XMiles monthly nutrition box review

Last month, while I was researching a number of energy gel brands and flavours, I stumbled across the XMiles endurance and sports nutrition website.

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What is XMiles?

XMiles is a “…vibrant young company formed by runners focused on nutrition products”. The company was launched in October 2014 and in December 2015 XMiles UK Ltd was founded.

As an independent endurance sports nutrition store, XMiles aims to “…support and be active in the running community.”

Now although I’m definitely not an endurance athlete, after the Great Birmingham Run I’m acutely aware that I need to find out if my temperamental digestive system can cope with energy gels.

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As I result I treated (?) myself to the XMiles November nutrition box (£13.99 and £2.95 P&P). Unfortunately, a couple of days later got struck down with norovirus. When the nutrition box arrived I felt so unwell, I decided to delay opening the box until I felt fully recovered.

So what’s in the November nutrition box?

As I don’t get out much at the moment, when I finally got around to opening my XMiles November nutrition box, I was really, really excited.

Upon opening the box – I think that it’s definitely worth noting that the box should fit through a standard letterbox – I spotted a handwritten postcard and some rather exciting looking goodies…

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So what was actually included in the XMiles November nutrition box? As I don’t want to write an essay, I’ve listed what was included:

  • Truestart – 5 single sachets of performance coffee
  • Clif Shot Gels – one Razz flavour 37G energy gel
  • Torq Energy Gel – one limited special edition Adnams ‘Ghost Ship Ale’ energy gel
  • Torq Energy Bar – one Raspberry and Apple flavour 45G energy bar
  • Tailwind Nutrition – one Green Tea Buzz flavour two serving stickpack
  • Saltstick Fastchews – one tube of Tart Orange flavour chewable electrolyte tablets
  • Sports Beans – one 28G pack of assorted sports beans with electrolytes
  • Mule Bare Energy Bars – one Peanut Punch flavour 40G energy bar

As I have a nut allergy and can’t stand the taste of coffee, I won’t be able to test a couple of these products. I will, however, be testing out the rest of the products during my Cambridge Half Marathon training. I’m particularly looking forward to finding out what the ‘Ghost Ship Ale’ energy gel actually tastes like!

What are the subscription options and prices?

Now that I’ve very briefly reviewed the contents of the XMiles monthly nutrition box, I need to answer a really important question:

How much do the XMiles monthly nutrition boxes cost?

Subscription boxes can be quite expensive to purchase every month. I personally couldn’t afford to sign up to a regular subscription at the moment even if I wanted to. The option to purchase a nutrition box as a one-off treat is, therefore, a great idea.

A monthly subscription costs £12.59 (this price includes a 10 per cent ‘subscribe and save’ discount) plus P&P.

A one-time purchase costs £13.99 plus P&P.

The Verdict

A major concern that I have with subscription boxes is that the items included in the box aren’t actually worth the cost of the subscription.

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I quickly calculated the value of the items included in the November XMiles nutrition box using prices I found online, and found that the contents of the box are worth more or less the same as the subscription which is really reassuring. All in all, I would be more than happy to recommend XMiles to other runners, and can’t wait to test out the contents of the box.

If you would like to find out more about XMiles and the wide range of products they stock – they sell nuun hydration tabs – take a look at their website.

**Full disclosure: I purchased the November XMiles nutrition box myself. I was not asked to review the nutrition box, and have not received any payment for this review. As always, all opinions, typos and dodgy photographs are my own**

November review

My least favourite month – November – lasted for what felt like months. As I said last month, I’m not a huge fan of the dark evenings, and I’m looking forward to getting the shortest day out of the way in December. Moving on… As you know, I’ve been producing monthly summaries of my training since the beginning of 2016. I’ve also shared some of my experiences as a running blogger currently based in Four Oaks, Birmingham.

What worked well? What – if any – were my running related achievements? What would I do differently given the opportunity? I then like to look ahead to the new month.

