Monday, 31 December 2012

31/31 :-)

Yep that's it marcothon 2012 is over, about 40 folk and a fair number of fourlegged 'furries' (dogs) met up at Lock 27 on the Forth and Clyde Canal this morning for a group run to mark the end of this year's challenge.
Huge congratulations to the 1000+ from a' the airts who managed to complete the 31 days!  To those who had to pull out due to illness/injury, heartfelt commiserations and here's to you being there again on 1/12/13.

I found this year's marcothon much less stressful than last year and I guess that just kinda topped off my running year.  I have been really fortunate to get a PB at every distance I've raced this year, 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon and Marathon.  I've also been really fortunate to meet up with the folk from pinpoint fitness/Cumbernauld Fitcamp who have put me through my paces three times a week, in all weathers, and always outdoors, but boy has it been worth it!  I am sure that the new times are a result of being fitter, stronger and lighter than I have been for the last 30 years and I feel much better for it in so many different ways.  I have been fortunate to meet some lovely new friends this year, both through running and through fitcamp, some of them do both, they have made my life richer with more laughs along the way.
It's not all be fun and laughter, there have been some bumps in the road along the way, there have been injuries and races I couldn't start (or finish), friends and colleagues who have had to fight with illness, and some who unfortunately, lost their battle.  Work hasn't been the happiest place to be this year, lots of colleagues have retired/moved on and I'm still steering a slightly wobbly course, but ever hopeful that karma will play it's part and it will all work out in the end.  In terms of achievements, apart from running, one of the best things I have ever done was on St Andrew's night when along with some fitcamp friends I completed a firewalk - it was truly an exhilarating experience and we managed to raise over £1000 for Cancer Research UK along the way.  I'm struggling to write this tonight because there is so much wonderful stuff which has been 2012, and if you follow us on facebook well you've probably seen it all/read about it already, I think I can sum it up best by saying it's been a blast, but as we reach the end of this year, I have no desire to look back I am raring to go headlong into 2013 with all the challenges it will bring!  Some of them I have already signed up for, others will just appear one day and will need dealt with but I am sure that whatever 2013 decides to deal me, I am much better placed to deal with it than I was 366 days ago :-)  To all of you wherever you are who have played a part in making me happier, fitter, stronger, more confident, Thank You!
Love and best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy 2013 and may you all achieve your dreams...

Excelsior Amicus!!


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It's almost over...

Christmas day is almost over - kitchen cleaned up, including oven cleaned, food all wrapped and put away in fridge and freezer.
Proper Rock n Roll Christmas here, this is the first year there's just been the two of us in the house and we've consumed about 25% of the alcohol we would previously have had and we've eaten way less than before and we're both sitting here with coke and fizzy water :-)
But we're happy :-) Santa was good to us and I can't wait for the snow and rain to come so I can use my new omm kamleika pants (trousers to us Brits) and my kahtoola spikes!!!  Dead excited!! 

Marcothon is also almost over, we've only 6 more runs and that's us into 2013, it's amazing how many people are still 'in' a few have dropped out due to illness or unforeseen circumstances, but there are heaps of us still 'shuffling on'.  I thought on Sunday I was finished, I woke in the middle of the night with an incredible fever, really shivery and icy cold, then sweating and thought I was coming down with the lurgy which has afflicted some of our friends.  I got up on Sunday morning feeling like I'd been to the fitcamp from hell, every big muscle in my body ached.  However, a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt, a coffee and half an hour hugging a wheat bag and I decided to give it a shot, I stayed close to home just touring the streets near ours and seeing different houses I'd never seen before and I managed to do 26mins worth so that kept my marcothon streak intact.  John on the other hand had set off about 8am to run up to Dunblane and meet me in Bridge of Allan for breakfast before we went to M&S to pick up our Xmas Dinner - not just any old Xmas Dinner...
We'd to wait in a queue for 45 mins and I had another shivery spell, but after a wee nap and 2hourly medication, I started to feel a little better.  On Monday morning I felt a fair bit better and woke at 5.30am so I managed another wee half hour shuffle - and then after waiting an hour and a half in dentist for an emergency filling - it broke on Friday!  I went to work.  It was a quiet day and we got sent away at 2pm so after a quick toddle round the nearest Asda 'just in case I'd forgotten anything' then a stop to deliver Christmas cards to a colleague who'd been on holiday, I was home by 4pm.  I felt wiped then so another wee power nap taken.  Then it was into the Christmas eve routine of wrapping, writing cards for neighbours, delivering parcels and cards then a wee nightcap as we settled down for some chill time and listened to the radio - telly is cr@p and Jarvis Cocker had a great show on :-)
Toyed with the idea of going for run 25 at 00:01 but John was feeling a bit wiped and 'bunged up' so bed was calling. 
Poor soul  he got an interesting wake up call at a 7 this morning lol!  I woke with a really gritty eye and having recently had problems with my eyes, knew that I had a bottle of drops on the bedside table.  Unfortunately I also had a bottle of ear drops - from ages ago!  Guess which one I picked up in the dark and put in my eye?  Yep and it BURNED!!!  Thankfully I also had a glass of water to hand so it was quickly rinsed and the lights were on by then - accompanied by some earthy oaths, so I also used the eye drops... it's fine now :-)
Anyhow, that was us up then so we had coffee and went out for our run with our Santa Hats on.  After the recent foul weather - right up until last night, it was a lovely morning and we were able to get out in shorts and t shirts - and santa hats - much to the amusement of the few car drivers out and about who tooted or waved, and the dog walkers who responded well to our 'Happy Christmas' as we trotted past.
This morning I managed to complete the full 5km albeit slowly but it shows a further improvement in my health so that's reassuring.
Home to open presents, quick breakfast of yoghurt and banana then we dressed up again as Mr & Mrs Claus (for photo see previous post) and went to a Charity fitcamp with the pinpoint crew.  About 30 folk came along to join in, some regular campers and some friends and family, well done to all!
So having had our quota of pre-turkey exercise, it was home for a shower, brunch and champagne.  A gentle (lazy?) afternoon cooking dinner, then eating it, then watching a magical documentary about Killian Jornet - A Fine Line - well worth a watch - even if you're not in to running - the scenery is magical and he is a phenomenal athlete with a wonderful philosophy.
Tomorrow it's off to Ayr for the Turkey Trot 10km, hopefully I will be up for the 10k that I entered us both for but if not I will see if I can change to the 5k.  Nice day out catching up with friends old and new and hopefully the weather will stay fair so we'll have a nice drive down too.
Happy Christmas everyone and hopefully I'll get back before this becomes the 2013 version :-) xxx

Saturday, 15 December 2012

48% almost half way...

Rain? What rain? - this is the picture I posted on the marcothon facebook page after last night's run.  After 2 weeks of cold, snowy, icy but mainly dry conditions, last night we got the rain! And the gales!  However, the runs were completed nevertheless :-)  There is something satisfying about 'giving the bird' to the weather when you're out on a run, you feel really smug when you've finished (oh and are dry and warm again!)

Today I did a 5mile run on a nice wee cycle path that I have avoided in the icy conditions, as it has a steep hill to get onto it and when I checked it out last Saturday morning it was too scary to attempt so I stuck to the roads.  It gave me a nice wee 8km route which I completed non-stop - I have to walk across 2 cattle grids as I'm not confident to try and run over them, but apart from that it was running all the way, even across the level-crossing and I got it lucky with the roads and didn't need to stop for cars either.
That's us almost half way through the month of December and half way through marcothon, I have run every day this month, and enjoyed them all to some extent.  There are none of them that I would say I had hated :-)  I am pleased with how well my legs/rest of me is holding up this year compared to last year, I have much less stiffness and aches and pains and I put this down to my weightloss and also to doing my fitcamp workouts 3 times a week, and my pilates.  I think that this is giving me more strength and more flexibility so I'm not stressing the muscles and joints as much and the extra exercise/stretching is helping with active recovery.
The facebook community around marcothon was great last year, but this year it's immense, there are heaps of posts every day relating fellow marcothoners adventures and they make great reading.  The banter is brilliant, there are some cracking photographs, and the support is immense, it really motivates you to get out and do your run so you can tell your tale :-)
We're off out tonight on a work's night out, but I will be driving so won't be hindered by a hangover tomorrow, however I will probably be suffering from sleep deprivation - I can't do late nights these days, so it might be a grumpy runner tomorrow morning...


