Half Mary Musings | Week 9

I’m currently training for my second half marathon in Edinburgh, May 25th, 2014. Half Mary Musings is my weekly reflection of how training went, what I’m doing well and things I need to improve upon.

I’m finally caught up with my posts! Let’s celebrate with a cheeky pear and cranberry mojito drink! 😉


Keep in mind this information as you read:

easy run: 60% effort; you can run while easily carrying a conversation, and you’re running significantly slower than normal pace.
steady run: 65% to 75% effort; at least 1 min slower than race pace.
threshold run: 80% effort; comfortably hard, also known as tempo. Conversation is simply a breathless ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
intervals: 85% to 95%; close to all out effort, leaves you out of breath, and you can’t speak at all. Only week 10 calls for intervals.

Monday: rest day after a long day at work. For my British readers, our school is being inspected at the end of this month, so we’ve got much preparation to do. For all other readers, British schools are inspected to basically see how good they are and if they meet specific standards in terms of the curriculum, meeting learner’s needs, the life of the school, etc. It gets done about every four years, and you obviously want your school, and the grade / subject you teach, to be in top form because you’re on show. A lot of work for a good outcome, and we can rest easy come May 30.

Tuesday: 10-min easy / 25-min threshold run / 10-min easy pace -> this looked like 10 minutes easy to warm-up, 25 minutes at comfortably hard, then 10 minutes easy to cool down.

My first threshold run since Balmoral and week 8. This run was heading in the right direction: since a sub-par performance at Balmoral, I’ve been eating small portions of sweet potato or butternut squash for dinners and lunches, and this has contributed to the disappearance of heavy legs. I’ve also started taking CoEnzyme Q10, which improves cellular endurance, and I wonder if this has helped as well.

While my pace during this run wasn’t the fastest I’ve ever done, it was getting closer to my faster paces again. This was reassuring. I had also overestimated the timing on the run: I set my Garmin to beep at five-minute intervals, just to show progression and to prevent me from wanting to look at it all the time and make the run feel longer. For some reason, when my watched beeped for 25 minutes, I thought I had another five to go, so I kept going, calculating how much I’d already run in my head. I stopped once I realised the threshold period was up.

I also cut into this lush avocado…


… to make a side for a most delicious (and fattening) Italian Caprese salad.


Wednesday: another long day at work and rest day.

Thursday: 10-min easy run, 2 x 6, 4, 2 mins at half-marathon, 10km, 5km pace, with 2 min easy run between sets, 10-min easy run -> this looked like 10 minutes easy to warm-up, then: six minutes at half marathon pace (9:45/mile-ish), right into four minutes at 10km pace (9:15/mile-ish), then right into two minutes at 5km pace (sub-9:00/mile). Two minutes easy running to recover, then repeat the first set with the same paces. Finish the run with 10-mins easy to cool down.

By far my favourite run of this training cycle!!!!!!! My running friends also loved it. It was a forced progression run, and not only taught us to get progressively faster, but to test out our different paces. I hit all my desired pace times and felt like normal again. My body was responding to the demands I was placing on it, my legs felt good, and I was pushing myself to run faster and work harder. This run restored my confidence again.

I celebrated with another Caprese salad for dinner.


Friday: rest day. 100-110 minutes easy/steady run -> this looked like running at conversation pace for 1:40:00 to 1:50:00.

I had to do my long run on a Friday night, after work because I would be away in Glasgow for a hen do (North American translation: stagette or bachelorette party) this weekend. Luckily, my friend Joanne, also in our running group, joined me. I ate a banana and Cliff Bar before the run, and headed out to Joanne’s. It was a BEAUTIFUL evening for a run! It was dry, it was clear, it was still, and we had stunning scenery. The late sun made the landscape around us that much more breath-taking.


We went for 1:50:00, but secretly, Joanne wanted to hit a new distance PB and run 11 miles. I was ready to stop once we hit 1:50:00 but she insisted, so begrudgingly, at first, I went along with it. And as a result, I also hit a new training PB for 11 miles, (my previous was 1:56:xx from Aviemore training).