Sh*t literally happens 

After finally moving on from my Great Birmingham Run disappointment, I was really looking forward to getting back into some sort of running routine, and starting my training for the Cambridge Half in March. I went for an enjoyable run on Sunday 6th November and felt great – my running mojo had made a welcome return. Unfortunately, less than 12 hours later I started to feel unwell. Thanks to norovirus I was unable to run for almost two weeks.

So although November was a bit of a disappointment from a running perspective, I managed to complete the first couple of weeks of my Cambridge Half training plan.

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According to my Strava statistics I completed six training runs during November, covering a distance of approximately 18 kilometres. At least I was very well rested and niggle-free at the start of my latest training cycle😉

Running costs

November was a cheap month! Yesterday, I treated myself to a fleece (£26) and a running top (£10) in the Long Tall Sally sale. I also sold some of my unwanted running gear on eBay, including the reflective H&M running jacket that had been gathering dust for two years.

Blogging experiences

Once again, my blogging mojo was slightly intermittent. I was really looking forward to running and then reviewing my local MoRunning race in Sutton Park. Unfortunately, I was too unwell to make it to the start line. Even attempting to run was completely out of the question. I might rename this blog ‘The DNS Runner’.

I’ve now hopefully got my blogging arse into gear, and have made a list of blog posts and reviews I need to publish during December.

Looking forward to December

Now that I’ve *fingers crossed* had my share of winter bugs, I’m looking forward to cracking on with my Cambridge Half marathon training.

photoPerfect running conditions. Unfortunately, just walking up this hill left me feeling exhausted! 

I’m also looking forward to spending December working in retail and to spending time with my family and friends during Christmas. I just need to avoid spending all of the extra money I’m earning on Christmas presents for me!

How many races have you DNS this year? As I’d rather DNS than DNF, I’ve not made it to the start of four races.

Do you have any running or fitness related items on your Christmas wish list? I’d love either a Fitbit Charge 2 or Surge for Christmas.

My tips for cross country running

*Disclaimer* Please note that all of the below are my personal tips. Although I’m not a qualified running coach, I have first-hand experience of cross country running.

I thought that as it’s the cross country season, I’d share some of my personal hints and tips. Although my niggly knee means that I’m avoiding the mud this season, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a range of cross country races in the past. While I’m far from being a cross country running ‘expert’, I have learnt a lot along the way.

1. Take several pairs of running shoes with you. You probably won’t know the exact terrain and conditions of the course until the day of the race. Courses vary from day to day depending on how much rain there’s been. One day it might be 15mm spikes, another day trail shoes or even road shoes. If In doubt ask! Once you’ve decided which shoes to wear, do your laces up really tightly, if you don’t they will probably come off. For extra shoe security gaffer tape can be used to hold your shoes on your feet. This has the added bonus of preventing the laces getting covered in mud.

2. Take loads of clothes with you for before and after you’ve raced. If it’s cold gloves and a hat are a must! Don’t use your favourite/most expensive running bag, it will probably get muddy. I used to carry all of my gear in a black bin bag. I may have looked a bit daft but my clothes generally stayed dry and mud free while I was running. Remember that changing facilities will probably be limited or in some cases nonexistent.

3. Wear black or dark coloured socks! I once wore my ‘lucky’ white compression socks. I didn’t make the same mistake a second time.

4. Always wear short shorts. Legs are a lot easier to wash than running capris and running tights. Baby wipes are brilliant at getting rid of the large chunks of mud on your legs, arms, face etc…

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5. Take loads of food and drinks for afterwards. Cakes and other homemade snacks seem to be really popular. When it was really cold, I used to take a thermos flask filled with me. There are no goody bags at cross country races and food and drink facilities are often nonexistent.

6. Wear your GPS watch if you want to but don’t get too hung-up on pace and time. In my experience, cross country courses are generally challenging with large hills and middy sections. Your pace will be a lot slower than it is on the road. Also, don’t spend too much time comparing your times across different courses. Each course is unique and you can only really compare your time on the same course. Even then, if conditions are different, it can be relatively meaningless. Race against others!