Thursday, 13 December 2012

15 milliseconds of international fame!

Sunday 9 December we did our marcothon
day 9 as the Santa Dash in Glasgow...

This is a 5k fun run to raise money for local charities - we've always been lucky with the weather - it's always stayed dry and there is something quite phenomenal about looking up St Vincent Street in Glasgow as you start the race and there is a sea of red in front and behind - 2400 Santas is quite a sight!

Here we are 500metres from the finish and decided to stretch out and race for the line :-)  I wasn't aware of a photographer and certainly wasn't aware of how far off the ground our feet were though it did feel good to be 'flying along'
A friend posted the picture in the afternoon, it apparently made it on to the international 'wires' and got as far as a newspaper in Australia!  It will probably be the only time I'll be in a photo which is in the Getty image bank.  I do feel wee bit sorry for the poor bloke we are just about to pass as he looks absolutely done and we went zooming past laughing.  We met our friend Paul before the race, though he finished before us - John could have finished way before me too but he ran round with me which was really nice, it keeps me honest and makes me keep running so I clocked my second fastest 5km time which was a bonus, given that it was a fun run and has a big hill at the start then we met some other friends, Colin, Brian and Hannah who was taking part in her second Santa Dash and who managed to run the whole way round this year - she's 5 :-) 
We then bumped into Janette and Gregor (10) doing their second Santa Dash, then went to meet up with Paul in The Counting House for breakfast.  It was fun to see the pub full of Santas, but it was probably the worst breakfast I've ever had, and we'd to wait at least half an hour for it, then when it did arrive it was disappointing to say the least...
John and I stayed in Glasgow overnight as we had the day off on the Monday so we had a very pleasant afternoon watching the world go by with a bottle of prosecco followed by a very nice dinner in Arisaig in the Merchant City.
More later about our Monday off...


Friday, 7 December 2012

7/31 marcothon week1 in the bag :-)

Apologies for the slightly satanic eyes in this photo, but this is Islay 'the dug'. 

Islay rose to global fame last year as the photogenic star of marcothon 2011.  Each day her slightly bonkers owner Alan posted a photo from their runs.  He also includes the number of the day in the photo in one form or another, hence the bottle of 7up in today's...
I am really pleased that we're finished week 1 and I have managed fine this year, I've completed my runs in one piece, in reasonably good humour and without any slips or injuries on the snow and ice, my legs are holding up well too, no great niggles or aches.  This may be a result of being a year more experienced, 25lbs lighter and a year more confident, or it may be as a result of my firewalk last week and my heightened levels of self-awareness and self belief... choose whichever option you please or choose to disregard them all, but as I said to John last night, something has changed and whatever it is, it's working so I'm not complaining :-)
This weekend we will hopefully get a slightly longer run tomorrow in fair conditions, and then on Sunday we will be in Glasgow for the Santa Dash, a fun 5km round the city with another couple of thousand mad runners dressed as various incarnations of Santa!  Great fun seeing the Saturday night revellers or 'jakies' who swear to never drink again after seeing the swathe of red and white wend it's way up St Vincent Street.  It truly is a sight to behold!
Monday is a day off for us so we will enjoy the city on Sunday afternoon/evening, stay overnight and then do something on Monday - including our run, before heading home.  I have tickets for the Pharoah exhibition in Kelvingrove so would like to try and take that in if possible...
To everyone who has managed to run this week, well done, who knows what the weather has in store for us in the weeks to come, but here's to good running and warm showers when you get home!
Have a great weekend folks x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

It's that time of year again... it's marcothon!


 Marcothon 2012

 Yep, Saturday was December 1st so not only was it parkrun, it was day 1 of marcothon!

After the rain/sleet and ice of Friday night's firewalking adventures, Saturday morning dawned bright and cold, we headed off to Falkirk to meet up with our parkrun buddies, and to catch up again with Sue, Jim, Jordan and Keira who had driven up from Ayr specially to watch the firewalk then stayed overnight to come to parkrun.  We had a great run, the boys shot off at the start and us ladies followed at a more leisurely pace, the paths were icy and the grass was icy, hearbreak hill was icy, but the sun was shining low in the sky and it was a beautiful morning to be out...
Keira did brilliantly, she finished the 5km with a blistering sprint and earned her hot chocolate in the tearoom afterwards :-)  Running with Sue was great fun, it's always nice to finally meet a 'virtual' friend.
Special mention too to a friend whom we met during last year's marcothon, Alan and his 'dug' Islay ran every day and we all looked forward to his daily photo of Islay out on their run.  It was fantastic to finally meet him in person after a few failed attempts through the year.

For those of you who can't be bothered to follow the link to find out more, marcothon is a personal challenge to complete 5km or 25 min running every day in December.  We did this last year and I wasn't sure at the start if I would manage it but I did and it gave me a really good solid base to start my Spring training from.

The biggest difference between marcothon 2011 and marcothon 2012?  By day 5 I was stressing about getting a run, stressing about not being able to do a run fast enough, stressing that John was being a hero and putting up with my stresses and coming out with me so I would go... This year?  I am loving it and looking forward to and (so far) enjoying every run!

There is a wonderful community growing around marcothon with runners from "a' the airts" logging their adventures online and it's great to read what everyone is up to, where they are running, what the weather is like etc...
There are blizzards forecast tonight so given that we still have some ice and snow from Monday, it should make for an interesting day tomorrow, but you know what?  I've got my wee spikes for my shoes and I'm really looking forward to it - I'd run in this weather any day before the rain :-)
So, happy running fellow marcothoners!  Time for a bath to ease out the aches, and to hang up the washing - you know when you first buy a dishwasher you realise you need more dishes?? Running every day you realise you need more kit... ;-)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

I know I can...

 

AND I DID!!!


Friday 30th November 2012 and I firewalked! 


Along with 4 friends from Pinpoint-fitness and a number of staff from Tesco Craigmarloch, I did something I never thought I'd do - I walked on hot coals to raise money for Cancer Research UK...

What a fantastic experience, organised  by Blaze Firewalking from Nottingham we had loads of fun, laughs and interesting preparation exercises with Adam beforehand, then we all went up to watch the fire being lit - it was freezing and sleety rain was falling but it didn't dampen either the flames or our spirits.  

