Saturday, 31 December 2011

And now the end is near...

It is hard to believe it's now 31st December! It's been a pretty good year all round, the last couple of posts were a bit gloomy but in the grand scheme of things I guess they were fairly minor setbacks.
I managed my 5km on hug a runner day in November and then it was a case of gently breaking myself back in in preparation for Marcothon 2011. There are some who doubt the sanity of folk who do "streaks" (does not involve removal of clothing) and there were times when I doubted my own, but I am so so pleased that I managed to run every day in December - 31 days giving me just over 100 miles.
Some days were better than others, some were hellish if truth be told, we ran early in the morning in the rain and the dark, we beat "Hurricane Bawbag" by running at 6am before the gales hit - this was a particularly ferocious storm on Thursday 8 December with winds of almost 100mph! It was affectionately named by some wag, as only a Scots wag would...
Other runs were in the middle of the day in glorious sunshine and crisp white snow, others involved negotiating large icy areas - this is a particular phobia of mine :-(
Some were treadmill runs squeezed in at lunchtimes or after meetings but at the end of it all there was one run every day for the month. During this adventure we have made new friends through the facebook group, all at various stages of madness and we had runners from "a' the airts" taking part.
A particular mention must go to all the parkrun friends who took part as their encouragement and support was invaluable as well as humorous and amusing - each day's highlight was looking forward to the various posts and Alan Lindsay's photos of Islay who looks like one of the best trained dogs ever!
This morning was the finale of Marcothon, runners came along to Falkirk parkrun wearing something red and joined by Marco and Debbie Consani who are the Marcothon parents :-) It was great to see the smiles on so many faces and the sense of achievement was tangible. As always with running it changes your perspective on so many things, I never thought I was capable of running 31 days in a row, I stressed a bit at first about the logistics, but as it became a habit it just worked, it was possible to fit a run in at some point of the day, even setting the alarm clock 15minutes earlier was no hardship...
I also managed to get back to bootcamp twice a week which I am still really enjoying and which is undoubtedly helping with strength and conditioning work.
Now as the new year approaches, it's traditionally a time to reflect and at the risk of getting maudlin, it's been a great running year with loads of new friends, loads of new experiences, a PB at 5k, 10k and marathon distance and my first ultra race all under my belt, lots of new runners are joining our merry band, some more willingly than others and there are already new adventures planned for 2012.
So all things being equal and my wonderful physio earning his money, and with the support and encouragement of my wonderful husband and friends I'm looking forward to whatever it brings!
Happy, healthy injury-free year to everyone xxx

p.s. might change the title to 2012 and come back and do some more, it's been fun reminiscing and writing it all down :-)

Saturday, 19 November 2011


(missing in action - or should it be inaction?)
(thanks to Debbie Consani - I borrowed the image from her blog:

It's three weeks since we were in Frankfurt for our last marathon of 2011, I had been fighting a chest infection for about 10 days before we went, and really wasn't sure if I would be able to run or not. I thought I'd just picked up a bit of a cold, there was a lot of it going around, but I think by the time we left I knew it was on it's dreaded "way down"...
I guess this is also partly why I haven't been on here for a while - I've really struggled to shift the infection and my energy levels have definitely been in the below zero range for a couple of weeks...

So what have we been up to?

When we arrived in Frankfurt on Friday 28 Oct the weather was sunny and mild and this was the forecast for the weekend, we checked in to our hotel and then went to the expo where we met Fauja Singh.
A venerable gentleman indeed.
We had dinner in a wee local pub just round the corner from our hotel where we had the largest schnitzel either of us have ever seen, and it was delicious!
As it was the 30th running of the Frankfurt marathon, we got a commemorative backpack which is really nice, with the strangest contents ever... a box of hard boiled eggs :-)
yes the really were hard boiled eggs and they were dyed different shades of gold and green. They tasted nice but definitely the weirdest thing we've ever got in a marathon goodie bag!

Saturday morning dawned beautifully clear and warm and the international friendship run or brezellauf beckoned - this was a led 5km run along the banks of the Main which Fauja Singh took part in, along with runners from many nations. I had a great run - ironic considering how I had been feeling - and we met lots of friendly runners, including Stefan a German who was in a kilt and Jacobean shirt which he had purchased in Edinburgh.
We finished back at the Messe - where we were given plenty of water and sports drink, and lovely fresh brezel. It was a great morning, then we met our Canadian friend Kirk and a German friend Henning who had arranged an afternoon's gentle cruising on the river for us. It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. A very nice pasta dinner followed and as the portions weren't huge, we then stopped at a takeaway outlet where they made us delicious freshly made pasta and pizza.
Back to hotel and kit was laid out for the following morning, numbers pinned on etc etc... Still undecided at this point about whether or not I'd run.
I eventually made up my mind about 20min before the start when I bid John Good Luck and walked down to the start line to watch the race. It looks like a good, fast course, the winner Wilson Kipsang was only 4 seconds shy of the World Record which was set in Berlin in September!
John managed to finish in under 4 hours although he struggled with a sore hip and leg. The finish is quite spectacular, you finish inside the Messe on a red carpet with cheer leaders, loud music, ticker tape etc what an experience!!
So that's the end of our running year - we've both had a month off and I am just about at the point where I think I should be able to jog round 5k tomorrow so fingers crossed. John is still nursing a "sore bum" so he's not going to be running much before 1st December when we are both taking part in the Marcothon - this should be interesting :-)

Wish me well for tomorrow as I set out for my first run in a month on what is appropriately designated as "Hug a Runner Day"

Friday, 21 October 2011

Grumble, grumble...not fair!

oh well, it was all going pretty good in the end, then wallop!! I've now got a rattly cough! I'm extremely cross, having worked hard to get the legs working properly again and I think doing a reasonable job - physio said he noticed a difference in a week - I do my exercises :-) this happens... just NOT FAIR!!!

I made it back to bootcamp last Friday and had a fantastic hour running around doing circuits in the mud and the rain, I've missed it over the summer, but it was too much to fit it all in, so I was all set to go back again tonight but have decided to stay in the warm and try not to cough too much.
I've not run much during the past 2 weeks, but I have had a couple of good long runs and half hour sessions on the treadmill and cross trainer, I was hoping for an even longer run this weekend to convince me that I would be ok in Frankfurt but I don't know now it will depend whether the cough stays up high or sinks down in which case I won't be running.

I know I shouldn't grumble I should be really grateful that I don't have anything more serious than a cough, but it is really frustrating when life slaps you in the face :-(

Fingers crossed that a good night's sleep and maybe a little medicinal rioja will do the business and I'll get my long run in at the weekend.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Where did September go?

I can't believe that's us into October already and I've kinda fallen off the blog wagon a little bit...

Probably a combination of being incredibly busy at work and trying to train, and not having much of import to share :-(

However, on a positive note, we did get to Berlin and we did get round the course, so I did finish my 12th marathon and get the medal I couldn't pick up in 2008 as I DNS due to something weird happening to my liver 5 weeks out...
John was still injured so it was to be his turn to DNS, we flew out on the Thursday and met up with friends with whom we were sharing a nice apartment in the Charlottenburg area of the city. I'd stay there again, it was leafy, quiet, loads of shops, restaurants etc nearby and only a short walk to the UBahn to get to anywhere in the city centre you wanted.
On Saturday morning we ran the friendship run, 6km which finishes in the Olympic Stadium, this is the second Olympic Stadium we've finished a run in this year, we did it in Barcelona in March, and there is something really special about running through the tunnel, into the light and out onto the blue track where so many other famous feet have gone before you :-)

The weather was amazing all weekend - better than we'd had here all summer so on race day it was yet again absolutely roasting! John was still injured but he decided he was going to run round with me - he is my hero, it was probably the worst run I've ever had, I had real issues with the heat and my leg was giving me some serious trouble. I don't think I'd have finished without him and the ice cream cone which he bought me at 36km was the best ice cream I've EVER had :-)
This is definitely, so far, the best finishing chute I have ever run down, to come through the Brandenburg gate 400m from the finish is amazing and the street is lined with people all the way to the finish line, it was truly a wonderful day.

I am hoping that I will be able to do Frankfurt on 30 October, fingers crossed, then I think it's time to have some exploration of my knee so that I can keep on running...

