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4 Seasons, 1 Reason

Miles for Mind has always been important to me, so having 4 seasonal challenges this year instead of just the traditional May version has given me even more reason to flex my running muscles. Across the 4 challenges, I clocked up 757km (470 miles) which has been a huge contribution to my target of running 2021km this year (only 16km left to do it at the time of posting). While the physical health benefits of running are obvious, for me, it is the boost to my mental health that is by far the biggest motivator to get me lacing up and heading out in all weathers and just going for however long/far feels right at whatever pace suits the run. 2021 may not have been the easiest of years, but it has definitely had its highs as well as its lows. Let's all celebrate the victories, big, small, and in between that we've achieved this year. If you feel like supporting my efforts by donating to Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) , you can do so by visiting my JustGiving  page .
Recent posts

Race Report - Edinburgh 10k

Yesterday was my second Edinburgh 10k, my first being in 2019 (last year's event got cancelled for some reason...). My stravas of both are attached for comparison. Same route, pretty much the same conditions (it chucked it down prior to the start, but was dry and bright albeit decidedly chilly, with a gentle breeze throughout) and the 2km climb from 4.5-6.5km was still horrible. When I did the 2019 event, I'd only been running for 8 months and has only run 10k about a dozen times before. The official chip time of1:03:52 that I set on the day was a personal best at the time. Skip forward to yesterday, and another 250+ runs of 10k or more in the intervening 2 years and I posted an official chip time 54:17, which is currently my second fastest 10k time (the fastest being 53:43 which I ran during my HM at the end of September). Taking my official times, I knocked 9½ minutes off my 2019 time with yesterday's run; despite moving up an age band category in that period. On the who

Achievement unlocked...

I've been having something of a hectic time, so haven't had time to share this one. Last year, I clocked up the 1,000 mile mark on 30 December. This year, I hit that particular landmark on Saturday. I'm not running more often this year, still typically heading out 3-4 times a week; the difference is the distances. Last year I was averaging around 30km each week with one run being 10km or longer, but the rest being much shorter. This year, I'm averaging around 40km each week, with 10km being my starting distance. My average run distance this year is just over 12km compared with 9.5km last year. My goal is to run 2021km this year and I currently have a wee bit over 350km left to go. As an "after work" runner, I'm now moving into the night run season, which brings its own challenges. The Hi-Viz vest and headlamp have been dug out of the drawer (haven't been needed yet, but I suspect by next week they will) and the merino base layers have already ma

The "Saturday Strava Scribbles" Return

So, it's been far too long and, while it wasn't a parkrun, it was, quite literally, a run in a park, trying to keep up with guys more than 30 years younger than me. The conditions were perfect and, as you can see, the game had me pretty much covering the pitch. It did seem a little harder than I remember, but I'll put that down to Sunday's HM effort and nothing to do with being 15 months older than the last time I forced myself out of bed on a Saturday morning to do this kind of thing...

Scottish Half Marathon - Run Report

So, given that as recently as Tuesday, I wasn't sure if I'd be fit to even start the event, my goal was really just to try and ease myself round without aggravating my back which had, thankfully, pretty much settled. The "easing" bit, of course, went out the window as soon as I passed the start line, and I quickly settled into my familiar internal shouting match where I kept telling myself to slow down and get a grip of my pace. It had been predicted to rain, but thankfully that held off and the conditions were almost perfect, about 15°C, dry and only a light head wind for part of the second half of the run. The event bills itself as "Fast, flat & picturesque". Despite that, there are a few gentle inclines. The "picturesque" I can't argue with as it's the part of the world I live in and the start is less than 3 miles from my front door, but, to be honest, I wasn't really taking the scenery in as it all went past in a bit of a

