An academic in (running) tights

Blogs on education and running: My two passions

Brooks Ravenna 8

I received* some Brooks Ravenna 8 to test. Now I loved the Glycerin 13 and 14 but admittedly I knew nothing of the Ravenna. I decided not to research anything of this shoe before testing it. All I could tell you at the start was Continue reading “Brooks Ravenna 8”


Dukeries 40 and what next?

This year I blogged about training for Paris Marathon in April. If you’ve seen my blogs, you know it didn’t go to plan, but overall I was happy with my finish.

So what’s been happening since? Well I ran another marathon – Newcastle Way Trail marathon 6 days after Paris Continue reading “Dukeries 40 and what next?”

Don’t tell me who to vote for

Dont tell me who to vote for.

This will be my only political based rant (for this year). 

Don’t tell me who to vote for. Telling me who to vote for, tells me you have no faith in my ability to decide for myself. That somehow, I’ve lost the ability to look at party views and past performances. That I’m incapable of independent thought and that I should be controlled by your views. 

K**b off

I fully support your passion for a party. Passion is a wonderful gift. But do not confuse demands with passion. If you truly believe that we are incapable of deciding for ourselves then educate….not dictate. 

Check your facts, share your facts. Show others how to do the same. Collectively, we could show all political parties we are capable of shifting through the shit and finding the facts, that we are capable of independent, informed thought. 

We are capable of so much more but telling someone what to do …..well, to me that feels like a ‘nanny state’. 

I’m too old for that shit.

Two marathons, trail running and inner peace

It’s been 6 days since Paris marathon. If you read my race report you would have seen it broke me. So 5 days of rest and recovery followed.

Then Newcastle Way trail marathon was today. I signed up to this last year and I had no idea if I could even complete half of it!

So 8am at the Ash Inn at Mow Cop I set off on the trail. The plan – to run at a pace that felt right for my legs. And that’s exactly what I did. Unfortunately this also meant leaving my club runners behind. But I needed to keep the legs turning over at the right pace. 

Within the 1st mile I was so piggin’ happy! It felt like I was back home, on the trails, away from the pavements. Life felt good. I was a little nervous about the trail as this was my 1st proper trail run since spraining my ankle back in early December. Thankfully, all was well. 

The route was a mix of fields, lanes, woodland with a evil Lane just past the Swan with Two Necks (around mile 15?). I hated this Lane last year! This year it felt a lot easier. In fact the whole route felt a lot easier. 

So I carried on plodding along, running with Steve, a fellow TT and Trenthamer. By the time we reached the end of the lane I was feeling good. I knew the end was only about 12 or so km away. I could have quite happily picked up the pace. My legs felt loose, I had energy. But I didn’t pick up the pace.

I carried on running with Steve. If I’d have picked up the pace, I may have ended up running on my own and I certainly wouldn’t have felt good about leaving behind my running partner. So we carried on together. I did run off ahead in the last few hundred metres. I had to have that sprint finish. Never not had one yet. 

And I crossed the line with a time of 5:51 which puts me in around mid-field. 

This wasn’t an easy race. After all its a marathon! It has about 100 stiles and over 2000 feet of gain. But it’s certainly the easiest trail marathon I’ve done. Comparatively flat. And it’s 26.2 miles. Trust me, that’s really unusual for a trail marathon. My last trail marathon was 32 miles  (no it’s not an ultra). So relatively speaking, it’s a nice easy one to do. 

Couple that with the easy pace of 13mm and good cool weather, I finished feeling I could have carried on.

Which was a massive relief.

These last few months I’ve really questioned my running ability. Injuries, illness and sporadic training. I didn’t think I had any endurance in me. But finishing this race fully capable of running more has put a lot of fears to rest. 

I feel more positive about entering my next phase of training in preparation for Lakes in a Day. 

And I’m back on the trails. I intend to stay there.

Paris Marathon: 12 weeks of training.

Paris Marathon took place on Sunday 9th April at approximately 9.15am for the 4 hour wave runners. That would be me. If you have read my past weekly posts, you’d know that my training has not gone smoothly – namely due to sprained ankle recovery, a couple of infections and antibiotics…blah, blah, blah. The list goes on.

Based on everything that had happened over the 12 weeks, I revised my original goals of 3.50/4.00/4.10 to getting close to my Manchester Marathon time of 4:23. Deep down I still hoped for something between 4-4:10. After all, I had come off the antibiotics a few days prior to the marathon and I felt OK. I felt optimistic! Continue reading “Paris Marathon: 12 weeks of training.”