It does look quite impressive especially with the reflections in the puddles :-) but it's not actually very hot at this point, by the time it gets to the state where we walk on it, it's MUCH hotter 620C! 
It was such a pity about the weather as we'd had a week of clear cold evenings with an enormous full moon and great views of Jupiter beside the moon, then on Friday evening it started to rain and then it froze so paths and roads were like ice rinks!  Toes were numb with cold before we walked, but you could still feel the heat from the coals!  After the fire lighting, we all went back to finish off our preparation with Adam, then he let us loose, Amanda, Vicki and myself had a brilliant laugh as we ran up 2 flights of stairs and raced through the store to get to the fire first, if I hadn't gone first I might not have gone at all ;-) the faces of the shoppers who hadn't a clue what was going on were brilliant and the three of us really enjoyed that part of it!
Everybody did really well and we all walked without any 'fire kisses' (burns) or other incidents, though it was a wee bit slippy at the start and again at the end we all stayed on our feet!
After we'd finished and had more photos taken, we retired to the pub for a celebratory soda and lime.
Thanks to everyone who has generously donated to our fundraising efforts, we are currently sitting at 73% above target which is incredible.
I was gobsmacked and slightly overwhelmed by the number of wonderful (if slightly mad coming out in that weather!) friends who came along to support and cheers us on - HUGE ENORMOUS THANKS TO YOU ALL!! XXX

ps when I read this back I realise that it doesn't go anywhere near describing the event and the fantastic sense of achievement from having accomplished something else a bit out of the ordinary... you have to try it for yourself to feel it for real :-)



Saturday, 24 November 2012

This will probably make my female friends smile, it may make some grimace a little inside, but it might also ring a bell with my male friends too - not necessarily the particular style of clothing here, but that being unable to go into a shop and just pick something off the rail, is a very uncomfortable and upsetting feeling.
I know I've been there!  I now get a real 'kick' out of being able to go into a shop and not have to look at the XL/outsize rail first :-)

Last night I was out for a pre-Xmas meal with some of the fitcamp crew, we had a really nice meal, lots of laughs and I looked around the table and wished that I had a photo from earlier this year when we started out on our individual journeys with pinpoint.  The 'food police' were off duty last night, so it was a free choice from the menu dinner, some people indulged in a wee tipple or two, I was driving so it wasn't an issue for me, I thoroughly enjoyed my soda and lime, but I did have Xmas pudding and brandy sauce!  I had a goats cheese & caramelised onion crostini with spinach and walnut salad, then cod loin served on a red pepper and grean bean risotto - delicious!
It was really nice to see everyone with their clothes on, we all scrubbed up well and looked great - this is why I wish I'd a photo from the start so that we could compare - not just the change in peoples' size, but more importantly the change in peoples' demeanour, there were so many smiles and laughs and banter, this all comes from the confidence that you gain when you gain control of your body.
Sorry I am aware I am rambling a bit here...

Back to the picture of the clothes shop, the other week we went into a shop and I tried on a coat which I have been coveting for a while, but am waiting for the sale, I automatically lifted 'my size' from the rail and put it on, then experienced a real OMG moment - I think I said it quite loudly!  The coat drowned me!  So I tried on the smaller size, which fitted comfortably - then put it back on the rail to wait for the sales - I'm still :-) about it...

So, I reckon it's time to stop rambling and get on with some shopping and chores, we start our final 4 week block of the year on Monday and I am really looking forward to it.  On the scales this morning I weigh 25lbs less than I did this time last year and hope that this time next year I will be able to say the same...

just a reminder that this time next week we will be into marcothon and before that - next Friday 30 November I will  be walking on hot coals to raise money for Cancer Research UK and all donations are most welcome xx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

S.A.D.

SAD, that's how I've been this past week or so (apart from weekends) I always find this time of year difficult, the shortening days and the change in the weather means that the past week or so we seem to have had lots of grey 'hingin' days, it's been barely light as we've driven to work then the low rainclouds along the hills have meant that it's never got fully light and then by lunchtime it's been getting dark again :-(  I don't mind the black darkness, that's ok it's the lack of sunlight I really struggle with...
The picture is of today's lunch, in contrast to the last week or so, today we had some pale blue sky, some white cloud, and weak sunshine, but it made a huge difference to my day, and to how I felt, and when I was looking for a picture for this post, I thought that this was appropriate, it's bright, fresh and colourful...
if you're interested it was a prawn and avocado salad :-) The nuts and fruit were to snack on during the day.

One of my colleagues brought me in a special light on Monday and it also made a big difference to how I felt so I think I will be investing in one for the house!  Weekends have been ok as so far we've had fair weather with a good smattering of sunshine, although the forecast for tomorrow is atrocious and I've not looked for the weekend yet :-)
However, we have been lucky at Pinpoint-fitcamp we've had it dry for our workouts - even on Monday when it was hellish right up until about 6.25pm - we start at 6.30pm :-)
I am really enjoying being back in the 3 sesssions a week zone, and after 3 weeks, can already feel and see the difference :-)
Friday night is the pinpoint Xmas night out, we had a meal out together a couple of months ago and it was great, we had a special 'clean' menu, however on Friday the 'Food Polis' are off duty so we can eat whatever we like off the menu, I have chosen a goats cheese salad, cod with a sundried tomato risotto and of course xmas pudding :-)  (I'm not a fan of the turkey dinner at the best of times, so it's nice to have options).  It is 9 days until I do my firewalk and at the moment I am quite calm about it - don't know what I'll be like come the 30th though!!!!
If you would like to help us raise funds for Cancer Research UK please donate here, every little helps xxx

That will do for tonight, just felt the need to pop in and blog tonight... fingers crossed that all the good feelings I have from my endorphins and the nicer weather today carry me through tomorrow!

Here's a photo I took yesterday as I came back from a meeting and parked to go into the office - perhaps it was the harbinger of better things to come...  I've never seen a FULL double rainbow before.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Downtime...


In his book "Everyone's guide to distance running" coach Norrie Williamson says, "The better the recovery, the better will be the quality on the other side. In many ways, recovery is the most important part of your training schedule and your training is only as good as your recovery."
So there you go that's why the only running I've done since Canada is parkrun 2 weeks ago, a wee 5km blast on the treadmill the following Tuesday, the Jimmy Irvine Bella 10k last Saturday...oh and a wee trauchle up Dumyat through the bog on Sunday morning :-)
However it's getting to that point where I need the structure and discipline again so am now counting down the days until Marcothon starts on 1st December :-)
I've been back at pinpoint fitness fitcamps again 3 times a week since I got back and that's been great, it's kept me sane, and I get my endorphin fix!  It's also helped me to shift a couple more pounds and hopefully will kickstart some more weightloss over the next couple of months which will help me with my training for the Highland Fling at the end of April.  I am hoping to start by doing a couple of very gentle recce runs on the parts of the route which I haven't run yet, looking forward to that starting soon and getting my new trail shoes on Sunday will be the start of this project :-)
Health and fitness wise, it's all pretty good at the moment, came back from Canada with no injuries and had a wee visit to the physio 2 weeks ago and he was pleased with the state of my  legs!  Just have to keep fit throughout the winter so that I am ready to take on the next big challenge.

Oh! Before that however there is one BIG challenge that I am undertaking... 2 weeks tonight I am going to do a FIREWALK - yes walking across hot coals!  Scary stuff believe me!
This has been arranged with the pinpoint crew and Tesco and is to raise money for Cancer Research UK, so if you are reading this and you agree that yes 'she has finally flipped' then if you could spare a few pennies we'd all be really grateful.  You can donate here  Thank You xxx


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Pumpkins...

