Scotlands Toughest

What’s top of your ‘to do’ list when you have your first proper crash off a bike? Nothing? Sounds logical.  A half marathon? Probably not.

However…  My legs still worked so I thought I would see how it went.  It was never going to be an easy race but I suppose what happened on the bike just didn’t help really.

So yes.  I took on the toughest half marathon in Scotland (because you know, why do an easy one?) and gave it my all.  

Genuinely.  I collapsed in a heap at the end and didn’t care what I looked like.

Obviously this was a championship race – if it’s hard it’s on the clubs list, sadists, the lot of them – so I was keen to at least try and finish.  It was meant to be a hot day so shorts and vest it was.  With sunglasses that didn’t cover the hole in my face even slightly.  I would never make a good celebrity with my crap disguises.  As we grouped together for a team photo (scrap book must have) the heavens opened.  I was kneeling down, already stiff and in pain, and I was not happy.  For some reason everyone else in the club found the weather funny and laughed.  I did not.  I glared at the photographer (because obviously this was all his fault) before refusing to look anywhere but the ground.  Admittedly, the photo is not my best.

I then ran under a tree with a few others for some shelter.  We chatted and I was told I was currently top of the leader board.  Well that made me smile! Well, half smile.  The left hand side of my face still doesnt move so I probably looked like a demented villain but it gave me a little boost.  It may only be because not many have done a marathon this year yet but yeah, I have screen shotted that bad boy! 

On to the race.  It instantly starts up hill.  

And doesn’t stop.

For 11 miles!

How can you run UP hill for 11 and only run 2 miles downhill yet still end up back at the start???

Sadists.  I’m telling you!

The first few miles were ‘as expected’.  Tough, but I managed one foot in front of the other.  The sun came out as soon as the shower passed so I took water at every station, grateful there were a few on this route! There were some very chirpy marshalls too. ‘Go, on, you’re doing great’ they shouted.  Which was sweet.  But I knew I looked like death.

My cheek hurt so much every time I very briefly went down a hill.  My left knee and hips felt like they were grinding and at one point I stopped to walk as I drank my water.  Derek went past me.  ‘Come on Ella, I’m using you as my pacer’ he said.  ‘Don’t do that unless you want to be last!’ I shouted after him as he disappeared in a cloud of dust.

I stopped again at about 9 miles to walk it off and my ‘second voice’ as I’ve come to call it started up. 

‘Why did you do this?  What are you trying to prove? And to who?!’

‘Whom.  It’s to whom are you trying to prove something’.

‘Don’t try and correct me! You’re not gaining anything by doing this you know.  You should have had a rest day, let your body recover’.

‘I’m fine.  I can do this.  I just need to finish. I don’t care about the time’.

‘Clearly you don’t because you are walking during a running race’.

Ah man I’m walking! Get a move on! I had gotten lost in my thoughts and had walked for a good minute at least.  Whoops!

I found my steam again and kept pushing one foot in front of the other.  Eventually I reached 11 miles.  And eventually I reached the start of the promised 2 miles downhill.  It was just a shame I couldn’t really run hard down this section as my face now felt like it had been smacked a hundred times with a bag of bricks.

Not just one brick.  A bag of bricks.

I resolved to write a very strongly worded letter of complaint to the roadrunners committee about their choice of races.

I tried to smile at the photographer but this race just wasn’t my most ‘gracious’.  On a good day I would like to think I’m a 7.  You know, like a good tv character that’s not the lead but gets her fair share of lines.  Today was not a good day.  Today was definitely a 2 at most.  I was the body in the gutter that had been electrocuted just as the wind changed and that was it.

I’m not posting the photo.

Just at the final stretch there were a few roadrunners who had very wisely chosen not to run this route.  ‘This is so painful’ I cried as I crawled past.  They just laughed that knowing laugh.

Across the line and I was handed my bottle of water and banana.  I found a large group of roadrunners who had finished about an hour earlier and just collapsed down on the grass.  ‘I’m just going to lie here for a minute’ I managed to whisper as I rocked back and forth on the floor.

All jokes aside this is a great race.  Fantastic scenery and the most challenging route I have ever done.  I just wasn’t fully fit for it, but I knew that.  I’m pleased I still miraculously came in under 2 hours even though it was a full 10 minutes over my PB on this distance.  I’m paying for it today though.  I did nothing on my lunch break at work.  Nothing.  Not even a walk.  

