Monthly Archives: July 2015

How to Keep Running When You’re All Puffed Out.

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The door closes behind you and off you go on your run. All being well you start out nice and slowly and build momentum… or like most people you go out too quickly and pay for it a few miles down the road. Regardless either if you are doing a training run at home, on the Dreadmill or you are in a race, from time to time we all get a little puffed out. In this blog I’m going to talk about ways in which we can deal with being puffed out and keep running, rather than the dreaded alternative mid training…. walking!

Being puffed out is normal for us runners. Some people get it at mile 1, some at mile 2, some at mile 20 and others beyond 30 miles. Regardless it happens to the best of us. It’s that feeling when your breathing just doesn’t feel right all of a sudden. You may or may not have even been going too fast for this to happen. Sometimes it can not be explained. It’s a complete mystery. All we know is that, unless we are speed training, we would like to get back in that zone!

There are many symptoms of being puffed out on a ran and some may include:

  • heightened heart rate
  • added perceived effort even at your normal pace
  • wide open mouth breathing
  • wide open eyes
  • slouching over
  • tense shoulders
  • complete lack of focus
  • feeling as though you can’t carry on and must walk
  • wishing you had never took up running

There are a few things you can do to help with this situation. You do not need to walk 9/10 times. In fact I would suggest not walking unless absolutely necessary. Reducing to a walk can kick your self esteem and confidence and make you feel as though you are not good enough. This simply is not the case. Next time you are on a run and you are feeling all puffed out, just try and reduce your pace a little. Even if you are going at your normal pace and you are usually fine. I often find that I can be running my normal pace and I get really puffed out. I hardly ever walk. I reduce my pace so it’s very easy to run, my breath re regulates itself and I then find I can push my pace back up to normal without any of the above symptoms any more.

Another method you can use to help when you feel puffed out is to alter your focus onto something more productive. This method I am going to share with you has helped me on many occasions. Including recently on my 4:05:03 marathon. I also used this method when I fast-packed (ran and walked) 90 miles in 50 hours including sleep time. On day two my feet were so sore. I had hardly ran much and at about mile 20 I was forcing myself forward with each step lugging my 10kg bag and sulking. At mile 30 when I wasn’t sure I could go much further I came to a hill from the top. I saw a man running up that hill. He didn’t see me at first and in an instant I swore I wouldn’t allow him to see me in my Vegan Runners Club technical T-shirt walking down a hill he was running up! Regardless of whether he had maybe only done 3 or 4 miles and I’d done 30! I started counting, I used this method I’m going to share with you and it allowed me to run an entire 10 miles more non stop. So in total I covered 40 miles that day. Here is what you need to do.

Every time your right foot hits the ground count 1,2,3,4 right up to 20. Once you hit 20 start right over again. Just keep doing this over and over and over. What you are doing here is changing your focus from how hard you are finding this part of your run onto the counting. When you do this you may find that your form and posture gets better, your breathing regulates itself again, you never needed to stop and you may even be going faster than before.

Now sometimes our focus is so far gone we can’t even work on 1-20…. that’s fine. All you need to do is focus on counting each right step 1,2,3,4 and then again 1,2,3,4 over and over and over. Once your focus strengthens you can extend this to a count of 1,2,3,4 up to 10 and then up to 20.

This can also work when you have given up hope and stopped as well. Now let’s say you are on a long run or in a race. How many of us have just stopped dead in our tracks and felt like they can’t go on any more? Usually when we are miles away from anyway of getting home right? Running right away is not an option as we are struggling to barely even consider walking! But we can maybe walk a few steps can’t we? Use this same practice. Gently walk and count your steps. Because your cadence is much slower in walking you can count on each left and right step. I would recommend starting with a count of 1-10 and if you find that easy after a few times repeating go on up to 1-20. Keep going until you feel comfortable enough to just very slowly start running again. You don’t even need to go your normal pace. Just barely even running. You’ll still make a better time than walking and build endurance. Often is the case shortly after that you’ll speed up again and bag a good few more miles with ease…. how did we do this? A few moments ago we never even thought we would make it home!

It’s just simply refocussing your attention to the steps instead of how tired you are, and it really does work!

Sometimes when you do this your mind will drift off to other things and you may become tired again. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Just simply gently remind yourself to bring your attention back again to the counting. It’s the minds nature to wander off, but in practising this and refocussing you will become better at it.

I hope you get a chance to practice this in your training. I can’t describe how much it has helped me and I really hope it will help you too.

Happy running everyone
Peace and Love
-ScottyRunner


Uncompromised

Well it’s 2 days after my marathon debut. I had a rest day yesterday and just seriously took it easy. Yesterday was one of those days where you mainly watch back to back TV programs. This time it was Pretty Little Liars for me… yes yes I know how gay of me….

