Big new start

June 30, 2018

I’d intended to write an update on my last post long before now but in the end nothing much changed, and in fact workload got worse this term as it always does for HT’s in term 4! So although I started some 5:2 dieting which did work while I did it and entered the women’s 10km I didn’t do anything with consistency and ran the 10km in the sameish time I did at 4 months post c-section. However I also just accepted all of this and decided not to worry about it until the end of the school session as it just wasn’t worth it. And I had a reason to accept it would just be for one more term.

A couple of weeks after my last blog post I was successful in being appointed as the permanent Head Teacher of Mount Florida Primary School, beside Hampden, which will begin at the start of the new school session in August. This meant that I knew there would be an end point to all of the travelling at the end of June and then I could get back on track.

The school is 2.5 miles from the house so I am hoping to do run commuting on days I don’t need the car, and even doing that I should still be back home earlier than I have been this year and will be able to have more time at work too! And it will mean I have got a decent amount of running done without going back out at night. I’m also hoping to get back to the club on a Thursday night.

So it has been the first couple of days of the holidays and I started it with a slow jog down to Rouken Glen yesterday to meet the boys there. Not far and not fast but I got out and ran which is how I intend to carry on from now. Then did Victoria parkrun today. I’m going to try to be more consistent with my strength training too as this has always been beneficial in the past. And I have been good with my food intake which I also intend to keep up now so I’m back on My Fitness Pal too.

Thank you again for people’s support, it was much appreciated and I now intend to take on the advice more!


Full time working mum

April 6, 2018

Even though I loved it I’m not sure I fully appreciated just how good I had it during maternity leave and I certainly had no inkling of what real life was going to be like when I went back to work!

To think that in May last year I was back to 24.58 for parkrun which was within a minute of my parkrun pb, trained for and ran a marathon (although it was disastrous on the day) as well as other races and was within 7 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight and now, at just turned 40, I am by a long way the heaviest (excluding pregnancy) and unfittest I have ever been in my life and it just keeps getting worse! I am still coming to terms with turning 40 and the state that I have let myself get into is not helping!

Of course I have my boy, a good job and a great house but my physical and mental health have been suffering with the effects of little exercise, work stress, commuting and too much comfort food.

I went back to school in August as Deputy Head, 4 days a week just for this school session and was travelling about 1.5hrs daily in the car which I hated but at least it was only four days a week. I still put on a lot of weight and exercised little during this time though. I found it hard to resist food at work, comfort ate on the way home and Neal was often buying treats for at night too.

Then on 20th Feb I began a temporary contract as Acting Head Teacher at a school in Dumbarton 5 days a week, adding more time onto my day with my travelling time now being on average 2 hours a day. And what a waste of time it is as I am neither getting work done nor being at home with Harrison. And I definitely don’t count it as ‘me’ time either as driving through rush hour traffic in Glasgow just sucks!

I now weigh 24 pounds more than I did in August and can’t run parkrun in under 30 mins! I fit next to no clothes and wear the same couple of things all the time.

I struggle to make time to run during the week as I am up really early anyway to minimise travelling time in the morning and get more time at work (plus Harrison would wake up too), I can’t run at lunchtime and I wouldn’t then run on my way home/when I get home as that is not fair on Harrison as I spend little enough time with him during the week as it is. Obviously I should go out after he is asleep and I will be trying to do that more now the clocks have gone forward and it feels a bit easier but once I’ve lain down with him to get him to sleep for an absolute minimum of 30-40mins and there is still tidying or school work to do or prep for getting ready for the next day I have had zero motivation for that. Plus I really can’t stay up late so have little evening as it is.

At weekends I feel too guilty to leave him other than parkrun when he is with us at the park anyway so end up doing nothing then either. Ironically the snow days saw my most running in ages as I was at home!

I gave up my gym membership in February as I wasn’t using it enough but I have weights in the house, I just never seem to get round to using them!

Working mum guilt, and more so the guilt if I do anything other than work, is a huge thing for me and it is eats away at me all the time.

