I’ve just renewed my GNR membership. This means that by paying a one off membership fee of £50 you get guaranteed entry for the next 3 years, which is great for people like me who absolutely love this event. Hoping that this year I will have a better race and break my current run of personal worsts…8 months to train!
I’ve been really loving running in the snowy weather over the last couple of weeks. Not only has the cold weather meant that I haven’t been overheating as much as usual, but also the scenery has been truly magical. One of the great things about running is that we really get to be a part of the world around us while we’re out there chasing our goals and braving the elements – lucky us!
Kit-wise I’ve been wearing Helly Hansen Kenosha trail shoes which have gripped brilliantly on snow , and their waterproof upper has kept my feet dry and comfortable. I’ve combined this with Smartwool Merino wool socks which have really great temperature regulating properties, whilst also wicking sweat away. So, my feet have stayed super-comfortable and I’ve managed to stay on my feet throughout.
Enjoy the snow
Happy New Year! I have set myself a few running related New Year’s Resolutions this year…
1. To run more consistently and not let other life commitments get in the way.
2. To run a sub 2 hour half marathon.
3. To go to running club more often
4. To enter more races
5. To try Parkrun,
6. To eat more healthily and cut down alcohol.
To begin, I ran my first run of 2015 yesterday, through rain and gales, starting as I mean to go on. I WILL keep this up! Good luck to everyone with your 2015 goals, and all the best for the new year ahead!
Autumn is my absolute favourite time of the year to run. Although it’s been unseasonably warm this year, we’re just starting to see the beginnings of those lovely cold, crisp winter mornings. This, twinned with beautiful sunrises, beautiful colours, falling leaves and mist makes Autumn running truly magical for me. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been loving splashing through muddy trails and breathing in the scenery – totally exhilarating and makes me feel lucky to be a runner!
A tough but great day at the Great North Run this year, despite a disastrous race. This year was a GNR with a difference, in that it had its millionth finisher and, being a week early, the temperature was pretty hot. As always, the atmosphere was fantastic at the start, and full of runner camaraderie. It was also nice not to be shivering in the rain for the first time in 3 years!
I wasn’t sure how I was going to find the race this year, but I quickly found this out when after the first mile I was already feeling sick with the heat and wondering whether I was actually going to make it through the 13.1 miles. At the start we had been warned this was not a day for PBs, and I am terrible at running in the heat. From mile 1 onwards, I decided I was going to have to nurse myself round. The main thing, I decided, was to run the whole thing without walking and to actually make it to the finish. I took on water at every stop, and with a brief respite when the sun went in behind some clouds at miles 6 and 8, I managed to plod through it. By the long incline at mile 11 however, I felt as though I was literally dragging my exhausted body along, until I finally saw that glorious sight of the sea before dropping onto the sea front.
I don’t know why the last mile of the GNR always seems so long. I know this isn’t just me as every other runner says the same thing. This is a painful stretch along the sea front where I usually find myself willing the 800m marker to appear. This seemed to take a long time this time this year. Luckily the crowds at the finish were just brilliant and helped keep me going until finally crossing the line – with my second worst half marathon time ever, a full 13 minutes behind last year (and that was with Shingles).
I still felt proud to have just finished the GNR this year. It was a struggle from start to finish, and given that right from the start I had my doubts about finishing, it felt great to finally cross the line and my medal was hard won. Already looking forward to next year!
A busy week before tapering down to the GNR. I had been in two minds about running the full distance before the race, but for peace of mind I ran a hilly 13.1 miles last week, just to be sure I could definitely still manage it! I also went along to my first ever interval session at my local running club. This was so tough! Alternating periods of fast running (effort) with slower recovery periods was definitely a shock to the system, especially one like mine which is perfectly happy trundling along for miles at a steady pace. The idea is that I will gradually improve and be able to run faster for longer. Very sore legs afterwards. The plan for the rest of the week is to take it easy until race day.