I have a lovely wee video clip of our finish which I can't get to upload here, but I will come back and see if I can add it later.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Like the Parson's nose

- it had good bits and bad bits...

Didn't run much during last week, felt a bit under the weather, and my leg was incredibly sore. I had a physio session on Thurs evening and it was the toughest I've ever had to endure, I almost swore and almost cried :-( Then came the DOMS!!! It was awful! Saturday morning I really had to haul myself out of the door for a run, I so did NOT want to go! Ironically I had a really pleasant and reassuring 15km run, once I was warmed up it all kinda fell into place and I was able to toddle along quite comfortably and in control. This gave me a huge confidence boost - thank goodness! On Sunday I ran the GSR 10k race in Glasgow and whilst I would have liked to have gone faster than I did, I still knocked 1minute off my previous time so I'm pleased, especially as I had tired and stiff sore legs. Congratulations to the guys from Runtime Error who also all ran well, and special mention to Janette who ran her first race :-) Commiserations go to John who has pulled a soleus and couldn't run this time :-(
So if that was the good bits, the bad bits are that I haven't run again since Sunday until today at lunch, I have been incredibly tired all week and also struggling to walk never mind contemplate running...
I nearly gave up at lunchtime the first mile hurt like hell, but eventually things stretched out and warmed up and I had a reasonable session. This Saturday coming I MUST do a long run I hope to do about 20miles, it's only 2 weeks to Berlin, and although I've done lots of running this past few months, I don't feel as if I've trained properly for this and I do want to go and give it my best shot.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Back from holidays...

It was a fabulous holiday, saw lots of places & people, met up with lots of old (longtime) friends and made some new ones, ran a fair bit, went whitewater rafting, was privileged to attend the best wedding I've ever been to - apart from when John & I got married of course :-)

We had 2 wonderful, hot, sunny weeks in Canada, split between Toronto, Ottawa, Toronto and I really did not want to come home...

Back to reality - rain, low temperatures and jet-lag with a bump! Arrived home on Wednesday morning and didn't run until Saturday when I volunteered to be Tail-runner at Falkirk Parkrun. I had a great time, a nice gentle 5km taken slowly which my legs needed, and chatting with Karen along the way and managed to get her a full minute off her PB so I felt good! I had planned a longish run for Sunday, went to bed Saturday evening just after 10 and slept until the alarm went off at 7 on Sunday morning. When I got up and visited loo, I could hear the gales blowing outside and decided to go back to bed, we eventually surfaced at 9.30!! We NEVER lie-in but I guess the jet-lag was catching up! Anyway, weather was foul and I couldn't get motivated to go for a run, I caught up with a mountain of ironing, baked some banana bread, tidied up a bit and then started back at pilates last night - an hour of stretching should sound like gentle exercise but NO! It's a good workout :-) (ok secretly we enjoy it and it does make you feel good)
I went to the gym at lunchtime today to do a few Kms and I had a great wee 5k run, it was really good, everything felt smooth and relaxed and I didn't have any of the leg pains which I've been plagued with since I did the Clyde Stride. Hopefully that's me recovered and can get a couple of long runs in in the next 2 weeks as we're off to Berlin on 22 Sept.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Well done John!

Up at 3am yesterday morning to head off to Tyndrum for the start of the Devil O' The Highlands. This was John's first ultra as unfortunately he'd been injured in April and was unable to take part in the Highland Fling - this was when we marshalled at Rowardennan (see earlier post for info) and I suppose if I'm honest, it was this day that inspired me to enter the Clyde Stride.
It's a different type of person who runs the longer distances, and a much smaller number but all really nice folk :-)
We had a nice clear run up the road, not much traffic in the middle of the night! Arrived in plenty of time for registration at The Green Welly, a big bowl of porridge for John and some not so healthy rolls and sausage for Dave and I. Dave is a friend and work colleague who is also an Ironman twice over who had agreed to be John's support runner, this race has to be supported as there are no aid stations along the way and you have to be able to carry your own nutrition & fluids so it's vital to have someone who can feed you at checkpoints etc, but you also need someone who can come out and run back in with you if you get lost along the way - there are long stages of inaccessible mountains and moors to cover. Pacers aren't allowed if you're in contention for one of the prizes, but you are allowed company if you fancy it for sections of the course although you must always carry your own backpack.
The weather forecast had been for rain but I was sure it was going to be sunny and warm having watched the satellite forecast earlier in the week, and I was right, it was a beautiful day if a bit hot for the competitors!

This is one of the most spectacular parts of Scotland and very popular with tourists who walk the West Highland Way and yesterday it was in it's full glory.
John did brilliantly, he finished the 43 miles in 9hrs 20m - unofficial time - from my watch, and was still mobile and coherent at the end - for those of you who know him, this is quite significant ;-)

Well Done you are now officially an Ultra-Nutter! xx

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

2 steps forward, 3 steps back...

Just a little grumble :-(
Went out for my run on Sunday morning as planned, legs were a bit stiff and bottom of left calf round achilles was really grumbly, but hoped that it would ease itself out. It didn't!! I grouched and stressed for 9.7k and came home still with stiff achey legs...

I'm hoping that they are just more tired from my exertions in July than I think they ought to be, in my head the Lakeland Trails marathon and Clyde Stride are consigned to history, I really enjoyed both events, but they're done and so it's time to move forward. Unfortunately my body isn't keeping up with my head! Hey ho...

I'd like to say I'm a patient person by nature, and in some ways I am, but not at the moment! I've been really suffering with pains in my leg in bed and this has been disturbing my sleep so that hasn't helped my mood, but this morning I did 10 mins on the foam roller and stretching my hamstrings and calves with the resistance band and it has felt better during the day. I'm off now to do another wee session and hopefully by tomorrow will be able to get back out for a relatively pain-free run.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Getting there - albeit slowly :-)

I like this poster it makes me smile, and today I can say "Yes" I did run. Not very far, about 4km and not very fast, but I got up, got out there and I did it. John ran with me round the new parkrun course at Falkirk, he was racing and I was volunteering - today I was managing the funnel, which basically means making sure that the finishers stay in order after crossing the line until they've received their barcode. This ensures that each person gets the correct time.
So we arrived a wee bit early and he used it as his warm up - it was good, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to going back and running there again. It must have paid dividends for John too as he ran round a full 30 secs faster than last week! Tomorrow I will try and run 10k or so.
The weather was glorious here today, hot and sunny so hopefully it will be nice again tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ups & Downs

After having a good day on Tuesday where I got in my run and my 2 cycle rides, I was really tired again on Wednesday and my poor old legs felt like lead :-(
My training programme had a 7 mile run scheduled and I just couldn't face it when I got home...
It was hot - well hot by Scottish standards! Sunny and still warm at 6pm and the way I was feeling it was too warm to run so I ducked out and decided I'd burn some calories by washing the cars. They were both in great need of a wash so it was a good job well done, but it ended up taking me about an hour and a half and because it's quite a stretch up to do the roof of mine, my calves got a really good workout!
So much so that I had a dreadful night's sleep, kept wakening up with shooting pains going through the big muscles of my thighs and calves so woke up on Thursday morning in a terrible mood :-(
Tears and tantrums ensued as I had a real moan about how unfair it was that I was tired and didn't feel like running even though my head wanted to and so on and so on...
I was gently reminded that I have run 3 marathons this year and it was only 12 days since my Ultra, didn't make me feel any better though!
However, I had a massage booked for Thursday evening and although it was quite painful in parts, it did the trick and my legs felt much better afterwards and I slept better last night - probably as a result of legs being bit less tight.
I haven't run today although I have done a fair bit of walking, and I am marshalling again tomorrow at Falkirk parkrun, but I intend to run round the course before I start so hopefully I will manage that and then get a longer run on Sunday morning.
Will let you know :-)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Busy but productive day :-)

Woke up just before 5 this morning and it was a beautiful morning. I tried to lie still a while longer and was trying to decide whether to run at lunchtime or in the evening or now? I realised I wasn't going to get back to sleep so I got up, got organised and was out the door about half past 5.
It was a still, peaceful and fabulously clear morning with the ground mist rising along the valley. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and by the time I was heading home into the sun, it was promising to be a hot day - Yay!! Only about the second or third one this year!!

