Blue Runnings

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

2018 Review

2018 really has been a milestone year for me – both in my ‘fitness’ life and in my personal one. I’ve tried an assortment of new things, many of which I’d jump at the chance to do again, and had some amazing people by my side through all of it.

I’ve managed to hit all the targets I set myself at the start of the year (albeit just in some cases!):

  • complete 10 races – I have completed 17 but am not sure in hindsight if this target was to make sure I had stuff booked in to keep me going out, or if it was supposed to stop me booking in for everything and act more like a limit!
  • complete 15 parkruns – after a parkrun-heavier December, I’ve finished the year on 16 for 2018 and 42 total – looking forward to hitting 50 next year, and I think I’ll set myself a volunteering target for 2019 🙂
  • run 500 miles – this has eluded me, by quite a bit, for the last two years so I’m really chuffed to have hit it this year on the 29th of December. The idea of this target was to keep me heading out for 40-50 miles/month which is a level I’m quite happy with for keeping my fitness where I like it and not feeling I’m missing out on other activities as I am always running. I didn’t get out as much as I should have at the start of the year, so the mileage is very weighted to the back of the year, but I’m still absolutely chuffed to have hit it 🙂


I’ve been a lot less active online both on my blog and on facebook, and as such there’s races I haven’t reviewed and several months ‘dark’ on my page – I am not yet sure which direction that will take for next year. There’s some race reviews I wish I had written this year (RAF Spadeadam Half and the Red Kite Trail Race neither of which I’ve run before for example) and will hopefully feature next year, but I have also found I prefer not plastering my daily activities for everyone to see in some cases – just the bigger milestones or the particularly enjoyable runs or ones where I’ve had the camera. I have stopped posting to Strava for the same reason; it’s nice to just do it for you sometimes!

In summary, 2018’s been a bit of a rollercoaster! I’ve tried new activities like snorkelling, new event types (I much prefer duathlons to triathlons!), new races, found new running routes and adopted new running buddies. I feel incredibly privileged to have some very special people in my life and I’m very grateful to all of you – you know who you are. Shall we do it again next year?!

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April 2018

Definitely starting to feel back on track with exercising – I set myself the target at the start of the year of hitting 500 miles by the end of it, and as such needed to hit just over 40 miles a month – 9.5 miles a week. January, February and March I think I hit about half of that each month which has been increasing the amount I need to run each month for the rest of the year to still come in green without breaking myself in December!

April 2018

I need to hit 48.57 miles flat profiled for the rest of the year, and for April I’ve hit 49.5, I would probably have done the extra half a mile while I was out if I’d realised and hit a round 50 but I’m not going out just to do half a mile for that 😉 Mixed up in that mileage is a duathlon (Washington Novice Duathlon) and two races – 1 road (North Tyneside 10k) and 1 trail (Washington Trail 10k). I’ve also attended four bounce classes – not included in mileage – and done three training sessions (two intervals, one hills). My longest run was 7 miles for a Bounders Sunday run along the Derwent Walk.

April 2018 Graph

I’m slightly behind on my mileage target – should be 33% by the end of month 4, but at least achieved the mileage I needed + 1 so we’ll get closer to target as we progress through the year if I can keep that up, and I’m bang on with parkruns. I’ve actually run in four different locations in the last six weeks – one of the local ones at Gibside and then three new ones; Sedgefield, Stockport and Pennington Flash, meaning I’ve also hit my target of running in 10 different locations!

I’m ahead for races having completed four events so far out of ten, but looking at my calendar I’m only booked in for another six, so I better not miss any of them if I want to hit ten for 2018! Got to be in it to win it! Or, you know, at least get the shiny thing at the end! I’m deliberately keeping the summer quite empty – I’ve got two races in May (Pier to Pier and George Ogle) and two in July (Red Kite Race and Northumberland Coastal) but nothing for the rest of the summer as P & I have just bought windsurfing rigs :O :O :O I’m keeping the weekends quite empty and am hoping to get in some long runs when there is either not enough or too much wind for us to be out on the water 🙂

Next month’s aim – keep up the exercise levels while not eating all the cake on the planet (I must have had four or five birthday cakes this month and am getting a reputation as a cake fiend!!!). Off to a good start – no sweet treats for the last week of April and down 4lb – just need to shift a few more and work on toning up ready for our holiday in June 🙂

Onwards to May! (Seriously, where is the year going?!?!)

