Friday Finds – 16th November

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Another week done! I do hope it’s been a good one for you. Here in the UK it’s the annual fundraising behemoth that is Children in Need so perhaps you have been involved in some fundraising or are looking forward to a night of entertainment on tv. Whatever you’re planning, here are a few bits and pieces to read to kick things off.

I was really inserted in this first piece which I came across in Outside. For me, it stands to reason that women’s bodies will respond differently to men’s and will therefore need to be approached differently, yet largely any sports research to date has been conducted on men. I’m pleased, then, to read that this situation is beginning to change and curious to know what impact that will ultimately have on performance.

If you are struggling with your running in any way right now, then this next piece is for you. I’ve certainly had my fair share of setbacks before so can relate to much of what is in here, and sometimes it’s good just to have a reminder that this too shall pass. Perhaps you’ll find something helpful here.

Next, an interesting piece about leaving the headphones behind when we run. When I first read the headline I thought it was going to be a piece reminding us of the dangers of becoming distracted by music and not giving our full attention to traffic and other potential hazards around us, however that was not the case. This piece is about how overloaded our brains are by content and suggests that running without headphones gives us a chance to disconnect for a while. I can totally understand that and do occasionally run without headphones, however I enjoy taking advantage of that time to listen to podcasts and take that as some time for myself. I’d love to know your thoughts on this one.

As a counterpoint to that, this fun piece from Runner’s World. I’ll certainly admit to being a fan of show tunes and have included some in previous workout playlists, so this definitely got my attention. There’s something quite appealing about having a blast of Broadway while I’m running or working out, however there is also a VERY high chance that I would want to sing along, which in a hard workout might not go so well 😂 Would running to show tunes appeal to you?

And finally, if the idea of a beer mile is something you find intriguing, but you’re less attracted by the high possibility of “pavement pizza”, then perhaps this new video game is for you. The game seems to involve controlling a runner as they make their way through a beer run experience (with threat of throwing up very real!). What will they think of next?!?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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Week In Review – Music and Remembrance

Another week, another week in review! Things are just ticking along for me training-wise right now and we’re coming into that time of year when there are all sorts of other things going on that take up time, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself when it comes to my training, I just want to aim for consistency. Here’s what I did last week:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10k

My week got off to a good start with a Monday which did not have a staff meeting at the end of it. I couldn’t believe the difference that made to how much less tired I felt at the end of the day, but it created a little more space to get organised before yoga. I was really pleased to get some post which included a fun new T-shirt and the medal from a virtual race I had been taking part in during August, September and October to cover 140 miles (mostly done in September and October as my August mileage was low).

IMG_0128Yoga was nice and relaxing. I’m enjoying the new space our class is in (within the same building) but it was unusual to be moving into yoga postures to a soundtrack of fireworks since it was bonfire night and we weren’t too far from an organised display!

8J2jJbK%TNq4YXJdnV52JgI was up early on Tuesday to get out for my run. My intention is to treat this one as a recovery run, that way when my Sunday long run mileage is much higher during marathon training, my body will be used to an easier effort on a Tuesday. Right now, this means a 4 mile loop at a reasonably easy pace to build some base miles and a little bit of endurance.

+ejLWRumRwG9m45yzbtfEwThe rest of Tuesday was pretty busy. It began with me observing a PE lesson out on the school playing fields so I went in wearing my kit and had a change of clothes in a bag for afterwards. Right before leaving the house I glanced in the bag to see that the kittens were sending me to work with one of their toys which they had added to the bag 😹

56318327619__B5857985-8740-4872-80A8-36BDDA5550E2Wednesday, however, was very different. I had a parents’ evening after work which made for a very long day. It was always going to be a rest day from any training, and a good thing too since I was pretty tired by the time I got home and had very little time for myself.

Despite this, I still got up on Thursday morning and headed out for my run. I decided to repeat my loop from Tuesday and see how it compared. Interestingly, with no particular change in my effort level I was actually a little quicker. Perhaps the difference of longer recovery time since my Sunday long run.

IMG_0146That evening I was at my Ashtanga yoga class and my usual teacher was back. I found that I felt really strong and when we got to the backbends (when I usually do one bridge, one wheel and one final bridge) I started with a bridge then held two strong wheel postures. Any time I’ve tried that before, the second one wasn’t great so that’s a pleasing indication of developing strength. I was also really pleased with my headstand after not having the chance to practise it last time. This week I flipped up into the headstand reasonably easily and held for 10 long breaths – the longest I’ve managed so far. At the end of the class I felt fantastic.

Steve was able to fit me in for a training session after work on Friday so I was back at the studio again. This week he had me working through a circuit of exercises (mainly using the TRX but with one using the Core Momentum Trainer) with 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 3 rounds. It was actually quite hard work! Hopefully this will continue to help me build strength and improve my running.