I had planned to kick start things during this holiday but motivation has not been high with the weather and tiredness and now Harrison has caught chicken pox and although it’s not a really bad case so far he is clingy enough that I don’t want to leave him and I’ve already had some time at work away from him.

This sounds like a moany, sorry for myself blog but I would value any words of wisdom/inspiration/motivation (a kick up the a**!)/advice as I just feel really stuck in a bad cycle that I can’t get out of. I know as Harrison gets older it will get easier to fit things in, but I really want to be back to being healthier and fitter now!


Stirling marathon report

July 9, 2017

I’ve bored myself writing this race report but finally finished it:
Monday 1st May I did my last long run before the marathon, 20 miles. It was horrific and I walked so much of it. Legs were just still too tired from the fling relay I think. I was glad to get to my goal of 100 miles for my 5 longest training runs but that was about all I could take from it! The taper then didn’t go well either as I caught a cold just after that run and didn’t run more than 5 miles at a time before the marathon. 
I did however then manage another parkrun post baby pb at Victoria parkrun the week before the marathon and that gave me a bit more confidence. I ran 24.58 with splits of 7.56, 8.06 and 8.13, average pace 8.04m/m. I’ll certainly be looking to average under 8.00m/m after we come back from holiday. It helped having the in-laws there and wanting to run well in front of them for the first time in a long time! 
I had wavered about entering Stirling marathon as it was Harrison’s first birthday the day before and I knew that would be busy. Preparing for and having 40 odd adults and children in the house on Saturday afternoon was not the best prep for a marathon. Neither was being woken by Harrison at 4.30am on Sunday morning. 5.30am is pretty normal but that was a new low! I know lots of people who have run further and faster a lot sooner after having their babies but I was pleased to be able to say I was running a marathon the day after Harrison turned one. Judging by the proud comments from non-running other new mum friends it was quite impressive to them! 
Yvonne had kindly organised a mini bus to take many of the large GN contingent to the park and ride buses and we met at 6.30am. For a local marathon this seemed an early start! I had trained on porridge for breakfast and running fairly soon afterwards but this then didn’t work for the marathon as there was hours before starting. I had porridge and took a couple of jam sandwiches with me. Neal and Harrison dropped me at the bus and I felt a bit emotional – I’m such a softie! It was good fun being on the bus and I enjoyed chatting to Craig, who was very nervous about doing his first marathon. Due to a mistake by our bus driver on how to get to Stirling we didn’t have much time and we all ended up getting a bit nervous! The queues off the motorway to the park and ride were enormous and a lot of people must have been late. Once we got to Blair Drummond there was quite a walk to the start area and we got there about 8.40 for a 9.00am start. Although I was supposed to be in the first wave I ended up in the last one due to queuing for the toilets. 


Unfortunately I had my throat problem right from the start as a result of eating a sandwich about an hour before the start. I just felt it had stuck in my throat. I need to rethink breakfast while training so that it is similar to what the race situation will be like. 
Mentally right from the start I found the race difficult too. I kept thinking I couldn’t do it, even though I’d gone up to 22 miles in training and done 3 20 milers. I can’t pinpoint why this was, maybe a combination of factors. One was definitely worrying about my throat problem, which was there but not bad to begin with. 

Seeing the course profile afterwards I would never have said it was as uphill as that to begin with and maybe that took more out of me than I realised. I did enjoy the downhills though! 
The support in Doune, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan was incredible, I loved it. The local people got behind this race so much and it felt really special. My aunt and cousin were at the start of Dunblane and my mum and dad were at the end so it was good to see people I knew there. I had also seen John near the start.


