auchtertyre. Unfortunately, they passed us again when we stopped at Brodies in Tyndrum for some fluid top-ups. The shopkeeper was very amused by sandwich bag purse. I told him it was designer and there was a waiting list for one of them. He asked if we were out for a jog and looked even more amused when we told him of our route. We walk and ate, then set off for Bridge of Orchy. Most of the other runners passed us on this section - only because we were desperate for a toilet stop and had to let everyone pass. Honest!

We re-grouped at Bridge of Orchy for a short break and then headed off. Jim joined us, as Graham had left him on the hills. Jim was convinced that Sharon's ankles were bleeding, but it was really the clumps of fake tan that had dried a deep-orange colour. We don't call her the Terracota Warrior for nothing. He looked at us quite sceptical as we tried to convince him that we were both sporting our natural skin colour. We did find Sharon's perfect haven whilst waiting the browsing the boutiques on the Champs Eylsees after the Paris Marathon last year.

Anyway, I digress. The Bridge of Orchy hills are one of my favourite bits of the WHW. Unfortunately the tarmac road up to the Drover's Road is one of my least favourite. My hip wasn't so good, but I'm very stubborn. Failure is not an option in my world. Plus once you're in that far, you're pretty much committed to getting to Kingshouse.

Mike caught up with us just before Rannoch Moor, so we all the chummed along for the rest of the course. I was scared to stop in case my hips seized up, so I ran all the hills. Mike caught up and passed and Jim wasn't far behind. Passed Stoo on the way to the ski centre. Graham was only just in front. We arrived at Kingshouse and ran straight to the pub for some beers. After two pints my hip didn't hurt anymore. Although I'm sure Neal will be filing fo GBH to the ears after having to listen to me wibber on all the way home.

The plan was to run to Tyndum in 2:30, then to Bridge of Orchy in 1:15 and on to Kinghouse in 2:15 (total 6:15). I have been told you can set your heart by me. Lets just say pacing is my forte. Speed is the speciality of my side-kick. Finished the route in 2:30, 1:15 and 2:05 (total 6:05). Hip knackered and toes have a pulse have their own, but had the best day on the Way EVER. Huge thanks to John Kynaston for organising another fantastic training run.

Dover's Inn to Kinghouse. The world's only 31-mile pub crawl.

Pix of today's WHW training run

The 9am gang (plus some interlopers) - before we set off.

Davie Bell resuming the photographic position

Pip stop at Bridge of Orchy. Do you think Ian's still upset about his stumble?

The Debs and Shar before and after pictures. And no we didn't get a taxi.

Run report to follow. I just wanted to beat JK ;-)

Thursday 14 February 2008

Imagine putting a mountain goat in charge of the route

Today's lunchtime treat involved a Bodybalance class - which is "the yoga, t'ai chi and pilates workout that leaves you feeling long, strong, centred and calm. I know, I'm turning into a right tree-hugger. Next I'll be eating lentils and living in a caravan. Actually I love lentils and I'm looking into buying a caravan. Mmm. Basically I looking for something that isn't a cardiovascular wokhout and is good for stretching, strengthening and flexibility. This is my favourite so far, although the yoga moves are a little tricky.

* I just liked the picture of the panda hugging the tree.

Coach Lesley had asked Marco to put together the 10-mile route for tonight's run. As you might have guessed, it involved lots of hills. Actually there's a handful of nose-bleeds hills within close proximity to the Garscube Estate. Marco managed to cover most of them in his creation. Don't get me wrong, for once I'm not complaining. It's a great route. A challenge, but very interesting. Anything that doesn't Maryhill Road, no winter warm-up and no canal gets my vote.

There was the option to cut the course short to 8-mile, which unfortunately most members chose. Kiffs. But hey, at least they turned up. The turnout was pretty poor tonight, as the lightweights cowered away from covering their weekly mileage in one go.

My legs felt really light, although I think it was because they were frozen and I couldn't feel anything from the next down. Here's the scores and the elevation. 10 miles in 1:29:24. Average pace 8.55. splits: 9.56 (waiting for Shauna and on to Rannoch), 9.04 (still on Rannoch), 8.40, 8.59, 9.21 (Milngavie to Stockiemuir), 8.19 (down Drymen to Station Road), 8.56 (Up the dreaded Pendicle), 8.50 (Drumchapel Road), 8.30 (towards Anniesland), 8.37 (top gate). I took it relatively steady, as my main aim for this week it surviving this Saturday's WHW adventure.

Happy St. Valentine's Day everyone. Hope you had a lovely romantic day. Marco organised for a beautiful bouquet of TWO dozen roses to be delivered to my office. He got a pair of Skins from me and dragged off to training. Who said romance is dead?

