Bacchus Half Marathon: The one I did for fun

No, really. I know people often say they’ll do an event ‘just for fun’ – I’ve said it a lot in the past, myself. But then it gets closer to race day and we know how it can escalate. Firstly you think, ‘well I don’t want it to be the slowest one ever, so I need to at least do the same time I did in the last one’, and then it’s ‘if I’m going to do that then I can probably push it a bit at the end if I’ve got energy left’, and suddenly it’s ‘I wonder if I could hit that PB I’ve been secretly aiming for?’

… And then you’re secretly disappointed for not hitting a target time in a race you KNOW that you didn’t train hard enough for. Facepalm.

But after a week’s holiday, then a cold that wouldn’t give up, and then a crazy work schedule, my running fell straight off the radar… For about 4 weeks. I’d been cross training a little (spinning and body pump, mainly), but the only runs I managed after the 4-week break were a couple of 5k runches in race week – neither¬†of which went particularly well. (As you’d expect, really).

But this half marathon had the promise of neon face paint, and wine, and chocolate, and looked like it could be a bit of a giggle – ignoring the crazy hills in the course profile, of course.

And I’m SO glad I gave it a go. Because in summary, it went a bit like this:

Hills, wine, biscuits, wine, hills, sunshine, giggles, sing-offs between St Trinians and a bunch of nuns, wine, biscuits, more giggles, photobombs, new friends, more food, more wine, a big fat downhill (seriously, mile 13 was my quickest at 9:32 and the last .36 – I clearly weaved around a bit – was 8:45. This was compared to an average of about 13:30!!) and a big fat medal.

I’m pretty sure this was my favourite event, EVER.

And as words don’t do the atmosphere, the fun, the wine or the views justice, here’s the day in pictures! (Warning – there’s a heck of a lot!)

At the Start of Bacchus Half MarathonLooking composed and sober at the start!

Wine and Biscuits at Bacchus Half MarathonMany wine and biscuits. Might have gone back for seconds with the latter.

Running Solo

There was some running involved…

Cows at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And cows!

View from the Bacchus Half Marathon 1

Stunning views made up for the hills.

Gorgeous Views at the Bacchus Half Marathon

Taking a well-earned break at the top!

Aid Stations at the Bacchus Half Marathon

The best aid stations I’ve ever seen. For real.

Getting Photobombed at the Bacchus Half

‘I totally photobombed that last one!’ Yes, yes you did. And very well, too!

Bubbles at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And there were bubbles.

View from the Bacchus Half Marathon 2

And even more stunning views!

Having a Blast at the Bacchus Half Marathon

Then there was a bit more running…

More Biscuits at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And more biscuits.

Rose at the Bacchus Half Marathon

The rose was pretty good!

Sunshine at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… So was the white.

White Wine at the Bacchus Half Marathon

… And the other white.

Cake at the Finish Line - Bacchus Half Marathon

And at the finish line, there was cake!

… And hog roast.

The end ūüôā



Why running is about the journey, not the end goal

It’s really easy to lose motivation sometimes. Things get busy at work, you end up going to bed later than you planned, you hit the snooze button once and suddenly¬†you’re 2 weeks down the line and have barely worked out at all. (Or is that just me?…)

When you get yourself into a bit of a rut, it’s easy to¬†lose perspective on things. You find yourself stressing over pace¬†(note to self: positive splits are NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!), and wondering why the heck you’re struggling at 10:30/mile when you were feeling comfy at sub-10 just a few weeks ago!?

At this¬†point,¬†everyone around you seems fitter, and faster, and you’re convinced that¬†everyone’s finding this running thing easy peasy¬†and you’ve become some lethargic, heavy, uncoordinated¬†ex-running slob who will never EVER get back to their old pace and oh, forget about running a marathon ever again… (Or fitting into those marathon tights, for that matter!)

Today, I headed out for a lunchtime run¬†with a couple of friends. We did our usual 5k loop (well, their usual – I haven’t done it in weeks!). We hit the first mile at 9:27, and then it all went wrong. I slowed right down, my breathing wouldn’t settle, and at points my friends were literally running circles around me.

Predictably, I began to freak out a little.¬†But then something in my brain switched. Like, dude – CHILLAX. The old you would have¬†killed to be able to run that far, regardless of the pace! You’re actually pretty damn awesome! Remember when you couldn’t manage a mile without a walking break, and 5k seemed like the moon?

