Chasing the Dawn

I don’t really function well in the mornings. For a start, I absolutely need a shower before I can pass for a reasonably well adjusted human being and even then it takes all the focus I can muster to ensure that I don’t leave the house naked. Breakfast becomes a viable option only after I’ve been awake for at least an hour, but two are even better.

It won’t surprise anyone then when I proclaim yet again that I’m no good at early morning runs. It’s as though my body thinks that it’s actually sleepwalking and my brain refuses to obey me. It’s certainly not a time when I’d expect a rave run.

But this morning I woke up early and decided to go for a run regardless of my mind threatening to stage a dirty riot at the mere thought of the endeavour. You see, there are three rules that I run by:

1) Have fun – if it’s not fun, make it fun.

2) Always, always listen to your body – battle with your mind if you must, but work with your body.

3) Keep changing things and try new things – keep moving forward.

I thought that an early morning run would be a perfect opportunity to practice all three of my running decrees at the same time: it’s certainly an uncommon experience for me and I wasn’t sure how my body would react. I expected to have to work hard to find a way to make it enjoyable and as such it had the potential to teach me new and valuable things.

Before I left my house I had the sense to wrap up nice and warm, as the world I was about to step into was dark and frozen. I had to stay in tune with my body, as I wasn’t sure how well I’d physically cope with running on an empty system. I aimed to find a pace that was bearable, but quickly managed to settle into a rhythm that was slow enough to allow me to actually enjoy the run. Before I knew it, I was gathering momentum and yet I was so comfortable that I felt I could have gone on forever. I realised once again that all my previous worries had been completely unnecessary. And just then, my efforts were rewarded with the sights of a wonderfully stunning sunrise:

Dawn

It was a gentle run – sleepy, solitary, and utterly magical; the ultimate morning run.

Have you ever been convinced that you’d not be able to enjoy a run, pushed yourself to do it anyways, only to experience something amazing?

My Accidental Marathon

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh the places we go

I would like to propose another item to add to the infamous “death and taxes” list: the dreaded car service. But while the first two really are entirely dreadful and predictable, I have come to discover that there can be interesting and unintended consequences to the latter…

I had to take a day off work only to be stranded for the better part of that day in a town which I don’t like and wait for a certain car dealership to charge me a minor fortune before reuniting me with my vehicle. Sounds like a hoot, doesn’t it? Well actually, it was.

Rather than twiddling my thumbs all day over a good book and a series of lattes, I instead opted to go for a run. I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that running has the power to make everything a lot more fun – even dull cities and waiting to be robbed blind by a corporate giant. I hadn’t planned the run in any way; I decided this morning that I’ll go for a run and just grabbed my trainers, hydration pack, £5 and some good tunes.

I dropped off the car and then I ran. And ran. And ran some more. I meandered my way around the city, following a vague path from green space to green space, hoping to find some trails in the urban jungle. After I had passed the imaginary 20 kilometre marker, I felt worthy of a reward and briefly dashed into the next bakery, bought some cake and nibbled away at this over the course of the next kilometre or so. Eating a slice of carrot cake on a long run was a novel experiment in running nutrition and as such had the potential to go very wrong indeed. However, although it wasn’t the most practical thing to eat while moving, it proved to be great fuel for even more running. But after another 45 minutes had passed I felt renewed prangs of hunger, and briefly contemplated more cake. A bout of soul (or rather, stomach) searching, however, revealed that what I really craved was something savoury, so I made a beeline for the nearest supermarket and acquired a bag of crisps – the second experiment in running nutrition, with results comparable to the carrot cake case study. I also picked up a tried-and-tested chocolate bar to avoid the need for further pit stops.

With no news on the car and my body willing and able, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and continued my quest as a seeker of green spaces in a grey city. When the call finally came to inform me that my car was ready I had run 45km. By Pheidippides!

marathon thoughts

Okay, I admit that I just love the fact that I accidentally ran a marathon and a bit. However, once the sheepish schoolgirl giggles calmed down, there are a few important lessons which I have learned from this particular run:

1)      Long runs are all about having fun and staying comfortable. Ok, this isn’t exactly an epiphany, but this particular run brought these truths home to me like never before. Long runs are most enjoyable when the pace is being kept to something that feels like a doddle and much time is spent simply enjoying the scenery. I just went for it and took care of my physical needs and – lo and behold – it turns out I continued to run strong for a very long time. I should add that I felt that I could have gone on for much longer and only stopped because it was time to get my car. And it’s a good thing too that I stopped before I did something seriously silly, as I still need my legs to handle the demands of an intensive half-marathon training schedule!