Wednesday 13 February 2008

Going southside

Well, tonight's 8-mile was adventure. I thought I'd run from work and head over the southside - an unexplored running area fo me. Now, anyone with half a brain or even a subtle knowledge of the beautiful game would have checked if Rangers were playing at home tonight. Not me. I started out along the Clydeside - enjoying the still night and views of orange and pink sky settling over the river and bridges. I crossed over the Bell's Bridge and past the Science Centre. The rows of burger vans were a sign that I'd made a huge mistake. Running towards Ibrox - and trying to stay out of sight - a slightly intoxicated ned walked in front of me. As we collided his mobile went flying and smashed on the ground. I wasn't hanging about for the outcome, so it put a spring in my step. The abuse from behind should have come with subtitles. Something along the lines of "Here n'dat, doll. Wit ye aw' aboot?". Thankfully it was just after 6pm, but crowds were gathering. Of course they were walking along the pavement six a breast. Even the police horses were looking at me curiously. Once I was in the clear, I circled Bellahouston Park and passed Pollok park towards Shawlands. I started to pick up the pace, as I wanted to finish the last three miles a faster than half-marathon pace.

Through Shawlands and down through Middle Earth - more commonly known as Eglinton Toll. There was a group of neds loitering on tables outside the local chip shop. Can you imagine, al fresco dining in the midst of warehouses and bus lanes. It will be lovely in the summer, I'm sure ;-). I nearly knocked a poke o' chips out of a wee shell-suit Senga's hands as I past. My life flashed in front of my eyes.

Finished the 8.16 mile route in 1:07:36. Splits as follows: 8.23, 8.31, 8.14, 8.28, 8.16, 7.40, 7.50, 7.37 (average 8.16). I was trying for a more steady pace, so I've got some energy for tomorrow night's Garscube run. Of late, I've found that I've been giving my all on my lonesome Wednesday run and struggling on a Thursday.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Pilates 'n' Porsche hills

Went to my pilates class at lunchtime today. After taking yesterday off a little bit of stretching and conditioning is a great way to start the running week off.

According to, here are the main benefits pilates...
  • Improved posture (may even gain in height as spine is decompressed
  • Excellent for aiding recovery from injury

  • Greater self-confidence

  • Better sleep

  • Increases strength without adding muscular bulk

  • Greater flexibility and joint mobility

  • Improved co-ordination and balance

  • Relief from back pain

  • Relaxation and relief from stress

  • General improvement in health and sense of well-being

  • Helps prevent osteoporosis

  • Prevention of or improvement in urinary incontinence

The last point is just too funny for words. I almost laughed myself incontinent

According to Pilates4Runners: Integrating Pilates into your current running program can give you that extra edge. The exercises are specifically designed to enhance the biomechanics of the runner, increase flexibility, build strength and help reduce the risk for common injuries associated with running.

Hill reps at the Porsche garage in Westerton tonight. My favourite. There are two REAL hills to cover on each rep. There's nothing worse than a slight gradient that goes on and on. I prefer something you can sink you teeth in to. Namely because I was practically face down at the top. My pack were on for four reps (which average about 0.5 mile) over the hills. I felt up for a fifth set and dragged some of the guys along for the rides. It's funny watching the guys chase each other up the hills on the first few sets...and then die. I think they need some pacing advice.

Monday 11 February 2008

Drunk 'n' blogging

No running news to report today, as I'm feeling a little under the weather. Top tip: don't rehydrate after a long run with red wine. Another top tip: don't log on when you're full of grape juice. Gone are the days when I used to scramble to check my mobile for drunk texts/calls. I've taken it to another level. When I woke up this morning - after realising I was still drunk - my first thoughts were: Oh no, I was blogging under the influence. I hid it well though, don't you think?

Sunday 10 February 2008

Twenty's more than plenty

I've officially been running for six years TODAY. I started out - as the majority of gals in the west of Scotland did - by training for the Ladies' 10K. At the time my overly-plump boss and equally over-plump flatmate had toyed with signing up (sweat not, I've lost touch with both). I've never had a hugely competitive streak, but I thought if they could do it (or try it) then I'd give it a bash Up until then, I had sampled every exercise fad on the go. I'd dabbled with kick-boxing, yoga, aerobics, step, body combat, spin bla bla bla. My concentration span usually lasted about three classes. I never quite found my "thing" until I stumbled upon running. I distinctly remember my first "run". Denise and I started out from our flat on Hyndland Road. After an initial jovial stride we collapsed in just over one minute. I stuck with it and was amazed at how quickly the I improved in terms of times and distance. She gave up after three sessions, but I went on to complete my first 10K that year in 57 minutes. I then did the Glasgow half that year in 2:12. Now I laugh at those times, but it was the achievement and enjoyment that drove me to be the insane person I am today! ;-)

