Volunteers and Marshals

Volunteers and Marshals

This weekend will be the third race in a row where I have marshaled or helped, rather than running. I’m really looking forward to it.

First, was the Inveraray Jail Break which was great fun, and very wet. Next was manning a checkpoint and crewing for Julia at the Kintyre Way ultra.

Sunday brings the fantastic Mull of Kintyre half marathon and10K. We are registered for the half, however life got in the way, training was derailed and so we’re marshaling instead. 

Volunteering to help has been a huge positive for me. My mojo has returned from its wee trek away, and I have a new found appreciation for race organisers and runners too. 

There’s a new campaign launched to highlight the need for volunteers, supporters and marshals, and it’s being supported by Jo Pavey: If you haven’t already, check out joininuk for more information.

If you’re running the MOK on Sunday, look out for me: I’ll have jelly babies, and plenty of vocal support! 😉 

Wednesday Wisdom 

Wednesday Wisdom 

  

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hi everyone, how has your week- and weekend- been? Mine has been awesome!

On Saturday I had lunch in Merchant Square, Glasgow with my mum and sisters. I don’t know what happened to me, but for once I didn’t even think about taking a picture of my food! :o We had arincini and bruschetta to start, then I had carbonara. It was delish!

We had a wander around the arts and crafts stalls, and picked up some brilliant cards. 

Yesterday was the final day of the 5×50 Challenge and again, for the third year, I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be signing up in 2016. Will you?

Today is day one of my 10k training plan: it should be a one mile walk, but I replaced that with my Clubbercise class as cross training instead. As Jacqui, our instructor, was on holiday last week it was tough getting back into it, but as always it was a fantastic class. Love it!

Tomorrow night calls for a 3 mile run, and I’m looking forward to that too.

Here’s some motivation for this week: 

 

And I say amen to that! :D

Wednesday Wisdom 

Wednesday Wisdom 

  

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Ha ha happy Monday!

How has the start of your week been? Mine has been great. I’ve still been buzzing after the weekend! After a great day today, I’ve crushed 5k on the treadmill, done some cleaning and I’m ready for dinner. Pasta and meatballs: yum yum! :D

Here’s my thought for the coming week:  What’s your goal this week? Bring on the awesome! ;)

Crewing for the Kintyre Way Ultra

Crewing for the Kintyre Way Ultra

A long time ago in a galaxy far away…..

Scratch that. A few months ago, in a town not so far away, Julia from Girl Runs Wild and I had an on-line chat about her running the Kintyre Way Ultra. I jumped at the chance of supporting her with this, and crewing for her on the day.

Julia is an experienced ultra-runner, and I was quite excited to catch a glimpse into the world of ultra running.

And so, a few months later, the day drew near, and we were ready to meet in person for the first time :)

Julia had hoped to have a trip through before hand, but for various reasons, wasn’t able to, so the week leading up to the race was quite exciting, given that she’d be staying with us for a few days, and we’d only ever chatted on line.

Well, it turns out that Julia is a lovely person, and a brilliant house guest – she is welcome to stay with us any time! She arrived on the Thursday before the race, and we had a good chat about lots of stuff – including what support Julia would need on Saturday.

On the Friday @TheWelshWookie and I had to work, but it turns out that Julia has some friends very close to Tarbert, so she was able to have a look around Tarbert, and visit her friend Mary and her horses. When @TheWelshWookie arrived home, he was accompanied by a new ‘friend’: Wee Mull, who is the official mascot of the Kintyre Way Schools. The pupils in Tarbert Academy had asked @TheWookie to take Wee Mull around the Ultra race, since it is run along the route of the Kintyre Way.

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He’s made of rocks and wood, so he’s very eco friendly, and very heavy!

