Brampton to Carlisle Race Recap

Well hello there! Yep – I’m back. Did you miss me? Yeah, I bet you did.


It’s been more than a week since my last post, and the only excuse I have is that I have been busy working hard and playing hard. So…. that’s a crap excuse, and I’m sorry guys. But fear not: here is a race recap from the 10 mile Brampton to Carlisle race I did two Sundays ago!


Thanks to a confusion in dates, resulting in a late night bus home from Newcastle the night before, and a certain time of the month (sorry guys, TMI?), I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like crap less than enthused about this race. The good thing was that, as it is about 2 hours from Durham, my running group organised a bus to take everyone there and back. So all I had to do that morning was get to the bus stop on time, which I could manage, and then chill out. Plus, I do love a good team bus trip.


The day itself was perfect for running. The morning started with low fog which draped itself just below the trees, but the sun soon burned it off to leave only a crisp and chilly day covered by blue skies. The race was very low key, which suited me fine: we were kind of ushered into the road, and a tape sort of penned us in, a gun went off, and we all started running – there was no ‘official’ start line that I could see.


Not sure if bus photos really convey what it actually looked like...

Not sure if bus photos really convey what it actually looked like…

I had heard this route was great for personal bests, and even though I hadn’t woken up in a race-day mindset, I forced myself into one as soon as we started. The route started in a small town called Brampton and took us to Carlisle by way of A-roads (did the race name Brampton to Carlisle give that away?). I must say, for a road race, this route was gorgeous. The roads weren’t too wide, and led us through the country side where there were plenty green fields, black tree trunks with golden Autumn leaves, and lots of sheep. I love running by sheep! They look so bemused at seeing hundreds of humans running past them aimlessly. Kind of like how we look when we see them run.

For some reason I love starting line pics. Please enjoy the starting line for the Brampton to Carlisle race!

For some reason I love starting line pics. Please enjoy the starting line for the Brampton to Carlisle race!


For the most part, the route was flat or downhill, and I running a steady average pace of 7:30 min/mile. Towards the end, there were some gentle inclines up, and by that time I was tiring. I hit low points at mile 4 and mile 8 when I was thinking ‘what the hell am I doing? How did I ever think this was fun? Is this really what I have chosen to do on a Sunday morning?’.


But in miles 3, 6,7, 9 and 10 I was thinking ‘This is amazing. Amazing! Look at that countryside! Look at those sheep! How fast am I running? Good, I can keep this pace up. Keep it up. This is the last race of the year, finish strong. Strong, I tell you! You’re an independent woman running to Carlisle on a Sunday morning for fun, Goddammit, and you’re proud!’ So, the conclusion from this little personal journey is that the highs outweigh the lows (again), and I’ll be running more races in the near future.


This is what it was like. Absolutely gorgeous running conditions.

This is what it was like. Absolutely gorgeous running conditions.


The end was fantastic because, after what felt like a never-ending gentle incline (the cruellest of inclines) there was a fabulous downhill where you could really pick up speed. By the start of mile 10, my calf muscles were crying and it was hard to push to go faster, so it was ace to have that downhill and finish feeling like a hero.  I finished in 1:15:15, the second lady from my club, and got a PB not only for the 10 mile but for the 10k distance too.


I want to give a special shout out to one lady in our club: she fell over in mile 1, and really badly grazed both her knees and hands to the point that blood was pouring down her legs. Mile 1! Wouldn’t you be heartbroken? The race stewards told her there were medics at the end, and that they could either give her a lift or she could run there. And what did she choose? She ran. She ran the rest of the race – pretty much the whole 10 miles – whilst injured. I cannot imagine what strength that must have needed. To top it off, she finished with a smile, and didn’t stop smiling even when she admitted she was in loads of pain on the way home. Full respect to her – the real hero of the day!


And the best bit was that afterwards, we all got back on our bus and stopped off for lunch on the way home. We had a huge roast dinner, complete with chocolate cake, eton mess and berries for desert. It was my first proper team outing of this kind with the Elvet Striders (who do the bus + lunch combo a lot for races), and it was so nice to speak with people I’ve not met before and get to know them.