My joints were a little stiff when transitioning from sitting to standing etc but I stretched out a few times, and was generally feeling pretty good. No foot pain problems at all, they are my usual complaints over this last 10 months.

So I went out for a little run today. I just went out for an hour to loosen up the muscles, a recovery run. It was really pleasant. Having ran 26.2 miles only 2 days ago it was awesome doing this 6.3 mile slower run. It just felt like a walk to the convenience store. It almost felt as though I’d got back home as soon as I’d left the door.

I was completely just like zoned out while I was running. The ground was mostly dry and the route mostly flat, so I felt I didn’t need to pay much attention. I hardly looked at my watch and just went slowly so I could easily still breath through my nostrils. All I could think about on this run, was that I wanted to be out there again doing another marathon right now. My body called for another long run. I smiled and got shivvers down my spine… I knew that what I was doing was right. It felt good and I knew I’d be doing this for many years to come. This must be a true sign that I haven’t overdone it. It’s a sign that my body is in good form right now.

I’m now seriously looking forward to continuing to build up now with 7 weeks left until the JW Ultra 30 miler. This is on Saturday 12th September 2015. I know that I’m going to be more prepared for that run than any other 30 miler I have done so far to date!

I am….. uncompromised 😀

Love and peace,
-ScottyRunner

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Summer Around the Reservoir Marathon 2015 in Northampton UK

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26th July 2015 was my first marathon event. I have ran this distance more about a dozen times now. I just hadn’t ran in any event beyond half marathon.

The night before the race I ate about 600g of boiled potatoes with a can of baked beans. I also drank about 3 litres of water the day before race day. The night before I also put some overnight oats in the fridge. I had about 150g oats and covered this with soya milk. You then put it in the fridge and it goes soft over night and tasted even yummier than cooked porridge. I only just heard about this method by one of my friends Mélanie.

The things I had prepared to take with me were my Vegan Runners Tshirt, My fluorescent yellow short running shorts (which I found out at the end showed everything once soaked :O ), My Hoka trail sneaks, my toe socks, my Salomon Lab waist belt and collapsible water, my headsweats cap to stop so much rain getting in my face and 240g of dates which were squeezed into little zippie bags. I had 2 bags each hour (60g) which gave me 40g of carbs each hour…. oh and I brought a waterproof seal bag to put my phone in for music. (never took lotion after seeing the weather).

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On the morning I lathered up my feet with petroleum jelly. I use Cotton Tree which can be found in many discount stores and £ shops. This product company has been contacted and is 100% vegan 🙂
I put some on my nipples too. I dunno why as I have never had any nipple problems before but I thought just in case. In my holding bag I brought 4 Lucozade orange sport drinks (2 for me and 2 for Steve if he wanted them), spare socks and hoka conquest sneaks, bio degradable small waste sacks, tracksuit bottoms, underwear and a clean tshirt to put on later.

I woke up at 5:10am, got dressed and had breakfast. Me and Philip were both ready to be collected at 6am by my friend Steve and his partner Rhian. Philip was coming along to show us support as he wasn’t working. It was nice that Rhian was going too so they could keep each other company in between laps. I can’t say how much their support helped. May not have had this luxury in other events.

The registration was from 8am and we wanted to give ourselves a nice 2 hour cover to get there safely on time. We got there at about 7:40am. We noticed registration was already open, as people were already warming up with a light run, wearing bibs as we entered the Holiday Inn car park.

The event is in Northampton and consists of 6 laps around this reservoir. It’s a nice route. I would say about 1/4 to 1/3 of it was man made path and the rest was grass trails.

So at 8:50 we were all called to the start line for the 9am start. We took a few minutes walk to reach it. They announced some people who had done this same run yesterday and was doing it again today. They also announced someone who done this run yesterday and the day before. I quickly checked my sneakers were tight enough, but not too tight. Me and Steve wished each other luck and then we set off. I started with a few seconds of walking really and then really slowly picked it up.

I find it hard pacing my first few miles. If it’s a busy race it’s hard to make a good first mile, if it’s a quiet race I find it hard to go slowly. I had planned to bring in an average 10 minute mile on my first mile but I got a 9:40. I could see Steve ahead of me after about 1/3 a mile coming onto the reservoir trail. I could just about see him by the green middle strip around the Vegan Runners Tshirt. It was dry until about half an hour into the race. Then it started spitting. Each lap was about 4.36 miles. I managed to slow down a bit for the rest of the lap making my rough average of about 10 minute miles. When making the first lap I wondered where Philip and Rhian were. I checked my time and said each lap would be about 45 minutes… couldn’t see them anywhere. Not to worry because I still had date packets and I can get water at the drinks station, I don’t need energy drink right now. I grabbed a cup of water, threw it down my gullet and chucked the plastic cup into the garbage bag and off I went again.

