Tag Archives: running

Loving to Love the Trail!!



Back on the 9th of June I blogged about a run called otmoor challenge which saw me making the bold statement that “I was NEVER running off road again”. Not long after that I was asked by the running club to be part of the ladies relay at the Tring ridgeway! I went and practiced my leg with an amazing runner from club and I almost cried 2 miles into the 6. I Hated off road running! But what shocked me was that I HATED that I hated it! Everyone is almost talking about how beautiful trails are, how much quicker the run passes by and just generally about how much more awesome it was and I longed to LOVE it!


Not long after that practice I did the ridge way – with NO tears!!! I even ran the mile long hill at the end without stopping!


Since then I have completed Standish Woodland chase – in the most awful down pour of rain and 1000ft of elevation in the first mile, The thunder run 24 hour relay and Tring Ridgway 9(ish) miler with so many ups and downs I was almost sick but even managed a smile at the top of the hill!!

smile 1
Photo courtesy of Barry Cornelius

As much as I was starting to get the post run buzz and could see the beauty of these runs I still was not enjoying the actual run … but my opinion was slowly changing to LOVING to HATE them!!


Bring on Rugged Radnage 10K!! I got up this morning thinking “I might just get back into bed”… bed just seemed the better option against mud, hills, sweat and quite possibly tears and tantrums!! But I had paid for it and I knew I would regret it later!!

3Km in and my mind was made up … I had been converted !! The mud, the hills, the downs, the trees, the views, the people … everything about it I loved and halfway round for some strange reason I wanted to know what defined trail running!!


Search for a definition of trail running and you get Wikipedia describing running over trails but I prefer Rapid ascent’s description of “leaving the noise, pollution and bitumen characteristics of road running far behind in favour of nature such as forests, parkland, valleys and mountains” (found at http://www.rapidascent.com.au). HOWEVER today I came up with my own definition. “Trail running is the only type of running that it is acceptable to have a 12 minute mile followed by an 8:30 minute mile”. I never understood the mentality of trail running isn’t about pace! I was always a “go and smash it” kinda girl!! But today I felt comfortable not being a crazed Garmin checker to make sure I’m on for that PB …. Today I didn’t check my watch at all!! I didn’t care that I walked up the hill … it was the size of everest after all and I was more out of breath walking up it than I was running the rest of the run!!


I think I have gave so much effort to my recent trail experiences that I have made myself Love to Love the trail. It took time to realise that its harder and I can’t keep an 8:30 min mile when I need to think about tree roots, mud, hills, gravel, ground, weather etc etc etc! But one thing is for sure …. I’m more knackered tonight that I am after running a road 10k! Will I be running more trails …. most definitely …… my next one is already booked!!!


Happy Running



Kindlington Mota-vation …… Number 2



So what is it??? This is a series of 5 races organised by one of the local running clubs ran on the first thurs of the month during summer months!! So basically we get to compete (I say that like I’m an athlete ….. To me it means I get to pin on a number and pretend I’m Paula Radcliffe for an hour)!!

How far …. The races are 4.1 (ish) miles and are at different locations each month! I’m only 9 months into my running club life so this is the first time I’ve run in them!

So this was race number 2 …. Bletchingdon!!!


So I have learned that hubby had no concept of night shift! I love him dearly …. But man he’s noisey!! Then it didn’t help that I needed to take him to the airport on Wednesday then work another shift ….. Then on Thursday EVERYONE called me …. Literally everyone!

So I got up and considered not running ….. But as it’s in club champs I went along just a to get a few points at least!!


As always was in a field ….. FULL OF COW PAT! And when I say full …. I literally felt like if raced before I started dodging them all!


As always …. A million women trying to nervous wee!! And with only one cubicle working …. I only just made it to the start!!!

These are the only 2 negatives ….. The race was FANTASTIC!!

ROUTE ….. I had been warned was hilly!! I would say it was up and down but nothing too drastic!

RESULT …. I started off with my friend Joely ….. She’s AWESOME!! so was pretty impressed that I was keeping a half decent pace with her! We overtook lots which makes me a little bit more determined!! We did giggle going up a hill that one women said “wow …. Good effort” …. Think the sound of my puffing/panting and general wheeze like sound made her think I was trying to give myself a heart attack more than finish the run!!

But I kept going …. And SMASHED my 5k PB and did the race with average pace of 8:40!!