We headed down to the village so that Julia could check in. She collected her bib and her ‘dibber’ and also her goodie bag. Apparently, most goodie bags are given out at the start of ultras, due to the higher drop-out rate. The participants got a fabric bag containing a fluorescent orange beanie, a Kintyre Way buff and a coffee mug. We then headed to the Café for dinner – and an excuse to carb load. It was then time to head to bed early, as we were manning the first check in point, at Claonaig, and we had to be there for 6.45.

Here’s the route and checkpoints:

Linear map

At 5.45 in the morning, @TheWookie phoned Rob, the race organiser, to get on update on the runners. There are two race options – a 67 mile event, and a 35 mile event. Either can be run as an ultra, or as a relay race, with relay runners changing over at the checkpoints. Julia was running the 35 mile run, but we were manning the checkpoint for the 67 mile runners. Overnight, there had been a few withdrawals, and others who had switched to the 35 miler. There were 13 individuals, and 6 relay teams doing the longer race.

The morning was cold, but the forecast was good, and as we set up at Claonaig, the sun started to break through. Wee Mull had great fun, having his pictures taken by the professional photographer who was there to capture the runners during the race.

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The first runner came through at 7.07am, which was a record-breaking time at that stage.

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He looked so comfortable, having already run over muddy, hilly terrain for 11.5 miles! Within half an hour, all of the runners had been through, including Fee from Inveraray (who organised the Inveraray Jail Break last Sunday). Fee was running the relay, and looked great as she handed over her dibber to Liz. I was so excited, and really enjoying the buzz!

The final relay team were late: their runner picked up an injury, which meant that they were in a bit of bother early on. Because we had to collect Julia, we left Ann, who was the other time checker at checkpoint 1, to check him in and to phone through the times to Rob.

@TheWelshWookie and I jumped back into the car, and drove the 20 minutes back home to collect Julia. She looked relaxed, but prepared, and ready to run. We all hopped straight into the car with Julia’s gear and drove down to Tayinloan, the start point for the 35 mile run.

On the way, we passed runners heading into and out of Clachan, which was the location of the second checkpoint, and the only checkpoint that we – and Wee Mull – were not visiting.

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We arrived at Tayinloan Village Hall at around 9.45, which was perfect for the start time of 10am. Julia pointed out some other runners she knew, and then the runners were called individually into the starting pen. There was just time for the race briefing, and it was time to go!

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We knew that Julia was hoping to reach Carradale in around 3 hours, so we stayed at Tayinloan for a while, cheering on the 67 mile runners as they arrived. Ian, who was in the lead at Claonaig, was still in the lead, and reached Tayinloan at just after 10am, not long after the second race had begun. He still looked very relaxed and comfortable!

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@TheWelshWookie, Wee Mull and I then drove around the peninsula, and into Carradale. When we got there, it was already buzzing with excitement, and the first 35 mile runner was just passing through as we arrived! We had some coffee and cake in Carradale Network Centre – it was delish! And then we mingled, chatting with runners and other volunteers.

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While we waited for Julia to arrive, we helped other runners: we chopped fruit, put rubbish in bins, provided suncream (it was hot and sunny!) and filled up water bottles. It was great!

At under 3 hours (2 hours, 52 minutes to be precise), Julia arrived. She was looking relaxed, and was running well. We refilled her water, sorted out her food for the next section, and chatted a little. She had really enjoyed the run – it was hilly, and not too muddy, and all in all she was feeling good.

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Julia headed off, and we packed Wee Mull back into the car, and headed to Ifferdale. Now, Ifferdale is a farm off the main road, so we were advised to park in Saddell and walk, which we did. It was a good 1.5 mile walk along a farm track, in beautiful sunshine. I carried Julia’s gear, while @TheWookie carried Wee Mull. On the way, I spotted a huge bird of prey (no idea what it was) and I heard a cuckoo – it was so peaceful!

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Ifferdale was quieter than Carradale, but definitely still buzzing! We chatted to other support crews, and we were treated to cheese scones and oatcakes with Mull of Kintyre Cheddar from the farm owners – yum! We cheered on the other runners as they arrived, and then Julia appeared.

