Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Well the Great Solo Run Hallowe’en Accumulator is well and truly underway, and over the last week I got some solid runs in, although some have been rather short. But they have indeed been sweet!

My running motivation remains high and I’m feeling that my trail running is continuing to improve, and I want to make sure that I continue that during the winter months. First up is a need to test out my head torch, so that’s on my list for the coming week. Here’s how last week worked out for me.

Monday-

A lunchtime trail run at Kilmory which I have missed! Of course I didn’t have any company from the usual crew, but I had a chance to get out and so I took it. I skipped the run around Kilmory Loch as I’m always a little worried about slipping on the rocks when I’m on my own, but I did tackle the hill which has not gotten any easier! It felt good to start the week with this run under my belt.

Distance: 2.7 miles

Time: 31m 13s

Pace: 11.32/m

Elevation: 395ft

Thursday-

After a couple of incredibly busy days that meant I wasn’t able to squeeze in any running I was looking forward to hitting the trails. I managed to get out slightly earlier than I thought I might and so was able to get in over 4 miles for the first time in a good few days. Loved it!

Distance: 4.2 miles, though Strava thought it was 4.64 miles

Time: 45m 8s

Pace: 9.43/m according to Strava. Doubt it!

Elevation: 497ft

Friday –

I had just enough time at lunchtime to squeeze in a short 30 minute run, and somehow I managed to dodger the torrential downpours! Result!

I did get a little wet at the end of my run, but it wasn’t too bad at all. First run around the harbour for a couple of weeks!

Distance: 2.9 miles

Time: 29m 46s

Pace: 10.15/m

Elevation: 66ft

I also managed a live fitness class with Jacqui on Friday evening which was a real bonus!

Sunday-

First long run for some time. I had some company for a chance which is now very rare so we had a lovely socially distanced run, starting in Clachan we made our way into the Kintyre Way, which after the autumnal rain was really, really boggy and muddy, with some sections almost like swimming pools! 🤣I think we’ll need to stick to forestry tracks for the remainder of autumn and winter now. The views, however, made it all worthwhile, and it was really fun to splash and slide about in the mud- there wasn’t too much running at this section! We then ran past Loch Ciaran, and rather than joining the Cour windfarm road right away we added in a loop which gave us some spectacular views over to Jura.

It was a stunning autumn day, and just perfect for an early morning trail run. Days like these really remind me how lucky we are to have all of these trails and forestry roads so, so handy.

Distance: 9.75 miles

Time: 2h 3m 41s

Pace: 12.41/m

Elevation: 1,078ft

Let’s see what this week brings!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

In my post last week, I alluded to the fact that everyone sees themselves as the main protagonist in life. Look, I’m blogging, so doesn’t that demonstrate that principle? Assuming what I have to say is important, has value and is of interest, aren’t I?

Anyway, I digress. We do position ourselves as central to our stories, and if we are able to be empathetic we can better understand how other people see themselves. I think that when people lose hope, or lose confidence they still retain an element of this but it is diminished. And it’s our job to help them recover that.

Everyone is ‘selling’ something, promoting something or trying to get others to better understand their point of view, and earlier this year I read Don Miller’s essential read How to Build a Storybrand. This book should be on your to-read list if you haven’t gotten to it already. As a writer, Don understands the power of storytelling and this book reframes how we can use that storytelling to improve our engagement with customers and with others more widely, all people we engage with. He uses some great examples to demonstrate where this does, and doesn’t, work well.

There are clear steps to achieving this but the one step that has stuck with me above the others is that customers don’t care about your story or your brand’s story. They care about their own, and want to know how your products can help them achieve their own story arc.

I’m simplifying the message, but this small snippet has stuck with me, and over the past few months I’ve been seeing this everywhere, and watching how people and businesses position their own story in comparison to how they centre their customer’s story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Spoiler alert: Don tells you early in the book that he will spoil movies for you as he talks you through how the basic narrative construction works. It hasn’t ruined anything for me, but I have found myself putting his framework to the test when watching films! Try it!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Last week was quite a change from the week before, when I enjoyed a few longer runs. Being back at work meant that I didn’t have the luxury of running when I most wanted to, and my runs were all a good deal shorter than the previous week. But I did have a lovely, enjoyable week of runs.

I also signed up for the Great Run Solo- Hallowe’en Accumulator, which calls for participants to do 15 runs of any distance throughout the month of October. So far, so good!

Monday-

It was a public holiday here, and so I had another sneaky day off before going back to work. I started the week with a lovely, sunny trail run out above Torinturk on the timber route. The colours are definitely changing, as early autumn makes itself seen!

Distance: 4.09 miles

Time: 47m 59s

Pace: 11.43/m

Elevation: 364ft

Tuesday-

Back to work, and I was home later than planned, so I was a little worried that it would be too dark to run on a trail by myself. Instead, The Welsh Wookie and I went for a walk, exploring the trail on the other side of the road from Monday’s run at Achaglagach. It was dark by the time we got back to the car, so I made the right call.

