Friday Finds – 10th May

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 one and all! If you had a day off work on Monday then I hope you enjoyed this shorter week. It was certainly nice to have an extra day to potter about! And now it’s time to kick off the weekend with a few bits and pieces to read.

I want to start with some updates on some of the big stories to come out of the London marathon, most of which I mentioned last week. To start, some news on what comes next for some of the big names in the event. It looks like Mo Farah has decided to defend his title at the Chicago marathon (ruling out an imminent return to the track which some had speculated about). But the biggest news comes from Eliud Kipchoge, who this week announced that he is to take another crack at a sub-2 hour marathon, this time in London this autumn. He certainly said that he needed a new goal to chase having fulfilled his London goal, so I have to assume he feels he’s in a strong position to have another go at this. It’s certainly very exciting and I’m looking forward to learning more of the details.

There was also some good news this week. You may have seen the story about the nurse who was aiming to set a record for the fastest marathon dressed as a nurse, but found herself ineligible for the record as her scrubs did not meet the “costume” requirements. This resulted in a Twitter campaign in which nurses tweeted pictures of themselves in what they wear to work – none of which matched up to the description in the record requirements. As a result, those requirements were reviewed and updated, with the record being awarded. Hurrah!

The other good news is that the Big Ben costume (which had resulted in some finish line hilarity before disappearing from outside a pub) has been returned (although possibly my favourite thing about this link is the mis-spelling of “London” in the headline 🤦🏻‍♀️)

Of course London (or ‘Lonodon’ – I couldn’t even type that as my computer kept autocorrecting it!) is not the only marathon – despite what the media might have us think – nor was it the only marathon to take place that day. I was running the Stirling marathon and this week it seems to have courted some controversy also. Mind you these days if a marathon takes place and there’s no controversy or upset, did it even happen? First, the winner of the women’s race criticised organisers over the prize money offered, and then today it emerged that the event will no longer be staged as it is not economically viable. I have to say, finding that out did upset me as it was a good event and I saw myself returning again in future. Having already cancelled the long-running Women’s 10k in Glasgow, I do hope Great Run are not going to cancel any further events as they operate a couple of other major running events here in Scotland and to lose them would be a real blow.

After all those updates, let’s finish this week’s post with a couple of more light-hearted stories, starting with the man who ran for 15 hours (!!) on a treadmill whilst wearing a full gorilla suit. I don’t know where to begin! It must have been hot, sweaty and itchy, plus running on a treadmill for more than a few minutes is a real mental battle. Well done that man!

And finally, we’ve all seen those “tap here for power” signs whilst taking part in a race, but what if that “power” wasn’t coming from a cardboard sign but the belly of a cute doggy? Yes, you did read that correctly. At a recent 10k in New Orleans, corgi Max was on the sidelines with his owner but began to get tired. His owner picked him up and runners just couldn’t resist stopping by to give Max a belly rub. Personally, I’d love a puppy or kitten petting station in a race. That would DEFINITELY give me a boost!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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Week In Review – A Miraculous Recovery!

When you run a marathon on the Inverse Taper (i.e. fairly last-minute longer runs and no taper to speak of) you have to expect to feel pretty sore and tired for a few days afterwards. I was certainly tired last Sunday and my knees had decided that bending wasn’t something they particularly wanted to do, but on Monday I felt great –  I could even walk down stairs like a normal person! I think I probably spent the day still high on the endorphins of the day before, but the speedy recovery in my legs is something I still can’t quite get my head around. I can only assume it’s the product of running one extra day in the week since late October and doing so many parkrun sandwiches the day before my longer runs. I must be more accustomed to running on tired legs and presumably adapted accordingly.

That said, I still know to take time off after a marathon, no matter how tempting it is to get back out there again. My body has taken on a big challenge and there will always be unseen damage and fatigue that needs time to return to normal. So this past week has been a recovery week – minimal activity and lots of food. Sounds pretty good!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – sports massage
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – volunteering at parkrun
Sunday – rest

I took my medal to work with me on Monday as I knew a couple of colleagues would want to see it, but with all my senior pupils on study leave I was having a pretty quiet day!