I was bouncing off the walls with excitement!! And the best bit ….. I had the best nights sleep in 4 days …. I got 9 whole hours!!

I wouldn’t recommend a sleep deprived run fuelled with coffee and crisps ….. Bit I’m glad I got up and went!!

LESSON ….. get up and do it ….. You might surprise yourself!!!!!

Ps. Thanks to Kindlington running club for the race …. Well organised, fab marshalls and support with awesome turnout! Can’t wait for next month!!


Sandie xx


Derwent Reservoir Long Run



Well the photo above was took by hubby at mile 7ish!!! I think I look pretty good! My runners high from silverstone lasted all Sunday into my rest day in Monday and then …. crash!!!! Sandie was TIRED! I had given silverstone all my effort I forgot I had to train for the rest of the week! Family and things got on top on Tuesday so I decided to give myself an extra day off before doing 10 miles on Wednesday before seeing another PB of the week in Thursday when I ran by usual club 6 miles at 9:10 pace (I’m normally no faster than 9:40)! This was followed by another PB at Sheffield Hallam parkrun (fantastic parkrun to do)! So pretty good week running!

Sunday run!!!

Now my problem for the weekend was we were visiting family in sheffield – I had – 18 miles to do and didn’t know where to go!! So hubby decided to take me to derwent reservoir – I could run and him and his brother could do some fitness of their own! Perfect!

Woke up …. A perfect day for running! Sun was out and lovely and fresh! I even run in a t-shirt!!

As we arrived I was worried about getting lost, collapsing , not being able to finish!! So hubby asked a man out walking how far the run was! His reply was “run round derwent it’s 10 miles, run round derwent AND ladybower and it’s 15 ish”.


SO because I felt nervous about my new run I decided to leave my water with the lads and run the 10 mile route …. Twice (but meeting at the car which would make 18 miles)! So off I went!

Lost …..

Well the plan went wrong! I ended up running both reservoirs ….. With no water! It’s sheffield area so bloody hilly (I live in Oxfordshire – hills are non existent)! The only thing that kept me going …. The views …..


I actually think this was my favourite run EVER!!!

It was beautiful, everyone was friendly and said Hi … I was more impressed that I passed a man on mile 3 running the other way that I then passed again near the end …. And he looked how I felt!! As we passed a smile and a few … “Good effort” comments I lifted my chest high determined to finish the last few miles!!!

By the time I met Tim … He said “where have you been … Do you still need to do another lap” – I could kill him! But instead I gasped for water! Thank goodness I had taken my gels with me!

I had managed to RUN the full 18 without stopping at pace I was very very happy with!! Training for bournmouth last year I struggled with these long runs and never completed anything over 15 miles without walking for a while!

Happy with training …

So I’m still happy with how training is going! Only 8 weeks to go …. The next 6 weeks being the toughest on my programme!! I just keep thinking of the feeling of crossing that line …. And all this tiredness, effort, dedication and commitment will be worth it!

This weeks lessons ..

1. Yorkshire is beautiful to run in …. Highly recommend this run!!

2. Don’t leave your water behind …. It’s important!

3. Love SiS gels …. Can really feel them work!


Where is your favourite run??

Love Sandie xx

Curse of the Shoes



This was the title of a post I wrote several weeks back! Based on lots of advice out there that says its beneficial when putting in lots of weekly miles to have 2 pairs of trainers! I personally didn’t know if I believed this or not …. But I decided to give it a go and buy a second pair!!

2 pairs – 1 pair

Regular readers of my blog will
Know I kept my promise! I went off to my local running store to buy my second pair! I was told by the nice salesman “the shoes your in are already in need replaced” they were so worn down on one side – it explained my recent hip pain which I get when I don’t have enough support!

So I upgraded my old faithfuls mizuno nirvana 8’s to a beautiful new pair of mizuno nirvana 9’s. because it was the same shoe just a new model … I decided to save some pennies and search for the cheapest option online!

The curse begins ….

They arrived .. So pretty and I was so excitedto get out in them! As soon as I laced them up I just didn’t feel right! I felt like I could move my foot a bit much, to secure them I had to tie them a bit tight, I felt “clunky running in them! I came to the conclusion that I just needed to run them in! I was just missing my old comfies!!

The long run ….

This theory went out the window when I went for a 13 miler in them! Big blister on the inside of my foot! I made the final decision …. They were too big!

Change brand???

