Gaining Perspective: 2014 (so far) in review

Its been a while I know, my last blog post being just before London Marathon.  Lets just say a case of bloggers block came over me. However I have had other reasons.  I’ve also moved my blog to a new site, this is partly as the blog site may well become a more professional platform for me in the future, and I have here a option to pay for increased flexibility when this happens (more on that later).

Earlier in year

I think my last blog was after Inverness half in March, I’d in all honesty been planning a lovely post VLM blog, one that would celebrate a nice new PB that had come out of all the training.  However many of my Facebook friends will be aware that this didn’t happen.  VMLM was a bit of a anticlimax to what had been 4 months of really solid, good training.  When I lined up on the start line I felt as if a PB was well in grasp, the heat of the previous day had seemed to have subsided and it felt cooler.  However it didn’t last and by 8 miles, combined with narrow streets and enveloped by runners and spectators the heat was quite suppressing. The small things that go wrong in a race can quickly add up, at 9 miles I had to dash behind a bush for a wee stop, I then realised I’d lost some of my energy chews from my race belt.  I had a spare pack in the zipped part of the belt but I’d have to resort to lucazade later on.  At 10/11 miles just before London bridge, I started to get bad calf cramp, the effects of the heat, not drinking enough and not enough electrolytes.  The calf cramp would never go, lots of pit stops and walk breaks to stretch and ease my calf would get me to the finish in 4hr 11mins and only on getting back to the hotel would I realise the true effect of the sun, in quite bad sunburn (so glad I was wearing a cap),


Post VMLM, I developed a case of Achilles Tendinitis, just a mild and irritating one but enough (having heard horror stories of ruptured Achilles) to take warning.  It occurred after finishing the Hal Higdon post marathon recovery program, thanks to a tight left calf and a lapse in stretching.  It was enough for me to back of any further endurance or hilly trail running and so this summer has been spent with reduced mileage, nothing more than 10k races and all in one pair of running shoes; my lower drop and lighter racing shoes were put up on a shelf and abandoned.

Don't want this to happen

Don’t want this to happen

Less running gave way to other planning, I’ve been thinking hard about plans once the summer holidays were over and Carrick starts school.  My original profession of a ecologist is somewhat limited on Orkney and plus most positions require full-time hours, something that is beyond me at the moment.  I also need the flexibility to be able to be at home during School holidays.  With this in mind thoughts turned to teaching something I love, Yoga and so Operation Yoga teachers begins, once Carrick is at school I will be starting a Specialist Yoga Teacher course with the British School of Yoga (BSY), the theoretical aspect will be done via distance learning with a practical element split between logging a minimum of 160 hours practice and 2 course workshops.  This would allow me to teach yoga to both ‘normal’ groups, plus children and pre/post natal women.


Bit of humour time 🙂


The Now

My Achilles is thankfully not a issue anymore, although if I am inactive it tightens up, but my daily eccentric heel drops keep that in check.

Possibly the best exercise for Achilles recovery, done daily x 12 for 12 weeks

Possibly the best exercise for Achilles recovery, done daily x 12 for 12 weeks

My regular yoga keeps everything else under control, Yoga is very good at letting you know your muscles, tendons and joints are feeling neglected, and everything certainly was a month after London.  Its quite easy to back off on what you do as second nature during marathon training, but picking up a injury is a timely reminder to get back on it.  There are lots of good short yoga sequences out there for runners, much more beneficial than some half held static stretching.

Yoga cool down sequence

I’ve also enjoyed scaling back and doing 10k’s.  Its easy in a world of social media to get caught up in a wind of endurance, everyone’s doing endurance events and its the only thing worth doing.  However going back to 10k’s I can say that I find the training for them much harder, its certainly not easy following a advanced 10k training plan with 3 x sessions of lung busting intervals.  This year is making me think hard about 2015, in the past 2 years I have put in lots of hard training that has went well for the event on the day to go wrong, I’ve put up with training in gale force winds, driving rain and tedious treadmill sessions to only finish a marathon in a time I could have achieved with much less training. In comparison, my 2 10k’s both done (including training) with a recovering Achilles on hot days, one on a hot afternoon on a undulating valley course and one on a mixed terrain undulating course, both in 50 mins (just outside my current 10k PB) with training that takes up 1/3 the time marathon training takes.


Herdwick 10k (I ate the finishers prize)


Race for life 10k

Its making me think seriously about going back to my plans I had before I got sucked into the marathon world and dropping back to 10k and half marathons.  3 years ago I did the Stornoway half (great course) and had mused about whilst being up here completing the Hebradian 3 (or the full 5), a challenge set up by the organisers to encourage people to enter more of the local half marathons.  It got shelved of course when i signed up for my first marathon but I am know seriously thinking about setting it as a 2015 target.  I’d also like to give the Herdwick 10k another run, and try and race a good undulating 10k. This year I had to ease of on the training and on the race, so in the back of my mind there is the ‘what if’. And of course I’ll have my yoga teacher training to complete, I want to put 100% into the course and this includes plenty of practical practice time. I’d also (bike permitting) like to do some of the local triathlons, I’ve been working on my swimming in the last month and its progressing well. So it is perhaps a goodbye to the world of endurance in 2015.


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