Parkrun #19 and other bits & bobs

Having given last week a miss on account of the fact that my legs were still feeling a bit sorry for themselves after taking on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks the day before, today it was back to my familiar stomping ground of Vogrie Country Park for the second time since Parkrun returned to Scotland a fortnight ago. Last time out, I set an all-time Parkrun PB of 25:58; this week I was a wee bit slower at 26:49 but, actually, I was happier with this run. It felt better, my pacing was much more consistent, and I wasn't dead on my feet in the finishing funnel. Maybe it's something to do with running in a group (which I almost never do) but it's funny that I can comfortably pace 10k - HM, but 5k often catches me out. It possibly also has a lot to do with the fact I seldom run less than 10k and today was only my fifth run below that distance this year. Anyway, I digress. It was a lovely day. The early autumn sunshine was pleasantly warm, the track was generally dry underfoot and, all in

The lockdown runner

Back in March last year, when parkruns got cancelled and lock down started, I was a year on from starting C25K and my average distance per run was around 8.75k. Skip forward to today and my average over May, June and July (so far) is now about 12.5k/run. It has, in fact, now been over 6 months since any run has been under 10k. I don't say the above to brag, simply a recognition of the fact that for someone who just wanted to keep his fitness up between rugby seasons so that I didn't dread August rolling around each year on account of increasing age and it getting harder to pick up again each season, I really am amazed at how far (literally and figuratively) I've come since deciding to give Couch to 5K a try back in March 2019. I have had the good fortune to be active and have a reasonable degree of fitness all my life, but it's fair to say that now, in my 50s, I'm probably in the best physical shape I've been in my entire adult life, and it's all down to me

100 Runs

My run today was my 100 th run of 2021. It brought my total distance for the year to date to 1,192.9km (741.25 miles), making my average running distance this year 11.9km (7.4 miles).  My pace today was nothing especially noteworthy at 6:46/km, but that is pretty standard for my long, easy paced runs. The point for me being that, as a rule, I don't pay any attention to my pace until after I'm finished. Unless I'm taking part in an event or actually pushing myself for a PB, mostly I'm running on the basis of what just "feels right" In the current temperatures, the pace I set felt OK and allowed me to get a good distance in my legs. It is strange, in a way that, while I can (and sometimes do) run faster than I could this time last year, by and large, a lot of the time I'm actually running at around the same pace. The difference is that it running at that pace means I'm left with much more in the tank at the end of a run and I am averaging 2.5 - 3km/run

Miles For Mind - 200km

  Yesterday, I completed my third "Miles For Mind" challenge. My first, in 2019, was the month that I completed Couch to 5K and my total of 66.75 km/41.5 miles, while modest by the distances I cover today was, not surprisingly, the most I had ever run cumulatively in a single month at that point. It was a month that, not only did I graduate the C25K programme, I also ran my first 5k and my first Parkrun. Skip forward to 2020. Lockdown was upon us and the distances I was covering during my 3/4 weekly runs was increasing. My target was an achievable 50 miles for the month. I started strongly, bringing my half-marathon time under 2 hours 15 and, over the course of the month, I totaled 122.75 km/76.25 miles. In October, runr also set the "Leave Nothing But Footprints" challenge. That month was also the month that I turned 50, so I had a fairly obvious target to aim at. Another half-marathon brought my time below 2 hours 10. A 10 mile run later in the month took my time

Getting (too) close to nature

  Or, possibly more accurately, nature getting too close to me...  As runners, we're used to picking up minor injuries: strains, pulls, twists, scratches and stings; they are pretty much an occupational hazard. Getting strafed by an pissed off buzzard, and being left with a light talon scratch on your scalp is, however, possibly one of the more exotic and "you really had to be there" injuries that can befall us.  The buzzard in question is rather specacular and has a reputation for providing close encounters with unwary ramblers and runners in the vicinity. There are quite a few buzzards around where I live and I often encounter them flying quite low through the woods when I'm out on the paths around Pencaitland and the surrounding area. I can't deny, having one fly at eye-level just a few feet in front of you is an amazing experience. I could, however, have done without the insight into how its prey must feel when it's hunting.