How many things can you do with a pumpkin?  A lot more than just carve them :-)
These are my masterpieces from last weekend, I made pumpkin muffins with the insides of the spider's web one.
Then on Wednesday we had a spooky fitcamp session - we all turned up dressed in fancy dress, and did a mega workout where every exercise involved a pumpkin!  Was great fun if hard work and as always with the evening crew we had lots of laughs along the way ;-)
We were gifted the pumpkin to take home with us and challenged to see what we could make with it - I think the best suggestion came from Angela who suggested a door stop or foot rest lol!
Because I like to experiment in the kitchen, I decided to see what culinary delights I could come up with - here are the results:
Spicy pumpkin soup - which is in the fridge so no photo - we are having it for lunch tomorrow.
Toasted pumpkin seeds - wash the seeds, dry and place on a dry baking tray, toast until golden - delicious as a snack or sprinkled on your soup/yoghurt etc

pumpkin bread - delicious warm or cold spread with butter - yummmmmm

Chinese chicken and pumpkin curry with fresh spinach and coriander  


So there you go, you can use a pumpkin instead of a kettle bell for a good workout and you can eat it too :-)
Hope you all had a Happy Hallowe'en!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Random Ramblings part 2

I know this is a bigger picture than usual but I just love it I think it's stunning!
I took this at the halfway point of the friendship/breakfast run on Saturday morning the day before our 2nd marathon of the week.  This was a 3km(ish) run led by Captain Canada followed by a hearty breakfast in Planet Hollywood.
It was a fun run, we met another Scots lady who comes from Ayr and whose name I don't know - though I guess we could look her up in the results :-)  A guy from Surrey called Robert whom I passed at 14.5miles which gave me an enormous ego boost - sorry Robert :-)  A lovely young Mexican couple who have travelled nearly as much as we have to run international marathons and many others - a 70something guy from the Isle of Man who has run almost 200 marathons I think John said... and so it goes, it's a great thing to do the day before a race and some people - us included, wear their national colours and flags so you get a lovely atmosphere.  Planet Hollywood and Tim Hortons provided us all with a substantial free breakfast which was very nice as it gave people a chance to sit and chat with each other.
Unfortunately this was the best of the day weather wise, it clouded over mid morning and then got quite rainy.  After lunch we had the joy of standing in a queue for 50minutes to clear US customs, even though we have a valid ESTA as a land borne immigrant you still have to fill in the green form and get it stapled into your passport - 21st Century USA and they don't have their computer systems linked up yet.... I ask you!!!
So having stood for forever and as always been dealt with very efficiently if bordering on churlishly by an official it was a pleasure to walk back across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada where the customs official on that side asked what we'd brought in with us, laughed when we said nothing we only went for the I-94 so we could run tomorrow and wished us a nice day!
We spent an hour in Starbucks using their free wifi then headed back to our hotel to sort out kit have dinner and get ready for an early night.
We had to be up at 5.30am even though the race didn't start until 10am, this is in order to get on the buses and clear immigration - AGAIN! then be driven to the race start...
It was like NYC all over again!  Sunday  morning dawned dry if cold, the rain of previous day had long gone and the forecast was for it to get sunny and warm up to 20C - It Did!!  There didn't seem to be too much wind either though John had spent all week assuring me that any wind would be at my back for most of the race so not to worry too much about it.
We got our bus at about 7.15 drove to the bridge and yes sat another 50minutes!  We then had to traipse off the bus, passports sighted by a much more pleasant young guy, then back on the bus again to be driven to Buffalo - about 20mins journey - yellow school buses are not the most comfortable coach transport on the planet though ;-)
However all the discomfort was more than made up for when we got off the bus (once the driver managed to find his way into the park) we were ushered into a building which turned out to be the amazing Albright-Knox Art Gallery it is definitely the most impressive pre race accomodation we have ever been in and the staff were lovely too.
It's not every race you get to warm up and stretch beside Van Gogh's and artwork made by adults with learning difficulties.  It was such a pleasant surprise it really calmed the morning.
Quick visit to the wobbliest port-potti I have ever set foot in, drop bags on buses to go back to Canada - slight fear here as we'd had to take our passports and leave them in our drop bags... then it was up to the start line.  This isn't a huge race so standing on my toes I could see the start line and the open road ahead - can't explain how it made me feel it's something you'd need to experience, but as there were no corrals it was really cool to be able to stay together at the start.  Both anthems were sung and the hooter went!  Off we headed into the leafy suburbs of Buffalo - not at all what we were expecting :-) lovely big houses, people out cheering, wide roads, and blazing sunshine, so far so good on the wind...
Almost 6 miles through Buffalo and you approach the river over a hill, phew it was windy!  Never mind I thought it's just blowing off the river so buckled down and got on with it, as we turned towards the bridge it was at my back which was pleasant.  We then had to run over the Peace Bridge which is one of the main road bridges between the two countries but although there was a fair bit of traffic there was a lane coned off and a sidewalk as well -  I really don't like high bridges over water so I had a bit of a fight with  myself to get to the half way point, however I made it and once I started to run down the hill into Fort Erie felt better again.  A wee loop off the bridge and under it and out along the shore for another 3miles or so to a turn around point, I saw John on the other side of the road - we'd passed in Toronto as well and that always gives me a lift to see him :-) especially if he looks like he's running well which he did.  Round the turn - some nice support from some residents along the way - fabby houses too!  Then back along the river and through the town of Fort Erie itself - great support from some firefighters who'd put flags on their platform- ladder and raised it across the street.
There were water/cheering stations every mile from here on in and the kids manning them were great - there was a competition to involve local high schools so they were all different themes and music and stuff.  It's the first marathon I've run which is only marked in miles not kms or both and I was surprised that they seemed to come round fairly quickly, though I'm sure this is because you heard them from way off :-)  By this time it was getting hot and I wasn't drinking much water but was wearing it, oh and the wind??? The bloody wind was a headwind for the whole way for the 20miles from Buffalo!! There I promise John I won't mention it again lol!
Anyway apart from the headwind (oops!) it was a beautiful run, this has to be the most scenic marathon course I've ever run and I'm sure there can't be that many  better, the sunshine and the Fall colours were magnificient.
Mile 24 there was a jelly bean station :-)
Mile 25 you see the cloud of spray that's always over the falls and can be seen for miles
Mile 26 and as you turn the corner to the finish line if you can look up, you can see the rainbow - I have to confess I didn't see it til I'd finished, but I did see our friend Eric who came and took photos, I didn't see June Ann who ran along in front of me but I was looking across at John at that point as he was waiting for me and taking photos.
When you cross the finish line you are wrapped in a foil blanket by a young cadet from the Mountie School, then you get your medal, some water, food if you want it, your bag and that's another one done :-)
Great Great races both of them and two lovely  medals :-)

It's over :.-(


But it was awesome :-)

We had a fantastic holiday and I ran my two fastest marathons so far, had good weather, good food, good wine and met good friends - not much more I can ask for really (apart from being able to stay and not have to come home!)