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A Year in Review – 2016


It’s been a month and a half since my last entry here, but it feels like an awful lot longer…I was expecting to log on and see it had been months! Saying that, just this week feels like it’s lasted about 10 days for some reason. The weekend could not come soon enough!

As Christmas fast approaches, I find myself going over 2016 and I confess to having found this year incredibly frustrating. I don’t think I’ll be the only one glad to see the back of it and hoping for a fresh start in January.

Having started the year determined not to spend as much time and money on races as I did last year (which was many £’s and nearly every weekend at one point!), the races I’d booked for this year were ones I’d really wanted to try from 2015 but for whatever reason couldn’t make it, or that I really enjoyed and wanted to do again. Looking over my calendar for this year, out of a total of 19 races booked across the year I missed 7 of them due to being either ill or just not fit enough to do them (one does not do a 10 mile race when one is struggling to do a 10k for example!). Of the 12 I did make it to, I had a DNF on one and nearly a DNF on another, and really struggled on a couple more. If this were Laser Quest, I would be losing rather badly!

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is where my running limits are. My maximum running distance at peak fitness so far seems to be about 16 miles, and I shouldn’t try to run a half marathon every weekend several weeks in a row. I am however comfortable running 8-10 miles every or every-other weekend when ‘fit’. I tried to do far too much far too fast at the start of the year, and to be honest that’s over-shadowed the rest of my year.

I recovered from my post-marathon-attempt fatigue when summer was coming into full bloom – and any of you who’ve had the misfortune of being here a while will know I tend to disappear into a dark cave in the summer and don’t come out – heat and I just don’t get on and it always seems to come out on top! Something I did start doing this year was going out on the bike with one of the guys from work most Wednesday’s when work permitted – and I think this is all I can credit with me not being completely back to square one from a fitness point of view across the rest of this year, because I definitely haven’t been running frequently enough for that to have really helped! I’ve done a total of 165 miles on the bike this year, compared with 15.5 miles the year before, which is not to be sniffed at for someone who’s not really a bike fan!


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Endings and Beginnings


I’m not usually one for new resolutions; every new second, minute, day, week, month is an opportunity to make a new start for yourself so I’ve never really been particularly bothered about January the 1st coming round again, I certainly don’t really wait for it before doing anything. This year however I find myself thinking about what I want to do for myself in the year going forward. Even just within the fitness part of my life, 2015 has been a year of many firsts for me and I find myself wondering what 2016 will bring and where I’ll be and what I will have done this time next year. How much fitter will I be or how much further will I have travelled and what new things will I have seen?

Before I get too hung up in leaping forward, I’d like to briefly take stock of where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved this year. Everyone always has goals of where they want to be, and they’re always faster, or further, or fitter than where they are now – regardless of what they were 5 minutes ago or where they’ve come from. I am exactly the same, but I am also really proud of how where I am now – even with a somewhat haphazard approach to training and a more turn-up-and-see approach than a strategic one to races.

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August Review


Still here? I’m not sure I am! August’s been a very busy month with travel and visitors – we spent 5 days in Bruges and had family invading for another 5 days this – not a single “exercise” session as such, but I’m absolutely knackered anyway! In need of another holiday.

At the end of last month, there were a few things I wanted to do through August – get my mileage up, lose some cake sacks, and have some fun. Success on these three counts has been varying! I have snuck the mileage up again, a few 10km’s and a 9 miler sneaking in there, but with under 2 weeks to the GNR, I’m certainly not as prepared as I was for Liverpool. I have been trying some new local running routes and some new and repeat races, and I started The Pact, which with the exception of one day where P ordered Domino’s (not cake, biscuits, crisps or pudding but there’s no way I’m going to try and convince myself that doesn’t count as junk food), I’ve stuck with it every day. I do feel trimmer for it so it’s obviously working 🙂 I’ve yet to test how that translates into fitness but at least I’m carrying slightly less for the GNR!