7. Wash your shoes as soon as you can when you get home. I used to hose off the majority of the mud outside, and then use a bowl of soapy water and an old toothbrush. I would then give my shoes a final rinse in the shower. Once my shoes were clean, I would remove the spikes and put Vaseline in the spike holes. Never let your spikes go rusty, they can be really difficult to remove. I may have learnt this the hard way.

8. Finally, try to smile and have fun. Cross country running is challenging but it is also great fun!

Do you have any cross country running hints and tips to add to my quick guide?

Do you enjoy cross country running or do you avoid the mud?

Getting my mojo back with MoRunning

I completed the Great Birmingham Run in the middle of October and then completely lost my running mojo. My trainers sat in the corner gathering dust, and my enjoyable early morning runs felt like a distant memory. I needed a new running goal to help me rediscover my mojo.

As a result I was thrilled when I was recently contacted by an amazing organisation, MoRunning. MoRunning asked if I would be interested in promoting awareness for the Movember Foundation by taking part in a MoRunning race. I immediately agreed, and with the help of MoRunning entered my local MoRunning event in Sutton Park, Birmingham

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What is the Movember Foundation?

From humble beginnings back in 2003 the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million MoBros and MoSistas. The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, and helps to fund projects that address some of the largest health issues faced by men including testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. The Movember Foundation is independent of government funding, so can challenge the status quo and invest faster in what works. In 13 years the Movember Foundation has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world.

Take part in a MoRunning event this month!

Due to the popularity of Movember it is now pretty common for MoBros to grow their moustaches in November. Although as a MoSista I’m unable to grow a moustache, I can still get directly involved by pulling on my trainers and by completing a MoRun.

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This year there are 17 MoRunning events taking place between the 5th and 27th November so there’s sure to be a race near you:

Leeds Saturday – 5th November 10:00
Dublin – Saturday 5th November 10:00

Swinley Forest – Saturday 5th November 10:00
Belfast – Sunday 6th November 10:00
Newcastle – Sunday 6th November 14:00

Edinburgh – Saturday 12th November 10:00

Bristol – Saturday 12th November 10:00
Battersea Park – Sunday 13th November 10:00
Glasgow – Sunday 13th November 10:00

Cardiff – Sunday 13th November 11:10

Birmingham – Saturday 19th November 10:00
Liverpool – Saturday 19th November 10:00
Nottingham – Sunday 20th November 10:00
Manchester – Sunday 20th November 10:00
Milton Keynes – Sunday 20th November 10:00

Brighton – Saturday 26th November 10:00
Greenwich London – Sunday 27th November 10:00

You can find out everything you need to know about the series of MoRuns here and when you register you have the option to make a donation with your entry fee(£18 for the 5k or £22 for the 10k distance) or to set up a Just Giving page straight away.

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All runners will receive a race pack and race number, chip timing, a medal and loads of other amazing goodies.

Could you run a 5k or 10k for Movember?

For more information and to sign up please click here

October review

For some reason, October seemed to last for what felt like months. I’ve no idea why. Although I love autumn, I’m not a huge fan of the dark evenings and tend to go into hibernation mode. At least now the clocks have changed the mornings are slightly lighter. Anyway, that’s enough pointless waffle for one blog. As you know, I’ve been producing monthly summaries of my training since the beginning of the year. I’ve also written about some of my experiences as a running blogger – I refuse to use the term ‘influencer’ – currently based in Four Oaks, Birmingham.

What worked well? What – if there were any – were my running related achievements? What would I do differently given the opportunity? I then like to look ahead to the new month.

The greatest disappointment of my running career

One event – the Great Birmingham Run – dominated the first half of October. In my September review I concluded my post with the following “Hopefully I won’t let myself down on October 16th”. Guess what? By setting out at a ridiculously fast pace and by not eating enough on the morning of the Great Birmingham Run, I feel that I did let myself down. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistakes a second time.