2)      I’m amazed that my body let me get away with eating cake and crisps on a run. It appears that I have been unnecessarily cautious with running nutrition in the past. While I’ve always believed that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to running nutrition, I’m realising now that I haven’t been as open-minded about it as I could and perhaps should have been. The bottom line is that on long runs, we need calories; and we need to get them in whatever form we can tolerate. Giving in to my silly cravings (aka listening to my body!) worked wonderfully for me; it turns out that my body can be bribed to go on forever as long as I keep feeding it calorific comfort food… I expect to get a lot more adventurous in future!

3)      I learned to not worry about long runs. Yes, they are hard, and when things go wrong, they easily have the potential to go very, very wrong. However, it’s not the end of the world.  Long runs are our chance to enjoy our hobby in all its glory; to see a lot of the world and reap the rewards of our hard-earned fitness. They are also a good opportunity to try new stuff.

4)      This particular long run has demystified the marathon, which is a great breakthrough after my meltdown in Athens. Running a marathon doesn’t have to be painful. It doesn’t even have to be particularly hard. Sure, when running to smash that PB, pushing the pace for such a long distance will always require a hefty dose of masochism. However, there’s a different way to run a marathon: it can also be run leisurely and genuinely enjoyed all the way. My whole escapade saw me out and about for 4 hours and 50 minutes, was a fair bit longer than a marathon and included two pit stops at the shops (really, you’ve got to laugh). Sure, it’s slow, but still far from embarrassingly slow. More importantly, it was so much fun that it’s left me wanting to do it all again. And after all, isn’t that one of the most important – but often overlooked – aspect of our training?

Vive le Parkrun!

On this fine Saturday morning I finally managed to drag myself out of bed early enough to line up – albeit still half asleep – at the start of my local Parkrun.

parkrun

For those of you who don’t know (it started out as a UK thing), parkruns are free, timed 5km fun runs that are held every Saturday morning in parks all over the country and beyond. It’s such a great idea that it’s catching on quickly, and there are now parkrun events popping up in other European countries as well as across the great pond.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been inexcusably late in jumping on the parkrun wagon. I’ve been meaning to take part for ages and I kept hearing great things about the wonderful organisation, relaxed and inclusive atmosphere and soaring fun-factor of these events. I first registered on the website and printed out my barcode more months ago than I care to admit (the barcode is all you need to get individually timed). All that I had to do now was to show up at an event and run.

But week after wintry week, my best intentions were defeated by the siren call of my warm bed, which beckoned me to stay just a little longer. “I’ll just go next week,” I kept telling myself again and again and… well, you get the idea.

So what is this ungodly start time for which I repeatedly failed to disengage myself from my bed? It’s 9:30am… Before you point and laugh at my unquestionable pansieness, please remember that I live a country life, meaning that I have a dog to walk and a horse to take care off before I even think about my own breakfast. Also, when I say “my local parkrun”, I mean that I can get there by driving only 30 minutes. (Now you can point and laugh, it’s ok…).

Another factor which might have dampened my motivation somewhat – and I hate to admit this – is the fact that I have never liked racing the 5km distance. Some people seem to think that just because I can run for hours and hours on end, a mere 5km should be the running equivalent of a piece of cake for me, right? Wrong; very, very wrong (although I love the running and cake idea)! Running for hours merely shows that I possess some means of dealing with fatigue (and possibly a pathologically stubborn character). Racing 5km, on the other hand, requires staying in a physically uncomfortable state for a shorter period of time, but the truth is that while battling cramps and stitches and gasping for breath, every step feels like an eternity. So having established that I am a comfort-loving-pansie, do you really think that the girl who can’t get out of bed in the morning is any good at convincing herself to stay in a zone of “controlled discomfort” for any length of time? I don’t think so either.

And because this particular pansie is also exceptionally good at avoidant coping, the last time I actually subjected myself to a 5km race is ages ago. Think years. Maybe even a decade.