After my last grumpy post on 21st Sept, things did get slowly better...
I still didn't manage to get back to my full training but I did manage to get some running done, managed a long steady run that weekend then the following weekend we went to Strathclyde parkrun where I managed to set a new 5k PB of 29mins! This was over 2minutes off my previous best so I was chuffed to bits and somewhat reassured that the previous couple of weeks of bugs and stress hadn't taken too much of a long term toll.
We got through the remaining days of work and headed off to sunny Toronto on morning of 10th October - and yes it was sunny :-)
Arrived safely at lunchtime which gave us heaps of time to find our way to our apartment and get freshened up before meeting up with the first group of the ever growing group of friends and fellow runners whom we meet every time we go.  First evening was a quick visit to the opening of a new running shop followed by dinner with friends, managed to keep going til 'normal bedtime' which meant we'd put in a 22 hour day but it helps to alleviate the jetlag.  Up early next morning and out for a nice gentle wee 8km run, it was supposed to be a 5k but John hadn't got his internal satnav quite tuned into the new time zone yet and missed the road sign, and because I was comfortable and enjoying myself I didn't think to question him - not that I would ever...
Next couple of days were spent quietly socialising, nothing raucous we had a race at the weekend! Weather stayed nice and crisp and sunny so we ran a little each day then spent time just chilling and catching up, it was great.  Weather forecast was threatening to turn for the weekend and there were really strong gale force winds and heavy rain on the way - this filled me with a little bit dismay as a long stretch of the race kms 10-20 head out along the Lakeshore and if the wind came it was going to be a real tough fight to run into it :-(
Sunday morning dawned wet and grey but seemed reasonably calm and true enough when we left to go to the start it was torrential rain but there was no wind - guess you have to take the breaks where you get them, and the rain was preferable to the gales in my book.  We warmed up by jogging gently to the start, got changed and dropped our bags - offering a silent prayer of thanks that we had managed to rent a place that was only 5minutes jog from the start line.  John's corral were off pretty quickly, but I had to wait about 20mins before I crossed, at which point the rain stopped! (another silent thanks sent heavenwards!)
Micro report of race - started off to fast had a great first 30km then struggled to 35km picked up again after that but was done and hurting at the end - however it was all sooooo worth it to cross the finish line 27minutes quicker than I'd ever done before!  Very happy bunny indeed!
Ice bath, shower and out to meet up with our fellow runners and supporters - no wild partying for me though by 9pm I was in bed and out for the count! Slept til 0630 like a baby!  Very gentle 3km recovery run first thing Monday morning then our friends Eric and JuneAnn who had taken a couple of days off came to get us and we went off to hunt down specialist running shorts which unfortunately the shop no longer stocks, had a nice Indian buffet lunch, home to change and out to spend the evening with more friends in their beautiful new home and meet their daughter who was born just after we visited last year.
Tuesday morning a better and further early morning run - 5k this time then lunch with E&JA and chilling and dinner with them in their home, we spent the evening watching US presidential debate which was interesting!  Wednesday was pancake day - pancakes for breakfast is part of the thrill of a trip to Canada or USA and I hadn't had any yet however I also didn't want to be too naughty and eat stuff that I wouldn't eat at home however I did want to have them once.  A little bit of internet searching found a place highly reviewed and not to far to walk from our appt - just over 1mile so that was our exercise for Wednesday we walked there and back.  Luck was on my side too the pancakes were made with oatmeal and banana so were reasonably clean, and they were delicious! It was a quirky wee place too so was fun to visit it was called Aunties and Uncles and I'd highly recommend a visit if your ever in Toronto.
Thursday morning we jumped(!) on the streetcar (tram) and took a trip to The Beaches - this is an area of the city which has only been part of the marathon route for the last 2 years and it was nice to go back and see where we'd run.  Another find for lunch and another evening out with friends.
Friday we picked up the hire car and drove to Niagara Falls to get ready for race 2 - guess I should do another post about it as this has probably bored the pants off you by now :-)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Bah Humbug!! (no it's not Christmas yet...)

I sincerely hope that this is true...
I have had a sinus thing going on since I had a head cold 3 weeks ago and whilst it hasn't killed me it has severely ticked me off!  Please, please let it have made me stronger!
Up until this week I have managed to keep up my fitcamp session on a Monday and my running Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday with pilates on Thursdays - Friday is a rest day :-)  This week however I managed my fitcamp session on the Monday - which I REALLY, REALLY enjoyed :-)  but I haven't run all week :-(
Tuesday I ended up having to work late and was tired and stressed, Wednesday I was up at 5.30am to travel to Inverness for a meeting, getting home at 7pm, Thursday I had to travel to Glasgow in the morning and got soaked walking back to the train at lunchtime then it was mad, mad, mad at work... I came home last night absolutely shattered and feeling totally crap :-(  To make matters worse, I stress about missing my training sessions, and this was probably the toughest week of my program, it's the last week before taper starts.  I have a 12 mile run to do tomorrow at race pace (I hope) and then a 20mile long run on Sunday.  I fully intend getting both of those in the bag, as today I woke feeling much better than yesterday so am hoping that things are on the road to recuperation.  If not I guess I need to make an appointment with the Dr :-(

Last week (almost 2 weeks ago now) I had a good fitcamp session on Monday then went to the Wee County Harriers training session on the Tuesday.  I really enjoyed this session though I found it tough, and thanks to Anne and Jess who kept me company at the back of all the speedy blokes and couple of speedy girls!  Wednesday I did a mammoth session of 11 hill reps on Menstrie Brae then on Thursday we'd a good old 'stretch' at pilates.  If anybody ever tries to tell you pilates is gentle or for wimps - don't believe them!  It's a bloody tough workout!

So, to conclude, it's not been the best week - apart from Monday which was a total blast! Hard work as well!!  Work has been hectic, weather hasn't been great and I've not run... however it's less than 3 weeks now til we get our well deserved trip to Canada and I will get my runs in tomorrow and Sunday then it will be taper time :-)  Next Sunday I am doing the Inverness 10k with 3 guys from work as part of the Corporate Challenge so that should be fun, I'm looking forward to it :-)

On the same day, my son and his friend since school are both running their first marathon in Berlin and at the same time raising money for Help for Heroes, if anybody is feeling generous and has a spare pound or two, you can sponsor the boys here
Thanks!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

When is a PB not a PB?

When you run a race and get the time, but you're not registered to run the race - so someone else gets the time :-)
My friend Margaret had entered the Cumbernauld 10k but was unable to run it due to family commitments.  I had been struggling with a grotty head cold all week and was due for a 9mile run today, but decided to run the 10k instead.  The motivation and effort of the race gave me much more than I would have got from plodding round on my own and the first time under an hour 59:06 was an added bonus :-)
So I got the PB in that I know that I ran the distance in the time, but it's not recorded against my name anywhere.
It was a great race, a good course, and a very well organised event - well done NL leisure!

Last weekend was the Great Scottish Run 10k and Half Marathon, lots of our running buddies were doing one or other of the races, so it was a good crowd of us who headed off to Glasgow on a nice morning for a run.  Everyone acquitted themselves very well, I didn't get a new PB that time, but I woke up in the morning knowing I was starting with the cold so took it steady and treated it like a good solid 13mile training run, which it was.  I was only a couple of minutes outside my pb for a Half so not at all disappointed with the effort.  After we'd all caught up with each other, a few of us headed off to the old Templeton's carpet factory now a German microbrewery and pub/restaurant where the non drivers ( I was driving ) enjoyed sampling the local produce and the food was also very good :-)  We had a great couple of hours socialising and catching up on each others tales.  So much so that they have organised another post-race social for after next week's Stirling 10k.
I'm not running this race next week, my program has my longest run on it for next weekend, 22miles!  I will do this on the Saturday and then I can support and socialise on the Sunday.  So hopefully today blew away most of my head cold, and I can get another good week's training in this coming week, next race is Loch Ness 10k on 30 September and then it's Taper Time....

Monday, 20 August 2012

Monday... (enough said!)

Pretty crappy Monday, fed up hearing people say 'Oh I forgot' or 'I've forgotten my password' and was sad a good friend and colleague is leaving us :-( so was glad to get finished... However by time was halfway through tonight's session with Pinpoint all the stresses of the day had completely disappeared! Now I know that sounds cheesy but it's true!  Was a tough workout on the back of a tough couple of day's running, but 4 rounds of awesome tabatas and then a tropical downpour to cool us down at the end, was the perfect antidote to my day. 
Sitting here tired now but stress free and feeling really good :-)

If you're feeling that your in a bit of a rut with your training and you are looking for something a wee bit different, check these guys out - it's only 45 mins 3 times a week and the benefits are awesome.
When I started as a Pinpoint Guinea Pig in April I was asked to write down a goal, I can now say that I have achieved that goal, so now I have to set another one :-) that might be a bit harder...
However I have lots of goals I want to achieve in my life, but the realisation that I've achieved one I set a couple of months ago is a real feel-good feeling...
Ask me again tomorrow after my hill-reps if I'm still feeling as good :-)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Success! (of the non running kind!)

Cute little critters aren't they?  They are building blocks and life savers, platelets...

