Friday Finds – 19th July

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! You may have noticed that I took a little bit of a blogging break while I was away on holiday, but never fear, I have plenty to share about the month so far and will catch you up with all the news (and photos. So. Many. Photos!) soon. In the meantime, let’s get back to the routine of sharing some articles on Friday. I suspect this one will be a bit of an odd mixture of things I’ve been storing over the past two or three weeks…

First up, a positive outcome to a high profile story from earlier this year. You might remember that some participants in the London marathon complained about the way they were treated during the race and, thankfully, organisers have listened and are implementing changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It really saddened me to read the original story, so I’m pleased that action has been taken and hope that those affected are able to return to the race for a far more positive experience.

On a lighter note, I was amused to read this piece about a recent school sports day. Events in our school are simply for pupils – no staff or parent races – but I know that up and down the country the prospect of parents racing can result in either a degree of worry and/or overly competitive performances. But we can all be reassured that even being an Olympic champion is no guarantee of success – just ask Mo Farah who was recently beaten by another dad who wasn’t exactly attired for sporting greatness!

Next up, a story of real commitment. A great thing about travelling is finding new places to run, but when we have specific training goals it can be a little stressful to make sure we find the best route. Step in two butlers at a high-end Italian hotel who not only found a route for a guest who was marathon training, but actually ran with him and joined him for the actual marathon. You certainly don’t get that kind of service everywhere!

Catching my eye today was this piece in which one researcher attempted to answer an interesting question: why do we walk with straight arms but run with them bent? The results of their research may surprise you! Got any theories?

And finally, if you like to share your runs on Strava, you may have noticed the different approaches people take to sharing their posts, from the default “morning run” to a lengthy mile by mile essay. Here’s a rundown of some of the different types. Which one are you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess  

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Friday Finds – 28th June

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.

It’s the happiest Friday of the year! School finished for the summer at lunchtime today and this year I have seven glorious weeks of freedom stretching ahead of me. Hopefully that will be enough to recharge my depleted batteries and get on top of my health again after a difficult year. So for this first Friday of the summer, here are a few bits and pieces for your reading pleasure.

I’ll start with the latest news surrounding Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2 hour marathon attempt planned for later this year. Despite earlier reports suggesting it would take place in London, this week it was announced that Vienna would be the location of choice. You can read more about it here:

Next up, some science. When it comes to running I am frequently fascinated by maths and science, when in other areas of my life I tend not to see the practical application (even though I understand that there is one!). Earlier this week the results of a study were published which set out some interesting findings when it comes to the gut microbes of endurance athletes. It seems that marathon runners have a higher concentration of one particular microbe after a marathon/ultra than at any other time. This poses interesting questions about how that might be used to enhance performance. This will be an intriguing one to keep an eye on.

Speaking of ultras, last week I included a couple of articles on the subject and this week came across another interesting piece, this time focusing on how the lessons learned in distance running can be applied to our work. Again, I think a lot of this is true of running in general and would be interested to know what running has taught you that you can take to other aspects of your life.

Now, everyone’s favourite activity tracking app, Strava (if it’s not on Strava, does it even count?). This is an interesting read detailing some of the developments the company is looking to make in order to broaden their user base. I recently listened to a podcast interview with one of the Strava founders so I think I had this in mind as I was reading about how they see the platform in the future.

And finally, what three words make you happy? According to this humorous article, when it comes to running there just might be a few combinations that work. I’m not sure which one is my favourite as a few of these would make me happy. How about you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 21st June

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! This week I’m actually organised and have written this in advance as I’m spending Friday evening at a show with my mum and sister. I’m sure I’ll share more in my next Week In Review so you can watch out for that. In the meantime, here are the things that have been catching my eye lately.

