Grant and Scott Wycombe half marathon


Grant and Scott Wycombe half marathon July 20th 2014


Entered this race about ten days ago as the plan says ‘thou shalt do a half marathon’. So I did. It also says I should be running a 1:50, so that was my secret plan. A PB.

As the race started at 9:30am we left Norwich at 6am to drive to Wycombe. On a Sunday. Runners are bonkers, aren’t they? I am pretty gosh darn lucky to have a husband that not only puts up with me doing the races, but also gets up at 5am on his only day off to drive me to a race and back – five hours of driving in one day.



The race was pretty small but perfectly formed – the 10k and the half marathoners started at the same time which was pretty cool – it follows the same course for 5k so I saw plenty of people parting company at that point, waving goodbye and shouting encouragement.


The Start and Finish were in the same field, in the cricket club. Parking was well signposted and well marshalled, toilet facilities definitely could have been better (50% unusable by 8:45) but changing rooms and showers were welcome.


The route itself had a killer hill in the first 1k – not great for East Anglian legs! My plan was to sub 2 as I haven’t managed that since March. My secret wish was to PB (sub 1:50) but with the heat and the hills, that was unlikely to happen.  The water stations were really regular and had sponges and cups of water with lots of cheery people handing them out – a couple were even staffed by scouts. There were plenty of other people in their gardens too, cheering everyone on and handing out their own water, or hosing people down.  Most of the route is on reasonably quiet roads, some of it is through housing estates. There was a really fun downhill about half way, which made the earlier hill effort worth it!

wycombe splits

I struggled in the final 5k, my pace dropping from sub 9 min/mils to between 9 and 9:30. Spurred on by the crowd and encouraged by fellow runners, I crossed the line in 1:57. For about £18 (half the cost of Plymouth) you get a medal, a tshirt and a goody bag with fairly standard (and welcome) contents – mars bar, sweeties, apple, orange, pistachios, coconut water, bottle of water and, oddly, a full sized sponge. Still not sure what to do with that, to be honest.


The race is gun time only despite the number coming with a fancy wired chip on the back. With such a small field it doesn’t make much of a difference, and the start was so wide that there’s plenty of room.

We drove home via a previously researched pub in Duxford (about half way home) called The John Barleycorn.  It was really nice and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful, even though I was a pain and wanted something off menu. Darn post run appetite. I had a sausage and onion marmalade sandwich, Mr Charming had a steak and stilton sandwich and we shared chips. Shared! It was a big ol’ portion. Don’t worry, we had cake when we got home.

So, I’m pleased with a sub 2 but a bit disappointed with a 1:57. I wanted to be faster as that’ll make me feel better for Loch Ness. It’s not far away now and I should be in good shape, not struggling half way through a half marathon. Any suggestions? I think my brain needs a good old fashioned talking to as I feel fine today, slightly stiff but nothing like I would expect to if I’d run flat out. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough.


|Photo credits:  The lovely LS who agreed to do it on a whim when I floated the idea. The best type of friends are runners!|

Loch Ness Week Six


On the plan:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog then1M jog then 3x2000m at 10K pace (approx 10mins) with 400m in 3mins jog recoveries then 1M jog
Wednesday: 7M easy approx 10:00min/mile for 80 mins
Thursday: 5M with middle 3M at marathon pace (sub 9min mile – rest 10min mile approx 47 mins)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 3M (approx 30 mins) with strides
Sunday: Grant and Scott Wycombe half marathon

What I actually did:

Monday: Cycled to work and back – 10miles
Tuesday: efforts Week 6Efforts were hard but it felt good to go full pelt, even for as long as 2k at a time. Was pretty hot. Glad I took water.

