Crathes Half Marathon – Course Record and FINAL RACE AS A MOORE!

I was super excited for this one!

21769618_10156661620493266_177795733_n

It was the final race as a single woman, and the last one you’ll see on the entry sheet as Moore. There was zero pressure because I don’t consider myself a true runner (BUT I secretly put a little bit on because a) I wanted a headline saying we were King and Queen of Crathes Castle, much like he and Fiona got in last year’s race!, and b) there were dolla dollas up for grabs and we are VERY poor right now!) and the last goal of my racing season was at the previous week’s Scottish Standard Tri Champs – which I won yippeeee!

The weekend was actually all about wedding, honeymoon and hen stuff ie CLEEEEAAAN the house for people staying, start packing for Bali because we wont have time nearer the big time (and we leave the following day!) and make sure we have everything sorted for the 30th September. BUT we love to do some form of activity every day so a local race fit in perfectly!

We woke up naturally around 7am (I say naturally, but Chewy tends to sit on our face at that time purring like a helicopter), grabbed coffee and started blitzing the place. Around 9am, we had our usual breakfast and another coffee, then at 11am we headed to Crathes.

We parked at the non-visitor side of the estate, on a country road near the race route. We jogged the 1km to registration (we were one of the last people to register – we knew there wasn’t much shelter and it was POURING!) and did a few strides, then changed into race gear.

Luckily, we only had to wait about 5 minutes until the race, so no time to get nervous (although myself AND Fraser got a bit antsy when we noticed Kyle still wasn’t at the front of the starters with the 2 minute to go call) and everyone seemed to be laughing at just how bad the rain was!

When the gun went off, Kyle was asking why I was still with him one minute in.

“Oh yeah, oops. I’ll say bye now. See you soon – have fun!”

…and then I backed off. Within the first kilometre (when we passed our car) I found myself in a group of maybe 5. There was a headwind so I tucked behind some tall guy from Dubai.

On the downhill I took the lead, but then I was left there until about 5km. I turned around to try and get some help in this constant headwind but no one overtook, so I then just chose to run my own race.

At the 1st significant hill, a couple guys pulled away. I reeled one back in but the other went off. Then I noticed 2 guys had fell off the back, so I was running in a group of 3.

We hit the 1st trail section which was SUPER MUDDY!!!!! My trainers got soaked immediately but I tried as best I could to avoid major puddles. When my watched flashed the 1st mile in that trail as a 6.11 I was a bit concerned I was trying too hard to avoid mud and that might catch up with me. It was a flat mile but so technical and slippy that I should have been about 10seconds slower.

The trail lasted about 2km and hitting solid road again was amazing! There were a few spectators and dog walkers out but I wasn’t expected any given the weather, so was sure to wave at them to say thanks for coming out!

I hit 10km in about 38.30 – 30 seconds faster than my time in the Great Aberdeen Run…oops! That’s an oops to the GAR by the way, because at this point I still felt pretty good!

A couple of miles later, the rain was just turning to spray and the sun was starting to come out, so that cheered me up and kept me on pace.

Then there was a pretty big hill where those 2 guys I was with managed to get a gap on me. Grrr. I tried (and managed) to catch up, but then there was a HUGE downhill where my little legs couldn’t match their long ones and 1 dude got away and finished about a minute ahead of me.

Onto the second trail I began to lag. I think pushing it on that downhill to try and not get dropped, along with that speedy trail mile earlier, made me a bit tired. I was lagging and could have used a gel (I decided against one that morning just because it was a cool day and didn’t think I’d need one…wrong again). I was dropped by the 2nd dude and so was in no man’s land for those final 5kms.

In my head I was thinking what the worst possible pace I could go before finishing would be. Then I realised even if I did 7 minute miles for the next 3 miles I would still get a sub1.25.

So then my mindset changed after my 11th mile was a 6.34. Hmm I could get a decent PB here (I know I should be a bit faster but I haven’t done a proper half in years and my last half was hilly Fraserburgh last year!). Ideally on a course with no trails, or mud, or hills, or wind, and with specific training and a taper, I feel I should be able to break 80 quite comfortably.

Then I realised mile 12 was up a never ending hill, where you could see the full mile in front of you. Pretty demoralising! I managed that one in 6.42 but it felt a lot worse than that. When that mile beeped, I knew the last km w05as downhill (again, back to where I parked!) so a couple more calculations later I though Fiona’s record from last year was on! I just had to run a 4minute km down to the finish.

I saw Kyle with 800m to go. He was on his cool down and did here 1st lady wasn’t too far away.

“What the hell are you doing here? That course was mental!”

“Sorry, can’t talk – think I might break Fi’s record”

“Sprint then!!”

“This is me sprinting!”

…and off I waddled to cross the line in 1.22.27 and a new CR.

Kyle was 6 minutes faster than anyone else, going 1.11 – just a couple seconds shy of Robbie’s record (if only he’d known what it was !) – so he was elated too! It gave him the confidence he needed for the Loch Ness marathon on Sunday!

What was best was at presentation when Fraser announced that the race of the day was not Kyle’s, but mine! *cue evil laugh here!*

21751419_1434822889940629_4586353743838136968_n

He then announced that it was an even more significant race for us given we were getting married 2 weeks later! The entire crowd just went “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwh” so we laughed a lot at that!

21586020_10213920042698103_1232215496_n

What made it even better was that Carolyn was there and SMASHED her PB!! She started running in January (only 3kms) and managed a 2.06 on THAT course! She is such an inspiration to working mothers out there who let exercise take a back seat for a while.

21905702_10159409981995644_1053738499_n21935707_10159409981920644_580124802_n

Afterwards, Mum and Keith came over to help us sort the house out (any excuse for an Alford Tandoori 😉 !) and we had a lovely Sunday catching up on life and wedding admin!

21903480_10155850153493478_938272979_n

…Then I was headed to Paris the following day for meetings so no rest for the wicked! There were far more croissants and wine consumed so here’s hoping the dress fits ONE WEEK TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Your Long Awaited Race Recap: Ultra World Championships, Badia Prataglia, Team GB

http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/world-trail-champs-review/


I am not just saying this because I am about to be his blushing bride or because I am bursting with pride (poet, don’t know it) BUT this recap is phenomenal!!

I WISH y’all knew just how hard he works. He’s too modest so I’ll boast for him! To balance working in a high level position, commuting >50miles per day AND having to put up with his high maintenance bird, all while training to be one of the best in the world…against FULL TIME athletes….that LIVE in those types of mountains….just leaves me speechless! Well, almost.

Here is the champ’s recap of his 1st (hopefully of many) race as a Team GB athlete.


World Trail Running Championships Badia Prataglia, Italy

kyle gb 2

Now that I have come down from cloud 9 after my first Team GB call up and best race of my life, I thought I will share with you my build-up of the race, the race itself and the aftermath!

After doing the trial race at Haworth in Yorkshire and squeezing into the GB team, I felt I had a lot to live up to even though I am relatively new to the Ultra racing scene. After a couple of weeks recovery from that race and 3 weeks of training, I had the small thing of running the London marathon which was going to be my A race had I not qualified for the World Champs.

For London, although I was now training for the World champs, I genuinely believed that I could still PB of around 2.23/2.24 despite interrupted training and a lack of marathon specific training due to the tapering and recovery of the trial race. On race day, everything went to plan and my spilts were bang on target…until mile 17! These final miles, I was hitting high 5/low 6 minute miles and with my ‘sensible head’ decided that the legs haven’t got the PB in them and tried to ‘enjoy’ the atmosphere running a 2 hours 29 minutes (which was well off my best 2 hours 25 minutes!).