I am a platelet donor, I have been for almost 7 years now, I used to be a blood donor but then they discovered that I have a really high platelet count and asked if I would donate platelets rather than whole blood.  I can give a triple donation every 3-4 weeks rather than the 12 weeks you have to wait between blood donations.  Without going into gory details, this is because you get your red blood cells back when you donate platelets so your body doesn't have to restock for as long between donor sessions.
Anyway the reason for the Success in the title, is that for the last 6months I have struggled to get my iron levels high enough for them to allow me to donate, they are high enough for healthy living, but there is a Euro legislation which sets the 'safe' level... I have always been just under it or occasionally a fair bit under it, but when I went today I had a cracking Hb count of 13 (the level is 12.5) so I was over the moon that I was able to donate again!  Three adults on chemotherapy or undergoing major surgery or 9 premature babies or children undergoing chemo will benefit from the fact that I spent an hour sitting squeezing a mini rugby ball :-)

I'm not looking for praise or glory, but if you read this and you're a healthy, fit adult would you consider donating blood, or platelets?  You could be saving someone's life... Thanks x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

On the UP (hopefully...)

It's been another gap between postings, but partly that's because training is back on schedule and I'm managing to keep up with the program, so far without any adverse side effects!
I have 3 midweek sessions and 2 weekend runs in my schedule this time around which is a wee bit tougher than previous programs, but I'm enjoying it and will hopefully reap the benefits in October.

In my last post I mentioned that I had withdrawn my entry to the Devil of the Highlands Ultra, however we decided we would still spend the morning in Glencoe supporting the race.  As it was we travelled up on the Friday evening, had a great meal followed by a 'jam session' in the walkers bar of Kingshouse Hotel, and spent the night in a Hobbit House at Glencoe Ski Centre.  This allowed us to be up bright and early, and out on the hill by 8am in time to see the first runners coming through.  We took some flags to wave and some jelly babies to hand out to the runners, the weather was stunning and we got eaten alive by Midges!  I was scheduled for a 7 mile run that morning, we only covered 5.5miles up over the mountain then back again, but given the terrain and the gradient it was a fair compromise.
I took lots of photos, which are pretty much all the same, a runner against a stunning backdrop, however if you were the runner it means something to you :-) they are freely available on flickr for anyone who wants to look for themself!
Hobbit House No 6
Here's a photo of our Hobbit House, cute huh?  It has a double bed, 2 single beds, lots of power points, electric lights.  It's cosy and warm, would stay in one again :-)
There are all the facilities you need at the centre all we took was our sleeping bags and pillows - though there was one family who looked like they'd brought everything but the kitchen sink!
It was great to be out on the hill on such a beautiful morning and to be able to share an encouraging or sympathetic word with every runner was indeed a privilege, my heartiest congratulations to all who took part on what ended up a very warm sunny day.
We headed back down the mountain after the last runner had passed us - about 10am, had a well earned breakfast in the cafe at the ski centre then drove back home enjoying the sunshine with the roof down on the car.  In the evening we went out with some members of our online running group - predominately Falkirk parkrunners - it was nice to catch up and see that we do have clothes other than running gear!  However the venue we chose, whilst nice for a meal was WAY TOO LOUD for us folk of a certain age and it was impossible to hold a conversation :-(  Fortunately there were big screen TVs in the bar so we managed to see Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah do their stuff!
Sunday morning is long run time, I was to do 16miles, so set off towards Bridge of Allan and ended up in Dunblane via Sherriffmuir, a pretty run - it was another gorgeous day, but a bit hillier than I intended!
The next week was filled with training, but was successful, and I did my first ever race pace followed by LSR back to back weekend... this will be the pattern for the next few weeks as the program builds in intensity but I'm enjoying it and enjoying being able to complete the sessions in one piece.
I have also managed to get back to my PinPoint-Fitness friends, I can't manage the three sessions a week that I was doing before, but I have gone along on a Monday evening for the past 2 weeks and had an absolute blast!  It's great that they are now running evening fitcamps as it fits into my day better and is my optional Rest/Cross Training session.  I intend going back 3 times a week from November once the marathon(s) are out the way.  I feel the benefit already from just having done 2 sessions :-)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The XXX Olympiad is underway and it has been a full month since I last posted on here!
I thoroughly enjoyed last night's opening ceremony, my favourite part was the steel mill scene when the 5 rings were forged and raised to the sky, the visual effects were tremendous.  It got a wee bitty long winded and boring towards the end, but it was still a fantastic ceremony.
I have successfully managed to get over my injury (I hope!) and am now back into training for Toronto in October, however I made the tough decision 2 weeks ago to withdraw my entry from the Devil O' The Highlands ultra next weekend... on the same day as I got an offer of a place :-(
The week after my last post, we decided to go for a long run as we were both feeling a bit better, we managed 22.5miles from Falkirk to Edinburgh on the canal on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. 
The pint of beer in Ryries at the end was absolute heaven :-)  Then it was back on the train to Falkirk and drive home.  Pleased to report no adverse effects from the extra distance and although it was slow it was reassuring in terms of strength and stamina - especially as I'd not run over 10miles since April :-)
At this point I was still hopeful of taking part in the Devil, but we went on holiday for the first 2 weeks in July and whilst I did run, I didn't get any distances in - it was too hot, and it was holidays!  When we got home I sent the email saying I didn't feel I was fit and withdrew my entry :-(  I intend to be fit for next August and give it a really good go!
So where are we now?  Last weekend was the CS40 Ultra - the Clyde Stride, a fantastic run which I did last year and which John was doing this year.  I had originally intended to volunteer this year, but instead, entered the Relay with 3 friends from parkrun.  After weeks of torrential rain - fortunately we missed 2 weeks of it sunning ourselves in Europe! - Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, and the runners lined up at Partick full of excitement and expectation.  Once again Lee McLean and her awesome band of helpers put on a brilliant event.  Falkirk parkrun heartbreakers had a great day out, everyone ran well and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, even though we were beaten by 5 minutes by Superman LOL!
Hoping that I can carry on training for Toronto avoiding any further injury, run well in my upcoming races and get fitter and faster...



Sunday, 17 June 2012

4 weeks is a long time when you're injured :-(

It's funny how life deals you the cards...
the last time I posted on here I was just starting out on my most recent training program and looking forward to gearing up for some Summer races.  I have done hardly any running or exercise in the past 4 weeks and certainly none of the workouts on my "Devil" program :-(  When I can't do those things, I don't come here either as I don't feel I've anything to recount and would end up just moaning so better not to start writing :-)
The sore achilles I mentioned in my last post turned out to be a suspected tear in my posterior tibial tendon which got sorer as time went on, however I have had some pretty excruciating physio sessions and am pleased to report that it feels like it is on the mend.
I have run in the interim, but not much, we had signed up for the Kilt Run in Perth as part of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, it was a good day out, a fun event and I managed to run albeit slowly, all the way round the 8km course - wearing one of John's kilts!!!
Last weekend I ran/walked 9.6km on Saturday and then on Sunday John - who also has an injured calf, suggested that we go for a longer run so we drove to Falkirk then walked/ran along the Union Canal to Linlithgow where we had a nice lunch and got a train back to Falkirk.  It was a fine day out and we both survived with no ill-effects of the exercise.
Today was the MHFS 10K in Glasgow, this is the race that our friends from work trained for last year when team Runtime Error was formed, a number of them did it again today and John, while still injured managed to hobble round in a respectable 44minutes!!
I am hoping to get back on track tomorrow with my running and with my Pinpoint-Fitness program as well, that's not been great over the last couple of weeks either due to injury and illness, though hopefully everything is looking up again and I will be back on track.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and send healing vibes :-)

P.S.  Just checked and there are only 9 people in front of me on the "Devil" waiting list now...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ups and Downs :-(

And not a hill session in sight :-(
I had a good week last week, managed to do all my training sessions and was feeling quite pleased with myself... however on Saturday I was feeling a bit of an ache in my right achilles which didn't stop me running on either Saturday or Sunday, but by Sunday afternoon the ache was officially sore!
Sunday night it was very painful so I rang the physio on Monday morning and was fortunate to get an appointment for this morning.  Some work on my calves, some ultrasound on the achilles itself and some fabby pink and blue tape and it seemed much better so I decided to try tonight's training session.  I jogged for about 10 minutes on the way to meet our friend George, and we jogged for about another 15minutes before the session proper - it should have been 4 * 1km with 200m recovery reps, but as soon as I started to up the pace on the first rep the achilles said NO!!! I hobbled and walked for about another 10-15mins but there wasn't much point.  Fortunately, John came by on the way home from his run and he continued home and came back to get me in the car, this saved me a half hour hobble home.

