Runners Tell All Link-up: Photo Time!


This post was inspired by the “Runners Tell All” linkup (details below). Check out my About Me page if you like, my other posts in this series, or read on for this month’s topic…

“Runners Tell All” is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month will feature a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here.

Share a Running Picture!

One of these days I will get the running photo I dream of for my blog header – me, bounding out of a panoramic puddle as rain pours down, the water droplets clearly defined and glistening, my running figure an out-of-focus blur amidst so much glorious moisture.

I need to talk my mum into taking that picture, and she hates rain. Never going to happen!

Instead, here is a picture taken at my favourite 10k of this year so far, the Loch Katrine 10k! The race was at the end of March and, miraculously, the sun came out to warm everyone taking part in the Loch Katrine Running Festival (marathon, half-marathon and 10k). I gave a cheesy thumbs-up to a photographer I noticed on the way back, and he turned out to be the official photographer! I made it into his sneak-peak photo of the event. Here’s me, dressed in strict accordance with my Polyvore outfit (shared in the earlier link-up on Favourite Running Gear), in Kilometre 9, on my way to setting a new PB:

 

Thumbs up for the sun!

 

The sun shone, blue skies stretched behind snow-covered mountains, and frost lingered on the mossy verges of the private lochside road. My runner’s high lasted from Kilometre 1 to Kilometre 10.

If pictures are your thing, go and check out all the other participants in this month’s link-up via the links at the bottom of Amanda’s blog entry.

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Runners Tell All Link-up: Bad Experiences


This post was inspired by the “Runners Tell All” linkup (details below). Check out my About Me page if you like, my first post in this series on how I caught the running bug, my favourite running stuff, or read on for this month’s topic…

“Runners Tell All” is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month will feature a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here.

Lessons learned from bad race experiences

Another month, another ‘Runners Tell All’ link up! This month’s theme is ‘lessons learned from bad race/training experiences’.

Breakfasts and Hills

I have now participated in five 10k races (amazingly enough only two of which were in heavy rain!). I lucked out with a gorgeous sunny day for the Loch Katrine 10k in March, and a mostly dry and gusty day for the Glenlivet 10k on my birthday a few weeks ago. Loch Katrine looked likely to be my worst race experience to date, because a certain monthly bane decided to wait until race day to make an appearance. However, as it turns out, popping some cramp-pain killers before a race is a genius idea and I managed to PB on a hilly course and felt fantastic.

The birthday run was a very different experience! *ominous dun-dun-duuuuun music*

I don’t tend to think of the 10ks as ‘races’ – for me, that means racing against other people. The only thing I am ‘racing’ against is my last 10k time, and even then beating that time is just the icing on the cake. Running the whole distance without walking is usually my main goal! If I ‘fail’ on these fronts, as I did at the Glenlivet 10k, then it is my brain that gives me the ‘bad’ experience.

The first 4k of the Glenlivet route (on small backroads in the Cairngorms National Park) is uphill. But… I was prepared! The Loch Katrine route had a similar total ascent and descent, and I’d gone for training runs in other areas with similar total ascent/descent. However, what I failed to realise was that Loch Katrine’s total ascent was over a number of small hills (so it was really easy to push hard up the hill, then enjoy the downhill, several times). Glenlivet’s ascent was all at once, over the first 4k of the route, fondly referred to by the race organisers as the “steady incline”. In addition, as I was staying in a B&B the night before the race, I indulged in a slightly larger breakfast than my normal pre-race porridge ration. Don’t worry – I resisted the lure of the great Scottish fryup, but decided that to supplement my porridge I would also have one slice of toast and a poached egg. I was the epitome of calculated restraint.

Two hours later, my stomach was not.

A warm, churning belly, seemingly wobbling along under its own separate centre of gravity, manifested as soon as I started doing my warmup, and continued into the race itself. That was when I really realised that the “steady incline” and head-on gusts were going to result in me failing my base goal (to run the whole way).

At Loch Katrine, I went up hills rhythmically chanting “1-2-3-4-SCONE; 1-2-3-4-SCONE!”, and sometimes the little train song – “I think I can I know I can I think I can I know I can”. Not so at Glenlivet – my hill mantras did not work. I walked after about 2km, my stomach still churning away. I allowed myself a few minutes of walking, until some kindly soul running past panted “Keep going!!” at me, giving me just enough motivation to start running again. Once the route levelled out and then shifted into a very welcome downhill stretch, the churning sensation turned into a stitch, which was slightly more bearable, and I managed to keep running until the end.

I look back now and regret allowing my brain to beat me up about walking and for making me feel like a failure on my birthday. I mean, overall it was a great day, an excellently organised event, there was hardly any rain (although the sight of some very black rainclouds obliterating the hills beyond the finish line was quite motivational), and I got to the end of my fifth race! If only I could have cheered myself on at the time.