Lesson number 1: look back on your training and assess whether the target is realistic – in this case, I hadn’t done enough mara specific sessions!

Luckily enough, my strategy worked in terms of recovery time after London – if I had tried to race it after the legs started falling off, I would likely still be recovering now! I managed to get back into a decent volume of training even after a week of easy running after London, which meant I had a good few weeks of building some decent sessions and specific for the World trail champs. I really had to do 3 things: a few steady long runs including a long decent 50k run simulating the elevation (although I fell 2500 ft short!), maintain high mileage/volume, and a decent paced session on trails

I also ran the Inter counties hill running championships and treated this as a ‘C’ race due to the training required for the worlds. So after a heavy week of training, 2 weeks after London marathon, severe grassy climbs and only 10k of work, made a lactate inducing hard run and certainly a great workout for the main race. Although I was slightly disappointed with my placing, when I reflect back there is little wonder I didn’t perform higher up the field!

So a couple of weeks before the worlds, we all received our GB kit, which made the whole trip feel real and based on my long and promising 50k effort the week prior, I felt fired up for this race and knew that I have done everything I could to train for the race including saunas 3 x per week to cope with the heat!

hfgh

(Loved the kit they gave me!)

I met up with the Scottish contingent of the team, Adrian Stott (one of the team managers), Jo Zakrzewski and Helen Bonsor at Edinburgh Airport and we made our way to Italy (Bologna Airport).

fgfg

(Leaving Debbie at the train station. Just before this, a lovely stranger shook my hand, asked what sport I did and congratulated me!)

The Thursday was a long day, but when we arrived at our monastery accommodation a few miles outside the race village, we met the whole team for dinner. The meal wasn’t the greatest to be honest – mushy meatballs and tomatoes…WHERES THE CARBS MAN!

That night, after being trapped on a plane and in a car, I went for an 11pm run around the forests where my race was taking place. It was a full moon and I could hear the wolves (yes WOLVES) howling and I risked not taking a head torch. The area we were staying in has very little phone signal and is almost completely in the middle of nowhere with many monasteries, ancient forests and a huge amount of history.

On the Friday, funnily enough, I felt quite tired after all the travelling but after a fairly modest breakfast of dried bread and cornflakes, we had to go down to the race village for doping control and health checking. We then recced the first couple of miles of the course (it would have been a bit more if we hadn’t done 3 miles off course! I soon found out that the first few miles was going to be uphill, which after trying to jog up on the Friday, I was worried I was going to be heavy legged on race day…

DB5jVmAXYAIQ4NY

(chilling with the team after arriving)

We then had the joys of going to opening ceremony at the castle overlooking Poppi, which was absolutely stunning!

gfhfghf

(Team GB at the opening ceremony. Photo credit @IRunFar)

DB41OGoW0AAl6ak

(Kitted out for the opening ceremony. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

After our meal there, we headed back for an early night and made sure we had all our race kit in order and our fuel for the 2 manned food stations (where the team managers Sam, Spencer and Adrian would be). In my head, I already had a race plan/strategy which had been prepared in the weeks building up to my training so I was fairly confident I was on the right track!

On the morning, we headed down in the race bus at 6am after another uneasy breakfast where I searched high and low for muesli and they never had any! So I had cornflakes instead but had some more white carbs and a decent meal the night before made sure that I was adequately fuelled and hydrated!

Lesson number 2: Take all your food that you eat to your races especially ones where they may not have the food you crave!

After our kit check, shoved my way to the front of the start line, which although only 10 people wide meant that I would be out of the way of people in front of me and had nothing in front of me to trip me up!

Kyle world start

(The start: I’m on the right of this pic. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

The gun goes, and someone rips my number off!! So I took my time to put it back on, which meant I took the first mile uphill very easy and ended up running in around 70th place! A couple of miles into the race, I was grateful to see two of my GB pals Gareth Hughes and Math Roberts next to me and throughout the first half, we ended up running together for quite a lot of it. Early on the start, I continued my tradition of falling over on what could be described as the easiest and most runnable section of the course.  I bounced back up and felt nothing of it other than a few cuts and bruises afterwards!

19023476_1292927930833388_2017475529674748801_o

(I must have been feeling good here! Photo credit Prozis)

The first half of the race was fairly cool as it was mostly in the ancient forests and good runnable trails. From the get go, the 3 of us, were gradually pipping people off and not many runners went passed us. There was one tough point when it started heating up and we climbing well along the ridge, where Gareth magically whipped out some KENDAL MINT cake, which for me was better than any gels I had been taking – it melted in your mouth, instant sugar hit and had a refreshing after taste!

Lesson 3: Buy Kendal mint cake NOW!

The latter half of the race began to get interesting and very warm – reaching 27 degrees Celsius on the exposed sections. I managed to pull away from Gareth, who wasn’t far behind me but still felt fantastic. I had no idea what position I was but at around mile 20, I was in the top 20! There was a huge climb still to come which, for me, was make or break and I took every opportunity to drink and fuel even if it meant I stopped. I had to weigh up stopping to top up my water bottle for a few seconds versus another 2 miles of no water could mean a slower overall time.

DB8xH9fXcAAlGW2

 

 

 

 

 

 

(One of our fuel stops. Photo credit @TaritTweets)   

In the full heat of the long climb up to the exposed ridge, I started to get cramp in my inner thighs, which is something I have never experienced but I was aware I had to ensure I was getting fluids in meant that I could keep going. I knew everyone was going to be struggling in the heat, so it was just as much mental as it was physical. Along the climb, I went passed Tom Payne (flag bearer and leading Brit at the time), which was one of only goals of the race was to try and get first brit. Anything else would be a bonus!!

After a brutal, sluggish climb it was fairly undulating and with only(!) 6 miles to go I knew I just had to hold on after I heard I was in 25th place! I now had one final descent of over 3 miles and with my quads severely bashed and my calves begging to cramp up, I was worried I would do a Jonny Brownlee and be nowhere near the finish line! I could hear the finish and started rehearsing my finish line celebration – a Czech guy called Tomas shouted ‘GO KYLEE, GO KYLEE, YOU CAN DO IT KYLEE’ as he whizzed passed me on the descent. So thanks Tomas, for keeping me going.

Kyle trail

(Going up one of the brutal climbs!)

I then turned round and there was the finish line – 40 metres, 30 metres, 20 metres and UH OH…my right calf cramped up and pointed down to the ground with little to do than hop to the RAMPED finish line…the crowd really got behind me and lifted me to the finish line. It wasn’t the celebration I was hoping for but I was delighted that the cramp only kicked in with 20 metres to go!

19113919_10211542381847713_5190670740558546630_n

(I am NOT impersonating Bolt. I was mid collapse and Bolt just took over my body!)

When I slumped my way onto the finish line, I was soon hoofed over to the physio who pushed calf back into its rightful position and Sam the team manager sorted me out with fluid and ice for my neck. It was great to be finished and when I heard I was 26th and top Brit I was absolutely over the moon.

18952915_10211542382167721_2552357569746755454_n

(Receiving help within seconds. Or were they just trying to get rid of me?)