Warts n all: Week 11/12 of 12

If you read week 10 then you’d know that week 11 may not have been to good. Fate stepped in yet again and gave me a jaw infection. Seriously, who gets a jaw infection?? 

Week 11, I should gave done 5 shorter runs but with the same intensity as previous weeks. That didn’t happen.  If you’ve ever had toothache….imagine that but across the whole lower jaw. This meant no walking let alone running! (Or sleeping and eating).

So I entered the final week of Paris marathon training…still on antibiotics and feeling pretty crap. 

I managed 4×2 min sprints as a leg loosener but that’s it. 

But you know what? I didn’t care. I felt ok revising my initial goal, knowing there’d probably be no pb. Life happens. Scrap that…shit happens and sometimes it’s a headwind.

So reflecting back on the 12 weeks:

I entered training with a sprained ankle, I’ve had two infections (chest and jaw), I’ve had a week of heart complications, work kicked off, I lost my passport, my doctor wouldnt sign my form (probably not surprising), my eurostar tickets got canceled due to a system glitch and my cat ran off meaning no cattery services over Paris. 


Now the tears from the cat trauma have stopped and a friend stepped in to look after my (stupid) cats, I’m a lot calmer. In fact, I don’t think I care anymore. I’m going to run this race,  get it over and done with and get back on those trails. Screw the time, screw the stress, screw all that negative crap. 

In the words of a wise woman…..

Warts n All: week 10 of 12 marathon training

Well what a strange week it has been….scrap that……it hasn’t been strange, it’s been eventful in a non-eventful way. This week was about fine tuning and then tapering. So what happened? Students full of germs is what happened! This week Continue reading “Warts n All: week 10 of 12 marathon training”

Warts n all: wk 9 of 12 marathon training

This post is a lot later than anticipated. I’m already half way through week 10! But let’s ignore that for now. Week 9 was post Ironbridge Half marathon so this week was mainly race recovery with some tuneup sessions. Here is what I should have done:

  • Monday – rest
  • Tuesday – 40 mins easy
  • Wednesday – 60 mins with 30 min tempo @8 pace
  • Thursday – 40 min easy
  • Friday – 40 min easy
  • Saturday – rest
  • Sunday – 3.5 hours with 1h 15 min at faster pace

And here is what I actually did!

  • Monday – rest
  • Tuesday – 32 mins easy @9.41 pace
  • Wednesday – warm up with 28 min tempo @8.10 pace
  • Thursday – 5.4 miles @9.23 pace
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – 6.8 miles @11.29 pace
  • Sunday – 3.5 hours @10.40 pace (the running part)

Well the easy and tempo runs went well. If anything I think I went to easy on the tempo as it felt easy! Thursday’s run was my 1st run at my running club since I sprained my ankle over 3 months ago. I was petrified of being too slow but thankfully it was a short run at an easy pace so I didn’t slow any one down 😀 I still didn’t feel comfortable running in the dark – too paranoid about my ankle!

Saturday’s run was purely for my sister, Liz. She took up running in October and this was her first ever distance over 5 miles! She wanted to recce the Newcastle 10K route (Newcastle Staffs Athletic club road race). I was very proud to accompany her on this. And she smashed 10k in 1 hour 12 mins….at a conversational pace! We even survived the horrendous wind running up Black Bank. I think I need to up my game! 😀

Then came Sunday.

And oh boy, what a run that was!

I chose a new route along the Macclesfield Canal. I read up on the terrain and it said compacted trail/path. I thought it would be a good taster/practice for Paris as it has similar elevation and a few uneven bits. I even wore my road racing shoes….Oh how wrong was I!

It was 17 miles of mud. And not just any old mud, it was that slippy mud that clings to your shoes that only a blow torch or pick axe can remove. I spent more time slipping and falling then I did running! It took me 3.5 hours to run about 18 miles. 0.5 hours was spent walking through unrunnable sections. Not the best practice run for Paris. Yes I do realise that as soon as I hit the mud I should have stopped and went on my usual Mow Cop route….only 1 mile away. Especially as I was wearing my road racing shoes. But I kept thinking ‘it’ll get better, it can’t be all like this’. Then there comes a point to which you’re committed to the route and you stick with it.

Even though this was only 18 miles, my goodness did my glutes ache after this! This should have been at least 22 miles of decent running based on the time stated on my plan so I have no idea what impact this will have on the quality of my training. If nothing else, I got a good ass muscle workout 😉



Warts n all: Wk 8 of 12 of marathon training

So the end of week 8 included a half marathon which was supposed to provide an idea on how my marathon performance was going to go and to practice race conditions. The target set for me was not met. Here Continue reading “Warts n all: Wk 8 of 12 of marathon training”

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