2015 Round Up

Well, this year has not really gone to plan running wise. It has been injury after injury and I have never really got going. My times have not reflected the effort that went in to training and I do feel disappointed with how things have gone.

That said, I have made so many new friends by joining Metro Aberdeen. The support from everyone there really has been amazing. It is so good to be part of such a brilliant club – and even though I am not contributing anything at the moment I still feel just as part of the club than ever. I can’t wait for more races next year with the best team in Scotland – MON THE METRO!!!!

11261598_865350313544206_2878231998169257512_o

Metro

10509653_10155665497630693_3935637049672203542_n

The past 3 months of not running have made me realise how much I love it. It gives me a rush like nothing else, it clears the head and makes me happy, I can eat whatever I like without caring and most of all it gives me 1:1 time with my Dad.  (I really have been missing my runs with Dad!)

I have really taken my time and been really strict with myself since I have had my Achilles injury. I am determined that 2016 I will come back stronger than ever. I plan on keeping up my spin classes and weights as I think this will help me long term. I plan on also getting regular sports massages and being more meticulous with stretching and foam rolling.

Next year I am giving myself no crazy targets. I plan on building up slowly and getting back to where I was at my peak. I then will be aiming on getting my 5 and 10k times down. I also want to take a stab at cross country – running in the mud, what could be better!

I am positive that I can get back to where I was at and push further. I can’t wait to for the New Year and to see what it has in store….

 

Jx

Advertisements

Injury Update

So I have not ran properly since the 4th October. That is 54 days of NO running…it has been a long 54 days!

I tell a lie, I ran once, as a test before the physio and it ended abruptly after 15 minutes as there was still a considerable amount of pain. That was about 4 weeks ago and I have been cold turkey since.

To help the injury I have been doing eccentric heel drops every day, stretching out the calves and have been wearing a night splint when I can. The night splint is HORRID!! I always wake up half way through the night and have to take it off. I have also been seeing a physio once a week and getting massages and what not to help it.

On Wednesday I was given the all clear to get running so that will be todays challenge. I am to do 25 minutes of cross training (that is on the cross trainer not the actual sport cross training – why give it that name it is just bloody confusing!!) and then do 5 minutes of run/walking on grass or astroturf. This will be built up every 2/3 days so the time cross training comes down and the time run/walking goes up. I will see how I get on with this and then once I am up to 30 minutes run/walking I will start to reduce the walking time. I am PRAYING that the pain will have all but gone…but I really don’t know until I start running.

I had such high hopes for this year and they have been ruined by injury so I really want to start 2016 with a healthy body ready to rock and roll!!

To keep up my fitness while I have been off running I have been going to a lot of spin classes. I have to say I have been really enjoying them! I plan to continue going to 2 of them a week once I start running again as a form of injury prevention. I have also been doing a few weights sessions which again I have surprisingly enjoyed. I am still TERRIBLE at squats and deadlifts but my arm strength and lunges are definitely getting better.

I will keep you updated with how the run/walk sessions go but fingers crossed I am on the road to recovery!

Jx

Great Scottish Run 2015

This is a pretty delayed post – sorry!! I have not been keeping up with the blog…

So last year at the Great Scottish Run I set my PB of 44.41. I had hoped to smash that even more this year but as you have all seen for one reason or another this has not happened.

This year I was going to the Scottish Run with an injury and off the back of an almost 3 week long holiday to California where my diet was perfect for a runner….

014f1841480417f996d71fac3768bb4612deb993fc 01e98bcf0a6d9d6b8f63119c6475adce7afa357159 018d60449e631971ca62a6c902d00f504504ce5e59 01d3ee3181ec90c54be76ed65794f7d3ae88ce0f12014a94794ee7e56d853f94f9b5fbe280e57fecf12c

Yes the drink is bigger than my head!!

Yes the drink is bigger than my head!!

Not ideal prep. But rather than pulling out I wanted to go ahead and just give it the best I could. This would be the race that would decide whether to take some time off running or not. I have had the injury for a while with little improvement so I was in two minds about whether to continue was wise or not. This was the decider.

GSR has turned into a family tradition of sorts. For the last 3 years my cousins and I have headed down to watch/do the race and this year was no exception. My dad decided he would also join the race which I was delighted about!!

