Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Half Training Update – weeks 9-11

Yes, I’ve abandoned the blog for almost a month – sorry about that!  My excuse is I was working flat out and I put actually running ahead of writing about running.  I know, crazy.

Training update week 11

It’s now less than a week to go before the Run to Remember half marathon and I did my last long run on Sunday (12 miles – 19.3 km).  I averaged 5.46 min/km in 18C sunshine.  I hope that Sunday 7am will be a bit cooler than this – and if so, and if everything goes to plan I might be able to get around in 2 hours. I’m going to need to average 5.41 min/km to do that though…..

I practiced with GU fuel on this run…. and can I just say “yuck”!  As per instructions I had the strawberry banana flavour before I started running and it was pretty revolting.  I had the chocolate outrage flavour on the run and it was much tastier but then it gave me stomach ache. Doh.


Annnyway, since this is the fuel that will be provided during the race I’ll just have to cope. I’m thinking about packing a few Shot Bloks in case I screw up getting to the fuel table.

I also tried a new route at the weekend and it was excellent – so many water fountains!  I ran along the southern bank of the Charles from Harvard to the Museum of Science and back. It was a pretty nice run – a few tourists, dogs, kids, cyclists and other runners but it wasn’t ridiculous.  Also there were lots of wildlife…


The rest of week 11 was 3/5/3 miles – not much to report except I felt quite slow.

Training update week 10

It was 3/5/3/11 miles.   Not much to report except I finally got sick of the Minuteman trail with its worlds-supply of dads taking their kids for bike rides and getting in the way.

Training update week 9

This was a taper week so I did 3/5/3/6 miles.  I did my fastest 1 km this week – 5.01 minutes, and fastest 10 km – 55.11 mins.  Mind you, my Garmin was playing up on the 10 km run so I’m not 100% confident of the PR.  It reckoned I started in the middle of a house – also nowhere near where I actually started….


So I’ve got an easy week this week – 3/2/2 miles. I’ll try to drink lots of water, not eat too much crap (she says while munching on caramel popcorn…) and get enough sleep…

Finally, my thoughts are with everyone in Moore, OK after the insane tornado this afternoon.


Posted in Australia, Half-marathon, Writing

Sydney Morning Run

via Mapmyrun.
via Mapmyrun

Sunday, March 10, 2013

At 7.30am I looked at the clock. Too early. Sleepy. It’s Sunday morning.

At 9.30am I looked at the clock … sigh … I’d better get up and do my run.  Of course it was already waaaay too late by then.  Sydney was heating up – it would eventually reach 28C with 60% humidity.

On with the shoes, a gulped breakfast, Garmin set and out the door.  I ran in the shade to start with, along city streets, before thinking to myself: wouldn’t it be cool to run across the Harbour Bridge?

I saw steps up – I ran up them. Mostly.  My legs were jelly by the time I got to the top.  I was in (or near?) The Rocks but I still couldn’t see the bridge. I knew I was close though. The tall buildings were behind me now so there was no shade. So I ran on with the sun baking down passing cafes full of people chugging lattes.

I spied signs to the bridge!  More steps, one wrong turn and then I was on it.  Distance so far: 4km.  Exhaustion: complete.  I ran to the first pillar, sweat and sunscreen stinging my eyes and the asphalt of the sun-baked bridge cooking my legs.  At the first pillar I had to turn back and walk but noticed I was now facing downhill – joy!

Deciding my legs were ok after all, I jogged back off the bridge, down the steps and onto the road.  Next destination: Opera House.

I struggled to find my way out of The Rocks.  I ran past a market – all incense, beads and bags. I ran past more cafes and could smell pancakes.  Torture.  Down another flight of steps then I finally onto the Overseas Passenger Terminal.  It was now perhaps 10.30am and the place was getting crowded with tourists.

It was all harsh concrete and a maze of tourists, cameras, children, prams and other runners as I dodged my way around Circular Quay to a welcome stretch of shade.  It was short lived – maybe 250m before I was back out in the screaming sun by the steps to the Opera House.

Unbelievably there were more steps in my path! It was a temporary bridge over construction work – then no shade, meandering tourists, baking heat, still no shade and a thick hot breeze from the harbor. I ran along the path between the water of the harbor and the grass of the Gardens.

I had now done about 7km and had planned to run right around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair but I was too hot and too thirsty and too exhausted.