This race was a fabulous way to end my 2014 races (unless I sign up for another sneaky event). It had beauty, speed, good company, good food, a team bus trip and heroes. Can you really ask for more from a race?!


Ellie B

Marathon Training Week 13

Week 13! On the homestretch now! Still a fan of running too which is great!

I feel like I’ve become consumed by my training in the last few weeks. Consumed in a good way I like to think. Most people would call it taking your training seriously. It’s not that I wasn’t before….I am just approaching it more like a job at the moment. So what exactly do I need to get done in each session to achieve my goals. As opposed to my usual approach of ‘try hard’ and see what happens. This week felt good….I had tired legs but still managed to get in all my times for each session. Which has given me some confidence. And my training partner Rick came back from a small injury. Nice to have someone to run with.

  • Tuesday – Mile Repeats

We haven’t done mile repeats in a while so I was curious to see how I would do. I kept 4 of them under my goal time…the 4th one killed me! I thought I was going to get sick with effort yet it was the slowest. Go figure! I will blame the wind. J

Warm Up – 1.9km

5 * 1mile Intervals – (times is pace per km)

  • 4.03
  • 4.03
  • 4.02
  • 4.10
  • 4.01

Cool down – 1.3km

  • Wednesday – 18km Endurance Run @ 5.09km

This was probably the hardest run of the week. It’s hard to know what exactly caused it but I didn’t eat before I left and felt so weak by the end. Maybe just a hard day at the office? But I was glad when we were finished. And even more glad that 5 clubmates chose to get up at 6am to run with me.

  • Thursday – Km Repeats

I was a bit worried about this workout on Wednesday night. I spent a good 45 minutes trying to convince myself I was ill as I was so tried. I just wanted to sleep forever. And I had spoken with my club coach about my goal pace and I knew it was going to be challenging. When my alarm went off there was a few minutes of hesitation. But I had a think and put it into perspective. And asked what would Mo and Pre do? So yeah, just get up girl.

Warm Up – 3.6km

6 * 1km sprints (times are pace per km)

  • 4.04
  • 4.00
  • 3.53
  • 3.59
  • 3.51
  • 3.51

Cool down – 3.4km

This was a tough tough session. I was promised a hug if I could do them under 4.00 so got 5/6 of a hug. The last 300m coach jumped in and I tried to catch him…..I couldn’t but came close to puking so I tried.

  • Friday – Recovery Run 5km, 5.37 pace.
  • Saturday – 29km with 23km @ MP

I think I spent all week nervous about this run! I don’t know what gets into my head sometimes but I tend to doubt myself a lot. We had chatted about this and aimed for my MP to be 4.40….which I thought I hadn’t a hope of achieving. Rick was back running with us so I knew I had some company which always helps. But I was up to 90 thinking I would struggle a lot. Well after all that it went fine….what is that saying about worrying being like a rocking chair? I need to remember that next time.

We started off with a slow 3km to warm up. There was a lightning storm when we started so we were just waiting for the storm to hit. And hit it did – the rain was torrential! But in that “it’s amazing and I feel alive’ kind of way. We kept an average pace for the following 23km at 4.37km and eased up again for the final 3. I felt great after for proving to myself I could do it. We were like rats when we finished. But happy rats. J

I didn’t feel too tired for the day…mainly because it involved eating the best homemade jalfreizi, watching dvds and Franman’s delight in discovering TapKing.

  • Sunday – Recovery Run 6km, 5.40

I am getting way better at slowing these down. And just enjoying a nice slow run for what it is.

So I finished up the week with 83km…..a km less than last week. Do I smell taper???

Go wish Ellie good luck today – she is prepping for a ½ marathon PR!

How do you prepare for a long run?

Anyone who has trained for a longer race knows how the routine you have before a long run is so important. If you don’t have the right type of bread, your favourite socks you know you are destined for a crappy run. I’m always interested in seeing how other people prepare….what meal works for them, what gels they take. Do you stretch before?

I actually quite like the routine – as it is in essence a series of meals. Here is how mine goes.

Night Before:

Pasta is my dinner of choice. However it is usually determined by whatever we have. Thankfully today there were the makings of a spag bol so I demolished a massive plate of that. We normally eat wholegrain pasta but I find the white type easier when running. Are we the only people to put any and every kind of veg we have in spaghetti blognaise? I bet there are Italians mortified for me by that picture.