We went to a lovely meal to Café Gandolfi the night before the race and it was DELICIOUS.  Super yummy food, go if you ever get a chance. Then Catherine and I headed to Cat’s brothers flat for the night. I slept well and when I woke up I felt rested and ready for the day. For the first time I my life though I felt nothing about the preceding race…no nerves, no excitement, just nothing…VERY odd. I got myself ready and we met up with our dads and went for a wee warm up. As soon as I started running my Achilles was bothering me. Just what I wanted. I just thought, do the best you can and that is the best you can do.

We said our goodbyes and went on our way to the starting pens. We did the group warm up and they did all the announcements – Paula Radcliffe was there. This got me excited!! Finally, some sort of emotion. (I am normally so emotional before the race – one minute excited, one minute nervous etc.) Then the klaxon started and we were off!! As we ran past the start I shouted “HEY PAULA, WOOOO” (I am such a fan girl for athletes it is ridiculous) and she actually turned and WAVED!!! Dad even said, wow, she actually just waved at you. So delighted haha. I then thought, right PRadcliffe has just waved at me lets just stop now – ha! But no, I had a race to do.

The next 9k went by in a bit of a blur. My Achilles was sore pretty much from the get go but I persevered. I managed to maintain a semi decent pace (nothing pb worthy) for the first half but as I hit the 6k mark I began to flag. It was getting harder to maintain the pace, the pain was getting stronger and I just wanted it to be over. Dad had gone on at about 4k as he was making good time. I just couldn’t stick with him. Part of this was probably down to the 50 stone I put on in Cali but I know it was mainly due to my injury.

Feeling AWESOME

Feeling AWESOME

Please let me finish already..

Please let me finish already..

I finished though, I came through Glasgow Green and managed to do my first ever non-sprint finish. I knew I was done. I had barely looked at my watch the whole way round but when I crossed it showed 49.xx – 5 minutes slower than last year. Normally when I finish a race and do less well than expected I am devastated. I cry, it is embarrassing, but I just can’t keep a grip on myself. This time I didn’t feel anything, just acceptance  that my body was in need of a rest!!

I went straight to the first aid tent and got an ice pack and reflected on the race. I enjoyed being out there with people and seeing all the crowds cheering on. But I just miss that feeling of elation of a pb, it has been SO long since I have had that and I have worked REALLY hard this year…

Dad did well though – 47.xx and Catherine managed a PB of 41.XX (SUPERSTAR!!), Catherine’s dad Kevin also did a pretty good time – a course pb I am sure!

Dad and I GSR

So, I am now off running. It has been 14 days since my last run and *touch wood* things seem to be going well. I haven’t had too many niggles and I hope that that will continue. I tried playing netball but it was quickly chopped off the list too. I miss running so much but I know it is for the greater good.

Just me that likes Hot Fuzz?

Just me that likes Hot Fuzz?

I will do a separate update on what I have been doing to maintain the fitness (tbh regain fitness after eating ALL the tacos in America).

So that was GSR this year, not what I had hoped months ago, but what I expected going in to it. I learnt a lot and I am looking forward to going back next year and SMASHING it!!!

September 2015

2015 has been a tough year for me running wise.

It just seems to be one thing after another. First it was my hip/pelvis, now it is my achillies. It has been bugging me since the Ythan Challenge and if I am being perfectly honest the pain seems to be getting more frequent and worse. I have been seeing my physic once a month or so but things are not really improving much. It could be because achillies take a while to fix or just because I am continuing to run (as advised) and not giving it time to heal.

That said i have just come back from 2 and a half weeks in California where i only did 2 runs, loads of walking but minimal high impact stuff. So WHO KNOWS?!

All i know is that my running certainly isn’t improving because of it. Everywhere around me I see people smashing PB’s left right and centre and I am only getting slower. This could be down to a number of factors but my most recent run in Elgin was not good. I felt pain from the beginning and pulled out. I ran to almost the finish but just couldn’t bear to cross the finish line with another sub standard time. I know many people would LOVE to run a 48 minute 10k but for me, that is just not where I want to be  right now. On paper I have had the best year of training yet – more consistent speed work, longer runs and more frequency. This could translate to more miles = more chance of injury however I know millions of people do more miles than me and don’t have the issues I seem to!