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Julia was struggling only a little, with some ab pain, but she was still running well She paused this time for a short while to refuel, while we filled up her supplies and water. Then, it was time for her to head out on the final section. Julia asked us to meet her again at another part with some fresh fruit if we could – it was hot, and a good way to take on some extra fluids, so that was our plan.

We headed back along the farm track to get back to the car – and found gridlock! There was a flock of sheep in the way, while they were being shepherded into another field! There was nothing at all we could do but wait. The lambs were too cute – and it was fascinating: watching the sheepdog round them up and keep them in check.

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Eventually, we made it back to the car. We drove into Campbeltown, headed to Tesco, and stocked up on pots of fresh pineapple. We then drove out of town and up to Gobagrennan. The road was pretty good, so before we knew it, we were at Loch Lussa, which was beautiful. All along the road, we were passing runners so we had the windows down, and we cheered them as we passed.

As soon as we got to Loch Lussa road end, Julia arrived. She was feeling much better, and felt good about finishing. She had some pineapple, and then headed out for the final part of the run. We helped out a few more runners, before heading back to Campbeltown and to the finish line.

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When we parked up and arrived at Campbeltown, there were a few of the runners who had just finished – including the course record breaker, Ian Docwra. We had a coffee, and chatted to others, and we also cheered and clapped the finishers over the finish line. Given that we knew how Julia was running, we had a rough idea of when she’d finish. But, she surprised us a little, and suddenly she was running for the finish line. She had completed the 35 miles in a fantastic 7 hours, 29 minutes, and more importantly, she was feeling good!

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After Julia had a shower, we headed to the Argyll Arms Hotel for the after-run pasta party, giving Julia the chance to refuel. It was a great, relaxed atmosphere. Eventually, we headed back to the car, and drove home, only stopping off to pick up some chips on the way J

On Sunday morning, Julia was feeling pretty good, which was fantastic. We had what Julia called a short shake out shuffle – I called it a decent wee run for us! And, we finished the weekend off with a muscle relaxing soak in the hot tub.

I had a fantastic time. I was really impressed with every runner’s dedication and determination. I was surprised at the whole atmosphere: it was so relaxed, fun and supportive, both from the runners and from the support that was at each checkpoint. I had thought that ultra running would be more intense, less fun – but the opposite is true. Everyone looks out for each other. Everyone cares how one another are doing. The support and the volunteers were all fantastic. I really felt like I was part of something special.

We chatted about doing the run next year as a relay, which would be great! It gives us a year to get prepared for it ;)

Julia was tremendous – you rock, girl! :D

Find out more about the Kintyre Way Ultra at http://www.kintyrewayrelay.co.uk/

Find out more about the Kintyre Way at http://www.kintyreway.com/

Pound!

Pound!

You’ll probably know that I have kinda fallen in love with my weekly Clubbercise class. It’s a great workout and loads of fun! Because Jacqui changes up the routines, it keeps my muscles guessing and I definitely feel the DOMS the day after.

Last night, I tried another new class, as there was a taster session of Pound in the village hall. And, after the taster session, I’d love to give it a go!

Pound is a great workout: you use bright green weighted drumsticks- called Ripstix- to strengthen and sculpt. It’s not as aerobic as Clubbercise, but I definitely worked up a sweat, and I can feel today that I worked muscles not usually worked! 

It was also a great stress buster- thumping those sticks off the mat was pretty relieving!

If you’ve never heard or it, or want to know more, check it out here:

Poundfit
  
Tomorrow, we’re helping out at the Kintyre Way Ultra. We have an early start at the first checkpoint, and then we’re supporting Julia from Girl Runs Wild who is taking part. Good luck Julia!

I’m really looking forward to it! :)

I’ll let you know how it goes! :D

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

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Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hello, have you had a good bank holiday? If you’ve been working, I hope it has been ok. I’ve been off today, and so I’ve caught up on the housework I skipped this weekend. It always feels good when it’s done, doesn’t it?