On a happier note, I went to an early morning fitcamp with the PinPoint-Fitness crew, they are launching a new set of fatloss camps and the Guinea Pigs were invited along.  It was great, I really enjoy working out early in the morning, and it was great to catch up with all the guys again, however I think I'll have to give it a miss tomorrow and Friday is a wait and see at the moment. 

So, keep sending me healing vibes and I promise to try really hard not to moan too much :-)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

An achieving day...

Another wee tick in a box in the Big Book of Life for me today :-)
This for those of you who aren't local, is the Clackmannanshire Bridge, it's the newest crossing of the River Forth and is a great link to The Wee County.  However, I have a thing about crossing bridges over water, according to my learned friend Malcolm it's known as Gephyrophobia. 
I have crossed this bridge on foot a few times since it opened as it forms part of a great 20mile loop for us from the house over either this or the older Kincardine Bridge, back over the other one and home again and whilst I have run some of it, I usually walk part of it, sticking as close to the fence as I can, especially if it's windy.  Well after all the preamble, the point of this is that I ran all the way across it today and into a headwind so big :-) about that...

This morning we went along to Falkirk parkrun to volunteer, there was a good turnout once again and although the sun was hidden behind the clouds it was a pleasant morning for a run.  
I am following a new training program (I think I've mentioned this before!) and my weekend sessions are a 60min easy run and a 10mile Long Slow Run henceforth known as LSR ;-)  I could race the 5k at parkrun instead of the 60min Easy occasionally if I want, but tomorrow I am going for Afternoon Tea with Prosecco in Glasgow with 3 friends from work, to celebrate one of them getting a promotion, so I had to swap and do my LSR today and I'll do the easy run in the morning when I get up.  So, I decided that I would run home from parkrun, John dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and said "see you at home - you should head in that direction..." we have a strange relationship in some folks eyes LOL!
There was a wee ENEasterly blowing which meant that I was running into it all the way across the bridge, but I made it the whole way across and carried on along the carse and up the hill into Clackmannan.  A wee downhill out of the town to reward you for the climb up and then along the main road to Alloa.  It feels reasonably flat but when you look at the stats on the Garmin it's a steady climb all the way home.  I've a wee bit of an ache in my achilles and stiff legs now, but apart from that nothing too drastic, I came home and feet went straight into a bucket of rainwater which was fine and cold and helped to chill things off!
A recovery shake, an epsom salts bath, a yoghurt and I felt fine, so I baked some muffins and cookies to pass the afternoon.

This evening has been spent watching the football, Bayern Munich v Chelsea, I've no favourite to win, and I'm not even a football fan, but I enjoy the competition of the big games... Euro 2012 starts in a fortnight and I'll probably watch most of those games too for the same reason.
Still doing reasonably well with the eating, and no alcohol for 12 days now, just 6 more to go until Brussels when I may have a wee vin rouge in the Grand Place as I partake of the jazz festival, then on Sunday we run the 20km race - but more about that nearer the time.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Midweek ponderings :-)

That is sooooooooo true... and was brought home to me yesterday :-)
On Monday I started my "Devil program"  this is a training program which will hopefully get me fit and ready for the Devil of the highlands ultra in August.  I entered the race after the Highland Fling at the end of April and am on the reserve list.  However it is usually the case that most of the people (usually all!) on the reserve list do get a place to run, as people enter at the start of the year and then have to pull out for a myriad of reasons.  Some get injured during the training, for others life just gets in the way...
So the program started on Monday, and fortunately that was a REST day :-) I was quite glad as I was fairly tired after the 10k on Sunday.  Yesterday I had a great morning at work, then had to spend the afternoon dealing with other people's ineptitude, arrogance and downright stupidity, so by the time it got to the end of the day I had lost all my enthusiasm and excitement about starting a new program :-(  However, I 'zipped up my mansuit' put on my shoes and went out to do my first Fartlek session.  The sun was shining and although my warmup involved running into a stiff northerly - so stiff that at times I didn't feel at all like I was running downhill, I soon got into the session... 2m30 fast then 1m30 recovery times 6 then a gentle jog home. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was really pleased that I managed to do all six intervals and was still fit for the uphill all the way home!  I met my son out for his run and he chummed me up the road which was nice as it discouraged me from stopping half way up the hill and walking the rest of the way.  By the end of it, the stresses of the day had gone hence my picture :-)
Today was a better day workwise, and this evening's session was a 50min easy pace run.  A friend and colleague came with me and we chatted round the 6.5k route and had a very pleasant time.
My legs are quite tired and a bit stiff now so tomorrow morning's first job will be a session on the foam roller...
I have another 40min easy run tomorrow night then on Friday I get another REST day :-) I plan to put my trail shoes on tomorrow and go for a wee easy run around Gartmorn Dam, and if the weather forecast is accurate it should be fine and muddy :-)
I'm still trying to stick to the healthy eating principle that I learned working with the guys at PinPoint Fitness and doing pretty well, next week I am going back for a free week with them to trial the new stuff they've been learning this past week at their training camp in Marbella - something wrong here - John and Pamela train in Marbella we train in cold, wet Cumbernauld lol!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Another new PB!

It's been a good year so far, I've had new PBs at 5km, half marathon and now at 10km. 
I ran the Women's 10K in Glasgow today, along with another 12000 or so women,  and finished it 9minutes faster than I did my last 10k in September 2011. 60minutes and 48seconds - I'm sure there will be folk who will go "oh if you'd just managed those 48seconds..." but no that doesn't bother me at all.  If I'd got sub 60 that would have been my dream goal, and on a better day maybe I might have - it was a pretty tough day weather wise today it was cold, drizzly - which turned to heavy rain/sleet just after I finished and very blustery winds!  As always the people of Glasgow turn out to support, this is an amazing race, so well organised and supported, even more so on a day like today when they could easily have stayed indoors...

All of our friends who ran today did really well so it was a great day all round.

I've missed my fitness sessions this week now that the program is finished but am hoping to get back to the gym to pick up on my weight training sessions this week.  That and get more running done.  Hopefully the foul weather will pass soon and we'll maybe get something akin to a summer, that makes it easier to get out and run in the evening or early morning.
Not really much else to say, it's been a great day, and was made all the better for the support of John and our friends Malcolm and George who came along to support and carry bags for us today - thanks guys it was a cold stand for you all out there, but I hope your 'Ladies' did you proud xx

Monday, 7 May 2012

Back Again! :-)

It's a bit of a cliche but it is true... What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and having just finished my 4 week stint as a Guinea Pig, I am not dead, but I AM stronger!!  Mentally and physically stronger, more aware of the strength of my body and the limits I can push it to - this has paid off in my running and I am delighted, as this was the initial purpose of trying to lose weight and get fitter.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 4 weeks of training with John Allan and Pamela Halkett of PinPoint Fitness really nice people who can motivate and push you to just grind out "one more" :-)
I've made some new friends along the way and have enjoyed the banter and am grateful for their encouragement and support.  They have all done brilliantly, with lbs and inches coming off all over the place :-)

Since I last blogged about running here, we have done the Hoka Highland Fling - what a day!! The weather gods took pity on us and we had almost perfect racing weather, not too warm but not too cold, hardly any wind and enough sunshine to warm your bones.  I am totally in awe of my amazing husband who ran the full course, 53 miles from Milngavie to Tyndrum, in 12hours and 13 minutes!  He was incredible shape when he finished, lucid, smiling and injury free!
Our friends and colleagues Janette, Rab and Colin ran the relay with me and we all had fantastic runs, we finished in a combined time of 11hours and 50minutes which I am delighted with.  On a personal note, the climb up Conic hill which took me 1hr 30 in March, took me 1hr 10 on race day and I got to Rowardennan 18minutes faster than I had the last time.

