An Overwhelming October

After some tough times in August and September, October offered much more positivity and I found myself rather busy. I began the month by volunteering at parkrun in order to save my legs to race in the Great Scottish Run 10k the following day. That particular Saturday was International Parkrun Day, a day to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the very first parkrun. I was barcode scanning and enjoyed congratulating runners as they finished.


If you’ve been reading the blog recently then you will already know how much I enjoyed the Great Scottish Run, the highlight for me being the chance to meet Paula Radcliffe. Paula has long been a hero of mine and that experience even overshadowed my new PB! We also enjoyed catching up with our friends from Macmillan and posing for some photos:


And I was greatly amused by this tweet from Traffic Scotland with a shot from the traffic cameras on the Kingston Bridge!


In the days after GSR I received the not unexpected news that I had not been successful in the London Marathon ballot. I have to say that on this occasion I wasn’t really disappointed as I already have my entry for Paris 2016 sorted out. I would, however, really like to run London again in the future so continue to enter the ballot in the hopes that sheer persistence will eventually pay off. On the plus side, my Spiderman magazine was accompanied by this year’s “consolation prize”, a long-sleeved running top. I rather liked the one I got last year and have worn it quite a lot to go to and from PT sessions, etc. This one looks to be pretty good too, although I’ve not had a chance to wear it yet.


But for me the real high point of my October was the school trip to Normandy and Paris, an “intimate” gathering of 44 (4 teachers and 40 of our pupils). As always it was a real whirlwind of a visit, but I loved being back in Paris, soaking up the atmosphere and thinking back to my last visit earlier this year for the marathon. By the time I came back I was exhausted, but ready to start focusing on a new training programme to prepare my body for the demands of marathon training proper in the new year.

For those wondering what we get up to on the trip, here’s a bit of a photo dump with some memorable moments:

A tribute to WW2 soldiers in Normandy


Omaha beach

A simple but poignant memorial






























As you can see, we crammed in rather a lot, so by the time I got back I needed a bit of rest. However that didn’t stop me heading to parkrun that weekend. Not only did I have an October virtual 5k time to run, but it was Perth’s 100th event and there was no way I was going to miss out. Having run almost exclusively in shorts/summer kit until I went away, it was a real shock to wake up to a decidedly wintery day and find myself hunting for winter kit. I still throughly enjoyed the event, took it easy since I was tired and enjoyed a bit of cake at the end. Perfect!

Whilst in Paris, I also discovered that I had won a twitter competition and my prize was an Absolute 360 tech T-shirt. I hadn’t come across the brand before, but a few people seem to be trying out their compression kit and I certainly found my T-shirt (not compression) really comfortable to run in:

The remaining highlights of October included Back to the Future Day, in which I got completely over-excited, geeked out over my favourite film and earned a really cool virtual race medal!


And finishing as I began, with parkrun. It was Hallowe’en and there were lots of decorations and things set up around town as part of the celebrations. Typically, I couldn’t resist a photo!


So there you have it – parkrun, Paris and prizes! Looking back, it was a really busy month, but I also used my October break from school to have a bit of downtime from my training. I think it’s important to have a proper break from training a couple of times a year in order to allow the body to recover and hopefully avoid overtraining/injury. I had a couple of weeks off in the spring after the marathon, and even though my autumn races were shorter, I wanted to recharge my batteries ready to begin a new cycle of training. Now I’m back at work I’m settling into the routine of my new training programme and looking forward to building up a solid base of strength and fitness over the remaining weeks of 2015. I can’t wait!

How was your October?
What are your plans/goals for the remainder of the year?

Friday Finds – 23rd 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.

This week I’m being a little self-indulgent and its a Back to the Future Day special edition of Friday Finds – because even the world of sport found ways to mark the occasion!

As fans around the world celebrated the arrival of “the future” (i.e. the date Marty and the Doc travelled to in Back to the Future 2), we were also marking this year’s 30th anniversary of the original film. This resulted in many people reminiscing about milestone events in 1985, considering how life has changed over the last 30 years and predicting what the next 30 years might bring.  In the world of distance running, a major event from October 1985 was Steve Jones’ second consecutive win at the Chicago marathon. His time of 2:07:13 may have missed the world record of the time by just one second, but to this day it remains the British marathon record. To mark this anniversary, Competitor magazine published an interview with Jones in which he made some quite blunt remarks about how running, and the marathon itself, have evolved. I think I can see the point he was making, but I’ll leave it to you to form your own opinions.