I want to start with one of my favourite things: running data. I have written before about previous studies from Run Repeat and their latest study, The State of Running 2019, is a fascinating and in-depth study of global participation. For me, the things that really stand out are the findings that there are now more female runners than male (go girls!), that runners are older (good news for me!) and that travelling to race is increasingly popular (definitely something I enjoy). It’s really worth taking some time to check out the graphs and data in the report, and I bet you won’t be able to resist using the comparison tool to see how you measure up!

Next up, a little something to watch. As I’ve previously mentioned, Eliud Kipchoge is going to have another crack at the sub-2 hour marathon later this year. The more I watch Kipchoge race, the more I like him and now we have the opportunity to follow along with his preparation for the sub-2 attempt. I suspect for us mere mortals simply watching his training will be exhausting!

Ultrarunning may not be my thing, but it’s still an aspect of running that I find fascinating. Recently I’ve very much been relying on running to give me some headspace, reset my mind and process some difficult times, so when I saw this article examining the impact ultrarunning has had on the lives of the contributors, I knew it would be one I would want to share. I’m quite sure many of the benfits they discuss will apply to runners everywhere, regardless of how often or how far they run.

On the subject of ultrarunning, I recently came across this excerpt from The Rise of the Ultrarunners, a new book from Adharanand Finn. I’ve previously enjoyed reading his books and his newspaper columns, so this will no doubt be another one for my reading list.

And finally, if you enjoy movies then a movie about running will no doubt be one you want to see. I’ve come across a few bits and pieces mentioning the movie Brittany Runs A Marathon, and having watched the trailer, I’m now looking forward to having a chance to see this later in the year. Can you relate to anything here?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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

Race Report – Stirling Marathon 2019

Or The One With Highly Questionable Training

I really had no expectations for this one. I began the year feeling really strong, but a series of disruptions to my training and subsequent decision to build up into the event rather than taking a more traditional taper, meant I really had no idea what was going to happen. Yes, I ran 4:05 last year, but I also have a fair number of marathons under my belt where training was less-than-optimal and I finished in the 4:30s/4:40s. I was getting ready for this one fully expecting a 4:4X finish. And I was ok with that since just a couple of weeks earlier I didn’t think I would be running at all.

I didn’t spend much time poring over the route map. I knew there had been an alteration from last year so that where we finished would serve as both the start and finish lines (so we would basically run a really big loop) but didn’t think much about it other than that. It would be 26.2 miles, most of it would be on the same roads as last year, and I would do my best. I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing which was really nice.

I got my kit all prepared the night before: Tikiboo shorts, Under Armour sleeveless top, Nike arm warmers, 2XU compression calf sleeves.

The weather forecast looked pretty perfect – cool, dry and still, so I thought I would want the arm warmers for the first few miles and maybe roll them down later on.

We were keen to be in Stirling quite sharp (unheard of for perennially last-minute Steve!) as this year the event car parks were going to cost £5 (they were free last year – humph!) but there was a city centre car park really close to the start which would be free since it was a Sunday. So after a breakfast of porridge and coffee, we were in the car and on our way. We did have to take a diversion due to road closures for the races, but we scored a parking space right where we wanted and walked up to the start/finish area at Kings Park. The event area had really only just opened so it was pretty quiet and we had our pick of toilets as soon as we got there. What luxury ha!

I had packed a disposable poncho and since all the benches and the ground itself were wet from the rain the day before, I laid this out so we could sit down and wait until it was time to strip off our warm layers and hand in our bag. This was the only moment when I felt a little emotional and it was all because I opened Facebook. It popped up this memory from last year and although I was feeling calm, being back at the same event reminded me of all those feelings once again.

From my perspective, the start was much better organised than last year. Last year I had to scale a barrier to get into the starting area, but this year, although being fairly last-minute to head over as we wanted to go to the loo one last time, it was pretty straightforward. The start was on the main road and the waiting runners snaked back around the tennis courts into the park. This time both the full and half marathons started at the same time (last year the half was a bit later so a lot of marathon runners ran into the back of the half marathon towards the end). There was a barrier separating the two sides of the road as after about half a mile the routes would diverge so this made sure runners were on the right side of the road and didn’t have to dart about. By the time I reached the start line several minutes had ticked by, but it was chip timed so I was still really relaxed.

