Finally…a post about running

If you missed last Friday’s ‘What to do if you see a scary beast‘ post then read it now! Because at the weekend, when hiking, the Husband and the Dude were hurtling down a trail and they nearly ran straight into this guy.

Just a friendly local rattlesnake
Just a friendly local rattlesnake

He was big, he was equipped with a rattle at the end of his tail. Freeze, listen, retreat! We froze. We listened…no rattling. I remembered something I learned working on that post…that snakes ‘feel’ your presence by vibrations in the earth so we all stomped as hard as we could and slowly, slowly,  he slithered away!


For a running blog, I feel like I haven’t talked very much about running lately! I definitely haven’t talked about training for a LONG time, so it’s nice to write a little update today.

June was definitely NOT a training month. I only ran 52 miles (I usually average 100). They were leisurely, happy miles and I spent most of my time eating, drinking and hanging out with family. Awesomeness! But since I got back, I’ve started training again and it feels really good.  Let me fill you in.


I’ve actually got some races in the diary to look forward to.

Wild West Relay, Colorado, August 2nd – 3rd

The day after we get back from Ironman Canada, I fly out to Colorado for my first relay. (Let’s take a moment to get excited about me going away BY MYSELF! No boys!!) I’m doing it with the wonderful Bean and Stacy and a bunch of total strangers. We’re running 200 miles between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs. I have three legs of 7 miles, 7 miles and 4 miles which sounds straight-forward enough but the altitude is high. Along with the altitude, I’m nervous about bear and elk and running through the Rockies alone at night – I shall be head-to-toe decked out in bear bells, carrying my spray, lit up like a Christmas tree and making a lot of noise. It’s an adventure and I’m excited about it, and a little apprehensive too.

Ragnar Napa Valley, Sept 19th – 20th

If you read a lot of Bay Area running blogs, you’ll probably get sick of this race but both the Husband and I are running it along with a whole bunch of amazing runners. I am VERY excited about this! We haven’t sorted out who’s running which leg yet but it should be awesome. If anyone fancies babysitting the Dude, let me know!! 🙂

Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon, Oct 5th

I got a free entry to this race via the friend of a friend and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not a big fan of Rock n Roll races but the chance to experience one of their races for free is too good to pass up. I’m not planning to RACE this but rather to use it as a final tune up for…

Healdsburg Half Marathon, Oct 12th

My goal race of the Autumn. I hold this course very dear to my heart as it’s where I first went under two hours. I loved the course, its rolling undulations suited me down to the ground! I am hoping to PR. My current PR is 1.52 (with at least a minute to help an injured runner) and so I’m aiming for 1.50. And I’d be lying if I said 1.49 wasn’t something I’m dreaming of although if I’m honest, I think it’s beyond me.

I’d love to fit some trail half-marathons or long runs in between the races just for fun and exploring…I’m spending a little time on race registration sites to see what I fancy!!


So I’m training again and it feels AWESOME!! My training plan is slightly different from my usual.

  • Doubles….this is my third week of including one day of doubles. I’ve been careful to increase distance slowly and to plod along comfortably on both runs, not pushing the pace. I’ve actually really enjoyed them so far and my legs, whilst a little fatigued, aren’t too shot for the second run. The next morning though, they are sore!!
  • Longer long runs. I was moaning to Jen recently about how 12 milers never seemed to gets easier and she told me they’d feel easier if I was running longer distances. Logical. So I’ll be doing 14 milers for a few weeks before Healdsburg so that psychologically a half marathon feels easier on the day!
  • Alternating slower/faster miles on long runs. I think this really works for me.
  • Longer Tempo runs. My tempo runs have never got beyond 6 miles but they’ll increase to 9 miles nearer race day. I won’t be tempo-ing the whole distance (I’ll have slower miles in the middle) but I think this will help.

All this is obviously dependent on not getting injured and my heart being cool.

Garminning up

I’ve been procrastinating about buying a Garmin for about two years now and a few weeks ago, I finally caved in. I had some money saved up, I’d done some research and I was pretty confident the 220 was what I wanted. Ten minutes with the sales girl and I was sold…and it was sold too.

I will review it properly in a few weeks but, 3 weeks in, I FLIPPING LOVE IT!!! Apart from the first run, I have managed to avoid constantly glancing at my watch to see my pace and checking out the data when I get back is just too brilliant for words.

My first Garmin run. I felt a little pressure to have a decent overall speed.
My first Garmin run. I felt a little pressure to have a decent overall speed.