Wednesday: 7.43M @ 9:36min/mil. Felt fine. Tried to go slower but wasn’t out of breath or struggling at all at that pace so stuck with it.
Thursday:  first 7k @ 8:54-9:57 min/mil, last 4ish k @ 08:46-08:58 min/mil in 61 minutes. Humid and was a longer run than planned (nearly 7M) so decided to go easy for the first few miles and see how I felt for the last bit. Felt pretty good!
Friday:  Swam 50ish lengths. Forgot how many I’d counted so think I overcompensated by a length or two.
Saturday: parkrun at 27:40. Tried to go slower but my competitiveness kicked in

Sunday:  Grant and Stone half marathon 1:57. More on that later.

Loch Ness Week Five


On the plan:

Monday: 3M easy
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog 1M jog then 8x400m at mile/5K speed (approx 1:45 with 200m in 90 second jog recoveries then 1M jog
Wednesday: 6M easy @10min/mil pace
Thursday: 6M 1M jog then 4M at half marathon pace (approx 33mins) then 1M jog
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 35mins fartlek (approx 4 miles)
Sunday: 14M easy 10min/mil  for two hours

What I actually did:

Monday: Cycled to and from work
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog 1M jog then 8x400m at mile/5K speed (approx 1:45 with 200m in 90 second jog recoveries then 1M jog – intervals were closer to 7:20/7:30 min/mil. Had to walk in a couple of the recoveries

Wednesday:Cycled to work and back.  6M easy at 9:38 min/mil ave pace
Thursday:  Cycled to work and back. Short on time so 3.25M run with 3k at sub 9min/mil 8:56/8:04/8:21
Friday: Swam 45 lengths
Saturday: parkrun #149 at 26:00 dead on, progression run. Ran there and back for a total of 6.14M. Cycled to Roller Derby (to watch) and back, around 4M altogether
Sunday: 14.23M at average pace of 9:30min/mil


Giant’s Head Marathon

GHM Finish

Saturday 28th June 2014

Marathon number 5

I was worried about this race. I’ve been plagued with hayfever/cold/cough/general rundownness since Paris marathon in April and haven’t been able to run more than 16 miles. Having seen the elevation and been assured that it was not a misprint, I was anxious that I wouldn’t complete it.

GHM elevation

My aim was to complete it within the cut off time of 8hours, 8 minutes and 9 seconds and as a couple of friends were the sweepers, I knew I was in trouble if I saw them!

So the race starts  at 8:30am in a small village called Sydling St Nicholas, about fifteen minutes’ drive from Dorchester. I stayed with my brother in Blandford (about forty minutes away) for a couple of days before, which was good as it broke the drive up a bit.

We set off about 6:30 on Saturday morning, praying for sun as the forecast was rain. It was grey but quite humid.

We found the race HQ very easily as it was really well signposted. We parked in the ‘Athlete’s Village’ as I was camping that night.

The whole series of races from White Star Running has a great sense of humour – the only thing taken seriously is making sure the runners are safe and well.

Food, water, beer, ice cream, free massages, free photos, camping for a small amount of money (£5 for two nights per tent), toilets and showers were all plentiful.

At 8:20am sharp we had the pre race briefing. It was such a small field (300 ish) that Andy, the RD, knew most people by name and made sure that the achievements were well known – the man who’s running 367 marathons this year (in a kilt), the Irish 100 marathon contingent, the pope and the smurf. He also warned us that the race would be started with a shotgun and would be extremely loud – he wasn’t wrong!

With the smoke clearing and the ringing in our ears, we were off! Until we hit the first hill, about three minutes in, when everyone started walking.

GHM grass GHM half way

I was running with my friends from the RW forum and we’d decided that we would have fun – the sun was shining and we had a ruddy lot of hills to conquer!

The route was hilly and uneven in places as it’s 98% off road, but it was beautiful and definitely worth it. The water stations were regular and stocked with ‘real people’ food like watermelon, peanuts, crisps, cakes and biscuits. We even had a vodka shot at one water station! The lovestation at mile 20 was the biggest of the aid stations and came with free hugs from the marshalls, a fantastic boost in what was then, five and a half hours in for us.

The finish was in sight after one last, loooooong hill up and a sharp descent. We’d picked up a couple of lone runners on the way and made sure they were alright. I think at this point we got the neat rum out too.

