Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

5am Club

So, shock horror, life changes when you have a baby! Don’t worry, I was aware of this before we had one, it didn’t just dawn on us when we brought her home. But what I mean is, it’s things like, they literally have to go everywhere with you….and the logistics of this is not always easy.

I’ll skip straight to the running. Scott and I ran the 2017 London Marathon together. This involved a very rigid schedule and some very willing babysitters. Luckily I was still on maternity leave from work, but that doesn’t mean you can just run any time, oh no…

We had been given a second hand running buggy but it wasn’t really for us. We wanted to train specifically for the marathon and, as we weren’t planning on pushing the buggy for 26.2 round London, we came up with schedule of individual evening runs and a Sunday long run together. Planning that was hard enough, we didn’t want to have to base our routes around buggy friendly terrain, drop kerbs and wide paths…so we let the grandparents have some bonding time with Sophie, and it meant that we got to spend some time alone together too, even though the most we said to each other was “gel?”!!

Marathon day was great and went perfectly to plan. We found each other after starting off in different start areas, and we ran the final 25.2 miles together, crossing the line with a big kiss!

And then the running stopped. And then I went back to work. And then the football season started, and the new series of The Great British Bake Off began, and the new routine of in from work, bath and bed for baby, dinner for us, TV on, bed, repeat, became the norm. And that was fine, we needed some down time, we’d earnt it.

But with my new trainers screaming from their box, and a 10k race our Post-Marathon “oh it’s only a 6 mile run” Selves signed up for on the horizon, we’ve decided to get running again….and the logistical challenges begin once more.

I’m one of those really annoying morning people. I’m useless beyond 9pm, but I could happily bound out of bed at 5am and go for a run….so that’s what I’ve been doing! And it works! Well, for a 3 or 4 miles anyway, I can’t seem to get much further on no fuel, but that’ll do nicely for now…you’ve got to re-start somewhere, right?

It has reignited my love for running and made me feel better about my evenings in front of Bake Off, so it’s win win.

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I’m back….plus one!

Due to popular demand (OK, one friend asked when I would blog again…) I am back!

It’s been 2 years since I last wrote a blog post here. Since then I’ve been pregnant, had a baby, run the London Marathon 2017 and gone back to work…that’s the short version!

I’ve had bouts of being structured with running, bits of running when I feel like it and times when I haven’t run at all. Since joining friends on a recent parkrun, and realising I have a 10k race in a few weeks(!!), I’ve got myself into a bit more of a routine again, and I’m enjoying the structure of it and looking forward to getting out there to clock up the miles.

And I always loved blogging too, but when my running was so up and down, and mumming took over, I didn’t feel like I had anything very inspirational to write. Not that I have anything inspirational to say right now, but I feel like I’m back on the scene….we’ll see!

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Why I Love Race Pacing

In the weeks leading up to a race, you generally know what kind of time you want to finish in, so you work out your mile or km pacing and vow you’ll stick to that, pushing a bit at the end if you feel strong. But you know you always go off too fast, you’ll try and hold on but a few miles in you’ll realise it’s just not going to happen, you’ve used all you’ve got and the rest of the race is just about getting to the end in one piece!

Most of us have had similar stories, so you might now check if an event has race pacers and stick with them. Race pacers will generally run a consistent pace throughout the entire race, getting you to the finish line in just under your desired finish time.

I’d seen a few pacers at various races and thought it looked like fun. They were very happy and encouraging, so when I saw a race pacing agency was looking for volunteers, I signed up, giving my PB times and the finish times I’d be prepared to pace for, for every distance. A few weeks later I was contacted for my first event, pacing a half marathon. Since then I’ve done 2 further half marathons and a 10k, and I hope to do many more next year.

To train I just make sure I get a few runs in at the correct pace and distance. Like anything, if you practice it, it becomes easier.

On the day I make sure my Garmin is well charged and I’m at the event nice and early to meet people who want to run with me and answer any questions.

During the race I like to shout lots of encouragement, chat to people who want to chat, cheer at each distance marker and tell everyone to beat me in the last 100 metres!