The rest of the guys and girls in the team did amazing. The guys ended up being 9th team and the girls were 4th team! Individually, the guys were Gareth in 33rd, Tom in 38th and Matt struggled on the day, but managed to finish.

DB8MpvFXsAANd-j

(From left to right: Gareth, me, Tom & Math. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

kyle1

(My cheesy grin at the closing ceremony)

An incredible experience, great support from the team and friends and family back home and to Lewis who gave me some fantastic sessions to make me race ready. Debbie was a real mess – she sent me a selfie of her crying and made the excuse her training was sacrificed due to watching it on the live stream!!

hfhfgh

(Came to her work as soon as I arrived in Aberdeen, where she greeted me with cake, a card and a coffee!)

Now that this is over, I am looking to get into the ultra-scene but also keen to keep working on the slightly shorter half marathon to marathon distance with some high profile ultra-races in the upcoming years. Hopefully, with the runners I was racing against and beat (such as Sylvain Court who was 2nd at last years’ world champs) I can be a force to be reckoned with!

If anyone had any races in mind please let me know as I am in the middle of looking for races to keep my head in the game!!


5:10:15 is the magic number for my ridiculous finish 😉

Race video can be found here if you can’t stream the above 

 

 

8 days to go…!

Hi everyone! Kyle here 🙂

Thought I’d take over the fiancée(!)’s blog today to tell you about my preparations for my 1st race as a Team GB Athlete at the World Ultra Trail Championships in one week’s(!!!) time, held in Tuscany in Italy.

Deb told you about the bunion that my coach thought may have been gout, that came on very quickly at the beginning of the year on our skiing holiday. Well, I went up to see my coach a couple of weekends ago (he is an amazing GP) and he said that because it is most definitely bone growth (sexy), as long as it isn’t affecting me or getting worse, I should be fine.

Well, it is actually getting worse, so I’m going to have to buy wider shoes for the race, as well as looking into options afterwards. It’s not affecting training too much (I still have the Inov8s I made a hole in!), but after hard sessions it gets pretty tender.

Speaking of sessions, I have done a few long runs since London. My best one was around Clashindarroch, where I did 31 miles in the hills up Tap O Noth, and even managed a cheeky 2.58 split at the marathon mark in the pouring rain! It was a good confidence booster as I didn’t hit any wall, and it just felt like a fun – albeit lonely (no one wants to join me for these…wonder why…) – weekend long run.

10651933364_b889dd3a9c_b.jpg

(Tap O Noth)

The last week or so, with the hotter weather we’ve been having, I’ve loved trying to replicate the race conditions. The race is going to be around 25C and pretty humid, so I did a hard session at Glen Tanar at the weekend in roughly that temperature, and have been consistently doing my sauna sessions (30minutes straight after a run, a couple of times per week) to hopefully adapt to the climate.

That Glen Tanar run by the way was awesome – James Espie (international hill runner who beat me at Snowdon) joined me for some morale (with Debbie lagging behind for her tempo 😉 ) and it was great to have someone pushing me for my 10miles worth of effort. This was followed very quickly with a trip to Coop, a picnic in the river, and a swim!

He also joined me the following day for a longer run around Lochnagar (he is great if you ever want some stunning running routes by the way, but not if you want to beat your running partner up any hill….he is a technical genius!). Deb cycled to Ballater and met us for post-training ice cream at the new ice cream parlour. Highly recommended!

18902715_10158804240040644_2053528302_n

I have now officially started tapering, so will only do a couple more sessions emulating the race conditions ie tempos or intervals on undulating trails opposed to my usual beach front/track choice. I’ll cut it down to one run a day, and probably won’t go much higher than 10 miles from now until the big day!

My kit has arrived which has made me ridiculously excited (I may have told the office this is the best day I’ve had in years, when they politely told me I got engaged in December), but I am nervous at the same time in that I am finding myself checking the weather forecast a billion times per day!

18871471_10158804225940644_440423664_n

Race kicks off on the morning of the 10th June…I shall be taking pics of the opening ceremony, digs, selfies in my kit, and post race (hopefully) celebrations so watch this space! Send good vibes my way, please 🙂

Logo_color_TSF+CMP_completo

 

Kyle’s 1st ultra

Hi people! You may have seen Facebook, but in case you didn’t, Kyle just phenomenally conquered his 1st ultra marathon, which was also the World Championship qualifier in Haworth this weekend! This is his recap:


So …around January after Googling what races to focus on this year, I decided that I would give the trial race for the IAU World Trail Running Championships a bash. The “Haworth Hobble”, as I found out afterwards is appropriately named, consists of 32 (or 32.5 for me) miles in distance with 4500 feet(!) of elevation. There was something that excited me about the prospect of doing an ‘ultra’ distance and the training that comes with it. With my background initially in mountain running (interesting fact: I went to the World Mountain Running Champs in Alaska many moons ago), then trail running (I guess I can call myself current national champ in that field) and current form in marathoning (coming 28th non-elite at London in my first marathon, and 3rd at Loch Ness), I think ultras could be something I could excel in!

So I went straight to my coach, Lewis Walker, for the go ahead. He was excited by the idea and threw me into long steady runs of marathon+ distances (including 2 x 50k runs in the hills), and regular 90-100 mile/weeks. I also tried saunas (research has shown 2x30mins per week in the sauna produces similar results to altitude training…and I’m pretty sure I didn’t make that up!), tested out solid food on my long runs (and hated it), and even threw in some faster intervals for good measure…I even experienced a catastrophic gargantuan “bonk” on a 20 miler so, all in all, I couldn’t feel anymore prepped for the race…!

tyurty

Although everything was going swimmingly well until then, the Mooreigs tend to love a bit of pre-race drama, so this was the spectacle this time:

Basically, when we were skiing in France, I discovered my left foot had changed shape drastically one day (i.e. I could get my ski boot on in the morning, then after lunch I was nowhere near getting in there, and had to go back to the hire place to get a new pair). Since then, I have struggled even in running shoes, and I have been running without soles in training.

I thought it would be a bright idea (it wasn’t) to order a different pair of Inov8’s the week of the race, that I’ve never tried before,  but – shock, horror – when they arrived they didn’t fit my newly oddly shaped foot, despite the reviews saying they had a wider toe box than my other shoes.

Kyle’s solution…cut a hole in my old shoes so my bunion could poke out!

I’ll spare you the pic of the said bunion or whatever it may be…!

Next act on the playbill was the day before the race: travel day. I don’t know what I would have done without Debs, as I was vomiting all the way down the road…regularly puking up my beetroot juice on the motorway laybys. Classy guy. By the way, I was trying the whole “beetroot juice loading” last week, which again research has shown to be effective in endurance athletes. I don’t think that was the root (gettit?) cause of my sickness, it just meant I puked a nice shade of pink. Deb was off work last week with a virus, and maybe I just caught some of it? So it was her own fault she had to drive the ENTIRE way from Alford to Yorkshire #SUPERFIANCE!

She forced me to drink all evening when we got to the hotel, and a fresh air walk/recce of the final km of the race definitely helped. As did the deep fried ale pickles she ordered with her fish n chips. I was of course the better athlete and opted for carbonara and a large Cadbury’s easter egg 🙂

The morning of the race arrived and I couldn’t have been more pumped now that I felt a little better…!

I registered and arrived at the start line (there was no line) at 7.30am. The conditions were perfect for a long race…vest, shorts and Callum’s ultra bag it was! Oh, along with Callum’s Phoenix watch where I he uploaded the race course = LIFESAVER!