Group GHM Finish

We ran the last couple of kilometres together, crossing the line in 7hours and 15 minutes. My brother had finished in a very impressive 5 hours and 18 minutes – he hadn’t done any long distance training and had even had a chest infection which mean he had to use inhalers in the last month.

 GHM Finish

No goody bag filled with rubbish – instead we had a medal, a pint glass and a proper technical tshirt. Every single person was absolutely lovely and for the first time in many races, it felt like the participants were there to enjoy it and not just provide money to the organisers.

It may have been over 3 hours slower than my Paris marathon in April, but my fifth marathon was my most enjoyable. I even felt good enough to drive home that day, so I got to sleep in my own bed and spend Sunday on the couch!

The next running event is a half/20 mile/full in March next year, called the Larmer. I am signing up for the full – it’ll be a bit chilly but will definitely be fun!

Entry and more about WSR here:

my garmin trace:

| Photo credits| 1 and 2: Running Richard| 3 Vixxy| 4 Dave W| Thank you for the brilliant pics!|

Loch Ness Week Four


On the plan:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 6M of 1M jog then 5 x 1000m (1k) at 10k pace (5min/k) with 200m in jog recoveries followed by 1M cooldown
Wednesday: 6M easy at 10min/mil
Thursday: 5M alternating between 10min/mil and sub 9min/mil (approx 48mins)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 6M easy

What I actually did:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 1k efforts 3.86k in 33min22sec ave moving pace 8:39 min/mil 5 x 1k repeats with 90 seconds recovery (I need to get better at using the lap button on my garmin)

Wednesday: 5.76M easy at ave 9:45min/mil pace
Thursday: 6.43M steady. Really humid and had to walk a few times. Cycled to work and back (10 mile round trip)
Friday: cycled to work and back, swam 45 lengths
Saturday: parkrun – ran there. 4.76M, ave pace of 9:03min/mil. Walked around the city for twelve hours

Sunday: 6.77M at ave pace of 9:08. Walked around the city for 6 hours

Loch Ness Week Three


On the plan:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 6M of 1M jog, then 3 x 1M at 10k pace (approx 8 minutes, with 400m in 3 minutes jog recoveries) 1M jog
Wednesday: 4M easy
Thursday: 5M progression run – starting at 10min/mil and each mile faster with the last two min/mil inside 9 min mile
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4M inc hill session
Sunday: 12M in approx 1:54 – First 6M in 60 minutes, last 6M at marathon pace in 54 minutes

What I actually did:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Biked to and from work followed by : Pyramid field efforts

Wednesday: easy birthday run – 5.86M in about an hour. Stopped to enjoy the view, walked a bit.
Thursday: Rest aka driving to Dorset
Friday: Swimming with the two littlest nieces, trampolining, football…
Saturday: Giant’s Head marathon in 7hr15 (unofficial), drove home to Norfolk straight after

Sunday: Rest

Loch Ness Week Two


On the plan:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog then 12 x 200 at 5k pace (8:00/8:15min/mil) with 200m jog recoveries then 1M jog
Wednesday: 4M steady 9:30min/mil approx 38 minutes
Thursday: 1M warm up then 3M at half marathon pace in 25 minutes followed by 1M cool down
Friday: Rest
Saturday: parkrun
Sunday: 10M easy

What I actually did:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog then 12 x 200 at 5k pace (7:19-8:36min/mil) with 200m walk/jog recoveries then 1M jog

efforts Tuesday session

Wednesday: 4.15M at 9:24 min/mil average
Thursday: 1M at 9:10min/mil, 3M at 8:37min/mil then 1M at jog/walk of 10:15min/mil
Friday: 45 lengths of the 25m pool
Saturday-Sunday: Mystery weekend away to Brussels with Mr Charming for my birthday so no running but plenty of beer and food and walking around!

Feeling much more positive about Giant’s Head marathon now – it looks like a brilliant race to do too, lots of fun and organised for runners, by runners.

Who else is doing it?