But I did take a selfie in my car.

I’m not ready to commit to saying I would do it again next year.  Depends how competitive I get I suppose ha ha.  Maybe ask me when I’ve been able to run again. 

4 weeks and counting until Ironman 70.3.

Yeah I Did!

Drum roll please……

In fact forget the drum roll I want a great big massive Mexican wave spanning countries and countries, flags waving, children clapping, streams of coloured paper in the air – get it done!

Basically I just completed my FIRST EVER open water swim. 

Now you can understand the celebrations!

It’s just under 7 weeks to the Edinburgh Half Ironman and I knew I needed to get past this mile stone so headed down to the nearest organised open water swimming (safety first after all, can’t just go jumping in the local river!).

Time was tight and we didn’t get there until after the session had started but that didn’t really matter. I wasn’t convinced I would be able to force myself to properly swim anyway so was going with the intention of maybe getting about 50m along the front – possibly.  

We changed in to our wet suits and headed down where we saw Brian on his bike.  Stopped for a little chat and as Joe went to put his swim cap on….it broke.  He headed back to see if he could locate a spare.  Standing at the side of the Loch trying desperately not to look like I didn’t belong there I waded very slowly in.  Very slowly.  I waited for the water to start dribbling in and surprisingly it wasn’t as cold as expected.  I looked back at the shore and Joe still wasn’t back.  People were going off in dribs and drabs, it was very relaxed.  I was not.  

Right come on and you going do this?  No. Seriously? Man up! No, I will just wait for Joe.  Why? Isn’t that what I’m meant to do? What, you think he’s going to swim with you? You’re not fast enough.  Right fine!!! 

And I was off! I was actually off! Put my face in the water and went for it!!

I very quickly took my face out the water.

Oh My God I can’t see a thing!! Gasp gasp gasp!! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.  

But…. I’m still going.  Yes, I am still swimming.  Head for the huge yellow thing, it’s right there.  Deep breathe – intake of Loch water, choking, spluttering, BUT still swimming!

Round the yellow marker and on to the next one.  Still going.  Still can’t see a damn thing in the murky water, still not thinking about that, or what might be in here with me, including the massive pike the registration form ‘joked’ about.  Still swimming.

I get back to the shore and pause my watch (if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count after all).  Holy crap I’ve just swam in that Loch! I was ecstatic! It might have been beyond slow – although I didn’t really get over taken – but it was a swim.  Joe was back and had located another swim cap so we headed back in so he could do his first loop and I could do another.  I waited for him to go first before going again.  

A lot less gasping this time but still struggled to put my face in the water however, still got round.  Again.  This time my hand brushed some weeds but I was surprisingly calm.  Didn’t panic at all.  It was weeds.  I am telling myself it was weeds.  Nothing else.

I managed one more loop before time was up.  On the last loop I got grabbed a few times and had to handle a crowded turning but I was fine.  I did it.

Back at the van and I was straight on the phone to Ben who has given me a few swimming sessions.  ‘I didn’t die!!!’ Was my message.  ‘Woo! Gold star for you’ was the reply ha ha.

So it’s done! Milestone achieved, level unlocked, nappy changed!  Can’t wait to go back and do it again.  I’m genuinely shocked at how much it didn’t kill me.  Don’t get me wrong it was far from perfect and it was only about 1000yards but it wasn’t as slow as it felt.  I was only a few seconds off my standard swim time.  That was a shocker.

So.  More swimming to get more used to it (but I didn’t die!).  Marathon this weekend.  Then focusing on the final weeks of training. 

I’m still excited about this:)

I Think I Pee’d A Little!

Bear with me….

Not only am I trying to hit my Club Standards award this year and the Championships but I also have my eye on the Hill Series.  Oh, and the little matter of the Half Ironman that yes, im still training for.

Over achiever much?

As I sit here the day after the first hill race I genuinely can not remember why the hell I thought it would be a good idea.  My husband informed me last night he struggled not to laugh in my face when I told him what I was doing.  Hmmm.