At that point, I definitely couldn’t, so I dug through my old Tweets and I stumbled across this little gem:

// in 2011, I was super excited to have run/walked over 2.5 miles. So excited, in fact, that I shared it on social media and then for good measure, I messaged my parents to let them know. (I was on my placement year in Spain at the time). And damn straight, the old me was proud! That 2.6 miles was AWESOME! Back then I didn’t care about pace, or weekly mileage, or whatever the heck everyone else was doing. I just ran for myself; because I enjoyed it, I loved the challenge and I loved pushing myself that little bit further each time. Case in point:

// isn’t about the races you enter and the medals you hang on the wall (though I love both of those things, and they do have their place!), or your finishing times.¬†Sometimes you get so caught up in the details, that you don’t realise quite how much pressure you’ve put yourself under. Remember – running should be FUN. You’re choosing to do it, after all!

Leave the pressure at work. Let running be your ‘you’ time. Let it be a stress reliever, an excuse to explore new paths, a way to make new friends, and an excuse to buy more pretty things¬†(you’re welcome ūüėČ ).

After all, bad runs are bound to happen every now and then. Just means you’re due a good one next time!

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Why do you run? Are you training for anything, or are you just doing it for fun? Ever find yourself lacking motivation?


10 reasons to love the autumn

Things I love about autumn

I can’t believe that 2015 is whizzing by so fast!¬†We’re already through the summer (sob), and the days are definitely getting shorter and cooler. Whilst I’ll admit that autumn and winter can get a bit grey and gloomy (especially in the UK!), there are still plenty of things that I looove about this time of year.

1. The start of spring marathon training!
Unless you’ve got an autumn marathon in the calendar, this is the beautiful point in the marathon training cycle (i.e. the beginning) when you’re far enough past the last one to have forgotten¬†all¬†of the bad bits, and are excitedly thinking¬†ahead¬†to your next big spring race. It’s a time for writing training plans, working out your time goals, and getting some leisurely base miles in – without having to worry about weekly mileage, mile splits and speed sessions. The real trick is sticking to the plan once it starts… ūüėČ

2. Layers!
Whether it’s lovely wooly tights, scarves, thick socks, jumpers or¬†gloves, I love a cold-weather¬†wardrobe. It’s like a day-long cuddle when you get to snuggle up in some cosy knitwear! I was lucky enough to get a gorgeous Joules scarf from my Gran for my birthday last month, and I’m so happy that it’s getting chilly enough to wear it!

3. Cycle commuting in the dark and feeling like a badass.
Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it’s often¬†windy and rainy and there’s a ton of debris in the road. But you get to break out the flashy lights and high vis and feel properly hardcore. Even better, being on a bike means that you’ll avoid the traffic jams!

4. Changing straight into your pjs when you get home.
Because, yknow, it’s dark… That’s enough of an excuse, right!? Especially after a chilly cycle commute and lovely hot shower…

5. Getting to see the sunrise on your runcommute.
Running at sunrise when the ground is still all frosty and the air is lovely and crisp and you’re wearing toasty base layers and gloves and your face is all cold? Best thing ever. Following it up with a big bowl of porridge at the office is definitely the one.

6. Starbucks, Costa, Nero…
Or in my case, Pret for a yummy orange hot chocolate! (Seriously, they’re the best. It made my day when I discovered¬†that they were available year-round!)¬†There’s something lovely about relaxing¬†in a warm coffee shop with a tasty hot drink and¬†my favourite people, watching the world go by outside. And if coffee shops aren’t your thing, grabbing¬†a book and curling up on the sofa for a couple of hours is also¬†an absolute win.

7. Crisp, cool parkruns.
Autumn is made for PBs! (Unless it’s windy, in which case, boo). But PB or no PB, parkrun is brilliant fun – and having a group of lovely people to run with always helps to get you out of bed when it’s cold and dark outside ūüėÄ

8. An excuse to buy more kit.
Fact: you can never have enough running or cycling kit. Or gym kit, for that matter. And a change in season means a change in wardrobe – which goes for your workout wardrobe too, right?… On top of that,¬†I’m pretty sure that bright funky workout gear makes me run faster. Science, or something…

9. Empty(ish) gym changing rooms!
As the mornings get darker, the gym changing room crowds seem to thin out Рwhich makes life SO MUCH EASIER. The last thing I need after a 6am workout is to navigate around half a dozen people so that I can get my stuff, have a shower and sort myself out for work. Aint nobody got time for that.

10. Slow cooking ALL THE THINGS.
Stews, casseroles, soups‚Ķ What‚Äôs not to love!? They’re healthy, filling, low maintenance and they make your flat (or house!) smell amazing. Plus, dumplings.

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Do you prefer summer or winter training? What’s your favourite thing about this time of year?