Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

July Review

on 2 August 2015


I have spent a fair amount of this month sitting around with my feet up, especially compared with how busy June was! I started the month with my first dedicated hiking holiday to the Wicklow Mountains just South-West of Dublin with a friend of mine from uni. The idea of a hiking holiday has appealed to me for a while, but it’s not something P is really interested in, he likes to base himself in one place and explore from there rather than covering a linear or big circular route over a few days. I’m sure I can find somewhere in Northumberland or the Lakes where we can base ourselves from one place and do several circular routes to explore the area though πŸ˜‰ Watch this space πŸ˜› We bought a tent last year that’s not been used yet – definitely needs a good airing πŸ˜‰

Anyway, back to July – This was a really good way to see a part of Ireland I’ve not been to before, particularly as some of the places we went and things we saw you couldn’t really get to by car – it was your own feet, a bike or nothing! You can find links to my travels here and here πŸ™‚ I only had my GPS watch on for the actual Wicklow Way stretches, so the amount of actual walking I did while over there is severely underestimated when looking at my month summary. S’s phone fitness tracker had us clocked up at more like 50km over the 2 days than the 15.7km I’ve got us ‘officially’ marked down as.

Dublin really knocked my energy levels for six, and it was 2 weeks before I did any exercise at all, and 3 weeks before I actually got my trainers on for a run. There are a multitude of broken-record excuses for this – it was so FRIKKING HOT, I had no energy, and I am a lazy bum when given the opportunity! So I sat around on my butt and ate vast quantities of cakes instead πŸ™‚ Everyone should have a hobby πŸ˜‰ My calendar page for this month has been most appropriate (it’s The Oatmeal’s wonderfully motivating calendar for 2015)


Puddings and cakes have been the very “in” thing this summer…

With the heat still being very present and my face turning into something you could fry eggs on after about 3km, I’ve been concentrating on just getting out even if it’s just for 4-5km at a time, and trying to find ways to make things a bit more interesting than just covering the same old mind-numbing ground.

I’ve been covering the short distance along the river before picking P up from work – only about 4km at a time, but I’ve managed to get my pace up (unintentionally!), and give myself a new best pace for the year so far – I’m ignoring the fact that the previous ones were set on over twice the distance (fingers in ears and humming loudly style!). I’m pretty pleased I’ve been able to match let alone exceed my normal pace over any distance let alone beat it with the heat. After a lull of two weeks after my hiking, it’s good to see the exercise duration and distance climbing again, now to get back up to my old levels!


I found a really good video by the guys at Saltmarsh Running about what is actually happening to your body when you do exercise in the heat, which I’d never really thought about and can recommend listening to. It’s well documented that your pace drops off with increased temperature – or it should do or you risk making yourself ill! – so bring on the cold and maybe I’ll fly! I’ve been working on keeping hydrated, particularly as my work environment is pretty warm at the best of times, and even bought myself some shorts for running in – I haven’t owned anything shorter than capris since I was about 12!!! SOMEONE MIGHT SEE MY KNEES!!!!

I have two focuses for August:

Get that mileage back up, for a couple of reasons: the first is it’s only 6 weeks until the Great North Run, and at the moment I’m not going to go around kidding myself that I can make it all the way round in one go if needed, especially if it’s a ridiculously hot and sunny day. The second reason is that I was really happy about how I felt and looked to myself when I wasΒ ready to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon at Liverpool – hitting between 8 and 11 miles regularly really helped me just tone up a bit and lose some of the cake stores and I want to feel like that again. I’m not saying I have a weight problem, but I was happier with the shape I was then and how I felt. I’m using it as a motivator to make a positive change for myself and get my mileage back up for my next half marathon, with the intention of feeling the same way going into it (and being able to pig out on curry and cakes and not care πŸ˜› ).


My second focus for August is to have fun. The Gateshead Trail is only a fortnight away and I’m really looking forward to it, I went last year – the first year it had run – and loved it. It’s a fantastic trail course and had a great atmosphere, and I signed up this year on the very first day that it opened. It helps that the medals are oh-so-shiny again this year. This is my one from last year πŸ™‚ This year’s is similar with an orange theme instead of green πŸ™‚


I’ve also booked in for the 10 mile Tynedale Jelly Race at Hexham for the end of the month – this is a fortnight before the Great North Run so a really good distance to be doing about this time, and who doesn’t love finishing a run to be greeted with jelly?! I’m so there… I’ve not done this one before, and it looks like previous years it’s been a nice pootle down the river to Ovingham, so a pretty flat route. Typically, they’re changing it for this year just for me to a circular route from Hexham racecourse including some lovely hills. Guess we’ll just have to climb that hill when we get to it! Or, you know, walk it, as is my usual tactic when faced with any steep hill longer than a few metres…

Looking over my calendar for the rest of the year, it was looking very sparse after the Great North Run – The Jelly Race wasn’t on there yet, and I only had the Kielder Beat the Bull 10k in October to look forward to for the rest of the year, so I went on another mini event-booking spree πŸ™‚ The Jelly Race went on for this month as a longer distance follow up to the 10k Run Stamfordham I already had booked in with J for August, and the Hellhole 10k and Gibside Fruitbowl have gone into the diary for October. I’m obviously an early booker for Hellhole – they’ve sent my number out already and I’m number 28! I imagine it will fill out over the next few months πŸ™‚ The Gibside Fruitbowl is in its 19th year this year and is run by the Blackhill Bounders – so I feel obligated to at least give it a try! I’m leaving September pretty empty of events – I have the Washington Urban Trail followed by the Great North Run, and then deliberately nothing for 3 weeks before Kielder. I’ll still be out and about I hope, but I’ll not commit myself to any big events straight after the GNR, and I want to be in top form for Kielder – even with that hill I will be beating my time for last year!

2015’s over halfway gone, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of it πŸ™‚

july calendar


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