On Friday  past I ran the Black Rock 5 race with a group of friends from Falkirk parkrun  it is a slightly crazy race out onto the beach and round a rock before the tide comes in!  It was freezing cold but great fun, and yes I'm looking forward to doing it again next year... It's quite a sight to see all the runners streaming across the sand.

I am really enjoying my running at the moment, this is probably due to the fact that I lost 8lbs on my Guinea Pig journey and this means there's less to move over the ground so makes it a much more pleasant experience.  I feel so much stronger too which means I don't tire so quickly and I am running faster than I have ever run before so I am hoping that this bodes well for my next race which is the Women's 10k in Glasgow this coming Sunday.  Fingers crossed that all goes well as I'd really like to get another new PB at this one, I'd like to keep the chain going.
My leg is behaving itself at the moment, it's the usual tired-sore after a run, but no new pain or swelling etc so hopefully all is calm for a while to come.
I had a wee moment of madness after the Highland Fling, and put in an entry for the Devil of the Highlands, this is the 43 mile ultra which John ran last August and is the second half of the West Highland Way from Tyndrum to Fort William... I am officially on the waiting list so here's hoping I get a place - the first 3 on the waiting list have already got places - eeek!  This will mean a bit more intense long distance training over the next few weeks, but it will set me in good stead for the Marathon in Toronto in October even if I don't get the place on the Fling.
So that's enough for now, will try to update reasonably regularly over the coming months and record what we get up to :-)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Blogging along



I am not doing very well with coming back to update this on a regular basis, it's not that we're not doing anything, it's just that I don't seem to find the time - that's a feeble excuse given the amount of time I can spend online catching up with facebook friends!

However on Monday 9 April I am embarking on a new journey, I am going to be a guinea pig and undertake a 4 week training and nutrition plan with John and Pamela from Pinpoint-Fitness. These are the guys we did our personal training with in January and February and they have devised a new workout regime which they are hoping to market so myself and 4 others are going to road-test it :-)
On the running/training front it's still going pretty well, I had a couple of short but tough runs on Thursday up at Crianlarich, and got a new PB at Falkirk parkrun on Sat then we went back to Callendar Park on Sunday morning to meet with a group of fellow nutters to do a hill rep session on our beloved Heartbreak Hill (HBH) the weather was kind to us as the good weather lasted all over the weekend - it was forecast to break on the Friday but didn't.
We had blizzards on Tuesday though to make up for it! There's still snow on the hills but hopefully the sunshine will continue and we will move into a long, sunny Spring and Summer.

I am going to blog about this experience here http://helenatpinpointfitness.blogspot.co.uk/ so if you're at all interested, feel free to pop in for a look!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Another 6 weeks has passed...

I really don't know what is happening to this year, it's flying in waaaay to fast!!
The clock's 'spring' forward tonight which means that Summer won't be too far away and we get the pleasure of light mornings and long light evenings and I feel so much better :-)

So what have we been up to since I last posted early February? Work has been stressful and pressured so every non-working moment has been spent either running, training or sleeping trying to forget about it... it's settled down a bit in the past few weeks but it's still not the happy place it used to be :-(

We have been to Falkirk parkrun most Saturday mornings, either to run or volunteer, and I have successfully run all the way round the course, and conquered Heartbreak Hill - at the same time I got a new PB by 5minutes so that was a good morning :-)
Apart from that we have been training, both for a couple of half marathons and for our upcoming adventure at the Hoka Highland Fling - I am running a relay leg and John is doing the whole distance solo! (53miles)
We went to Paris for the Semi-marathon de Paris on 4 March and both had good runs, we both got new PBs! It was a very well organised event with about 23000 runners and we had perfect weather conditions so there was no excuse for not doing well :-)
2 weeks later on March 18 we ran our local race, the Alloa Half Marathon, once again we had fantastic race conditions, sunshine and barely a wind along the notorious hillfoots road, once again we both PB'd :-) we had a number of friends running and everyone did really well so all in all it was a great day out.
On Thursday I had the exciting experience(!) of having an MRI scan on my left leg, what a racket the machine makes! John also had the day off on Thursday and so he decided he was going to do a 30mile long run along the Forth & Clyde canal from Grangemouth to Clydebank, this meant that he could meet me at the hospital. It was the best day of the year so far, no wind and wall to wall sunshine, warm enough for running but not too hot. He covered the 31.5 miles comfortably and when I met him at the end, he looked like he'd run 10miles or so not 31.5! He is hopefully in a good place with his training, he managed another 12miles yesterday...
I had a day off yesterday and wanted to go and conquer Conic Hill, as I was a bit nervous about it and it's my relay leg on the Highland Fling, so we set off in a freezing cold wind from Drymen, and ran/walked to the top in 1h 30m. John turned back then and went to get the car so that I could continue and he'd meet me at the finish. I felt strong so decided to try and continue all the way to Rowardennan which meant I would have done the whole leg, as when we'd gone to run the Balmaha to Rowardennan route a in February and I had not had a good time, my leg was really sore that day. It is an awesome run down off the hill, took me less than 30minutes to get down to Balmaha and by the time I got there the sun was shining :-)
Balmaha to Rowardennan was a much better experience than last time, still extremely hard work, with lots of climbing! I was still tired at the end and a bit sore, but not injured sore, just worked-hard sore... All in all it was a good day out, finished it tired, muddy but happy :-)

total distance was 14.29 miles, total elevation climber was 529m

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Running through 2012 I guess...

Happy New Year!

I didn't change the name of the blog as I don't know if I can without starting a new one, and I don't want to do that, I want to continue this journey... If you're interested in coming along for the ride then welcome, and if you're not it's no skin off my nose - there's a joke there but it's not for polite/mixed company :-)

It's now into February - 6 weeks of the new year gone already, wow doesn't seem all that long ago I was sitting on Hogmanay writing the last entry of 2011.

So what's new in 2012? Well I have found a new love - bench presses :-) actually weight training in general, just love it! Hard work but what a workout! I bought 5 sessions with personal trainers as a surprise stocking filler for John/us and boy was he surprised when he opened the envelope on Christmas morning LOL!!! We finished our last session today and I think it's safe to say, we've both really enjoyed it, we've adapted our diet and have both lost some weight and some serious centimetres, so here's hoping we can keep it going and carry on losing. John and Pamela from Pinpoint Fitness have come through every Saturday morning since 7 January and put us through our paces. They are knowledgeable, friendly and really good motivators :-) We've been doing 2 workouts during the week between sessions, so getting 3 good sessions a week as well as our running training the occasional bootcamp, oh and work! Guess that kind of explains where the year has gone so far!
We've just had a couple of days holiday and went up to Balmaha on Loch Lomond, we stayed at the Oak Tree Inn and spent a day running along the West Highland Way to get a feel for the route of the Highland Fling Ultra in April - more about that later. A brief stop in Glasgow on the way home yesterday for new trail shoes and we feel like we've had a holiday :-)

I will come back and update when I can fit it in :-)