I am not giving up though. There are many people who have had FAR worse injuries and come back quicker and stronger so I just have to be patient. I have just joined a local gym that has LOADS of spin bikes so I am going to be trying them out to maintain fitness but keep the impact off the injury.

I am taking part in the Glasgow 10k again this Sunday. I signed up before the Achilles took a turn for the worst…I have come no where close to matching what I did there last year and I don’t really expect to do it again on Sunday BUT I know how much I enjoyed last year so I do want a repeat of that!!

It has been mentally tough for me, my mental strength is what lets me down most in my runs I think so it still needs more work. For now I just need to get fully fit again and then make a plan that allows me to train harder and keep injuries at bay – basically, I am asking for a miracle….!

Long time no speak.

It has been a while since I have updated this blog and that is because life has taken over a little!

After I did the Ythan my next big challenge was Tough Mudder. I was doing this with the same group of people as last year albeit with only half the number of people. It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have yet to fully push myself at Tough Mudder as there is varying abilities. One year I would love to go and do it and run it as hard as I could just to see how I got on. IMG_6906 IMG_6990 IMG_6993 IMG_7038

After Tough Mudder I had a fantastic long weekend in London with my friend Jenny and we did lots of eating, drinking and went to see Taylor Swift (yes I am a MAJOR swifty). I did pack my running stuff to go for a jaunt round Hyde Park but too many late nights and busy days meant the trainers stayed firmly in the bag.

IMG_6982 IMG_6998 IMG_7040 IMG_7051

At the start of July I entered a local 5k which was down by the beach. It is run by one of the JogScotland groups and is in aid of a local charity. I was quite looking forward to cracking the 22 mark as I have been so close on recent occasions – my 5k pb in a 10k race is around 21.4-something, I just haven’t yet translated that to a 5k race!! It was an evening race which I always struggle to prep for however I felt pretty good considering. The weather however was not on my side. It was TORRENTIAL rain, I am talking flooded streets, thunder and lighting and just utter chaos across the city. SURELY the race would be cancelled….nope. I made my way down hoping it would be, but no, it was on. So off I went. It wasn’t the best conditions for a run and there was definitely a headwind. Still, I managed to sneak under 22 JUST so am now in the 21 bracket! Next stop 20’s! (Hoping to get as low in the 21s as I can by the time the year is out.

Since then I haven’t done any races and the training went a bit off the mark because I GOT ENGAGED!! My lovely boyfriend whisked me off to Venice for my birthday and while we were out on a early morning run he popped the question. It was definitely a PB run!!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0277.

St Mark’s.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0282.

❤ Super Happy

IMG_7302 IMG_7304

Since then my life has been a bit of a whirl wind with celebrations and planning however I seem to be finally back on track with running and the mileage is juts about back to what it was now. I have decided that I am either doing the Moray 10k or Half marathon at the start of September. You can enter on the day so I am going to wait until the week before to see if I am half ready or if I will just try and crack out a sub 45 10k.

f991bfdc34a91b9f6d4ccbecaf09c895

The rest of the year I have entered the Glasgow 10k, Peterhead 10k and Fraserburgh Half – so plenty to look forward to and work towards!! I am also off to California next month so am hoping to do the San Francisco Parkrun while I am there 🙂

Ythan Challenge

On Sunday I took part in my first Ythan Challenge.

The event is described as ” multi-terrain adventure race which starts and finishes at the Meadows Sports Centre in Ellon, north of Aberdeen. The course takes runners along a largely flat off-road path beside the river Ythan and onto the beautiful Esslemont Estate. Once on the estate, the going gets tougher underfoot and you can expect a few surprises as the course includes a series of obstacles — including the now famous (or possibly infamous!) straw bales and killer hills and, of course, the river itself. We have considered providing a course map but decided not to for two reasons — first because most of the race is run on a private estate and our priority is to maintain the landowner’s security and privacy, and secondly because it’s part of the race day fun to speculate on what might lie ahead….”