Some people have said they found the first half boring but I thought it was lovely…until you got to Stirling Uni. I hadn’t been looking forward to this part as I knew it what it would be like and after struggling already mentally to here I just fell apart. Also my legs just went completely and I’m not sure why so soon in the race. *edit – I got my period back ten days after the race after almost 2 years without it and I wonder if that was working on me as it would explain the heavy legness so shortly into the race. 
I couldn’t wait to get into Stirling after that loop and was adamant to myself I was pulling out when I got to Neal but it was actually still a long drag to there, a lot of which was on lonely dual carriageway. A lot of people complained about the loops but on reflection I think I would rather have the loops than more of that long, boring road. I jog/walked the whole way into Stirling feeling worse and worse and not able to swallow gels or hardly any water. I did the whole race on one and a bit gels. 
As you came into the busy bit in Stirling centre there was lots of support from people I knew and Gavin suffered the full force of my misery when I went past him, Kirsty and Jess! 
I was then worse when I got to Neal, and Harrison, my mum and dad and what felt like half the club! I was absolutely sobbing and couldn’t face carrying on (although crucially didn’t stop my Garmin) and everyone except Angela was telling me just to stop if I wanted. There was obviously a bit of fight (stubbornness) left in me by not turning my Garmin off but one of the reasons I was not sure about carrying on was that I was going to be so long and everyone, especially Harrison, would be waiting so long. Well, what actually happened that made me feel better about this was that Harrison got really upset because I was really upset and was throwing himself at me for a feed. I sat down for maybe 10 mins to feed him and ate a lot of orange segments that I’d prepped. It made feel much better knowing Harrison had had a feed and so I decided to carry on. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only person who breastfed during the race, although I certainly hadn’t been planning on it. 

Deciding to carry on!

I actually did okay on the first lap from there (Neal etc weren’t too far from the finish) as I was reassured H was fine and the orange probably gave me a bit of energy, although my throat was really painful and my legs had nothing.

 The last lap was torture though. I must have walked most of it and it wasn’t a pleasant experience or one that I want to repeat! I was not a fan of the little tunnels and the long drag back up towards the centre. George, Karen and Sandra provided shoulders to cry on during the last lap! Of course I sobbed again at the finish, both in relief and in disappointment! I must have lost about 15 mins to crying on people and feeding Harrison but I just didn’t care at that point! 

 I wasn’t really a fan of the organisation at the end – no meet and greet, bad surface for the Pram and ages in the opposite way to where we needed to go to the baggage trucks. Overall though for a first time I think the organisers did well but with some things to work on for next year. There were real highlights for me and the way the locals in the villages and in Stirling got behind the race was amazing! The start in Blair Drummond was pretty cool too, although there are definite things to sort about the start too. 
With the Devils at the beginning of August, (although during the race I was adamant to myself I was pulling out as I just didn’t think I would be able to do it), and going back to work just after that I was certain I wasn’t doing another marathon this year but after that race I’m not sure I can leave it there! So disappointed that that was my return marathon race, never did I think I would do worse than Loch Ness while pregnant! 
Thank you so much to Neal, my mum and dad and all at Giffnock North who came along to lend support! Also Gavin, Kirsty, Terry and Arthur, John, George, Karen, Sandra, Keith and anyone else cheering us on. It was much appreciated even if it didn’t look like it! 


Being sucked dry! 

May 12, 2017

I set some goals for April and the results were a bit mixed! Ran 135 miles for the month, which by a whopping 2.5 miles, is the most post Harrison. Not as many as planned but I didn’t miss too much and most of those were missing one medium long run and when Harrison wasn’t feeling well
– Goal: 3 X 20 miles, 1 X 22 miles and one other long run. This turned into 2 x20, an 18 and a 22. Hit my goal of 100 miles for my five longest runs though.

– Goal: Fling relay. Tick! Although more on that later. 

– Goal: More buggy runs under 10.00m/m. This didn’t happen. I have barely ran with the buggy since the first week in April as I got my car fixed and Neal was been off a bit so I’ve been able to do some evening sessions and have also done some solo am runs.

– Goal: 3 X Monday night group sessions. Big fail on this as I’ve ended up doing a lot of my longs run on a Monday or been in work for KIT days and not wanted to go back out and leave Harrison after I’ve just got in.

– Goal: Post baby parkrun pb. Big tick! I ran 25.11 at Linwood in April and feel I could have gone faster again if I had had a warm up.