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He just can’t help himself!

The weekend itself was a packed one. I started on Saturday morning with parkrun. It was quite a nice morning and I was curious to see where my fitness was as my morning runs have been at an easier pace. Although I slowed very slightly with each mile, I was pleased with my finish time of 24:18 as that’s the fastest I’ve run since mid-September. We’re heading into the time of year when a hard effort doesn’t always result in a fast time due to the weather/course conditions so it was good to get a decent time in just now as testament to my recent training.

IMG_0198We did go for our usual post-run coffee/bacon croissant with Steve’s brother and squeezed in a food shop before I was due at the concert hall for my orchestra rehearsal.

f0ooccCfTdG1313%woQEvAAfter 3 hours of rehearsing Steve picked me up to get home for food and a change of clothes before returning for my concert. Some of our music this time presented some challenge, but with the full forces of the orchestra in place, I thought we sounded fantastic. I was pretty tired afterwards though!

TP%q1JvXRviDBS+%EnUCdQOn Sunday I headed out for my run a little earlier than usual (for a Sunday) as Steve and I had some plans for later. I’ve been building mileage over the last 3 weeks so decided to mimic the pattern I follow during marathon training and cut back this week to 10k. It wasn’t the nicest of mornings weather-wise, but I enjoyed the run.

uV+oyp%2S9m+d4SEO8cJWwOnce showered and changed, we drove down to St Andrews to be part of the Pages of the Sea event to mark the centenary of the armistice. At selected beaches around the UK, film-maker Danny Boyle was encouraging communities to come together to say goodbye to various individuals who left these shores during the First World War. In St Andrews, this was Elsie Inglis, a pioneering surgeon and suffragette. The image of each individual was created in the sand while the tide was out, then gradually washed away as the tide came back in to say a final goodbye. There’s some great time-lapse footage of the image of Wilfred Owen being created on the beach in Folkestone on the BBC website.

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Photo credit: National Theatre of Scotland Facebook page

6rTLfWU1RqaRNWKwfXm43AAs well as the main image, there were stencils available so individuals could create the image of a soldier to add to a kind of “army in the sand” which would also be washed away with the tide. These could be dedicated to someone from your own family that you wanted to honour. Mine was for my great great uncle who died of cellulitis from the wound sustained after being shot at the Somme in 1916. His memorial is in Rouen.

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bmWgX%2+QBWiRTuKRZMicAIt was quite chilly and about to rain so we headed off to warm up with a coffee and cake before returning to the beach to see the images being washed away.

UGRDkbEcTFyKaK4oOMM71AWhen we got back, the volunteers who had been leading the event were gathered by the remainder of the stencilled soldiers and reading aloud the poem specially commissioned for the occasion. It was written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, whose work I have been studying with my seniors this year, and I have been stressing to them how incredible it is to be studying the work of a living poet who is recording the same world they are experiencing. I really like this poem and loved the fact that copies were available at this event, all printed on the back of an image of someone being commemorated. The whole thing was a remarkable and unique tribute and I’m so glad we made the effort to go.

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jaC3pReoSjy3efDauVUiagArriving home, it was finally time to relax in front of the TV and get some kitten snuggles.Phew!

0TvrtUBZSSO02uZVjQRhtQWhat have you had a breakthrough with recently?
Did you go to any events marking Remembrance Day?

Friday Finds – 9th November

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Hola! I hope you’ve had a great week. It’s been pretty busy over here, but mostly good and I’m looking forward to the weekend. But first, a little bit of light reading…

In the week following the New York marathon I knew my feeds would be filled with stories and reports from the event, but I wasn’t expecting one of the main stories to be the controversy surrounding a mid-race proposal! What, on the surface, appeared to be a fairytale story in which a woman running her first ever marathon was proposed to by her boyfriend at mile 16, has attracted a great deal of comment online with many quick to deride his timing. Of course we have no idea of the reality of others’ relationships and perhaps the runner was thrilled with this way of making her first marathon memorable, but I can also see the other side of the argument which suggests that it took away from her achievement and likely interrupted her rhythm – I’m pretty sure I would struggle with the remaining miles in that situation – so I’d love to know what you think about this one. Mid-race proposal: yay or nay?

I’ve not yet had an opportunity to watch any of the coverage of the NY marathon, but I know from experience that watching the London marathon on tv tends to make me cry (and I nearly always cry, or at least feel like crying, after crossing the finish line of a marathon). But where does this sudden emotion come from? Here’s a sports psychologist to offer some explanation.

At least in a marathon runners know exactly how far they still have to go, but how would you feel about a race where the finish line was not defined? That’s the brain-child of Barkley marathons founder Lazarus Lake – a race in which the winner is basically the last one standing! It sounds like a real test of mental strength, but I’m not sure it’s the race for me! Would you do it?

