Taking the pressure off

bern gp8I’ll start by apologizing for not having blogged this year. I can’t believe that it is already May!

Not blogging of course doesn’t mean that I haven’t been running or racing. In fact I already have three races under my belt this year and more lined up.

It is having done these three races that has made me reflect on what type of runner I am in this 3rd season of my running career. In my first season everything was new and I had nothing to compare with so there was no pressure on me to perform. I was just setting my benchmarks.

However, last year (my second season) I got it into my head that I needed to improve on every race and time. I ended up placing very high expectations on myself and being hugely disappointed when they didn’t come off. My first race of the year was an 18km stretch in a team marathon event and it was excellent but after that all my races did not meet my expectations at all.

I was setting myself goals based on race distances and not the course, therefore, not taking into consideration a hilly course v a flat course etc. I was also setting off at a pace much faster than I could maintain and ending up finishing slowly.

It took me until November to realize that this approach was not working. To distract myself I wore my heart-rate monitor for the next half-marathon race I was taking part it. My thinking was to calm myself down for the first half of the race by having to stick to a certain heart-rate. This resulted in my being slower and therefore less tired after the first half and being able to finish stronger. I was even able to start overtaking other runners on the second half of the race which I had never been able to do before and which is an addictive feeling!

The other amazing thing was that I managed to finish this race 6 minutes faster than my last half marathon race. Since then I have run every race with my heart-rate monitor to ensure that I don’t go out too strong and blow the race by half-way.

This year I am focusing on setting myself more realistic goals eg, run the best you can on the day. If this results in a good time then all the better but if not then I move on to the next race and hope, but not expect, better.

This has also resulted in my becoming a much happier race runner. Who’d have thought!

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This year’s tally so far

I have been a bit slack in keeping up with my blog for the last few months.  That doesn’t mean that I have stopped running though.  In fact the opposite is true.  I have actually achieved quite a few goals such as: running a 10km in under 1 hour, completing my first sprint triathlon and running a half-marathon in under 2h22m.  This last goal I achieved yesterday when I ran the Swiss City Half-Marathon in Lucerne in 2h16m in the pouring rain. 

Although the year is not over yet and I still have a couple of races to go, I thought I’d publish my progress to date:


April – Zurich Marathon Team Run, 18km

May – Sihltahlerlauf, 10km

June – Frauenlauf, Bern, 10km + Alpine Half-Marathon, 21km (+ 860 m / – 330 m)

August – Greifensee Sprint Triathlon (750m swim; 20km cycle; 5km run)

September – Greifensee Half-Marathon + Pink Ribbon Charity run, 4km

October – Lucerne Half-Marathon


As someone who only took up running just under 2 years ago it shows how far even non-runners can get if they catch the running bug.


Happy running!

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Who knew getting lost could be so much fun?

Lake in forest

I’m busy training for an alpine half marathon that is coming up in a couple of week’s. I did the 10km alpine class at the same event last year and know that the hills are going to hurt. This has led me to go further afield to reach my training goals this time – which are to basically to run a lot of very high hills!

As I set out for my weekend run I had a rough plan of where I was heading and how long I would be running for. All was going well until I took a few wrong turns in the forest on the way home and ended up a few villages away from where I live.

However, if I hadn’t got lost I wouldn’t have appreciated just how big the forest I was running in actually was and I would have missed this gorgeous Lake!

Here’s to getting lost more often! (as long as my husband is around to pick me up!)

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Training with kids

outridersI was dreading the Spring school holidays as, with a 10K race coming up in the second week, I would need to somehow keep the training up whilst having the kids at home full-time.

I was wracking my brains for a solution – even going as far as going to the local gym to get a membership form as they have a crèche. However, having seen the crèche I realized quickly that my kids are beyond crèche age. Therefore, there was only one logical solution: I had to take them along.

So, for the last two weeks, they have been getting on their bikes in the morning whist I run along behind. I am absolutely amazed at how well it worked. Let’s hope it can continue in the 6 week summer holidays when I will be training for my first sprint triathlon!

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Doing it as a Team

team run tori 2It’s been a long time since my last post, but a lot has been happening. As mentioned in my last blog, I put out some feelers regarding registering a team for the Zürich marathon and had such a good response that we ended up having enough people for two teams.

With motivation required to get out and run in the winter snow, this gave us the beginnings of a running club that currently has 13 members and meets 2 – 3 times per week.

Having run for a year on my own, it has been amazing to go out with other people and combine two of my favourite things: socialising and running! I still go out occasionally on my own as I don’t want to lose the ability to run on my own when needs be.

Last weekend, it was time for the Zürich marathon. The 8 team members (4 in each) meet-up together the day before to collect our start numbers and then we decided to drive the course to see where the transition zones were. The team event required us to have 4 runners in a team running a variety of distances: (1) 9.7km, (2) 19.8km, (3) 4km and (4) 17.7km. We would be given one wrist timer and then have to pass this on to the next runner within specified transition zones.

full teamOur teams: Mums on the Run 1 and Mums on the Run 2 finished 37th and 52nd respectively out of 81 women’s only teams. The format for the team event was excellent and extremely well organised. All the transitions went smoothly and, when the last runner reached 38km the other team members received a text message so they could get to the special team meeting point and run the last 400 metres together!