It was P’s birthday this weekend, and with family up too there have been cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and puddings everywhere!!! If I’d started this later I would have found it much harder, but I found after the first 4-5 days I’ve actually kicked the sweet cravings and as long as I don’t actually try any, it’s been pretty easy to resist the sweet cravings, if they’ve arisen at all. After a fortnight I’ve also found I’m not constantly hungry as I was at the start – I’ve still been eating plenty but with my diet including a lot more fruit I think it’s just digested easier, or my stomach’s shrunk or something. Whatever. Not as hungry anymore anyway.

My campervan cash count so far is a whopping £32 which I’m pretty darn pleased with if I say it myself! This is 19 days of no junk food, an extra £6 for two weeks where I went seven consecutive days in a row without junk, and 7 exercise sessions. 12 days to go until the GNR and I’m wanting to keep it going until at least then. I’ve found the moneybox method to really work for me – this time at least – and I’ve not run out of £1 coins yet!


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July Review


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 😉 Watch this space 😛 We bought a tent last year that’s not been used yet – definitely needs a good airing 😉

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 🙂 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 🙂 Everyone should have a hobby 😉 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…

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June Review


I say it every month, but the year is rapidly eluding me – half gone already! If this is how fast a year goes at 26, I’m dreading turning 30 let alone older! I’ll never keep track of things! It’s getting into summer proper now and I must confess the latter end of June I have found it a struggle to get out sometimes with the humidity. I missed the Run England session last week as I was prepping for Dublin, but it was so humid it sounds like most of the guys headed home after half their routes and just walked back struggling with getting their breathing and generally being too hot so it doesn’t sound like I missed a tremendous barrel of laughs!

It has been something of a milestone month for me, I’ve been to one of my ‘bucket list’ Northern races in the Blaydon Race (the other on the list being the Great North Run in September – watch this space, it will be here in no time!), and surviving my first ever half marathon – the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half at Liverpool! I’ve been taking something of a break from events since Liverpool, I did the Newburn River Race with J a few days after, and have been and am event free until the Colour Obstacle Rush with J and my sister on the 17th of July, which I might remember I’m doing a few days before hand when my sister appears on the doorstep!


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May Review


What a month! I think this one definitely takes the biscuit for most events in a short time frame! February, March and April had 2-3 races across each month – May had a grand total of 6! I had a pretty poor (ok, very shoddy) start to the month in terms of motivation – and I think I only really got that back mid-month. If the weather stays as it is tonight however I fear I may not make it out again! It’s blowing all the trees sideways and raining worse than it did for the Sunderland 10k! Good old British summer weather. Still, at least it’s getting dark earlier with the clouds and I may put myself to bed at a reasonable time!

Races Runs Workouts Total Distance km Fastest Pace min/km Longest Distance km Longest Duration mins
Feb-15 3 7 7 63.07 06:31 11 85.4
Mar-15 3 7 5 92.42 06:50 16.1 113.6
Apr-15 2 12 4 87.6 06:14 18 117.2
May-15 6 5 0 94.28 06:22 18 128.7

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April Review


Another month disappeared! April has at least been a good month from a pushing one’s self perspective – I’ve run further and faster than I’ve done previously. My previous longest run was the Thirsk 10 in March, which took me 1:53:33 to do the 10 miles/16km. This month on a training run I covered 11miles/18km in 1:57:12 which I’m really pleased with 🙂 I haven’t done either of those distances since…13km being my longest for the last 2.5 weeks but it’s important to stick to the positives for fitness 😉

april records

I’ve also come my closest yet to hitting a sub-60 min 10k at the Tyneside 10k, coming in at 1:02:04. Maybe this month I’ll get it…I have high hopes for the Great Manchester Run…just need to get back into training again 🙂

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March Review & Workout


April is upon us! I have no idea where 2015 is going but it seems to be eluding my grasp and slipping away rather quickly! I thought with March being over I would do a quick review of last month. When I looked at my wall calendar, the one I childishly cover in star stickers whenever I exercise, it looked much less populated than February and I was sure that I was dropping workouts left, right and centre, but when I actually add it up the two months were almost exactly the same in quantity of workouts – the only thing that suffered with my late nights at work was the gym workouts.

Races Runs Workouts Fastest Pace min/km Longest Distance km Longest Duration mins
February ’15 3 7 7 06:31 11 85.4
March ’15 3 7 5 06:50 16.1 113.6

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