Making some predictions about how sport might change in the next 30 years was the BBC, who looked at advances which might affect football, Formula 1, sprinting and the currently topical issue of doping. With the world changing rapidly around us, who knows what might happen next! Hopefully I’ll still be fit, well and able to run in 2045…

Also taking a slightly tongue-in-cheek look at what the future might bring was Women’s Running, who published their list of 10 things they would like to see by 2045. Some are, of course, a little far-fetched, but others might not be too far away as technology is already beginning to offer glimpses of how the future of running might look. I love gadgets so will be interested to see how things evolve in years to come.

One of the most sought after items from Back to the Future 2 (other than the hoverboard!) is Marty’s self-lacing Nike shoes. Limited edition replicas (without the power laces) have been around for a few years, but this week Nike finally showcased the first ever self-lacing Nike Mag shoes. And who better to receive the first ever pair than Michael J Fox aka Marty McFly? How great would it be to never have to worry about the laces on your favourite running shoes every untying again? We may already have the elastic-type laces often favoured by triathletes, but this is way cooler!

And finally, I can’t write a Back to the Future themed Friday Finds without including this little gem from the concluding part of the trilogy. It always makes me smile when I hear Doc Brown’s predictions about why we might run in “the future”, and I heard a good few laughs when I saw this in the cinema the other night!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess


Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!

Ok, that’s a bit of a lie. As a road runner, I definitely need roads, however today is Back to the Future Day and when else will I get the opportunity to use that line from the film as my post title?


But you might be wondering why on earth I’m writing about a film on what is ostensibly a running blog. The answer is simple. Quite apart form this being my absolute all-time favourite film, today I was even able to make my run Back to the Future themed thanks to a virtual race I found out about. Hosted by Virtual Nerd Runs, the event raised funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Theoretically it could be run at any time, but of course most wanted to run on October 21st 2015, aka Back to the Future Day (the day Marty and the Doc travelled to in Back to the Future 2).

There was also no particular distance required, leaving me free to come up with my own ideas. I played around with all the significant numbers from the films: the date, 88mph, etc but in the end decided to stick to a short run since I’ve been feeling a little congested this week. So in honour of 21/10/15, I ran for 21 minutes and 10 seconds. Had I been feeling healthier, I would probably have done either 8.8 miles or 8.8km, but in reality the distance didn’t matter. What did matter, was the fact that so many people were donating to charity (and the fantastic medal I had waiting for me after my slightly geeky run!).


Time circuits on!

My race bib!










And yes, I listened to the film soundtrack while I ran – if you’re going to be a geek, best to go all in! Turns out, it’s pretty good to run to…

To round off my day, I’ll be going to the cinema with my sister to see a triple bill of Back to the Future films. This is pretty exciting for me as I’ve had so few opportunities to see them on the big screen. I was a little too young when the first film was released and saw it a year or so later when I was given a VHS copy (which I proceeded to wear out!). I remember being disappointed that the “to be continued” at the end of the film was intended as joke and there were no sequels, so when the further films were released I was absolutely beside myself and can remember going to the cinema to see them with my family. Apart from that, all my viewings have been at home (I have a VHS boxset and two – yes, two! – DVD boxsets. The films are on TV quite a lot too!) except for one opportunity to see the original film at the cinema around 5 years ago when it was the 25th anniversary.


Even when I travel, I tend to have the first film loaded on my iPad so I always have something to watch, despite the fact that I probably have the script memorised! And would you believe, I even have a T-shirt (a gift from my sister) which combines my love of BTTF with my love of running? Of course I do!


So there you go, my geek cards are on the table. While some may be excited about the forthcoming Star Wars film, it’s all about Back to the Future for me – a certain online retailer has even “forced” me to buy another DVD boxset since there’s a new 30th anniversary edition! The only downside to today was that I had to lace up my own trainers and had no hoverboard to play with after my run…yet! At least I know I’m not the only one getting a bit carried away today:

What’s your all-time favourite film?
Are you marking Back to the Future Day in any way?
Ever take part in any virtual races?