Half Mary Musings | Week 11!!!!

I’m currently training for my first half marathon in Aviemore, October 13th, 2013. Half Mary Musings is my weekly reflection of how training went, what I’m doing well and things I need to improve upon.

Um, it’s week 11, WEEK 11, of my half marathon training. Only six days until race day!

Keep in mind these different speeds as you read:
easy run:
60% effort, you can run and easily carry a conversation.
long/steady run:
65% to 75% effort, at least 1 min slower than race pace.
threshold run:
80% effort, comfortably hard, also known as tempo
85% to 95%, close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath.  

Monday: week 10’s post and I’m pretty sure I did abs…..  I had a VERY busy last week of school, so busy in fact, I can’t remember much of it….

Tuesday: 48 mins: 8 x 3-min threshold run / 3-min easy run.

This looked like: 5 minutes easy pace warm-up (I added that in), then 3 minutes at comfortably hard, followed by 3 minutes easy running; this repeated 8 times.

Distance: 5.23 miles in 55:52, run on the roads around my house.

This week, I’ve noticed that while the intensity may have dropped, the distance definitely hasn’t. Both runs this week have been over five miles, with the most sets of threshold intervals to date. Tonight’s run seemed like it would never end, and given that it was in very windy conditions, I was alone, and it was getting dark as I was getting home, I was happy to finish it when I did.

I also noticed that it took me about four miles to properly warm up: a bad thing when it comes to 10km races, but a good thing in preparation for Sunday.

We dined on Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Yogurt, photo taken from my BBC GoodFood Healthy Low-calorie recipes. This meal only has 297 calories per serving! And it’s delicious.

Wednesday: rest day. Did I tell you I entered the Lifeboats Reindeer Run at Glamis Castle November 9th? This was my very first 10km ever (run way back in 2010), and I will be running it for the third time. All finishers get a medal, and cute tshirt, felt reindeer antlers and a plastic red, flashing nose. This will also be race #10 for the year, and my last race of the year.

Thursday: 15-min easy, 5 x 3 mins at 10km pace, with 2-min easy run between each rep, 15-min easy run

This looked like: 15 minute easy running warm-up, then 3 minutes at around 9:10-9:15 pace, followed by 2 minutes easy running; this repeated 5 times. The run ended with a 13 minute easy running cool down, (I miscalculated how much time I still had to go!)

Distance: 5.35 miles in 51:06, run with my running group.

As the days are getting shorter and our runs are now finishing in total darkness, in the town, we opted for what was probably our last run through the woods this year. We all admitted that we got a little spooked at the sounds we heard, and I also screamed at what I thought was an animal, but turned out to be a fern. To add fuel to the darkness fire, the terrain is uneven, which given the reduced visibility, wasn’t a smart move, and I found myself wobbling a few times over the stones. I also rolled my ankle at one point, but it was so mild, I was able to keep running and haven’t had any pain from it. Rolling my ankle over a rock, especially in the dark, is a fear of mine as a runner: this is the third time I’ve done it, and thankfully, it was mild this time. I haven’t been so lucky in the past.

This past week has really hit home that summer is over and winter is just on our door step. Scotland has had an incredible summer, and we’re still getting unusually high temperatures now in October, but these shorter days have been a stern reminder of what’s to come for our dark winter running. I’m not looking forward to a decrease in temperature and a decrease in route options for us at night.
Friday: rest day, last day of school (two weeks off, yessss!), and another low-calorie meal, Chicken with mushrooms (and smoky bacon lardons), only 260 calories per serving. And very tasty.

Photo snapped from the book itself

Saturday: another rest day. We went up to Aberdeen for our favourite thing to do: dinner and a movie. Dinner was at the best Indian restaurant ever: Rishis. The reason it’s the best ever is because the food is authentic Indian cuisine, not the catered-to-the-British-palate Indian food. Pat has backpacked around India twice, and every time we go to Rishis and he peruses the menu, he comments on the dishes saying “I had that in India.”

One of his favourite Indian snacks was a Mysore Masala Dosa, a very thin, non-egg crepe-like pancake, with masala potato inside. When Pat was in India, he said he would order Dosa after Dosa after Dosa…. they were so good.

One of the street snacks he loved was Chana Bhatura, now my favourite. I actually crave it.

Pat likes to take photos at an angle….

It’s basically a deep-fried pillow of delicious dough made with maida flour, that you then break apart and sop up a mild chickpea curry. Indian comfort food at it’s best.

We also went to see Rush, with the incredibly gorgeous Chris Hemsworth. His looks aside, I do recommend the film, considering it’s all about Formula 1 racing.


Sunday: 60 minutes easy run

This looked like: 6 miles of running at easy, conversation pace.

Distance: 6.01 miles in 1:03:17 with my friend Amy

Last ‘long’ run of the training programme! A very easy and enjoyable 6 miles around my house. Can’t get any better than that.

Areas of Strength

– Improved fitness, again: Until recently during threshold runs, towards the end of the run, every easy run recovery interval was run incredibly slow or was done in a combination of walking about 10 seconds then jogging in order to recover. Now, however, my easy run recovery intervals are all run at a faster easy pace, all due to another gain in fitness. My body has changed so much these last eleven weeks, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did.