I get loads of thank you’s afterwards and people asking how I run with the flag on my back. The flag is actually really light, you just have to be aware of low hanging trees!

If you’re interested in getting in to race pacing then get in touch and I can send you the details on how to sign up.

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#FeelingUpbeat

When the lovely people from Upbeat contacted me about trying their protein drink I was keen. I’d seen other people talk about it on social media and I had seen it in my local supermarket, but I’d not tried it. Why? Because I’m a creature of habit! I have my pre and post run routine down to a fine art (years of perfecting!) and I just plod along doing the same thing every time.

But these magic vouchers gave me a free try, so I went to Tesco in my lunch break and bought up the flavours they had; Blueberry & Raspberry, Strawberry, and Chocolate & Orange.

 

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I tried the blueberry & raspberry one that evening after a run, and it was flippin’ scrummy! It took all my willpower not to open another, but I promised myself it would be part of breakfast the next day.

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And so me and my strawberry desk breakfast were very happy the following morning. The taste of fruit is very fresh, and it’s smooth and just the right thickness to go down well. Each little bottle is only 150 calories, so I had some porridge too! Well, I am an athlete after all! I saw that someone on Instagram had put theirs IN their porridge….genius idea! I’m banking that one for the future.

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Now, I am a self confessed chocoholic, so I’d saved the chocolate & orange flavour one to try last (another strange habit I have, all the best things get saved ’til last) so I had it as my post run protein hit after a tough club session. It didn’t disappoint! Very tasty and just the right amount of orange within the chocolate. I have to say it is definitely my favourite.

10/10 for flavour and consistency. My only criticism would be that I could happily drink a bottle 5 times the size, but then it;’s probably a good thing that they don’t make one that big!

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In terms of nutritionals, per 250g (ready to drink) this is how Upbeat performs against my normal post run protein shake.

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I use protein after most runs or workouts, so I would definitely get a stash of Upbeat in and make it part of my daily routine. It’s easier to take to work too, in the little bottles. Something tells me there’ll be more of the chocolate & orange ones filling up the fridge than any other flavour!

You can find more info on the drinks here.

Do you include protein drinks in your pre or post workout regime?

Have you tried Upbeat? And if so, which flavour is your favourite? (if you don’t say chocolate & orange, you are probably wrong!)

LRG x

Please note that the drinks and goodies from Upbeat were provided free of charge, but the opinions are all my own. I have not been paid for this blog post and have no other links to the brand.
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What have I missed?!

So, it looks like it has been a long, long time since I blogged, and for that I’m sorry…but I have been working hard over here RunningWithUs and with some posts over here too The Running Bug, so it’s not been all play and no work, I promise. But I have been neglecting my own blog, so time to rectify that.

In the last few months I have been busy! I was injured, engaged, recovered, coaching, moving house and wedding planning (ongoing!) as well as running and getting the new house ship shape….oh, and searching for the cat who ran away from the new house….he’s home now!

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So, right now, I’m recovered from a piriformis injury and building the miles back up in preparation for spring marathon. I’m at B&Q way too often. I’m Googling wedding venues. I’m writing new coaching sessions. And I’m very excited about Christmas.

Regrettably, my bike hasn’t left the garage since the move, due to the terrible weather. But I need to get over that and get back out on the road.

So what have I missed with you?!

LRG x

 

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Guest Blog: Mull-ered

My coaching has really kicked off, and I had the pleasure of online coaching one of the fab #UKRunChat community from the world of Twitter @JeNeSuisPasClem

He kindly wrote a piece for the blog about how it went. Read on…..

“When I moved to Glasvegas I made a decision to run more frequently and join a run club. So I did. The run club is ace and I started to run a bit more.

I also booked a few races. The Polaroid series (Dumbarton, Helensburgh, Vale of Leven and Clydebank 10km races), Rouken Glen 10km, Glasgow half Marathon in October and Mull half marathon. The Mull one looked dead good. Only 150 entrants and I’d have to go up to Oban and get a ferry over to the island to race it which I thought would be a cool little trip.

I did all the Polaroid races….getting faster each race, even with the last one at Vale of Leven which was hilly and very wet.

