Summer Runnin’, happened so fast ..

Wow, I’ve been slacking around here!

In my defense, I was away all weekend – I went down to Devon on Thursday to see my lovely family for a few days. And until Sunday, we actually had quite a bit of sunshine!

Friday evening, Mum and I went for a short, easy (!) jog to Tescos for ice cream. We finished on about 3 miles, and then that evening I had some with one of my Funfetti Cupcakes (the recipe I used is here) !


Those cupcakes were awesome, and pretty easy to make, too!

I may or may not have splurged on some new running shoes. They’re still a stability shoe (yay for over pronation) but wow, these are SO much lighter than my Asics! I had no idea what a difference a tiny amount of weight could make when it came to running shoes! And as I got these at the Nike factory outlet, they were reduced to £45. Bargain!


I dragged Dad down to Parkrun on Saturday morning. The park there was much flatter than my local one, which means it’s a great opportunity for a PB. Last time I did a parkrun (in Devon) I got 30:28. Just 29 measly seconds away from a sub-30! I’ve been after a sub-30 5k for months now, and this weekend I was determined to get it if it killed me.

I started off at the very back, at an easier pace to warm up for the first few minutes, but as the runners spread out I began to pick people ahead of me to overtake. It’s a trick of mine – if I start towards the middle or the front I’m too tempted to start off faster than I should, and people end up overtaking me rather than the other way round!

I was stuck behind a young couple for nearly an entire loop round the park – I considered passing them a few times but they were running quite far apart from each other and left no space to get around them. I ended up sticking about a meter or two away from them, and at one point the guy glanced back and clocked me. When the path opened up a little I overtook, and he immediately turned to his girlfriend and muttered ‘right, that’s your target’. I admit, I had a bit of a giggle, and increased my pace – they never caught up 😀

On the flip side, I was overtaken by 3 little boys who were running with their Dad – when I checked the results after the run, I saw they’d finished in under 27 minutes! Their legs were tiny – they did an awesome job! I was so impressed that I didn’t even mind them beating me. Haha.

I sped up a little for the final 1k, though after being stuck behind slower runners for a while I had given up on beating my previous time, and just decided to enjoy the run. I felt pretty good through the whole thing, though I could tell I was running low on energy by the end (I had breakfast afterwards, and didn’t have any drink with me). I still managed a sprint finish, and crossed the line less than 2 minutes ahead of Dad – who was running with a calf injury! I swear, by the time him and Mum are into our full marathon training, I won’t stand a chance at keeping up with them!

I had forgotten to set my sports band, so only had the time to go by – it showed exactly 9:30 as I crossed the line, but it didn’t show the seconds, and I wasn’t sure just how close to 9:00 we set off. I figured I finished a little under 31 minutes, which was fine with me as it still meant I’d averaged a sub-10-minute pace (pretty rare for me).

The results appeared online that afternoon, and I actually laughed out loud when I saw mine:


I got my sub-30 minute 5k by ONE SECOND.

Thanks, new shoes! 😀

Checking my Nike+ stats, my fastest 1-mile pace before the weekend was 9:41, and on Saturday I averaged out at 9:40 for 3.1 miles! PBs all round 😀

I headed out again with Mum on Sunday morning for a recovery run. It was pretty warm by the time we left, which made things a little difficult – I can’t believe how much the heat saps my energy! We still managed 4.5 miles, which is awesome, as we had only planned to do 5k.

Needless to say, my legs ached pretty badly on my cycle into work yesterday morning!

Back into double digits!

I’ve mentioned before just how stubborn I am. I don’t like to be beaten (though given I’m a very average runner, it happens an awful lot!). I consider it as a sort of ‘motivation in disguise’, as the minute I feel like someone’s running further or faster or more often than me I want to get out there and do one better!

My lovely Mum recently ordered me 2 new running vests. She got one for herself a little while ago, and thought I might like one. I picked it up today to use at the gym and dude, it’s the comfiest running vest I’ve ever worn. It’s flattering, the colour is awesome, and its the thinnest, lightest material which means that it’s lovely and cool. It’s designed to be loose, and has a drawstring along the bottom hem to pull it in at the hips to stop it from moving around:

top(Granted, it looks far better on the model than me. But I love it anyway!)

I have the beautiful bright purple version, which I wore today, and I also have the equally lovely lilac one. They’re officially my favourite. The only issue I have with them is that when I get sweaty (which, shocker, happens without fail every time I run!) it really shows, as the material goes a lot darker.

On the upside, if you run for long enough, it all goes the same colour again and nobody can tell any more! 😀 Not that this happened to me today .. Ehem ..

So as I mentioned, my friends went and ran the full scheduled 10 miles yesterday morning, despite copious amounts of Mr Darcy and a distinct lack of sleep. They did take walking breaks, and I’m not sure on their overall time, but even so – I was officially slacking. (I just accidentally typed snacking. I’m not gazing wistfully at the Mars bar on my desk. Nope. Not me ..)

I decided this afternoon to sort it out, and do the full ten miles at the gym. I did want to run it outside, but as it was 29 degrees .. Not so much.

Given that most people were being sensible human beings today and enjoying the sunshine by lying in the grass with magazines and cool drinks, the gym was almost deserted (and I outran the three people that used the other treadmills whilst I was there).