For those who prefer a slightly different kind of race, you might enjoy this exploration of the relationship between running and beer. There is, of course, the growing popularity of the beer mile, but there are also an increasing number of “recovery beers” on the market and even a few recommendations that runners should drink beer during their training cycles due to the reported benefits it offers. That’s good enough for me – after all, it is Friday!

And finally, have you ever watched as pedestrians attempted to cross the road during a big city marathon? In Paris it’s a frequent occurrence, which I’ve often seen result in collisions. Filmmaker Jeff Seal found himself fascinated by the strange dances and contortions of those trying to dart across the street, so decided to make a film of it. Take a look:

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Week In Review – Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Darkness. That’s all I have to say about this week. Dark in the mornings when I run, getting dark in the evening when I leave work and no chance of running in the daylight during the work week. I actually don’t mind running in the dark, but I do miss those long summer days and can’t wait until they return. In the meantime, I’ll just keep swimming running as I know that helps me to feel better through the winter months and I love how strong I feel in the spring after working hard through the colder weather. Here’s what I did this past week:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday was a pretty long day and mentally exhausting. I’m trying hard to remind myself not to trust a Monday as right now they don’t really make me feel good, but that all changes when I get to my yoga class and this was the first one in a new 5 week block. It was so nice to have the time for myself to tune into my breath, listen to my body and stretch away the worst of the day.

On Tuesday I faced the first test of my new early morning running regime – it was cold! I was ok with the dark (let’s face it, it would be dark for evening runs at this point in the year too) but last week was fairly mild in the morning so when I had to rouse myself from my cosy bed into a distinctly chillier room, it was a bit of a challenge! Thankfully I did get on with it and completed a nice 4 mile loop. I’m keeping the pace fairly easy on my Tuesday run so it was quite pleasant, even when it started pouring with rain half way round!

This, of course, meant another rest day on Wednesday so that I could get to my orchestra rehearsal without having to rush or feel pressured. I did have “a bit of a day” so did a short home yoga practice before I went, but otherwise enjoyed the break and bit of headspace before my rehearsal.

I was slightly later home than I wanted, but still got myself out of bed on Thursday morning for my run. After my soaking on Tuesday morning I checked the forecast carefully and noted that there was a 90% chance of rain at the time I would be running. This meant I dug out a jacket to wear and, predictably, there was no rain at all. Typical! Still, I enjoyed my run, this time choosing an out-and-back to cover 4 miles which I’m finding to be an ideal distance for a pre-work run.

That evening saw me at Ashtanga yoga, however my usual teacher wasn’t there and we had another teacher covering for her. She’s taught us before and I like her, but I always find it interesting how different the class can feel with another teacher, particularly given that we are following a specific sequence of postures. I enjoyed the class and did pick up a couple of tips for ways to move into one or two of the postures, but missed the opportunity to work on my headstand.

I’m trying to fit in a training session with Steve every Friday, so headed to the studio after work. We have been using the TRX to work on upper body/core and I like this as the TRX offers all sorts of ways to work with my own bodyweight and it’s easy to progress within the exercises we do. This week’s gem was a kind of one-armed press up, which I was at first doubtful of but did actually manage. Go me! I definitely felt like I had earned my Friday night food this week.

I4mtEOkRSB21dH7KadFlfwThe forecast for Saturday morning was for more rain, but after a week when I had to practically chisel the ice from my windscreen a couple of times it was nice to return to some milder weather. I opted for capris for parkrun, but could probably have got away with my shorts.

It was Steve’s first stint as Run Director so he was away pretty sharp and I drove down a little later. The weather at this point wasn’t too bad, but I did wear an extra layer to keep me dry if the rain started. To be honest, I avoided the worst of the rain while I was running but there was quite a strong wind which made some parts of the course feel quite testing. I definitely felt like I was working harder than the 8ish minute mile I was clocking, so was pleased to finish feeling strong with a 24:43, especially as it’s been a couple of weeks since I did any faster running.

BGSVNyJ7Sm+5Gg+Xks9pnAAs always, we were meeting Steve’s brother for a coffee but Steve needed to finish his RD duties so I arranged just to meet him there as that gave me a chance to head home and shower/change. By the time I got my bacon croissant I was STARVING and guzzled it down pretty quickly before enjoying a nice pot of tea. We then got our weekend errands done and spent the afternoon chilling out at home. I, as is becoming customary, had at least 1 kitten pinned to my side at all times 😂. Incredibly, they’re 6 months old now and my boy, in particular, is becoming quite the lap cat. No objections to that from me!

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Room for two kittens. Just!