What tipped me over the edge – or rather, out of bed this morning – was my speedy running goal for 2014. After all, what is a 5km race for an endurance runner, if not an excellent tempo run? What is more, with over 100 witnesses to the deed, it’s one which even I would be highly unlikely to whimp out of. Even the distance has been measured for me – win!

So there I was this morning, just happy to have made it for once. I even arrived with a few minutes to spare, which I used for a little warm-up run around the very pretty park and a manic attempt to figure out the course. Any nerves, however, were soothed by the very friendly and totally laid-back atmosphere of the event. All you really have to do is to make it to the startline at 9:30 am, wait for the gun and run your socks off! Once over the finish line you get a position chip, which gets scanned together with that barcode you printed off months ago. That’s it! Go home, eat an almond butter sandwich, drink a celebratory hot chocolate and check the website for the results.

This morning’s run made me appreciate one of the awesome aspects of this distance: it really is for everyone. There were some serious club runners who left me choking on their dust after a mere 50 yards. There were veteran runners who use the event to stay sharp. There were those like me, who see the run as a speed workout. There were also families running together and runners who took their dogs for a spin around the park. There were those who aimed to simply complete the distance. All in all, there were over 100 runners from all walks of life, all enjoying the timed 5km run together, but for their own personal reasons.

As for little old me, I complete the course in 23 minutes and 20 seconds. I was the fourth female finisher and second for my age group. I’m absolutely delighted with that, especially since I was mostly just trying to a) stay awake and b) not get lost. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve never been so chuffed to place a tick against the tempo run in my training diary.

I strongly suspect that it will no longer be a rare sight to see me rolling out of my beloved bed and straight into my running shoes at stupid o’clock on Saturday mornings. After all, there will always be tempo runs to be run.  And who knows, could it be that my next 5km PB is lurking in my local park?

I’d encourage every runner to find their local parkrun and to just give it a shot. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s relaxed, and you can bring your better half/friend/dog/toddler/goat/ironing board – in short: it really is for everyone.

I Love Explorunning

Lately, my response to virtually any natural scenery on TV has been embarrassingly predictable. Whenever I find myself staring at an image of a beautiful field, rugged mountain, endless beach, old forest, or a wide open desert, my mind gets all bouncy and screams: “I want to run there!”

I am aware that this is due to  a combination of my serious, chronic affliction of wanderlust washed down with a good old case of the grass being greener on the other side mentality. The truth is that I already live in a truly beautiful corner of the world. A whopping two minutes from my doorstep lies the sea, where I only have to decide whether to turn east or west, for forty kilometres of coastal trails await me in either direction. A short drive takes me to run on mountain trails, up the famous Glens, under waterfalls and to award winning beaches that have even featured in movies about running.

But still, that lust for new adventures remains as strong as ever. It’s a bottomless pit really. I hope to travel and run for a long time yet, but naturally and for all the right reasons I can’t do this all the time.

In the meantime, there is really no reason why I can’t at least partially satisfy my hunger for new adventures in the beautiful part of the world that I happen to live in. (When life hands you awesome trails, you’ve got to run them!) I’ve had some of best fun while running new routes, and here’s why:

  1. New trails, new fun. Running means I can cover more ground in one go than I ever could while walking. Win!
  2. It widens my horizons. I love adding to my ever growing repertoire of stomping grounds. Even on the rare occasions when the whole route turned out to be terrible (for running or otherwise), at least the run gave me some new knowledge that I didn’t have before. But no matter what happens, it’s always a new adventure.
  3. I tend to focus much more on the surroundings and orienteering aspect of the run, rather than the run itself when I recce a new trail. This can be great on long runs, as I tend to eat up the miles without my mind noticing what’s happening and hence it never proceeds to moan about it or tries to convince me to stop.
  4. Running new trails invites me to let go of any plans and just enjoy every moment of the outing itself. It’s impossible to fully plan how the run will pan out in terms of distance and pace when running on new ground. I have lost count of the number of times I had to double back on myself when trying to find new routes. On a recent run I took a trail up a mountain so steep I could reach the top only by climbing up on all fours. While this was a workout that would make even a Navy Seal break a sweat, my recorded pace was somewhere in the laughable region of 20 minutes per kilometre for that part of my so-called run. But oh, the views!
  5. Running new trails is great for building my confidence and challenges me to be ready for anything. I’ve come across obstacles and paths that I would never have contemplated traversing if I had known about them beforehand. I’ve come up against streams, hills, and piles of fallen trees that would make me turn around on my heels if I had encountered them on my home turf. However, after running for 15 kilometres, I usually find the prospects of conquering these obstacles much more tempting than turning around. As a result, I’ve found myself up to the hip in icy waters, knee deep in the mud, clinging to walls and climbing over as well as under numerous trees. I’m growing increasingly comfortable and skilled at running in the mud and through water, jumping over logs and climbing over fences.
  6. It gets me lost. At first, the idea of being lost was a bit scary, but with each time the fear got less while the the fun factor grew. I like getting a little lost now and know how to deal with it. I have come to the conclusion that being lost (within reason) is good for me, because it really pushes me into the unknown.