I realised as I got into lap 2 that I was feeling a bit stronger than I thought. I then decided to pick up the pace a little and see what happens. Again about 1/3 into the route I could once again see Steve going around the reservoir. He looked like he was keeping up a good pace and sticking with it. I decided I would try and do a few miles in within the 9 minute range average and see how I got on. I was toying with the idea that if I felt comfortable doing this, I may make it to 8:45-8:55 minute miles later on and bag myself a sub 4 hour race. That would be awesome.

After I got around to half way through this second lap I was really needing to pee. I’m not sure how because I had been sat on the loo for 15 minutes while waiting for the race to begin back at Holiday Inn. I started to think if I had been acquainted with a portaloo since arriving, and I didn’t think I had so knew it would be a Holiday Inn toilet job. As I got closer to the end of lap 2 I was wondering if Philip and Rhian would be here this time. They were which was good so I grabbed a Lucazade orange off them and some more packs of dates for my waist pack. I then ran to the bathrooms quickly, thanked reception and off I went again into my third lap.

I was listening to some mixes off YouTube while running. By now the rain got a bit heavier. The tracks I listened to were progressive house tracks and they just kinda had a flow to them that really helped with my running. It was a quiet event with only 54 runners on the results for this day. So over the distance you were pretty spread out throughout the course. At some points I couldn’t see anyone in front of me or behind me. The music helped me keep pushing on. I also had a Rockstep track which is a mix of dubstep and rock/metal music. This was for my angry moments. I never got any angry moments though. I did get some tough parts, but I’ll talk about them as I get to them in the race.

I remember coming up to the half way mark… I’d ran 13.1 miles nearly and I felt great… could I do that again? Oh fuck yes! “wait hang on why so sure of yourself?.. erm cus that was easy. OK then you need to pick it up a bit… this is a marathon and it’s not supposed to be EASY”. A bit arrogant? Maybe, but it was true to how I felt and helped keep pushing me on. I remember switching everything off around me and just going. As I came to the end of this lap I noticed Steve talking to Philip and Rhian. I’d expected him to start running with me as I passed. Only later when watching a video Philip was recording at the time, did I even realise Philip was calling to me. He was asking if I wanted anything and I just ran right past lol. Poor Philip sorrrrry 😀 I had 2 cups of water at the drinks station this time and on I went.Towards the end of lap 3 I was on a mission to get under 4 hours at the end of the race.

Now I’m into lap 4, and I knew that I could start focussing on staying just below 9 minute miles now and try and get my average for the whole race down as close to 9 minute miles as possible. This would put me just under 4 hours at the finish line. The rain was really coming down now. It was belting down on the first road section of the course. Bouncing off the ground and making puddles very quickly. Also the temperature dropped quiet a bit. My feet were now soaked. The Hoka trails waterproof covering had served me well though to this point. Oh lets not forget the wind which was inevitable with the cold air, rain and open reservoir grounds. I was running enough though to not notice this and kept soldiering on. I noticed that when I turned by the other end of the reservoir I couldn’t see Steve behind me. I’d passed him earlier on the road section as there’s a bit of an out and back section. We high-five each other and he shouted “go on Scotty!”.

I started to notice that I didn’t have enough bags of dates to complete comfortably. I’d maintained 2 bags every hour but started to wonder why I seemed to be 2 bags short, as I thought Philip had passed all my bags by now. As I approached the end of this lap they were not there. I fancied my energy drink then as well. I was a little panicked. This showed on my next lap. I slowed a bit as I worried I was out of fuel. I think because I had started to ration I was losing momentum. Also my feet felt really heavy due to all the rain absorbed into my sneaks, and the course was getting pretty muddy. I switched my music down as it was becoming a distraction. Every time my right foot hit the ground I counted 1 step. I kept doing this from a count of 1 just up to 4. I repeated this over and over a few dozen times and when my focus strengthened again, I upped this to a count of 1 up to 10 then 1 up to 20. I knew I was slowing down as my average pace over the distance so far, had slowed down from about 9:14 to 9:22 minute miles. Still I passed Steve again at the bisection. I don’t know whether he noticed my counting over and over lol. We high-fived again (I think, I can’t really remember now :O I then grabbed my phone out of my waist pack and dialled through to Philip. “Please can you be there at the end of this next lap? I don’t know how long I will be maybe 20 mins but I need fuel!” He said he was on his way there now and I thanked him and and kept on going.

As I started to approach the end of lap 5 I could see Philip and Rhian in the distance. For the last 10 minutes all I’d been able to think about was clean sneakers and socks. I was debating the idea though as I knew they were tarmac Hoka Conquest sneakers and the trail had got seriously muddy now. I decided it was worth the risk. I called over while approaching. “New sneakers and socks please quickly”. Philip started to get them out for me as I ripped off my sneaks and socks. Sneakers were hard to remove due to a bit of swelling I think lol. New socks and shoes and off I was… I grabbed my last energy drink and 2 packs of dates!!!!…. and 2 waters at the drink station. I knew I’d only need half the energy drink and didn’t’ want to carry the weight. So I squeezed half out on as I ran and drank the rest, then put the empty bottle in one of my back pockets on my waist belt.

