Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Happy Hallowe’en to you all! 🎃🕸

How was your weekend? Any parties? We had Tarbert Book Festival, and we enjoyed it with my bestie Pauline, Gavin, Olivia and Christopher. We had a great natter and catch up on Friday night, followed by a couple of very interesting sessions on Saturday. Early afternoon we enjoyed Janice Galloway’s talk about her latest book, Jellyfish. She was very honest, forthright and thought provoking, as well as being a wonderful reader:  Our next session was in the Anchor Hotel and was a Date with Death, about historical crime fiction by Shirley McKay:  Listening to authors describing their work, how they craft their stories and how their books come to life is fascinating. 

We had a meal at the Anchor, which was delicious, before heading back home for our own book group. Gavin had chosen Robert Harris’ new book, Conclave, which we all read in advance so that we could discuss it. I loved that we took the Festival weekend a step further for ourselves, and after a few glasses of wine we had plenty to talk about! 

On Sunday we had yet another lovely lunch at the George Hotel in Inveraray. The fires were lit and the food was as amazing as it usually is. 

Tonight, Body Conditioning was cancelled; and Pound is cancelled tomorrow night:( so I’ll need to work extra hard on Wednesday and Thursday nights. This Friday is the first of the new Salsa classes, I can’t wait!

Here’s a little motivation to start the week:  Have a good week! 

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Race Report: Tarbert 10k Dookers Doubler

Race Report: Tarbert 10k Dookers Doubler

This year’s Tarbert races featured a new challenge: the Dookers Doubler! Thirty or do of us set out to run both the 5k and 10k runs, and I was looking forward to it.

First up was the 5k, which took us from Garvel road end along the harbour to the end point and back. It’s such a fast and flat route that a PB is a distinct possibility: not for us, though; knowing we had the 10k still to come meant we were taking it easy! 

As ever, the support was tremendous. The marshals were excellent and the runners all supported each other, too. It was a pleasure to run. As we crossed the finish line, we collected our first medal, changed over our bin for the next race and lined up, ready for the tougher 10k. 

While the 5k is fast and flat, the 10k is hillier, with two off road, trip sections. Although these are tough, they give runners cracking views over the village. @TheWelshWookie pulled his calf as we turned the first corner, so I found myself running on my own for most of it. But, given the excellent support, that was not a problem. I walked the first trail section up to Maggies Cottage, as runners were heading back downhill towards us slower runners and I didn’t want to hinder any of them. Next we headed back through the village, along the harbour past the crowds and back again, this time heading up Big Brae and around the Castle loop offering fabulous views over Tarbert. I love it up there! I kept asking the marshals if they had any gin for me….. but no joy. Maybe next year someone will oblige! 😉  Next, it was back down Big Brae and along the harbour front to the finish line. Although my legs were tired, the support really kept me going. 

I collected my second medal (yay!), goodie bag and specially designed Doubler t shirt. We were treated to masses of goodies: home baking, tablet (the thought of that tablet kept me going), water, bananas, sandwiches galore. It is brilliant! 

I then headed out to cheer @TheWelshWookie across the finish line and we stayed around chatting and to support those who had placed. There are loads of awards up for grabs at this event, with fantastic prizes. 

Overall, my 5k time was slower than last time, but I took three minutes off my 10k time from last year, so I was very, very pleased!

When 2017’s event opens, I’ll be first in line to sign up 🙂

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Well, I don’t know about you, but today’s full moon on this longest day has wreaked mayhem for me! I was very grateful for PiYo tonight, where I stretched and sweated my troubles away;)

 How was your weekend? Mine was amazing. We had visitors: my BFF Pauline,her hubby Gavin, my goddaughter Olivia and the suddenly-very-tall Christopher. We had a great day out to Gigha where we walked and chatted and relaxed, and in the evening, Pauline and I sat in the hot tub for aaaaages! We then rounded off their trip with a delicious lunch at The George in Inveraray. Yum. 

If you need a motivational push to get you off the couch or away from the desk, I hope this helps: 

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How’s your Monday been? Mine has been great 🙂

Did you have a fun weekend? We had some brilliant family time on Saturday, with the annual Mass my dad organises, followed by a family party. We were very fortunate with the weather: we were able to sit outside for a while, and the boys had great fun on the bouncy castle, and playing with the outdoor toys.

On Sunday we had a diverted route home, which took us on two ferries. Unfortunately there had been road closures, one of which was as a result of a fatality. It took us much longer than usual to make our way home, but we made the most of it, by enjoying the sunshine, the scenery and even the hospitality at Portavadie, where we stopped off for a coffee (for @TheWelshWookie) and a glass of vino (for me) on our way to the second ferry. Diversions are just part of the experience of living in Argyll, particularly at this time of year when the roads are busy.  