I ran the same route as Sunday in reverse, and with an extra half mile added on at start and finish so I got the full 4miles which was on my program for today. I took it steady, my legs are still tired deep down inside, there's not much spring in them even though they're willing and my head is trying hard to spur me on, they just don't have it...

I know it will come back though and I am actually really really pleased at how well I have recovered from my ultra, I have to remind myself it was only 10 days ago!

As it was such a beautiful morning we cycled to work which was lovely - we are very fortunate that we have a great network of cycle paths around where we live which all link into the National Cycle Network and which are increasingly being used by locals to run/jog, cycle, walk their children/dogs etc.
The route to work is great, it's all downhill! It's not such a pleasing prospect at home time :-) I did however manage to cycle all the way up to our house which is a really gratifying measure of my increased strength and fitness as it is a hard hill to cycle up - I was reminiscing a week or so ago about how when we moved in here, fat, couchloving and unfit we never gave a thought to buying the house at the top of the hill, I couldn't in those days walk up the hill without needing to stop to catch my breath, and now we run and cycle up it without any great stress... I like these little measures, they help you take stock.

I lit the fire bowl this evening so it was BBQ for dinner which was nice and great to be able to sit in the warm sunshine and enjoy it. I then spent the next 2 hours scarifying our "lawns" an extremely satisfying if mucky and dusty job - we now have a brown bin full of moss and clover!

Tomorrow's run is scheduled to be 7 miles, I'm not overly looking forward to it as my calves/achilles are both a bit sore and stiff but I'll give it a go, I'm sure I'll warm up and get into it and it is true you do always feel better afterwards.

I chose this photo to put on my post, because tonight we had a frog in the pond - he hopped up the waterfall and under the big green frog :-)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

First post -race run (jog)

I have been taking it easy this week so although I went to the gym on Tuesday at lunchtime I haven't run since last Saturday. I cycled 3miles in gym and walked 1mile on treadmill with a couple of 1minute jogs for the last 10minutes.
It's been beautiful here this weekend - at last! Probably this will be our summer, if we're lucky it will last another couple of days...
Yesterday John ran the new Falkirk Parkrun and I marshalled on the course, it was great to see all the runners twice from my marshalling spot and I'd definitely volunteer to do it again.

We've had some downtime this weekend and it's been lovely, went to Edinburgh to the Jazz Festival yesterday and Glasgow today for the Merchant City Festival, so sunshine and culture!

I had it in my head I was going to get back out again this weekend, but the motivation hasn't been great, I jogged half a mile back from marshalling yesterday with the tailrunner, and it felt pretty good, but it didn't really count as a run so I really wanted to get out today, eventually about 5.30pm the wee voice in my head said "come on then shoes on!" So off we went. We've a new path been finished nearby so that's given me another nice 5km route with only a couple of stops to cross the road and a couple of cattle grids on the path, a nice steady trot in the warm sunshine complete, I feel much better :-)
So that's it, back into training programme again now, although I might be a little behind I'm sure I'll catch up in plenty of time for Berlin, I keep reminding myself
1.. You've plenty miles in your legs and
2.. it IS OK to be tired! :-)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Well who'd have thought it?

I am officially an Ultra-Runner :-)

Saturday 16th July I successfully completed the 40mile (65km) yes 40 miles, Clyde Stride

I haven't mentioned this before as I wasn't 100% sure I'd be able to complete it and didn't want to set myself up for a fall, but I am happy to tell you all about it now, any time you want, and over and over if necessary :-) Poor John he must be fed up of me coming out with random thoughts, memories or anecdotes...
Seriously though I couldn't have done it without his support, he was there at every checkpoint for me with nutrition, fluids, changes of shoes & clothes, kind words and even an ice spray at the last one :-)

40miles is an awful long way to try and retell so have a look at the website and have a look at the route maps etc there. The route goes from Partick Station in Glasgow city centre to New Lanark visitor's centre, with some fabulous but varied and challenging terrain in between. The Race Director - the wonderful Lee McLean states that the course undulates in parts - she tells lies!!! There are a couple of nasty hills and some really steep steps along the way.

We follow the Clyde Walkway for the whole race, it's worth doing as a walk even in manageable chunks if you don't fancy it all in one day, but the last half especially is quite stunning. If you want to know a bit more about the trail look at my previous blog post about my Long Run that turned into an epic adventure :-) This was the day that I ran the second half of the route as a recce...

Fortunately the temporary bridge had been opened in time for the race so I didn't have the extra 5 mile detour this time, although the two big fallen trees are still lying across the farm road near Carbarns Farm. Guess the farmer will get round to moving them when he needs access to the road.

I was very tired when I was finished, but on such a high I couldn't stop chattering on about it =:-0
Didn't sleep particularly well and then we'd another early start on Sunday morning to go to Dundee as John was running in the Half marathon. I managed to get a brisk 3-4miles walking in which helped my recovery and today I managed to get to the gym and do 3 miles on the bike, 1 mile walking on the treadmill and 5mins at the end jogging :-)
I'm not going to say anymore about it there's too much... oh and BTW it was supposed to rain all day and instead we had roasting sunshine!

I've included a few photos but there are more on the Clyde walkway site which do it better justice :-)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Yep I know I've used that title before, but I am! I suppose it's not altogether unreasonable given the tough day we had last Sunday but it's still hard to come to terms with - you think you're recovered but you're not really...
I had a non-running weekend and I really enjoyed it :-) I ran on Friday 5km on the treadmill and although I wasn't too uncomfortable, the legs were still heavy and a bit achey. John was doing his long run on Saturday so I spent the day driving around the countryside in glorious sunshine with the roof down on the MR2 :-)
Sunday I contemplated running but started the day with breakfast outside enjoying the peace and stillness - before the rain came! Did an hour of tidying up in the garden then got showered and organised and headed off to Glasgow to Achilles Heel for new shoes - that always cheers me up :-)
Another nice chat with Katie & Co and
left the shop with my purchases

They didn't have the socks in store that I wanted, but they had them in online store and I ordered them on Sun evening and they arrived today - great service (and free p&p)
I've only done 1 run this week, 5.1K on the treadmill on Monday lunchtime, been really tired yesterday and today - hope it's just fatigue and not somebody's bugs =:-0
So not much else to report, I took the bike out for 40mins yesterday with a couple of good hills in the route so that was better than nothing...
I'm back at physio tomorrow evening so hopefully legs will feel brand new after the pain wears off :-)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Lakeland Trails Marathon 3 July 2011

It's not the most flattering photo - then none of them are :-) but I hope it gives you and idea of
a) how high up we were
b) how high up we'd been
c) how b****y hard I was working!!!

oh and d) what a scorching hot day it was!

What more can I say...
I can categorically state that this was the hardest, toughest, most challenging race I have ever done, but at the same time it was fantastic! We climbed and climbed up out of Coniston village then climbed some more, (1000ft of climb!) ran along the top of a hill ran down over boulders and rocks - dried waterfall beds I'm sure, through bogs, over a stile, over barbed wire fence, through a fast flowing river, then another 5 miles or so (in soaking wet shoes) down single track sheep trails in shoulder-high bracken followed by the last couple of miles along the lakeside trying not to trip up on tree roots and stones! What a day - oh and all that in the scorching sunshine :-)
I could rabbit on about this for ages but that's pretty pointless, I am just immensely chuffed to have finished this race upright and still able to move my legs - if you want to read the reviews of others then have a look at Runner's World it's great to know I'm not the only one who thought it was tough...
Spent a really enjoyable couple of hours in the park afterwards with fellow finishers, enjoying the beer, the ice cream and the live music. Wandered back along into the village to the Black Bull for scampi & chips and another beer then back (slowly) to the campsite for an early night :-) Wonderful breakfast in Ambleside and a lovely drive back up the road in the sunshine.

Oh and YES I would do it all again!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Getting ready to race :-)

Saturday morning will see us off to the Lake District to take part in the Lakeland Trails marathon, or as I prefer to think of it a pleasant run round Coniston Water. The weather forecast looks favourable and we are having Monday off work so am looking forward to a pleasant post race meal/beer in a local hostelry after the race and a leisurely drive home on Monday.

