Week 9 – Highs and lows

It’s halfway to Marathon day! It’s about to get much tougher.

I had a easy-ish week, but it’s been an emotional rollercoaster….

Training Schedule – Week 9

  • Mon – 4 miles easy
  • Tues – Rest
  • Wed – 7 miles easy
  • Thurs – 4 miles easy
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – Half Marathon

I started the week feeling great. I really enjoyed the back to back long runs on the weekend, for different reasons. The first was a really interesting route, the second a really useful lesson in slow-paced running. Feeling pretty damn sure that I was doing well with the training, I was looking forward to a restful week of easy running.

Monday night was a combo of C25K volunteering and a social run with my running club. It was good to be amongst the positivity felt by the C25K group when they smashed their first 3 minute intervals. The social run was a lovely easy paced jaunt to Ferryden and back, although I was super sad to see the state of my buddy Jo’s flat as we passed. A house fire in the flat above earlier that day had done untold damage. Thankfully no-one was injured.

On Wednesday, I ran with the dynamic duo Emily C and Jane out to the lighthouse and back. The weather was perfect and we spotted some seals just off the rocks. Pace was good, a little faster than planned marathon pace, but managed fine.

Incidentally, Jane has a great eye for a pair of running leggings and she did not disappoint when she rocked up in a pair of zig-zaggy, rainbow striped awesomeness. I knew what the dress code was in advance so I braved wearing a pair of bright blue Mexican skull emblazoned Tikiboo leggings I picked up for £2 in a local charity shop (they are a size too big as it turns out, but what a bargain!) Before I left, I thought the waist tie would be a bit annoying, so I whipped it out. I then spent the run constantly hauling my breeks up. Lesson learned.

On Thursday, it was my running club’s third Lion (Bar) run of the series. The idea is to beat your previous 5K time from weeks 1 and 2. On the first run, I went all out and got a time of 25:19. Now I know for some, that’s pretty slow, and for others, it’s fast. For me, it’s about as fast as I can physically run 5K. That’s me, all out, huffing and puffing, burning legs and lungs, every bit of mental strength I can muster to keep going even though I desperately want to stop.

I got 26:06 (I think, it was hard to tell from the time sheet as it was dark). I ran pretty hard, or so I thought. I was kinda disappointed with my time. Then I got myself caught in a downward spiral of self-doubt and anxiety that my fitness was actually getting worse. I felt pretty damn crappy about myself. I chatted with Emily C and Jane about it, and they were both quick to point out that I have been running lots and lots, I’m not losing fitness, I’m running on tired legs! Glad to have such positive people around me, I agreed they are probably right enough, and I also think there’s something about running exclusively slow and easy paces over longer distances that makes you less adapted to fast short distance running. It’s also a lot of speculation for just one not-so-great timed run!

With one bad run behind me (and many, many good runs) I had a brilliant weekend of running ahead.

On Saturday, my Mum finally decided she wanted to try our local parkrun. She’s been keen for a while, but I think she just needed a running buddy to go with for a bit of support. She picked a good one for her first. As a warm-up, in honour of Rabbie Burns, we were lined up and treated to some heee-ooch music, and a round or two of Orcadian Strip the Willow. Great fun, brilliant idea!

Mum did so well run/walking the course and I’m really proud of her.

Photo by Jamie Kinghorn

I had been hoping to do a half-marathon race as per my plan on Sunday. Turns out there isn’t an official half-marathon in Scotland, at the end of January. The alternative was much more fun!

Anya and Lesley had said the previous week that they were hoping to do a half marathon distance on Sunday. Perfect timing. Lesley is a run leader at the running club, making up lots of varied and interesting routes for us all. I was honestly chuffed when she said I could plan a route for us, loosely based on one Claire had sent me (but avoiding too many out of town windy areas).

With both of them doing RED January and to add a bit of challenge/interest, I made it into a sort of treasure hunt. We were going to run 13.1 miles, while photographing as many red things as we could. With both of them as snap happy as me, it was a brilliant run, and really great fun. We ran around town, up and down streets and sneaky paths, passing a few fellow flyers, all the while grabbing photos of anything red, silly selfies and some great jumping shots. I hardly noticed the running part. Thanks ladies!

In other news this week, I’ve signed up for the Inverness Half Marathon in March. It coincides with my 20 mile training run (the longest in the plan) so I’ve decided to do 7 miles before the race, then run with Laura for the half. Yes, it’s a novel approach to the long run. When I asked the excellent community Running Friends Scotland if this was something to try, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Thanks for reading and well done to all the Red January people this month – just a few more days to go!

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