Application to the Club

The Marathon. 26.2 miles of endurance, pain, elation and toughness.


I’ve been running for 10 years now, and haven’t been tempted by the marathon. It’s too far. The training interferes with Real Life too much. 4 hours is such a long time to consider running. I’m too soft to do it.


But …. recently…. I can feel it’s call…. Last year was my first half marathon, which was a huge milestone for me. This year I’ve done three, and loved them: the distance is manageable, it’s a real challenge but is over in 2 hours so not too time-consuming, and at the end I am still awake enough go to the pub with everyone else. Unlike the marathon, after which I think I’d need to go to bed for a week.


Still. Now that I’ve got my head around the half, I’m looking for the next milestone. And I’ve seen how Gilly’s training regime really helped her develop as a runner (did you see her time?! Amazing). And this weekend has seen some amazing performances from the NYC marathon runners, which has been celebrated on Twitter. And so it should: NYC marathon is definitely something to celebrate.


Plus, as Gilly pointed out, even Oprah has done a marathon. I know that she has magical powers and can actually achieve anything she wants, but something tells me that even she might have had some serious training before she tackled the Big 26.2.


So, basically, I’ve submitted my application to join the Marathon Club: last night I entered the Edinburgh marathon. Right now I’m feeling a little daunted and intimidated, and not even convinced that it’s actually real.



What changed was the realisation that unless I actually did a marathon, it would always be the thing I have yet to tackle. Not that what I’ve done before isn’t valid – sometimes the marathon is portrayed as the only distance worth tackling, but I don’t feel that way. For me, it’s more about pride: to stop being a wimp and go and do it. Other people do, so why not me?!


I have spent a good many runs talking about marathons with people in my running club, and they all said the same thing: don’t do one until you want to do one, as the hardest thing is the mental commitment not only on the day, but also throughout the training period. No one else is going to run fartleks with you on a Tuesday morning, or smash out 17 miles on a Sunday.


So to do this, I have two things I need to get my head around: the commitment the training will require, and just what the heck training programs actually mean. Every time I see a program with things like  ‘5*400m tempo, 2ks steady, repeat’ I need to sit down and study it for about an hour before I know what needs to be done. Actually, that will be another benefit to this whole thing: being able to read Runner’s World and immediately understand the training segments. 


Does anyone have any first time marathon training schedules/secrets they’d recommend?


In other news, last week I was inspired by Stephanie’s lovely blog here, and bought myself four tins of pumpkin puree online. What followed was a week of baking, including pumpkin brownies, triple chocolate chip cookies (I add three types of choc chips), and banana loaf. I think I can almost confidently say I’m a good baker these days! It’s been a big week for my personal development.


Ellie B xxx



Personal Development: on the road and in the kitchen

This week kicked off my half marathon training properly. With four weeks to go, there was no better time to start, right? 😉 Back into the swing of everything, it was great to pound the pavements and challenge myself. Here’s a low down on the week:

  • Monday: 16kms @ 5:07 pace
  • Tuesday: Aerial yoga, including ab and core work
  • Wednesday: Gentler run with my running club for 9k @ 6:06 pace
  • Thursday: Ab and strength work at home
  • Friday: Intervals for 7.5kms @ 4.49 overall average pace

I am not the best at writing my training down in ‘official terms’. So you’ll just have to trust me that the intervals were good and hard 😉

Training by yourself is interesting because I’m kind of making it up as I go along. I’ve tried to follow training plans from magazines and websites, but never quite make it. I don’t reckon it’s a question of discipline, but maybe poor planning. So my approach for these halves in Sept is to do 1x long run, 1x intervals/hill training, 1x running club each week, with 2-3 cross training sessions in there too. It’s not as formal as a proper programme, and may not be as effective, but so far it’s fun: I can make it work with my schedule, and I feel in control rather than at the mercy of the dreaded training plan on my notice board!

The Tyne Bridge is ready for the Great North Run, and my race pack arrived this week! I’m really looking forward to it: last year was my first half marathon, and I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect all the spectator support, or the bonus of being part of a running club and seeing familiar faces on the way round course. Bring it on!!