Now that I'm training for the WHW, I found myself thinking that today's run was only 20-miles. I now know that I've adopted a whole new level of insanity. I was determined to focus on proper marathon training for today's run. It was all about London. I took in an epic (and slightly complex) route, that even Captain Stevie would be proud of. Started in city centre, over to Finneston, Bell's Bridge, Ibrox, Bellahouston Park, Pollok, Shawlands, back to centre, Charing Cross, West, Whiteinch, Victoria Park, Crow Road, Garscrube, Maryhill, St George's and back. How's that for a tour de Glasgow?

According to my Garmin via SportTrack the route worked out at 20.28 miles. Average time was 8.37. My target time for London is 8.20, so should be do-able. Finished in 2:54:35

I aimed to finish fast. Splits as follows: 8.46, 8.34, 8.47, 9.01, 8.45, 8.51, 8.50, 8.37, 8.29, 8.40, 8.11, 8.16, 8.45, 8.59, 8.59, 8.51, 8.40, 8.19, 8.05, 7.58. Very chuffed that I still had enough to pick up the pace towards the end. My thighs, on the other hand, were not so chuffed. Recovered in the spa pool at the gym. Bliss.

Saturday 9 February 2008


Nothing too strenuous today, just an easy four miles. Ran round Balloch and over the Bonhill Bridge. Recovery (ish) pace in 8.52, 8.35, 8.50, 8.54. Average pace was 8:47. Finished four miles 35.18. My brain only programmed my legs to give me four miles, so that was that. I had to save my energy for my Niece's sixth birthday party. Obviously my Sis and I had to embarrass her by bopping to the Spice Girls. Lots of carb loading for tomorrow's run. Thought I was going to overdose on Haribo and party snacks.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Steady six

I've got a confession to make. I've become slightly obsessed with the latest TV craze for saving fat people. And not in a good way. I find ridiculing fat people - and gasping and sniggering at their weekly intake - highly entertainment. Supersize Vs superskinny is my favourite just now. Watching the torture of an anorexic crying a kebab and a whale eating lentils is just fabulous viewing. Especially when said whale is making excuses about thyroids, genetics and the inability to say no to the 17th slice of cake. I know, I'm going to the big bad fire. Anyhow - yes, this is going somewhere - there was a freakishly skinny young chap on one of these programmes (so many, I can't remember which one) who only ate junk food. Although he only weighed eight stone, his body fat content was about 34%. I was totally amazed by this. This led me to blow the dust of the scales and check my own body fat. Mine came up at 21%, which according to chart below is right on the border for healthy and underfat for a gal of my age.

Having a bit of a freakish weather day in Glasgow today. Arriving at Garsube some the runners were commenting on their car temperature gage showing 12/13 degrees. Of course, I wasn't really aware of the effect it would have until about two miles in to the club's six miles steady. For once I was actually welcoming the wind.

Tried to keep the pack together in a steady pace - secretly because I was knackered from last nights' session and feared they would run me into the ground. There were three gals and three guys out in our group. I had to reign in a couple of the guys. You know what it's like, one guy pulls away, the other chases, the next gets competitive too...and before we know it we're racing along the street. Not a chance. Not on my shift. My stomach was in agony again tonight (for about the 10th day this year!) so the last few miles were tough. I'm working on a process of elimination to find out if there's a certain food that affects my stomach. So far I've narrowed it down to fruit and coffee. Of course, my two great loves are fruit (especially apples) and coffee. Hey ho, at least I'm OK with red wine and porridge. Phew.

Run tonight was top gate, Anniesland, GWR, Highburgh, Byres, GWR, Dorchester, Scaethorn, Maryhill and home. 6.38 miles in 55.23.

Steady pace splits as follows: 9.10, 8.32, 8.33, 8.27, 8.48, 8.56 (average 8.42)

Wednesday 6 February 2008

On cloud nine

Went to the gym before work this morning. Marco was up bright and early for a run and I've resigned to the fact there's no sleeping when he's up and about. No rest for the wicked, so I went to the gym to do stretching and core work. I could have went for a run, but I'm not one for running too early. There's even a bit in this month's Runner's World about it: "Your body situation at 6am is poor. Vitually all bodily functions - temperature, lung function and enegy depletion - are at their worst at this hour. To top it off, exercising early will leave you more prone to injury". That's reason enough to wait until this evening me thinks. Not that I need much convincing.