Distance: 2.56 miles

Time: 50m 54s

Elevation: 258ft

Thursday- GRS Hallowe’en Accumulator 1/15

I started my accumulator challenge with an evening 5k. Again, I got home later than planned, so didn’t want to push the distance too far. I’ll be fine running in the dark, but I need to check my head torch and leg torch to check they are working ok. It was a lovely evening to start a new challenge!

Distance 3.3 miles (Strava said 3.94 but that’s not accurate!)

Time: 34m 4s

Pace: 10.12/m

Elevation: 468ft

Friday- GRS Hallow’en Accumulator 2/15

I managed to head out for a lunchtime run, for the first time in weeks! It was just what I needed and I really need to find time to build in more lunchtime runs, making the most of daylight. As I was working from home I opted for a short road run to the West Loch, but I added in Carrick Hill.

Distance: 3.22 miles

Time: 33m 3s

Pace: 10.15/m

Elevation: 509ft

Sunday- GRS Hallowe’en Accumulator 3/15

My original plan was to get in a longer run, somewhere between 6-8 miles but when I got up my back and knee were a little niggly. I don’t want to take any risks now that I’m committed to the accumulator runs so instead I decided to head to Cour wind farm and have a little fun with a 5k. It was really wet and rainy, so I deliberately ignored any focus on pace and just enjoyed my run.

Distance: 3.32 miles

Time: 39m 21s

Pace: 11.51/m

Elevation: 488ft

Not quite the strong finish to the week I had planned, but it’s been a solid couple of weeks so I’m pretty happy with that. I think I’ll be taking it easy again this week, seeing how the back and knee hold up. Have a great week!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past week I’ve read a lot. And as a result of that I have lots and lots (and lots) in my head, bursting to develop into fully formed thoughts. But they’re not there yet. I’ve also been catching up on podcasts, covering everything from change to different mindsets to blaming people rather than systems. Whoa. Pretty full on, right?

But over and over, this past week has led me back to thinking about making mistakes and using them to grow and learn. I’ve also been thinking about what a journey to success looks like from the outside: linear, with no bumps. Yet we all know that’s just fantasy. No journey to success is without many mistakes, bumps in the road, full scale disaster, redirection, unsettling people (including yourself) and so on.

I was reminded of this Liz Wiseman quote:

For those who haven’t read Liz’ book, Multipliers, I’d highly recommend it.

I suppose being on the outside and looking at someone else’s journey is a difficult thing to do- we are all the heroes in our own lives and on our own journeys, so we have to remember to reframe that, and to recall that everyone is on their own messy, imperfect path with its own pitfalls and misdirection- and remember to be there to support each other along the way.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Last week I was on leave, and the weather was just gorgeous. That meant I could enjoy some lovely early autumnal runs during the day, taking my time to make the most of them. I was conscious that I didn’t want to do too much, as I could easily have run every day!

Monday- I had a lovely, relaxed weekend and so headed out on Monday morning feeling refreshed. My initial plan was to run somewhere between 5k and 10k, depending on how I felt. I headed to the trails around Torinturk and set off, listening to podcasts. I was running well, and so I actually had to rein myself back from running too far, especially as it was warm and sunny – and I wasn’t carrying any water. So I turned around at 4 miles, making for a fab 8 mile-ish run.

Distance: 8.16 miles

Time: 1h 32m 47s

Pace: 11.22/m

Elevation: 908 ft

Wednesday- I wanted to keep my run a little shorter after Monday, and so I thought I’d mix things up with a little road run around the harbour which I hadn’t done for a while. It was just lovely!

Distance: 4.09 miles

Time: 45m 4s

Pace: 11.00/m

Elevation: 66 feet

Friday- another gorgeous trail run! This time I headed to the trails around Cour wind farm, which I hadn’t done for a while. It was another beautiful and sunny day, and again I felt that I could have run on for longer. When i got back home I was a little annoyed with myself- I had turned around just before Loch Ciaran, and I hadn’t realised! Oh well, next time!

Distance: 7.13 miles

Time: 1h 22m 37s

Pace: 11.35/m

Elevation: 651ft

All in all, it was a fab week of running!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Downtime is so important, and I’m already at the midway point in my week’s leave. So far it has been lovely: some reading (not yet as much as I had planned), good food, running, stitching and listening to podcasts. And some wine, too. I think that’s why I haven’t read as much as I had planned: I’ve been catching up on a huge backlog of podcasts that have built up since I’m not driving a great deal.

When I was on my run on Monday, I listened to Whitney Johnson interview Molly Beck, the Podcast Whisperer, and it was fascinating! But the quote that leapt out at me was from the host, not the guest:

I just had to capture this as soon as I heard it, and I thought it was well worth sharing.

So if you need to hear it, please listen. Your effort won’t be going unnoticed.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Now that I’ve restarted blogging after a hiatus driven by boredom and a lack of clarity around the blogs’ direction, I’m thinking I should really include some running content again.

I’ll perhaps do a race review of the Kintyre Way Ultra Relay soon, but for now I’m going to share my weekly runs and other workouts, when I fit those in. Jacqui has moved her fitness classes all online, and we now have an amazing catalogue of 100+ workouts to tap into, across a really broad range of sessions. More on that another time too.