Although October was a bit of a disaster from a running perspective, I didn’t pick up an injury, and after a week’s rest I felt refreshed but not quite ready to run. This feeling unfortunately ended up lasting for two weeks in total!  octoberAccording to my Strava statistics I completed 8 training runs during October, covering a distance of approximately 72 kilometres – a bit of a decrease on the 130 kilometres I ran during September! I successfully completed the majority of the final two weeks of my half marathon training plan, and maintained my love of foam rolling and ice packs.

Running costs

October was an expensive month! I spent £89 on race entry fees (Birmingham International Marathon £55 and Cambridge Half Marathon £34) and £19.95 on a set of really dubious race photographs.

I also spent £60 on a third pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS trainers. When I find trainers that don’t destroy my feet, I like to stockpile as many pairs as I can.

Finally, I spent £58 on a so-called anti-stink lululemon running top. The top was subsequently shredded to pieces in places by my running number and safety pins after one run. To add insult to injury, I washed the top – because it stank – and after only one wash my black coloured top morphed into that horrible washed out dark grey not quite black colour.

Blogging experiences

Throughout October, my blogging mojo was slightly intermittent. Although I continued to write my weekly half marathon training updates, it took me almost a week to write my Great Birmingham Run race review. I had loads of ideas for new content and drafted out several posts, but never made the time to complete and publish them. Blogging wasn’t very high on my list of priorities.

On a more positive note I was sent a couple of amazing products to review and was provided with entry into a local race next month. Hopefully these opportunities will reignite both my love of running and writing…

Looking forward to November

I’m looking forward to hopefully getting back into some sort of running routine. I’ve got a training plan that will take me right up to the Cambridge Half marathon in March, I just need to rediscover my running mojo. I also need to remember to retire my purple Brooks trainers as the cushioning is now nonexistent. Thanks for the memories…

final-outingIn other news, I started a temporary job at the end of October, so I’m looking forward to working again, getting away from my desk and meeting new people. Spending the majority of my time sitting alone hasn’t done my mental health any favours and I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.

If you’ve had a really bad race, how did you move on? For some reason I’m really struggling and can’t stop thinking about all of my training and race day mistakes.

What has been your most disappointing running related purchase? Obviously my lululemon top is quite high up on my list, what’s on your list?

Race Report: Great Birmingham Run

It’s never a good sign when it takes me almost a week to write a race report. I could have written a ‘woe is me’ race review last Sunday, but I decided to spend a few days reflecting on what happened. The Great Birmingham Run itself was well organised and very well supported, and I didn’t want to write a biased and overly negative race review.

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After managing to complete 16 weeks of training, I was confident that I’d enjoy the Great Birmingham Run. I also hoped that all of the early morning training runs would be rewarded with a respectable half marathon time. I was going for gold.

When I first looked out of my bedroom window at 6am on Sunday morning it was dry. A few minutes later it started to rain. The rain continued until approximately thirty minutes before the race started. I got out of bed at 6:30am, had a shower, got changed into some of my running gear and managed to eat four weetabix and a couple of bananas.

My friend reluctantly dropped me off in the centre of Sutton Coldfield and I spent ten cold and very wet minutes waiting for a bus. Fortunately the bus arrived and 30 minutes later I found myself walking across the centre of Birmingham playing dodge the huge puddles and hunt the race village.

start-areaI would have taken more pre-race photos but I decided against getting my camera soaked. I tracked down some portaloos and had a successful visit. I then located the baggage buses – for some reason I hadn’t expected the baggage buses to be double-decker buses – climbed onto bus number 5 and removed my soggy jeans and fleece and put on the rest of my race day outfit. I squeezed myself into the black bin bag I’d customised the previous evening, and left my bag sitting on the back seat of the baggage bus. I was actually quite jealous of my bag getting to sit inside a warm and dry bus.