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He’s quite the “Strictly” fan 😹

I knew I would be quite busy on Sunday so made sure to get out for my run reasonably sharp. The sun was out again and after being all bundled up last week, it was mild enough for me to get my shorts back out. I do like when I can do that. I had decided on my route in advance as I wanted to cover 10 miles, but hadn’t realised that the 5k and 10k Mo Runs were taking place and that I would end up in the same place as part of their route was on the path around the North Inch. In the end I ran there anyway, just in the opposite direction and making sure to stay out of the way of those racing. The path is wide enough and there were still lots of people walking and cycling anyway so I didn’t think I would get in the way. It was actually quite interesting to watch the runners and passed the time nicely. Before I knew it I had run my lap and was on my way home.

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BArf+YoBQ5uJTrYUb5wVAwAfter my run I got showered, changed and ate my lunch then it was time to get ready for an orchestra rehearsal. Our concert is next Saturday, but I’ll miss the rehearsal during the week because of a parents’ night so I wanted to make sure I was at this one. It was good but I was definitely in need of a chance to relax when I got home.

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IMG_0093After all that, I really enjoyed relaxing in my Sunday night bath to round off the week. Now to do it all over again…!

56305760969__464AF715-26F4-4258-8B2E-1AE4A2B00FDDHow easy do you find it to adjust to the winter darkness?
Ever accidentally ended up running in the same place as another event?

Friday Finds – 2nd November

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

How is it November! I actually don’t know where this year is disappearing to and I’m definitely noticing the difference now the clocks have changed. It’s looking chilly this weekend so let’s keep ourselves cosy and settle down to do a little reading.

With the New York marathon coming up this weekend and the autumn (fall) marathon season in full swing, a lot of what I’m seeing in my feeds is marathon related. Did you catch this particular gem from last weekend? Venice does have an association with water, but I can’t imagine participants in the Venice marathon expected to be wading through flood waters in order to complete their race. It makes the puddles I encountered in Aviemore look like a mere splash!

Speaking of New York, I came across this piece in Runner’s World about training for NYC taking over the writer’s summer. I just love the tongue-in-cheek way he suggests it’s all doom and gloom….but then reveals that he loves it! Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon can probably relate.

You may also have seen that a new half marathon world record was set last weekend as the previously unknown Abraham Kiptum lowered the mark set 8 years ago by Zersenay Tadese (one of the runners in last year’s Breaking2 project). But what is more interesting is that this same runner, now the proud owner of a world record, was unable to gain a place in the recent Chicago marathon as his credentials were “not good enough” to earn him a spot. This article sets out a few points I hadn’t thought of before when it comes to elite runners having a breakthrough. I wonder how many more undiscovered stars are out there…

While we’re on the subject of breakthroughs, I was fascinated by this piece from Brad Stulberg in Outside about what it takes to have a breakthrough in running or any other aspect of life. If the breakthrough performance is the result of many small, perhaps unnoticed actions, then I am once more reminded that focusing on the process over the outcome is what will ultimately yield results and that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it as sometimes it takes time. What are your thoughts?

And finally, there’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line of a marathon and knowing you’ve accomplished something amazing, but in the days afterwards there are a few things that almost every marathoner does. I think I’ve done just about everything on this list bar the day drinking (mainly because I’ve never run a race that started early enough for this to be an option!). Which ones have you done?

Happy reading!
The Running Princess

The Year Of Me!!! – October Update

I actually can’t believe it’s the end of October. It barely seems 5 minutes ago that I was preparing for the Stirling marathon, and even less time since I was sweltering in the summer heatwave, yet somehow we’re now down to the last couple of months of the year. Time to check in once more and see how I’m doing with my goals for The Year of Me.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
I achieved this one at the end of September and am now simply curious to see my end of year mileage total. 2017 was my highest to date at 752 miles. Will it be higher or lower?
I did submit my completion of the 1000km to the virtual “race” I had committed to and received my medal last week. It’s pretty cool!

Untitled2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
This one had been falling a little short, but I think I’ve got it back on track. It was pretty easy to fit on lots of yoga at the start of the month when it was the school holidays but not always so easy during term time, so I have been turning fairly often to a short bedtime sequence that I enjoy. As I settle into the new term I’ll hopefully find more time for some longer sequences, especially now I’ve changed some of my training routines.