I took the treadmill nearest the door, and that – in combination with my lovely loose top – meant that it felt nowhere near as hot and stuffy as usual. I felt absolutely great for the first 7 miles! After this point I decided to just focus on the time I had been running, rather than distance, as it was officially my longest run since I stopped my marathon training back in March, and I wasn’t sure how far I would manage. I ran without a break until about 1h20, and between then and 2h07 – when I eventually stopped for a warm-down walk – I took 3 more short (20-30sec) walking breaks. By 1h30, my calves were feeling quite tight, and my legs were starting to ache. I had forgotten how challenging it is to push on through all of the niggles and aches that long distance running brings.

I got a nice boost at 1h50 though, as I outran the treadmill – it cleared my session and tried to get me to warm down – so I stopped the machine and started fresh. Whilst it’s usually pretty demoralising to see all my hard-earned mileage disappear, today it really helped – I started again at 0:00, and focused on the fact that I only had to run for 20 minutes. I pretended that I had just got on the machine – I tried to kid myself that my legs were fresh, by giving myself a short walking break and a few sips of sports drink – and then I mentally reset, with just that 20-minute goal. Anyone can survive for 20 minutes on the treadmill, right?

In the end, I finished with a sports band total of 11.11 miles (you can guess where that extra 1.11 came from). I was really pleased (and surprised), as I didn’t use a single sports gel – I had a banana half an hour before, and regularly sipped on a 500ml bottle of Lucozade light during the run. I think I had gotten it into my head that I needed gels for anything above a 10k, and really used to let the longer distances intimidate me .. But today went really well. I think it helped that I was on a treadmill, and could ignore the total distance by breaking it down. I’m quite looking forward to experimenting with fuelling this time round, and moving away from the sports gels a little.

Can’t lie, I don’t think I’ll be cycling to work tomorrow.

How was your weekend running? Anyone brave the heat?

Mr Darcy: 1, running: 0

Predictably, my run didn’t happen this morning. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice was SO long that I didn’t get home until gone 1am, and there was no way I was joining my friends for a 10 miler at 7am on just a few hours sleep! It was so worth it, though. The BBC version is SO much more awesome than the movie version. Colin Firth is a perfect Darcy!

Somehow, my friends still managed to force themselves out for the whole 10 miles (though they walked some of it, which is about the only thing that makes me feel anywhere near ok about missing it).

I was going to go this afternoon, but I’ve been on the go all day, doing really important and necessary things like buying new nail polish and painting my nails:

nails(I’m nothing if not indecisive)

On the running side of things, I ordered an arm band yesterday for my android. It was due to arrive on Monday, but turned up today:

caseThanks for the speedy delivery, Amazon!

I’m really looking forward to trying it out tomorrow morning. The reviews were pretty good; the only issue people had was that it was a little tricky to get the phone into the pocket. Whilst the fit is slightly snug, I didn’t have any trouble getting the phone in, so I’m happy! The case is made out of neoprene, so it’s really lovely and soft and smooth to the touch, with almost no seams in contact with my skin. It also has 2 holes for the strap, meaning it can be adjusted for a wide range of arm sizes. The little key pocket is a bonus!

I’ll let you know how it does on my ten miler tomorrow. No excuses, this time – I’m going to drink lots of water, have a decent dinner and get to bed nice and early this evening. It’s a little cooler today, which means it’s not as unbearably stuffy in here as it has been (so I shouldn’t have trouble sleeping), and I’m hoping to be out by 7am!

I can’t let my friends show me up, especially as I’m the one that made them sign up for the half marathon .. My competitive side is going to come in handy when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning 😀

What running do you have planned for the weekend?

The long run

038162671acb504460943d7b2f925836I was supposed to run 5 miles this morning. I set my alarm and everything – I was actually looking forward to it. But as with most plans, it wasn’t quite meant to be. I had a pretty restless night, waking up sporadically from 4am .. Which wasn’t really conducive to a 6:30 alarm and 5 mile run! Sigh.

I had considered going this evening, but decided against it. I have a long run on Saturday morning, and given that I’m still getting used to running 3-4 times a week alongside my daily cycle commute (without completely nackering my legs) my recovery time is slightly longer than before. I didn’t really want to push my luck with just 1 recovery day (especially as ‘recovery’ still includes 12 or so miles of cycling) before Saturday.

The schedule says 10 miles for Saturday morning – I’m going to play it safe and set a goal of 8, as I know I can at least manage 10k at the moment. What’s 2 more miles, right? Especially with fuel as awesome as this:

p (1)Apple and cinnamon porridge, courtesy of my Graze breakfast boxes! It comes with raisins, honey and chunks of dried apple, and tastes like scotch pancakes .. Heaven!

I’ve decided that rather than forcing in the mileage, I’m going to take this evening to stretch and foam roll, and give my legs a chance to recover properly before I try my long run on Saturday. It’ll be my longest run in a good few months, and I’m a little nervous .. But at least if I go out early enough, it’ll be deserted! (And cool, as opposed to stiflingly hot!)

As for tomorrow, I have a date after work with Mr Darcy (Colin Firth, obviously), parfait, wine and 3 lovely ladies from my office!