I have seen several pictures of people doing it previous years and I thought it sounded good fun so I signed up. I knew there was always a team of metro runners that did it so knew I would be in good company. (or at least have people to chat to before and after the race – there is no way I would be able to keep up with them!). I arrived at the sports centre in plenty of time and met up with my fellow metroians who were all discussing what lay ahead. For once in my life I wasn’t at all anxious before a race, I just wanted to get going!

10509653_10155665497630693_3935637049672203542_n

The race is split into waves of runners based on 10k times and previous years results. Each wave is started 5 minutes after the previous so that the course doesn’t get too congested. I was in the second wave of runners which suited me perfectly and I got lined up in the start pen ready to go!

Then we were off! The first few k were out by the river and along tracks leading up to the estate. It was tougher than I expected to be perfectly honest – next year I am doing a FAR bigger warm up!! Once we got into the estate things got a bit trickier, we were then running through the woods and jumping over knocked down trees, weaving in and out. This was where I really started to enjoy myself! It was challenging but I loved not knowing what to expect next. The course changes every year so even if you have done it before one route will never be the same as the one you have done before. It also varies in length so you can’t even compare times!  I was given some pretty good advice before we started and that was to make sure you had a clean run at the hay bales as it made it easier to get over them .This certainly worked a treat! I managed to have a wee surge of speed then just launched myself at the bale and sure enough, I was right over it!

Then on it becomes a little hazy of the order that things happened in but I remember there being several more hay bales, some KILLER hills to go up and down and up and down, lots of weaving through narrow sections then came the best bit….the mud pit and river crossing!! I had heard a lot about this infamous mud pit…tie your laces tight, don’t hesitate, try not to fall, it stinks etc. So when it came I couldn’t wait to get through it. It was actually far better than expected, I couldn’t smell the horrid smell that everyone else mentioned, I didn’t fall and compared to Tough Mudder…it was just a splash! I loved it!! Straight after the mud pit we went into the river Ythan! We had several hundred meters of river to wade through then come out on the same side further down. The cold fairly takes your breath away but I found the best thing was to just keep moving as quickly as you could and it made it less cold. I over took a few people in the river as there was no way I was hanging about in there!! Once out it took a few minutes for my legs to warm up again and actually function to run properly!

I then proceeded to fall over about 5 times in the next few km – I am literally bambi on ice, with no ice!! This meant that because I was soaking wet I now resembled a swamp person…covered in mud and leaves because I have no sense of balance! Awesome. Thank you to the very kind man behind me who kept checking I was ok!

After the river there are few more trees to climb over and it is a weavey woodland run back to the edge of the estate. I felt I got into a good rhythm here but my legs were struggling to function as well as they had been prior to the river entry! I managed to pick up some speed and gradually began picking off people one by one. I had set a challenge to myself that once we were out of the river I was not going to be overtaken by any other females, there were also two Fraserburgh ladies quite a bit ahead so I made a wee challenge to myself to try and catch them!

The final stretch of running is along the same route that the course began, until you hit the river. Rather than crossing the bridge as we had done on the way out we had to cross it! This was much the same as the first river crossing but a little shallower so I tried again to power through it as best I could. When I reached the other side one of my netball friends lisa was standing watching and she managed to catch a picture of me smiling and running – this is a RARE thing so I am chuffed with the pic!!

11351136_10204615209768687_6324925008850277608_n

After this it was just run run run until we reached the park that we started in. My legs were really tierd by this point but I kept going at a steady pace as I knew there would be one or two obstacles left to challenge once we were in the park! As suspected, as I reached the park there was a climbing frame type obstacle, then a big inflatable with lots of foam and one final hay bale before the finish. Fortunately for me there was a little queue at the hay bale which meant I actually caught up with the broch lady in front of me, this meant I knew I could catch her on the final sprint to the line – and I did! Woo! (it’s the little things in races that I love). I finished 22nd female out of 260 and 180th overall! Not bad for a first go! I reckon had I been in the first wave I could’ve done it much quicker as I would’ve pushed harder in the running sections but for once I actually don’t care! I had a brilliant time and I cannot wait to sign up again next year!!

This year is FLYING by

I cannot believe it is the start of June already?! Where is the time going.

