New Purchases!

I’ve just spent some money on some Runderwear – perhaps it’s to try to get them to stop bombarding me with adverts, I don’t know!

Anyway, I decided I would try their original running pants and a pair of socks.  Socks have been causing me some worry – I used always liked the Lidl / Aldi running socks but in recent years they have stopped selling the nice ones and the new ones feel far more synthetic.  The “feel” of the socks is not nearly as pleasant as it used to be.

So, enter Runderwear.  Their socks feel much nicer to the touch, although they are a little thicker than I am used to.  Maybe that will cushion my feet somewhat, although I am a little worried about how they will fit in my shoe.

The pants are very synthetic feeling; very stretchy and very soft. 

So, I’ll be wearing these tomorrow on my LSR, and will see how they feel.



This arrived in the post today!

My Race Number

This is suddenly starting to get very real – rather close, rather frightening and very exciting!

Week 13 – This Was The One I’d Been Dreading

From the moment I started this training programme, I knew that this was the week that was going to scare me most. Why? The Sunday run is twenty miles. Twenty miles.

I always fell apart between eighteen and twenty miles last time out – and I really don’t want to do that again. I want to get to twenty miles, and know that I could keep going for another six. That is, after all, what it’s all for.

After the frightful weather on Sunday that forced postponement of the Alloa Half, the weather changed. By Tuesday, it was warm and sunny. The run round Linlithgow Loch was beautiful!

Angling At Linlithgow Loch
Total distance: 8624 m
Max elevation: 80 m
Min elevation: 41 m

Wednesday saw a long run, and I decided to run home from work. By the most direct route it is around six miles to work, so by going along the canal and adding a small loop at the end, I was able to make it up to eight miles without too much difficulty. I was running into a fairly strong headwind all the way, so I was quite glad to reach the house!

Avon Aqueduct
Total distance: 13127 m
Max elevation: 114 m
Min elevation: 54 m

Having run from work on Wednesday, I had to run back to it on Thursday. Marie drove me to a spot on the canal where it would be five miles to the office, and I ran from there. This time the wind was at my back, and it was a much more pleasant experience.

Bridge On The Union Canal
Total distance: 9340 m
Max elevation: 86 m
Min elevation: 47 m

On Friday, I had a sports massage. This was at Life Fit Wellness in Falkirk. They were advertising a flash sale with two massages for the price of one, if the second one is taken within four weeks. Oh well, okay then… Carolyn was the massage therapist, and she bent, stretched and twisted various muscles in my legs – I came out feeling lighter and definitely more easily able to move. I also booked a further massage for the week after the marathon – I think I’ll be needing every ounce of tender care I can get by then!

Anyway, I would recommend this once in a while – it was lovely and I definitely felt the better for it.

Perhaps it was the effects of the massage that made me run much faster than I normally would on Saturday. Perhaps it was that the weather was glorious, and I was able to go out in vest and shorts. I don’t know. But I went round in 8:32 – much faster than the 8:55 / 9:00 per mile that I am aiming for in the real marathon!

Running along the canal
Total distance: 8942 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 69 m

And so dawned Sunday. I took Jenni to work, then went to the University to start my run. I had worked myself into a bit of a funk by this point, and so I procrastinated. Was I going to wear shorts or tights? T-shirt or vest? I went to the loo to change, and then went back to the car. I did a yoga warm-up, and still found ways to delay the start. But eventually I realised I had to get going, and I set off.

The first part was round the top half of the loch, down to the Uni entrance gates and then back up to do the loop that the marathon takes up towards Innovation Park. That brought me back down to the entrance gates and from there I headed east – helped along by a nice little tail wind from the west. As before I headed for Alloa via Tullibody, stopping off at the Causewayhead and the Alloa Leisure Bowl loos on the way. As I approached the Leisure Bowl, the rain had started and I began to worry that I would end up getting chilled in my light vest and short running shorts, but the rain didn’t come to much and so I was able to continue.

Past the Leisure Bowl I climbed the hill and turned right instead of the usual left, thus taking me onto the Tillicoultry road. This put me pretty much on the route of the Alloa Half Marathon – the one that was postponed last week – for the next six or seven miles. The road sweeps down to the Hillfoots road in Tilli, and at the junction I stopped to try applying some more Body Glide. That was a mistake; the Body Glide was near to finished and warm, having been in my waist pouch throughout. It simply snapped as I tried to apply it. Oh well, only eight miles to go.

I carried on along the Hillfoots road, and now that lovely tailwind was a 15mph headwind. My thighs were chafing. I began to not like this run. My mind was drifting into reasons why I could stop and walk. I knew that this was wrong – I ran 18.5 miles just a couple of weeks ago – I could do this. It probably took another couple of miles to convince myself, but by the time I departed from the route of the Alloa Half – when the Half turns left to go to Tullibody but I went straight on to go towards the Uni – I was feeling better. I knew that I wanted to finish this route; more than that I knew that I could!