It's John's 20th marathon which I think is an incredible achievement!!

I had a physio appointment this evening, my achilles tendon is playing up a bit - not something I'm terribly prone to but there you go, this week I am, so I am all wrapped up in pink tape again :-)
I hope the weather is nice and we can take the wee car as we can get the roof down and get some sunshine...
Will post about our adventures when we get back

Monday, 27 June 2011

Ten Tough Trail miles...

that's what I did yesterday!
Looking for somewhere new to run, I decided to run on the Clyde walkway again. This time I ran from Cambuslang towards Strathclyde park for just over an hour and then turned and retraced my route, this let John run on to Maudslie Bridge to get his long run in in preparation for next weekend's Lakeland Trails Marathon.
It was a tough trail run! The start was on cycle path for the first km, then it left the path and quickly entered fields with hills!
The trail is very narrow at this point and it was quite tricky going but it was interesting and challenging and certainly more fun than pounding round the familiar roads near home.

Legs bore up reasonably well, I ran out for 1hr 6min and back in 1hr 2min and then after a quick drink and use of a supermarket's facilities, I drove down to meet John. It was a fine day for running, there wasn't too much of a wind blowing, and although it was really quite dull with heavy cloud, the rain didn't come to much and there were brief spells of sunshine. It was however warm, much warmer than you'd think if you were looking out from your cosy bed! It looked like a dull cold day out :-)

Last night, we made it to pilates so a good stretch for an hour made us feel much better and as a result not quite as stiff and sore this morning. I have been moving furniture at work today so will probably be really achey tomorrow but never mind, the office looks much better now :-)

Having a gentle week this week as we race on Sunday and hopefully will be able to have Monday off and make a long weekend of our "romantic weekend in the lakes"!!! (there's an explanation...but it's lengthy!)...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Runtime Error

This post isn't about my adventures per se, it's about a group of 13 fab guys who accepted my challenge :-) 10 of the group were non-runners, 1 fell runner, 1 Ironman and 1 19 times marathoner were the others.
As the team all work for IT they decided their team name should have an appropriate feel to it hence runtime error :-)

The challenge laid down 12 weeks ago was to train for and take part in the MHFS 10K in Glasgow on Sun 19 June. They all took on the challenge with various levels of eagerness and a little reluctance in some corners :-) Much encouragement, some gentle nagging and bribery with healthy cakes, and a pre-race pasta party along the way, race day dawned...
Absolutely perfect race conditions, overcast, 14C, occasional light showers forecast - it rained while we were travelling and stayed completely dry before, during and after the race.
Everyone turned up in plenty of time and got themselves organised, toiletted, lubed up and soon it was time to get into the start waves. As always the race organisation was superb, each wave of the pulse start was called forward and led by a piper to line up. Nice wee downhill start and then they were OFF!
First of the team home was
Will in a cracking 35:37
John M was next in 41:32
Dave R followed in 43:52
Callum was 44:55
Rab in 57:08
Colin was 57:49
Brian in 57:50
Steve was 1:06:40
Mark in 1:12:47
John A in 1:20:03
Dave K in 1:21:49
Ross was 1:22:40
Rob in 1:41:43

Each and everyone of them achieved something or learned something about themselves today - I think that shows in the grins in the "after" photo
As well as the personal achievement, they have also managed to raise £1000 for CHAS and they are already talking about what they are going to do next!

I'm really glad they've all been bitten even if it is only a tiny scratch by the "bug" and I am immensely proud of each of them :-)

Another long run

Yesterday was another long slow run, I had hoped that I might be able to manage about 50km and had mapped out a route that I thought would do - an extensions of a 32km route that we do regularly on the Friday evening. When we woke early Sat morning it was quite blowy and raining - no change there then - when are we going to get a Summer????
I was also cold, which is unusual in that I am by nature a warm person and only feel the cold when I'm tired, I should have taken heed of this, however I had a think about the weather/route etc and decided to run the opposite direction to my original plan to avoid as much of the wind as possible. I set off ok, then a mile or so in, realised that I should have added a couple of miles to the start of the route to extend it so decided to take a previously un-run path to try to make up for the mistake. It was a really nice path to run, but, it was very hilly and not exactly the best way to start a long run! It was tree lined though so offered some shelter from the wind & rain. It was hard going when I left the shelter behind and had to run the 2miles from Alva to Tillicoultry straight into a strong headwind. Fortunately I turned at Tilli and the wind was at my back for a while, I decided to take the Devonway bridlepath to Sauchie to avoid the steep climb out of Tillicoultry, it's an old railway line so the gradients are much gentler than the road's. Huh! about 1km onto the path "Mixed Leisure Route Close" for upgrading! This is definitely a matter for some debate, upgrading means tarmacadam on top of what was a great trail, yes I appreciate that this makes it more accessible for wheelchair users, parents with buggies, cyclists etc but spare a thought for us poor runners who really appreciate a break from the road under our feet and leave us some trails!
The closure meant that I had to run up the roadside, steep hill! Hey ho, rain wasn't too bad at this point and wind was at my back, so it was a case of "suck it up!" Through Sauchie to Clackmannan by which time it was raining properly, wind however had almost completely gone, so ever onwards... Nice run in the rain down on the Kennet Pans, this is reclaimed farmland along the river Forth, and although it's still a tarred road it's a nice run downhill from Clackmannan on to the flat lands of the valley bottom or the Kerse as it's called in these parts.
Quick stop for a bit of bagel to nibble on and over the new Clackmannanshire bridge, then into Kincardine over the old bridge. I usually run Kincardine Bridge first when I do this route but I was really struggling with the tedium of familiar territory - quite a contrast to last week! so decided to change the order. John met me as I left Kincardine with a welcome Coke and a change of top, was about 25k by this point so half way through my hoped for distance. I was feeling good mentally but was struggling with a tightness in my left leg which just wouldn't ease off so this was slowing me down a bit. I left Kincardine, headed back along the Kerse it was only light drizzle by now, and when I got to Clackmannan I followed a new path back to Alloa. This was the best bit of the run in terms of underfoot as it soon left the tarmac and headed onto a track between fields, this came to the BlackDevon Wetlands and the path became a path through a grassy meadow, it was a joy to run on but by this time my leg was so tight and I was wet & tired that I didn't get as much of a lift from it as I should have. I was also by this time, conscious of the clock and worrying about getting home to cook dinner for some guests we were having over for a pre-race pasta dinner so I gave in at 35km and John picked me up back in Alloa.
Mixed feelings about the day, did I set my goals too high? Not sure, a positive though was that I was able to do 35km for the second week in a row and this one was on tired, sore legs.
Home, quick epsom salts bath then dinner organised, who for and why is for the next post :-)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Interesting run or epic adventure?

It was both :-) it was an interesting run which turned into an epic adventure!

My long run for Saturday was 18miles from Strathclyde Park to New Lanark visitor centre, this route runs alongside the River Clyde for nearly the whole journey with only a couple of departures where it climbs away from the water for a couple of miles before dropping back down again - this is actually a nice description of what a friend commenting on my run called "Killer Hills" she wasn't wrong! Worse, I wasn't expecting them :-)
The run is mainly on trail with a few miles on country lanes/farm roads a mixture of tarmac and concrete, with the worst parts for me being the very narrow trail through the fields of long wild grasses which meant that due to the rain my shoes quickly got soaked!

OK to try and give you the proper chronology...

We set off early as usual to parkrun although only John was running, I was spectating and setting off to run after he'd finished.

It was unusually, a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and even more unusual there was no gale blowing across the loch, nor were there any "beasties"!