My first ‘problem’ was thinking it was a different hill I was going to – good thing he drove this time, we would have ended up 50 miles in the wrong direction.

There were only 8 Road Runners who appeared at the start line – should have been my first clue really with over 150 members!

I had no whimsical beliefs that I would be far up the remotely small field but I was confident I could finish and hopefully not be too far back, maybe middle ish.  After much discussion on why we weren’t carrying full body waterproofs on what was the hottest day of the year so far and several looks we were off.  I glanced back and saw what I now know was a bit of a smug look on my other halfs face.  

I’ve walked up Birnam Hill before – at least I thought I had.  Turns out I hadn’t been anywhere near the top.  Well, I was about to go there.

We all started running and it was a very comfortable pace, everyone was aware of the climb up ahead.  We had been told we were running up the steep side too.  Great.

Very quickly the elevation started.  Ok fine, I knew it would.  Just keep moving your feet one in front of the other.  I’m doing that but then, they aren’t really getting in front of the other.  It’s very baby steps.  I look up only to see the trail.

I have to look up to the sky to see anything other than path! 

I’ve stopped ‘running’ now.  I’m taking big steps (well as big as I can for a child size adult).  My legs hurt already, I’m out of breath, everyone around me is walking up this vertical ascent.  This isn’t running.  This is dying slowly.   How is this a race?? 

I’m so out of breath I’ve started the whole ‘why are you doing this’ in my head.  Why am I doing this? I’m not built for hills.  I don’t like steep like this.  Roads don’t make you walk.  What the hell am I doing?? I genuinely wonder for a good 5 seconds if I should stop and admit I shouldn’t be here.  Slink away with my tail between my legs and stick to running road races, staying at the back.

I’m too scared to look behind me in case the only person there is the tail runner.  

Or you know, the 95 year old great grandmother of 20 who does this every day.  Wouldnt surprise me.

I glance at my watch and genuinely almost cry.

Half a mile!!  I’ve only gone half a mile!! 

And it’s been 10 minutes!!

Am I honestly about to hit a 20 minute mile?? Has anyone ever gone that slow?? Babies crawl faster than that!

Of course, as soon as you think you’re at the top, you see another hill.  You’re not at the top.  You’re not even close.

I’ve pretty much given up on EVER running again.  This will be my last ever ‘run’ I swear to myself.  You know, you gave it a good bash.  You did ‘not bad’.  But your time has come Ella.  Time to end it.  Just stop all this nonsense now.

I slip many, many times going up the hill (yes, you read that right, I slipped going UP).  Not tragically enough to justify a DNF or a medical team to the rescue but enough to make me go ‘for f@ck sake!’.

Eventually – and I mean eventually – I reach the top.  ‘That’s you at the top now’.  The marshall informs me.  

Pretty sure I gave the poor soul the look of death.  Very much ‘if I’m dying I’m taking you god forsaken people with me’.  He laughed at me.  Can’t blame him.

At least it was downhill from here.  I like downhill, I LOVE downhill.

I did not like this downhill.

This is where I truly lost many, many years off my life.

I don’t like swearing, I rarely swear, there’s no need for it.  Call me a snob whatever I’m just not a fan of swearing.  But on this race, on this downhill, I was swearing my arse off!

‘Holy shit’, ‘oh shit, oh shit, oh shit’ – was pretty much my mantra until the end.  At one point I was flying down a vertical drop – an actual vertical drop – and I kid you not I think a little pee came out I was that scared.  

 Nope, I don’t like this.  What the hell was I thinking.  Where’s the road.  Where’s the GOD DAMN ROAD.  I’m a road runner.  Not a bloody fling yourself down the side of a mountain kind of girl.  Stuff this.  STUFF THIS.

The last stretch did not include a sprint finish.  It included a shout of ‘I’m dying’ to the husband as he laughed when I went past.

My first words when I met up with the 7 other brave souls from the club? 

‘I hated that!!’

They loved it.


How do I feel the day after? Well I actually am dying.  My legs are so, so sore.  I went out for my long run and for the first time ever I bailed on a run.  My legs just went ‘nope, this isn’t happening, I am boss, I say no’.

Even walking hurts.

The medal for the Hill Series better be worth this! 

Vibrating Toilet Anyone?