I’ve just been to Clubbercise, had dinner, and I’m going to round the long weekend off with another dip in the hot tub.

I feel like I have made progress this week- I stayed on track with my fitness and wellbeing goals. I’m hoping that this week will be equally as successful. I hope yours is too :) 

The Inveraray Jail Break

The Inveraray Jail Break

I woke up early this morning: after yesterday’s paddle boarding escapades, I didn’t want to accidentally sleep in. I opened one eye, a little worried that the forecast snow may have arrived. I got up, peeped out of the window, and was surprised to see that it was only wet. Huh, yes, only wet.

@TheWelshWookie was already up, so we had breakfast and got ready for our morning of marshalling. I layered up: winter running tights, long sleeved running top, running socks……. And, no, I wasn’t actually running today! I added a fleece sweater, welly socks, water proofs, hat, scarf, gloves and wellies. We were out the door and on our way to Inveraray. :)

About an hour later, we arrived. We parked up, and finished getting ready. My outfit was completed with one of @TheWookie’s fluorescent work jackets- no one was going to miss us. The briefing was scheduled for 10am, so we made our way to Inveraray Jail. On the way we were stopped twice- once by someone who held up traffic just wanting to know what was going on, and then by a runner wanting to know about parking.

Here’s the start of the race, outside the jail: I should point out that the Jail is now a museum, which is well worth a visit. I’m sure I’ve shared pictures before ;)

Registration and briefings were held inside, which was just as well because the rain was torrential. We knew we were in for a soaking- but we were well prepared for that. 

 Fee, the wonderful race organiser (and jog Scotland leader, and cycling organiser, phew! Some how I missed taking a pic of her!) gave us our briefing, handing out emergency contact details and advice. Everything was so well organised: we even had a lift to our marshalling point!

Off we went, into cars, up to Inveraray Castle. We reached the marquee, and thought we’d be walking to our point. But, no, further transportation had been provided! There before us was a vehicle and trailer for us all to pile into! Now, I didn’t manage a proper picture of the actual vehicle, but it was like this, with a trailer attached. I think ours was bigger:  

We loaded up: I was in the trailer, and off we went! :D it was brilliant! I did remember then to take a quick snap: 

We were positioned at a gate, and were first to be dropped off. Here’s the wee truck as it left us, climbing upwards: 
We had around half an hour until the race started, so we had a good chat- in the rain- and got ready. Here’s our view- the runners came along the road in the distance before beginning their ascent: 

And, of course, I had time to pose ;) 

It was soon 11am, and only 6 minutes 30 seconds later the first runners were already reaching us, and we were well past the 2k mark. Wow! So impressive!

There were three races: one for full jail breakers, one for junior jail breakers and a kids race. The first two races came up past us- the full race made its way up to Dun Na Cuaiche, where they were rewarded with fabulous views and the skirl of the pipes :D

Here’s Dun Na Cuaiche, from the finish- it’s at the top of the hill, I’m sure you can make it out: 

We really enjoyed being out there, supporting the runners. It was humbling, how many runners were working hard but still found time to smile or thank us :). Runners are a great bunch, aren’t they? ;)

Before we knew it, the runners were on their way back down. Everyone did so, so well. I was really surprised how quickly everyone was past us- both ways- up and down that hill. And I was so caught up that I didn’t take any photos of any runners – not one! Sorry about that!

We were then picked back up by the wee truck, and taken back down to the finish line at the Castle: 

Although we were a little cold and very wet, we had a great time. The marshals each had a goody bag, containing water, a cereal bar and some delicious home made tablet. Yum!
We grabbed a coffee, and walked back down towards the car park, ready to head home after going to church first.

Now that we’re back home, we’ve had a dip in the hot tub to thaw out, and we’re now enjoying a cuppa with that delish tablet.

 Thanks to Fee for such a great event!