Nine miles on the schedule for tonight. Started from the office and headed round the west end. I usually like to get home for my run on a Wednesday, but the limited street lighting outside the town makes longer runs pretty treacherous.

Was pleasantly surprised when I started, as for the first time in ages it wasn't blowing a gale. Unfortunately my legs didn't share my excitement. I felt I was struggling for the first couple of miles, but looking at the splits it was because I was going too bloody fast! I was desperate to get out of the city centre, so it must have been the-swerving past office workers and queues of traffic that spurred me on. Pretty steady from there on in. Tried to ease off for the last couple of miles, but you know what it's like. You just want to get finished and continute to maintain the overall average pace for the run. Right?

Route: Office, Charing Cross, Dumbarton, Crow, Southbrae, Anniesland, GWR, St George's, Charing Cross and back to the house of pain. Finished the 9.16m (distance from Garmin through SportTracks) route in 1:12:10.

Pace per mile as follows: 7:29, 7:55, 8:08, 7:57, 7:49, 7:48, 7:53, 8:08, 7:41. Average pace was 7:52. Covered 5.94 miles in my 10K PB time. I'm totally chuffed to bits with that. I don't know whether is was the non-windy evening, concentrating on my running form or listening to crazy tunes on Rock radio, but I even felt like I had loads in the tank at the end.

Tried out my new radio remote for my ipod tonight. Yes, it's another gadget that's been in the box for a month. Nifty wee bit of equipment. I'm a big fan of radio, as it means someone else chooses the tunes for me. I'm just waiting for the day that someone invents an all-in-oner that includes all the perks of a Garmin, ipod, radio, mobile, camera and camcorder. And if it could pour me a glass of red at the end of run, then my life would be complete.

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Pilates 'n' Parlauf

As if by magic, the pain in my hip has vanished. Just a wee bit stiff when I sat about too long, but generally felt as fit as a fiddle.
For some extra stretching I went to the pilates class at lunchtime. As previously posted: it's free with my gym membership, it's at lunchtime and it's pouring with rain outside. Whilst getting changed, I realised that half the battle when going to the gym is getting out of the changing rooms without needing therapy or having a burning desire to claw my eyes out. Seriously, have people never heard of modesty? You'd think it would be the skinny-got-something-to-parade type who would pose about. But it's really the ones who really don't care who bare all. And it's really not nice. Now I know in a guy's world, it's the law to avert the eyes and NEVER look, but woman make no secret of the fact that they're checking for flaws. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. Not that I've got anything to shout about after the sights I saw today. Just for the record, the pilates class was good.

Hip all good too, so it was off to training. Even though I knew in advance that it was reps round the very interesting and scenic winter warm-up (please feel the sarcasm here) I was still big enough to brave it. Parlauf on the cards. This involves runners being paired according to ability. The route is circular. Runners start back-to-back. One runs fast, the other jogs. When they meet at the other side, they turn and swap sessions. I was paired with new guy John, the most deceptive looking man in the world. He's about 7ft tall, built like a Kenyan, wears all the gear and then runs slower than me. Before I start another in-depth discuss with myself and my laptop, I'll tell you about the run. Basically running back and forward, round and round for 30 minutes. Average pace (including speed and recovery) was 8:36. Next time I'll set my Garmin for reps. Doh! Hip still good.

Monday 4 February 2008

Hippy chick

Really struggled today with a sore right hip. I don't know whether it was the fight against the wind on tearing down the steep hills, but I hurt everyway I moved. Spent most of the day waking about as if I had one leg longer than the other - much to Marco's amusement. I went to the gym at lunchtime to do some stretching which seemed to help, but running wasn't an option. We decided to take the day off and go to the cinema instead. My turn to choose - woo chick flick time - as Marco chose Cloverfield on Saturday night. Actually I wanted to see it too, but there was no way I was letting up. On the way up we had to sprint across a busy road. Half way across, I wished I'd taken my chances with the bus. Half way in to Over My Dead Body, I bet Marco wished he'd taken his chances with the bus.

I'm serious about taking the necessary time out this time. Honest. Last year I had a hip problem, which dragged on for about six weeks.

Sunday 3 February 2008

Helensburgh 18

What do you do when the wind threatens to bring the windows in, the trees are bending and the clouds are shooting past like bullets? Well, if you're a half-wit like me, embark on a hilly route that takes in a seafront. Obviously. If they say tough runs are character building, then my character must be a giant.

