Wow, I’ve really sucked at blogging.  Oops.  I do have to say in my defence that I spent the first two months of the year completing my thesis corrections, so. . .  now I have more time on my hands while I look for employment.

The training:

This round of training went well.  I ran the 10k improvers plan from the Edinburgh marathon/half/10k page as it had many of the features I was looking for; 12 weeks in length, speedwork, and were time based rather than mileage.  Normally, I prefer plans that are mileage based (I find them best for half marathon training) but I wanted to try something new and challenge myself.  This plan called for 4 runs per week, which is one more than I usually run.  I felt confident I would be able to handle the additional day and in the 12 weeks I only missed one training run (I was ill and needed the extra rest).  Otherwise, I had a handful of days off throughout the 12 weeks as I have been incorporating strength training back into my routine as well.

My schedule for the past 12 weeks looked something like this:

Monday: easy run + strength
Tuesday: Pilates
Wednesday: speedwork and strength
Thursday: easy run or speedwork
Friday: strength or rest
Saturday: long run
Sunday: strength or rest (depending on Friday)

The race:

All week I’ve been anxious about race day.  Something about tapering for a race makes me a bit anxious, but I knew I needed the rest.  I’ve had a few niggles as of late (my hip this time) but it wasn’t anything that was agonising.  I also made the mistake of trying out some new trainers recently and had a blister/hot spot on my left foot for about 2 weeks, which has been terribly annoying.  I hope that it heals quickly!

I was also concerned about the weather forecast. It’s been pretty miserable this past week; I hadn’t seen the sun in forever and every day it seemed to be raining more and more. Most of this week the forecast had called for heavy rain and high winds for today.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw sun forecast for today (and didn’t believe it).  I re-waterproofed my trainers and had my kit ready last night, prepared for the worst.

I slept pretty poorly and got up around 7, faffed about for a bit, got dressed and then got the train to Central.  It was drizzling, but not raining, which was a good sign.  At Central, I grabbed the breakfast of champions.

 

I took a quick selfie before walking to Glasgow Green.

 

It was a quiet walk over to the Green.

Yay Spring!

Once I got to Nelson’s Column, there was a bit of waiting around in the queue for the porta-loos.  There were only 5, for a lot of people (800+).  The event had been sold out, so. . .

Finally we were off!

Selfie at the start

Km 1: 7:12 & Km 2: 6:48 It was fairly crowded the first 2 km.  I felt crammed in and was worried that I was going to get tripped.  There were a lot of puddles and there was a bit of dodging going on by me and others.  I didn’t really get into a rhythm.

Km 3: 6:41 It has cleared out a bit and I have room to move and run.  I finally settled into a good rhythm and felt good, if not a bit warm. We’ve looped around most of the green at this point and are about to swing back on the loop.

Km 4: 7:13 & Km 5 7:19: Ugh what a bloody awful cramp. Ow.  I was disappointed I had to slow down and walk for about 30 seconds off and on here.  Just ow.  Very glad for the water station at 5km.

Km 6: 7:00 I know that this is do or die time.  If I want to PR I need to pick up the pace.

Km 7: 6:47 & Km 8: 6:28 I obviously picked up the pace.  I felt so much better after the water and a bloc shot. I’ve done plenty of 10K+ without additional fuel but I knew that I was running a bit earlier than normal and it definitely helped.

Km 9: 7:01 & Km 10: 6:49 (and the last .5???? 6:32 as clearly my GPS was different than the km markers).  At this point I am seriously regretting  my life choices of wearing a long sleeved shirt under my t-shirt.  I’m so hot at this point and I very nearly stopped to pull off my layers.  I just kept telling myself that I was almost there, that this is just like any other run.  As soon as I got past the Glasgow G, I ran as fast as I could to cross the finish line.  They called out our names as we crossed, and I forgot I had registered as Dr. Corliss so they called me Dr. Corliss and I had to laugh.

The Glasgow G

Runkeeper told me I had run 10K in 1:09 which is my fastest 10k to date (yes, I am still slow AF).  For the entirety of the run, it was 1:12:09 (this is the time from my Fitbit, which I stopped before Runkeeper).  Last  year I did this run in 1:18 and change, so there was obviously improvement, which is good.

 

Finish line selfie. Yes, I am bright red.

 

So, all in all, a good run.  I really would like to improve pace/speed wise, as after running for over 10 years and consistently for well over 3, I really  should be SO MUCH FASTER.  Hopefully, the next race will be better.  Now, I’m going to eat some more food!