3.Read at least 30 books
Again, I achieved this one in September and am on course for a “record breaking” reading year. I’m currently at 35 books read with plenty of year still left.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I didn’t worry so much about this one during the school holidays as I don’t have to get up so early, but was still in bed just after 10. Now that I’m back in the work routine I have been trying hard to get plenty of rest, particularly ahead of my early runs, and I do think I’m getting a decent amount of rest right now.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I’m still taking part in my 100 day challenge to watch a Ted talk per day and although there have been a couple of days when I missed out due to other commitments, I have always made sure to catch up so whatever happens I will watch 100 talks in 100 days and more than fulfill this challenge. It’s so interesting to see what’s out there and I’m really enjoying working my way through my watchlist.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
Still doing well with this one. It boils down to a podcast per day (I usually listen to one on my journey home from work) and an extra at some point. On some days I can manage two per day and in the holidays I spent a couple of days reorganising all my cupboards and drawers so probably listened to about 8 per day!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
I was, for once, super prepared this time and responded to the prompt Costume.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I think I have this one back on track most of the time. I’m actually really enjoying the new “Screen Time” feature in iOS12 as. I get a weekly report on how often I’m looking at my phone as well as a breakdown of where that time is going e.g. if I’m reading news articles/blog posts or simply wasting time in the infinite scroll rabbit hole of social media. Definitely a useful feature to have and I think it will help me to think a bit more carefully about what I’m doing with my phone.

Have you achieved any of your goals for the year?
Are any of your goals turning out to be more challenging than you expected?

Week In Review – Shaking Things Up

With the new term beginning this seemed like a good time to shake up my training routine to try and make the most of the time available to me without being completely exhausted! With no race to train for in the near future, I’ve got a bit of room to try out something different. Here’s an idea of the routine I’m working to:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – rest
Sunday – 8 miles

From next week I will have yoga on Monday evenings again, but for this week I had a rest day as I was a bit shellshocked from the first day back at work (which was pretty busy) and I had an appointment once I got back to Perth so it was good to get home and totally switch off for the remainder of the evening.

Before bed I laid out some running kit as my new plan is to try and run twice through the week, but in the morning rather than the evening. It’s something I’ve played with occasionally in the second half of this year and I want to see if this creates a bit more space in my week by cutting down some rushing about. Now seems like a good time to try it out so that a routine can be established.

w1Khcv9XSke2Wi%MhqXATQI was out the door by 5:30am and had originally planned to run a loop of a little over 3.5 miles, but within the first mile I realised that my light had come off my shoe. I’m quite fond of that light and toyed with turning back to locate it (I mean, it was obviously on the pavement somewhere flashing away!) but then decided simply to run 2 miles then turn around and retrace my steps to run another 2 miles home. Shortly after this I actually met Steve who was heading back from his run so mentioned it to him and when I got home empty-handed a while later I discovered that he had found my light and taken it home. What a guy!

That run made me feel pretty good for the rest of the day and I achieved a lot, arriving home a little after 5pm to unwind with a short yoga practice before settling down for the evening. So far so good!

By switching my training around I created space on Wednesday which meant I wasn’t rushing to squeeze in a workout before orchestra. It was really nice to have a bit of time to myself and a chance to enjoy my dinner without having to bolt it down, which made me feel much more relaxed for the rehearsal.

Wednesday was also notable for the homemade apple crumble we had. My dad was given a big bag of cooking apples by one of his friends and my parents passed some on to us. Steve had a bit of time on the afternoon so made a crumble. It was delicious!

Nculz5vAQH+CKBcqBA1xLwI had another early run on Thursday morning, opting once more for 4 miles but running a loop this time. I’m actually surprised at how good I’ve felt running first thing, and knowing I have my workout done for the day is great! I think the endorphins keep me going for the rest of the day and where I had expected to feel really tired, I’m feeling ok. It will be interesting to see if that remains the same a few weeks into the term!

Pyd0+MhER+GgZYGdHR0k5wThanks to some heavy traffic I was a bit pushed for time after work, but did make it to my Ashtanga class. For those who have been following, yes I did manage another headstand and my teacher noted how quickly I’m moving into the posture now compared to my hesitation before. Now to work on holding it for a bit longer.

On Friday I headed down to Steve’s studio after work for a session. This week it was the TRX for upper body/core and a little bit of mobility work around my left ankle. It’s no longer causing me any discomfort, but I have noticed that it doesn’t feel as stable as the right one, which is having an impact on my balance postures in yoga. By working on the range of motion we should be able to address this.

I listed Saturday as a rest day, but only in so far as I didn’t do any training. In a highly unusual move, I missed parkrun (gasp!) in order to attend what, for me, was a very important event and the logistics of fitting it in around a parkrun – even tourism – were just too complex. Steve dropped me off at the station on his way to parkrun and I hopped on a train to Glasgow, coffee in hand.

E+yzFwCZRVuqGeYdTJixQwThe reason for my trip this time was to take part in the march and rally organised as part of the teachers’ pay campaign in Scotland. I don’t want to get into all the reasoning behind the claim, etc here as I don’t think it’s the place for it, but I do believe very strongly that some things need to change as teachers are feeling overworked and underpaid. I’ve never taken part in anything like this before, so it was quite exciting and I had no idea what to expect (and the fact that I was prepared to miss my beloved parkrun says a lot about how I feel on this one).

