Getting Ready!

Getting Ready!

I have news! I received this email today:

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I’m surprised that I’ll have the medal before I do my second half marathon, but, so what?! 😀

My taper and preparations are continuing for next Monday’s half marathon in Dublin. It has only just occurred to me that I can now say I have TWO proper runs next week: the half on Monday, and the Perth Kilt Run on Saturday! Woo Hoo! Tonight, it’s all about the packing and organising for our trip to Dublin:

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Today’s stats:

Run: No, only stretching for me today 😉

Time: 15 mins NTC Shawn Johnson Stretch Guide. I think I’ll do 20 minutes of yoga. Or maybe I’ll sit in the hot tub instead….

Best stretching track today: Daughtry for me today

After my post the other day about Kara Goucher’s stretches, I thought I’d show you some screen shots from Shawn Johnson’s stretch guide too. Something I didn’t mention was that the athlete talks you through each stretch, and how to do it. It’s also accompanied by a video clip that actually demonstrates how to do each stretch safely and properly. Neat, huh?

Unlike the Kara Goucher stretches, this is an actual 15 minute long routine, with no repeating of exercises, so it’s great for mixing things up a little.

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It begins with some basic stretching, like circling your head, arms, waist, ankles, etc.

It then moves onto a combined tricep, side and arm stretch which feels pretty good!

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The second main stretch is a pike/squat stretch which I really like. It feels like I’m really working the muscles:

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The next stretch is a leg combo of four stretches. Again, this is a really good one for running, I think. It stretches out the hamstrings, hip, inner thigh and quads:

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Next, it’s a pretzel stretch, which is great for the legs and lower back.

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The  final two stretches are kind of yoga-ish: a dog stretch and a cat stretch. I can’t do a proper cat stretch- I’m too stiff for it!

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I must admit, I do feel much more limber after doing this routine. Sometimes I then do some foam rolling, too, for good measure!

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Today’s Life Lesson: is it only me who phones someone I need to talk to urgently, and they are out of the office; then on lunch; then finished for the day?

Do you have any pre-travel packing tips you’d like to share?

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Running by the Crinan Canal

Running by the Crinan Canal

Tonight, @TheWelshWookie and I decided to mix up our running a little, by driving to Ardrishaig, and running part of the Crinan Canal towpath.

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Today’s stats:

Run: 5 mile run. We did it at a gentle pace- I don’t want to run too hard before Monday!

Time: 55:03

Trainers: LunarFly GTX +3

Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells, warm

Best running track of the day: an old school track 😉

I had my new capris, with the running skirt attached, still to try out. I thought that a short, but-not-too-short, 5 miler was the perfect opportunity to try ’em out:

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Ignore the packing and the suitcase in the background- I’m packing for Dublin! These were pretty cute, and really comfortable to wear. I thought that the skirt might be annoying, but I didn’t feel any difference, from running with capris. The fabric was soft, a little stretchy and very comfy. The skirt itself has a small pocket on each side, and a zipped pocket at the back. Very practical!

So, @TheWelshWookie and I drove the 12 or 13 or so miles to Ardrishaig, and parked up by the side of the canal. We started running just at these two locks:

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Isn’t it lovely? I must confess, this is the first time we’ve run along here, and I loved it! I’ll definitely be back to run here again. There are mile markers en route, which is really useful. The banks are well cared for, too.

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We passed some walkers, another runner, a few cyclists, some dog walkers and a horse and rider. Can you spot them in this pic I snapped while still running?

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I have a question for any animal lovers out there, just because I’m clueless about these things I’d be interested to know: why is it that dog owners need to scoop their dog’s poop, or face a fine, yet horses just ‘drop and go’ and that’s OK? What’s the difference? :S

Anyhoo, we ran for 2.5 miles, then turned around and ran back. The scenery was lovely:

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After driving home, we popped out to our fave cafe for some dinner, and treated ourselves to an After Eight Sundae….. very naughty, but very delicious!

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Today’s life lesson: a dish with bubbling cheese on it is likely to be hot, and burn the roof of your mouth. Ouch!

Have you changed up your running route recently?

And Stretch…

And Stretch…

In line with my taper for next Monday’s half marathon, this week will involve lots of stretching. Or at least, it should- so I’m starting off right:

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Today’s stats:

Run: Nope, as I said, stretching was the order of the day for me

Time: 15 mins NTC Kara Goucher Pro Running Stretches. I might do the Shawn Johnson stretching later, too, for good measure 😉

Nice, surprising stretching track: Adam Lambert’s version of the U2 song, One.