I had hoped that I would’ve had some more PB’s by this time of year but injuries have prevented that. Nevertheless, May has been my highest mileage month EVER!! Wooo! It has also been the first month which I have done a speed session EVERY week! Some weeks I even did two sessions – so go me.

I had another physio appointment the week before last and things are looking promising. I had more work done on my pelvis, quads and calves so hopefully a few more sessions and daily exercises will help me.

This weekend just past I also took part in a great run down at Aberdeen beach called Color Me Rad. It is a fun run where you wear a white tshirt and get paint thrown at you throughout the run. I had signed up with 7 of my school friends who don’t run so I knew it wouldn’t be my usual 5k race. We all met at the beach beforehand and were quite worried about how windy it was, we made our way to the warm up area, did a little zumba and that was us, we were off!! It was great to be out running with my friends who don’t run. They all did really well and just took it one km at a time with a few walks in between. I ended up finding a few packets of the paint on the ground too so there was extra colour throwing for us. It was a great event, not really designed for serious runners but more just an excuse to get outside and get messy!! Great fun!! CMR

CMR1

Color me Rad

Aside from Color Me Rad the only other events I have are the Ythan Challenge this weekend (which looks like it will be great fun) and then I have Tough Mudder with a group of friends the week after. LOTs of mud for me this month.

I have decided not to enter any races for the time being and just have some time off racing. This is very unlike me, but I want to just focus on training and get in the best shape possible before jumping into the next challenge. I am thinking about maybe trying the Ballater 10 miler in July and then start training for the Moray 1/2 at the start of September. I am determined to do a half this year after coming so close to doing Inverness. I feel like I have unfinished business with 13.1! So the plan is to just keep training hard and build up my distance so that I can start thinking about bringing the pace up in these longer runs.

I will let you know how the Ythan goes next week…wish me luck!!

Jx

Baker Hughes 2015

Last Years’ Time: 46.17

Goal Time: sub 45

Actual Time: 46.30

So as you can see from my time above this run did not exactly go to plan…

I was looking forward to it however I was feeling anxious as Dunecht the week before had not quite gone the way I had hoped. I was running with my Dad, uncle and cousin and we arrived in plenty of time to soak up the buzz.Baker always gets a good turn out and it is amazing to see so many people in Aberdeen donning their running stuff ready to give it a go.

This was my first Baker Hughes as a part of Metro Aberdeen Running Club so I was excited to see how that would be. Running as part of a team is a totally different experience. We all met at 9am for a wee photo before we got started on the warm up.

Metro

Metro

Dad and I lined up in the sub 45 marker (being optimistic but primarily just so we got to start on the road). The first few k were a little busy on the road but it felt ok. We kept the pace nice and steady and thankfully didn’t get pulled away too quickly. As we turned onto the beach the sun was beating down and I was starting to heat up – I seem to have a tendency to overheat on runs even when everyone else is freezing! As we were passing all the crowds I wasn’t feeling quite as good as I would have liked but it was early days.

10422084_10204094274265658_2984263289015815265_n

As we came to the beach leisure centre I knew my pace was too slow to hit sub 45…I think this was a turning point for me. I started to get a little negative in my head however I knew we could still do a good time so I tried to focus on just keeping steady.

The beach seemed to go on and on and on and on until finally we turned up to king street. That’s when my injury decided to make an appearance. Between 6-7k I could feel the ache growing in my hip/bum and I willed it to bugger off. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t and my legs slowly but surely felt like they were filling with lead. My pace dropped and I told dad to push on. He has been training SO well recently and I knew he was on form for a good time so I didn’t want to slow him down.

11000638_10207113831272662_780778109326728921_n

The next few k were pretty horrible. I wanted to stop. I wanted to never run again. But I knew I couldn’t do that, I am not that kind of person… If I kept going I would still manage a respectable time I just needed to push push push. As we came to the final hill I did struggle, my bum just HATES hills when it is sore but as soon as I reached the top I seemed to relax. It was almost over and I would never have to run again. As I came round the bend I thought about sprinting however I wasn’t sure how my leg would react to that…with 200m to go I went for it…and was happy/gutted to realise that sprinting didn’t hurt nearly as much! I should’ve tried to sprint from the top of the hill hahaha (I jest, I jest).