It took me while to drum up the courage, but managed to make it out just before 10am. The saving grace was that it wasn't raining and it was relatively warm. I headed to Balloch along the loch and on to the cycle track to Helensburgh. A pimped-up car full of neds passed and one of shell-suit clan lobbed a McDonalds hot chocolate at me. Thankfully he had a terrible aim and the carton exploded in a ball of hot steam in front of me. If I wasn't so shocked I might have had the sense to get their registration plate. Can you imagine if that had hit me? I would have completely ruined my top ;-) Davie - I think hot chocolate beats Trebor mints, don't you?

It's all up hill until you hit the outskirts of Helensburgh and then it's about 1.5m (against the headwind) downhill to the seafront. When I turned the corner towards Cardross, I was practically thown off my feet. I thought the rain had started but it was the spray from the waves bashing the promenade. It was a mental and physical battle for the next five miles over to Cardross. All was not lost, as I was using the time to work on relaxing my limps and speeding up my cadence. I tend to get quite affected by external factors that are completely outwith my control. I've had many a mental tantrum when faced with challenging weather. Now I'm trying to be more positive and concentrate on running form - and block out external nasties. By staying relaxed, I felt mentally tougher, more positive and wasn't wasting energy by tensing up and fighting my way along the road.

A group of Sunday cyclists passed en route to Cardross and they weren't going much faster then me. There was a few sighs and rolling eyes exchanged. There's only one thing worse than running against a headwind, and that's cycling against a headwind. Another group of cyclists passed going in the opposite direction. I couldn't help but smirk when I thought of their return trip.

I met Marco in Cardross. The dafty had run the tour de Vale with Lindsey and then ran over to Cardross to meet me. He said that he was worried about me, but really I think he got lost. It was over and up Carmen hill. It's a stonker of a hill. One that Marco was doing for the second tim - with 18miles in his legs. He didn't moan at all. No siree. There was no mention of him being at home playing his x-box ;-) It was pretty chilly at the top of the hill. And I was distraught to discover the wind was STILL in my face. It's a super-fast finish with a super-knee buckling descent. Quick tour round Christie Park and I'd clocked 18-miles.

Finished in 2:43:44 (last time was 2:43:11) with average pace of 9:06. Looking at the mile splits, the seafront drama really slowed my pace down by approx one minute per mile. I'm looking forward to trying the route without the wind...but I don't know if that day will ever come. It seems to have been windy FOREVER.

Saturday 2 February 2008

Step reps

Nothing too exciting to report. Over to the steps at the bonhill bridge. Did 8 x circuits in 1:21, 1:20, 1:20, 1:21, 1:18, 1:18, 1:18 and 1:17.
Marco went along to Milburn Harriers' x-country in Balloch Park. Jim Robertson (WHW-er) invited us both along, but I declined on the basis that x-country is just plain rubbish. Marco went. And won. Which means we probably won't be invited back ;-) The club has a monthly time-trial round Balloch, which we're hoping to gatecrash at some point.

Friday 1 February 2008

Rest is best

Taking a day off from the ol' pavement pounding today, which is just as well, as my trainers are still waterlogged from last night. Not that I haven't got a full rack full of alternatives you undertand, but if the schedule says rest, I say yippee. Especially when my car nearly took off on the Erskine Bridge this morning. I love the fact that there's signs and news reports to say the bridge is closed to high-sided vehicles, except the lanes are hotching with trucks playing chicken with the wind.

Took in a core conditioning class at lunchtime. Tried it for first time last week and really enjoyed it - in a painful kind of way. The class alternates between upper body and legs each week, with main basis being on core strengthening. The only pieces of equipment are those huge inflatable gym balls and a mat. I don't think the instructor was impressed with Marco and I attempting to use them like space hoppers.

I know we're on to a new edition already, but last month's Runner's World had some cracking workouts for marathon training:

Mile repeats

When it comes to marathon training, veteran 26.2-milers swears by this modified form of tempo training. You should run each mile repeat about 20 seconds faster than your predicted marathon goal pace, with a 400m recovery walk or jog. You'll get the best results if you can build up to 10 to 13 mile repeats.

Yasso 800s

The goal, after several months of working up to it, is to run 10 x 800 metres in the same minutes: seconds as your goal time (in hours:minutes). If you want to run a 3:40 marathon, for example, you run your yasso 800's in 3 minutes, 40 seconds. This workout isn't based on physiology; it's just a very tough effort that's got a mathematical appeal to it.

My latest feature on Bug Bears has been submitted to the editor of MyRace. Publication will be out at the begining of next month. Big thanks to everyone who contributed. Special thanks to Ian for the inspiration. Incidently, Ian, if I get you in MyRace, will you ask Allybea to knit me some stripy socks?