John ran the first mile with me on a lovely wooded trail with the sun dappling through the leaves and river running along on my right hand side, he turned back to go and get the car so that he could drive on ahead and meet me along the way, so I was off on my on on a totally new trail :-)
I met a few fellow joggers and a couple of dog walkers along the first couple of mile, then at around the 5mile mark I met my first obstacle:

Should I go over it or under it? In the end I had to go under and over it as I was approaching it from the other side to this photo - it was about 4ft off the ground at the point where I'd to climb over! Once safely on my way the next obstacle was a sign which said that the riverbank was prone to flooding and an alternative route was available which rejoined the river 2miles on... John's parting advice was "keep the river on your right hand side" needful of this I started off down the "path" through a field of cows until I got to a point where I couldn't pass as the cows were grazing right across the path - the path was in truth only where the grass had been worn by the cattle and sheep. Now I should explain that I grew up in dairy farming country so have no fear of cattle, in fact I find cows really friendly gentle animals - most of the time - these ones however were nursing very young calves and this meant I was giving them a wide berth! I met a man walking the path and asked if he knew where the alternative route went but it was his first outing too so I headed back the way I'd come to look for the route mentioned above... Long story short I couldn't find it - an extra km or so back and fro over really lumpy terrain and I decided to give it one more shot. Fortunately by this time the cows had moved away from the path so I headed onwards. Another couple of miles along the way and by this time I'm on a farm road, when...
Fortunately I could walk around the edge of the root stump so managed to get on my way again - oh and by this time it was raining!
Only about another mile further on there was yet another tree across the path but again I was able to walk around it.
By this time I had still only covered about 8 miles - it seemed much further :-) I wasn't tired, I'd just had to contend with so many obstacles along the way! About half a mile later I met John who ran a mile or so with me until we came to Rosebank, he went back to the car and I carried on along the river. The track here was more like gravel which I didn't particularly like but it was flat so I made good time, soon I headed into the woods, again a really lovely place to run, it was still raining but in the trees it was mainly dry, and the trail underfoot was much more enjoyable to run on. It started to get hilly here with a few sets of wooden steps and boardwalks over burns etc - these are fun to run on as you get a wee "bounce" and the changing terrains while challenging add welcome variety.
Then I met my first hill, and it was probably the worst! It was a really steep 87m ascent and an almost immediate descent! The next 4 or 5 miles were hilly and wooded, but I was listening to a podcast where a guy was retelling his experiences on a German trail run, and it was really funny so took my mind off the pain :-) I do believe in the "psychic ipod" theory...
John caught up with me again as I reached the next flat section and he had a banana with him which we shared and chatted as we ran along, I really like doing my long runs on my own, but I really really enjoy when I meet him like this for a mile or so and then I can look forward to catching up with him again later - especially when like on this route, I don't know where. It's a lovely surprise :-)
I had my fuel drink in my backpack and a bagel to nibble on as well as a couple of gels so I was feeling comfortable in terms of my nutrition etc.
This is becoming an epic post so I will move swiftly on, another few miles - I think it was probably about 16miles in but by this time my Garmin had thrown a wobbly and was somehow displaying in Lithuanian or Romanian or similar, and it had already stopped and I'd had to restart it - I think it was the heavily wooded sections to blame - if it loses a signal for too long it will think it's stopped and do a reset and I didn't hear the warning beep... as for the language change? Who knows I must have managed to press some combination of keys with my jacket cuff or something!

Then... the final injustice!
I came to a sign which said the bridge ahead was closed, it also mentioned the construction of a temporary footbridge, so as I had no need to cross the bridge until a mile or so further downriver, I thought ok will keep on going... WRONG! Not only was the bridge closed - the temp footbridge wasn't opening until Mon 13th June - remember this was Sat 11th! But worse, the whole path was closed off by the repair works. I retraced my steps to the sign which also had a detour map on it - unfortunately it didn't have that little red dot with "You are here" so I hadn't a clue where I actually was on that map! My iphone mapping wouldn't work as I couldn't get a reliable phone signal in the woods... I rang John and left a message saying the bridge was closed and I was going to try to find the diversion but if I couldn't I would retrace my steps back to Crossford which was the last place we'd met.
I then met two young men who were hiking, but it was also their first time on this path so they had no clue either, however one of them had his OS maps for the hike on his phone and they were able to confirm my suspicions that the detour was indeed through some long grass and up a big hill across some fields... This was indeed the way, and I climbed up until I came to the village of Nemphlar, village is a loose description, I think there were about 5 houses... I decided then to stay on the roads and not try to get back to the trail as I knew that if I stayed on the roads and headed back downhill towards the river I would end up close to my intended destination. I was trying to call John reasonably frequently at this point to let him know that I was safe but wouldn't finish where he expected me to, but by this time he'd headed along to look for me and he had no phone signal!
I made it out onto the main road and headed in to the town of Lanark from the far end by which time I managed to get in touch with John, poor thing he'd all sorts of messages on his phone including a funny one where I had called without realising it on the redial function and the message I left was the sound of my shoes squelching as I ran down the road :-)
It all ended well, he met me in the car in Lanark and we set off for home, I didn't quite make it to the visitor's centre, but I did add another 4 miles on to my run so it was indeed an epic adventure! It has taken me almost an hour to type this up so if you manage to last to the end I am Well Impressed!!

Hmmm wonder where my long run will take me this Saturday?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

New Shoes...

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It's so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late,
And I don't need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.

with thanks to Paulo Nutini: From his album Sunny Side up which is full of songs which make me smile and I just realised that I hadn't posted a picture of my newest acquisition so this seemed an appropriate set of words to go with the picture :-)
I will get around to blogging about my epic adventure soon I need to have a spare hour!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Black Dog Day(S)

Isn't he lovely? It's not really the most appropriate picture of a Black Dog, as he looks intelligent, gentle and loyal whereas the one which sat on my shoulder for most of last week was most definitely none of those things! I don't know where he came from, but it was Thursday evening before he decided to leave!
It was a really stressful week at work as we were moving into our new office and I was at conferences Mon and Tues so wasn't able to unpack until Wednesday, so I was in bright and early and was pretty much "at home" by the end of the day.
Thursday I was therefore able to get back into a normal work routine - or as normal as it gets :-) I was very, very tired all week, partly I think the change of routine, the early starts to go for the train and the stress of the move and worrying that I wasn't there etc etc meant that I did absolutely no running whatsoever all week =:-0 I keep forgetting that it is now only 3 weeks since the marathon and I think that I was probably more fatigued than I thought and the added stress just made it worse.

I felt much better on Friday and had a really good day, I had intended going to bootcamp on the Friday evening as I hadn't made it home from Edinburgh on Tuesday in time to go, but I was late finishing in the office so didn't get then either...
Saturday however was a new day and a long run was planned, it turned out an epic adventure but I will write it up in the next post as it is a tale in itself :-)

Monday, 6 June 2011


Aren't we just :-)
This was us at Strathclyde parkrun taking part in the Lucozade Runfree event on Sat 4 June. There weren't many people who turned up in fancy dress, but to those who did Well Done! I like to enter into the spirit of these sort of events, and as we had been given the costumes as Christmas gifts year before last it was nice to be able to put them to good use!
I wouldn't like to run more than 5k in them though - I found the mask quite claustrophobic and wasn't happy in it - it spent half the time being used as a hair band. It was nice to be warm though as the wind was blowing a gale again - surprise! I don't know what's going on with the weather at the moment, on Friday it was beautiful, sidewalk splitting sunshine and temperatures in the high 20Cs but Saturday morning was back to 11C and cold with the wind! Thankfully the rain stayed away.
Sunday was long run day, it was dry and not so windy but the ENE wind made our minds up for us as to where we'd run, 14miles along the Forth & Clyde canal from the Falkirk Wheel to Kirkintilloch, it was a lovely day but my very, very tired legs didn't enjoy the experience!
Need to get up to 15-20miles next weekend as it's only 4 weeks until our next marathon - the Lakeland Trails Marathon around Coniston Water on 3 July.
Hmmmmm we have a friend who also runs who said the other night that we're all mad, I think I am starting to agree with him!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Getting back into the swing...