– Support, again: I’ve been thinking about fuelling during the race, basically to fuel or not during the race, so I put the message out there to Running the World, a runners support group on Facebook, which I recommend you join. I know gels are a necessity to marathon running, but wasn’t sure if they were required for a half. It seems, everyone approaches fuelling and distances differently.

I also put the word out on Twitter, and Erin and Amy both tweeted some excellent advice on gels to try and when to try them, and Erin (a recent Iron[wo]man), went so far as to email me with more nutrition support and advice. How about that? I’ve got some really awesome blends, that’s for sure! (blog + friend = blend).

I’ve come to the conclusion that while it’s too late to experiment with gels, (thanks Erin and Amy), it isn’t too late to think about how I’m going to carry a few handfuls of Jellybabies on my person while I’m making my way around the 13.1 course this weekend (thanks Running the World peeps!). I’m very experienced with eating Jellybabies before and sometimes during a run, and my belly has no issue whatsoever with them.

– No fear, only excitement: I. Am. So. Excited. For. This. Race! I was told a few times that I would love my first half, but never took that on board. Now that I’m T-minus six days away from race day, I now understand what people were speaking about. I’ve learned to really love running and training during these last 11 weeks, more than I have these last three years, and attribute those positive thoughts to going injury- and pain-free these last few months. Any niggles of pain that was connected to the major pains I was experiencing a year ago at this time, have all disappeared. Who knew half marathon training would do that?!
Areas of growth:
Just keep thinking about Sunday: running my paces, my race plan (first 8 miles at easy pace, miles 9/10/11 at steady pace, miles 12/13 at threshold – hopefully – pace), running up the last small hill onto the main road in Aviemore, seeing spectators, taking the bus to the start, the delicious post-race meals at the Mountain Cafe and Old Bridge Inn. I’m just thinking about everything, and will keep doing this until Sunday.
At this point in my training, I think it’s pointless to try to grow in any other areas with less than a week to go. I’ve done so much growing over these last 11 weeks, and even though I haven’t done abs religiously, I’ve still become stronger. I’ve still learned so much about myself, about the act of running, and what my body is capable of. So much so, that I’ve gone and entered the Templeton 10 mile Road Race in Dundee, November 3rd, a week before the Reindeer Run! Can you tell I’m loving running lately?!?!
I’ll leave you with the only downside to running longer distances: the black toenails….
And some really random stats from my blog this past week. Hello Ukraine!

Hope it’s for a good reason and not something inappropriate
Are you running a half marathon soon?

What’s your fuelling like for your longer distance runs?
Will you ever try a half marathon in the near future????? 
(especially my running club ladies!) 

What’s your favourite Indian dish?

Have you seen Rush?


11 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 11!!!!

  1. I am sure you will smash it on Sunday and I'm looking forward to the race report. The musings have become a regular Monday fixture and I hope you find another half to enter so we can have some more of them 🙂 I would recommend 2 x isotonic gels (SIS or High5) for a half, but would try them out in training first.

  2. You sound so ready. And SO excited! I'm actually a little bit jealous that my halfs have been and gone. Can't wait to hear your race write-up! Best of luck : )

    I probably don't utilise nutrition as well as I should to be honest and tend to go in under my own steam (rightly or wrongly). During last year's Great South Run I took a jelly baby from one of the lovely volunteers on the final couple of miles and found I literally could not work my jaw, ha ha!

    My other half very cheekily calls me Curry Monster. I love Indian food!

  3. You are no doubt more than ready for this race! Just make sure you trust in your training, because you've trained so hard!

    Now that the marathon is over, I think I'll be focusing on halfs 🙂

  4. Thank you for your wonderful comments Mike! I often wonder 'Who reads these?!?!?' and it's very nice and reassuring to hear that you do among others.

    There aren't any more halfs on the agenda yet, but I'm sure I'll find one or two for next year, aside from other races. And I will muse about the training here, naturally!

    Thanks for the gel recommendations, I will try them out once the race is over 🙂

  5. Thank you Nikki!!!!! You'll just have to enter more!

    I used to think I wouldn't need anything for a half, but the more I read, it doesn't seem to hurt. Hopefully, the jellybabies will help me finish strong (rather than be desperate to finish), and I'll be able to chew them!

    My other half is the curry monster, I'm more the beef monster!

  6. I am so very happy that you committed to this race and had such a good training cycle! I knew despite all of your adamant refusals for anything longer than a 10-k, that I'd eventually be reading about your pre-half excitement!

    Enjoy the next few days of anticipation, because race day will be here before you know it!

  7. Thank you Amy!!! I've totally embraced half marathon training, and I'm so excited for Sunday. I guess once I began longer runs with that Bum Belly Blast programme, and seeing the benefits longer runs had on my body, it was a natural step to leave my 10km comfort zone. I definitely will NOT run a marathon though!

  8. You are more than ready for your 13.1 this weekend, girl! Best of luck! Remember to smile, stick to your plan and have FUN! And, good call sticking with what you know works (jellybabies). You can experiment with new nutrition while training for your next race 🙂 Always happy to help!

  9. Thank you Erin! I've found an ingenious way to keep the jellybabies on my body without the need of pockets or packs (and it's not in my sports bra!). I definitely will explore the world of gels once this race is over, and I will reply to email very soon, I promise!

  10. Pingback: 2013: The Year that Was | I Eat Therefore I Run

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