The best part of the day was a friend (who ran his first marathon last year) taking care of my needs by leaving the precise thing my body was craving waiting for me on my desk. Friend for life! (I was in the middle of marking some project work, hence the stickers!).

Although I was feeling good, I was really looking forward to yoga on Monday as I knew it would give me a chance to really stretch out my weary muscles. I fully excepted to take a few easier options during this class, so was surprised to find myself taking part as normal. Maybe McDonald’s, Chinese takeaway and beer is the secret recovery formula 😉

Both Tuesday and Wednesday I took as really restful days. My sister popped in on Tuesday evening to pick something up and we watched some of the elite race from the London marathon together while the kittens clambered about looking for treats (it’s ok, she remembered them this time after coming empty-handed last time!).

And I made sure to enter the ballot for next year. It would be a shame to break my streak of failed ballot entries now 😂

Similar scenes were repeated on Wednesday when my mum visited. The kittens were celebrating their first birthday and she had presents for them. Safe to say she got a little carried away!

And the kittens (are they still kittens if they are one?) had a lot of fun with the gift bag!

I then had my sports massage and my massage therapist was really surprised at how mobile I was and what good condition my legs were in. It was still good to have a massage as that also allows me to feel that there are no sore spots or indications that I should take a huge amount of time off. This time, everything felt good.

Thursday was my Ashtanga class and although I had felt good in Hatha on Monday, I knew that Ashtanga could feel a bit harder and had memories of finding some postures pretty tricky after my marathon last year. As it turned out, I managed just fine. The only issue I had was that my body just didn’t want to do a headstand – something I had suspected might be the case as my body was still dealing with the fatigue of a marathon and headstand demands quite a lot from the core. I got set up but just didn’t feel “right” and every time I tried to move into the posture I could feel that it just wasn’t happening. And to be honest, that’s fine. Someone else in the class noticed and said to me afterwards that I should have called the teacher over to get support with it, but I didn’t need to do a headstand on that particular occasion, I was quite happy resting in child’s pose until it was time to move on. I know I can do it and I know what my body has achieved lately. It can have a night off headstand!

But since I have been feeling so good, I made a decision to enter an upcoming race. Steve already entered this a while back but I was undecided what with being ill then deciding to run the marathon anyway. Had I been really sore, I probably wouldn’t have entered anything else right now, but the idea had planted itself in my mind so I took action.

It’s been a few years since I ran one of the Edinburgh races, so I’m actually looking forward to this and I think there are going to be lots of people around that I know so it should be a good day. It’s an early start but it means I’ll have a decent run in by mid-morning.

Friday was once more a rest day, but actually quite a busy day at work the way things worked out. Still, once I finished I knew I had a long weekend ahead and kicked it off with a nice dinner of fish and chips at the pub down the road. Look at the size of that fish!

Saturday was the first of two volunteer slots for me at parkrun. I volunteer as a pacer fairly regularly, but usually take a couple of other roles in the two weeks after a marathon so I know I’m doing my bit. I was timekeeper this time, but it was just one of those weeks where all sorts of things went a bit wrong. There was an alteration to our route due to some works taking place and a number of runners went wrong (it was still 5k though, phew!). I also missed some runners crossing the finish as they went behind me, outside of the funnel, and the other timer, while clocking more runners than me, was also “behind” the number of tokens that went out. It will forever be a mystery how that happened as usually I’m ok with timekeeping, so well done to the RD who managed to sort it all out and process the results after that! In all the carry on I completely forgot to take any photos, but I do have one of me in my nice new leggings – hipster kittens. Why not!