So my darling husband who supports my running massively said “I want you to smash this marathon – just buy another pair”

So off to the shop I went!!! Gait analysed, several pairs later, a wee run on the treadmill I settled on a pair of asics! The were comfy, pink laces, comfy …. But I did feel guilty for cheating on my mizunos that have been so faithful to my feet for years!!


Run 1 …. felt bouncy but sore toes!

Run 2 …. balls of my feet Hurt

Run 3 …. all of the above plus blisters on my toes!

Silverstone half … I actually thought I was about to get a stress fracture in my foot!

It took me all my courage to tell hubby that I didn’t like these ones either!! But there was no way on earth I could run a marathon in them!

Saving the day ….

I don’t know why but I contacted the up and running store I bought them from and explained the situation! They offered to change them …. No questions asked!



I am finally happy with mizuno! These gorgeous Inspire 10’s fit perfectly! They have even seen me round an epic 18 mile, Yorkshire style undulating run at the weekend and my feet are finally happy!


1. I think one of the biggest mistake I made was to jump in with the upgrade online! I hadn’t tried on the nirvana 9 …. I just expected it to be the same! I am not saying online is bad but I think in future I would wither get the exact same model OR Try them on in store first! I think the design may have changed ever so slightly which meant the 4.5 I had been running in was so a bit big!

2. I always hear people say … Don’t change brand! And I don’t think I ever will again! Mizuno Fit my weird shaped feet perfectly and I know I can trust them! I know people who swear by all the other brands …. They probably would never dream of changing to mizuno just because they love their own brand! So here’s hoping mizuno keep making awesome shoes …. Ill be lost if they stop!!!

How many pairs …

Despite owning 4 different pairs in the last 3 months …. I still only have one pair!!!

Park run PB



So the inlaws are moving house and hubby and I said we would help them out! So this weekend we found ourselves in Sheffield and I insisted that we HAD to do parkrun ….. It’s on the marathon training programme after all!!

So up we got and toddled down to Endcliffe Park!


Wow …. This is the busiest I’ve ever seen a parkrun! I estimated nearly 500 people but what was more inspiring was all the kids! They all seemed to be part of a running club … All looked the part, and all desperate to get going!

As usual there was a great community feel around and there was even a wee cake stall selling goodies ….. Once again I had no money on me so missed out in said goodies!


Endcliffe park is not very big! But out of the 4 parkrun courses I have down it is definatley one of the prettiest! It’s two laps around the park but there is a stream that runs through it …. It was just beautiful!

Me and the hub a dub started nearer to the back than we normally do (nice to be polite when visiting new locations I think)! But this was a negative point to start with because the start is quite narrow and with all the people around it got quite bunched up and I found myself struggling to gain momentum and get going! So in my head I settled for “your racing a half marathon tomorrow so just treat this is a nice gentle pleasant 3 mile run” well…… once I got into the open my legs just went on “go go gadget legs” mode!


I made the mistake of turning left back towards the finish thinking I was almost there and I could start my sprint home! WRONG!! you head towards the finish then turn right again to do a 200 metre (ish) loop that brings you round! My legs felt like they were about to buckle beneath me!

So I had started slow, settling for a nice easy run, legs picked up followed by an early sprint that left me almost blowing up before I could finish!

So … I crossed the line …. Turned the garmin off ….. 26:32!!!!! WOW WOW WOW Ive been trying to get that sub 27 minute since August last year when my 2nd ever parkrun set my PB! I’ve been up in 29 minute marks, back down to the 28 minute mark … Followed by back at 27:30 something! But never been to come close to even 27:00!


The scanner won’t scan my barcode …. ARGGGGGGHHHHH! But a nice man took my number and position and wrote it down … I begged him to make sure it went on …. I needed to see it on the results page!

My “official” park run time was 26:57! My garmin was out because of the slow start …. I started it once I got moving! So in happy both ways …. I know my garmin is my run time and the web page is my “gun time” either way I RUN SUB 27 MINUTES! I even had a wee dance when I met up with Tim at the finish line!



I would highly recommend Endcliffe park as a course! It’s very very pretty and super friendly! It was so inspiring to see so many people running! Every type of runner out doing it! But the most awesome thing was all the kids! I could literally if just run with the next Jess Ennis or Mo Farah! Getting kids doing sport is amazing (and of course running is the best sport to get into)! So thank you to all the runners, supporters and volunteers at Endcliffe Park today … You made my day!!