I have started listening to audio-books on my runs, inspired by Jen (as ever). It’s been revolutionary. My first book has been ‘A life without limits’ by Chrissy Wellington, the  (British) Ironman World Champion which is clearly apt for this month. I am LOVING the whole audio-book thing but I’m a little surprised at the price of Audible books…anyone got any handy hints on how to get super-cheap audio-books?


I have an online subscription to the newly relaunched UK Trail Running magazine. Ages ago, they tweeted, asking for photos of readers’ weekend trail runs and it just happened to be the day after our awesome run on San Bruno Mountain so I sent a photo. There was a bit of back and forth with them on email and then I kind of forgot about it. The August edition came out last week and BOOM, there I am in it! Whilst I feel like a bit of a fraud as I am still very much a novice trail runner, I am still ridiculously chuffed to be in it. My parents and family are currently buying up every copy in the UK.

A trail running Maria von Trapp.  Original Photo credit: Jen
A trail running Maria von Trapp.
Original Photo credit: Jen


Just in case you were particularly keen to see where I feature on the whole spread :)
Just in case you were particularly keen to see where I feature on the whole spread 🙂

If you send me a copy, I’ll happily sign it for you 🙂

This week is one of the busiest weeks of my year – it’s Vacation Bible Camp at church which I volunteer at. It’s awesome and exhausting at the same time. In addition, I’m dog-walking for a friend and we’re getting ready to go to Canada on Sunday! But my training will continue…the fire is back in my belly!!

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy says:

    Hello, new commenter here! I love listening to audio books on the run and while cleaning the house. I get mine free from the library, and listen through an app on my phone. I think most libraries have some way for you to do that now, so check out your local library’s website.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.

      Thanks also for the info ref libraries, I did have a quick look at their website and didn’t see anything but I’ll pop in and have a chat with them!! That would be amazing.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ve heard that rattlesnakes are beginning to lose their rattling ability (apparently, they still make the motion, but no sound is made) — so be careful!

    As for audiobooks, I’ve been a big fan of borrowing them from the library. You can either do it the old fashion way, which is to borrow the CDs from the library, download them onto your computer, and then transfer to your device, OR (and preferably), check out what kind of digital access your local public library has. Both Oakland and Hayward libraries use a system called Overdrive, where you download the app and “borrow” (temporary download) available audio books (and e-books too!) to use on your device (iPad or phone). There’s not as many titles, but I’ve been able to get a few good ones through it.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks for the audiobook info. I’d thought about libraries and had a quick look online but I think I need to go in and have a chat with them.
      The thought of a muted rattlesnake is pretty scary. I think our guy didn’t rattle because he wasn’t threatened by us. Apparently Arastradero is a rattlesnake haven – I had no idea! May put off any further hikes there till Autumn.

  3. I’ve seen too many snakes while I’ve been running! I listen to books while I run and get many of them from the local library. I was able to find out about it online. Congrats on being in the magazine!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I feel like snake sightings might be much more common than I thought…yuck!!! Thanks for the library tip – I’m going to check that out tonight!

  4. Grace says:

    I can’t listen to anything while running, but I like audiobooks for long road trips – our library has downloadable ones you can ‘borrow’ virtually for a few weeks.
    A lot of people seem to find Chrissie Wellington’s book inspiring but I couldn’t get into it – it was all ‘I’m a gumby n00b but I somehow managed to win this triathlon’! As a plodder I much prefer the stories of people who have at least an inkling of what it’s like to struggle.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I think I like it because it’s so British. We’re quite a self-deprecating race and I think her playing down her talent is part of that Britishness. I agree that she doesn’t talk much about the suffering, which I would appreciate as it would maybe help me dig deeper during races and def. the Husband in his Ironman next week.

      1. Grace says:

        Heh, I can see that. The self-deprecating thing. I do like a good dose of sarcasm and self-deprecation sometimes instead of unrelenting earnestness… oh! and good luck to your family for the Ironman!!

  5. I saw a snake on my run-also pictured on my blog. I wonder if we run in the same place. I’m a little freaked out now-I’ve never seen one on that path before.

  6. Cathryn says:

    It was Woodrat trail on Arastradero Preserve. Your snake pic (equally shuddery) looks like it’s a paved trail? Mine was dirt! In any case…shudder. From the fuss I made about it on twitter, it appears that Arastradero is a bit of a hot spot for rattlesnakes.

  7. Yes a paved path that runs for 20 miles in one direction and is right near Highway 101! I’m blaming it on the drought!

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