Half-marathon: 1 down, 11 to go

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to complete a half-marathon. I’ve done a few 10ks in the past, so this seemed like the next step, and I’ve signed up for the Lisburn Half-Marathon in June. That’s 12 weeks away, so the “beginners” training programme that I’m following kicked in this week. Prior to this, I’d been running 1 or 2 times a week, but that’s now upped to 4 times.

I have several routes that I run from my house, which is on the edge of the city. Heading North, I can run on the tow-path and cycle paths by the river, which is a very pleasant environment for running, is dead flat (once you’re there, although there’s a hill back home), and I love seeing the signs of spring.  One day maybe I’ll get to see a kingfisher!  Most of this is within the Lagan Valley Regional Park http://www.laganvalley.co.uk

Heading east is the Hillhall Road.  This is a fairly busy route, but at least there’s a footpath to keep out of the way of the traffic.

If I head south, there’s some quiet country roads to run on.  If I take the short 4 mile circuit anti-clockwise, there’s a steep hill early on, but after that I have gravity on my side for the most part.  Doing this in the other direction means a long slow slog uphill, and a very fast descent at the end.

Heading west I cut through the back of Dobbies car-park, to some more quiet roads, some of which are on the actual half-marathon route.  Each of these can be done in a circuit, can have little bits extra added on, and will link together when I get to the stage of seriously long runs.

On Tuesday I took the river route, for a “30 minute easy” run.  I took 38.37 minutes at a pace of 7.34 mins/km.

On Thursday, I did the west short route, managing 34.03 minutes at 7.40 mins/km.

I was aiming to do the Wallace Parkrun on Saturday morning, a timed weekly 5k.  But in the middle of the night, I got up to tell Max off, tripped on the stairs in the dark, and badly stubbed my toe.  Max himself has been in the wars recently, and had just had a bandage removed from a badly gashed paw, so we were sore-paw-pals together.

sore toe 003

I did wonder about the wisdom of running on it, but was keen to try incorporating some sprint intervals.  The parkrun is 3 circuits, and I had picked out a flat 100m section which I wanted to try really increasing my speed over.  Bruised or broken toe notwithstanding, I just got in the zone for the run, and smashed my personal best time with a 32.21 – an astounding 70 seconds off last week’s time!

On Sunday, since Max is still out of action as my running mate, I decided to try Mini.  However, this was her first time jogging with me, she’s inclined to get excited every time she sees a bird, and her long hair gets very mucky and matted.  But we managed to get round the south route and do 6.49 km at a pace of 7.32 mins/km.  Sundays will be my distance run each week, increasing by about a mile each time.

My favourite running tunes this week have been:

Kasabian – Club Foot

Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick

Annie Lennox – Little Bird

Oh, and I’m not just doing this for the good of my health, you know!  I’m raising money for Clic Sargent, who do wonderful work for children with cancer.  You can sponsor me at



Or you can give me a pound/ a euro and have a guess at my finishing time – closest to the actual time gets a bottle of wine (supplied by me).

Rest day tomorrow – thank goodness!