17238642_10158389924800644_1719117054_n17270285_10158389924550644_1710078891_n

The race was slightly delayed due to the number of participants (and because we were in Yorkshire, so really laid back vibe…no one even seemed nervous!) but without warning the organiser just appeared and shouted “READY…GO!”

The first 4 miles were very steady and easy – something I wasn’t used to in any race I have ever run, but I loved how relaxed it was. For these miles, I just tucked in behind the leading pack and tried to conserve as much energy as possible.

After around 6 miles, we approached the first hill and managed to fall over and hit my knee – although it was slightly cut, I couldn’t really feel it until later on in the day. That wasn’t to be my last fall…

Around the 12 mile point, Christopher Hudworth pulled away with Tom Payn (a 2.17 marathon runner and GB trail runner) and had managed to gain a 30 second lead on me by the 14 mile mark. The other group I was with were content to stay in the group so I decided to chase down Tom and run with him for a few miles. The biggest issue was that the entire course was unmarked so we really had to have our wits around us. A couple of times we went off course and had to wait until the chasing group caught up with us to find the right way – disaster!

ohh

The greatest error was around mile 20 when we (Tom, Matt and Gary) took the wrong turn heading down towards Stoodley Pike and ended up doing probably 4/5 minutes longer than we should have done. We did manage to find out way back on course but had another pack to chase down. This was the moment Debbie found me while out on her bike and although she was really nice and asking if I needed anything, all I could shout at her was “GELLLLLL. NOW.”

I also demanded a flapjack, but at this point she was too far in front and I never realised we had to head back on trails so I missed her.

Continuing on that trail to the top, I had very little confidence left in my navigation and ran alongside the legendary Ian Holmes for a few miles and with local knowledge he kept me on the straight and narrow for the last few miles.

jj

The last few miles, I started to struggle and I was told I was now in 2nd place – at this point I ran out of gels and tried to eat a sausage roll and doughnut. Note to self – make sure you don’t have a dry mouth with no water when eating them as you will find you’re playing a game of chubby bunny*.

I then hit a bit of a wall at 28 miles and Tom zoomed passed me and then a mile later, Gareth and Matt caught up with me and went past me. I then started seeing flashing black lights…uh oh!

However, I was soon offered some orange juice from a passerby and that perked me up a bit to make a stab at catching Matt and Gareth who were, by mile 30, around 30 seconds behind me in 3rd and 4th place. I saw in the distance, that leading runner Chris was soon overtaken by Tom which surprised me as Chris was 4 minutes in the lead at halfway.

By mile 31, I closed gap to Matt and Gareth and then I went passed Chris to now be on 4th place. It was now all downhill and a fight for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place…

The final 400 metres of was down a narrow path and through narrow lanes…it was like a scene from the Wacky Races…never did I imagine I would be doing a sprint finish in an ULTRA marathon!

I headed into the final 100metres but took the wrong turn whilst 3rd and 4th followed me…they turned and I was now in 4th place but couldn’t overtake due to the narrow paths! All in all…it resulted in 2nd, 3rd and 4th being TWO SECONDS apart! I was pleased but gutted not to make the top 3.

After I collapsed at the finish line, much like when I was “forced” to do Debbie’s half ironman after her accident, being force fed donuts and Lucozade certainly helped, but I was a broken man! I met with a GB selector at the end who was really impressed by my performance, but as he was only 1 of 4 selectors and a budget for the World Champs in Italy hadn’t been set yet, he couldn’t tell me anything. All I can do is keep everything crossed (although not physically because my muscles are still too sore!) that they put me on the team!

17274660_10158389924700644_758108484_n

(How I look after 3h55mins, 32.5miles and 4.5k ft elevation. Still want to marry me, Debs?)

Ok, so what I’ve discovered:

Do:

  • Drink lots and lots of water in the days prior to the race (especially if being sick the day before…)
  • Try out beetroot juice the week before your big distance event
  • Read race reports for the race – it could might save you from going the wrong way or not getting that time you were looking for
  • Praise your support crew as much as possible afterwards – I wouldn’t have made it to the start line without the better half!

Don’t

  • Obsess over food the week before. I think naturally with less training, eating the same is technically carb loading
  • Leave it last minute to pack. I never learn and always turn into a stress head (Debbie moreso at me)!
  • Borrow Callum’s watch (that was not the con…that part was a life saver!) without finding out how to use it. At 10pm on Friday night, Google and Youtube were my best friends!
  • Buy shoes the week of the race
  • Leave it to a sprint finish at the end of an ultra 😉

17270526_10158389924490644_1493357138_n17310476_10158389925380644_2043633757_o

utyut

 

*Deb edit: chubby bunny is a hilarious game involving marshmallows. If you haven’t played it, buy a bag of marshmallows and do it. Tonight.


In other news, Mum did phenomenally well in the 5km at Inverness the following day!! (Yes I did a helluva lot of travelling this weekend…) She was aiming to beat her race number (3448) and crossed the line in 33.56 by my Garmin! So proud of how far she’s coming!

…and yes she beat Kyle’s mum! She’s also been ill the last few weeks and had told us she wasn’t going to do it, then she surprised me at the start line!! Amazing efforts all round!

17274440_10158389925125644_945697686_n

17310500_10158389925405644_914829398_o17264173_10155187251603478_4449050588887670186_n

I was gutted I couldn’t run (virus + calf niggle = sensible Debbie for once, plus I was sore from chasing Kyle around Yorkshire on a bunch of 20% climbs!!) but everyone did so well – cannot wait to get back running and try to catch up! 🙂

2 champs in da house: Kyle is Scottish Trail Running Champ!

http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/scottish-trail-champs-review/

The old ball n chain is ready to SMASH the Loch Ness Marathon on 25th September!

The day before I won my Triathlon national title, he went and beat me to it(!), claiming gold in the Scottish trail champs held in Fife.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go down as I was on DIY duty (I was going to use that as my excuse to Kyle if I didn’t match his result the following day!) but I wish I had!

This is his recap of his national title performance:



trailpete

 

“It was a huge confidence booster to beat a rival of mine, who has won Loch Ness in the past and has entered it this year. I hadn’t tapered for this race; I was hoping to race under pressure on tired legs and hope I could pull it off (3 days beforehand I did 17 miles with  5x4km, averaging 5.48 per mile, inc the recovery, so I was pretty tired going into it!) .

As it wasn’t an “A” race, I wasn’t nervous at all going into this. I didn’t get that butterfly feeling until about 5 seconds before the gun went off! I’ve never had that before. I think it was a combination of feeling confident in my abilities and racing under no pressure.

I didn’t leave the house until around 10am, took a couple hours to drive down and managed to get a good 2-3 mile warm up in, with good dynamic exercises and a few strides. This is something new I’ve been working on and I think it is paying off as I’m going into sessions and races feeling more limber and relaxed! I don’t really do drills, but mobilisation exercises and strides is what I recommend!

The last time I participated in the national trail champs, I was 4th, so I had a goal of podium-ming (let me off since it’s me and pretend that is a real word) and I had a rough idea of the course and was pretty sure it suited me (hard packed underfoot and undulating).

I settled into a decent pace at the front with a previous Loch Ness marathon champ, and the recent Paisley 10k winner (Deb and I did Paisley a couple years ago and both came 5th, so to win is a good achievement). I used my hill running background to my advantage to tire them out on the hills, and then there was a point with about 2 miles to go, where we turned a corner and I really pushed the hill coming out of it. I ended up in the lead with a decent gap, so I kept up my pace and came away with a win by 20 seconds!