For now, here’s a summary of last week’s sessions, though there’s nothing spectacular to report on. Only two runs, but both were solid and enjoyable.

Monday- run to the West Loch and back. Lovely weather, and it was my first road run down that way for a few weeks. I also tackled the hill up to Carrick Cemetery just to keep it challenging.

Distance: 3.18 miles

Time: 36m 4s

Pace: 11.20/mile

Elevation: 214 feet

Wednesday- back on the trails at the Timber Route, out behind Torinturk. It was a tough day, and I couldn’t really be bothered lacing up, but I was so glad I did. I absolutely loved it!

Distance: 4.11 miles

Time: 47m 26s

Pace: 11.31/mile

Elevation: 497 feet

Friday- 5k walk along the harbour in glorious sunshine

Saturday- 5 mile walk

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Although I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about staying curious, part of the reason that I’ve restarted my blog with a focus on my Wednesday posts rather than my running is because I’ve also been doing a deep-ish dive into becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and not painting my exterior persona as being without flaws – it’s ok to just be.

And, with the trajectory we are all on this year there’s one thing I’ve been saying all too regularly: none of us has all the answers, so I’m also trying to open my horizons, share thoughts and let conversations happen. And given my penchant for unleashing my advice monster and demonstrating my ‘save it’ drama persona, I’m also trying to be more vulnerable.

A few months ago I read Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Several of the lessons resonated with me, and I was nodding a lot as I read it. It probably helped that that first section focussed on our desire to feel safe- and given the pandemic, I think that has been borne out over the past few months.

But the book also talks about how leaders have to be honest, open and need to keep in touch with reality in order to stay authentic.

This quote is one that I keep reflecting on:

So, when was the last time we admitted to weakness, or to not having all of the answers, or allowing ourselves to be vulnerable?

Probably not often enough.

It’s a journey for many of us.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Since sharing my thoughts about The Advice Trap two weeks ago, I’ve continued to think a lot about the way we coach and use questions, and how curiosity is such an important, but often neglected, aspect of leadership. I’ve continued on the Year of Living Brilliantly journey and I’m finding it both helpful and challenging.

Yesterday I received an email from MBS works that really struck me. It talked about the recent full moon being known in China as the Hungry Ghost Moon, and later in the email asked us to thank our hungry ghosts.

And that really resonated with me. I’d had one of those sleeps the previous night which was disturbed, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because my brain kept wandering to those times in my past where I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations. MBS says that perhaps your regrets are there to remind you of a time when you acted to betray something you stand for. So the very next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to thank that ghost, get that lesson ‘in my bones’ so that the ghost can leave me alone. Hey! I’ve got it! Thank you! Now leave!

I’ve also found my brain recalling some earlier podcasts and TED talks, and I remembered hearing Tasha Ulrich talk a couple of years ago about transitioning our questioning from Why to What. She explains that why questions have a direct correlation with negative emotions, and they draw us to our limitations.

On the other hand, what questions keep us curious (that word and emotion again!) and they can help us to create a better future. They can lead us from victimhood and into growth.

She suggests that when you are journaling, spend less time on why things happened or why they happened the way they did. She suggests that we can start this new focus on what by asking three questions of ourselves in our journal:

1. What went well today?

2. What didn’t go quite as well today?

3. How can I be smarter tomorrow?

What journaling techniques do you use to shift to a positive focus?

Are you managing to stay curious?

What are your hungry ghosts asking you?

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past five months as we have navigated through this initial pandemic emergency and transitioned into recovery (or at least I think that’s where we are), I’ve heard lots of people say they are ‘crazy-busy’ or ‘flat out’. Me included.

I’ve enjoyed working at pace, delivering results, responses and projects at speed and I think we have a lot to learn from the compressed decision making processes we have benefitted from in recent months. I’m much more comfortable than ever before with picking up the phone to people I need answers from, or challenging people to get things done quickly.

I know I’m a productivity ‘diva’, and I would have said, until a few weeks ago, that I felt my productivity is valuable to my work, my organisations and my personal values. And I do still think it is critically important. But I’ve been reflecting recently on whether I should value myself in terms of being productive. Is that worth defining myself over? What does it say about me as a person?

Right now I’m trying to determine how I get everything done that I need to, that I support and deliver on my promises to others, and on holding fast to my boundaries. Saying no does not come easily.

A big resource for me over the years has been David Allen’s epic book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. It helped me to crystallise how to get to a point where I get things out of my head and to stop thinking about ‘things’ and feeling overwhelmed. I think it has been a critical approach that has enabled me to cope over the years, but as these are now my intrinsic behaviours they have absolutely come to the fore in recent weeks and months. That, and managing my inboxes and social media notifications to stop the overwhelming feeling of having things I haven’t done!

I’ve read this book at least three times, and I’ve recommended it numerous times to numerous people, probably more so recently than ever before. And now I’m recommending it to you.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t get unstuck to get things done, please read this. It will made a positive difference to you, your mental health and your productivity.

Find out more about Getting Things Done here.