Usually on the Sunday after a marathon Steve and I head out for a big cooked breakfast in celebration of our efforts, but this time we postponed by a week as my sister invited me to join her and her friends for “Disney Day”. They had planned a day of Disney games, chat and vlog watching – mouse ears compulsory – and some food. It sounded pretty good and with no running to do and a Monday holiday the next day, I decided to join her. I may have got a little carried away in my outfit haha!

We started with Disney Trivial Pursuit, drank tea made in a Mrs Potts teapot (I want one!) and served in one of the Disney/Starbucks mugs. A couple of Linsey’s friends also made Mickey-shaped treats for us to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also played a new game called Villainous. It was a kind of strategy game where you place as a Disney villain and have your own objective to meet whilst also trying to thwart your opponent. It took a lot of checking the instructions and a YouTube video to get us stated, but the others definitely picked it up faster than me as I’m just not used to games like this. I still enjoyed it though and I would play it again now I have a better idea of what it’s all about. In case you’re interested, I played as Jafar (I’m not really a villains kind of girl, but Jafar is pretty cool).

By the time I got home (we were in Edinburgh) it was time for my bath and I decided to stick with the theme of the day by watching a couple of Disney vlogs while I soaked in the tub and enjoyed a glass of red wine. Bliss!

Overall a great week to rest and recharge, but I’m now itching to get back to running and will probably try a couple of easy runs in the week ahead.

Do you like board games?
Who’s your favourite Disney villain?

Friday Finds – 3rd May

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.

Ooh it’s Friday and for many it’s the start of a long weekend. Perfect! It’s going to be a rather different weekend for me than last week as I’m having a little break from running to allow my body to recover post-marathon. It was really strange to miss the live coverage of the London marathon on Sunday, but I’ve since caught up on the elite races and actually have coverage playing as I write this (*edit – just this minute spotted Anna McNuff running over Tower Bridge!*). Given my current obsession interest in marathons, you won’t be surprised that this week I want to include some of the big stories to come out of the event.

Let’s start with the elite races and the amazing Eliud Kipchoge. What’s not to like about that guy? A fantastic runner with a smooth, relaxed style and always comes across so well in interviews. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

In the women’s race, Brigid Kosgei ran a great race, but it was Hayley Carruthers who really stopped our hearts as she took a tumble right before the finish line and crawled over to snag a PB! Thankfully she was ok but it brought her to my attention as an elite athlete also working a full time job (which she was back at the very next day). I do love her tenacity!

It was a record-breaking year what with a new course record, a record number of participants and the highest number of female finishers ever. There was even a new Scottish record for Callum Hawkins – go Callum! I always love all the totally random Guinness World Record attempts and 38 of 78 attempts were successful. Here’s the complete rundown:

Unfortunately there has, in recent days, been a more negative story emerge from the day after an official pacer discussed her experience of running behind the cleanup crew. While I do understand that organisers must get roads open within agreed times, if the event is going to be open to runners of every pace then appropriate provision has to be made to ensure they still have access to on-course support and are kept safe. I’m not going to comment too much on it while it is being investigated, but it is disappointing to hear and I hope that action is taken to ensure that this can’t happen again.

And finally, for the second time this year I’m featuring Lukas Bates, the runner who found the strong winds at the London Landmarks half marathon rather challenging. This time he made it to the finish line ok, but then found the finish gantry a little too low for his costume! And the story didn’t end there as the infamous costume later went missing and, to the best of my knowledge, is still to be returned. That’s quite the story to tell the grandkids one day!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

PS here’s a little bonus with some cool London marathon stats. You know I love a good running stat!

Friday Finds – 26th April

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.

Hurrah for Friday! That means I’ve successfully navigated my way through the first week of the new school term and we’ve reached the weekend that a certain “fun run” takes place in that fancy London 😂. With all eyes on the capital this weekend to see what unfolds in the elite races and how the masses can tug at our heartstrings, it won’t surprise you to find that I have a number of London-related finds this week.