Stopping at a supermarket on the way home for celebratory cakes and crisps, we popped open some bubbles when I got back to the house (but not too much as we were up at 4.30am the next morning for Deb’s race!!) and I managed a 20 miler while watching the National Olympic Distance Triathlon champs the following day, so I wasn’t too broken!”

Capture.PNG

 

And since he will be annihilating the field at Loch Ness in <2 weeks, I decided to enter the 10k as of the end of last week (triathlon season is over!). That gives me around 5 quality run sessions to try and get a decent time and not embarrass myself! This year, I was trying to get some speed, so 10k seems like a lonnnggg way at the moment. But, given that my run split at the tri champs was 39.58 for 10.4km (yep, Strava confirmed this after thinking my time was faster than that…!), hopefully I can work from that…All tips welcome!

14284850_10157416938845644_1673425724_o

 

 

 

Another Interview with the K-Meister, in his quest to conquer his 1st marathon in London on 24th April

Since it’s less than 7 weeks until London (that means less than 7 weeks until we go to THAILAND!), I thought I would interview Kylie Babez again with how he is progressing (you can see his 1st interview on the blog here!).

Please all pray that he remains injury free and rocks it in London, along with the billion other people I know doing it!

ALSO, PLEEEEEEEASE wish for Freyja (you’ll find her interview here!) to do amazingly at the Olympics test event in in Rio this week…she landed there last night and I have a good feeling about her booking another flight there this year..!


 

Ok, back to KB:

 

Picture1.png

(“I’m as good as Chuck right now!” – Kyle Greig, March 2016)

1. What are your main goals this year?

Main goals this year are to:

– Make the start line of London Marathon with my shoes, shorts, vest and race number all present

– Complete said Marathon

– Get a sub 2.30 mark

– After that I intend to get PBs in both 10k and half marathons

– I also want to race in the hills with the intention of winning the Scottish Champs if the marathon hasn’t taken too much out of me!
2. What has your training be like?
In the run up to London it will be long, varied and hard (get your minds out the gutter, folks)!

Just now, I’m cranking up the mileage to an average of 95 miles per week and reducing the faster sessions to twice per week to give time to recover. To do this, I’m having to continue running double days but slightly longer than pre-marathon training. Doing more stretching, foam rolling and, err, eating is aiding recovery!

The session I’m most proud of so far in this marathon training was last Saturday, where I did over 21 miles, made up of a 10 mile tempo, followed by 10 x 1 mile repeats, with 60s recovery. My average pace for the run (including rest) was 5.44/mile, so that was a huge confidence booster for London!

 

3. Do you have a go to pre-race meal?
Lots of carbs – pizza and/or pasta always a winner
12047420_10156628339200644_787842761_n.jpg

(This may or may not have been all for me last night…)

 

4. Any race superstitions?
Back in the day, I never used to have a shower the morning of or the night before the race but I got a few funny screwed up looks on the start line. Other than that, I don’t think I do. I don’t fake tan or anything, like Debbie does…

 

5. Do you do anything outwith actual running to supplement your training?
I like to cycle outdoors in the Alford countryside when I can – especially with big hills to burn up, and boy o boy, there are plenty in this neck of the woods! If I’m injured, I will hit the road bike to keep aerobic fitness up and I’ll use the bike for additional volume for mara training or a nice recovery ride ….followed by a beer if available.

12822252_10156628339360644_1031754073_n.jpg

(A Sunday post-cycle beer)

6. What is your favourite running brand?

Inov8 – their logo is pretty slick and comes from a mountain running background, which is my favourite running discipline. I also respect their shoes, which strip away most of the unwanted ‘junk’ you get in a lot of shoes these days such as cushions, posts and fancy springs! Check what the fast guys wore in the 80’s and you might see where I’m coming from!

7. Favourite race location? Favourite training location?

Race location – Anchorage in Alaska

Training location – it’s gotta be Chamonix in France. This place is a trail runners’ paradise – it even has a Trail runners’ information hut, which is staffed to provide info on the routes, sessions and races around the area. I went with Barney a couple of years back the week before the Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc – looks amazing and something I would love to do when I grow up (which may never happen).

12642690_10207241705773499_1852584759488608824_n.jpg

(trail runner paradise!)

8. What race is on your bucket list?

Comrades marathon I reckon is up there

 

9. If you were to give someone new to running 3 tips what would they be?

– Train consistently 

– Vary your workout

– Set achievable yet challenging goals

 

10. Who do you look up to and what inspires you?

Ethiopian star Haile Gebreselassie – a modest man yet has achieved almost everything distance running has to offer. His positivity towards life and training is something we should all aspire to. I tried not to look like too much of a stalker when we were elites together at the Great Scottish Run!

Picture2.jpg

(Nope, not stalking him at all…)

Debbie, ahem, should also be up there – she got hit by a car resulting in a smashed up knee and permanent lung damage, yet still managed to achieve her goal in an Ironman by achieving qualification to the World Ironman Champs, and now being part of the relay development squad for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She works brutally hard, trains for 6 hours in a garage and gets up at 4am to go swimming “for bants”, as she puts it.

 

11. What do you hope to achieve in your running career?

– Sub 2.20 marathon
– 65 min half marathon
–  Sub 30 min 10k
–  More Scotland selection in various running disciplines

 

12. How do you balance training around life?

Even though I can be a scatter brain and forget quite a lot, I strive to be disciplined and make time for everything. To do this I get up early – around half 5 during the week to commute to work, train and then start the working day. I then have time to squeeze in a lunch run or do one after work. I should still have time to be social or relax/do chores/make dinner in the evening…

(Edit by Deb: note he said “should still have time”, yet never does…!)

 

13. Does it help or hinder the fact your burd is an athlete too (eg does training get in the way of coupley things, or do you support each other)?
Not a huge hindrance! It’s quite nice having the house to myself when she goes for long rides or swimming, but I tend to do some sessions with her even though the goals are somewhat different, so it all works out. We push each other and give tips when we are struggling or in need of advice, which means I have a free psychologist/masseuse on hand whenever I want!

 

14. What’s your favourite food and drink?
Food – Lindt chocolate
Drink – Martini Asti


15. Is Debzie Babez your dream girl?

Since Dibaba is never going to know me, she will have to do…

genezbe-dibaba.jpg

(if only)

Do not try this at home, folks: Winging the Moray Marathon

Remember that Ironman I did 3 weeks ago?

Well, I got bored of my recovery weeks and may have decided to have a YOLO moment on the closing date of the Moray Marathon. I texted Callum (who is even more mental than me – I knew I could persuade him!) so we both entered it as a “fun run” aiming to go just slightly faster than my IM run split (4hr1min).

11997462_10156041809150644_764946941_n

Oh no, that’s not the most mental part: I entered on the Sunday, I ran for the 1st time properly since IM on the Tuesday, then on the Wednesday at work I decided that I was now ready to wear heels again at work (I haven’t worn heels since the crash). I take off my shoes to go for a 2nd run and hear a crack! Uh oh! From Wednesday to present I can’t put weight on my left foot.

HOWEVER running, as I found out on Friday, was manageable! Kyle and I were heading to a Sports Awards Event at the Sports Village so we decided to do a wee half hour in the gym beforehand. I hobbled to the treadmill, then did 10 minutes at 9min/miles with no pain!