Love Sandie xxxx

2 Run Race Day

Finished my 2nd 10k of the year
Finished my 2nd 10k of the year


So at my running club awards night in November just after the London Marathon Ballot had been drawn three of us girls laughed and said “lets do a spring marathon” and “lets see if us slower runners can win a club champs award next year” SO …….. the very next morning I woke with a touch of a hangover and the drive to race.  I entered Milton Keynes Marathon and a few of the club champs races (my bank account did not look too healthy after this little hungover race spending spree).  One of the races I entered was Winslow 10k on 23rd Feb.  It was only when my good running friend was writing my programme i realised ….. “oops … i need to be getting my mileage up by then” so the plan on Sunday called for the 10k race (raced at best effort) followed by and 8 mile run  OUCH!

My finishers t-shirt
My finishers t-shirt


The start of the day was a bit depressing.  The weather was windy and cold.  My running club friend Clare drove us to Winslow and we followed the instructions to park at a local community centre and walk to the location. We started to become a little bit stressed as there seemed to be no sign of any marshals (or runners) and we only just managed to find the race venue.  The organisation of collecting numbers was pretty straight forward and well organised but I was a little disappointed to find it was not going to be chip timed.  This wouldn’t stop me entering in the future but wish I had been aware of this before.

I was also impressed by the availability of refreshments in the centre – amazing cakes, pastries and fruit as well as a variety of drinks were available (I must remember to take money to these events for a post race treat).  

Although I didn’t use the baggage area other members of my club did and it seemed very straight forward and quick at the end of the race!

The Race … we walked to the start line and I made the decision that I would use my garmin to get my actual finish time as I was not planning on being one of the first to cross the start line. However I must learn in future that i am (slightly) better than I think and I should maybe start a little bit closer to the front.  The road was pretty narrow so the first half mile was slower than I wanted as there just seemed to be no space to get around people.  Matt has said to be before that I need to start closer to the front than I do …. but I suppose I still need to find my inner runner confidence as I still don’t believe that I ACTUALLY RUN!!!

The course…. i tweeted in the morning that i was off to Winslow.  A reply came in “keep something in the tank – a few hills on that one”.   This I was not prepared for.  Running around Bicester I have come to forget what A hill actually looks like.

It was not a mountainous course and I don’t think I would call it undulating as such but at 2k it did gradually incline for around 2 more kilometres.  It then evened out with a nice little downhill followed by a horrible incline in the last km.

The course was lovely and out in the countryside through a few villages.  It was a lovely run.  They also had 2 water stations with plenty of enthusiastic kids to cheer us on and the marshals were all friendly and encouraging.

The Result …… 

From Lions Club of Winslow Website
From Lions Club of Winslow Website

I was 228th out of 318.  So not speedy speedy …. i don’t think ill ever be a speedy runner.  The time recorded was 57:42 …. BUT my garmin time was 57:23 ….. only 1 minute off my PB.  Considering the course was quite uphill in places I was pretty pleased with myself.  I was more pleased for my friend Clare who achieved her first sub 1 hour 10K ….. GO CLARE!!!


So we got in the car … i stuffed an apple rice pudding down my neck for energy and we drove home to Bicester ready for me to meet up with my other friend to get 8 miles done.  WOW … by the time I met Abby I was still in my runners high and raring to go BUT the legs said NO!!!  It was a slog … we misjudged the distance and only did 7.5 but it was a mental slog.  Legs were heavy heavy but still managed an average of 10:30 per mile.  Thats only 15 seconds slower than my predicted marathon pace so I was pleased with that too.  I was once told “its all about the time on your feet”.  I am glad i listened and went out for that second run!!



So how did I treat my running hangover?  A few days away in London with Hubby in a fancy hotel.  We arrived Sunday night and I spent an hour in a nice hot bubble bath, with mood lighting, a bath pillow .. and fell asleep.  Great end to a great day of running!!!

Next week …… Silverstone half followed by a 3 miler!  I must be insane!!



Types of runners!!


WHAT ?????? Are you???

Recently all my social media feeds have been filled with quizzes to determine what personality you are!! “what friends character are you?? “what breed of dog are you??? “what should your perfect job be” (and to be honest I have been guilty in partaking in a quiz or two!

A running magazine recently published a “what type of runner are you”! AND I’ve seen blogs and twitter feeds about ….

Running types….