Last weekend was the first race in my running clubs championship and I wanted to use it to hit Club Standards as well – 2 birds 1 stone.  (That’s actually a really horrible saying! I would never throw a stone at a bird or want to hit a bird – who wants to hit a bird! I’m quite annoyed about that now).  

The championship is a selection of 10 local races where you gain points for finish placement and you only need to do 7 and a marathon to get 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  I’m under no illusion I could gain one of those spots but I can still give it a try.  Club Standards is a set of target times on set distances based on your age.  

The race was 10 miles and I had a target of under 1hour 20minutes.  Broken down that’s ideally under 8 minutes a mile.  It was going to be close.  I knew that. 

I opted for the car share given there were 50 of us going and parking is always tight at local races.  This also solved the stress of getting lost, breaking down in my car that has more issues than a Kardashian, and arriving with no one to talk to.  And thankfully Kev who’s car I was in did not turn out to be a tiny Smart car – thanks for that Stewart!

It was a 65 mile journey there but the chat in the car was on going.  Most notably about Boston (the 2 guys in the car qualified and are signed up!) and what’s the weirdest thing you’ve received at a race.  

Foam medals, wooden pegs and coasters to name but a few.

It was cold and raining when we got there so I kept my layers on as long as I could.  Knowing I wanted a fast time I had been very strict and had my pasta the night before, porridge in the morning – that I made myself, yes I will take that standing ovation now – and water on the way up.

The fact I had breakfast 3 and a half hours before running escaped me until I was at the start line and beginning to feel slightly peckish.

Genuinely beginning to think I could win the ‘thickest runners award’.

I found someone who was aiming for 1 hour 16 so decided if I could keep him in my sights I should be good.  That time was definitely too fast for me but if I wasn’t too far behind I would be on track. 

We took off and unfortunately I went far too fast for the first mile.  I knew this though so slowed down for the second.  The wooden bridges in the wet were em, interesting, but I kept upright.  It was an out and back route so my aim (other than time) was to reach over 4 miles before the ones up front started coming back towards me.  And thankfully I did.  And with almost 50 of us Perth Road Runners running this race it soon became a succession of ‘well done’, ‘looking good’, ‘keep pushing’ comments back and forth – loved it.  Just before the 5 mile turn I had one PRR shout at me someone was right behind me and use them to push harder – so I did.

Maybe for only a few hundred yards but I did ha ha.

At the turn it was a nice surprise to see someone from the club there marshalling – totally didn’t expect that.  

I got to 6 miles and began to flounder.  All I could think about was the gel that was in my second pocket in my purple bag that was under the 3rd chair at the back of the hall.

The hall that was at the finish.

By 7 miles I had broken down the remaining 3 to small sections to get me through.  I compared it to park run as it was the same distance and just imagined that that was what I was running.

Then, just before 8 miles, at the smallest of inclines, my legs just stopped. 


I don’t know what happened but my legs were now slowly walking.

The woman next to me turned and asked if I was ok.  ‘Yeah I’m fine’ I tried to smile back at her.  ‘Are you sure? You’ve gone awfully white! Do you want a gel?’.

A gel! The very thing I had been visualising for the last couple of miles!  A food source I so desperately needed right now or I was in danger of not even finishing’.

‘No I’m fine, but thank you’.

What the…….!!! What did you just say you absolute intolerable idiot!! She just offered you a life line for the love of god and you’ve said no?!?! 

‘I think you should, what about a sweet? I’ve got some jelly beans?’

‘Actually yes please, I will’.

Hurrah!!! You’ve found common sense!! About freaking time!

She tells me she is running 20 miles today so using this as her first 10.  She gives me 3 special jelly beans and carries on.  (I say special because well 1.  At that moment in time they are special to me and 2.  I’m not talking the kiddy sweet kind, they look and taste slightly different).

My legs agree to start running again and I check my watch as I pass the 8 mile sign.  If I push there’s a slight chance I could still make my time.  Do I want to have to run this fast again? Hell no! So I pick up the pace and concentrate on a time when this will be over.  

I begin to recognise the houses I went past near the start and know I am almost finished.  One last turn and I am on the finishing straight.  Just keep going forward. I can’t see the finish but I know it’s there. 