The climb up to the back entrance to the Uni was neither harder nor easier than usual, and I decided to finish with a bit of a flourish, building some speed for the final couple of hundred yards. I reached the car and touched it as I stopped the tracker. I had done it – I was delighted!

What did I learn from it? Well,

1) I ain’t gonna wear race-day split shorts for the race. I chafe when I wear them, and it’s not nice
2) I’ve got to be ready for the doldrums around mile 14 – 17
3) If I can run twenty miles on my own in a headwind with chafed thighs, I can do 26 with a crowd to cheer me on! Subject to any injuries, I KNOW I can do this.

I’m fired up now, and ready to go for it – for the first time I have confidence that I’ll be able to get to the end of the run, and run the race the way I want to.  That makes me feel great!

Yoga warmup
Where I ran
Even a wee bit of a White Face!
It’s so nice to finish!
It does wonders for your step count too!
Total distance: 33246 m
Max elevation: 48 m
Min elevation: 4 m

Training Plan at Week 13


Week 12 – Good Days and Bad Days

That was an interesting week!

It started well with five miles round Linlithgow Loch.  Actually, I added a wee bit onto the start and end of the Linlithgow Loch run; a loop past Bonnytoun Farm.  this section will be familiar to anyone who has done the Linlithgow 10k; it’s the hilly stretch that makes you loathe your life just as you come off the back of the Loch.

This route did have a problem, though – the road was flooded!  Not only that, but there was a horse and rider further up the road, and they seemed to be very keen to avoid being in contact with a runner in a fluorescent yellow jacket.  So to be safe I  turned back and went back down to the main road at the start of the route.  They were gone by the time I had run round the Loch, so I was able to run my planned route as I went back towards the office

Total distance: 8896 m
Max elevation: 80 m
Min elevation: 42 m

Wednesday saw a repeat of the route sans frisky horses.  This was after work – it was lovely to be running in the evening without a headlight!  And I was able to wear shorts again!

Total distance: 8375 m
Max elevation: 80 m
Min elevation: 44 m


Thursday after work, I took a different route – going out to join the canal at the Park Bistro, and running along the towpath back into town.  From there, straight back out to the office and that was my five miles done.  I celebrated with some stretching and some core work.

Side Plank
Total distance: 8289 m
Max elevation: 82 m
Min elevation: 54 m

Friday and Saturday were both rest days, and then it was time for the Alloa Half Marathon. 

Except, it wasn’t.

On the Saturday evening, the organisers sent out a message saying that the half had been postponed.  The weather forecast was absolutely dreadful, with conditions being described as the return of the “Beast From The East” that caused so many problems a couple of weeks ago.

Their decision was vindicated by the scene at the muster area this morning, when the race should have been starting.

This should have been the race start

So, I missed my run today.  It’s not great, but it’s not the end of the world.  It’s one LSR – better to miss that than to slip and get injured.

I’m so looking forward to the coming week!

Week 11 – Back On The Horse

After last week I was keen to get started again.  The snow was melting and the training plan called for the longest week of the entire plan.  That is, the greatest number of miles in the week of any week.  Clearly this was going to be an important week in the plan.  Even if I wasn’t 100%, it was time to pull on my big boy tights and get on with it.

That’s not a sentence I expect to write very often.

Anyway, Monday was – as usual – a rest day.

Tuesday called for five miles.  The weather wasn’t great at lunchtime and I knew I was going to have to go to the gym in the evening, so once again I decided to use the treadmill.  I had bought a fancy new running vest when I was in London, so I wore that.  I don’t think that this photograph of me from the display of the treadmill really flatters me or the vest, but you can at least see that it’s blue!

Have I mentioned I hate the treadmill?
This is (part of) why I ran indoors…

After that, it was the Wednesday middle distance run.  I had been in Aberdeen during the daytime, taking my daughter to a University visit.  By the time I got home, unpacked the car, and got the house sorted out it was much later than I usually go for runs – but I managed to get out and had a little visit to the town centre in the rain!

Stopped in front of the chippy!
Total distance: 9740 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 23 m

For some reason that I can’t quite remember, it was even later on Thursday.  I didn’t get out until almost 10pm, and decided to re-use part of the route I had taken the day before.  Not much to say about this run, it was a straightforward five miles in the dark.

Total distance: 8900 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 27 m

After a rest day on Friday, it was time for an eight mile medium distance run on Saturday.  The training plan says that this should be run at training pace, not marathon pace.  I guess that this is because it’s a long week.  My route took me west along the canal to the Glen Burn, then I retraced my steps back as far as the Wallace Stone Brae.  Up the hill, turn left and head for home.