I don’t really know much about the subject but I do enjoy people watching “runner watching”

We all know the super lean, super dedicated, 5 minute miler, eating clean, gazelle type runners that just make the whole thing look painless and effortless! (Although I would love to be in this group …. I never will be)! What amazes me is the dedication of this group to normally wear shorts and t-shirts no matter the weather …. With maybe a hat if it rains!!

We all know the picture perfect, make up on, hair perfect, beautiful runner who also makes it look so easy and whose race pictures could be published in magazines for the right reasons (I refer you to my gallery … I am not one of these runners either)

There is the tracksuit bottom and hoody runner, the addicted to running clothing and every new pair of trainers runners (I am definately this one) the group of girls runner, the I want to lose weight runner! The fast runner, the slow bimble runner, the 5k focused runner, the madly in love with the marathon runner!

So many categories! But what I love about most runners … We all run! We all love it (I love it after its finished usually) and no matter whether we are a 5k slow, group of girls, tracksuit bottom
Runner or an elite athlete running 5 minute miles …. A run is a run!!!


So what’s my point???

I found a new type of runner today!! The I HATE RUNNING IN THE MORNING RUNNER!!!


I wish I could be dedicated to wake at 4am eat my porridge and go back to bed for an hour before rising at 0630 to pound the pavement! The truth is …. I hate mornings!

You wake up, everything is aches, your mouth is dry and your eyes won’t open! I struggle to walk downstairs never mind make my legs move faster than a shuffle!

I am up usually at 0530 most days to get out to work …. Why on earth would I want to do this on my days off! So today I slept in for parkrun and opted for a 5 miler at 0830! And once it was done I felt great and set me up for the day!

So …. THE PLAN!!

I don’t think ill ever be a 4am porridge eater – but I think I might make more of an effort to pull myself out of bed in the future! Whilst I’m lying in bed …. Someone else is out there running!

Love Sandie xxxxx

End of Week 4!!!


One page down…..

So this is 4 weeks worth of my training programme for Milton Keynes …. It is one page out of 4.5!

As i crossed off that 12 miler – last square at the end I breathed a sigh of relief, feeling the sense if achievement – and then I looked at the other 3.5 pages I have still to get through! But that’s what I do it for …. The feeling I get when I have achieved so much … With the drive to continue in what is still to come!!

So week 4!!!

This week was an “easy” week! My programme was developed for me by a very good friend and my instruction for this week was … “only run the runs … Do no more” YES!!!! I get an extra days rest and BOY DID I LOVE IT!!

So Monday … recovery run!! 3.5 miles done at a nice easy 11:00 minutes per mile! As I set out thinking “how i love an easy run” this thought quickly changed to …. “Recovery runs are the hardest of the week”. Legs like lead!!

Tuesday speed training with my running club! It was PAINFULL! We did 1km laps! Up to 1km back for 1km – so I did 4 in total! When added onto the warm up and cool down it turned out around 4 miles at an average pace of 8:55! Which I was pretty happy with as my legs still felt heavy!

Wednesday .. REST REST REST! Although I did cheat a little bit from my orders and did some strength and core! Squat! squat! squat!

Thursday …. club night! Our normal 10km route and I planned to take it easy at a nice 10:00 min/mile! Well I got chatting checked the Garmin which displayed at nice 9:10! We finished in 9:30 average and I felt super pleased …. Proof I’m getting quicker!

Friday ….. Rest .. And Rest I did!

Saturday …. Oxford parkrun … My current nemesis! BUT I DID IT! It wasn’t a PB but I got it back under 29 minutes … At a nice …. 28:59! Ha ha! Considering the conditions are still mud bath central I was happy!


Pleased to say these are the old trainers … I couldn’t bare putting the new ones through it!

And finally …. Sunday … Long run day! All hyped up ready for 12 miles! Started off myself doing 2 miles before meeting the girls and doing 8 followed by 2 home! And in true English style at the minute … It was raining! Not just a drizzle … TORRENTIAL RAIN … And wind! My face was screwed up and I looked awful but the truth is …. I loved it! I couldn’t help run with my shoulders back and chest out with pride …. Knowing that even though the conditions were awful …. I was out there doing it! And all completed in a 10:20 average pace!

If I keep that pace up over training …. I am going to smash this 4 hour 30 minutes!!

Summary… I am loving training for this marathon! I feel like I have 1 under my belt so I know I can do the distance and I know the pain and emotion to come! I just feel like I am taking it in my stride and the miles will come! I feel relaxed about the whole thing!

Remind me if this is March/April – when it really kicks in!!

Happy running all!!