In other news, we had a house warming BBQ for SB’s work friends last night. It forced us to get the last things done in our house – it was like an episode of Changing Rooms here on Friday and Saturday!

Now, I am an aspiring struggling baker. Despite trying my absolute hardest, my resume of baking is a bit of a train wreck: there was the ‘milk cake’ of September 2012 where I made a banana cake tasting purely of milk, and the ‘scrambled egg cake’ of April 2012 which was meant to be a victoria sponge, but was actually a solid block tasting of egg. I did make SB a birthday cake last year, which was successful. But that’s about it.

So: is 2013 be the year I turn this around? Or will I forever relegated to the shame of always buying deserts, and bringing up children who think that ‘home made’ means cookies made from a mixture in a box?

On Friday I set myself the challenge of making desert for the BBQ. With a lot of support and discussion with Gilly, I settled on a chocolate pavlova, and a lemon lime cheesecake. Hardly the most challenging of recipes you’d think, but there was a really high chance that either of them would end up tasting of egg white. Or feet. I’m like Rachel in that episode of Friends.

But……. SUCCESS!! I made two good deserts! No longer intimidated by mixing bowls, whisks and icing sugar, I stood tall yesterday, knowing I had turned an important corner. SB won’t have to fake enthusiasm for my cakes anymore. And my kids will know the pleasure of cracking an egg into a mixing bowl rather than just adding milk to powder. And when they’re older, I’ll open up a bakery/coffee shop, and be the most popular baker in Durham. Or even the UK.



Perhaps a good second step would be to try a recipe with flour – I think that’s when you can actually say you’ve baked something.

So that was my week: good runs and good baking. I think this week I can up the ante on my training and really push myself further, both in distance and drills. Stay tuned………..

Ellie B


Puddings galore

What a week; marathon training was intense, work was hard and we had to do a load of work on the house (we’re in the process of building a new house) I have been tired and stretched all week! So am in the need for a weekend of fun.

Tonight a galpal is having a few of us over for drinks and nibbles. Tomorrow morning I have my long run (26km at 6am) and I need to shop and prep as we are having Christmas in July on Sunday! Have you heard of Christmas in July?  I think it’s an Australian tradition – well we didn’t do it in Ireland. As the weather is the opposite here (that’s the actual scientific definition) it’s cold now so a great time to cook a full Christmas dinner. I imagine some “10 Pound Poms” brought it over on the boat.

10 pound

What’s been rocking my world this week? Besides cold weather running gear?

King of King: fistful of quarter. I saw this movie years ago and we caught it again on Foxtel. So funny!! Go rent it now! Or watch it here on youtube:  Speaking of movies I watched Argo last week – am I the last person to see this? Another thumbs up! It’s been a successful movie run of late…besides the 4 days late fees. Be cheaper to buy the dvd.

This pudding recipe! With our Christmas in July coming up I needed to make desserts….this always involves weeks of skype chats with my Mum. Many a cake was suggested and turned down. Being the festive season I knew I had to make a Christmassy dessert. I wanted to make a Christmas pudding but most of the ones I made growing up needed to sit for a month. This is a more modern version so you can serve it without the wait. Perfect! It is actually simmering away now….I had to stop myself eating the mixture it is so good! And the kitchen smells like Christmas. Even if it’s not Christmas where you are make it! I’ll serve it with homemade custard and a boozy toffee sauce.



I am making this Martha Stewart passion fruit cheesecake also – in my head this is a ‘light’ dessert as it has fruit. So perfect alongside a heavy pudding.


Besides baking what else? Well this is possibly the coolest job ad ever? Or is it because  I love books?

I just realised I use the word cool far too much…..but how cool is this glow in the dark bike?


Sick of baby photos on Facebook? UnBabyMe comes to the rescue. Controversial but welcome! 

Anyone in the Uk? How good is The Apprentice? Who will win!!  Cakes Vs Collagen?


I am not too fussed – not too fond of either of them. But I never like any of them! It takes a certain type of person to enter and get that far. But how great to see a female final.

And let’s finish off with an interview with the ever cool Mindy Kaling  – man I love her tv show.

Have a great weekend,

Gilly P