I reluctantly headed back out into the rain, found some shelter and spent the next thirty or so minutes people watching and trying to keep warm. I managed to fit in a couple of portaloo visits and after a few attempts tied my laces so that they weren’t likely to get too tight as the race progressed. I was nervous and just wanted the race to start. After what felt like ages, runners wearing orange and white numbers were called to the start area. It was quite windy and I started to feel really cold. In usual Great Run style there was a short organised – and in such a confined space slightly hazardous – warm-up. My warm-up consisted of me removing my bin bag and hoodie and realising that I *really* needed another wee. Unfortunately, there were huge queues for the portaloos in the start area and queuing would have made me miss the start of the race. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need the toilet. I tried to remember where the first set of portaloos would be located.

The race started, and the elite and faster runners disappeared off into the distance. After a short delay to avoid the course getting too congested, my wave started running and I headed out on my half marathon run. As soon as I started to run I realised that I still *really* needed a wee. I actually weighed up the pros and cons of weeing while I ran. The first miles and a half was pretty bleak and the course seemed to pass through some slightly dodgy backstreets. I didn’t spot any portaloos and was envious of the male runners who were able to go just about anywhere.

After a couple of slightly over ambitiously paced miles – next time I’ll make sure my Garmin is set to miles and not kilometres – I slowed down and settled into a more sensible pace. I still needed a wee.

Unfortunately, even the more sensible pace felt a lot harder than it should have done so early on in the race. I realised that I felt very hungry. I’d eaten breakfast more than three hours before the race started and was now running on empty (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). Judging by the number of discarded gel wrappers I spotted on the floor – there were thousands of the bloody things, why can’t runners make more effort to carry their rcannon-hill-parkubbish? – I was clearly one of the few runners not using energy gels. I won’t make the same mistake next time.

At approximately 5 miles the course went directly past Bournville train station. I thought about the emergency £10 in my back pocket and almost stepped off the course and into the train station. The course then went past Cadbury’s World – another huge temptation and reminder of my hunger – and up a really short but steep hill. Shortly after the 6 mile marker there was a drinks station and more importantly a row of portaloos. I sprinted off the course and into a portaloo. After spending several hours on my feet, sitting down in the warm and escaping the wind and crowds felt like heaven. Unlike most runners I didn’t exactly rush out of the portaloo and back out onto the course. I guess that deep down I already knew that my race goals were out of reach.

I rejoined the race and spent a couple of minutes trying to get going again. My legs and knees were not happy. Between 7 and 8 miles I managed to distract myself by watching the runners from the later waves heading in the opposite direction. Without the wind cooling me down I started to feel warm and wasted more time getting into a tangle with my water bottle and cap. Trying to multitask didn’t work and next time I’ll stop running, remove my cap, tip water on my head, replace my cap and then run.

After what felt like forever, we turned off Pershore Road and headed towards Edgbaston Cricket Ground. We completed a circuit of the cricket ground and then crossed the road and entered Cannon Hill Park. While it was great to escape the roads, the paths in the park were covered in leaves – and the occasional gel wrapper – and I witnessed a couple of runners almost come a cropper. I grabbed a bottle of Lucozade Sport from the drinks station, had a couple of swigs and was almost sick. Yet another running fail!

We left Cannon Hill Park and headed back out onto the roads. Although this at this stage I felt terrible, the support between 9 and 10 miles was incredible and I was smiling as I hobbled along. At 10 miles the course took us onto the far from scenic Belgrave Middleway and it was at this point my right knee finally decided that enough was enough. Thanks knee.

Shortly after escaping the monotony of yet another Birmingham tourist attraction – the Lee Bank Middleway – the course took us onto Charlotte Road and the start of “The Hill”. When I originally heard the-hillabout “The Hill” I was determined to make it to the top without slowing to a walk. The course was very crowded, and after the third runner had slowed to a walk directly in front of me, I gave in and walked the final few meters of “The Hill”. Later on that day I found some photos that showed just how much I wanted the race to be over.

Just after 12 miles the course took me directly past my ex-boyfriends flat. At least thinking about my ex distracted me from the pain in my right knee and feet for a few minutes. We crossed Harbourne Road – more memories – and then turned onto Hagley Road.