But first, one last story to come out of the recent Boston marathon. Elite runner Sarah Crouch started the race hoping a fast time would earn her a spot in the US Olympic trials, however it later came to light that she knowingly raced with a stress reaction which then developed into a fracture. Part of me understands why she would make this choice, but I think the more experience I have of running, the less likely I am to take a risk like that myself (although a spot in the Olympic team isn’t exactly up for grabs for me!). What are your thoughts?

Turning our attention to London, the one to watch is definitely current world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. The more I read about Kipchoge, the more of a fan I become and I enjoyed this piece from the BBC which delves a little deeper into what makes him tick.

Of course British interest will be directed towards Sir Mo Farah who has, unfortunately, courted some controversy in recent days. I don’t want to get into that, but I did come across this story which is a little more fun. Sir Mo joked around at the London marathon expo this week, running on a treadmill set at world record pace and falling off twice. If you haven’t seen it, take a look…

Over the years London has also become known for being one of the biggest charity fund-raising events in the year and for the number of world record attempts taking place each year. Lots of these will no doubt be profiled during coverage on Sunday morning, but this one caught my eye earlier this week: a couple aiming to set a new world record for the fastest marathon whilst handcuffed together! An ambitious and quirky idea, but I’m not sure it’s something I would want to try – that’s a lot of time training and running with another person and I kind of like to do my own thing. I mean, what if you got really fed up of each other??? I wish these two the very best of luck.

And finally, here in the UK the London marathon is often referred to  as “The Marathon” e.g. are you running the marathon this weekend? I’ve spent this week trying not to get too irritated with that question as I am running a marathon this weekend, just not that marathon and answering can get a bit convoluted. *sigh*. To remind me that there are plenty of other annoying things we runners can be asked, here’s Canadian Running with a list. What’s on yours?

Happy reading and good luck to all the marathoners this weekend – wherever you are running!
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 12th April

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.

I may not having been posting my usual updates recently, but I’ve still been saving up plenty of interesting things to share with you and now is as good a time as any to get back into my regular posting routine. And with spring marathon season really kicking off with Paris on Sunday, Boston on Monday and London coming up in a couple of weeks, this week’s finds are going to be loosely race-themed. Let’s get started…!

First up is everybody’s nightmare scenario: travelling to a race only to find that your luggage has gone missing (this is why I ALWAYS carry my race day kit in my hand luggage!). In many situations it can be reasonably easy to sort out some replacement kit, but not always, and that is exactly what happened to Peter Messervy-Gross who found himself at the start line of a 100 mile ultramarathon across a frozen Mongolian lake, without all the kit he had been carefully gathering in the months previously. But rather than miss out, Messervy-Gross took part in the race anyway…in his jeans and brogues! Now that’s tenacity!

Of interest here in the UK, the London marathon recently announced the steps they are to take to become more environmentally sustainable. Several new initiatives are to be trialled at this year’s event and I look forward to reading more about how successful these are. Anything that reduces the amount of waste – especially plastic bottles – is a fantastic step.

Meanwhile in the US, all eyes are on Monday’s Boston marathon where it looks like weather conditions may be quite tough again. This year the Grand Marshal for the event will be fan favourite Men Keflezighi. I’ve recently been reading his first book and am really beginning to see why everyone loves him so much. I’ll probably go on to read his new book at some point, so here’s an excerpt in which he reflects on his first experience of the the Boston marathon:

The other one to watch in Boston is, of course, 2018 winner (and another firm favourite!) Yuki Kawauchi who recently turned pro. He also recently raced a half marathon dressed as a ninja, proving once more why he is such an amazing character to follow. Yuki will be running again on Marathon Monday, but in what is very likely a marathon running first, the defending champion will also be running in the same race as his mother! I hope Mummy Kawauchi doesn’t keep her son waiting around too long at the finish!

And finally, we all know I enjoy stories which combine running with animals, so here’s the latest one: the dog that joined this year’s Marathon des Sables. How (p)awesome!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 15th March

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.