The following day, Callum, Claire (super mental ultrarunner), Kyle and I, spent the morning in Food Story (delicious cafe 5mins from our flat = dangerous!):

“Callum when are you picking me up tomorrow for the marathon?”

“EH?!?!??!! You’re nae deein the marathon!! You cannae walk!”

“I think I can do it, guys. I ran for 10 minutes yesterday.”

*hobbles to the counter to buy a brownie*

So, no training since Ironman, a predicted broken toe, and a slight hangover from previous sports awards’ free wine, he agrees to pick me up at 7am the next day.

And on top of that, Fraser got news of this last minute entry (thanks, Paul 😉 …) and so a wee article was published in the paper:

11992589_10156041812905644_138247328_n

(no pressure then!)

Ok on to race day. Callum, Jeremy (super speedy runner who WILL break 3 hours in 3 weeks time!) and I road tripped up to the Glen Moray Distillery. I had eaten too late on the Saturday night (we didn’t do a food shop until really late so I didn’t have my 7kg of cheesy stuffed pasta until about 9pm), so I couldn’t stomach breakfast until about 30miles into our road trip (pb&j on ciabatta with some chia seeds sprinkled on top) but when you have 26.2 miles to wing forcing food down is a must!

Jeremy was doing the half marathon as a warm up to his “A” race (Robin Hood marathon) so he had an extra hour to wait after we headed off, but registration was so fast and there was no queue for the portapotties which was a massive boost! Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!

By the time we put our bibs on and dumped our stuff, it was time to make the 5ish minute walk to the start line (it made the course more accurate BUT it did mean we did a net UPHILL marathon!). There weren’t many guys doing it (<100) but everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was so relaxed and fun!

11997170_10156041608235644_50974845_n

We headed off and for once (thanks to Callum!) I didn’t whizz off at my usual unrealistic pace, and even let a girl get in front of me (note: this never happens in a marathon only because I go out at 5km pace and die)! The headwind was mental (20mph) so we could hardly hear each other. It was more noises that Callum made – think moo-ing at the cows, quacking at the ducks etc etc – whenever it was windy instead!

11988555_10153219711874506_2213912238582185679_n

(that’s me on the right with the bright shorts!)

I prewarned him he needed to have nearly 4hours worth of chat if I was to enjoy this marathon and it actually happened! We never stopped talking the entire way! Let’s see, we talked about houses and pets and weddings and food and marathons and ultras and triathlons and scenery and city breaks and holidays and the weather and tanning and mascara and had a heated discussion about how miles are far better than kilometers(!!) AND he even carried our water!! Best support EVER!

image

Unfortunately, although expected, Callum is MUCH fitter than me! He wasn’t out of breath once; even up the huge hill! He is going to SMASH the Budapest marathon in a few weeks! We used to have similar times but he has totally blown me away in the last year!

Capture

(proof of the hills)

The race markers actually counted downwards, which was a great mental boost! As soon as it hit the teens I wrongly mentally thought I was near the finish line….strange but it worked!

It was pretty undulating with a big hill between miles 9 and 11. But the views going up the hill were so pretty it certainly took some of the pain away!

The marshalls were all so supportive (despite calling Callum part of the “leading ladies” – he has never been called a girl so much in his life!) and water stops were plentiful. We carried 3 gels each and I took mine at 7, 14 and 20 miles. I never hit a wall so it did the job!

Oh yeah, and I wore new trainers that hadn’t done over 7 miles so they got a bit clunky at about the 2 hour mark. What’s that saying ingrained into marathoners? “Don’t try anything new on race day!?” Oops!

From about 15 miles onwards we got a great tailwind, and unfortunately, we started passing more and more people. I think if you were to do this race alone it would be very isolating and lonely. Although the course is gorgeous, the small amount of people doing it means there would be times when you are all alone out there (therapeutic to some but I am needy and loved having Callum there!).

As we started picking people off, we upped our pace a wee bit. Nothing too fancy, but we felt good so why not? I did get over excited so didn’t really listen to Callum when he said slow down and stick with the next guy. Sorry I’m not sorry!

Within the last 5km there was about 3km of more headwind (ouch!) and one short but sharp hill, but knowing the last mile had a tailwind, we pushed harder and upped our cadence. Within the last 500m there is one massive stupid hill (that we walked down heading to the start line…booo!) but we passed a few guys from the half marathon which made me feel better!

With 200m to go, Callum was extra-encouraging and told me to sprint finish for the win (I won by 17 minutes so no sprint was necessary, but was fun!) which means I beat him by 1 whole second! 😉

Finishing time 3.16.12 – 1st Female Overall and 1st EVER negative split race (1.40/1.35) – the massive headwind in the 1st half helped!

11992220_10156041607995644_804334123_n

11997130_10156041608175644_560472025_n

I’m not sure if my left big toe issue meant that I overcompensated my running style, therefore damaging something in my right glute but I felt it after about an hour and it is now in AGONY! Another oops! Luckily, there was a physio group there who helped me (and Callum who we find out will do almost any running challenge BUT is terrified of needles!) And because we are soooooo amazingly attractive after marathons, they asked if they could take photos of us for their website! They really knew their stuff and I highly recommend them!

11998680_10156041608670644_19970301_n 11994444_10156041608720644_2003904330_n

(Velocity Physiotherapy)

Oh and last but not least, I was given a bottle of wine (this wasn’t part of my prize) by an inspiring man who has done over 50 marathons and named this race as his favourite EVER! To mark that fact, he gave me this:

11992439_10156041608050644_1130743709_n

11950878_10156041608105644_1495008951_n

We swapped stories (he had heard about my accident/Ironman) and I could have spoken to him for hours!

…However, I was ravenous, as was superCal, so he dragged me to the pies! What a spread of food there was!

We headed home, showered (OH EMM GEEE my hair was so knotted from the wind/sweat/water), and immediately hit the park for some “refreshing” beverages with Callum and Phil!

11950894_10156041608125644_723748551_n

(long hair sucks sometimes…any tips more than welcome!)

11058639_10155981367340693_1270278807126542868_n

It was one of the BEST Sundays I have EVER had!! The one thing missing? We ran through Dallas (Debbie DID Dallas!) and I NEVER got a selfie 😦 …next time!


Anyone ever done a race for fun? What was it?

Do you have “A” races and other tune up races? Or do you just race for fun? Or do you race every race like an “A” race!?

What is the most fun you have had at a race? Why?

The Rotterdam Marathon 2015

Cliff notes: I pushed the 1st half so I was out of my comfort zone. Scott threatened me to slow down so I finished in 3.30 and could continue training as per. Me – thinking I am the superhero I’m not – thought “meh I feel fine I’ll slow down only a little and still manage to train hard this week” then BOOM I hit a wall and sit at the side of the road for 8 MINUTES (strava can prove this!) having mental talks with myself, while being offered drugs from spectators (don’t be alarmed, folks. I am a sponsored athlete who is good under peer pressure!).

3.09.23 – 25th female, but only 934/11879 overall!

Capture

(never mind – can’t win ’em all!)