Arriving in Glasgow it was pretty clear that this was going to be a huge event. Organisers had been worried about low numbers and had thought maybe about 5000 would turn up…the lowest estimate made of the numbers is 20,000! Almost everyone leaving the station and heading into the underground was on their way to the march and the muster point in Kelvingrove Park was packed! I found my colleagues, donned a campaign beanie hat (it was a pretty chilly morning) and someone from my school who was involved in the organisation asked me to be a steward. I wasn’t particularly looking for a “job” to do, but she said all it involved was wearing a high vis top and walking on the outside of the march. High vis? No problem!

5avs3yRzRd+I70B5%BzwggThe march took us from Kelvingrove into George Square in the centre of Glasgow. I think it was 2ish miles and took us about an hour to cover as it wasn’t exactly a brisk pace! As we marched it was great to see the sort of support I tend to associate with racing in Glasgow – drivers tooting their horns and waving, shop owners cheering us on and residents hanging out of windows calling out and making noise by banging saucepans, etc. We ourselves were making plenty noise with whistles, horns and rattles so it was pretty cool.

YdXqjzsKQE6fsWP0mENY6gWhen we got to George Square there was a rally so we gathered to listen to the speakers and make sure the numbers in the square remained high. It was only at this point that the real scale of things became apparent as we were told that an hour after we had begun marching, the last of the marchers were only just leaving Kelvingrove Park – that’s basically a 2 mile snake of marching teachers moving through Glasgow! Very powerful and hopefully it will help to make a difference.

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9dGPfgfCR1yS49Fb3FcbbgAs things came to an end I headed off to meet Steve who had completed his parkun business (shadowing the RD ahead of taking on the role himself next weekend) and jumped on a train to Glasgow. He couldn’t really join us as he had a small procedure on his foot during the week and has to be careful about spending too much time on his feet while the wound heals but fancied spending a bit of time in Glasgow. I was, unsurprisingly, pretty hungry by this point so we went to get some food at Bar Burrito. It’s one of those places with a similar setup to Subway, but with Mexican food. Reasonable prices and pretty tasty so we often go there when we’re in town.

Ie0ble10Q9+FpY4PN14XUwAfter that we had a quick look in some shops then went for a hot drink at Hotel Chocolat (of course!) before our train. I do enjoy their seasonal specials so had their autumn hot chocolate. I can’t remember now what the autumn ingredients were – I have a feeling it was something like maple and pecan notes – but it was delicious.

F05a6sIUT2eQ6DrVcFwE0wI was pretty tired by then after being on my feet all day so we got the train home, ran a couple of quick errands and were home in front of the tv ready for the Strictly Hallowe’en special. Perfect!

I didn’t set an alarm for Sunday, instead allowing my body the chance to get whatever rest it wanted and enjoy a potential extra hour of rest. Of course, I was woken by the kittens who were full of beans thanks to the recent full moon. Anyone know how to set their clocks back an hour? 😂

The weather was cold again and I could see a layer of frost on the cars. Time to get the winter kit out! I got myself dressed in my winter finery (plus sunglasses since it was actually quite bright) and set off for 8 miles. It was a really enjoyable run and I got just what I wanted from it – to keep my mileage ticking over while I build a solid base to head into the new year. No need to bust a gut over the pace, just run comfortably and listen to my podcast. It was lovely.

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Zu6QfOvIQkSOTzvjEDLOIAThe rest of the day was pretty chilled. We had to get some food shopping done since we hadn’t done it on Saturday, then a chance to relax and recharge before the new week. One down, eight to go…

Have you ever taken part in a march/rally?
What’s your favourite winter kit?

Friday Finds – 26th October

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t know about you but I’m definitely ready for a weekend – the first week of term is always a shock to the system. So let’s kick things off with a few articles to read.

I’m going to start with a couple of more scientific pieces from Outside. To be honest, I’d never heard of the CMAH gene before, but it seems to be pretty interesting. Not only does an ancient mutation in that gene account for an increased risk of some ailments, more recent studies have revealed that it may also have made humans better distance runners. More interestingly, we don’t actually know if distance running was the reason for the evolution of that gene, or if that is simply a happy by-product. Fascinating!

Secondly, a recent offering from the always-brilliant Alex Hutchinson who has been examining a study into training data which aimed to ascertain which form is best. The headline point is that our own internal systems are just as sensitive as any high-tech gadgetry we choose to use and is another valuable reminder that we should tune into our bodies and learn to listen to the signals they are giving us with regard to effort level rather than always off-loading that job to a gadget.

I also enjoyed this letter to running from High School athlete Kate Cox. I love her reflection on the highs and lows of the sport as well as how it has helped shape her. To be honest, it’s exactly the kind of thing I’d love some of my pupils to write when I ask for some reflective writing!