After what felt like an eternity I hobbled through another underpass and eventually reached Broad Street and the approach to the finish.

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I gritted my teeth, powered my way towards the finish, posed for the cameras and stumbled across the finish line.

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I stopped my Garmin and realised that I’d failed. It wasn’t a great feeling.

The finish area of the race wasgbr-medal chaos. We had to queue for our goody bags and medals. There were families and friends waiting for runners and blocking the way out. The baggage buses were parked on a side street at the bottom of a steep hill. After running(ish) a half marathon the steep downhill wasn’t appreciated by the runners. Security on the baggage buses was variable; let’s just say I could have walked away with someone else’s bag as numbers weren’t checked. I grabbed my bag, got off the bus and started to hobble back up the hill. At this stage I spotted Matt. We had a quick chat about the run, I mentioned that I was heading back towards the train station and Matt very kindly offered to drive me home.

Thanks Matt you really were a lifesaver and I definitely owe you a couple of pints!

We hobbled back to where Matt had parked his car, drove back to Four Oaks where Matt very kindly dropped me off at my local Tesco’s. I’m pretty sure that most runners don’t eat three packets of crisps after a half marathon. I must have really needed the salt. I hobbled back to my friend’s house – down yet another steep hill – located where I’d hidden the front door key, let myself in, removed my trainers and socks and assessed the damage. Although my trainers and socks had been soaked from the start, I’d escaped with just a couple of tiny blisters and a sore little toe. I’d been lucky and my new socks hadn’t shredded my feet to pieces.

Right, I’ll leave this post now as its already far, far too long. Thanks for reading my waffle over the last 16 weeks or so. At some stage I’ll reflect on what I did wrong during my training and on the day of the race and what I’d do differently next time. Although I felt like quitting immediately after the Great Birmingham Run, I’ve already entered the Cambridge Half in March.

Cambridge has to be less undulating than Birmingham…

Have you ever felt like stopping halfway through a race? Had I spotted any of my family out on the course I would have stopped.

I need to start taking gels on longer runs What are your favourite brands and flavours of gels?

Great Birmingham Run training week 16

Week 15 – the penultimate week of my half marathon training – didn’t exactly go to plan. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold and had to miss a couple of my shorter midweek training runs. Although I didn’t feel completely recovered, I was pleased to end week 15 with a really enjoyable 60 minute run on Sunday morning.collage-39The final week of my beginner’s half marathon training plan contained three training runs and ended with the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday. Just looking at the final week made me feel really, really nervous. The training plan recommended that I completed a 20 minute recovery run on Monday, a comfortable 40 minute run on Wednesday and then an easy 10 to 15 minute run on Saturday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were my rest, recovery and rebuilding days. Although I was determined to complete all of my training runs, my cold from the previous week was lingering with intent.

Monday – 20 mins easy jog

When my alarm woke me at 05:30 I discovered that my nose was completely blocked-up – sorry – and decided that my run could wait for a couple of hours. After spending the morning working on my Brexit paper, I got changed into some running gear and headed across to Four Oaks Estate. After spending ten minutes warming-up and entertaining a group of workmen with some of my static stretches, I was ready to run.

Predictably the first ten minutes of what should have been an ‘easy jog’ felt anything but easy. My cold meant that my breathing was even more erratic than usual and I sounded really wheezy. Unfortunately, the run didn’t improve after the first ten minutes, and I was really relieved that I only had to run for a total of 20 minutes. When I got home and checked out my run on Strava, it was clear that I’d got my pacing completely wrong. The final week of my half training hadn’t exactly got off to a brilliant start.

Tuesday – Rest

The highlight of my rest day on Tuesday was the realisation that my cold symptoms were finally starting to clear up. At last! The low point was the discovery that my friend was no longer able to drive me into Birmingham on Sunday morning. I spent several hours exploring a range of alternative travel options, and coming to terms with the possibility I might not actually be able to run on Sunday.