I walked a shortcut through the park to the road then walked some more:  maybe as long as 5 minutes before I had the strength to run again.  I got another short break at a crossing before heading through the cool shade of the avenue in Hyde Park.  Finally, desperate, I ran an as-the-crow-flies, jay-walking straight line back the hotel.

Distance: 9km. Time: 1hr. Lesson: learned.

Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Saturday run, race entered.

Happy Easter!

Briefly – it’s the end of week 4 of my half marathon training plan.  I accidentally went for an 8 mile run on Saturday, rather than 7 miles.  I was running with friends who wanted to do 6 miles, so I did that, then ran home (another nearly 3km).

Distance: 12.74km

Time: 1:22:30

Pace: 6.28

I also signed up for the 27th Annual Marathon Sports Cambridge CityRun 5 Miler – which is next weekend!

This doesn’t quite fit with the training plan but since I did 8 miles yesterday I’m effectively a week ahead of myself (i.e. at the end of week 5). I might also be able to pretend I’m doing the Intermediate training plan instead of the Novice 2. In which case I would be due to do a 10k race at the end of week 6.  Anyhoo, let’s just run the race and see what happens.

Finally, I should really have done some cross training today but…the fact is I walk several km every day, sometimes dragging a cart full of shopping,  and I also walk up many flights of stairs every day – I think I do enough!

Roll on April!


Posted in Half-marathon, Resolutions

Half-Marathon Plans – running history

One of my resolutions this year is to run a half-marathon.  I am currently sitting at home with the flu, having not run for a week, and I’m finding it quite hard to think about doing serious training. So, while I’m laid-up and my new Garmin (yay!) is not being used, let me describe my year of running in 2012.

First, some ancient history: I ran when I was much younger – in fact when I was 11 I ran (and won) a three-mile race faster than I could run it these days.  It’s in the family too: my father used to run (three marathons) and my aunt still runs and wins various distances at age (very nearly) 60.  I stopped running during high school and never really did it again.

In January 2012 my desire to start running again became so great that I persuaded my husband to join me in attempting the Runner’s World couch-to-5km program.  We did an 8 week program (which I think probably took us 10 weeks in the end), starting in week 1 with “run one minute, walk 90 seconds, repeat eight times”. Oh boy. Turns out I could barely run a minute!  This is despite the fact that I cycled to work and back 5 times a week.

However, we persevered and in March 2012 met our goal of  running the short-loop 5km path around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia, in about 30 minutes (note – very flat!).

Then we had a considerable break while we moved our lives from Australia to the US.  Sometime during the Boston summer I decided to enter the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, held in October, and this gave me about 8 weeks to train. At the time I was reading “Runner’s World complete book of Women’s Running” (borrowed from the library) and decided to use the “Intermediate Training Plan”.

The beginning few weeks of the plan was this: Run 4 times a week – three times for 30 mins and the fourth time do a long run -building by 5 minutes a week from 30 mins to 60 mins.  Coincidentally the build-up to running 60 minutes matched the exact time available before the 10km.  Perfect!

So in October 2012 I ran my first race in many years and had a great time!  I had some pacing issues – I started off WAY too slowly. I think I ran the first half in 35 minutes and the second half in 29 minutes but no matter – it was fun to overtake everyone for the second half the race!

Before the start of the Tufts 10K for Women on October 8, 2012
Before the start of the Tufts 10K for Women on October 8, 2012

Place: 3041
Nettime: 1:03:40
Pace: 10:15
Divpl/Tot: 1009/1669

In the meantime I had also started running with the HSSPA Run-for-fun club (ably led by Helen – who will be one of my partners in crime for the Half – right Helen?).  Since this running group was very multicultural we decided we should do something traditionally American on Thanksgiving.  So we entered the Annual Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-miler Turkey Trot in Somerville, MA.  I ran it at a considerably faster pace than the 10km.  Mind you, I paid for it later with a flare-up of an old soccer injury to my ankle.

Place: 1201
Nettime: 36:49
Pace: 9:13
Sex/Tot: 513/1400
Div/Tot: 214/592

So here we are. Boston got cold and rainy (and snowy!) and I joined the gym so I would have no weather-related excuse not to run.  I found out rapidly that teadmills are EXTREMELY BORING, especially if you are forced to stare at a blank wall for half an hour.  So I’ve only been running on and off since Thanksgiving.

Once I’ve talked to Helen and my other partner in half-marathon plans, coincidentally called Hélène, I will reveal our plans for nailing a Half in the spring.