When I crossed the finish line my dad was waiting there, he had crossed the line 20 seconds or so before me. I was VERY disappointed. I went over to a tree away from the crowds and had a little cry…pathetic I know. My time is one that many people would LOVE to run, I know that. But I know I am capable of so much more and it frustrates me when I don’t perform the way I know I can!! I told myself to wise up and stop being a baby and went back to see dad and see how everyone else got on. I was feeling pretty down however it actually didn’t take long to forget about my time and just focus on everyone else’s. Loads of my running friends smashed their PB’s and Metro was heavily featured in the prizes! The buzz of seeing everyone else do well just made me realise that HAD to be me next time.

Dad and I

Dad and I

My Cousin and Kevin

My Cousin and Kevin

When I got home I reflected on the race. I ran a time which is within 10 seconds of 3 races I ran last year…and it felt like the slowest I have ever ran that time. That tells me that on fit, healthy, trained legs I KNOW I can do sub 45. I just need to give myself time to get back on track. I am now more determined than ever to smash my pb’s this year. I have made myself a wee training plan for the next 6 weeks and am going to train harder than ever before. I also have a meeting with my physio next week so hopefully we can make some progress with my bum so that this doesn’t happen again.

I don’t have any races lined up for a while so it is all about the training at the moment. I will race when my body is ready and when I do I will be going out to SMASH 45!!!

You can’t PB every race but you can definitely gain something from every race you do.

39550a8521200d1c7ae8d33a76912633

Trying out some 5k’s

For the past wee while my training has been going pretty well. I have been building up the mileage gradually and I am almost back to the weekly distance I was pre-injury. I am still not doing much more than 6.5 miles however after my race this weekend I plan to start gradually adding a mile to my weekend run each week.

Little bit of Disney

Little bit of Disney

My hip/bum seems to be doing better. I don’t get the pain that often when I run which is good. I still get it in the hours following a run and sometimes when I am sitting for extended periods at work but it has improved a lot. I am seeing my physio in a couple of weeks so hopefully then we can work on getting rid of the pain altogether.

Some more Hercules - great film.

Some more Hercules – great film.

Following on from Balmoral I decided to try and do a Parkrun. I haven’t done my local parkrun since last November so I was interested to see what level I was at. If I hadn’t had my injury I would’ve expected to be flying however as I was just getting back into it this was really just a test to see where I was at and how far I had to go. It is the Hazlehead Parkrun in Aberdeen and it is quite a challenging wee route. A recent study showed that the average 5k time is 1minute slower here than our other flat 5k Parkrun at the beach! The first km is uphill then it is fairly undulating through some woods but this then means the second half is relatively downhill which is quite nice. I set off at quite a steady pace as I do have the tendency to set out too fast. This seemed to be the right plan as when I came to the turning point I wasn’t as tired as I have been previously. I then started to push on the way back however as I haven’t ran many 5ks I didn’t want to push too hard in case I just blew up. I finished in 22.15 which is a 22 second pb on that course. I was chuffed to get a pb as I really hadn’t been pushing for one. I know if I go and do that course again I will definitely be aiming for sub 22.

The weekend after my parkrun I had a local race – the Dunecht Dash. I had heard this was a fast route and a good run to do. The day of the race was cold and windy however I was feeling pretty good. the route starts downhill and finishes uphill so I knew I had to start slow and not get carried away. As soon as the start horn went off this plan seemed to go out the window. I set off FAR too fast and basically just ran out of steam at 3k. I was REALLY disappointed to not break 22 and I actually did a worse time than my parkrun the week before. I know it is unlikely to have every run as a pb however I really wanted this one. I learned a lot from it though – not to go out too fast, eat properly the day before (I over ate), and to pick yourself up and move on if a race doesn’t go to plan.

I have the Baker Hughes 10k this weekend which is the main 10k race in Aberdeen. Last year I had a great run so fingers crossed I can do the same this year. I have had to readjust my expectations as my body is not quite at the level I had hoped after my injury but I just have to keep positive and try my best. I would love to do sub 45 and that will give me the boost that I am back to where I need to be in advance of a summer of hard training. If I can manage a PB then I will be over the moon. I just need to start off slower and ease myself into the race. I need to relax and keep focused on how I am feeling, not what my watch is staying!!