But then – a car pulls out in front of me.  It’s not a closed road race but I do think to myself could he not have waited?  It’s not going very fast but to be fair neither am I so it’s not really an issue.

Well,  not an issue until it stops and BLOCKS THE ROAD!!

(Can you tell I’m not having fun now).

The car stops to talk to 2 young boys on bikes then very, very, VERY slowly pulls away with the 2 boys following behind.

I still can’t see the finish line but it’s not because I am too far away – it’s because the bloody car and bikes are blocking it!!

And then – to top of what has been the most delightful of races for me – the car stops again.  And this time it stops ON the finish line.  I am forced to squeeze round the side as I am still trying to beat the clock and no lump of metal and tyres was taking some very precious seconds off me!

I pretty much collapse at the side and contemplate throwing up – hard to do when you’ve nothing in your stomach though.  Checking my watch it says 1:19:46.  I’ve made it.  Just.

I see the lovely lady who saved my life with those 3 jelly beans and go over to thank her again – what a lovely human.

I won’t lie.  I will be very honest.  I absolutely HATED those last 2 miles.  And I wasn’t alone.  For some reason a lot of people have said the same.  This wasn’t a race I really enjoyed but I couldn’t tell you why.  The car seriously pee’d me off – I mean big time – but that didn’t happen until the end.  It was well marshalled, and great to see one of our own volunteering.  I just don’t know.  I didn’t even take any photos – now that’s saying something! I’m notorious for a race day bathroom selfie!

Ah yes, the bathroom! This race report would not be complete without a mention of the vibrating toilet in the women’s (hence the title).  I kid you not – it was a toilet that not only vibrated, but got worse when you sat on it! Plumbing in the Scottish Highlands is unique ha ha. 

Many from Perth won category prizes and many won spot prizes which were a name out the hat.  Now I tried the whole positive mindset thing and kept saying my name over and over but alas, I won nothing.  Not even a comment from Steph seemed to bring me luck – ‘for god sake just say her name, shut her up’.  I don’t think the gods were listening that day.  Especially not when her brother who was stood next to me won a great prize! 

Anyway.  That’s the race done.  That’s my time for 10 miles achieved.  I never have to do that again.  I can take it easy at the Tay Ten in a couple of weeks.  

Yup, take it easy.  That’s totally what I am going to do…….

Ladies Only

I’ve never ran a ‘ladies only’ race so wasn’t sure if it would actually be different or not.  It was held by a running club that has both men and women so wasn’t a ‘girl power’ situation (not so sure I would have went for that to be honest).  It wasn’t all ‘pink’ and cheer leading and Pom poms either.  It was just a 10 mile race.

Actually no, hold up.  It wasn’t just a race.   This run had a climb in it! First 2 miles are ok, then it goes up, and up, and a bit more up.

I decided to go for the car share thinking it would be a good way to get to know more people.  Plus I had had a slight incident in the snow last week which hasn’t exactly left me with a smooth running car!  The other half offered to come along but I knew he would be bored so this was definitely the best option.

The drive through was full of chat of running – well, what else do you think we would talk about ha ha.  The other girls in the car hadn’t ran many races so were understandably a little nervous.  We timed it well so when we got there we picked up our numbers and were soon at the start line.  I had my vest top and shorts on and received many comments from those in hats and gloves about being cold.  To be fair being bottle white doesn’t help but I knew I would be fine as soon as we started.  Took me so long to have the confidence to wear shorts and now I hate running in anything but them ha ha.

At about the 2 mile mark we had a few PRR members cheering us on.  Unfortunately the most I could muster at this point was a high pitched exhale – even though yes, it was only 2 miles in!  The photo they took of me genuinely puts frankensteins work to shame. Which they dutifully posted on the clubs Facebook page – obviously.  Serves me right for not trying to smile I guess (although that has potential to be even worse!).  Still, it was nice having people you know cheering you on.

Thinking of using this to apply for The Rocky Horror Show

The climb started from there.  It wasn’t too bad but it just kept going and going and going.  Someone else had said just look at your feet and don’t stop.  After that hill I could now draw you a very detailed portrait of my New Balance, pink and black trainers with a dash of silver on the top.  