It is a great way to have the marathon atmosphere without the extra training. I have some fun 10km runs coming up in the next couple of month’s before the next big target which is the Swiss Alpine Half-Marathon. I did the 10km race at this event last year so am stepping up a category. Will have to start the hill training soon.

Happy running!

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Snow brings the runners out!

Halb Insel AuSo, I set off this morning in the snow because as it was Monday morning and my schedule said that was “running day”. The fact that it was snowing had nothing to do with it as I had to go no matter what. However, the white stuff did look tempting so I was looking forward to it.

I expected it to be a pretty solitary run but was amazed at how many other runners I passed during my session. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the soft, spongey conditions underfoot as much as I was!

I guess it helps that the temperature is actually warmer when it snows and that the little flakes seem to melt as soon as they touch you unlike rain that seeps in everywhere.

If you are going out in the snow today – Enjoy!

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My new Relationship with Running

It has been a long, long time since my last blog. During that time I have been working on my relationship with running. It was touch and go for awhile there but we have managed to resolve our problems and come to an understanding.

I tested our new relationship at Zurich’s recent New Year’s Eve fun run and am pleased to report that I managed the 9.4km in 52 minutes averaging 6 mins/km which is fast for me!

Following that race I convinced myself that the short distances were best for running and I to remain friends.That is of course, until I read a flier in my race pack for the Zurich marathon team event and asked some mates if they would like to join me. The split is basically:

Runner 1: 9.7km
Runner 2: 10.8km
Runner 3: 4km
Runner 4: 17.7km

I had an amazing response and now have two teams and a couple of reserve runners! Unfortunately, the 17.7km leg was the least popular so I put myself forward for this. Now I just hope the training goes well!

This time I am concentrating on doing more cross-training eg, swimming, cycling and walking to improve fitness and only running a maximum of twice a week. Very different to last year when all I wanted to (and would do) was run!

Looking forward to keeping you updated on our relationship more often in 2013.

Happy running!

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Will a Sprint Triathlon be my next challenge?

It is fair to say that I have had too much time on my hands to think about running and/or an alternative to running. As I come to the final week of my month-long enforced break from the sport, I think that I have finally concluded that I will stick to running 10ks from now on and look for another endurance challenge to the half-marathon.

I was asked by some friends to do a sprint triathlon in August this year but declined as it was only three weeks before my half-marathon and I didn’t want to compromise my goal. However, having had to content myself with only  swimming or riding my bike to keep fit over the last few weeks, I’m thinking it might make a worthy next challenge.  For those of you who don’t know what a sprint triathlon is, here’s a good description from FitDay. However, to summarise it’s usually a 750-meter swim (or how I like to think of it as 30 lengths of a 25m pool), 20k-bike ride and a 5k-run.

I’d really like to stick with the running, but I’m realistic enough to know that this might no longer be the best option. The next sprint triathlon isn’t until June next year so I may very well have changed my mind by then. The test will be when I get back out on the road next week and start breaking in my expensive custom-made inner soles. I can’t wait!

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My meeting with Ortho Guy

Yesterday I went for my meeting with the orthopaedic specialist that my doctor referred me too. I got lucky as the guy’s favourite country is Australia so we were able to have a good chat whilst he went about putting little black stickers on my legs and viewing my feet through the mirror machine.

It was then time to get on the treadmill so that I could be videoed walking and running. This was actually a real treat as I’ve been banned from running for a month, so I took full advantage of it!

Watching the videos back, it was clear to see why I have been having problems with my left knee and foot. I have one foot (the left problem one) that has a high arch and the right one that is completely normal. It’s a bit of an anomaly as normally people don’t have two completely different feet!

The solution, hopefully, is to to have special insoles made for my left running shoe so that the arch is supported. I will have these by next week and am looking forward to trying them out. Anything to get back to running.

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The sad consequences of running through the pain

As I’ve mentioned in a few of my posts, I’ve been getting a bit of pain in my knee during long runs. This has now progressed to foot pain on shorter runs. I’m a great one for ignoring things until they go away, but when I woke up this morning unable to put weight on my foot, I had to admit that it was time to phone a professional.

By mid morning I was taking to a local Orthopaedic doctor for the first time. I was immediately put at ease by the fact that he had also done the Greifensee half-marathon too a couple of weeks ago. For some reason I’d assumed I’d get someone who would be very anti-running so this was a definite plus.

To cut a long story short, there appears to be a problem with my muscles struggling to keep up with the demands of running long distances which could have originated from an under lying problem ‘that I do not walk properly’. When I heard this diagnosis I did say that it was surprising to get to my age and be told that I don’t walk properly!

Anyway, I have to be video recorded walking and running (so more on this later) so that my action can be analysed further. More disturbing is that I have to take a full month off running to give my muscles a good rest. I’m disappointed but it could have been worse so I’m going to take all the advice on board and follow it to the letter to ensure that I can get back to running ASAP.

In the meantime I have been given some anti-inflammatries to help reduce the swelling I didn’t even know I had in my knee. As you can see from the picture the name says it all!

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