Sunshine, Basket, Bells and Cake!

This week my virtual runners are: Jo Spark and Emma Flynn. Thank you for sponsoring me in aid of the MS Trust and joining for what turned about to be some very sweaty runs in the sunshine!

Date: 20.06.17

Location: Newcastle

Distance: 5.05 miles

Time: 45:40.6

Run notes: Due to unforeseen circumstances I was playing catch up with my Ballet Bod classes in West Jesmond, squeezing four classes into the next fortnight around my 8 run sessions. I arranged with Paul that he would pick me up after my class, which meant that I could head out for a run straight from work. The plan called for a 45 minute easy run. It was actually fun leaving from a different ‘front door’ (= work building) the paths you run seem completely different!

The Hoppings was still in full swing so I took a long route around three of the moors to get to the class. We are so lucky in Newcastle. We have several large green spaces right in the centre of town, which provide such welcome breathing space. The main moor (Town Moor) is covered in cows for most of the year. My friend (virtual runner) Amy is a hereditary Freeman of the city so she has rights to two of these said cows, so I always make sure I say hello to any cows that are close by. I am not sure who gives me the stranger look, the cows or the cyclists passing.


It was a very hot day and as I got well into my run I could feel something that suspiciously felt like a blister on my right foot. But I carried on at pace (it helps to have a deadline of getting to class on time so you can get a good spot) and got myself through the door with 4 minutes to spare and with a very red face. Cue flexibility class with very sweaty feet and a cracking blister!

Average pace: 8:59/mile

Splits: (min/mile)

– Mile 1 – 9:28

– Mile 2 – 9:12

– Mile 3 – 8:36

– Mile 4 – 8:52

– Mile 5 – 8:48

Achievements: 4 x segment personal records

Date: 21.06.17

Location: Newcastle

Distance: 8.13 miles

Time: 01:12:43

Run notes: It was another hot evening to another Ballet Bod class but you really can’t complain when the sun is shining at you! I think this might class as my first official brick session, oh yes my friends who love Tri would be impressed with me. I had to complete a warm up, then 10 x 2 minutes at 3k pace (with 60 seconds jog in between) plus 35 minutes at target marathon pace. Which to me means run like hell for 2 minutes 10 times, and go on you can have a little breather running slower in between then get yourself running for longer at a slower pace (although your not quite sure what that pace is actually meant to be).

Once I had run I had to get back to my bike locker, struggle to get the beautiful but huge and heavy Somerby bike out for at least 10 minutes, then getting my little legs pootling to class. It was going to be a tight squeeze. But off I went to Exhibition Park completely loops round the lake and bandstand, dodging the fair goers as I want. Oh this was torturous. I am not built for speed. Paul can tell you I do a great impression of a tortoise (he won’t, he says my tortoise/seal/owl impressions all looks the same, which is just me looking very simple. But I know secretly he is impressed so will keep trying).

It was a relief to finish after the 10th running very quickly segment and head out of the park for a 35 minutes loop through the next city park (Leazes Park) and passed the various moors. I was shattered! But Jo and Emma you would have been impressed that I just kept going – it was the promise of a bike waiting for me!

I am really starting to enjoy pootling along feeling the wind on my sweaty neck (a beautiful image). Cooling down with my basket and bell. After my Ballet Bod class, I was cycling home when a motorist flagged me down. I was a bit nervous thinking I must have done something wrong, although I couldn’t think what, I follow all of Paul’s cycling advice, and I have stopped screaming when a car comes near me. Most of the time. The driver simply asked where I got my beautiful bike from, because she was looking for something similar! Oh I feel very continental in the sunshine, and I can’t help but smile after sharing my limited bike purchasing knowledge and I ring my bell as I head back on home.

Average pace: 8:56min/mile


– Mile 1 – 9:02

– Mile 2 – 8:08

– Mile 3 – 8:14

– Mile 4 – 8:21

– Mile 5 – 9:48

– Mile 6 – 9:38

– Mile 7 – 9:17

– Mile 8 – 8:56

– 0.1 Mile – 10:07

Achievements: 2 x segment personal record and 1 x gold cup with a number on!! Oh yes! I am 10th female over all for the ‘Newcastle University – The Lunch Run’! (where was the lunch?! There was no lunch)

Date: 24.06.17

Location: Newcastle

Distance: 5.28 miles

Time: 51:44.7

Run notes: Today was a return to hill reps. Oh how I would like to say I had missed but I really haven’t. Paul was away this weekend doing a marvelous job cycling the coast to coast for two fantastic charities.

The plan was to warm up, then 10 mins at threshold (with 2 mins jog in between) then hill reps of 2 x 10 x 30 secs, jog back down and 3 mins between sets. Warm down. I would normally double check my interpretation of instructions like this with Paul before I set out. They can be very confusing. But off I went with my own interpretation.