I then did Rouken Glen 10km, because someone said it would be a good idea. It was a frickin nightmare. It was a trail race with massive hills. I like it sunny, flat and tarmac with a gentle downhill gradient. Anyway, I ran it, it hurt, I binned the t-shirt and went bonkers at the end for them not being clear about it being trails. I didn’t run for a bit after that….for like a month. I knew Mull was looming in August. I thought that as long as I had six weeks training I’d be okay. I’d even almost stopped going run club. I was starting to get familiar with Glasgow and there was much better stuff to do in the evening than run….and more weekend house guests to go and get lively with as the weather improved.

June passed in a haze of Campari and gin, so I had to make a decision to either go and get some miles in, or just can it off. I really wanted to go to Mull so I thought, look, I need some help here. Less than 5 weeks to go and I’ve only been doing 10km’s. The last time I’d run further than that was when me and Tess did the 10 mile Longman trail run in East Sussex in January (minus 4 degrees if you wondered)….further back than that was the 10 mile Great South run in Southsea….in October 2014. Shit. When I thought about it the last time I’d run 13.1 was at Hackney Half mara in May 2014 and that was such a nightmare I could hardly walk when I’d finished. I needed to outsource this.

So….I asked Sarah to help.

For two reasons.

1. She’d started coaching and recently had some excellent successes

2. I knew that she’d be annoyingly relentless in getting me to do the sessions, plus I’d probably feel guilty if I didn’t do them.

After a tough negotiation involving half commitments, threats and a bodyweight of Turkish delight, she agreed to help.

We did make one serious commitment though that I guess Sarah knew would work. She only agreed to give me a plan for 3 days in advance. That way it wouldn’t scare the crap out of me and give me a reason not to go and run. I struggle with getting out there all the time, I absolutely adore running and love it when I’m out there, it’s just I can usually get easily distracted by something more interesting or fun to do. I have absolutely no idea how I committed and did all the training to run Brighton marathon.

We had little time. It started really well. Short runs, early runs, progression runs and horrid 6-5-4-3-2-1 runs. First weekend I did a 75 min run. I actually felt alright. No twinges, no stiffness. Week 2, same again with slightly longer run….(well done Katie!) Week 3, excellent midweek run and by now I felt strong.

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After the hardest session

Then, probably expectedly, when things were bang on with training, I went out on the razz hard from Thursday until Sunday and missed 2 sessions and the longest run. I had a very freakin brilliant time, however, after considering whether to change my email address and just hide I thought I’d better respond to the many messages from Sarah asking for Garmin reports and progress. I did give a brief report and update on what I’d been doing however from the shocked response I got back I’m not sure that’s what she expected.

So I had guilt ridden sessions for the last week, culminating in a hard progression run that really got me buzzing on the Thursday before the race.

My Glasgow friend Jude had decided to go and do Mull so we drove up. This is a brief outline of what happened in 36hrs – however, I am happy to write a full account if required.

• It took 5 and a half hours to get to frickin Oban
• Seals
• The hotel
• Room of murders
• Jude in the room underneath moaning about me shouting incoherently and walking around all night.
• Whiskey / beer / whiskey / wine / whiskey / lager / accordion and bagpipes / Father Christmas / Guinness
• Biblical weather
• Nun stalking
• Ferry sick
• 1 mile walk to the start line
• Old peoples home
• Hills
• 3 hour wait for a bus in a pub where I couldn’t drink
• Rocky ferry
• 2.5 hour drive

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Anyway. The important bit was the race. After a wet two hours waiting to start and a mile walk to the start line, we were off.

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I’m in the middle with my arms in the air!

I felt dead good, even if it was very wet, I hadn’t run for two days and after the hard week session I’d done, I actually felt ready. My PB was 2.07. We didn’t really commit to a time, however I was convinced I’d go faster than that because of how I felt.

I trained with a Garmin, however didn’t want to wear it for the race as I’d just be preoccupied by it. At mile 3 a Garmin beeped – I asked the pace and we were doing 8.30’s. Woahhh! I slowed right down. I thought I’d be okay around the 9.15/20’s. At the 10km point I hadn’t been overtaken. I felt strong, felt good. I had no idea on time, I just knew I felt aces and I said to myself, you know what, fuck it, I’ll just run the last bit like a 10km….then I got to mile 10…11…12, still no slowing, no pain and weirdly, no tiredness. The last 5km flew by. It was probably helped by the completely breath taking scenery. It’s a pretty damn beautiful and special place Mull.