The sun had also come out at mile 2 and combined with the climb it was hot!  At some points I could have done with my sun glasses.  I had seen some ladies were running in 3 lairs – 3 lairs! They must have sweated off at least 2 stone! 

I had ‘sub-consciously’ made a target in my head of doing the race in 1hr 20.  This would mean I had hit my age section for the Club Standards.  I knew it was highly unlikely but my first mile was 7:33 and my second 8:01.  Naturally I started doing maths (as every runner does – we should all be mathematicians).  When mile 3 came in at 9:06 (it was a steep climb alright!) I calculated I was 30seconds off target which is a doable time to catch up on that early on.

You can tell I’m not a mathematician already can’t you?

Mile 4 and it’s still uphill but comes in better at 8:28.  Ella’s maths now has her at about 1m 3 seconds over.  Still very much achievable as I like running down hill and can pick up speed there – when it eventually comes round of course.

Mile 5 hits at 8:21 but we start to go downhill.  I don’t take the water on offer as I want to make up what is now under a minute and a half in my head.

Note to self – probably best not to help the kids with their maths homework.

The next mile is better at 7:31 but I can feel myself flagging in the heat.  Should have taken that water.  Also should have had more than red bull for my breakfast! The banana and grapes I scoffed down half an hour before the start hadn’t done me any favours either.  Will I never learn?!?   At this point I think I can hear another lady from the Road Runners chatting away behind me.  I’m puffing and panting away and she’s having a leisurely chat! I’m definitely flagging.

Is it over yet? Photo courtesy of Sarah Clark

Mile 7 and I’m not feeling too grand.  I gratefully take a jelly baby from the incredibly enthusiastic supporter from Hazelhead at the side who kindly runs with me as I do.  Of course I can’t chew the bloody thing and run at the same time so almost choke on it but I am very grateful for the boost (both her cheering and her jelly baby).

How do people run and eat? I have no idea!  That is a true skill.  I mean, that should be on your resume if you have mastered that!

Mile 8 and my hip hurts, my legs hurt a little, my head hurts from doing insane maths and I solemnly swear never to get on at the kids to do their maths homework because it is true torture.  I’m now lost as to where I am time wise and accept I am not making 1hr 20.  And at this point I dont care.

Then I remember my watch also tells me how long I have been running for and it’s 1hr 5min. 


15mins for 2 miles.  Which I’m pretty sure are meant to be downhill.  Of course I didn’t think to actually look at a map of the course properly – my eyes were drawn to the climb and not much else – but I was pretty sure it was meant to be downhill.  I could do 2 miles at an 8min pace.

There’s those maths skills again.

Not to worry though as mile 9 comes in at 8:23 and I truly, no longer care.  I am too hot, I need water, I need food.  All of which were my own fault.

Turning in to the sports ground and it’s up on to grass.

Correction.  Not grass.  It’s a swamp!!!!  Are you freaking kidding me?? My legs barely move through the soggy ground, of which there is of course a hill the size of Ben Nevis to climb.  (It’s about 4 steps up but that’s not my point! I’ve just ran up a bloody hill!).  The guys from the club are at the last corner but instead of waving and smiling like a normal person I pick up the pace to get off the swamp which naturally made for another ‘dawn of the dead’ photo.  Grand. 

As soon as I’m done I’m delving in to my goodie bag and I’m scoffing down the crisps.  First time ever I’ve eaten straight after a race but then I usually have breakfast – lesson after lesson with me!  I stand at the side cheering the rest of the PRR girls on (all of them smiling and waving at the camera, some doing impressive sprint finishes!).  I then go back to Kirsties car and decide to do a quick change in the empty car park.  But yes, you’ve guessed it, no sooner are my shorts off that there’s a family of 5 that walks right past.  

I don’t care.  I don’t like being cold.  I’m putting my canterburys on. 

Back inside and I decide not to join the queue for what turns out to be a fantastic spread put on by Arbroath.  Only reason being there are a few of us that were going for fish and chips after.  Everyone gave it rave reviews though. 

So, a great day all in all.  Should have had breakfast.  Was right with the shorts and vest.  Didn’t hit the 1hr 20 but I have another 10 miler in 2 weeks and I’m determined to do it then. 

Oh, and there was a small bottle of wine in the goodie bag! Result!