Have any of you tried the Kara Goucher stretches, from the Nike Training Club app? I really like it, I think it has really helped me, and is one of the reasons I’ve been able to stay injury-free. Here’s a screen shot of the exercises:

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The first exercise is a hip flexor stretch, which I really like.

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The second stretch is a triangle stretch. I have terrible balance, so I try to take care when I do this one!

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The next stretch is a series of prone position leg swings. When I do this one, I don’t let my swinging leg touch the floor, which I think makes it a little more challenging, but I like that!

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The fourth stretch is supine scorpions: I don’t like these much! Too much co-ordination needed, which I just don’t have!

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The final exercise is an ITB stretch, using a resistance band. This one feels great!

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These exercises are all one minute stretches, totalling 5 minutes, and are repeated 3 times. It always feels great, after they are done! 😀

I’m trying to get my eating back on track, too, so my berries are now all ready and good to go:

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Today’s Life Lesson: you know that your handbag is too heavy when it triggers the seatbelt alarm in the car!

What’s your favourite stretch?

Home! Zzzzzzz…

Home! Zzzzzzz…

Good evening, one and all! @TheWelshWookie and I are home from our road trip, and we sound something like this:

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We’ve had a fantastic weekend in Coventry, keeping up with the Joneses. Good food, and brilliant company. We’ve also had a few refreshments along the way:

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Margaritas! Yum!

So, I’m now going to catch up on sleep, get prepared for the working week ahead, and get planning for our weekend away- again- next weekend. As it’s the RnR Dublin half marathon next Monday, I don’t have too much running planned for the week ahead, but I’ll keep you all posted.

Favourite driving track of the day: Perfect Ten, The Beautiful South

Today’s Life Lesson: all the crazies drive on the Motorway on Sundays….

What are your running plans for the coming week?

My First Photodump :)

My First Photodump :)

I thought I’d share some of my phone pics from the past 10 days or so, that didn’t make it onto the blog. Most are from my trip to London for The Color Run UK.

Enjoy! 😉

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This chalkboard was in the ladies’ loo in Brewdog, Camden. Love it!

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And this was the tip jar at The World’s End pub… it made me smile 🙂

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We had a little drink here, in The Hawley Arms, which was a pub that Amy Winehouse frequented.

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On our walk back from Camden to London Bridge, we came across this set design store- full of all kinds of weird and wonderful objects!

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Hugging the London Underground anniversary statue…

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I’m hoping that you can name all three of these London landmarks…

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Proof that we hired Boris’ Bikes, and cycled around Hyde Park 🙂

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And, when I arrived home, the garden was blooming!

From Barnacle to Royal Leamington Spa

From Barnacle to Royal Leamington Spa

Good Afternoon, from a lovely, sunny day in Coventry!

This morning, @TheWelshWookie and I had a lovely run through the village of Barnacle, which was very quaint: it was a proper, quintessential village!

Today’s stats:

Run: 7 mile long run, my last ‘long run’ before the Dublin RnR Half Marathon

Time: 1:24:35 slow 😉

Trainers: LunarGlides

Weather: Warm, and sunny

First running track of the day: Barbra Streisand, by Duck Sauce…

We headed out of Coventry itself, along Alderman’s Green Road, right onto Lenton’s Lane.

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We then turned onto Shilton Lane, onto Lower Road and through the village of Barnacle. Here’s a pic of the Village Hall. There’s no pub or shop, which would be a miss, I imagine! The hedgerows were bustling with wildlife, and I saw lots of butterflies and even some goldfinches.

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We then headed down Mile Tree Lane, Hawkesbury Lane and then came off of the road, and onto the tow path, running along the Oxford Canal. It was beautiful!

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I must admit, I was very tempted to stop off at a lovely pub called The Greyhound, but with a mile or so still to go, I thought I’d better not!

We then headed back to the road, onto Grange Road and then into Longford Park. 7 easy miles, done!

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After a quick shower and change, we headed into Royal Leamington Spa, to do some shopping. There was a good balance of small, local shops and larger chains, which was good for an afternoon of browsing. We had a Cafe con Leche in a little cafe, and chilled out for a few minutes before carrying on with the retail therapy.