Race morning: 

I actually managed to sleep until 5am (usually I wake up lots the night before!) but my alarm was set for 7am (I always set my alarm 3 hours before the start) so I just kinda stared at the ceiling. By 6.45 I was pretty bored so decided to go out for my warm up jog…boy was it windy! I was hoping it would calm down since my 9minute/mile pace felt pretty hard! I did 15 mins with a couple of strides and headed back to the room for breakfast. Kylie Babez had so kindly picked up my breakfast the evening before, so I had half a baguette with a banana and peanut butter. I probably should have had more (I usually have porridge with chia seeds too, but I didn’t take any with me. Oops). And 2 cups of coffee. Well that woke me up after a week without caffeine!

My music blaring on the ipad (Kyle should get some sort of trophy for putting up with my annoying qualities all through the year never mind race morning) – think heavy angry rap from da hood, I got changed into race gear and did some stretches. We headed downstairs last minute (about 9.20am) because I hate porta potty lines. The metro wasn’t too busy, and we got to the start line about 9.30am. I did another wee jog, then said my nervous goodbyes to KB, who would then go and meet his parents off

the train!

11146159_10155468512575644_431743392_n

(my “do I have to do this?” pose)

11156914_10155468512500644_516136967_n

(my “get me out of this prison cell” pose)

11119510_10155468512545644_1852960881_n

(my “ok he won’t let me out of here, so I might as well do some form of warm up” pose)

The Race:

So I had NO IDEA what was going on because I am an ignorant Scotsman who can’t speak Dutch. Suddenly, with my trackies still on, I was pushed into sardine territory within seconds, and lost my good place near the front. I was in the 1st wave, but looking at people’s bibs in front of me, other waves managed to sneak in! Then a song was sang that 99% of runners sang along to, and then I just heard a gun!

“Oh, I should start running now”.

“Ahhh why are so many people in front of me? In other big races, I have plenty of space. Grrr. I’ll use these swimmer shoulders of mine to push through”.

“Hmm maybe this is expending a little too much energy. Yep, a 6.24 mile is not what I’m aiming for going UP a steep bridge.”

“Ok calm down, just relax down the other end of the bridge and try and find a group going the pace you feel is right”

“Eh???! A 6.14 mile! WTF?!”

Capture6

(for once I’m serious and someone else is posing!)

I refused to look at my watch, but did notice a sub20 5km (and my watch read 3.15 at the time!), but I found someone nice to chat to for a couple of minutes, until I realised he was shooting for sub-2.50, so I left him alone. Bad timing because then there was what felt like a 10 mile stretch (it was only 2.5 miles) into a strong headwind where I had noone to tuck behind! I lost everyone! This was both mentally and physically exhausting, so I took a gel and smiled for the spectators (I have NEVER been at a race where there is no space at the side of the road…for 26 miles it was incredible!!).

Miles 1-6: 6.24, 6.14, 6.33, 6.29, 6.28, 6.41 (40.29 at 10km)

I spotted Kyle and his parents at EXACTLY the right time! I waved and shouted at them, and they looked so happy to see that I wasn’t crawling yet be watching the race. Mummy Greig made the BEST poster for me too!

11148918_10155468512435644_647025398_n

(yay – only skinny men around me…I must be quite fast!)

11146082_10155468512470644_189618868_n

(off I go….fa la la)

I don’t remember much up until the half marathon point. I just remember a lot of gradual ups and downs and wind. I felt good though!

Miles 7-13: 6.37, 6.41, 6.47, 6.43, 6.47, 6.59, 6.53 (1.27.33 at the HM)

I felt comfortable and found my pace, but I was getting really thirsty! Basically, the water stops were every 5.5ish km (strike one right there…I sweat a lot so I am losing liquids from the get go), and they had these weird sponge-as-a-lid designs for the cups, whereby if you went to take a drink of water, it got soaked up by said sponge and left you with a mere trickle on the tongue. I think they intended it to prevent spillage but instead the sponge absorbed 99% of it. Anyway, by the halfway point I did a quick calculation and realised I had consumed approximately 0.3 cups in total of water and “AA” (the marathon’s energy drink) combined, so that was maybe why I was very thirsty and tired in the 17C heat at 13 mile point.

11093420_10155468512425644_1517023394_n

(go Debster for leading the skinny men pack while still smiling…only approximately 17 minutes before you hit the wall though…muhahaha)

Past half way, my legs still had a rhythm going, and I wasn’t keen on easing up because I thought that rhythm might be interrupted if I slow pace. But I did it anyway (Scott and I wanted me to be able to train through it – I have a half ironman in 5 weeks and have a LOT of work to do), looked at my watch and saw and “8” – holy moly this didn’t feel like an 8. The effort felt the same as the 6!

“Ahh I broke my rhythm. This feels weird. People keep passing me now; I don’t like it. Why didn’t I take the 1st half steady and then nail the 2nd half? Surely that makes more sense? Ugh I don’t know if I can handle all these people passing me. I think I’ll stop for a minute. Yes, good idea. Stopping is always a good idea.”

So I did. I asked a kind man for water at the side of the road (he had a 2L bad boy and I felt like an addict that would do anything for my fix, so didn’t mind taking water from a stranger) and downed about a quarter of it. Another man also came up to me and asked if I wanted his “salt” drink. I looked at it, saw it had green stuff floating in it, thought I best not (although maybe it would make the miles fly by  😉  ) and went on my merry way. The next mile was still an 8, but I had stopped contemplating cannibas cocktails for a while…

Capture3

(another pic where he is happier than me…!)

A few more miles ticked by where the wind was strong, the temperatures were high, and I was thirsty again. I had 4 gels tucked away in my shorts and bra, and I like to take them every 5ish miles, but you are also meant to take them with water, and the aid stations didn’t tie in with this plan. For example, I saw a sign that said “Refreshments – 100m” at about 16 miles.

“Yaaas maybe they are opening up more aid stations in the 2nd half! I’ll take my Salted Caramel Gu now. Yes, that flavour is what I fancy just now, then I’ll take the Peanut Butter one in about 45 mins because it’s not as sickly and my stomach won’t want sickly by then. I’m so smart. Ok, 100m has passed, I see no refreshments? Hang on, that’s been over a quarter mile. Oh no I see a station, phew! Hang on, that is a tent full of sponges?? I don’t want more sponges…I want refreshments!! Noooo!! Rotterdam Marathon and you’re false advertising – I’ll get you for this!”

In a nutshell, fuelling didn’t go to plan. I was beginning to feel drained, the gels weren’t kicking in because I had no water and the only thing preventing me from stopping again were the sheer amount of spectators blocking the pavement for a seat.

I decided the best way for me to get in my nutrition was to walk the aid stations, hence the other 8 minute miles at 19 & 20 miles. I wasn’t getting a PB today anyway, and it meant I would enjoy the race as opposed to suffer and crawl across the finish line.

Miles 14 – 20: 8.12, 8.10, 7.20, 7.36, 7.13, 8.04, 8.00

The final 10k was around a lake (that we didn’t get to see because of trees), but there were some bands and DJs playing, and it was around the point where people were really dying. I mean, I was tired, and I had their AA drink sloshing in my stomach after downing 5 cups at every aid station from 19 miles onwards, but I was still capable of running.

It was probably the quietest part of the course. Which I guess is a shame because 20 miles is when the real race starts; that is when you really need the motivation and strength to keep going.

Capture7

(ok this is getting ridiculous now. I’M meant to be the poser!)

Capture10

(hurry up finish line!)