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The finish was outside a pub in Salen, just a few houses and a pub and everyone outside cheering. As there were only about 150 people running it everyone was just hanging around.

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Straight through the finish and bingo I’d done it. Now….what was my time. It took an hour or so to get the official time….fuck yeh. 1hr 57min. Done it. When I first started running the only goal I had was a sub 2hr half marathon. Proper stoked.

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So….

Thank you Sarah. What you did worked and it worked really well. I do not claim to be knowledgeable about running coaching, I do have an opinion though on how Sarah got me to run knock 10mins of my PB, sub 2hr and to take me from only 6 miles in the legs to running 13.1 in under 5 weeks.

She spent loads of time asking me about when I could run and what I could realistically commit to.
When I didn’t run she quickly adapted the plan to still get me to work hard in the time we had.
She understood me. Only giving me 3 days in a plan in a week really worked.
Slow runs slow and fast runs fast. Proper mixed sessions and lots of threshold.
Time on feet and not measured distances.
I felt she actually cared too, in a non-weird sister kinda way and bloody good communications. Made me feel that I wanted to do good.

…now I’m back to run club, feeling really good about running again and ready for Glasgow half in October.

Get a coach for a race. It’s a cracking and exciting thing to do and you’re not doing it on your own. Shared up and down journey, shared success – that can only be a good thing.

Cheers girl. Top work coach xx ”

I’m super proud of how he got stuck into the sessions I gave him, and how the Mull Half Marathon went for him…not that I was ever in any doubt that he would get under that 2 hour ultimate goal! The communication and constant feedback was essential, as was the honesty when life got in the way of running, which happens to us all.

Well done @JeNeSuisPasClem YOU ROCK!

LRG x

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Race Review: Adidas Thunder Run 2015

“…it’s the busiest day of the summer to be on the roads” confirmed the radio, 5 hours into the supposed 2 and a half hour journey to Catton Park, South Derbyshire. It’s OK though, it was p*ssing it down with rain and I was making the journey to camp in a field with a bunch of people I’d never met, and run in circles at random times of the day and night, so it was totally justified! Pulling up at the UKRunChat camp site I spotted a bunch of smiling faces I recognised from running selfies all huddled under the gazebo, hugging cups of tea. Loads of friendly introductions and it was as if we’d all known each other forever. Pop-up tent quickly nailed down and if was off to the pub! We got chatting about the event while waiting for our final civilised meal of the weekend. As I was at Thunder Run last year, I gave a bit of advice on how it all worked but urged everyone to just have a great time and take it all in. One last trip to a luxury loo and we headed back to the campsite to get as much sleep as possible. My pop-up 2 man (yeah right) was bursting with me and my stuff (essential kit, you understand) but I managed to get a few hours kip wedged in between it all. Lucky for us we had 3 camping kettles, and they were put to the test with the Rocket Fuel coffee that morning! IMG_3919 I was first up for UKRunChat Team Alpha (we have a Team Beta too) so I got kitted up in our smart team vest and we all headed down for the briefing. It was busy with all the teams, pairs and solo runners at the start line, so Annabeth (runner 1 for Team Beta) and I got ourselves tucked into the pack and waited for the start gun. IMG_3921 Lap 1 – Saturday 12 noon

Despite the blue sky, the beautiful cross country course was VERY muddy from the rain the day before. Being lap 1 it was very busy on the single track so we walked a lot of the first couple of miles (through traffic and fear of slipping!) together. Being the same as last year, the route quickly became familiar and I remembered all the lumps, bumps, hills and tree roots! IMG_3912 We saw our team mates just after 2km and worked our way through the campsite, over the fields, up the hills and through the woods, with varying levels of mud along the way. IMG_3920We ran the whole first lap together and crossed the line to handover to Joe & Martin, who quickly took off. We made our way back to camp for a well deserved cuppa! A sit around, some food, a good chat and watching the others come and go to do their laps, we were having a great time. The sun stayed out and the rain stayed away. As more people came back we started to discuss the possibility of running double laps the next time we went out, and a few of us agreed we’d like to do it. Howard (our top of the range camp site support) was coming with me for a recreational run on the first of my double laps.