Sprint photo is courtesy of Kevin Kelly – thanks to all photographers for the photos (well, some of them!). 

Trying New Things

I don’t know what made me think I need to try even more new things this year – I mean, surely pushing my mind, body and soul through the ‘torture’ of a Half Ironman is enough isn’t it?

Apparently not.

Tomorrow I am participating in a 15km trail race.  The word participating being hugely more accurate than running, racing or even perhaps walking (time will tell).

I thought it was only 20 minutes drive away as well – turns out it’s an hour.  I guess it’s never going to sink in that everywhere is NOT 20 minutes away. (Note to self – a refresher in geography might be a good idea.  Might just file that thought away next to cooking lessons though).

So what do I know? It’s going to be muddy.  That’s a given.  I’ve read last years run reports and one stated there was a little stream you need to cross that’s up to your knees.  Now, as I’m knee height to a grasshopper I’m going to take arm bands and a rubber ring with me.  

Possibly a wet suit too. Just in case.

No umbrella though as I don’t think it’s going to be torrential rain.  It might even be quite warm! Still taking a flask of tea though to warm up after.  

And speaking of afterwards….. I will have a turbo session I need to do to keep up with the Half Ironman training.  I’m sure that will be fun!

There’s a 1 hour cut off for 7km and for some reason that is playing on my mind.  I don’t usually focus much on cut off times for running but I know this type of run is very different from the road.  I’m pretty confident I should make that.  If I don’t, something’s gone very wrong! 

There are quite a few from the roadrunners who are all going so I won’t be alone in my green vest.  The other half is also coming along with the youngest (although I’m pretty damn sure he just wants a laugh!). 

Who says romance is dead? Ha ha

The Beep Test

Thursdays have been track night for a little while now and although I haven’t routinely been going (as in I think I went once in December and then chickened out but I have been this year) I have started to enjoy it.  


Ok, that’s maybe stretching the truth just slightly.  My pace is dropping off as I put more work in to swimming and cycling so it’s necessary now more than ever to work on speed.  It’s this I’ve started to realise/had a good old hearty slap in the face with reality.

However, tonight was my first ever beep test.  There’s been one or two things going on which have forced me to change up my training but the beep test was one thing I really wanted to do. 

That last statement alone proving I have never done one.

The other half dropped me off and I walked in knowing I was running between 2 lines progressively getting faster.  The only other thing I knew was the ‘pass’ rate for the police is 5.4.  I was very uncomfortable not knowing what speed it started at, how often it sped up, how many sections in each level, what I should be aiming for – pretty sure I went white when I was told I was in the first group too and threw up in my mouth a little (can I class that as pre-race fuel?).

Anyway, internal turmoil aside, there were 5 starter beeps and we were off.  It started slow enough with a brief pause either end as I waited for the beep signalling to go again and yup, you guessed it, it announced when the next level was and surprise, surprise, it got faster! 

Rocket science it is not.  

I found it hard though.  I’m not afraid to admit that! I didn’t get as high as I had hoped, in fact, out of those who were there, I was very much at the bottom of the scale.  However, it’s not a competition.  I could use a number of excuses as to why I didn’t perhaps do as greatly as I had hoped but facts are facts at the end of day.  I will admit I gave up far too soon but not sure if I could have went that much longer.  Kevin was encouraging me but I used this as an excuse to stop (because ‘keep going’ and ‘stop’ obviously sound the same).  

When the last person in my group finished it was our turn to be adjudicators for the next group.  Now because I’m almost always running in a race I don’t pay a great deal of attention to how others run.  I reckon if I did that I would fall over, I need to stay focused on where I’m going – yet I still get lost.  Watching the next group was quite fascinating.  Everyone had their own style of run.  Some used their arms, others didn’t.  Some had very small steps others had long strides.  No one looked as out of breath as I still did – ah well.  

When everyone had finished the results were read out (thankfully not in ascending order).  Hopefully we will be doing it again so I can use it to measure my progress.  

I ran home in the snow at a more comfortable pace.

Yes, ok, it was a slower pace.  So what?! Ha ha.  It was comfortable and I very much like comfortable.  I like to be able to breath and not have a close up with death when I’m running.  Comfortable is where I’m happy.

I know the next beep test won’t be comfortable but I will increase my level!