Badass Lost

I’m sure it will come as no surprise then when I confess that I have just bought detailed maps covering virtually all of central Scotland, and I will be most disappointed if they don’t lead me to even steeper hills, deeper rivers, greater views and bigger adventures in 2014.

However, should I fail to update this blog for a week or so, please assume that I’ve taken the getting lost part a little too far and kindly organise a search party or two, okay?

Musical Memories of Running in 2013

While I don’t always run to music, I have noticed that sometimes songs can anchor certain memories, and because I have started to occasionally run to music in 2013, some songs have become irrevocably linked to certain running moments for me.

Do you have any favourite running songs? Do any of them remind you of particularly memorable moments? In the spirit of reflecting upon the year which draws to a close today, I want to share my top ten running song and corresponding memories of 2013 here (and thereby own up to the randomness that is my running music playlist…):

Aerosmith – Living on the Edge

This song reminds me of the start of a 20 mile long run I did in the summer. It now stands for that wonderful feeling of taking the first few steps of a run which I know is going to be awesome. It’s like the first day of the holidays; the start of an adventure that is only just beginning…

Bon Jovi – Blaze of Glory

I was just cooling down after an all-out hill sprint session that had seriously zapped all my strength at the time, and just as I was cruising back down towards the harbour down a gentle slope this song came on. It reminds me how good it feels to give everything once in a while.

Fun – We are Young

This song started ringing in my ears on a particularly beautiful summer day while I was running through a rather remote and lushly green forest. I just couldn’t help myself, the sheer joy of it grabbed me and I started to bounce around the track and danced along to the tune. It’s good not to take anything for granted and to fully enjoy the good moments when they happen. It’s okay to dance like nobody is watching (but best done when there’s really nobody watching…!)

Guns’n’Roses – Sweet Child of Mine

I was coming to the end of yet another long run when the guitar solo at the start of the song put some serious bounce back into my steps. It is possible to find new reserves of strength and speed even after running for hours already and this song will always remind me of this important knowledge.

London Grammar – Strong

One of my most beautiful regular runs is also one of the toughest; it follows a stream up into the mountains, which means that the first three kilometres of the trail take me relentlessly uphill. The first time I managed to run the whole way up to the first plateau without stopping I felt pretty close to throwing up.  I had to walk for a bit after all, there was no way around it. This song got me through the mixed feelings of making it to the top for the first time and not being able to run once I got there. It’s ok to take a break here and there, and it’s important to work with my body rather than against it. Once I had taken a few moments to recover, I ran on for more than ten additional kilometres, feeling strong and full of oomphf.

Massive Attack – Teardrop

This song means a lot to me at any time, regardless of whether I’m running or not. It reminds me of how many problems I have solved on a run. I mostly just have fun on runs, but sometimes running is a great way of working through all sorts of emotions. Running is good for me in more ways that I could list.

Mumford & Sons – Lover of the Light

I was running in a nearby nature reserve and was trying to find the way to some lakes which I knew to be somewhere around the north-western parts. The map which I had studied beforehand (but which I had failed to take with me) had clearly indicated the presence of lakes. However, I ran, re-ran and backtracked many paths that day, until even I had to concede that I was running around in circles. This song instantly snapped me out of increasing levels of frustration. I realised that I was running strong and healthy and the destination didn’t really matter all that much. It’s all about the journey after all, isn’t it? It may have been another “dance in the forest while nobody is watching” moment.