This is always followed by some chocolate. I don’t drink so I get my empty calories from chocolate. Wait wait.…..let’s be honest here. This isn’t a Friday night thing but an everynight thing. However I feel less guilty about it on a Friday. My bar of choice is a Kit Kat Chunky……it takes a good 2-3 seconds to bite through the outer layer. It’s bliss. What your glass after red is to you Kit Kat chunky is to me.

Lay out my clothes for the next day…..I usually check the weather and see if it is one of the 5 Saturdays that it will rain in Perth. If so I search endlessly for a beanie and never find one and have to borrow one of Franmans. If not shorts and tshirt it is. I’m a fan of colourful running gear but trying to tone it down lately as everyone always comments on what I wear.

We’re traditionalists in our household and like to watch a good old detective drama on a Friday night. Lately it’s been Wallender. The crime drama set in the part of Sweden where everyone speaks English.

Saturday Morning

I usually set my alarm for about 5.25 if we are running at 6. If I wake up at 5.20 I give myself a silent high 5….if not I try and get my alarm turned off as quickly as possible. 5.25 is early on a Saturday if you aren’t a runner.

After getting dressed I make some breakfast – toast and jam – and drink some water. I would love to be able to drink coffee but my stomach wouldn’t thank me later. On a side note, I am on day 3 of no coffee…..I am seeing if I can go off it and take some caffeine pills the morning off the race. Votes – is that a really stupid decision? Or an amazingly inspired one?

Anyway, I also take some Beta – Alanine. I spoke about this before but it is meant to help delay muscle fatigue….I think it works so I take it. It doesn’t affect me negatively so why not!

I grab my garmin and I am out of here at 5.50. Oh, I always take some gels as well. I’m currently going through a box of Gu Lime Sublime. The 5th week of them is not so sublime.

Saturday Morning Post Run

Our club all starts at different times with the aim of finishing at the same time. After the run we all head back to our Wondercoach’s house for coffee – from his commercial coffee machine! – Protein shakes, stretching and debriefs. This is the best part; seeing everyone in the same boat and hearing how everyone did. There is usually someone who has ran the furthest they ever had and OMG can’t believe it….that’s always great to see. Another one hooked!

After a while I start to seize up so head home and have the longest hottest shower, make some porridge and watch some quality TV.

I imagine this is pretty similar to what thousands of runners all over the world do. But whatever you do make it fun!




This morning we had Yasso 800’s – my first time doing this workout. You can read a detailed description here but essentially they are a “predictor session”. And a very difficult predictor at that! I am shattered all day.

The name “Yasso” comes from Bart Yasso, the chief running officer at Runner’s World magazine, who popularized this workout. Here’s how to do Yasso 800s:

  • Take your marathon goal time in hours/minutes and convert this to minutes/seconds. For example, if your marathon goal is 3 hours and 10 minutes then convert that to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • Try to run 800 meters in your converted time (3:10 in this example).
  • Repeat 10 times at this same pace. So you need to make sure you don’t go out too fast to keep your pace consistent.
  • Run an active recovery for the same time (here 3:10) between each 800M
  • Simple!

 So my goal is 3.25. Which means I ran:

  • 800M in 3.25
  • Recovery for 3.25 (as slow as you like)
  • Repeat for 10 times.

 You obviously need to take it with a pinch of salt but my coach rates it. We used today as a base session to see where we were and will do it again 3 weeks out. Here are my laps from this morning. So I’m on track but not there yet!

 It’s a really tough session….I have been so tired and hungry all day! But they are the good ‘uns! 

I finally succumbed and bought some running gloves yesterday! It was 2 degrees on Saturday morning when we set off and my hands were numb until lunch time! It took me like 3 minutes to open the car door! I am that European person in Australia scoffing at all the aussies in their winter gear in 16 degrees. That’s Celsius. So my club compadres enjoyed laughing at me in my new gloves this morning. I got these ones in Lululemon…..I worship at the altar of Lululemon. My bank balance is not as big a fan. 

Guess which picture I took?