My feet felt fresh again and the rain had stopped… “thanks for being a king and generous mother”… I called to Earth. I felt A OK again. I still kept it a bit slower as I wanted to make sure everything was good and that I could finish strong. Also I was right about the slipperiness of the ground. I managed by staying n the grass and not the mud trail that ran through the grass. The energy started to kick in pretty quickly from my drink and I started to speed up for the last few miles. I knew I was going to miss the sub 4 hour mark at this point. I still picked it up as I thought I’d like to be sub 4:05:00. As I kicked my pace up on the final stretch at 8:35 minute miles I kept looking at my watch and it was showing 04:04 but not the seconds. I was striving to get through before it hit 5 minutes. As I passed the mark though they called my time as 4:05:03 and I was 19th out of 54 . This gives me an average pace of 9:21 minutes per mile. Still I wanted anything under 5 hours and so I can’t complain about this time at all. Also in the end I never ate those last 2 packs of dates. 😉

Other runners congratulated me and me them. We all shook hands. I grabbed my big chunky medal which I love, and my goody bag. Swapped the cheese and onion crisps for ready salted and donated the other sweets to other runners. I then went up to near the end line where Rhian and Philip were. Philip asked how I was… I swore “effing hell” (only jokingly) and we waited for Steve. Only 5 minutes behind my time Steve came running up. We cheered and shouted him to keep going. He passed us and we walked down to greet with him at the finish.

Both soaked, a little tired and very happy we took a picture together and then got dried off and then all headed back to Birmingham 🙂

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On a plus note we both mentioned we weren’t overly tired. I had a hard few miles of panic but we both could have done better. We were also cautious not to overdo it as we have the JW Ultra 30 mile event coming up mid September.

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Woke up today, legs a bit stiff around the knees but feeling pretty good. I think I’ll do a bit of swimming this next few days and try getting out for a few shortish runs towards the end of the week and resume training for the Ultra 😀

Thanks to the organisers of this event. I really enjoyed it and I’m hoping that next year I may be able to return to do both marathons one a day after the other. If you fancy this run next year then you can check it out at the Madeyarun website. Also thanks to Philip and Rhian for their support. It meant a lot and helped so much especially towards the end when I had fresh sneakers 😉

Thanks for reading. Everyone.
Peace and love
-ScottyRunner

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Upcoming First Marathon

Hey guys,

I know it’s been a while since I blogged. I would say that I have been super busy and so it’s kept me away but to be fair I aint gunna lie, nothing that interesting has happened. Bare with me I know some of these posts may seem a bit boring to some of you but they are more of a record for myself. As always though if they can help anyone then it’s worth making them public.

I have been cautious over the last few weeks as I have a marathon Sunday 26th July 2015. This is my first marathon and its the Summer Around the Reservoir Marathon in Northampton. I am rather nervous about this course as it’s around a reservoir 6 times in circles. I have not really ran around in circles yet. I did at the Blythe Valley 10k in Autumn 2014 but what’s 10k? Plus it was only 4 laps.

Although it’s my first marathon I have actually ran past the 26.2 distance 10 times in the last year. So it will be nice to finally go from being a long distance runner to being a marathon runner… likewise when I do the JW Ultra I can go from being an ultra runner to being an ultra marathoner. Not that labels are that important but they do have a nice ring to them 😉

My taper has been pretty naff to be fair. I think I took the taper too far and rested up too much. On the second week before marathon date, I only ran 4.5 miles lol I don’t think I have ever been that inconsistent. I have done a few more this week (Marathon week). I ran 4 miles on Wednesday and 4.5 miles on Thursday (Today). I plan on running on Saturday for about 2-3 miles at a much slower pace of around 12 minute miles. This is just to loosen up the muscles, and put my mind at rest knowing my body is ready.

My diets been a mess lately. Having said that, I did do the 80:10:10 which was closer to a 90:5:5 in the end all vegan, raw, fruitarian pretty much for a couple of weeks. Even though I’m not doing it now it’s given me many valuable lessons about increasing fruits and veg even on a normal vegan diet…. and what really constitutes a healthy salad etc…. on top of that I have had an excellent detox from that few weeks. I have completely cleaned out my body…. then refilled it with crap :v lol. Maybe one day I will learn the lessons and take action.

So what’s my trick for the marathon then? How am I gunna do this? I was debating a “miles in the bank” approach earlier in the race, but I know from experience that doing that leaves me very tired 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the run… when I did that on other runs that I have done this at distance and beyond, I had to death march in the last few miles. I think it would be best to stay at a decent slower pace throughout, and push it in the last few miles if my feet aren’t packing in and I have the energy.