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So, I’m now blogging in the sunshine, contemplating a BBQ later. It’s great to be on holiday! 😀

Today’s life lesson: when shopping, wearing flip flops, beware of freestanding displays. It hurts when you accidentally kick one 😮

Have you had some retail therapy recently?

Race Report: The Color Run UK, London

Race Report: The Color Run UK, London

Date: 14th July 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Hot, hot, hot!

Website: http://www.thecolorrun.co.uk/

Positives: great course, brilliant atmosphere, well organised

Negatives: it was hot! ‘jump’ photo queue was a bit of a disaster

As the run was late afternoon, my sis and I caught the red eye from Glasgow to London, Gatwick on Sunday morning. We had breakfast at the airport, but as we were flying British Airways, we also had breakfast on the flight: result!

Fortunately, we’re pretty comfortable with travelling around London, and as the race was at Wembley we knew exactly where we were going, as we’ve been there several times for the NFL games. We headed straight to our hotel at Wembley, had a 15 minute chill-out while they prepped our room, then we took our time getting changed and getting excited for the run! Here’s the view from the hotel room:

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Pretty handy, huh?

We were able to see others heading towards the start at around 2pm, so we grabbed our water, and headed around the stadium. As we walked around, we could see the crowds beginning to gather in the muster area:

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The facilities at the start were great: loads of portaloos, clearly marked information stands, merchandise stalls, check in desks, etc. We headed for the sunglasses pick up, as we were getting them as freebies as part of a LivingSocial deal: there was no queue, and the staff were lovely and friendly. As the event is sponsored by Dulux, there was an opportunity to have your picture taken with the Dulux dog!

In the muster area itself, there was a ‘start’ line, but the actual start itself was under the Wembley arch. Here’s some pics of the pre-run build up in the muster:

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The MC was pretty good, keeping the crowd entertained and trying to keep them distracted in the heat! Here we are, before the run:

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That’s my sad attempt at a MoBot….

After baking in the sun for about 45 minutes, the crowd moved towards the actual start. The MC told us that we’d be running in waves, with about 7 minutes in between each group. As we were pretty near the front, we were in the second group, which we were very grateful for, as there were apparently 15,000 runners! I would not have wanted to stand about for one of the later groups! 😮

The start itself was really good. The staff were throwing freebies into the crowd, Nicki Minaj (yeah, I know) was being played and runners were jumping around with excitement!

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It was a great way to start the race: spectators were able to line the walkways, and stand on the bridge above the runners: they were waving, taking pics and enjoying it as much as the runners!

We started off by running pretty slowly: as you can see, the crowd was pretty tightly packed, so the first k was more of a walk/shuffle. I wondered why so many people had their phones and cameras inside plastic pouches, or wrapped in cling film: as I saw the first k marker in the distance I realised why:

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I could see a cloud of pink shimmering in the sky, and I had an instant realisation- if I keep my phone out, it’ll be clogged up with dry paint! Doh! So, I’m afraid that this is the only picture I took en route!

Running into the arch was so much fun: the volunteers at each side of the road were having a great time, using squirty bottles to cover the runners in colour! As it was warm, dry and humid, the paint was almost hanging in the air, so as you ran through the cloud of colour, it was a little difficult to breathe, but no real problem at all. My legs were covered in pink!

My sis realised that, despite being 15 years younger than me, she was definitely not able to match my slow running (that’s saying something, huh?!) so we did a walk/jog for the rest of the course. That as actually ideal, as we got to really enjoy the event, without pushing for a time. We could soak up the fun, we weren’t pushing past families or kids, we could talk and just make the most of it.

At the purple marker, a lady very kindly hit me full in the face with purple paint, so in all of my ‘after’ pics I look like I have a purple beard! 😮

The race ended just outside Wembley stadium, and we could hear the music, and the DJ, but being in the second wave, it was still pretty quiet. We were handed bottled water, and a VitaCoco drink, which were both very welcome!

The crowds, partying!
The crowds, partying!

We made our way to the crowd, and started to queue to get our photos done doing the Color Run ‘jump’ but the queue rope was too short for the number of people waiting, and no one was supervising the queue, so it dissolved into chaos. Instead of getting upset or bothered with people jumping into the queue, we just left it, and just as we started to head to the merchandise stalls, we heard them call all tutu wearers to the stage! I grabbed my sis’ hand, and dragged her behind the barrier, where all of our fellow tutu wearers were dancing and jumping about to Katy Perry’s Call Me Maybe:

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I decided to take a quick pic of my sis and I here, and we were photobombed. Possibly the best photobomb I’ve seen:

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Well done that girl! Love it!