though still getting blown away by gales!!
Saturday was really stormy again so my first run since the marathon was 5km in the gym, I just couldn't face the thought of battling the winds again. It was much better than I thought it might have been, reasonably "easy" and comfortable. Sunday morning was the Race for Life here at Stirling University and some of the girls from Bootcamp were doing it for their first ever race and I wanted to go along and support them. This meant that my planned long run had to be done earlyish but I was up at 7am without needing an alarm so we had breakfast and got ready. We parked the car at the university which is actually in Bridge of Allan not Stirling proper, this was a good move as later on it was absolutely chock a block!
I ran with John for the first mile and he turned off to go up onto Sherriffmuir and the back road to Dunblane, I kept on the main road and we met each other at the start of Dunblane, it was nice to say "hello and see you back at the car" :-)
Once into Dunblane I had a couple of options, into the town itself then back the way I'd come or to reverse John's route back to Bridge of Allan, I chose the latter and I am so glad I did! It had taken me the first hour to feel that my legs had shaken off the residual tiredness and stiffness from last weekend's efforts but the second half of the run was fantastic, the sun was out and I ran down through woods at the side of a gorge, you can hear the Allan Water tumbling way down at the bottom of the gorge, and the sun dappling through the leaves was really pretty.
Once I came out of the woods, the wind hit me full in the face again - weird as it had been in my face on the way up the road so should by rights have been behind me on the way back... Sod's law I am just fated to battle the winds this weather :-) Still I got a good 14km into my legs.
I made it back to the car with about 10min to spare before the start of the race so we watched the start then got a well earned coffee while we waited for them to get back to the finish.
The sun shone for most of the time, just starting to rain again as it was drawing to a close and we got home before it blew in too badly.
Well done to Trish, Debbie and Cheryl for their efforts yesterday!
I went to the gym at lunch time today for a wee half hour session but had wakened this morning with really tight stiff calf muscles so didn't push them too hard, I did 1mile on the elliptical trainer then 3 tough miles on the bike.
Am off to apply the Stick now! It hurts but it does help...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blown Away!

Well almost!! Whilst nowhere near as bad as the conditions suffered by the people of Missouri, we have had some incredible weather this week! It has been reasonably sunny and in places warm, but we have had gale force winds certainly across Scotland, since last Wednesday. We took our Canadian friend up to Aberdeenshire on Thursday and found the house that his Grandmother had been born/lived in until she emigrated, and we also found in Fyvie churchyard, a number of graves of his ancestors. It was a beautiful day weatherwise, just windy! It kept us off our feet for most of the day though which was good marathon prep, although it was nearly 400miles of driving but he saw a lot of Scotland on the way.
Friday I had a taping appt at the physio and left duly taped up in pink tape and set for the marathon, most of the day was chores and baking a banana bread which has to be the most delicious banana bread I've ever had. The chef has run 15 consecutive Boston Marathons so I reckoned if it worked for her it was worth a try! Risotto for dinner started the carb-fest.
Saturday morning dawned bright and fair if a little windy - though not too bad and we set off to Edinburgh to watch a friend complete her first ever race, she was running the 10K as part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. We picked up our friend's race pack for the Sunday, watched the 10K - cheering her in to a fabulous finish with a huge banner ;-) then met other friends also up for the marathon for a pasta lunch. By the time we got home on Saturday afternoon it was starting to rain and it was forecast to be like that for the next day too - wasn't really looking forward to running in it I can tell you. More pasta for dinner to enhance the glycogen levels and after pinning on the bibs and laying out the kit, it was off to bed at 10.
Sunday 22 May 5.30am - not a cloud in the sky and the wind seemed to have dropped, felt more hopeful... porridge, banana and honey, coffee and a slice of home made wholemeal toast, dressed, numerous visits to the loo and we were ready for the off by 0725. As we left it was raining gently but looked promising towards the East with bluer skies and whiter clouds - ever the optimist me :-)
Parked easily in George St., made our instant porridge and ate it as we walked along towards the start area for the marathon. This is the time when the real collywobbles start, when you are heading towards the start and you see the first other runners heading the same way - this is the OMG moment for me - you realise then the enormity of what you're about to undertake and why you have spent the last 3-4 months training and clocking 500+ training miles - it's quite overwhelming and sometimes tear inducing!
The start area was very well organised, plenty of porta-loos (that flush and had paper) well marked corrals, easy bag drops and MC on the radio bus doing a great job.
We met up with friends, took some photos, sheltered from a passing shower then went off for "one last visit" and to our separate start corrals.
I won't go into detail on the race, it's 26.2miles so rather a lot to write, it was rainy, the sun shone, it blew gale force winds, fabulous people braved the elements to come out of their warm homes to cheer us on and hand out jelly babies, there were spectacular views across the Forth, got blinded by sand some times, plenty of banter amongst fellow participants.

Highlights for me include:
1. passing my super fast husband going the opposite direction as Seton Sands, having the energy to shout to him that I love him and to high 5 him in passing - it brought a smile to more than me I can tell you.
2. being stung to bits by giant hailstones at mile 16!
3. free range chickens wandering across the course at mile 17-18 :-)
4. battling into a 25-30moh headwind for the last 6 miles of the course - it was unbelievably strong, there were a couple of gusts - apparently up to 50mph - I believe that!! When I could barely stand.
5. passing lots and lots of people who either couldn't keep up their pace or had simply given up trying in the wind.
6. being able to finish strongly and then meeting up with John again afterwards - that's the best bit :-)

We met up with everyone in the pub for a welcome beer/coke then another friend who had come to support us and he kindly drove us back to Edinburgh to our car.
I got a new PB, I managed to finally break the 5.30 barrier - not by much clocking a 5.29 finish, but given the conditions on Sunday I am absolutely delighted with my performance and time! This was my 10th marathon so I guess that's something of a landmark :-)

Yesterday we visited Glasgow and had an eventful journey home as all the trains were cancelled due to the horrendous weather which blew in from the Atlantic. This morning we took our friend back to the airport - he as made it down to Heathrow and is en route back to Ottawa.
We are enjoying the last day of our holiday just chilling and recovering, legs almost feel up to a wee jog - though not in the gales which are still blowing! Think I am nearly hydrated again and am almost back to normal - whatever normal is!
To everyone who has inspired me to run, to keep on going when injured or feeling down, and who make me keep on wanting to put myself through this torture again and again - Thanks! :-)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


you can tell I've not had much to say... it's been 2 weeks since I posted anything :-/
Catching up from my last post, John did smash his PB at Parkrun, 19mins!!! Wow he was flying down the finish and got into a little bit of a sprint for the line with a young guy who took the win by about 1 sec! I don't know if he had intended to sprint for the line, but I was marshalling and when I saw him flying towards us I was screaming encouragement and he responded :-) I think he also got a personal best for the number of insects stuck to his face and neck - Yuck!!
We went for a drive on the Sunday and did a wee recce of the marathon course, I was allowed to jog/walk 100m at a time, I did about 2 miles like that and was reasonably happy that the healing was progressing well. Monday at lunchtime I went to the gym and did a couple of miles on the bike and then a mile on the treadmill, again jog walking intervals and feeling ok.
Tues evening I decided not to go to Bootcamp as we'd had a day of very heavy rain and the grass was slippy and I thought the risk of slipping and maybe tweaking my leg was too great - also I was late finishing work and very tired. I allowed John to convince me to go to they gym, even though I was really tired, and settled down on the treadmill and yes he was right, I did start to enjoy it and feel better for the exercise. Then, PING!!!! Something went pop in my calf... it was a quick hop along on the treadmill as I hit the emergency stop button!
Fortunately there was no great pain, some numbness but I could walk and stretch reasonably easily. Following morning was very tender and a gentle exploration and treatment from physio reassured me that nothing seemed to have torn, it was most probably scar tissue releasing. Needless to say more taping took place and a lot of hobbling ensued - as well as a fair degree of worry and stress :-(
Further treatment on Friday and instructions to repeat the rehabbing I'd been doing and take it easy, lots of rest ice etc etc.
Managed back on the treadmill on Monday although I was petrified! I couldn't relax and was just waiting for the Ping! Physio made me laugh on Tues, she assures me that that is the mindset of an elite athlete - I asked for his legs!!
I am conscious that this is becoming lengthy and boring so will stop soon... We picked up our friend at Edinburgh Airport yesterday afternoon, he has come over from Canada to run on Sunday with us. It is great to see him again, and hopefully today we are going to take him up to Aberdeen and show him where his ancestors live - we have managed to research his family for him back to the late 1700s.
Weather for marathon is not great, it's been really stormy here all week with gale force winds and rain and still meant to be same on Sunday...
I woke early this morning and decided to try to jog a little this morning so I went out and managed 3km slow jogging with walk breaks at start, and whilst it wasn't exactly the greatest run I've ever had, it was the best I've had for 3 weeks!!
OK going to stop here it's just a bit of a ramble today :-)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rest is training...