My first 10k in 2013 was Baker Hughes

My first 10k in 2013 was Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes 2014

Baker Hughes 2014

Wish me luck!!!

Jx

Balmoral 10k

Last years time: 51.30
Goal Time: Sub 50 (readjusted after injury – originally I wanted 46-47)
Actual Time: 48.36

Saturday was my first race of the season. It was originally planned to be my 3rd of 4th but due to injury this was now by 2015 debut.

For those of you who don’t know, Balmoral is not an easy run. It is set in the beautiful grounds of Balmoral Castle and winds through the estates grounds and forests. It is lovely and scenic however it has a monster of a hill about 4k in. I did this race last year and HATED it. However I vowed to come back and give it a go again as I knew I could do better.

I was very apprehensive prior to the race. I was definitely less prepared than I had been the year before. March and April have had minimal miles and only in the last few weeks of april have I started to get back to my usual mileage after this bugger of an injury. I had done 1 hill training session and the rest had just been trying to get some sort of speed back after a few weeks off.

Pre Race Photo - first race in my Metro vest!!

Pre Race Photo – first race in my Metro vest!!

As we started the race I knew the key was to set off slow and conserve energy for the hill. I was running with my dad (who turned 60- on the day!!) and I knew he would keep me going so I wanted to stick with him as best I could.

Dad didn't get away with keeping his birthday quiet...

Dad didn’t get away with keeping his birthday quiet…

I could tell he was eager to push on in the early stages but I held myself back. I kept it steady and felt ok. I stupidly climbed a Munroe 2 days earlier so was a little worried my legs would be knackered but they seemed ok – phew!!

Almost at the top of Lochnagar...maybe not the best idea before a race.

Almost at the top of Lochnagar…maybe not the best idea before a race.

As we turned the corner on to the hill I knew it was make or break time…I ran for a bit then BAM. My legs died. I knew I couldn’t run the whole thing so I just walk/run up it. I was overtaken by so many people but my legs just didn’t have the power for it. The one plus was the hill definitely seemed shorter this year, I was delighted when I heard the bagpipes and knew I could soon make the descent.

Then a lovely stitch decided to rear its head. Goodness knows why when I ran/walked up the hill?! I had a stitch in the same place last year and walked for about a minute but this year I was determined not to walk after the hill. I wanted to push on and nail the 2nd half. I reached the 1st 5k in 26 mins…things weren’t looking great however I knew if I just pushed I could try and get sub 50. (that was the main aim as soon as injury reared its head and halted training) The stitch lasted for about 2k and was a royal pain. I felt I couldn’t push as hard on the downhill as it really was a sore one. As soon as we reached a bit of flat I really excelled though. I managed to overtake a lot of folk that had pushed past me on the hill and I went for it.

The last 2k take you on to the 5k route and I knew this was when I just had to put my head down and keep going. The crowd appears again here so I was just trying to keep going. My legs felt pretty knackered at this point but I knew I couldn’t slow down. As I came round to the castle the signs for 400m to go started to appear. At this point in the Glasgow 10k I started to push however today I wasn’t sure I had the energy so waited until 200m to go…In hingsight I wish I had just pushed that bit sooner. I probably would’ve shaved a few more seconds off the time and I am sure I would’ve managed.

Dying a tad...

Dying a tad…

I finished in 48.36 – 3 minutes faster than last year and the 2nd half of the race being around 4 minutes faster than the first…. I am happy that I have improved on last year however I wish I had had a full 2 months training before it and I know I could’ve been closer to the 45/46 mark! (Maybe next year…)  Dad finished just a wee bit behind me – a 2 minute improvement on last year!

Post run champers for Dad's 60th!

Post run champers for Dad’s 60th!

I know hills are definitely a weak point of mine so I really need to work on them however it goes to show that my half mara training must still be in there somewhere if even after an injury I have managed a faster time!

I have quite a few races lined up in May – I stupidly signed up to every race under the sun when I was fully fit and loving my half training. I am not putting myself under too much pressure for PB’s however I am back to full training so hopefully I can push myself back to my best and see what I can do.