I was wearing my Aftershokz headphones but had decided not to switch on anything to listen to until later on. Instead, I took the time to settle into a comfortable pace and enjoy what was happening around me. I was a little disappointed there were no “animals” outside the safari park this time (I even ran on the right side of the road to get a high five!) but I did enjoy the difference between the quiet country roads and the immense noise in the towns we passed through.

Official race photo

As we ran down a short hill into Doune, I could hear some runners near me making some jokes around the name (it’s pronounced “doon” – the same as the Scots word for “down”) – lots of “running Doune the hill”, “heading doon to Doune”, etc. At the bottom of the hill we cross an old bridge and looking to the right, along the water, is Doune castle (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones, Outlander) so I stopped to take a couple of photos. They came out a bit “soft focus”, but you get the idea.

Doune itself was really noisy. There was a pipe band and I think every single person who lived there must have been out lining the streets to support the runners. It was a much-needed boost as much of the road out of there was uphill until  eventually a nice long downhill stretch into Dunblane. I STILL didn’t see Andy Murray’s gold postbox (sigh!) but later in the race I overheard someone else saying they thought we maybe didn’t run past it. Maybe it’s not my fault after all!

Dunblane was also really supportive. I saw some older women standing at the end of their driveways enjoying cups of tea and I think if they had offered me a cuppa I would have probably stopped for a chat there and then. I was approaching half way but it was starting to feel hard and I knew it wasn’t good for a marathon to feel hard so early on. Still, I wasn’t massively surprised and interestingly the weary feeling in my legs never got any worse through the remainder of the race.

Official race photo

From Dunblane, we made our way towards Bridge of Allan. I remembered a really nice downhill stretch here, which was just what I was needing, but I was also a bit confused. I remembered from the course map that mile 20 was close to the university, but if we kept on going alone this road as we had last year, we would reach there much earlier. Just as I was puzzling about how this was going to work, the route left the main road and took a right turn onto a narrow, country road for a loop which would bring us back onto the main road just before 19 miles.

I found this stretch of the route quite odd. It was pancake flat, but the road had lots of potholes and rough patches which aren’t great on weary feet. It was also really quiet. It was essentially a farm road and mostly flanked by fields. Those who lived along there were out offering support, but we were at that point in the race where nobody was chatting much anymore and I don’t think I was the only one who started to notice how tired they were at that point. All I could hear was the slapping of feet on the ground and a few weary groans as we approached the business end of the marathon.

I made a decision to take a short walk break when I got to 18 miles. In deciding to run the race, I had considered walking a little as a possibility to help me get around the route so was comfortable with that decision. Just as I ducked behind the mile marker to slow down without getting in anyone’s way, another runner passed by and spoke to me by name. I had actually noticed this runner earlier on when I had been right behind her as she was wearing a top with cutaways in the back which showed off a really cool tattoo. As she passed by, I realised it was Rhona, whose blog Red Wine Runner was one of the blogs which originally inspired me to start this one. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Rhona at a race, so it was nice to see a familiar face. I tweeted her the next day and it turned out she had been running behind me wondering where she had seen “those mad shorts” before, then twigged who it was. Running can be such a small world!

While on the subject of the shorts, I thought I had chosen a fairly understated pair, but they did get quite a lot of attention along the route from both runners and spectators alike! Every shout of, “I love your shorts!” made me smile and gave me a bit of a lift so it was worth wearing them.

Walking for a few minutes really helped me to rally so when I emerged back onto the main road and hit the wall of noise that was Bridge of Allan, I was ready for it. The first thing I heard was the end of a song from The Greatest Showman which really gave me a boost. It was so noisy along there I had to stop the podcast I had started when I began my walk break and didn’t re-start it until I was a bit further along the road again.