Overall and scenery aside, I felt great on this run. It wasn’t difficult and my average pace of 10:19 demonstrates that. My knees did feel a little stiff towards the end, but nothing unbearable. This run again boosts my confidence and is a great reassurance leading up the actual race itself.


Joanne and I, happy after 11 miles on a Friday night

I arrived home to some keto Chicken Parmesan, made by Pat. It was delicious, and the perfect end to a long run, and work week.


Saturday: rest day.

I received my race pack for the half marathon!


And my beautiful friend Colleen’s hen do in Glasgow!


The night started with cocktails and cocktail-making lessons at Hummingbird, a trendy restaurant and bar. Clearly, it was going to be a cheat night if alcohol was involved!

20140503_162927After the lessons, we had dinner, then proceeded to sing our little hearts out to some karaoke, which in case you don’t know, I LOVE!

We then headed to The Corinthian, a very swanky club in Glasgow city centre. Apparently, it was previously a bank.




It had my most favourite cocktail on the menu: a Kir Royale, made with Cassis (black currant liqueur) and champagne, so obviously I had to have one!


By midnight, tiredness and the consumption of four drinks over a seven hour period, lead to me being practically a zombie. The Corinthian did provide for some most interesting people-watching though, while in my zombie state!


Sunday: rest day sans hangover, and returning home. I also bought this ketogenic eater’s dream.


So far, I’ve eaten it with berries and some xylitol, and Pat’s used it for his morning smoothie.

Areas of Strength:

Nutrition: fueling for runs and overall good food choices for the week. Despite adding more carbs back into my diet, I didn’t feel sluggish or peckish. A good sign I think.

– Hitting my paces again! This week totally renewed the confidence I have in my current ability, as well as my ability to push it.

– Priorities: switching my long to Friday night to ensure I didn’t miss it. With this programme being only three days a week, I have the luxury of being able to switch stuff around if need be.

– Running with confidence. Kinda connected to the second point. My Balmoral experience and week 8 really did a number on my running confidence. I’m glad this week went so well. I’m again making more space between I Can and I Can’t.

Areas for Growth:

Nothing. I’m not going to put pressure on myself to do abs and yoga anymore. This training cycle has been an interesting one, with missing a week of running due to illness, to having a hard week due to barely any carbs, an interesting race, and switching long runs. It almost feels like I’m not training for a race, and I have to remind myself that I am running a half marathon in now two weeks time.

One thing I want to do between now and then is find some good pre-race fuel options to eat, that will be more in line with what I eat now, rather than going completely back to high-carb eating. This will be a work in progress.

I vow to have Week 10’s post up tomorrow, on time!

What’s your favourite cocktail?

What’s your favourite Italian food?

Have you hit any PB’s lately?


10 thoughts on “Half Mary Musings | Week 9

  1. I love Italian food and eat loads of pasta, in fact we just celebrated today’s PB with a trip to an Italian restaurant!
    As for cocktails, I’d have to say either a cosmopolitan or a frozen margarita. Yum!

  2. Loved the photos from your hen party! My favourite cocktail is definitely a lava flow (Hawaii drink- pina colada with strawberry puree mixed in…insane calories but SO worth it!).
    Your running week looked awesome. I sure hope it gave you confidence back with three tough runs in there! That progression run did sound like fun- enough change to keep it interesting 🙂

    • That progression run was amazing, you should do it after you do hill repeats 😉

      Thanks for your kind words, it was a peak week and I’m glad I hit a home run with it.

      That cocktail sounds sinful, and sweet!

  3. 1) Favorite cocktail: Vodka tonic 2) Favorite Italian food: veal piccata

    I love those weeks that build confidence in abilities. Glad you are going into this race feeling strong! Also, is packet pick-up not a “thing” in Scotland. Races here almost never mail packets to people.

    • Thank you!

      After reading your comment, I don’t think it’s a thing here. And race expos aren’t a thing here either it seems, which might be a good thing because I would probably spend unnecessary amounts of money there.

  4. Pingback: Half Mary Musings | Week 10 -> Taper! | I Eat Therefore I Run

  5. Pingback: 2014: Average Enroute Wowzers! | Eat Primal, Run Hard

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