Here’s our after pics:

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After we had finished jumping about, we went back into the crowd for a bit, and did the finish line colour cloud: we had yellow paint for the end.

We then headed to the merchandise stall, and I treated myself to some socks, which are pretty cool:

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Elsewhere in the finish area, there was a guy, soaking everyone with a hose, and there were plenty of food stalls, first aid staff, and volunteers for anyone needing help at the end.

We headed back to the hotel, where we got some really weird looks, sitting at the bar, enjoying a beer:

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As we were heading out into London, we headed for showers, and clean clothes! On our way out that evening, we could see the aftermath!

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My stats: No official time, but we finished in around 39 minutes

The Medal: None, but that’s OK!

Goody Bag: None, but water and VitaCoco was available

T-shirt: I love the shirt, but as it’s cotton I won’t be wearing it for running. I didn’t run the race in it. I’ll be wearing the sweatband, though!

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I’ll be planning on doing more than one of these next year: I’ve heard that there’ll be one in Glasgow in 2014- cannot wait! 😀

Road Trip

Road Trip

Today, we’ve headed out, on a:

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😀 We’re on our way to Coventry, for a long weekend:

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Which is 406 miles away. Woo hoo!

And, of course, I’m planning to keep my running and stretching on track, so…..

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Does anyone else have this problem?

If you see us, give us a wave!

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It’s Nice to Have Time Off :)

It’s Nice to Have Time Off :)

As I say, in today’s post title, it’s nice to have some time off (so much so, I’m saying it twice!). I finished work at lunchtime today, and I’m off until Monday. I guess that makes today my Friday, then?

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Today’s stats:

Run: No running for me today, as it’s taper time, I’m working on stretching, so I’ll do some yoga and some NTC stretching later.

Time: 30 mins walk, 30 mins yoga, 15 mins stretching

One yoga track I plan to listen to today:  Wonderful Life, Black. Very chill.

So, like the rest of the UK, we’ve had a thunder shower this morning, but only one, fortunately!

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This was the view from my office window today, as the rain started to pour down! 😦 It’s still very warm outside, and by the time I arrived home at around 12.30, the rain had stopped 🙂

@TheWelshWookie and I have been for a walk this afternoon, along the harbour and down to the ferry terminal. Of course, we had to pop into the cafe for coffee and cake!

I’ve had a lovely, lazy afternoon, reading this month’s copy of Women’s Running magazine, which arrived yesterday:

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There’s an interesting article in it about stretching, particularly in warm ups, and whether they are beneficial, or potentially problematic:

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For me, it depends on the length of the run. If it’s a shortie, I’ll really just do a warm-up jog. If it’s a longer run, I’ll start with a set of dynamic stretches: knee highs, butt kicks, and a short warm-up jog. I’ll usually finish my run with a walk home, followed by Kara Goucher’s running stretches from NTC. This seems to work well for me, and I’ve been fortunate in staying injury free (here’s hoping this continues!).

Today’s life lesson: It’s usually sensible to wear a jacket when rain showers are forecast…..

What’s your view of stretching, before or after a run?

New Socks n Tracks

New Socks n Tracks

Well, I’ve started off the week with every good intention, with a 5k run, which @TheWelshWookie did with me.

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Today’s stats:

Run: 5k run

Time: 32:02:57 so much for my planned tempo run!

Trainers: LunarRacers

Weather: Warm, and sunny, but cooler than last week

Newest running track of the day: Avicii, Levels

I left my run until later, heading out at around 7pm. I’m really glad I did that, as the sun was still shining, it was warm, but much cooler that it has been all week. I just ran my usual harbour route, which I love. As I walked back along the harbour, there were a few clouds, which was lovely to see. I took a couple of snaps (you’ll be used to this view by now!)

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I had two new purchases, which I tried out tonight. First were my new socks from the Color Run. No, they aren’t compression socks, but I wanted to give them a try anyway:

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My second newbie was a new album I had downloaded from iTunes over the weekend, #HolidayAnthems, which I love. I listened to it driving home from my meeting in Dunoon today, and again while out running! 😀

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It definitely kept me going tonight!

Today’s life lesson: sometimes, the male of the species can be reasonably domesticated…. which is a pleasant surprise (and means no excuses for the future)!

Have you tried out anything new on a recent run?