So then on to energy… I have only ever hit the wall once and it was at mile 18. This was the first time I ran 30 miles in autumn 2014. I just kept running and running and didn’t bother to drink that much water or eat that much. I had one Nakd energy bar at about mile 3 and then left it until I crashed. It was a hot autumn day too. I managed the distance and I got my mojo back and carried on. I made a few calls to my husband crying I couldn’t do it while I was still on running lol. Then just got on with it and told him I needed to go to concentrate.

Since then I haven’t crashed or hit any walls. Well not imaginary walls anyway…. though I did run into a railing blocking a road from the street a few months back. On a normal weather type of day then I will eat and drink something once every hour. Usually 2 mouthfuls of water and 5-6 dates or figs. This has worked for a while now and that’s what I plan to do on race day. If it’s a hot one then I’ll eat and drink about every 35-45 mins, and maybe 3 mouthfuls.

I’m not really going to be racing this event as such. It’s more of a training run for me for the JW Ultra in September. I will be happy with anything under 5 hours. I’ll get some snaps on the day and let you know how it goes.

Thanks for reading.
ScottyRunner

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Vegan Attacked at the Dinner Party.

debutart_jacquie-boyd_15739I was at a meal last night.They were all sat round laughing and smiling and it felt good. I felt at home. I tucked into my vegan meal as Chris shared around carved roasted beef slices. Freshly sliced from the cow. The person sat next to me sniggered as she looked at my meal.
“You should get some of this in ya mate. Eating all that crap you need meat!”
Everybody else began laughing. They started to make comments of their own. Another friend began to bounce the meat around on her plate going
“moooooooooooo mooooooo splat”.
I tightened my fist and slammed it hard on the table, rattling everything sat ontop of it. There was a deep silence and faces of shock looked upon me. I stormed over to Chris in anger. He was still holding the knife. I lifted his hand up and pointed the blade directly at my heart.
“Go on guys do it. Kill me, stick that knife right here RIGHT NOW and cut into my heart so that I die! Then you can eat me! I am meat just the same as that cow you are eating there.”
Faces staring and everyone in shock.
“DO IT NOW!” I screamed
“Can’t you see? That…” as I pointed to the roasted cow…
“That is no different from me, from you, or any of us. The sooner you realise this, the better! I for one will NEVER be joining any of you for meals again.”
Then I walked out the building in mind that I would never return.
I woke up from this dream shortly after. I never knew the people in my dream but they were good friend IN the dream, at least up until the end anyway. Thought I’d share. Maybe some of you could use this. I know many of you have to put up with this crap time and time again. Although I generally advocate spreading our cause with love and compassion to all live (including humans), I would not allow myself to be attacked like this.


Birmingham & Black Country Half Marathon – 4th July 2015

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I had been looking forward to this race for a while. I did the Birmingham and Black Country Half Marathon last year too. Last year and I completed 13.6 miles in 1:58:12.

The few days prior to the race I had been seriously carbing myself up with lots of raw vegan fresh fruits and vegetables. I believe lately that this type of eating is dramatically helping with my previous injuries, which have now completely gone after nearly a year, and recovery. Look at Wednesday 1st July 2015 for example. Only 3 days before the Half Marathon I ran 30 Miles. I got home and ate 1kg of cherries (which are great for inflammation), had an ice bath and when I got out of the bath I felt great. The next day I felt as if I had never even ran the day before… let alone 30 miles. I was gobsmacked.

On the morning I ate 4 bananas and 175g of dates about 2.5 hours before the run. I also had 75 cl water.

Aaaaaanyway. So me and my husband Philip met my friend Steve at Northfield Train station and set out to Birmingham New St where we would meet Thom, and get a connecting trail service to Wolverhampton where the run starts.

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Here is a picture of Philip who can’t go five minutes without a coffee and Steve looking a bit sleepy as well.

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Here’s a pic of Steve kindly helping Philip set up the Garmin 310XT I let him use on race day to keep an eye on his average and actual current pace.

When we got to Nw St station we were all over the place with the typical switching platforms. They switched platforms one minute before the train was due to leave. Though they switched it to a platform in which they had closed off the escalators. I have seen this a lot lately. I’m not sorry if someone from the station reads this but I think you need to start using your brains. That station is supposed to be an upcoming better and mega big modern station. At the moment it’s a pile of wank! Get it sorted please. What a mess! Finally we found ourselves on the right platform after a massive detour. We found a table seat to sit at and Thom found us on the train and sat with us… Yay the group together.

We nattered about expected times etc and helped settle our nerves a bit as we watched others already running down the canal, as we took the train parallel to it. This race is done in waves which is good for those wanting faster times I guess. 😀

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Here we all are. Finally made it after almost following another runner who was obviously going the wrong way to the start line lol. Aren’t we a sexy bunch of runners? Gotta be the plants! 😀 Philip decided to do a bit of a meditation before we set out on the course.