Newton Faulkner – If This is It

When it comes to simply enjoying the moment, this is the ultimate song for me. One day, while I was clocking up some miles on the country roads around my village, this song came on. The views in the area are pretty, but not amazing, at least not to me. They are just my home turf. But running always makes them special.

The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil

This song will always remind me of the beginning of the end. I love the song and I love the Stones, but I mostly remember hearing this song when I was battling with the ever more crippling physical effects of dehydration during the Athens Classical Marathon. The drum loop at the end of the song goes on and on and on, just like my misery on that day. I needed it to end; both the race and the song. Sadly, both dragged on for what seemed like forever on that day…

The Used – Taste of Ink

Again, this song stands for the life-affirming awesomeness that running has been for me in 2013. I heard it when I reached the top of a mountain I run fairly regularly. The ascent itself isn’t really runnable, but as with all hills, the best parts are the views from the top and the prospects of charging downhill “brakes off, brains off”. Here I am indeed!

I wish you all a fantastic start to 2014 – may the year bring you countless happy moments!

happy new year

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

Running Bloggers, Merrily Running Together?

First of all, I want to wish everyone a very happy Christmas! I hope you’ll have some very relaxing and invigorating festive days as this year draws to a close. Let 2014 be the year when all your wildest dreams come true and chase you, incarnate, down the street.

Snow-Laded-Christmas-Tree

So far, I’ve spend my Christmas riding, running, eating, and getting merry in many ways. I celebrated Christmas Eve with a little evening run around St. Andrews, including a spell of running on the West Sands, the beach made famous by “Chariots of Fire”.

St. Andrews beach

Today, I ran up the Bishop in the Lomond Hills, which seemed appropriate for Christmas Day. However, when I say run, I mean that I crawled up the hill (I took the steep path up from Scotlandwell) only to be almost blown away near the top and getting very wet feet on the boggy descend. Nevertheless, it was lots of fun, life affirming, and certainly a great workout that allowed me to tuck into Christmas dinner without shame.

Bishop 1

Thank you all for being part of this great community of running bloggers! A few days ago, the lovely TartanJogger and I half-jokingly contemplated the possibility of going for a run together at some point. It’s made me think that there are many fellow running bloggers here who I’d just love to meet for a run. Any thoughts, any takers?

21.12 for 12.21

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus

First of all: Happy Winter Solstice!

solstice_Stonehenge

We’ve made it half way through winter! Sure, some bad weather might still come our way, but in my head at least, it’s only going to get better from now on.

Unusual for me, I decided to do my weekly long run this Saturday afternoon. I decided to go for it when I learned yesterday that Nike has a special charity focus event today: 12.21 Move More. The idea is that individuals from all over the world can pledge the Nike Fuel (Nike’s activity counter) they earn on this day to charity, which Nike will translate into financial donations.

While I’m really not bothered about Nike Fuel, I do use the Nike Sports Watch (which I love) to track all my runs. Therefore, even though I just want to know about the distance, pace, elevation etc. of my runs, courtesy of Nike I also get a number representing my hard-earned Fuel for every run.

It was a no-brainer really: run lots today and let the corporate giant make a donation to charity.

My initial plan was to run a whole marathon, but this proved tricky since I was not able to set out before 1pm. I took my hydration pack and plenty of food with me and set out on an easy, but very long run in a nearby nature reserve. However, on this occasion my otherwise much loved solstice worked against me and I just couldn’t outrun the dusk. If I had planned things a little better I could have brought some lights and reflective clothing, but without either a night run in the forest was off limits.

In the end, I ran 21.12 miles today. It seemed like a good number to give to charity. And I loved every single yard of it! (Which is weird, because I am normally only capable of comprehending distances when they are expressed in the metric system).

Tentsmuir-10

 

 

A Run Down Memory Lane

This weekend, I was in Germany to see my family for some early Christmas celebrations. Therefore, I spent most of the weekend wearing silly hats and drinking mulled wine:

Elvish ChristmasMulled Wine

I’m lucky in that I get to travel a fair bit; both for pleasure and work. And whenever I find myself in a new (or in this case, old and familiar) place, I’m always looking forward to the moment when I can finally put on my running shoes. I love exploring new places on foot; it’s always an adventure which is exciting and relaxing in equal measures. These runs are about enjoying the sights and not about the pace or distance covered – in fact, I make it a point to stay comfortable so that I am sure that I can keep going for as long as I like.