Lap 2 – Saturday 6:58pm

Howard and I set off in matching purple vests. It was hotter and with much less mud this time. And much fewer people. Deep in conversation, we were passing runners all over the place. He’s clearly a fell runner, powering up the hills. I just about managed to keep up and, as a bonus, wasn’t too out of breath! The familiar course was felt good, but I was starting to regret saying I’d do 2 in a row! It would be fine! At the start/finish line, Howard and I parted ways and I continued on.

Lap 3 – Saturday 7:50pm

Having just done a pretty quick (for a cross country) 10k, my legs felt pretty heavy starting out immediately on the next one, but I managed to keep the pace up until the next incline, which I allowed myself to walk…quickly! The twists and turns of the course were second nature now. Frankie kindly passed me a gel and some water on my way passed camp, which I was really grateful of as dots has started to appear in front of my eyes! They did the trick and I ran on, smiling, chatting and passing people along the way.

Never been so happy to see Joe’s smiling face at the exchange area.

And it was off to camp for a cuppa and an attempt at some sleep. I wasn’t to get a night lap, which was both disappointing and relieving all at once.

Lap 4 – Sunday 7:11am

I managed a decent few hours sleep. God only knows how, as the camp behind us must’ve stayed awake all night. I could have updated their white board for them…I’d heard every conversation about every time and every run!

Anyway! I set off again. My legs took a while to wake up and the people around me were weary, but the spirit was awesome and the run was just what I needed. The weather was still OK and the course was cool and springy.

Less cheers and more of a sedate ambiance, it was nice to come back and have some proper breakfast.

On my return, we worked out that a few people wouldn’t be running again, so I;d get in a 5th lap, at the end of the 24 hours, which was good news for me as I fancies 5 laps!

Lap 5 – Sunday 11:32am

The final lap and I really went for it. The course was quiet as everyone had started to finish, but the support was immense.

Ran had started around 10:30 and the course was now very slippery, so it was a fitting to end the weekend how I had began it!

I ran the whole way and thanked and congratulated everyone. Got quite emotional towards the end due to all of the support of the last km around the camp site.

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The event didn’t disappoint, and the people I was with were truly fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch to share the experience with.

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An awesome medal and finisher’s tee to boot!

Massive thanks to #UKRunChat and Adidas Thunder Run. I can’t recommend this even enough….even for someone that dislikes (it has been downgraded from HATES) camping!!

LRG x

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A New RunningwithUs Coach

18 months ago, with only a handful of races under my belt (having taking up running only a year or so before) I turned up at a training day for charity runners to try and learn some more about how I was going to make it round the London Marathon a few months later (April 2014).

To cut a long story short, and jump straight to the cheesy bit, it changed my life.

The day was led by the amazing coaches from RunningwithUs, who were truly inspirational. So much so that the following week I picked up the phone to arrange some personal coaching with them.

A few weeks before the marathon I joined the coaches in Portugal for a warm weather training camp. As well as learning so much from the coaches and other athletes, I made a decision that coaching was what I wanted to do with my life.

I completed my England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course soon after and started leading running sessions at my club. Following that I was made Ladies’ Captain of the club, then started my Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) qualification, working with athletes on a one to one basis, as well as groups.

So, now comes the really exciting part for me…I’ve joined the RunningwithUs Coaching Team.

I’m so excited to be working with some of the best coaches and athletes in the country, and the people that have inspired, motivated and supported me to better my running and work in a field I am so passionate about.

I’m already getting stuck into writing bespoke running plans, delivering one to one and group coaching, and presenting to running groups (and loving it all) so if you’re after a structured training plan then please do get in touch.

And keep an eye out to see how it’s all progressing!

(Coach) LRG x

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Musings of the new cycle commuter

The various thoughts on my way to work, 4 weeks in to a twice weekly cycle commute.