With Halloween coming up lots of little (and not-so-little) girls and boys are planning their costume. With all the traditional ideas still popular – ghosts, superheroes, princesses, etc – it’s refreshing to see this article about two little girls who have decided to dress as their sporting hero, Shalane Flanagan! I think this is just the most amazing idea and only goes to show what an inspiring role model Shalane is for little girls as she is so visible and demonstrates that anything is possible. Love it!

And finally, did you catch Des Linden’s brilliant tweets about the reality of marathon training? I love how real she is and there are definitely a few things in there we can relate to! Which one is your favourite?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Week In Review – Taking Some Down Time

Having just raced a half marathon, I decided to make the second week of my holiday all about recovering properly and making sure I was as well rested as possible to set me up for the term ahead. This meant the early part of the week, in particular, was pretty quiet with lots of reading to give me a chance to chill and some home yoga to stretch out my body.

Monday – rest
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10k

Monday was probably about as lazy as it gets. I didn’t set an alarm and woke up pretty late for me. I then proceeded to spend most of the day curled up in my comfy chair reading – I even took another nap so I must have really been needing some more rest!

On Tuesday I thought I had better get a bit more movement since I barely got past 1000 steps all day on Monday! I did begin the day with a cup of tea and my book in bed, but after breakfast I took a walk down to the retail park as I had a few errands then spent the afternoon catching up on a few bits and pieces at home.

The evening was a little busier as I had a sports massage booked to get my legs feeling tip top again after the half marathon. After that, I picked my sister up to head down to the theatre for a performance of The 306: Dusk. This was the third part of a trilogy (last year was part two The 306: Day and the year before it all started with The 306: Dawn) marking the centenary of the First World War and the 306 soldiers executed for cowardice and desertion. It was another moving piece of theatre and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to see all three parts, even if it has been one per year.

UntitledWednesday was about the only day I had actual plans as Steve and I needed to go to Ikea and this was the day that Steve was available. An Ikea trip is always fun as you never really know what you’re going to come away with! We started our visit with some breakfast which was pretty tasty (and a bargain price!).

Ap0626xYTJC5ORm+B+jUywWe then toured the store, managing to actually get what we had gone for (an uplighter for our living room) and a number of additional items which will either be incredibly useful or never seen again 😂

Once we had put our purchases in the car, we decided to go back in and get some meatballs for lunch. I mean, if you go to Ikea and don’t have meatballs, did you really go at all?

waWBzbXnRtSoytaaqBT6RQI actually needed a nap when we got home – apparently Ikea had taken it out of me haha! But once I was feeling a bit more refreshed I made a start on one of those projects that’s best left until holidays – reorganising all my wardrobe and drawers. I spent some of the evening on it then the bulk of Thursday, really only stopping to eat. I still made sure to get to my Ashtanga class on Thursday evening as a chance to walk away from all the reorganising and clear my head a bit. Once again I felt strong in wheel and managed my headstand, so I’m thinking that my unexpected breakthrough with that a couple of weeks ago has changed my mindset to the belief that I CAN do headstand, thus making me less apprehensive about it.

I began Friday with a training session over at Steve’s studio. After a week off training it was good to get back to it and we used the TRX to work on my upper body/core. After that I still had a tiny bit of my project to finish off then in the late afternoon we headed into town as there was an “immersive sound experience” I wanted to go to at the theatre. It was titled Charlie Ward and was set up like a WW1 field hospital. It drew on a time when Charlie Chaplin films were projected onto the roof of the tent to help keep patients’ spirits up, however as we lay on a hospital bed, we “became” the patient in that bed thanks to speakers around the headboard and co-ordinated effects in the screening of the film which allowed us to get inside the patient’s head as the film triggered a variety of memories ranging from his childhood to the injury he received. At various points we were also aware of the sounds of other patients reacting to the film and the sounds of the war beyond the tent canvas. It was about 15 minutes long and was both really immersive and quite powerful.

LmWM5DxEQqS5qEwAz4MnOQAfterwards, we had a cup of tea in the theatre cafe as I was meeting my sister and my parents about an hour later for dinner before we went to a show along the road in the concert hall. I had a nice caprese salad followed by a fragrant chicken curry, both of which were pretty tasty.

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cJbGHGPnSQaDU6qcztRbnQThe show we went to was called Beyond the Barricade, a touring group of former Les Misérables principals who have put together this show featuring some of the most well-known songs from the most popular musicals. I LOVE show tunes so this was the perfect evening for me and I found it really hard not to sing along! My sister and I were both raised on show tunes and had the chance to see lots of musicals growing up so we both really love things like this. It was a great evening.

Saturday morning saw me back at parkrun and my first run all week. I felt well rested, but I never know how that will translate into my performance. Although I wasn’t looking to go all out, I probably started a bit too steady so when the first mile ticked by at 8:20, I knew I had the capacity to push on a bit, which I did. It was really satisfying to see each mile clock in faster than the one before it for a Royal Flush Negative Split and a 24:36 finish time. I’ve not really pushed myself hard over parkrun in a while, so being able to produce that fairly comfortably felt good and is an indication that I probably have a bit more in me right now if I wanted to go for it.