In that spirit, I enjoyed a nice long run along the along the Rhine river in Cologne this weekend. It’s a place where I’ve spent many days during my childhood, as Cologne was once my hometown. Revisiting these places presented me with a strange paradox, as it was both inherently familiar and so different from what I remember. Things change so much, so quickly. Nevertheless, it was good to be back, even if it was just for one weekend and a single long run.

Leinpfad

Redefining Speed

“I don’t have to run faster than the psychotic-maniac-vampire-cannibal, I just have to run faster than whoever is with me when the psychotic-maniac-vampire-cannibal starts chasing us.”

– Jim Benton

2013 has been a great year of running for me. I’ve loved every moment I’ve spent in my running shoes and have discovered many new things about me, as well as the world around me. Above all else, I want to keep that passion alive. I want to still be running when I’m 70 years old and I still love every second of it.

But as it is, I’m not 70 yet and I know there’s more speed in my legs than I have been able to squeeze out of them so far. You see, the distance part of distance running has always come easy to me – I love my weekly long runs more than any other workout and can happily spend several hours out on the trails. However, when my training plan calls for a “5km Tempo Run” or “10 x 1 minute strides, 1 minute off”, or even just a “8km Fartlek run”, all my best intentions fly out the front door with me. The honest truth is that I usually end up figuring out how many kilometres I’m supposed to cover in that particular workout and then I go and do that distance a little faster than normal. In my world, this has so far sufficed to place a tick against any speed workout in my running journal.

And to be fair, my training strategy of endless hilly trail running combined with my narcoleptic approach to speed workouts has gotten me quite far in the past. Sometimes, I even got there reasonably fast!

Having owned up to the fact that speedwork is the Achilles heel of my training, it’s only logical that 2014 shall be the year in which I focus on speed. I’m not necessarily saying that I want to run much faster (although that would be nice too, thank you very much!). Instead, I simply want to focus on getting my speedwork and training paces right (and then see what happens).

I’m a big fan of the McMillan running calculator and the personalised training plans. Given that they provide me with the exact paces at which I should be running each workout, I’m all out of excuses really. I shall make a conscious effort to become more disciplined about my training paces and training intervals while preparing for my next target race (the Inverness Half Marathon). There, I’ve said it.

Besides, if everything else fails, all of this can go down as a cleverly disguised excuse to indulge in some retail therapy. After all, wannabe speedsters need at least one pair for racing flats, right?

1385127_617660878276784_1771514566_n

Ultra Dreams: The Cotswold 100 Challenge

cotswoldway1

While I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do – running wise – in 2014, this particular challenge has caught my eye. I’m not an ultra-runner and am quite attached to my toenails (no pun intended), but I do love a good challenge, nice scenery, adventure, and running for a really long time.

My thoughts so far:

1)      I just love the idea of this – spending each day running through beautiful countrysides towards a campsite where comrades, ice-baths, massages and pasta-feasts await. Awesome!

2)      I’ve never ran that far before in my life, but that’s okay. As always, a big part of the challenge will be the training. It could be a fantastic and relatively gentle introduction to running really long distances, as it’s run over four days and it’s not a race. It’s essentially the equivalent of running a trail marathon each day for four consecutive days.

3)      I’ve hiked the West-Highland Way (which is a similar distance) over seven days a few years ago. That was perfectly doable without any training, which makes me think that reducing this to four days by running most of it will be quite possible with some dedicated training.

4)      I’m pretty sure I’d take this challenge as easy as possible (as far as running 100 miles can ever made easy!). I’d aim to run a half-marathon in the morning, stop somewhere and sit down for a proper lunch, walk while I’m digesting said lunch, then jog the last part, before enjoying the ice, massage and pasta-feast. I’d also be quite likely to stop for such important things as buying ice-cream and admiration of the scenery.

5)      I’d love to team up with someone for this. I think it would be even more fun to run at the side of a partner in crime/madness.

What do you think? Am I missing something obvious, or should I take the plunge and hover over training plans and the sign-up button?