Mad Haggis Chase: 26.2 miles

A running blog for non-runners. Spur of the moment entry to the 2008 Edinburgh Marathon sparked a love/hate relationship with long distance running. Follow me as I navigate my way through the running jungle, racking up race entries, blisters and glory!

Sunday, 14 March 2010


14th March, 2010

Ran over 11 miles today, really good running, listening to The Best of Groove Armada to spur me on.

Was going really well, the weather was great and I decided to be adventurous and go "off piste" taking a new route deep in the Foret de Soignes, a massive (10,920-acre) forest to the south-east of Brussels.

It is a great
place to run. It's very difficult to get bored, with a lot of different paths and surfaces to run on and a lot of other people: horse-riders, bikers, Sunday strollers, to gawp at, as well as other runners to pace with and overtake(!).

After a while everything began to look a bit "same-y" and I ended up having to ask for directions and run back along the road.

On return home, the Garmin map shows I was actually on the right track before I turned around, but it enabled me to add a few more miles to the tally.
I will definitely run here again, as I increase my mileage ahead of the London marathon. Might consult the map a bit more carefully next time...

Distance: 11.15 miles
Time: 1 hr 56 mins

Pace: 10 mins 27 seconds per mile
Calories: 1, 274

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Boshing Out The Miles

10 March, 2009

Sunny but very cold this morning. Got up, went running, ipod ran out, I cursed, asked myself WHY am I doing this again? Made it home, chalked up another 5.5 miles to the marathon prep...!

Ran: 5.68 miles
Time: 54 mins 59 seconds
Calories: 664

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Icy Cold And Forced

9th March, 2010

This morning I decided I couldn't be bothered to run all the way down to the Bois de la Cambre. It was cold and I was tired. In fact, I had a hard time getting out of bed at all.

I ran to my local park, Parc Tenbosch, which is about 5 minutes away from my flat and one of my favourite places to hang out in the summer.

It is very, very small but -- to use a cliche -- perfectly formed and very beautiful. Once owned by a botanist, the 2.5 acres are well landscaped and great for lolling about reading in the sun, or sitting chatting with your friends and a drink. Tourism Brussels describes the park as "a green miracle in the heart of Ixelles," which is probably a bit over-the-top but you get the idea.

There are sandpits, tennis courts, benches, fountains and 50 trees, including the only horse chestnut tree in Belgium (who knew they were so rare).

Anyway, all this beauty and smallness is great when you're hanging out with a book in the summer, but not so great when you're trying to clock up at least three miles in the cold. I managed 2 loops of the park before leaving and running a circuitous route home.

It was an icy cold struggle. For more on Tenbosch, click here

Ran: 2.16 miles

Time: 22 mins 28 seconds

Average time per mile: 10 mins 23 seconds

Calories: 246

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Leeds, Yorkshire & A Short Run

7th March, 2010

Spent the weekend in Yorkshire, visiting a friend who lives in Leeds.

Two of my friends are currently training for half marathons so we went out for a little jaunt in the rain on Saturday morning.

Running in hilly Yorkshire made me remember how much I hate running up hill. Our route took us along the side of a valley, down from the house and then up again at the end. Even though we only ran 2.5 miles, it was tough and the incline slowed us down.

One of my friends said she'd read about "pumping the arms" to get up hill, in a book by Bob Glover, called The Runner's Handbook. The theory is that you pump your elbows back and forth at the rate you want your feet to go. This creates momentum and your legs follow, driving you up the slope.

I tried it. It didn't really make that much difference if I'm honest. Maybe I wasn't doing it right or trying hard enough, or maybe my heart just wasn't in it when the Obviously a lot of people have problems running up hills, as there's a lot of info/tips here

We also went for a rather blustery walk in the Yorkshire dales, up Almscliffe crag - which is a great outcrop of millstone grit, really high with fantastic views. It's on the northern side of Wharfedale.

Established in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park covers 680 square miles in the north of England. It's divided into different dales - the most famous of which is probably Wensleydale - home of the famous white crumbly Wallace and Gromit cheese.

Ran: 2.6 miles

Total time: 29 mins 10 seconds

Average pace per mile: 11 mins 15 seconds (what were we doing??)

Total calories: 297

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet!

2nd March, 2010

Not a lot to write about today, a gorgeous day here and a fantastic morning run: sunny, frosty, fresh.

Total distance: 4.27 miles
Total time: 41 mins 49 seconds
Average Pace: 9 mins 47 seconds
Calories: 497

Monday, 1 March 2010

6.46 miles and a crazy plan

1 March 2010

Sunday was a bit of a wipe out for me. I was tired. It was RAINING.

I mean seriously raining. Big fat drops of rain and lots of wind to blow them right in your face. I really didn't feel like getting out of bed, but I had committed to run. And, when you've set a time in the morning to run and told members of your newly created running club to meet you at a certain point at 11am, there's not really much room for manoeuvre.

In the end it was fine. I dragged myself out of bed and donned a lot of waterproof gear and a warm hat. We ran for a while, jogging for 10 minute stints and then stopping and walking for two minutes. We totalled just over six miles in a little over an hour. I surprised even myself at how good I felt at the end. Little stiff today.

Actually there's an interesting study somewhere that shows the run-walk-run approach to running can actually work out faster overall than just keeping going. The logic is that the recovery segments make the next bit of running more powerful and faster. More here.

Also -- in a late addition to my running calendar -- I have enlisted to run the London marathon in eight weeks time. ARGH! Diet and running plan need a lot of work :-)

Total: 6.46 miles (around 10K)

Time: 1 hr 7 mins 31 seconds
Average pace: 10 mins 27 seconds per mile
Calories: 724

Monday, 22 February 2010

A Paris et cinq miles

20th February, 2010

The weekend: partly perfect, partly annoying.

Late return from work trip to Dublin cancelled out Friday night plans. A very happy and very sunny day trip to Paris on Saturday involved a lot of wine, cheese and cocktails. Planned to return in a few weeks for the Turner exhibition which has just opened and runs until May 24th.

Sunday was a lazy day of paper reading and cinema going. I managed to cram in a 5-mile run and was pleased not to have lost much of my fitness despite drastically reducing my running in recent weeks.

Ran: 5 miles
Time: 49 mins, 21 seconds

Calories burnt: 584 (two lumps of cheese)