 

I was going to write a post about how I fared on my new year’s resolutions for the month of January.  But you know what?  No one cares.  I don’t even particularly care, and they are my goals!  What I want to talk about is far more important.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know about the Muslim ban in the US.  You’ve seen the pictures from around the world of people protesting this absolutely horrible executive order. Better people than I have written far more eloquently about it.  Many of you have read the posts and the testimonials coming out of various airports in cities around the US.

I think this is just the start.

Over the next few days I believe there will be more such orders being signed by DJT.  I believe he will come after those that oppose him, those that are LGBT, those that are different in any way.  Are you scared?  You should be.  History is repeating itself.

Tonight I had the privilege to protest in Glasgow, like many other like minded people.  Around the world people are coming out, coming together, and working together to fight fascism, fight racism, fight hate and intolerance.

What side will you be on?  Will you build walls, or will you help keep them from being built?  Will you tear them down?

Apologies for not getting this up sooner.  It’s taken a bit more time to process than I had anticipated.

As I posted last, my viva was on Tuesday. I was terribly nervous and anxious, as you might expect.  As someone who suffers from anxiety, it was a bit more than that, and it took a fair bit of chemical assistance to get me to the point where I wasn’t literally trembling (or covered head to toe in hives).

I actually slept the night before.  I had had visions of being awake all night or waking up at 3 am wide awake in a panic.  I laid in bed until about 8 and then got up to get ready for the day.  Steph walked with me to Starbucks and uni and stayed with me until I had to go and meet my advisor.  It wasn’t too long until we were called in.

They started off by saying that they wanted this to be a conversation, rather than an interrogation, and I was terribly relieved.  I didn’t think it was going to be an inquisition, but I had read enough on the subject to be wary of the types of examiners.

I don’t specifically remember all of the questions, but I know the first one was in reference to how I decided on this subject area.  I was glad for this question, as it was easily answered, and it certainly helped put me a bit more at ease.  More specific questions went on from there, even getting as specific as page numbers, paragraphs, and sentences, which again I found helpful as I had a copy of my thesis right there to refer to.

The last question was sort of a surprise but not.  I was asked if I were to present my findings at a conference of head teachers, what four key points would I like to share. (It had been mentioned at a meeting I had in preparation for the viva that I might be asked about what I thought this research could lead to policy wise, so I had a think on this before the viva.)  I hadn’t done a lot of research into policy, nor do I have a very good handle on how the Scottish school system works overall.  But what I do know is how teachers think and as a former teacher, I used this knowledge combined with the information from my interviews as well as common sense to answer the question.

After this question was answered, they thanked me, and I was sent on my way while they deliberated.  My supervisor was very pleased with my answers, which was good.  We both thought we would have an hour or so before they called us back in.  It was about 15 minutes later, when we got the call.

And this is where I really panicked.  I didn’t feel like that was a very long deliberation, so it was either really good, or really shit.

I was very relieved when they told me that they wouldn’t keep me in suspense.  I was a bit worried about that, to be honest.  I wasn’t sure how long I could sit there and not know!  When they told me I had passed, I really was quite shocked.  As most people know, this entire process throughout the PhD was fraught with many issues, both personal and professional and there were many times that I did not think I would get this far, and if I did get this far, I’d be laughed out of the room.

So, now what?  I have three months to make my corrections (nothing seriously troublesome and nothing unexpected) and that’s that.  I’ll be awarded my PhD at the next graduation in Spring 2017. I also need to think about publishing results and finding a job.

And last but not least, that last viva question, wasn’t a trick.  It was a serious question as I will possibly be doing such a presentation (or presentations) in the near future.  I would also like to consider other ways of disseminating my research findings, but I’ve not come up with an answer for that yet.  A professional blog or twitter?  Things to consider for 2017.

 

This was not the race I planned on running.  I had trained for 16 weeks. I worked hard.  But in the end, it. . . well it sucked.

The day before I wasn’t feeling well at all.  I was stressed out and anxious about the race and my upcoming trip and my stomach was in knots.  I could barely eat anything all day.  What I did manage to eat was purely carbs at least.

The day of the race I felt fine.  My knee was fine.  My hamstring was fine.  I had a bagel and a coffee and got ready.  I didn’t rush down to George Square as there was no reason for it.  I do wish I had gone a bit sooner, b/c it took forever to find the bag drop, as I was misdirected three separate times to its location.  I then spent about 40 minutes in the queue for the toilets.

When the race started, I was ready and I felt great despite its start up St. Vincent Street and I managed the first mile in 10:48 which is pretty much unheard of for me, especially going uphill.

The next 2 miles involve running along the motorway and you get a really good view of the city.  It was still really crowded at this point as the motorway was narrow (and very bumpy).  People were stumbling a bit and I saw people having to stop b/c other runners were tossing water bottles in the crowded path and people were literally tripping over them.  I was very cautious here and was appalled that runners were behaving in such a way.