Nice steady 11 mile run through the forestry tracks this weekend in preparation for the GNR. The weather is definitely cooler now, which makes things much easier for us runners! Considering this is the furthest I’ve run in a while, it didn’t go too badly at all and felt quite comfortable. My aim after last year is to just relax and enjoy the GNR this year, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a drink in the pub at the finish with the other runners. Having said that, it’s too easy to get carried away and really go for it…so I’ll see how I feel on the day.
3 weeks to go!
A little something arrived in the post this weekend…my GNR number! This will be my fourth Great North Run, and it never stops being exciting. 4 weeks to go!
For everyone else who got their race numbers this week, be careful before posting them up on social media – there are apparently issues with people cloning race numbers. You paid for your entry, don’t let someone else steal it! See you all on the start line….
I am sure you all have a few of these kinds of people at your local gym, whether it humours you or annoys the heck out of you! Here is a list of the most annoying people that I have experienced over my years of working out.
1. Mr (not-so-perfect) Universe
‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the vainest of them all?’ Checking themselves in the mirror, before during and after every set. Making sure that they look epic and that any (non-visible) gains are checked regularly.*
*For anyone that doesn’t know, any difference you see immediately after a set are going to be gone in a few hours anyway.
Where I train there are 2 main types of grunters; there are ‘pushing-through-limits’ grunters, where people are genuinely trying to push that last repetition, where a little grunt here and there is fine, and in my case sometimes comes subconsciously.
But then there’s what I like to call the ‘pet monkeys’. Grunting and screaming as loudly as possible, regardless of what weight or movement they’re doing. If they put as much effort in to focusing on their workout, rather than their vocal cords, they would no doubt make greater progress.
3. The Entourage
The clan of ‘pretty boy’ youngsters, standing around the same machine, talking about nothing. Stop it, split up and plan your workout. Surely you spend enough time talking in school anyway
4. Talk, Talk, Talk
Seriously, go away. I go to the gym to work out, we can talk about things you ‘need’ to discuss afterwards, not midway through my 5km run on the treadmill.
People that try to make small talk during a set or routine…if my headphones weren’t a sign of ‘I AM BUSY’ do not ring loud enough, then I don’t know what does!
5. Unwanted Teacher
If you’re not a personal trainer, or built like Arnie, please don’t critique my workout. That person who goes around actively looking to give quick, usually useless tips, on how to improve other people’s workouts. Stop it now, I pay the gym and its personal trainers to advise me, not you.
6. Mr Nudity
So, some people are confident with their bodies, that’s great. However what about everyone else in the changing room? Others and I do not come to the gym to be exposed to prolonged periods of nudity, and having a conversation with you post-shower. Please do us all a favour and put your clothes back on in a timely fashion. Not after discussing the recent football results or news scandals.
7. The Mayor
Spending 99.9% of his workout talking to his or hers ‘friends’ which just happens to be everyone and anyone. They must design their workout as a circuit around the gym, just to make sure they say hello to everyone.
Anyone else experience this?
Feeling totally inspired by last week’s coverage, I stayed up to enter the ballot in the early hours of the morning. I had been planning to enter first thing this morning, but then had a text from my running partner, Tay, warning of the dire consequences of not entering As Soon As the Ballot Opens. There are apparently only 125,000 ballot places, of which only a small fraction will be lucky enough to actually get race places.
So, armed with a glass of wine, my debit card and a pounding heart, I sat down and waited. Checking in on Facebook, it seemed that the entire running community of Great Britain also had the same idea and we all counted down the minutes together, continuously hitting the refresh button on the VLM website, until midnight. At which point the ballot did not open. We speculated on Facebook if we had got the date wrong. Would we have to stay up all night? Who was committed enough to stay up all night? Were the organisers playing with us?
Then the ballot opened. Everyone went quiet, ruthlessly trying to enter their details before anyone else. Then the website started crashing (undoubtedly because of everyone trying to enter at the same time). Tay sent me a panicky text saying she couldn’t register. Made several attempts resulting only in an error message. Got angry and despondent. Then we registered!
After this was far too excited to sleep. Now the long wait until October to find out if we’ve made it. The odds are against it, people wait for years before being lucky enough to get a place, but you just never know….fingers crossed.