First Half-Marathon (31/03/19)

We did it!

The night before, I was so nervous I didn’t want to do anything at all.  I went to bed early knowing I would be losing an hour’s sleep as the clocks were due to go forward for British spring time.  I set my alarm for 6 a.m to allow time for a sensible breakfast (porridge and banana with a dollop of natural cashew butter) and to get the kids organised for my mum and dad who were bringing the kids to watch us, along with my sister and my niece.  On race day, excitement took over. I just wanted to go and do it and we did!

It was challenging because although I have ran the distance before, I ran it on my own and allowed a couple of pauses for photo opportunities.  There was none of that for the real thing.  We kept up a constant pace.  Hubby and I crossed the line together (along with the kids) with a chip time of 2 hours and 28 minutes.  My fastest practice was 2 hours 20 mins but taking into account the slow start (while the people in front crossed the starting line) I think this could have been my fastest effort.  The jelly legs and achy body for the two days after was certainly worth it.

I loved the sense of community spirit the race brought with it.  People lined the streets of every town we ran through. We high-fived kids, people handed out jelly sweets and others cheered with such gusto that it was hard to believe they didn’t know you personally.  We even passed a couple of women with a horn and some bells.  It was also nice to see some familiar faces along the way.  A special mention should be given to our friends who gathered to cheer us on (loudest crowd, I’m proud to say) and even decorated the front of the house for the occasion.


I expected to feel total elation after the race, a heightened runners high but that didn’t seem to be the case.  While people told us they were proud of us for doing it, I felt that I was more proud to be on the receiving end of all the love and support than to have been proud of myself for doing it.  I’m glad I did it and I wouldn’t be put off doing it again.  The community spirit was one of the best things about it though of course I am grateful to my feet for carrying me 13.1 miles.

Another thing of note is the amount of money we raised for charity.  We chose to run for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and at last check, we had raised £535.  I was blown away by the support and generosity of people for this charity.

You can read more about SAMH and the work they do here.

If you would like to sponsor us, the page is still live and you can do so here.

Click here for info about Alloa Half Marathon.






February 2019

The highlight of January was my first practice half-marathon on 27th. I set off only half believing I could do it but I did and with that came a boost in confidence – I did it and I would do it again. I vowed to have another practice run in February before the real deal on 31 March and this time I was going to be faster.

24 February 2019

And I was. I was approximately 20 minutes faster. Having the knowledge I could do it certainly helped. I didn’t go quite as easy on myself and I wasn’t constantly checking Strava to see how far I had ran.

I noticed more of my surroundings this time round too. It was a misty morning so I had a brief pause to take a couple of hill pics:



It was also a good day for wildlife and I spotted grey squirrels, lots of swans, geese (flying overhead), a sparrow hawk (flying overhead with its breakfast in its beak!) a (dead) owl and surprisingly, in a sparse area of greenery, some beautiful birds which I later identified as wagtails.

Pied Wagtail

Now unable to find the owner of photo for credit but thank you!

Grey Wagtail

Photo credit – Julia Trafford – blog

In the days that followed, I spoke with people who had ran the Alloa Half Marathon before and realised I had been running the wrong practice route – a slightly more difficult version. I had been running up a hill unnecessarily. The real route has an extra bit of block to run round rather than a hill so that’s a bonus, being able to stay at a consistent speed on the flat but then again, I won’t get to pick up speed by running down the other side of the hill!

Another notable run in February

A short run up (part of)the winding path to Myreton in the Ochil hills one fresh Sunday morning. I was treated to this view as a reward 😊

Panoramic shot of Menstrie

Birdseye view of Menstrie

Wallace Monument, Stirling in the distance

Looking ahead to March and the plan is simply to run as much as I can. There will be no more 13.1 mile runs until 31 March but I will squeeze in as many small runs as I can.

My husband and I chose to run the Alloa Half Marathon on behalf of SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and would welcome any donations.

Please sponsor us here.

Diet and hydration will also continue to be a primary consideration, as I work towards improving my fitness.

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January 2019

I ended 2018 unhappy with how I had treated my body and mind in 2018.  Towards the end of the year, I was happier in general (work-related stress had gone) but I knew that I had yet again failed to shift the excess weight that I have been (half-heartedly, I now admit) trying to get rid of for years.  Each year, I added on a little more until by the end of 2018, I had set another new record for being the heaviest I had ever been.  I vowed not to beat myself up over it but knowing that I had found something I loved doing, I resolved to be fitter and healthier in 2019.

I decided to give up alcohol for 3 months while in training for my first half-marathon.  As it happened, I had my last drink on 28 December.  I was designated driver at Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) simply because my husband drove last time round but it made it easier to start the new year feeling fresh.  I woke on the 1st of January and went for my first run.  On 2nd January, I did the same again.  I had started as I meant to go on.  Some weeks it’s difficult to plan runs because my husband’s work finishing time is never the same from one day to the next but I averaged two a week in January.  I have been consistent and I am motivated to continue in this way.  I have joined a gym – just so I have a back-up option in case snow stops me running outside.  I can’t be put off as easily this time round.  I have also been doing HIIT workouts, trampoline workouts, indoor running and yoga if I am not able to get out.  I love this feeling of motivation and determination to become the fittest, healthiest version of myself.  My daughter also likes to join in at home!

The highlight of the month was the practice half-marathon I ran on 27th January.  I doubted I could do it.  I thought I could but I didn’t know for sure, having never ran as far as that before.  9 miles is the furthest I had ran before.  My focus was on completing it.  I knew I wasn’t going to be fast and it took me around 2.5 hours to run 13.1 miles.  It wasn’t easy (I had the wind in my face for approximately 5 miles) but I did it.  I DID IT. Because I know I have done it once, I know I can do it again.  I plan to run at least one more practice half-marathon before 31 March and I want to shave some time off – 30 minutes if possible.

I’m looking forward to challenging myself again.  Small challenges achieved = small wins = big feeling of satisfaction 🙂




Why I Run

Sick of piling on weight over the years and yo-yo dieting to no real effect, in early 2018, I decided I would take up running.  I found the gym boring and exercise classes only held my interest short-term.  It was easy to find excuses not to go.  I admit, I started running as a new way to lose weight.  I thought it might be torture but maybe I deserved to be tortured.  After all, I hadn’t been looking after my body over the years.  It was my own fault I was overweight.  If I had to suffer to slim down, so be it.

I started strong in 2018 but suffered a few set backs.  I talk about this in more detail in my post “Overview – 2018” but the gist is, I ended the year heavier than I started, not super slim and fit as I had hoped.  However, it’s a new year and I have a renewed enthusiasm for running.  I never talk myself out of a run.  I always want to go and I always enjoy it.  I have found a new love.  If you have to find excuses not to do something, it’s not for you.  Find something you love.  That’s half the battle.  Today, weight loss is not my priority.  I run because I want to.  Weight loss is a positive side effect but it’s not my focus.  I love the fresh air, the greenery and scenery (I live near hills) and I love the way I feel when I have exercised.  It has huge mental benefits as well as physical.  I’m glad I chose to start, even if my intentions were wrong in the beginning.  I’ll never stop now I’ve started.  Well, until my legs give in – decades down the line, I hope!