Our wave was at 10:30 so we all checked our bags in to be taken to the finish line, queued for the toilets, checked if their high energy drinks where Vegan (and they were), and nattered by the start line waiting to be called. A guy who had a Cancer Research top on came and chatted with me a while. He was a nice guy. He talked about how he was doing weight training and realised that it was all just vanity and he really wanted to make a difference. He wanted to run for charity and help a “good” cause. I thought that was so nice of him. Although he can be making better choices…. I’m not going to judge him and tell him about his mistakes just before his first ever half marathon. He took a very keen interest in my Veganism you see, he didn’t judge me or anything but was really curious and asked about how long I’d done it, my energy levels, running, ethical reasons. I decided I would give him just enough basic details to hopefully research it further at home and then maybe find out about Cancer Research too and switch to something else.

So we were called to the start line for briefing at 10:15. They discussed the typical rules of a race, keep hydrated and what to do if injured or pulling out etc. Then we went through a gap in the wall on the little dock to the canal. Here a guy called your number when you got to the front of the queue. You stepped over a black line mat on the ground and your timing chip began… as did my Garmin watch, naturally. I also started listening to a chillout compressed half hour Linkin Park Track. I wanted to listen to their full heavy album to get me going. To my surprise though my iPhone for some reason has removed it when I plugged it into the PC the day before.

I was now running. Steve was by me and we were going out pretty fast. In fact we wanted about an 8:20 minute mile average and this first mile was done in 7:38. About a mile in I called to Steve “hey if we keep this sort of pace up we will be making it in a killer time! We obviously both felt very strong at the time. I think about mile 2 I asked how his knee was after he injured it 3 days before and it was feeling fine. He had a knee support pad on and I don’t think he even KNEEded it in the end 😉 Shortly after that I went on a little as I was feeling comfortable and I saw a geezer with a backpack on who looked like an ultra runner. I thought about keeping up with his pace as it looked like the kind of pace I’d have liked to complete the race in. I was behind this guy for a few miles just tailing him. Eventually I overtook him.

Mile 3 and it was the first check point. I went for a water and no high energy drink this time. I don’t normally hydrate until 45-60 minutes but with the land I was covering at this pace and the hot sun shining down on me I started hydrating early!

I had now changed my music over to a Chillstep track I had on there. I have just got into Chillstep. It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL music to run to. If you search “chillstep” into Youtube you will find loads of tracks over an hour long you can just play and enjoy!

Although the music is beautiful, any music can be a distraction on race day. I turned the music right down to level 1 so I could hardly hear it but could hear nature around me as I wove in and out and round the snaking towpath.
About mile 4 I started to slow down a bit. The sun was belting down on my bare head. I wish I’d kept my headsweats hat and not put in my bag. Hey ho what’s passed is passed and I know for future reference now.
By mile 5 I was down to 8:18 minute miles, but still on target easily for an average 8:20 minute mile race overall.

I had noticed that around mile 4 or 5 we had started to catch up with some people from the earlier waves. This was nice as it gave me plenty of opportunity to spur people on.

I knew my pace was slowing so I started meditating right away. The first thing I do when I begin a meditation while running is to remind my body to relax. I make sure my shoulders and back are both relaxed. I make sure my arms are swinging nicely with lose fists swinging back and forth gently at a 90o angle at the elbow. I make sure my chin is up and I’m looking ahead at the ground in the distance, not right under in front of my feet. I check in with my breath and try to get a bit of rhythm to it. Next I begin the counting. I step with my left foot and then my right and count 1 on my right step. I step with my left foot again and then my right and I count 2 with my right step. Every other right step I count 3,4,5 all the way up to 20. As soon a I hit 20 I start again at 1. I do this over and over and over until I’m lost in trance.

Next checkpoint, mile 6, excellent! This time It’s a water and a high energy drink and on I go! 1,2,3,4,5……20,1,2,3,4,5……..20…… I was now lost again in counting when I heard one of my favourite parts of my music come on. I turned it up full blast and got lost in the euphoria of awesome music and awesome running in an awesome atmosphere. As the track switched to a new one, I turned it back down and started to focus on the counting again. I notice I had slowed to about 8:30 minute miles and I felt that I needed to slow down further, and give myself a bit of a respite should I wish to complete in good form at a good pace.

Check point 3 at 9 miles creeped up on me, and I took 2 waters. 1.5 to drink and 0.5 over head. Which left me feeling like I’d drank sea water as I carried on running. I had reduced my counting now to 8. I learned that as your focus becomes less then you can count less numbers over and over and over and increase them as your focus becomes stronger. I wouldn’t go over 100 though. There were a lot of people from earlier waves at this point who were walking. It’s understandable. There isn’t much shade on this route and the sun was belting down on us all, while we were all trying to push ourselves as much as we could to that finish line. It was an honour to be able to try and push people on. Calling to people to keep up the good work, and reminding them “you got this” and “not far now”.