so they say!
Enforced rest this week - back to physio Monday morning and new tape applied, same groovy colours, different pattern :-) So, this week has been resting and trying to do heel raises - it took me til yesterday to be able to do singles on the left leg but getting there now and managed to do 7 this afternoon followed by another 3 later on... how sad when your achievements are measured in single figures :-(
No 10k race for me on Sunday now though. I will go with John to parkrun at Strathclyde park on Saturday and will marshall while he hopefully gets a new P.B. and gives his snazzy new shoes an outing! They're too orange for me but they are pretty cool :-)

In order to ease the taper madness which is exacerbated by the lack of running, I've just baked a big batch of rhubarb and custard buns, will send some to work for the Runtime Error guys, that's a whole new post :-) and will take some in for my colleagues. Roll on the weekend I might get a wee jog!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Just like the buses...

nothing comes along for ages then 2 come at once :-) It's an old saying which I remember my grandparents using but it typifies the fact that I haven't posted much in the last few weeks, and here I am 2 posts within a couple of days of each other!
Thought I'd take advantage of the BankHoliday to catch up on stuff and write a wee update on the weekend's activities.
Saturday dawned fair and we set off to Rowardennan to fulfill our duties as marshalls on the Highland Fling, what a great day! It was warm for the runners and by the time they got to us 27 miles, they were very grateful for their food bags and the water that was on offer. Most of them looked remarkably fresh, testament I guess to their training, they were feeling the heat but doing well, and that was only half way! One wee bit of excitement was the arrival of the Air Ambulance to take one poor chap off to hospital with a suspected heart attack, I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery. We were finished by about 3.30pm and after ensuring all the rubbish was packed up and taken away from the site, we headed off round Loch Lomond to Tyndrum to the race finish to return the timing machine and the water canisters to the organisers. This had been somewhat overlooked by the marshall in charge, but fortunately we were able to step in and take them round. It was an interesting finish to a race, quite small and "just up a track" though there were 2 pipers playing about 500m from the finish arch which I am sure was a welcome sound then sight to many of the runners.
Sunday morning was also bright and fair and I thought on wakening, not so windy... I got up and breakfasted and then got ready to head out for my 20 mile run. I'd only gone about 2miles before I turned into a headwind that was blowing at about 20mph! Decisions, decisions, do I head off into it or do I turn and run with it at my back? I decided to run into the wind as it was good practice for Edinburgh, the marathon route runs along the coast of the River Forth for about 18miles and it's invariably windy - it was also very sunny and hot - which is also good practice for the normal end of May weather which is often low 20sC.
My tight calf was pulling from the outset, but it was never really sore, so I decided to keep going, I knew if it got too bad I could phone John and he'd pick me up in the car. In the end I had a really good slow 20mile run, the wind usually knocks me for 6, but I felt in control this time and just tried to tuck myself in and plod into it waiting for the turning point when I'd hopefully get the benefit of it being at my back, this didn't really happen as once I'd turned it ended up being to my right hand side so was still blowing at me - but hey ho these things are all good learning experiences and it's the best I've ever coped with the wind so I was pleased. My leg started to hurt with about 1.5km to go and by the time I got up the hill to the house, I was walking - well "hirpling" to use a good old Scots word, and immediately turned the cold water hose on my legs, this helps the muscles to contract quickly and reduces the spaces for the lactic acid to gather making recovery easier. I sat in the sun for an hour after my shower icing my leg and rehydrating with coffee, cola, water and the pink bubbly we'd got as a thank you for marshalling on Saturday.
I rang the physio this morning and managed to get in to see him at 9am which was great, he did some really sore digging, some ultrasound treatment and retaped me - much amusement ensued when I took the tape off - 2 days in shorts in the sun meant I had lovely lines on my leg where the tape had been :-)
So, couple of days rest and ice later on and hopefully be back on the mend and ready for Edinburgh. I am unsure whether to run the 10k on Sunday now as he advised caution and given how I feel this morning I won't be, but I might be up for it by Thurs/Fri...
Off to enjoy the sunshine and get the garden organised.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Nearly Taper Time...

Last long run this weekend, then it's taper for Edinburgh marathon on 22nd May. I have a 10k race on 8th May to fit in along the way and want to do well at it so huge huge thanks go to my wonderful "coachhubby" :-) who took me out on Wed evening for a paced run. I still struggle with maintaining a consistent pace, I just can't quite get to grasps with it unless I'm on the treadmill, so I really appreciate the help and reassurance that I get from these sessions. I guess it is one of those skills which comes with practice and I'm not afraid to keep practising so maybe one of these days it'll all come together - would be good if it could be next Saturday!! Oh and again 2 weeks later :-)
I've had a sore leg this past week, and had a good, hard physio session on Thursday evening - no serious damage done, he just thinks it's the cumulative effect of a long training programme, this is probably the hardest programme I've done yet but I've really enjoyed it and hope it pays dividends. I left the physio adorned with some "magic tape" I am a bit cynical when I see this sort of thing being touted at expos, but I have to say it has really reduced the pain, and matches my new shoes :-)

However it did mean that I wasn't able to do my long run today so it will be on Sunday. It's been a holiday for us because of the Royal Wedding, I spent the morning listening to the TV and popping through to see highlights, while making a "Milk Man" superhero costume... cape with hood and ears, and shorts in lovely cow print fleece :-)
Tomorrow we are off to Rowardennan on Loch Lomond to marshall at the Highland Fling 53 mile ultra race. John had intended taking part, but an injury 2 months ago curtailed his training so he had to withdraw and we were asked to help with marshalling. I'm looking forward to it, we will be at about the 20mile point and it looks like the weather should be fairly kind to the runners so should be a good day out. Who knows, maybe one day I'll have a go at it? Fingers crossed the weather is also fair for me on Sunday as I have to do 20miles and then we have a day off on Monday for a local public holiday so can have a well deserved rest :-)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

I don't B**** believe it:-)

It's been 2 full weeks since I last posted! Crazy crazy times, it's all been running, training, sleeping oh and work... I feel kinda guilty that I haven't been on here for so long, because I really want to keep a diary of our year and that's 2 weeks missing out of it already :-(
Apart from me completing the 100 days challenge, we also had a good running weekend that weekend, we did the Strathclyde parkrun on Saturday morning which meant up at usual work time and out the door by 0745, it was a beautiful day and my new "coach" coached me to a new PB for 5k! Then we headed off up to Fort William for the Lochaber marathon on Sunday 10th. As it was such a lovely day we drove all the way up the road with the top down on the car which was great, lovely to get the sun on your face and you get a much much better panoramic view of the scenery than you do from a car with a roof on.

see what I mean?

We stayed overnight in Kinlochleven and after a lovely dinner, an early night and a good sleep we were up and preparing for the race on the Sunday morning. I wasn't racing, but I did have a long run to do so I had decided to leave before the start and run to the bridge over the Caledonian Canal so that I could get John's photo as he crossed the bridge.... Unfortunately I took a wrong turn, which gave me a good long run but meant I missed him crossing the bridge, I did however get some photos of the runners who were further back the field. Then I decided to head off up Neptune's staircase for the rest of my own run. Neptune's staircase is a set of 7 locks to allow boats up and down the hill and each of the locks has it's own wee hill so it was a fabby wee hill session - made all the better by the admiring and genuine "Well done Lassie" I got on topping the last one from the Lock keeper who had been watching my progress :-) Lassie I ask you!! Mind you he was getting on a bit!