After a lap of the lake, you are back on the road you came out on, so there were hundreds of people still to venture around that lake. That was a bit of a confidence boost, in a selfish and evil way. The crowds were in their thousands and because my name was on my bib I was cheered by so many people (“shexshay Debbie” was a common one throughout the race!)! I even got a marriage proposal, but instead of being flattered I decided I should maybe start wearing more clothes at these races. I digress, the final 2 miles were SO MUCH FUN!!! I was out of my hole, I wasn’t going to stop, the sloshing in my stomach had calmed down, I was highfiving kids that didn’t even want high 5s, I was smiling from ear to ear and was singing to Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” with the crowd down the finishing chute! I felt like a rockstar down that last 200m with the crowds!

Miles 21 – 26.2: 7.43, 7.22, 7.46, 7.37, 7.34, 7.35, 6.39 for the 0.5(again, I’ll get you for this Rotterdam!) 

As I crossed the line, I posed for the camera with an “I can’t win ’em all” pose, and saw Kyle & his parents straight away! They were so supportive and excited despite Kyle being unable to run. Thanks so much, guys!

11157952_10155468512400644_1946769024_n

(about 3m and 10seconds from crossing the finish line…KB said I was as pale as a ghost! I was loving life!)

I put on my finisher’s tshirt and we headed straight for the pub!

11145943_10155468512385644_463317624_n

(it was such a gorgeous day!)

11118565_10155468512345644_2089432384_n

(Kyle’s dad showing me the video he took of me….I’m still waiting for this to be sent *hint hint*!)

Overall, I’m happy that my splits were semi-even (if you break it into 2xhalves), that I enjoyed the race, and that I have been able to recover quickly (I hate admitting Scott was right!) – I managed an hour crosstraining and a 15min run the following day, a 60km cycle and 6 mile run on Tuesday, and a 3.6km swim, 4 mile run and turbo session yesterday! Note to self: running even splits is faaaaar easier than changing pace, and in Rotterdam I learned that the hard way!

11156819_10155468512330644_2103851233_n

(the poster Mummy Greig made me!! She also treated me with the Snickers, and Freyja sent me some pb M&Ms from the states for me!!!)

Capture4

So I have this little thing called a Marathon on Sunday…

11090935_10155410071055644_445032473_o

(last week’s Evening Express article – same ol’ cheesy finish picture!)

So Kyle and I entered Rotterdam a few months ago. Kyle has always said he would do a marathon before turning 30. He has not done one yet (despite doing an ultra…weirdo!), loves running long and can run fast. He thought 2015 would be his year and he would get down near 2.20 in Rotterdam. I – of course – couldn’t let him do it alone, so I entered it too. Much like in the Ribble Valley 10k.

Unfortunately, Kyle is injured and doesn’t think he’ll manage it. This leaves me with the pressure to do better than the ok-let’s-do-this-as-a-fun-long-run-and-celebrate-with-kylie-and-his-parents-after-he-gets-a-crazy-fast-time, and maybe not show up to the start line with a camera/Skittles/lip gloss etc to carry me around a fun run (don’t worry, folks – he’s “Comeback Kylie”, so he’s still got time to manage a fast marathon before he turns 30 this year!).

We’ll see what happens – I haven’t done much marathon-specific work, but I am hoping my endurance from all the training Scott has forced upon me I’ve been doing and loving will keep me going. I have enjoyed a couple of “fun” long runs in the last couple of months, so I know I can get round. These runs have included Callum, so considering he went 2.55 in the Rome marathon a couple of weeks ago, I can too, right!? Even though I was behind him the whole way?! Please say yes.    😉

With 9 days to go, I have had a look to Google for some motivation, and will be hopefully be listening to my own advice:

  • This article shows that a lot of people know to taper before these long races, but tend not to do it properly. I certainly know from experience; in my 1st marathon, I did zero workouts with 3 weeks to go, only ran every second day, and figured if I wasn’t running I might as well eat more carbs. Three weeks later I was heavy, sloppy and slow (3.24 – Loch Ness 2012).
  • If I am not training as much in body this final week, I can instead train my mind; using visualisation exercises has been proven to work wonders for race day! “I WILL see myself crossing the line in 2.14 and breaking Paula’s record” 😉 In all seriousness, get RID of those negative feelings and focus on the positives; you have put in the hard work – you are ready!
  • Planning ahead really clears the mind to focus on more important things…this is something I need to work on! So this time, I bought my toiletries and Euros the weekend before (not at the airport on flight morning!) and packed my suitcase a few days before so if I forgot anything I had time to put it in!
  • In the final week, we CANNOT feel guilty for RESTING!! It is the PERFECT excuse to rest those legs! Look after yourself: eat better, take long baths, sleep more (but don’t change up the routine too much!), veg in front of Netflix, and take your mind off of any pressure! Speaking of movies, McDoogz and Kyle can we pleeeease watch Unbroken again for motivation?!?! I can also recommend “Spirit of the Marathon” – what a film to get you in the mood (if anyone knows how I can watch the 2nd one in the UK, PLEASE let me know!!)!
  • One thing that I believe worked for me in my sub-3 marathon, was not having any caffeine in the final week ( I will TRY this time but I can’t make any promises…work is TOUGH just now!) And then having a LARGE coffee on race morning!! This isn’t a good idea for those with sensitive stomachs, though!
  • Reading THIS proves that we are not the ONLY mental people out there, and “the wall” can come to anyone! (I send this to EVERYONE I know who is signing up for their 1st marathon! Another good one is THIS!)
  • We enter these silly races first and foremost because we LOVE it! We LOVE running and we LOVE challenging our bodies and minds to see what we can really get out of them! We LOVE giving ourselves pep-talks mid-race to NOT give up and NOT slow down, and we LOVE the feeling of crossing that line knowing we did everything we could do. We LOVE the competition, but we also love the encouragement and the “team” feeling within the running community. Think about Boston and how united we were after those events. We secretly LOVE the pain at mile 21 when EVERYTHING is telling you to just stop, but you don’t, because you are stronger than that. And instead, you push harder – not necessarily faster – but harder!

comicpagefivea500

“Is that all you got? Are you sure?…You CAN run a little faster and you CAN throw a little harder…”:

10246536_10154028840455644_3304039784181052662_n

(After not quite breaking 3 with a 3.05 in Manchester last year. Mum at the finish line: “we thought you got lost – we have been waiting 5 WHOLE minutes more than anticipated. I don’t like waiting”. Thanks for the support, Mum.)

10152574_10154028840135644_7549378931817469673_n

(She was proud, really!)

Capture7

(Getting my sub-3, 6 weeks later after a stint on crutches. It made the success so much sweeter!)

Running is SUPPOSED to be fun!!:

11046815_10205042992647045_7109340386856779635_n

1379479_10204615176351708_1806803217835952404_n

10004034_10154019569515644_186226357_n

1517395_10152440331579699_4191454151790863687_n

20150215-221016

(Maybe don’t show JUST how much fun you’re having this weekend, Debs, m’kay!?)

Hope this isn’t too cheesy a post – I just get so excited around marathon time!

This is so true (you should see me at ANY marathon finish line…I am a MESS!):

comicpagefourb500

Ok people, I’m off to run Rotterdam. Even if I don’t break 4, let alone 3 (quite likely after my Scottish Champs performance) , I promise I will love every second of it! And if not, there’s always Amsterdam to party in afterwards!

My number is F9421 if you want to track me (you can even write me a message to see en route here!), and I am hoping I get to see some “motivational posters” too!


What’s the best sign you’ve seen during a race?

Race day tips?

How do you taper?