– Goal: Lose more weight – didn’t happen but have maintained what I’ve lost and am at my lowest post Harrison.
18.1 miles and 5.5 miles the first weekend of the month.
Week 1 – 22.3 miles

Some buggy running and a fab hilly run at the front of Sheila’s group on the Wednesday night. This was also the week I ran 25.10 at parkrun (previous post baby best was 26.40 in January at Victoria parkrun. 
Week 2 – 32.1 miles 

Started with 20 miles at 9.56m/m pace. Also managed a track session, inaugural Ruchill parkrun (it’s a toughie!) and a failed attempt at a 22 miler.
Week 3 – 35 miles

Couple of good 5 milers in the mornings and then a successful 22 miler, although a bit slower than the last 20 miler. Also got to do Southwark parkrun in London while there for the marathon.

I had planned to run more in London but Harrison was unwell and time just went by so fast…and with him being unwell I was soooo sleep deprived and couldn’t contemplate running! I’ll never travel without calpol again, even if it is a nightmare trying to get him to take it.
Week 4 – 22 miles

Tapered a bit this week for the fling but got to do track and Sheila’s group in the evenings.
Beinglas to Tyndrum Highland Fling relay.

I find it hard getting my fluid and fuel intake right for running later in the day and it went quite wrong for me in this race.

I had a coffee in the early afternoon to try and get some caffeine (rarely have any just now with breastfeeding) and a roll fairly soon before I started running as I didn’t think I would be running as soon as I was. These things brought on my throat problem right from the start which made the run hard enough but I also just felt more and more drained and lacking in energy from about 3 miles in, which got worse after the first A82 crossing and a lot worse once in the forest. I felt as if I had started in Milngavie not just Beinglas. 
It took me a few miles to realise but I’m pretty sure the reason is that Harrison had been feeding like a newborn the few days before and the day of the race and I think he had just sucked me dry! He’s walking already, and I think the extra effort has made him extra hungry and he much prefers milk to food! 
I’m not sure there is a short term solution to this, (there will be no cold turkey stopping!) just as well I do most of my races first thing in the morning! 


More miles in March 

April 1, 2017

March has been a lot better and I have run a total of 132.6 miles, which is the most post Harrison yet. 
95% of my runs during the week are with the buggy and I’ve been pleased with how my pace is getting better for these. That’s been an improvement just towards the end of the month after being a bit cautious, then lazy, on the hills after my injury. I am not getting the opportunity to do any speed work so I need to keep pushing the pace with the buggy. 
Week 1 

30 miles from the 1st, including a long run of 17 miles at 10.27m/m pace including doing Victoria parkrun. I was really pleased to get this long run done. It was buggy miles the rest of the week! 
Week 2

23.7 miles. I did no long run this weekend as I did the Jack Crawford 10km on the Saturday and then a tempo run on the Sunday. I ran 8.37m/m pace for the Jack Crawford which was faster than my last 10km so I was pretty pleased, although I had hoped for a bit faster. I managed to pip Anne to the post (sorry again Anne) and ended up in the team prize for the senior women’s prize. That isn’t going to happen to me very often! I had to work hard for that pace and dig in but I felt I got stronger as the race went on. 

I then ran 9.04m/m for a 5.3m run the next day which again I was pretty pleased about. I had managed a solo interval session on the Monday too so quite a bit of faster stuff that week.
Week 3

23.8 miles. Low again as I did the Alloa 1/2 marathon and tapered a little for it. All buggy running miles the rest of the week.

I was hoping for under 2 hours but I didn’t quite make it, running 2.02.07 in 9.16m/m pace. I was on pace until over halfway but the wind on the long straight was relentless and I just couldn’t keep it up. I was pleased I kept digging in, didn’t find the hill as bad as I expected and got back on pace for the last mile but still quite disappointed not to make it under the 2 hours. 
I felt a bit emotional before the start (not too much though as it was a bit frantic), I think just because it was my first longer race post Harrison and I was a bit worried about it, but also pleased I was able to do it. I was also emotional/fraught at the end as Neal and I had both missed each other as I finished and again it was a bit frantic so I was worried how long it was going to take me to find them …and I had really wanted a smile from my boy near the finish! 

Assuming the position to feed directly after a race again! 