Lessons learned?

  1. Don’t mess with breakfast, man.
  2. Don’t allow that snippy little brain voice to diminish your experience!
  3. It’s OK to walk.

I’m really enjoying reading and learning from the other experiences shared through this link-up – you should check them all out via the links at the bottom of Amanda’s blog entry or Beka’s blog entry. And feel free to scold me for my breakfasting faux pas in the comments…

 

 

 

 

 

Runners Tell All Linkup: Favourite Running Gear/Products


This post was inspired by the “Runners Tell All” linkup (details below). Check out my About Me page if you like, my first post in this series on how I caught the running bug, or read on for my take on this month’s topic…

“Runners Tell All” is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month will feature a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here.

Favourite Running Gear/Products

I have quite an obsessive nature, so ‘favourite’ (OK, ‘favorite’ for those on the other side of the pond!) is a word I use a lot.  Right now, I would narrow down my favourite things connected with running into three different categories:  gear, cheesy, and wildcard. It also helps that I don’t really have any tech gear to wax liberal about – no Garmin, no support socks… most of my running clothes are repurposed Munro-bagging clothes!

1. Gear.

Reb Runs in the Rain

I found a turquoise loose running vest in a sale earlier this year. It cost £5. The colour is bright and noticeable to other road users and makes my eyes happy, it presents a great surface for attaching race numbers, and I think it looks pretty awesome over a black high neck winter running top. I recreated my running outfit on Polyvore (click the image above if you want to see the item detail!) so you can see how awesome the orange Garmin Forerunner 10 would look with my ensemble. *salty tears, washing away slowly in the rain*

2. Cheesy.

Buchlyvie 2014 Goodie Bag Bracelet
Buchlyvie 2014 Goodie Bag Bracelet

Yes, this category is the slightly corny one, but I like my motivation with a good layer of cheese! In this category, my favourite running gear is my goodie bag/swag purple rubber wrist band from the Buchlyvie 10k, my first race of 2014!  Putting on this wristband reminds me of my achievement and a quick glance down at it (as my lungs and legs announce their imminent demise) can do wonders for my spirits!

3. Wildcard.

I do love a wildcard! This is another motivation-related ‘product’, and a definite obsession at the moment. I’m very inspired by others, whether real or fictional, in all areas of life. For example… I chainwatched the Starz Spartacus series to keep myself motivated when I started lifting weights, with the odd helping of Thor thrown in. Nothing like seeing muscles to want muscles! However, for general fitness and joy in exercise, my current secret weapon is … sports anime! In particular, the amazing Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball).

Kuroko's Basketball - Official Image
Kuroko’s Basketball
(image source: Crunchyroll)

The motivation of the main characters to “become the best basketball team in Japan”, to strengthen specific elements of their own fitness and improve their game, while playing as part of a team and reinforcing their friendships is very inspirational, particularly at my current running ‘level’.  I love to watch this show in the evenings after a long day of work. Yes, at weekends, sometimes I marathon it!  If you want to try it out, I subscribe to Crunchyroll each month in exchange for advert-free viewing, but I believe you can also watch the episodes without a subscription and for free (with adverts).

I’m looking forward to seeing the other linkups for this month – I wonder if anyone else will share my Kuroko love! I suspect that instead I’ll just spend the month in a Garmin Envy haze. 😉

Runners Tell All Linkup: My Story in 250 words.


Welcome to my first blog post! This post was inspired by the “Runners Tell All” linkup (details below), and I hope it will be the first of many in 2014. Check out my About Me page if you like, or just read on for a short summary of how I caught the running bug!

“Runners Tell All” is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month will feature a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here.

My Running Story

My first running experience was a spur of the moment 10k in May 2002 – the Britannic Asset Management Women’s 10K event in Glasgow (Scotland). I attended my university gym regularly for fitness classes, but had never actually jogged/run before. One day, pumped with endorphins after a particularly good workout, I saw a poster advertising the event, signed up for the university team and started my first ever eight week beginner’s 10k program. Eight weeks later, I ran the 10k in just over an hour, nommed on a Burger King as a post-run ‘reward’ and … didn’t run again for ten years.

In 2012 (one degree, one full-time job, two house moves and two cats later), I unpacked a box and found my eight week program. I’d lost some weight, and still had a good pair of Brooks trainers so I decided to give the program a whirl again. I ran in the evenings after work, when there was enough light, and occasionally at the weekends. Then, in 2013, a lightbulb flickered into life and I started running in my lunch hour at work. I remembered how much I’d valued the sense of personal achievement from running, and the hour of light and fresh air improved my mood. I ran my second ever 10k in November 2013 in under an hour, and my third ever 10k in January 2014 at a new personal best time of 56 mins 27 seconds. No Burger Kings this time, and I’m still running!