As I approached mile 10 Steve come up to me. He ran by my side for a few moments as he called “Come on Scotty you are faster than this”. I told him I got too cocky and set out too quickly so was preserving some energy for the end. He went on ahead. This spurred me on a bit to trail behind him a while. I called to him “Go Steve Go Go Go! Show us Vegans proud! WOOOOOOOOOOO”, I must admit I was a little hyped. I was just so happy at that moment. The finish line wasn’t far off, people out here doing the same thing on their weekends off, the sun, the nature, the beautiful green and birds and canal. Also because Steve was limping about like mad a few days before. I was so worried his knee injury was going to hamper his day today, but it didn’t. I kept praying he’d be ok and now here he was charging forward relentlessly, making excellent time on his race!.

Steve got a bit ahead for a while. We past the last checkpoint at mile 12 where I got 2 water. Necked em back and made a final push for it. Funnily enough mile 13 was my slowest at 9:05 minute miles. I did manage to creep back up closer to Steve though. There were 2 girls inbetween us who were from a previous wave. I overtook them. We were so close to the finish line. I saw Steve and I knew if I kept going at this pace (7:10) I’d catch up and we could run through the finish together both wearing our Vegan Runners tops. I knew the commentator would perhaps call our finish and we could show people Vegans can do this shit too! As I got closer Steve turned and saw me approaching. He thought I was going to overtake him, and I certainly didn’t have the energy to explain my idea to him. He looked shocked and he turned and made one final dash for it and over the finish line. I came in 7 seconds later 🙂 I was 249th place which put me just inside the top quarter of 1000 entrants. My final time was 1:52:16 which is a great improvement on 1:58:12. Also it was a slightly shorter distance at 13.4 rather than 13.6 due to changed route.

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Here’s a group of me Steve and Ian Mackenzie at the finish. Well done on your time of 1:38:25 Ian.

Well done to fellow Vegan Runner Mike Tomkins who came 22nd and had an awesome time of 1:27:46. Well done to him getting it doing in that heat and that time 😀

I did my usual stretching routine and then we headed to baggage reclaim and got our goody bags. We then went back to the finish line to wait for Philip and Thom. We also tucked into 4 big bags of Satsumas nom nom nom. These were soooooo refreshing.

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Philip has been commuting to work and back running for a few months now. He hasn’t really done much long running but gave it a good go. This was his first half marathon and he wanted to complete it in about 2 hours 30 mins . He came through in 2 hours 32 mins. Fantastic job Philip well done. I was sooo proud of him.

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Shortly after that Thom came through too. I was really surprised with Thom. Not that I didn’t think he could do it but that he hadn’t done ANY training hardly. He did a 8 miler with me about 2 months ago and one other run since then. He used to run a lot and his previous PB was 1:52 I think (correct me if I’m wrong). I know that doing this today is going to have such a positive impact on him. I know it’s going to give him so much drive to get out there and train again and get fit. There’s no way he will leave this gap between his PB and this run. Which is excellent. Just the inspiration he needs. Anyway to have completed at all given the circumstances shows his mental strength and how AWESOME plant based diets are 😀   11705160_1675415116022807_3794626221627591209_n
We all chatted a while and baked in the sun eating satsumas and then sharing the 2 large punnets of strawberries that Thom brought with him too mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. . Steve left a bit earlier as I think he wanted to take buses rather than the trains. We then made our way up the canal path and through the ICC back to New St station.
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For recovery when I got home the first thing I did was have a bath filled with cold water and a bag of ice cubes. This works wonders for the next day. I also had another 700 grams of strawberries and 250 grams of delicious raspberries. The next day? I’m feeling fine and ready to continue training next week as normal 😀

I would highly recommend this event, it’s well organised and a wonderful route. They have also taken off a big hill and off road section, so the whole thing is now on towpaths and really flat. There’s just a few bridges to cross over towards the end, and a loooooong tunnel to go through, but nothing major to stop you getting a decent time on a flat. This was my second year and I’m hoping to do it again next year if it doesn’t interfere with potential of doing Race to the Stones instead.
Summer around the reservoir marathon next 26th July 2015!

Thanks for reading.


30 Miles and 33oC. Birmingham-Stratford Upon Avon

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Yesterday (1st July 2015) was the hottest July day on record in the UK at 36oC. I certainly could tell when we were out there running 30 miles!