Week 4

36.7 miles, including a long run of 20 miles at 10.22 pace. All of the rest of my miles were buggy miles! 

I started to push the pace on the buggy runs this week, and although it felt hard not walking the uphills it’s been worth it to see the improvement. 

I was really pleased to get 20 miles under my belt. It was a gorgeous morning (started at 6.20am) and I was loving it for the first 12 miles but then really suddenly started to feel really sick and dizzy and that continued until I got to Victoria Park. I think it was sleep deprivation as Harrison can still be quite restless and is up very, very early. I had to have a bit of a break at Victoria park as Harrison needed a feed which is unfortunate but can’t be helped just now. He is a milk monster and food just doesn’t cut it if he can see me and decides he wants milk, or if he just wants it for comfort, which is a lot of the time too! I’m going with it though as feeding from me will come in very useful on flights to and from Japan in 7 weeks time! 

The two miles I had to do around the park afterwards to get my 20 done were hard going but hopefully the last couple won’t be as hard next time! Once I had a shower I didn’t feel as wrecked as I used to after long runs, either that or I just don’t get a chance to think about it now! 
Week 5

15.5 miles. All buggy running until the end of the month. I had my longest buggy running day on Tuesday of 7.5 miles, 4 on Thursday and 4 on Friday. I tried to keep it a bit easier at the end of the week before doing 20 on Saturday as my legs were definitely tired last week. I call it a buggy running day as most of these runs are broken up by baby activities like swimming, bookbugs, soft play, rhythm time. It’s not ideal but I’m still getting the miles in and it makes me feel less guilty about having Harrison in the running buggy so often! 
Plans for April:

– 3 x 20 milers, 1 x 22 miler and another long run, not sure of distance yet.

– Last leg of the Highland Fling relay

– More buggy runs under 10m/m

– 3 x Monday night runs with the runbetweners or Turban group. (Missing the Tues and Thurs club sessions so much!) 

– Get another parkrun post baby pb, I have sacrificed faster parkruns all month for races or incorporating them into long runs. 

– Keep losing weight, I’m back down to the lowest I had managed to get to post Harrison at the end of January so am motivated to keep going. 

– London! So excited to be going down, although I know I’ll be green with envy that I’m not running it! Think I will have a pretty tiring day with Harrison and trying to support. I haven’t quite figured that all out yet! 
I’m looking forward to continuing the training in April. Now that I’m in the groove with long runs this may be the training block for a marathon that I’ve enjoyed the most. Probably something to do with doing almost all my runs in daylight and not being at work. (But the sleep deprivation has been terrible!) It also helps that I can’t faff about with getting out for the long runs, I have to just get on with it and I have no time to think about it. It has also really helped me doing them with parkrun as it keeps me going, although I really need to make sure the rest of them are continuous and I’m not stopping. The breast pump will be in action on the next few weekends, Harrison is not great about taking a bottle but it makes me feel better leaving Neal something! 

18.1 miles done on Saturday 1st April. Bit shorter than planned but 9.58m/m average so happy with that as it’s quite an improvement. 


February 2017

March 3, 2017

February was not very successful after high hopes! For some reason that long run at the end of January left me with an injured calf that really hampered my training in the first 3 weeks of February.
I only ran 6 times in those 3 weeks, totalling 23 miles and really feel I lost a lot of fitness in those 3 weeks.
I think there were a couple of reasons for this happening:
– Still carrying baby weight that I think has made me a bit heavy for the less supportive Sketchers I wear

– Running with the running buggy has probably changed my running style a bit and the uphills put more pressure on my calves

– No time to stretch or foam roller when I get in from running, 9 times out of 10 I’m sitting down to feed Harrison as soon as I get in from a run

– I was used to regular sports massages before and up to about week 20 of my pregnancy and they really helped keep niggles at bay.