Franman thinks they look like washing up gloves…….he may have a point. The fact that they are TouchScreen is handy though……and obviously worth the extra coin.

I have a 17km Medium Long Run (4.45-5.15 pace) at 6am tomorrow; so just dying for that.  Thankfully I am doing it with a few of the club members so won’t be as bad as solo. Looking forward to a lie in (until 7am!!!) on Friday. J

I wish I had read some of this in my 20’s 


Training Update & Nike Training App

My motivation for running has really lagged these last 2 weeks….just when I think “OMG I like totally love running like” it turns around and bites me in the ass. A bit of reality never killed anyone I suppose. It’s not always easy to get up but as long as I do that is all that counts. This image sums up my mood perfectly – I am always pumped 20 minutes in!

I went to visit the physio last week and it went well. Nothing seriously wrong with me luckily. I have been experiencing a few knee twinges and I want to make sure I nip it in the bud. It was an expected diagnosis of building up the strength in my legs. When you run a lot certain muscles get very strong however others surrounding these don’t. This can cause a lot of issues with your ITB bands, knees and so on. When people have issues with their knees it is usually caused by weak hips, glutes etc. (Please excuse this awful description…it makes sense in my head) So I was prescribed exercises to activate my hips which I need to do twice a day. One legged squats, clams and things like that.

I went back yesterday and all is looking good….keep doing the exercises and add in some strength training ones 3 times a week.

I am going to use the Nike Training App on my phone for this – if you haven’t downloaded this free app go and do it now. Are you back? Hands down this is one of the best apps I have seen in any category for my phone. It basically is a PT in your phone. You can select workouts by goal and level. So you might select the “Get Toned” or “Get Lean” areas. In each area you can then drill down by ability and time.


Each workout offers a number of different exercises which you repeat as a circuit. You can play your own music and a voice instructs you how to do the exercise encourages you and makes it feel personal. You can pause to see the exercise as a video.



As you do more workouts you unlock rewards. I just unlocked a legs circuit from Paula Radcliffe and a strength circuit from Kara Goucher. I love both of these women and if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me.

 You need basic equipment like dumbbells so you can do them at home. I do them in my sitting room in front of the Real Housewives. I cannot recommend this app enough. I am giving it the maximum 5* and I am a fussy madam. Oh, and even though the app is aimed at women my husband rates it too. And he’s a fussy mister.

I’m at the end of the 4th week on my marathon plan. So I am passed the initial excitement of a shiny glossy plan and am in the bla “get up, train, work, eat” and repeat. J

  • Sunday – 6km Recovery Run
  • Monday – Rest & Legs Workout
  • Tuesday – I took a day off as my knee felt funny.
  • Wednesday – 8km Medium Long Run
  • Thursday – Progression Run
  • Friday – Rest Day
  • Saturday – 24km Long Run with a 16km Shift

The progression run works like this. 1km Warm up. Drop to a pace that is about 20 seconds faster than your marathon pace and run for 2km. Drop 10 seconds of that pace every 2km. Repeat for a total of 12km. We started at 5.10 which meant that we would do 5.00, 4.50, 4.40, 4.30 and 4.20. It’s hard to stick to the pace exactly as you have to keep an eye on your watch all the time. However we ended up pretty consistent except for the last 2 km which were at 4.16 and 4.19. The last 4km are very hard but it’s worth it!

The Long Run had a shift this week. A shift is basically stepping up the pace in a run for a defined section at a defined pace. My long run pace is set at 4.55-5.25. My (hoped for) marathon pace is 4.48. My coach has us doing the shift at MP. It’s hard but it gets your body used to working at your desired pace. We did 5km at long run pace, 16km at MP and then the last 3 at long run pace. I didn’t do these shifts last year so will be interesting to see if they work! I ran with 4 others from the club which always makes it go easier. It was freezing (note to self, buy gloves!) and dark when we started so it’s nice to have company!

Pitch Dark at 6am

We spent the last 5km talking about what we were going to eat for the day. I decided upon Grill’d burger bar and Franman was more than happy to indulge me after his long bike ride.

What do you do for strength training? How do you cope with flagging motivation? I’d really appreciate some insight!!

Have a good one.