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?

The Long and Winding Road


This video was made as part of my bid to become an Ashmei ambassador, at the beginning of this year. It was a lot of fun to make!

Sometimes, I forget to stop and think about how far I’ve come in the last five or six years.

Back then, I was about five stone heavier (I never dared to weigh myself, and thought all of my clothes were shrinking due to incompetent washing machines).

I joined Slimming World, bought the recipe books and lost 8lbs in a week. Sticking to the new food list was hard. It hurt – physically. Drinking water and eating nothing but vegetables for months was a whole lifestyle change, not a diet.

Britney Spears

My asthma improved, my skin got better and my hair even started to grow. Mr Charming lost weight too by eating as normal for breakfast and lunch, and joining me in the SW dinner.

Now, I’m the heaviest I’ve been for about three years, following an exercise plan of running four/five/six times a week as well as a bit of swimming and exercise classes too. I know, most of the time, that this weight gain of five or six pounds is due to an increase in sweets and chocolate and pastry, not because it’s stopped working.  I know that a few weeks of cutting all of that out (one malteser leads to twenty, which leads to four biscuits, which leads to the dark side) coupled with marathon training, will get rid of those pounds.

Sometimes, you just need to look back at how far you’ve come to see where you’re going next.

running GGBridge

Loch Ness Week One


On the plan:

Monday: 3M easy
Tuesday: 5M of 1M jog then 4x800m at approx 10K pace (4:00) with 400m jog in three minutes, then 1M jog)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 4M easy
Friday: Rest
Saturday:3M inc hill session or circuit
Sunday: 8M easy

What I actually did:

Monday: sat on the sofa and coughed
Tuesday: sat on the sofa and coughed a bit less. Ran 3.4miles in 3 hours. Or 37 minutes.
Wednesday: went to work and coughed
Thursday: more coughing
Friday: 20 lacklustre lengths of the pool
Saturday: sub 31minute parkrun. Like reverse ‘Speed’ – I had to keep slower than 9min/mil or The Cough would return
Sunday: 9.3miles in 1hr40, with lovely, lovely running buds who put up with my whining and coughing and walking up all of the ‘hills’

Giants Head marathon is a week and a half away. This is not a drill, people! I reckon I’ll walk 70% of it, especially at this rate.

Any tips or tricks in how to get rid of a cold that has a mean cough attached? I feel absolutely fine, just like my lungs are at 10% capacity.

Recent reads


A round up of my most recent reads

Lionel Shriver BB cover

Big Brother, Lionel Shriver

I love the way she writes. It’s so stark and somehow emotionless but full of feeling at the same time. This is a fascinating look at obesity as a literal problem and a metaphor within society.
Pandora looks up to her jazz musician big brother, Edison. She hasn’t seen him for a little while when he comes to visit, and his appearance has altered a bit.
Insightful, funny and utterly compelling.

Dear John

Dear John, Nicholas Sparks

Every so often I’ll get the urge to read something light and fluffy, a bit of a palate cleanser.
In the future, I think I’ll stick to Jodi Piccoult. I heard an interview with Sparks once who said he writes screenplays for novels. That just about sums him up.
The plots is more than a bit creepy – John and Savannah share a fortnight of holiday romance before he goes back to the army. They then meet a couple of times in the next few years, despite not getting on when they do. It’s told entirely from his point of view, which is especially weird when he’s sitting outside her house when she’s asked him not to contact her anymore.
Not worth the time.


Divergent and Insurgent, Veronica Roth

The first two parts of the trilogy, it’s a typical youth dystopian tale of Tris, railing against the government.
They’re fun though, fairly well written and the idea behind the different factions is interesting.
Good beach reads

NW cover

NW, Zadie Smith

I read this after Dear John and from the first page, it was like plunging into an ice cold pool, a complete wake up call. She writes so vividly and paints such amazing brushstrokes of gritty, hot, London life, I was immediately drawn in.
It’s essentially the story of two girls who grow up on an estate in North West London, but the story twines outwards to include classmates and family members too.
This has stayed with me in the month or so since I read it – definite recommendation and perfect for the summer.

audible TTW

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger – audible audiobook

I’ve read this book so often it’s a bit odd to listen to it, but quite comforting too. I really like listening to books, having only discovered it recently, but it does make me feel a bit odd if I’m listening to Clare and Henry tie someone up, but shopping in Primark.

  • What books would you recommend?
  • Do you like listening to audiobooks?

Summer marathon training



So, following my sub four post, as of Monday June 9th, I am officially in Summer marathon training! Except I’m currently sitting on the couch trying to get rid of a viral respiratory thingy that’s been surreptitiously hanging around since Paris. Boo.

Don’t do as I do – I’ve done two half marathons, three 5 mile races and a 5k colour run (not to mention a 16mile where I though I was wading through literal treacle) in that time. I managed to get two 5mile PBs (including a sub 40, woop!) but every run has felt really hard. I have learned this lesson – next time I start feeling a bit lethargic I will rest. Definitely.

downhill profile, right?!

In this case, the heart is positively raring to get back on the sub 4 train, my body isn’t. But it’s okay, because this is Week ONE. I’d rather miss a whole week now than struggle on for another six, doing more damage to myself in the process.

Look at that elevation! Relatively downhill, although I’ve been told that there are some killer hills in there. Must do some proper hill training. There are some hills in Norwich. Somewhere…

Has anyone got any tips for summer training? I really don’t do well in the heat, as much as I love sunbathing. I’ve got a carrybag for water and plan to go out early or late – anything else I need to know?

buddies logo

I’m raising money for Buddies, by the way – my little brother, Dad and stepmother have had so much amazing support from them over the last couple of years, and found a community who understands the limitations as well as recognising that people with special needs can lead a normal life. If you feel like donating, the link is here – I would be so grateful. If you want to find out more about buddies, check their website out.

Sub Four


marathon de Paris 2014 was my fourth marathon. My previous times were: 4:42, 4:22, 4:32 (a fortnight after Paris last year). I decided that with a newly won 10k PB of 50 minutes and a 5k PB of 23:54 on the track, a bit of training could get me to that hallowed sub 4, that 3:XX time.

not literally, obviously

I trained using a tweaked schedule I’ve made up myself, based on experience of other races and training campaigns.

This isn’t going to be a race recap – it’s been too long and I don’t remember the details!

I trained hard, it went reasonably well but I don’t think I was mentally there – I had held myself back and convinced myself that I wasn’t fast enough. On the day, I’d been fighting a cold type thing the week before but felt reasonably good.
As soon as we started though, I panicked about the heat (20 degrees C at 8am). I struggled on to about mile 18 at 9min/mile pace, hugely grateful to my running buddies for very nearly physically pulling me round until then.

At that point, we had gone through the hellish disco tunnel and I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the race. I was stressing about holding my friends back and not keeping up, the heat, the pace, my breathing… A small voice in my head whispered ‘not like this’. I made the decision to stop and walk at the next aid station – Tour de Eiffel. I have never tasted better oranges. As I watched the time slip away, I was sad that I hadn’t made it. But I was happy to be doing it, and on my terms. I ran between the aid stations for the last third-ish and came in at 4:12 – exactly ten minutes faster than my previous PB.

As soon as I finished, I was pleased and proud to have completed it, with the knowledge that one day, I will get that time. And when I do, I’ll want the next step – 3:50 or 3:45. That’s what keeps us running!

Has anyone else struggled to reach that time goal? How did you feel when you made it?