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Got to love the Royal Flush!

IMG_0004After parkrun I had a quick freshen up and change then it was back into town for my “back to school” haircut. My hairdresser decided to curl the ends of my hair to show me how much it has grown – this time last year there was no way she could have done that! – and I’ll maybe play around with that myself some time. When my hair was long I used to do things like that occasionally so I’m sure I still have some tongs somewhere…

zHACVJUGTQWGf9qY%G5CxwI kept the remainder of the day pretty chilled since it had been a busy few days what with all my reorganising, and it was nice to settle into my chair, drink tea and watch Strictly with one of the kittens – he’s such a big softie!

3VConksMQkyRGTiQUsSc2AI knew I would run on Sunday morning, but I also knew there was no need to do anything particularly long. Now that I’ve run my last race of the year, it’s all about keeping the miles ticking over and building a solid base ahead of cranking things up for marathon training as the new year begins. I had a fairly leisurely start then headed out for 10k at a reasonably easy pace, which just so happened to coincide with the heavens opening so I enjoyed one of Mother Nature’s refreshing showers as I ran. Despite that, it was still a good run and so weird to be done, showered and out for our weekly coffee before lunch!

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Not gonna lie, I was convinced I would have hair colour running down my face 😂

The afternoon was spent on some oh-so-glamorous housework before settling in for a bit of evening telly and my Sunday night bath. Let’s just hope the first week of the new term is fairly painless!

Are you a fan of Ikea meatballs?
Would you enjoy an evening of show tunes?

The Daily Post – Costume

I think it’s safe to say you can tell where my head (still) is by my choice of prompt this month! Having recently taken part in a RunDisney event and embraced the opportunity to create a costume, I thought I would consider the evolution of my willingness to don slightly crazy garb for a run…

Running In fancy dress/costume has never particularly been my thing, despite what some of my running experiences might suggest. For a long time the only deviation I ever had from standard running gear (in colours that made me blend into the background) was an annual Santa Run (at which dressing as Santa was key to blending into the background!). But as my attitude to running has changed, perhaps as a result of greater experience (or age, but I prefer “experience” haha!) I’ve been more open to a themed run and, when the occasion called for it, creating some kind of appropriate costume to run in.

At first, I simply got involved in themed runs each year on our parkrun’s birthday. I found some bright colours for the beach party theme (a bit tricky in November!).

I followed that with one of my favourites, creating this little combo for the Superheroes theme.

And made sure to wear my festive finery around Christmas time.

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IMG_9194More recently, I thought it might be fun to give a nod to the Royal Wedding with my choice of hairband. Everyone has a tiara hairband, right?

IMG_6630So when I announced that I would be running the Disneyland Paris half marathon, I was asked a number of times if I would be running in costume. Of course I would! As far as I was concerned, that was the whole point, I mean when else can you run around dressed as a Disney character and not receive at least a few odd looks?

One of my main considerations was to make sure whatever I chose wouldn’t annoy me – 13.1 miles is a long way to be irritated by what you’re wearing and it wasn’t like I was going to “test drive” it on a training run! Santa suits aside, all my other costumes had mainly been created out of actual running kit, with the odd additional accessory (e.g. the cape I borrowed from my sister to be a superhero) added on – but those were for short events where I knew I could put up with any slight irritations.

And so, I did a little bit of looking around online. I knew I wanted to be Belle (gold ball gown version, obvs) and checked out some photos of costumes others had put together as well as researching possible places to get the bits and pieces I would need. In the end, EVERYTHING I wore that day was running kit except for my sparkly skirt, but I bought that from a website specifically geared towards running costumes and since it wasn’t “puffy” I knew it would be ok as I often race in a running skirt. The only thing that disappointed me a little was that I couldn’t get any yellow shoes, or at least not in a shoe I would be happy to wear for that distance.

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Tank/capris from Under Armour; socks by Stance; Adidas Supernova shoes; dual pocket Spibelt (so I could carry my phone, Go Pro and a couple of gels); skirt by Sparkle Athletic and hairband from Sparkly Soul. I sourced Steve’s “Beast” top at UK Tech Tees.

I have to say, I LOVED wearing that costume and would happily have wondered around all day in it if it hadn’t been for the fact that a) it had been raining so I was a bit damp and b) I had a flight to catch! But having enjoyed the event so much I know we will be back again and I’ve already given some thought to possible costume options. There are so many to choose from that I might be a little spoiled for choice!

In the meantime, it’s not that long until the festive season…

Have you ever run in a costume?
What would you wear for a RunDisney event?