It seemed to recover in time for week 4 of the month and I did 11.5m on the Monday, 4m at track on the Tuesday, 6.7 with the buggy on Friday, parkrun Saturday and 15 miles in horrific weather and hills on Sunday where I lost the will to live. Should have been longer and faster but I just didn’t care! Total 40.2 miles.
February total: 68 miles
Hopefully March will be better! 
I’ve started doing all my runs back in my mizuno wave riders and although a bit heavy feeling they are definitely giving me more support. I might start transitioning back to sketchers for solo runs and keeping the mizuno for buggy runs.
March started with a much better buggy run yesterday and another one planned for today. As Harrison hates the car, and the fact my car battery has died, I’m basically just buggy run commuting everywhere during the week with him and loving it! 
I’ve also joined Anytime Fitness which has opened up less than a mile from our house so hoping to be able to fit in some cross training and weight training. They have the step machine that I love and hoping to use this to build up leg strength for the Devils. Not that I’ve been yet apart from to get a weight training plan!  


January 2017 

February 1, 2017

The beginning of 2017 gave me 20 weeks until the Stirling marathon, my A race for the first half of 2017. I had great hopes of a really solid month of training to start me off on my plan. Neal and I had worked out how we were each going to get our runs in and I was going to be using the running buggy much more and building that up. I was also very hopeful of losing most of the last of my pregnancy weight. 

Due to Neal’s shifts I am no longer making our Giffnock North club nights or Sheila’s training group which I am really disappointed about but it can’t be helped. The plan is roughly that I will do:
Monday – group session with the runbetweners from Run4it or Turban group

Tuesday – buggy run or rest

Wednesday – buggy run

Thursday – medium long run before Neal goes to work

Friday – rest or buggy run

Saturday – parkrun as a tempo run

Sunday – long run 
It does not leave me much scope for ‘sessions’ but you can’t run from where we are without hills and with the buggy that is definitely making me stronger! 

This has all not exactly gone to plan, but nor has it been a dead loss of a month! 


– Double parkrun on New Years Day of Pollok and Tollcross

– Getting a few sessions in in the first week in January, including completing the club Merries session

– Post baby PB at Victoria parkrun of 26.41, 8.37m/m

– Getting faster with the running buggy, fastest pace so far, 10.24m/m for 5 miles for the tolls route

– Going longer with the buggy, 6.2 miles so far

– Post baby 10km PB at the Nigel Barge 10km of 54.14, 8.50m/m on a very tough course. 

Waving to my boy at the Nigel Barge 10km, who was giving me a big smile!

And sitting on the pavement at the finish feeding him as he decided he was desperate!

– One visit to Sheila’s group when Neal took a couple of days off and I got it done as part of a medium long run. 

– Getting a long run of 15 miles done, starting at 7.15am and finishing with Pollok parkrun and my strongest few miles. 

– Finished the month with my highest weekly mileage for a long, long time of 36.10 miles.

Difficulties/things to work on:

– Harrison was pretty ill the second week in January and I barely trained that week as he was stuck to me like glue, or more specifically my chest! I was totally drained so even when I did get out I was too exhausted to do much. That is going to happen though and I accept that.

– On a similar thread Harrison is not a great sleeper, and in particular is up very early. (Before 5am this morning for example, although that is a little extreme!) For this reason I have really struggled with the long runs. It’s a constant mental battle between going out right away exhausted or waiting till he naps, trying to get a bit more sleep myself and then going out. And most of the month I failed to do either option! After doing two 13 milers around Xmas it took me to the end of the month to get up to 15miles. Must do better with this!

– Mileage for the month was 95.6. Less than planned but this was mainly due to missing long runs. 

– Had a meltdown the one time I managed to go to track as I felt so slow and that it was all hopeless. Thanks to lovely clubmates for picking me up and forcing me on!
I’m pleased to see the highlights vastly outweigh the negatives and it’s mainly just the long runs I need to work on. I will definitely do others incorporating parkrun as it forces me out early and means I get company for the last hard miles. I like to run hard too though sometimes!
In February I want to work on:

– Long runs

– Pace and distance of buggy runs

– Weight loss, as that ended badly after a good start in January! 
I found out yesterday that I have a place in the Devil of the Highlands 42 mile race on 5th August. This will be my first ultra since the WHW race in 2012 and one that I have been entered into a few times but have never been able to do. I am really looking forward to it, but a bit scared too!