Another slight change to the route was around the university. Last year we ran in, did a loop then came back out the same way. This time we still went in (up a pretty steep hill dammit!) but our loop funnelled us out a different way so we were further along the road. It did, however, lead to a nice downhill section that gave me a bit of a second wind for a bit.

From there, I knew I could make it. I remembered that I would have a slight incline (where a photographer lurks!) before arriving in Stirling to make my way through the city centre and up to the finish. With about a parkrun to go, I got a nice text from a colleague to wish me luck and that gave me a bit of a lift just when I needed it. Then once in Stirling itself the crowds were amazing. I’m looking down in the photos because the streets are uneven cobbles and the last thing I wanted to do was trip, but I knew that Steve’s cousin would be out ready to cheer us all on so when I spotted her I waved and she came out to give me a high five. The crowds were roaring their support and since our race numbers were printed with our names on the front, everyone was getting lots of encouragement by name which is always so good through those last miles.

Official race photo

Official race photo

Finally, I found myself at the bottom of the last hill (!!) up to the finish line. I was prepared for it having been there last year and we had actually walked up that hill on our way to the start that morning. Again, loads of supporters shouting encouragement to get the runners up the hill. I began to feel pretty strong as I knew I had it now. I had been keeping an eye on my time and knew that I was actually going to finish sub-4:30, which was a surprise. I even wondered if I might manage 4:25 so as the terrain levelled out and the finish gantry was ahead of me, I kept the pace up as much as I could (I think I even passed someone!) and barrelled over the line with my arms aloft.

Official race photo

Official race photo

Made it! Against the odds, I not only made it to the start line but finished this marathon feeling pretty good, all things considered.

Stopping my watch it said 4:26:01. Ach, that second was a little disappointing but so much faster than I had expected. Even better, when I checked my official time it was 4:25:59. Got that 4:25 by the skin of my teeth!!

I collected my finisher pack and found Steve who was waiting for me just beyond the finish area. I was on such as high as I just couldn’t believe I had run 4:25 when I had expected 4:4X. How on earth had I done it?

I was, however, very keen to sit down so we laid the disposable poncho out again and once I had taken a couple of photos I sat down to enjoy my recovery drink and regroup a bit. Poor, exhausted Steve (who had finished the marathon then dutifully collected our bag from the baggage bus before hanging around waiting for me) had to listen to me yacking on in an endorphin-fuelled frenzy of excitement until I gave him the five-minute warning that we should head off (to give him a head start getting up off the ground – he’s not so good at this after a marathon haha!).

The finisher pack was pretty well stocked – lots of food, T-shirt and medal. My only real complaint is about the T-shirt as it is MASSIVE on me. It’s one of those “unisex” ones (not a thing – women and men are completely different on top) and this is allegedly a small. I wore it in the evening to go for a drink (with a long-sleeved top underneath it) but I can’t see it getting any further use and I took advantage of the post-event survey to let the organisers know my feelings on the matter.

Overall, I’ve found this one a little hard to process. As an event, I certainly recommend it. Plenty of runners, yet it feels small. Quiet country roads, yet roaring noise just when you need it. The route is undulating, but it is Scotland after all and nothing I haven’t trained on. Organisation is good and since it’s close to home it eliminates the stress of travelling and finding food ahead of the race. What I’ve struggled with a little is my own performance. I was so relaxed about the whole thing as I had no pressure to perform, yet far exceeded my own expectations given the training I had put in. I’ve also recovered really quickly which suggests I’ve got more to give. There’s a little bit of me which briefly wondered what I might have achieved if training had gone better, but it’s not worth dwelling on that. It is what it is. Life gave me some lemons and I made some pretty damn good lemonade that day. Marathon number 12 is in the books and despite a few miles of the race where I never wanted to do it again (standard!), I can’t see this being my last marathon. I just hope number 13 is a little luckier!

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!