Wednesday – 40 mins comfortable

Once again I didn’t feel 100 per cent when I woke up at 05:30, and decided to delay my run until later in the day. I spent most of the morning reading about the Industrial Revolution and the devastating pollution of the headwaters of the River Tame. I then got changed into a slightly strange looking combination of running gear, worked through my effective but after 16 weeks pretty tedious warm-up routine and headed across to Four Oaks Estate. Although I wanted to run for 40 minutes, I felt really unfit and wasn’t confident I’d be able to run for that long without stopping. Don’t you just love taper madness!?

I set out at a sensible pace and decided to ignore my Garmin and to run by feel. Once I’d got the first ten minutes or so of the run out of the way, I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace and started to enjoy my run. As I was acutely aware that my hill training had been pretty nonexistent, I made sure that the run incorporated several challenging hills. Although my pace definitely slowed as I ran up the final hill, I made it to the top without slowing to a walk.

I walked back to the Tennis Club and then spent a couple of minutes trying to take a decent post-run selfie. Once again the results of my attempts were not exactly brilliant.collage-40I eventually got home, drank a glass of orange nuun and then spent half an hour icing my right knee and left foot. Although the majority of my niggles had disappeared and my run had been virtually pain free, I didn’t want to take any chances so close to the Great Birmingham Run. In the evening I worked my way through some of my knee and bum strengthening exercises and then spent twenty minutes massaging my calf muscles with my foam roller.

Thursday – Rest

Another rest day, tapering is hard work! Mum picked me up at 11:00 and once she’d got me trapped inside her car, informed me that she was “fighting off a cold”… We drove across to the cafe at Packington Moor Farm for a late breakfast/early lunch. Once again I failed as a blogged as I forgot to take an artistic photograph of my sausage sandwich. By the time I thought about taking a photo I’d scoffed half of the sandwich. It was really, really tasty. I spent the afternoon and early evening reading a couple of academic papers and feeling guilty for not running.

Friday – Rest

Another mundane rest day… The highlight of my Friday was finding out that this blog has been nominated for the 2017 Running Awards. If you nominated me then thanks!

Saturday – 10-15 mins very easy jog

As the weather wasn’t exactly amazing, I replaced the 10-15 minute very easy jog in my training plan, with an hour long stroll in Sutton Park. Quite lazy of me, but I didn’t want to pick up an injury the day before the half marathon. As an added bonus my trainers avoided getting soaked in the rain. While on the subject of the weather… I may have spent far, far too long on Saturday morning checking various websites. I looked at four different weather forecasts for Birmingham – all four were slightly different.collage-41I spent the afternoon preparing a selection of three race day outfits, playing a really stressful game of ‘hunt the safety pins’, reading the race day instructions, checking the weather, buying train tickets and generally doing everything at the last minute. However, the large amount of uncertainty surrounding my race day travel plans was the cause of the largest amount of stress. I eventually tracked down a bus that would hopefully be running tomorrow morning although due to road closures and diversions I had no idea where it would stop in Birmingham. Not the best pre-race preparation and a valuable lesson in relying on other people.

Sunday – Great Birmingham Run

I’m not going to write an essay here, but the Great Birmingham Run was a bit of a disaster. Although I completed the run, I failed to achieve any of my time goals and felt like cyring the second I’d crossed the finish line. Not my finest moment. At the moment I’m analysing what went wrong and what I should have done differently. I’m also seriously considering taking a break from running.

Finally, a huge thank-you to everyone who has read and commented on my weekly half marathon training updates. Your support really did help me, probably far more than you realised. I really wanted to end this series of weekly updates on a positive note and I feel that I’ve let everyone down.

Hopefully I’ll feel slightly more positive when my feet have recovered.

Training totals

  • Runs: 52
  • Time: 28 hours 40 mins
  • Distance: 278.94 kms

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 28:15
  • 10 km: 59:27
  • Half Marathon: 02:29:09 (includes a 10 minute sit down on the most inviting portaloo in the history of portaloos)

Niggleometer

  • Left foot: 2/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Calf muscles: 1/10
  • Shins: 1/10