Conditions not great underfoot


There wasn’t much room to get around the snow
This spillway seemed a good point to turn round

The weather wasn’t great to start with, but when I was coming back along the canal, it really took a turn for the worse.  I don’t know if it was hail or rain hitting me in the face, but it was nasty and it stung!  It’s not often I would turn onto the Wallace Stone Brae and be glad for it, but this time I was!

Glad to be home
Total distance: 13312 m
Max elevation: 152 m
Min elevation: 74 m

And then the long one.  Sunday.  Eighteen miles.

I have memories of eighteen miles being my nemesis back when I was training last time.  Eighteen miles is the point where I started to fall apart.  Eighteen miles is where I fell apart during the marathon itself.  I have baggage about eighteen miles.

Anyway, I drove to Stirling Uni, trying to get to my usual starting point – only to find that the road was blocked because there was some work being done on the aerial walkway between buildings.  I parked in a different car park and found a loo where I could pee and change. 

Not only that, but change into shorts!  The weather, while still cool, was a lot better than yesterday!

My route was to be similar to the route I ran for the fifteen mile route I did a couple of weeks ago, but with an added lap of the Loch and a wee extra bit to make up the distance.

It was strange starting from a different part of the campus, but I set off round the loch, going down to the University entrance then swinging back up the route through the University that we will be taking on the day.

I had fuelled myself very carefully before leaving – porridge early in the morning, a nice burger roll and another tub of porridge at lunchtime.  It was now about 1330 and my body wanted rid of some of that.  So I had to stop at the public loos in Causewayhead park to do that.

After that, just straight out through Tullibody to Alloa.  Where again I stopped at the loo, this time in the Leisure Bowl.  I’m not gratuitously talking about bodily functions here; my point is that I need to get control of my bladder before this race.

At the other end of my body, I had a bit of a nutrition strategy on the go here.  Checking the current Stirling route map, it appears that the rest stations are at miles 4, 7, 10, 13, 15.5, 19, 21 and 25.  I plan to walk through each rest station, for a self-counted 30s.  During that time I will take a gel and some water.  I was practising the gel consumption today.

There were times through the route that I felt quite cold – I don’t know if that was down to the shorts.  Maybe long tights would have been better.  But the main point is that I never felt exhausted, and I never felt despairing.  I was, perhaps, running a bit faster than I should have been, because I was frankly bored and wanted the run to be over!

When I got to the Uni I very deliberately added a few hundred yards – enough to get me over 18.5 miles.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could go beyond 18 miles.  So my final distance was 18.54 – maybe I should have gone on to 18.56 so I could round it up rather than down!

Made it – and look – legs!

Anyway, I was very heartened by this training run.  I was able to go as far as I wanted, and I wasn’t too tired to continue.  I was never forced to stop (other than for the loo!) and my walking stretches at the pretend rest stations were all planned.

I’m beginning to have some confidence for this marathon.  Not for my time – right now I cannot see how I can possibly manage round at 9 min/mile.  But I do believe that I can finish it.  So I’ll probably damage myself in the next few weeks and end up unable to compete!

If nothing else, I ran forty-five miles in a week – that is the most I have ever done (probably the most I shall ever do, too).  So all in all, a good week!

Total distance: 29221 m
Max elevation: 50 m
Min elevation: 4 m
Week 11 Training Plan

Week 10 – Where Things Went Wrong

This was the week when the wheels fell off my training.  I guess it happens to everyone, let’s just hope that was the one time and I’ll be fine from here on in.

The week started off okay on Tuesday with a four mile run.  I did this on the treadmill because I was at the gym anyway, taking my son for his weekly PT session.

Then on Wednesday, things started to go a bit wrong.  A weather system dubbed “The Beast From The East” struck.  This was apparently a result of “sudden stratospheric warming” over the Arctic, which brought cold, cold weather down to us here.

I did go out for a short run, but conditions were such that I wasn’t comfortable running on my own.  So I made do with a three mile run in the wind and snow – it certainly had quite an effect on my hair!

Looking towards Tesco through the snow
Snow selfie
Total distance: 5141 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 69 m

By Thursday there was no way I was getting out of the house to go for a run.  And even if I did try it, every step would be into deep, soft snow – hardly ideal conditions.

Friday was lost in an effort to clear the street and my driveway of snow.  By the end of that I had done quite enough exercise – and something else was wrong.  I was excessively tired, and I was feeling lousy.  Everything I ate went straight through me, and I had no energy.  Something just wasn’t right.

Hey, that’s where the house is!

On Saturday I was determined to do something.  I still didn’t think that the roads were all that safe, but I could at least get out to the gym.  And it was true, the weather conditions didn’t impede me there, but I was still feeling awful.  I went to do eight miles, I lasted just over four before going home and spending much of the rest of the day in bed.

And then Sunday wasn’t much better.  I was still unwell, and didn’t make it out.  So my totals for the week were pretty uninspiring.