I took his advice and crossed to the other side of the canal at this point and headed off for another few miles before I turned and retraced my steps. I stayed on this side of the canal all the way to the road and this gave me a long steady downhill as opposed to the individual hills on the way up. I headed back the scenic route I had inadvertently taken to get there and back into Fort William ultimately completing a nice 15 mile run in scorching sunshine and a strong headwind.
In the meantime John who was still rehabbing remember, was on his way back to the finish on the Shinty park and came racing home in an amazing 3:31!!! A new PB for him even though he was going to go and "take it easy"!!! Honestly... Men!!!
Glad to say he had no adverse after effects and made a good recovery, the post race beer possibly contributing some well earned carbs and hydration :-)
A leisurely and scenic evening drive down the road, back to bed and up for work next morning! A hard week's training followed and we decided that we would do our long runs on the Saturday this time and for a change we decided to run on the West Highland Way.
We started off from Mugdock Country Park and headed towards Drymen, what a fabulous, fun run! There were some cracking big hills and I had a blast running down them and dodging the boulders and muddy puddles - didn't manage to avoid all of them I have to confess - oops!
I really enjoyed the experience, I think I am growing to love trail-running. I wouldn't have tackled it nearly as robustly a year ago so I am really proud of the improvement not only in my strength but also and perhaps more importantly in my confidence.
Another crazy week of training and work, including Bootcamp on Tuesdays as usual and before I knew it it was Good Friday - yay Holiday!! Guess what? Still woke up at 6am :-) It was another beautiful sunny morning and we decided to take a drive through to Glasgow as it was time to buy new shoes in preparation for Edinburgh marathon in 4 weeks. A visit to Achilles Heel where once again I got exactly what I was looking for and new socks too :-)
After a lovely lunch we came home and spent the rest of the day working in the garden, no weeds left but what a workout for the hamstrings & glutes!
Yesterday dawned dull and drizzly and we went back to Strathclyde parkrun, this time John was chasing a PB and I was going to try very hard to pace myself properly on my own, he missed his PB by 4 seconds as he had to stop and tie his shoelace! I was 45 seconds slower than when he'd paced me round weeks ago so I still haven't got it quite right, but will keep practising. This morning's long run was on the old railway line to Dunfermline, and it was a shocker! Legs were just shot and although I managed 22km I had hoped for another 10km but I didn't have it in me I was so so tired, both mentally and physically.
Tomorrow is another holiday as it's Easter Monday and hopefully it's going to be another nice day so we will see what that brings :-)

Sunday, 10 April 2011

100 Days

I completed the 100 Days Challenge!


Well there you go :-) I did it 100 Days of continual movement of 30minutes or more!

Just back from a glorious weekend, will post more about it later :-)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Lazy Days...

Sounds good but they haven't really been lazy days :-) just not running days.
I had a rest day on Friday which was just as well as my legs were aching from the pummelling they'd had the night before, and I wasn't feeling very great :-( I guess I can put it down to age and gender, but I don't like it! My internal thermostat seems to have gone on the blink! However, I got through the day at work and had a lazy evening reminiscing as we watched reruns of old TOTP shows from 1964-75 remembering all of the songs and cringing as we recalled some of the fashions =:-0 but it passed the evening. I didn't have a great sleep and despite setting the alarm for later as it is the weekend I still woke early so was up by 7am. I decided to leave my long run until tomorrow in the hope I'd get a better night's sleep tonight. However, I felt much better today so had a very productive morning getting through a mountain of ironing, baking my first wholemeal loaf - pictured above and as delicious as it looks, washing windows, doing laundry and generally just catching up with the hated chores.
A trip to the supermarket to do a big shopping this afternoon a nice steak and baked potato dinner and a chilled evening and it's almost bedtime. Tomorrow I think I will run the reverse route of the run I did along the Forth & Clyde Canal on 12th February and posted about on 15th, then I ran from Falkirk to Bishopbriggs, tomorrow I will do it from Bishopbriggs back to Falkirk. Hopefully the gale force winds we've had for the past 3 days will be less and will at any rate be behind me the whole way - with luck the rain will stay off too! Will be nice to see the changes that have occurred along the canal in the last 6 weeks as Spring takes hold.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

April tomorrow!

Unbelievable it's April 1st tomorrow and that's not a joke! Apart from the rain and gale force winds today, it's been a real taste of Spring this past few days.
It's been a good running week, after Sunday's run with my new coach :-) we went out again on Monday evening for a couple of miles which were good fun - ok maybe not fun but we had a nice wee run in the extra hour of daylight and the sun was shining and it was really nice company. I had come home from work tired and more cranky than usual and really couldn't be bothered, but I worked hard and felt sooooo much better as a result.
Tuesday did a 5k treadmill run at lunchtime and then went to Stirling for Bootcamp. Although the Diehard programme has ended - it was a quick 10 weeks! I signed up for a 6week block of once a week sessions. Tuesday's was predominately upper body and core work, good workout. Wednesday morning my shoulders were telling me they'd had a workout! I decided to go to the gym again yesterday lunchtime and did a 13min warmup on the elliptical trainer and then got on the treadmill and knocked out a 10minute mile! That's pretty impressive for me who is comfortable in the 12min mile zone and usually has a walk break at 10mins. I finished with 5mins on the bike to 'cooldown' then showered and back to work.
Last night however I was done! I was so tired and stiff and couldn't drag my bones out for a run so baked instead - a batch of my 'quickly becoming legendary' courgette & blueberry cakes, great stress relief :-) My new breadmaker arrived yesterday and I resisted the temptation to dive straight in and wait until today to use it once I had all the extra ingredients I didn't have in the cupboard.
Today's achievement of which I am VERY proud is that - bear in mind I said I run in the 12min mile zone with walking breaks - today at lunchtime I went to the treadmill and ran 3 miles at 11:06min pace and NO walking breaks :-) :-) :-)
*quiet grin* Still feeling quite proud of myself as I write this & loving the almost straight lines on my Garmin output*quiet grin*
Have had my fortnightly ironing session with the physio so calves have been well and truly dewrinkled and are now aching ever so slightly, breadmaker is doing it's stuff and it's starting to smell like fresh bread is baking, so now it's time for a wee seat in front of the telly and a moan that there's nothing on worth watching!
Rest day tomorrow and I think I will take it as it will be a busy weekend again.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Definitely Good tired :-)

Did my long run this morning - say long, was 17km from Dunfermline back to Clackmannan along the old railway line, it's a great route, gently downhill and a good surface. Very popular with dog walkers and cyclists, but have never yet met anyone who's anything other than courteous and considerate of other users of the path - dog walkers all called their dog(s) to heel and cyclists rang bells or called a cheery greeting. It helped I guess that the sun was trying to shine and it was a pleasant spring morning :-)
We drove to Dunfermline and I bade a cheerful(?) farewell and set off down the track. You get a fine view of the River Forth as you're quite high at this point, but it's also a tad breezy! After a couple of kilometres, you are into the railway cuttings proper and this provides welcome shelter from the breeze and lots of trees offering shade and a soft carpet of leaves on the path - though in Autumn these can be a bit slippy. There was a fair assortment of walkers, folks with their kids on bikes and even a tiny wee tot on a pony - she was all kitted out in the proper gear and looked very competent but it was a pony big enough for her mum, she would have looked small atop a Shetland!
I thought I had set off a little fast as I was passing the Km markers and thinking "you shouldn't be here yet" and I wasn't really settled into a good rythm, however I kept going and when I got to Bogside which is just over half way about the 10km mark, I was ahead of my virtual partner on my Garmin by nearly 2minutes. This wasn't a bad thing, I just wasn't sure if I could maintain this... Help was at hand, there jogging towards me was my hero, he'd decided to walk/jog out to meet me and see how the injured calf held up, I was really surprised he'd come this far, but was great to see him and by staying alongside him he held me into a sensible pace and I settled quite comfortably. We trotted along, enjoying the sun which had come through by this time and making steady progress, albeit with the occasional "slow down" reminder to me :-)
I thought we were starting to edge up just a little as we got closer to home, and with a mile to go my new found coach suggested we "blast it" for home, I said eh NO but he said no just maintain this pace - by then I had no idea what that was because he told me not to look at my watch. As we passed the last km marker it had definitely notched up a bit further, but I was able to maintain the effort if having to work hard, he was great, he counted down the last 300m for me on the telegraph poles - by this time I wasn't capable of talking anymore, was working too hard for that! I finished triumphantly :-) I only hope the wee girl who was getting ready to cycle along the way we'd come with her Dad wasn't too concerned as I was grunting with effort by this time!! However, I am really pleased with myself, I took 10 minutes off the time from my last outing on that same route and I managed the last mile at about 9min mile pace which I wouldn't even have attempted on my own, so huge huge thanks to my impromptu coach and who knows, maybe we'll do it again some day.
PS glad to say that John's leg held up well so things are looking more hopeful for him :-)