Welcome to Friday! Has anyone else noticed that the days seem just that little bit longer of late? Perhaps a sign that spring might be on its way. I’ve had a much better week this week and am looking forward to a restful weekend to recharge my batteries. If you have similar plans, here’s some light reading to start things off.

After last week’s story about the impact breast size has on women’s participation in sport and my comments about a need for further development of suitable sports bras to allow all women the opportunity to take part, this week one of the first things I came across was a story about sports bras! This one is from the ever-popular Lululemon and is aimed at those running longer distances as it is designed to carry water and gels. Basically it’s a combination of a sports bra and a hydration vest. At first I thought it sounded a bit odd, but having read a bit more I’m now intrigued and would be interested to try one. Would you wear it?

I have an Alex Hutchinson double-header this week as his columns from two different publications are pretty interesting. First, his column for Outside examining the impact of exercise on our experience of anger. Given the established connection between exercise and mental health, this makes for an intriguing read.

The second, from The Globe And Mail examines the science of recovery. These days there are so many recovery “aids” available and Hutchinson, referencing a new book by Christie Aschwanden (which I’ve added to my list!), discusses how useful these are. Certainly recovery is important in order to build strength and endurance, and I have long held to the belief that much of what I do is probably psychological rather than a scientifically proven approach, but as long as it works for me that’s good enough. What are your thoughts on recovery?

One of my reasons for making sure I recover properly is that I want to be able to run for many years to come. I want to be one of those older people who are still out there giving it a go – one of those people like Ernie Lacroix. This World War 2 veteran recently turned 100, and what better way to celebrate than running a 5k…for the 20th consecutive year! What an amazing man and a real inspiration to keep on running.

And finally, it’s been a blustery few days what with Storm Gareth hitting the UK early in the week and forecasts of Storm Hannah joining us this weekend. Yup, that naming the weather thing again! To be honest, I haven’t noticed any point that it WASN’T windy, so can only assume there was a brief overnight hiatus at some point as one storm headed out and the other began its approach. It might make some of our runs this weekend “character building”, but however hard it gets, you can console yourself with the fact that at least you’re not running through a storm whilst dressed as Big Ben! If you haven’t seen it, here’s some footage from last weekend’s London Big Half, featuring a particularly tenacious chap who picked the wrong day to run in fancy dress!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 22nd February

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.

Ah, Friday! I’ve had a much better week this week but I’m definitely still ready for my weekend. I hope your week has been good and you have fun plans for the weekend. To start it off, a little light reading…

I was most interested this morning to learn that my chance has finally come to take part in the Olympic Games…sort of. In a bid to make the public more involved in the Paris 2024 games, organisers have announced that they will stage a mass participation marathon, on the actual marathon course, on the same day as the elite events. And while there’s no hope of an Olympic medal, I wonder if there will be some kind of race souvenir for those who take part. It would be pretty cool!

Speaking of elite athletes, last weekend was quite the one for records and record attempts. First, Hayley Carruthers had a go at breaking the recently set parkrun women’s record and although she missed out, I love her determination tion to try again as that means this particular record is shaping up to provide lots of healthy competition this year and keep women’s running firmly on the radar.

And this was followed up with another record-breaking woman (and one of my favourites) Laura Muir smashing the women’s indoor mile record. I’ve written before about how much I love Muir’s attitude and determination, but now I also love how sensible she as she has her sights set on another event and is making sure to protect herself from February germs. I think I could learn a thing or two about that!!

I’ve also made no secret of my admiration for Jasmin Paris and I know I’m not alone in this one, but here’s a piece from a source I never expected to be including in one of my posts… Vogue! That’s right, Paris did an interview for Vogue! Also pretty cool.

And finally, what if the miles you ran added up to free beers? Well that’s exactly what’s happening in a new joint venture between New Balance and Strava. At the moment it’s only in London, but I definitely like the idea of paying for drinks with miles. I’m sure I must have earned a few…!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess