Blue Runnings

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

A Wander Week – Week 11

on 15 March 2016

It’s now only 1.5 weeks until the marathon start line, and we are officially on the lowdown doing light exercise in an attempt to build up the steam reserves for race day; unlike week 10 where I was resting because I was ran said steam reserves to the dregs in week 9…

I was intending to have one week off, but this last week’s been pretty low key too, though I have actually had my trainers on a few times. After the race at Bamburgh, I decided to take a week off of no exercise at all – and it took until the following Saturday afternoon to be starting to feel more like myself, and the Monday week to be back in my own headspace again. I was very grumpy in my post-race week; short-tempered and much more sensitive to things I usually take more in stride and don’t let bother me so much. I had to make a real effort to bite my tongue and not say anything I might regret just because I was having a tired and grumpy few days! This must be what adulting is about…I don’t like it.

I’ve been like the supplement queen the last fortnight. I don’t think I’m in danger of becoming an addict. Iron supplements, multi-vitamin and protein shakes, and they get old really fast. The novelty of downing a water-based protein supplement every morning for breakfast for the first week lost its appeal pretty quick – I’ve gone back to just after exercise for the last week. I really think taking protein shakes after my long runs and gym sessions has been a contributor to me not having sore muscles the next day, even if I’ve been pushing my distances and doing so for consecutive weekends, but particularly when you’re making them with water so you can take them with you and leave them in the car, they’re no McDonald’s thick shake!


I went out on Monday for a short run with Mr Speedy, who is getting very into running now! We only did the 2 mile loop again, and where we came close to my best pace on the previous try, we did beat it this time – by about 8 seconds a mile which I’m pretty happy with unsurprisingly! Unsurprisingly, we were both very out of puff by the end! C was starting to waver a bit by 1.6 mile but I yelled ahead at him to keep going – I’d told him if he was comfortable to just go on ahead and I would slog along behind. We did make it to 2 miles but he really didn’t have much left in the tank and I had to count down the last few 0.01 intervals until we hit the 2 mile. I don’t think I could have gone much further at that pace, but I will one day! Well on track for a sub-30 5k pace with that πŸ™‚ I’ve spent so long mastering my 10-11 min/mile pace for distance as it’s very comfortable for my breathing, that I have to really push to sustain anything faster than 10min/miles for any length of time. I hope one day for this to become my comfort distance pace!


J & I introduced N to the pastime of geocaching at the weekend – essentially, using very expensive GPS satellites to find tupperware in random places… we’ve all run along the Derwent Walk several times, and someone’s laid a trail of caches along the route – we didn’t realise quite how many we’ve run past! We’ve only done about half the route – a round trip of about 4 miles, and picked up several. It was nice to be walking instead of running and be able to really take in the view – normally I have to appreciate in passing glances, particularly as it’s quite a sheltered route so apart from the viaducts the distance-view is normally limited.

We stopped for lunch on a bench, vaguely healthy I guess…J & N are both following the Slimming World eating plan at the moment but I was picking lunch…I tried?! Sandwiches, oven-baked wholegrain crisps (which I really didn’t notice the fat content of until after I’d bought them, honest!), lots of different fruit (strawberries, grapes and pineapple sticks) and some Malteser bunnies which just happened to fall into my basket. The strawberries may have also come with a pot of clotted cream, but I didn’t make J eat every last scrape of it! Ok, so not that healthy…

It was good just to have a catch-up and a wander with the girlies and J’s dogs, and J & I haven’t been out caching in…a while, possibly longer than last summer as we were training for the GNR πŸ™‚ Even with 2 weeks of very little exercise, I was tired the evening after this.


Sunday morning was gorgeous out the window, and I headed out hoping for between 6 and 10 miles depending on how I was feeling. I had a couple of routes around Consett in mind trying to merge a few familiar routes together to give me the distance without having to drive to the start of my normal longer distance routes. A quick go with the route creator on MapMyRun made it clear I would have to add extra loops on to what I had in mind to hit 6-8 miles and I headed out with a route in mind but still not really knowing how far I’d end up doing.

Not a bad time with the Cragside 10k coming up before the marathon to remind myself of an important lesson for longer mileages – respect the distance. I set off far faster than I normally would for a 10k, particularly as the first part of pretty much any of my Consett routes heads uphill, and found out very quickly that the lovely looking morning was actually very muggy. I haven’t worn shorts for years until last summer, when the weather didn’t really give me much of a choice if I wanted to run, and I can’t believe I’m saying this in mid-March, but I think I’m going to have to break them out already for Cragside this weekend! I was rather warm… Shorts already – I’m doomed for the summer!

I did manage to average only 3 seconds slower than C & I’s speed session on Monday which I’m really pleased about – sustained for just under 30 mins now πŸ™‚ Failed miserably on my 10k attempt, but I have at least put the sub-30 5k to bed. I thought I’d hit it at the tail end of last year but it turns out I’d remembered my conversions wrong 😦 I’d got it into my head 10k was 6.1 miles, so 5k would be 3.05 miles, but it turns out 10k = 6.2 miles so I’d stopped just a fraction short of the proper 5k distance! Not this time… Just need to set off a bit slower on Saturday, particularly as there’s apparently a pretty big hill to climb halfway round the Cragside estate (fortunately no stranger to those living round here!) and I’ll get around just fine πŸ™‚ I’d be delighted with a 10k pb, but with the marathon the following week I’ll not be going too mad for it πŸ™‚


The other gripe thing I had with Sunday’s run was my little toe – in truly glamorous and elegant fashion I stubbed my toe on the glass scales in the bathroom when going to the loo in the night, unsurprisingly in the dark, and ripped a corner of flesh up. People just shouldn’t have scales unless they’re in the kitchen for baking ingredients. They’re clearly bad for you! It was bleeding rather badly when I plastered it up before going back to bed, but hadn’t soaked through the dressing by morning, though it stung. Running with it was a different matter. Every left pace I could feel it knocking my shoe; not really surprising when it’s wider by a plaster thickness and I was expecting it to be a bit tender having seen it the night before.

By the time I finished my 5k and got my trainers off it turned out I’d done a bit more than just tap it – it had bled through both the plaster and my sock 😦 It’s been a bit tender since but not bled, I think I’ve got it sealed and am keeping a close eye on it – I want it nothing more than a distant memory for marathon day!


I really did want to get a longer run in before Dark Skies, and realistically that weekend was my last big chance for it without wrecking my very laxly planned taper, but I’m still feeling ok about getting round. Hitting that 20 miles the other week has helped boost my confidence for surviving the distance, and seeing photos of the recent aurora (I missed the actual unfortunately!) has awoken a degree of excitement about the run itself. I’ve run at Kielder twice – and something about the area just speaks to me; I’m counting on that again and quietly looking forward to finishing it – whatever state I’m in when I cross that finish line, cross it I shall! I’m trying to make sure I don’t push myself to the point of feeling drained (I’m terrified of running out of steam again in the last week!) and for the last 2 weeks my prep consists mainly of concentrating on eating a lot better. I have been eating an embarrassing amount of cake over the last few weeks, and I suspect a completely imbalanced diet is also not helping the old steam tank! Lots of fruit and veg, no snacks and better hydration until race day. Then there will be cake…nomnomnom.



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