Mile 2: 11:15
Mile 3: 12:00

I slowed down a bit in miles 4-5. I was really feeling the uneven road in my right knee and legs.  At this point I was still running but was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the road conditions and the hills.  It was a really nice and sunny day, but once I got into Pollock Park I got a bit chilly with the tree coverage.

Mile 4: 13:27
Mile 5: 13:24

It was at this point, somewhere in Pollock Park that my right knee was absolutely done.  I have no idea why this keeps happening.  I’m doing the exercises.  I can only assume it’s something that is occurring in race day conditions that is causing this as the same thing happened in the Women’s 10K this summer.  It must be the uneven roads that we were running on, as opposed to the paths along the river and through Glasgow Green that I run on on a regular basis.  I kept trying to run every few minutes, and every few minutes my knee would tell me no.  I didn’t hurt all that much walking, so I concentrated on walking as fast as I possibly could.  I try to enjoy my surroundings as the parks are lovely, but was just too miserable to do so.  I was very glad for the water/Powerade stations at that point as I had gotten quite thirsty/sweaty throughout the first half of the run and desperately needed hydration.

Mile 6: 14:18
Mile 7: 14:45
Mile 8: 14:24
Mile 9: 16:12

At this point I was in Bellahouston Park and I was cold and grumpy.  I didn’t feel quite right and was feeling really disappointed and frustrated with myself.  I texted Steph and tried not to cry as I reported my failure.  At this point I finally took on more fuel, and that did help a bit as my times did pick up a bit once I had finished my Powerade and chews.

Mile 10: 16:00
Mile 11: 14:54
Mile 12: 15:09
Mile 13: 15:09
Mile 14: 12:05 pace for 3 minutes and 42 seconds
Final time: 3:05:12 🙁

Towards the end I walked with a couple of other women and chatted a bit.  I absolutely forced myself to run the last 400 meters up to Glasgow Green and toward the finish line.  It hurt like a bitch but I was NOT walking across that line.

I feel absolutely terrible and ashamed of my final time.  This was supposed to be a race where I blew my first half’s time out of the water, not beat it by a few minutes.  It is unacceptable that I should be running these times after running off and on for 10 years and consistently for 3.  This is something that needs to be addressed as my times overall are appalling and I feel embarrassed to call myself a runner right now.  I am seriously considering hiring a running coach to see if there is something wrong with how I am running.  I’ve had my gait analysed and nothing was found to be wrong with it; on tape I look just fine. I hope I can figure out what the problem is as I feel like I’m not getting any faster, in fact my 5k times seem to get slower!

I was really glad that Steph met me at the finish.  I was so upset that it took everything I had not to cry right then and there. I walked slowly around to find the bag drop pickup and then on to the subway.  Why we don’t finish the race at George Square is beyond me, b/c I hate having to walk to the subway from the Green.  By then I was done and I didn’t even want to go to Starbucks for a PSL.  That’s how upset I was.

At the finish line

We did stop for coffee once we got back to our stop and once I had that I perked up a bit.  Steph picked up ice cream and eggs for me on our way home, and once I was in the bath I was able to eat something substantial.

I had a massage the following day, and by Wednesday I felt pretty much back to normal.  I spent the past week in London walking everywhere, so I was glad that the half didn’t impact my trip.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve run twice and haven’t had any pain whatsoever. So, who knows?

What a week!  This week I submitted my thesis!  Finally!

2016-09-08-13-32-16

 

Monday: A quick 2 miles.  I had already sent my thesis off for printing and this was a quick shakeout run.

2016-09-11-17-12-27

 

Tuesday: Double Pilates (trigger point and mat).  It was Gail’s last week 🙁 so I booked in for both classes.  It was just what I needed as I was feeling very tight.

Wednesday: 7 miles. This was originally scheduled for Thursday, but it was supposed to pour.  It wasn’t raining, so I went out and got my miles in. It was a bit later than I normally go out, but it was a nice run all the same.

2016-09-11-17-12-41

 

Thursday:  Today was submission day! Other than walking around, it was a much needed rest day.

Friday: Unscheduled rest day.  It was pouring out and gross so I cleaned the kitchen.

Saturday: 9 miles. It was a really nice day out and I actually enjoyed this run a lot.  I felt good for most of it, although I was very slow.  I look forward to more runs like this (hopefully faster) and hope to see the leaves start to change as I run through Glasgow Green.

2016-09-11-17-12-51

 

Overall, this week was a really great week.  Not much longer until the half and then my birthday week celebration in London!