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  • I have never noticed how many drains there are along the side of the road. Or how much they dip in. That’s bad. I think I’ve done an extra mile already just avoiding drains.
  • This is much easier now I’ve pumped the tyres up again!
  • Weeeeeee!! Downhills are way much more fun on a bike. I’m never getting in my car again!
  • What’s that smell? Oh my God bin lorries on both sides of the road. On an incline. Holding breath, peddling faster, holding breath, peddling faster.
  • OK waving friendly cyclist. I like this. Waving back. WOAH, mind the drain. Less waving, more drain watching.
  • Why are you in such a hurry to get round me before the traffic island? The traffic island is like 5 foot long at most. If you miss your opportunity before the island I imagine we’ll both be passed it in milliseconds and then you can get round me with a lot less risk to me and your car….and the island!
  • It’s faster to run up this hill. Yep, I definitely run up here faster than this. I wonder if there’s any way of using my car solely for this hill. Where could I do a car/bike swap for this hill?
  • WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? DID SOMEONE GET SHOT? OK, just a car going over a drain. It’s fine. Heart rate will come down again soon.
  • Stay green, stay green, stay green. Damn. Red. At the front of the traffic light queue now and in the wrong gear.
  • Waving to cyclist. Oh, no waving back. Not even a cursory head nod. OK.
  • That’s at least 4 ‘S’s’ at the beginning of the word SLOW painted on the road that are upside down. Can it be that difficult to get the ‘S’ the right way round? It clearly looks wrong the other way up!
  • Legs have just stopped feeling the effects of negotiating those bin lorries.
  • Where are all the street sweepers at this time of year? How can this much crap accumulate at the side of the road?
  • What’s the etiquette when it comes to advising that cyclist coming in the opposite direction that he should be wearing a helmet?
  • I can’t believe how windy it is. Maybe I need to start listening to a shipping forecast. I wonder if there’s a cycling forecast. There must be a wind speed and direction app. Hmmmm.
  • I need a multi sport watch.

And that’s just on the way in!

LRG x

(or should that be LCG?!)

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Race Review: Yateley 10k – Race 2

OK so this was a couple of weeks ago now and I’ve been terrible at getting the write up down, sorry!

As with the first race, I arrived with my brother Jack. He was going for a PB, as was his friend. I’d decided I’d run a hard race but not aim for a PB as I was pacing the Women’s Running 10k that weekend and I didn’t want to turn up injured.


I’d seen a lot of club team mates collecting their numbers, and some twitter friends taking photos near the start. Everyone was in good spirits. The weather was quite ideal. It had been a nice day, with some rain the day before, and had cooled off for the Wednesday evening.

We set off for a short warm up then took our places in the 40-50 min finish area at the start.

And we were off! As I was planning on an easy one I wanted to focus on the effort and not the pace, so would only check my watch at the mile beeps. I thought I’d come in about 47 minutes.

It’s the same course every race so, as with last time, it’s up hill straight away. My pace was good though and felt good. It was cooler than last time and the first mile beeped at 7:09, quicker than I’d anticipated.

The second mile continued up hill, getting warmer. I closed in on some of the runners that had gone off a bit too fast. The watch beeped 7:06. It had felt harder than the first mile, so I was pleased with the time.

And finally the downhill came! A relaxing breather and a 6:57 for mile 3!

The next mile took us down to the straight and was pretty consistent at 7:08.

The straight mile should be easy. Everyone says tuck in behind someone and pick people off, but at 7:27 for that mile, I’m sure it was me being picked off! That and the number of people that passed me!

The final uphill mile was ok and I managed to get passed a few on the way. 7:33.

A nice coast downhill towards the end and I was surprised to see I came in at 44:48, 1 second slower than last time! It had felt a lot easier and more comfortable.

Jack and Adam got PBs, along with a lot of other friends.

Being the sad stats geek that I am, I’m really excited to compare the miles of the 2 races so far as I plan to smash out a good run in the final August race, so I want to see where I can make up the time!

The August race is a sell out. It’s such a popular event. Fingers crossed for good conditions and a PB!

LRG x

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