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...



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 :-)