Whenever I make my way to Wheetslade knowing I am going to be climbing that hill, I hear my dad’s words ringing in my ears after the Vindolanda 10k: ‘You can really see the benefit those hill reps have had’. Which you can, and tonight I really could.


After running past the base of the hill and then picking up the speed for 10 minutes I found myself running towards the bottom of the hill. Up I went. And I ran further up that hill than ever before. Win for me! But I lost count again. Seriously can someone not come with me, sit and count for me?! I’d give you a glass of wine… but don’t let that distract you from from a task that I find clearly impossible. On the last hill climb I decided rather than turn round and jog to the bottom to keep going and get to the top. I wanted to finally make all the way up the hill to the summit that I had been forever climbing towards and never quite getting to.


Once I got there, I ran round the statues with a huge grin on my face, then I started my cool down, jogging the long route back down via the official path. I felt great! Anything is achievable! (Cue first ever attempt at a running selfie. Never to be attempted again. Looking good taking a selfie whilst running is not achievable. I look a bit like a mad/drunk octopus running)


That evening I had such a sense of achievement as I walked to meet my friend Ang on the high street for a glass of wine. Life is good and I could do anything. Why not share this great feeling? So I decided to bake a cake when I got back to give to Paul and his team, to celebrate their hard work. After a glass of wine or three  what could go wrong?! With that attitude my chocolate cake was in the oven. I am sure Emma and Jo would approve of this technique!

Average pace: 9:48min/mile


– Mile 1 – 8:35

– Mile 2 – 8:03

– Mile 3 – 10:51

– Mile 4 – 11:01

– Mile 5 – 10:41

– 0.2 Mile – 9:11


Date: 25.06.17

Location: Newcastle

Distance: 15.27 miles

Time: 02:24:13

Run notes: I had been checking Paul’s Strava reports each night. His training is obviously working a wonder for him, because wow the miles they have covered and the speed he is doing over those hills! Most importantly he’s been helping others in the team with all their challenges (including broken bikes). Very proud of him!

Today was another glorious day and it was time for the week’s big run. 15 miles supposedly at a progressive pace (but I will not repeat my lack of knowledge of my target paces). I had a quick phonecall with Paul just as I stepped out of the car to start. I really couldn’t be bothered. Three tough training runs in the heat and two Ballet Bod classes, on top of pootle commuting were taking there toll on me. Paul sensibly advised that a plan is just that a plan, and it is noted that the best form of exercise is often a break. I did my usual and ignored the sensible. I couldn’t let Jo and Emma down!

I had designed a route that would take me round the country lanes, passing lakes and through woods with a water point half way at my house. I have decided to call it a water point because I don’t want anyone to think that I stop for my water. I don’t. You will find me either jogging very quickly on the spot like I am standing on hot coals or running around the street all insight of the front door.

It was a hot day, I was shattered but I loved this run! I was listening to epic 96 hour audio book of Sherlock Holmes adventures and it was just getting to a good bit (I have been listening to this on my runs for a while now, not that I expected today’s run to go on for 96 hours) but it was a new route and I love discovering things, and on the country lanes I was accompanied by birds singing as I passed.


Just enjoying running obviously has the best affect on me. Without knowing, just because it was fun, I ran my fastest half marathon ever! 2 hours and 4 minutes!

So feeling even more positive than at the beginning of the weekend, I headed for a quick shower and off to Blyth with an iced cake to celebrate the achievements of the weekend! It was decided by the team to sell the cake at a £1 a slice (I felt I had to tell anyone who would listen that it may not be my best cake – although it looked so delicious, who knew what it would turn out like – I blame the wine). There was no need to panic though after buying myself a slice it was delicious! A very worthy treat to celebrate a hard run week!

Average pace: 9:56min/mile


– Mile 1 – 9:22

– Mile 2 – 9:31

– Mile 3 – 9:21

– Mile 4 – 9:26

– Mile 5 – 9:28

– Mile 6 – 9:35

– Mile 7 – 9:18

– Mile 8 – 9:41

– Mile 9 – 9:43

– Mile 10 – 10:26

– Mile 11 – 9:13

– Mile 12 – 9:10

– Mile 13 – 9:27

– Mile 14 – 9:22

– Mile 15 – 8:50

– 0.2 Mile – 8:26

Achievements: Best Half marathon effort, Best 20k effort, Best 10 mile effort, Best 15k effort

Thank you Jo Spark and Emma Flynn for joining me for a week of shattering runs in the most gorgeous weather. Thank you for being the reason I took the first step on my long run, and allowing me to one of my best training runs yet! I am sure you baking godesses would have been proud of my chocolate cake efforts under the influence! Jo don’t you think I can have one of you corned beef pies now?! Please….!

One thought on “Sunshine, Basket, Bells and Cake!

  1. Well done Lucy. You are a very busy bee at the moment. I’m not sure how you fit it all in. Love your running selfie.
    Well done on your best half marathon time too.
    Just back from Keswick. We were so lucky with the weather. I’ll email you in next few days with some photos.
    Keep up the good work.


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