On the last day of June my friend Steve said he was going to go for a long run along the canal towpaths from Birmingham to Stratford Upon Avon. That day I was supposed to be running 5.5 miles on my usual circular route.
I asked if he would mind if I came along and he said I was welcome. Due to the distance I mentioned that I’d likely do 8 or 9 miles then run back to make 16-18 miles I didn’t think 30 miles was a good idea 3 days before a half marathon race!… in the end though I did the whole thing.

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We had arranged to meet at 9:05am by the Wast Hills Tunnel Entrance to the Towpath on the side that heads towards Birmingham City Centre. This was so I could set off at 9am. I did set off at 9am and I don’t know how I underestimated the distance as it took me longer than I thought. I was late and my first mile was done at a 7:45 minute mile pace lol. I certainly wouldn’t be carrying on at that pace for the next 29 miles!

Our plan was to go at about a 11 minute mile average and for the first 15 miles we where at a 10:20 minute mile average.
Obviously at this point I’d decided I was going to run the whole way. We stopped at about mile 13 in Hockley Heath and topped up with liquids. I remember wanting a Lucozade Sport Orange but noticed B6 in it and wasn’t sure if it was Vegan. It was only later asking my husband to check for me online I found out it was. At the time I just opted for old style Lucozade instead. I haven’t had that for years and when I sipped some outside I remember why. That stuff is nasty. I drank just about enough to stomach and get a sugar rush and threw the rest. VOM

After mile 15 we started to slow it down a bit and just enjoy the scenery and winding trail along side the canal. Occasionally passing over the odd bridge. We were lucky as much of the path is over run with trees which kept us a little cooler than being right out open in the sun. The sun was still sweltering though. We found it easier when running than walking. When running there was a bit of a breeze to cool us off lol. I checked the temperature on my phone which said it was 33oC.

As runners we all know what it’s like when you go out on a long run and can’t wait for the journey ahead. Then something, somewhere goes wrong! It’s always something that you would not have thought would go wrong. Sure the heat may slow us down, or my legs may be really heavy from lots of training lately, perhaps I wont fuel correctly and hit a wall or 2. Those weren’t the case. Annoyingly for Steve his knee copped out about half way. I was just as surprised as he was. This is the first time I have known Steve to get a problem like this on a run. I know he’s been contemplating what the reason behind it was since then. I wont go into too much more detail on that, as I’m sure he will be wanting to write about it in his own blog and not read it all on mine haha.

Amazingly though although he was limping from time to time, Steve continued to move forward the entire rest of the distance. He ran and he walked but he didn’t stop.

Around mile 18 we stopped at this little place in Wooten Wawden. They had craft, clothing and farm shops. We went to the farm shop to get more liquids and I also bought some crisps and 2 satsumas and on we went.

As the miles became less and less we were running a bit longer each time and finished the distance off on a run.
As we arrive Stratford Upon Avon we went to get some cash and then Holland and Barrett. I let myself down by getting 3 Veg Out Steakless Bakes and a Veg Out SOS sausage roll. As many of you know I’m trying to be raw vegan high carb low fat. My mind crave them after this run because that’s what I used to do after running 30 milers…. eat crap.

It wasn’t long before I realised my body was actually craving fruit. We took the bus most of the way back and stopped by Sainsbury’s. Steve’s partner met us there, and we all topped up with fruit and a big bag of ice cubes each. She was even kind enough to drive me home so that was very nice of her. It can’t be easy sitting in a car with 2 stinking guys who just ran 30 miles in that heat. Thank you 🙂

Well done Steve. I have done this distance a few times now and it’s taken me 6 or 7 to be “comfortable” with doing it. This I think was your second time running this kind of distance. Though limping a bit at the end you came through looking much better than I did on those first times!

The time in the end was 6 hours 50 minutes. I know without a shadow of a doubt that we could thrash that next time. This route we did is actually the same route as the JW 30 Mile Ultra which we are both doing in September. We did it back to front though. That time is going to be demolished on race day. We have discussed attempting it again before then too.

When I got home I filled the bath right away with cold water and sank myself into it waste deep, then poured in the ice cubes. REALLY cold but it felt really good and I knew that it would make me feel better the next day. After my bath I put the shower on cold. This felt warm in comparison to the leg bath so I could wash myself clean, but not rewarm my legs again.
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The rest of the day was spent lounging about and eating a nice big bowl filled with 1kg of cherries 😀
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To my surprise when I woke the next day I felt fantastic. It felt like I never even ran the day before and I’m soooo ready for my half marathon in 2 days time now.

I seriously believe that my high carb low fat raw vegan diet is helping with recovery. Also I think my HOKA trail sneakers are helping a great deal. I have the roadies version and they have helped keep ongoing injuries at bay and even given them a chance to recede. All other sneaks I have owned I have had an injury in some form or another every few weeks to months, which have kept me off running.

So on and up… half marathon on Saturday 4th July 🙂 That will be a doddle in comparison 😉
Peace and Love
-ScottyRunner