 Tonight, we did a four miler, so our last full week’s training for the Great North Run is on track. However, I have a trip away at the end of the week so I’ll be packing my trainers and trying to squeeze in a little run at some point.  

 I saw this last week, and thought it would be perfect for boosting motivation, so here it is:  

 Have a fabulous week!

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Date: 15th August 2015

Profile: Mostly flat, but with three killer hills

Terrain: Mixed: road and trail

Weather: Warm and sunny, but with short rain showers

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Tarbert-10km/570186306335004

Positives: Brilliant course, awesome views and the best support. Beats bigger races for organisation!

Negatives: Those flipping hills!

This was the third year of my local race, the Tarbert 10K. If you read my post on Monday, you’ll know that @TheWelshWookie and I tagged along on the 5k and ran it before the 10K, but this report is focussing on the main event we signed up for – the 10K.

I’ll also begin by noting that I didn’t take anywhere near as many pictures before the race started – I think I was just too busy thinking about enjoying the run! 🙂

As I always do, I had my race gear ready to go the night before. I had two tops sorted, road shoes for the 5K and trail shoes for the 10K at the ready. Note the second ‘elite’ race number in a row – after being Number 1 for the Carradale Canter, I was now Number 2 for the TT10K! 😀  

 This race had an 11 am start, but we were up and breakfasted early, and ready to run the earlier 5K at 10am. @TheWelshWookie drove the car into the village so that we had somewhere to stash our change of t shirts and shoes, and some snacks for in between the runs, and then we had a lovely stroll down to the harbour in the sunshine.  

 We were so busy chatting away to other runners, supporters and marshals that we almost missed the start of the 5K! But, we made it, and thoroughly enjoyed the fast, flat course, and the brilliant support. We were done in 33.15, which was a surprise, as we planned to take it really easy.

We had a quick change, and once again made our way to Garvel Road end for the start of the 10K. We mustered at the back, knowing that we’d be amongst the slower runners. We listened to the race briefing, pointing out the mud we could expect at Maggies Cottage and at the Tarbert Castle loop. There had been a couple of changes to the route this year. Instead of entering the first trail section through the main gates of the Heritage Centre, we entered through the gates to the horse paddock, and ran over the rubber surface. That was different! Our return into the village had changed too, and we had to run past our house, along side the astroturf, along the TAWNI path and out at the school where @TheWelshWookie works before heading back out along the harbour. It was great to mix it up!

Here’s a map of the race:  

 The race was started by a countdown and an air horn, and we were off. We didn’t start too fast, and kept to our planned pace, knowing that the first section involved a climb uphill, with a tight turn. It’s always a hard start to a race, and this year was no different! But the views at the top of Lady Ileene Road are worth it, sweeping over the harbour. We could then recover on the downward run back off Lady Ileene Road and towards the Herifage Centre, through the rubber paddock and onto the first trail section up to Maggie’s Cottage. This is a long, slow incline on a muddy trail up to a turning point that gradually gets steeper and steeper. We were warned by Muriel, one of the marshals, to keep to the middle as it was very slippery on the left. Fortunately, as there were no more runners during our descent, we could actually run on the right, and could avoid the slip hazard altogether.

We headed out of the heritage centre, back onto the road and towards our house. Hazel caught a great photo of us at this point:  

 Thanks Hazel! And @TheWelshWookie half joked about popping home for a cuppa 😉

Next we ran a route we do most days – along past the astroturf, so it was a very comfortable run for us. We then made our way up the TAWNI trail path (TAWNI stands for Tarbert Academy Wildlife & Nature Initiative) towards the school, and then downhill to the harbour. We then ran our usual route along the front, past the 5K mark, all the way to the turning circle at the end, known locally as The Concrete. There, we were met by Jacqui and some others, with water and some much needed jelly babies!

We headed off again, back along the harbour, and up to the killer hill at Big Brae. We did not even attempt to run this – it’s a definite walk, with its steep incline and twists and turns! We also had faster runners hurtling past us heading back downhill, so it was easier for them if we walked, tucking ourselves into the left hand side. Then, we were at the muddy, boggy, Castle Loop, with its hills. But, like other parts of the course, it’s well worth it for the stunning views. I’m pleased to report that we didn’t see any adders this time!

Already we had reached the five mile mark, at the top of the final, big hill. We made our way back around the remainder of the loop, back down big brae, and along the harbour to the finish line.

As every other year, the support was fantastic, with plenty of cheering and support. I haven’t mentioned how well marshalled this event is, with plenty of guidance and help, and cheers along the way. It really does knock the socks off other events.

We gratefully received our hand made, pottery medals which were white this year, and our goody bags – turquoise gym bags with the TT10K logo on them. They were fab! And the neon orange T shirt is great for running on roads, like we do around here.

The Fisherman’s Mission were supporting the event, and there was copious amounts of tea, coffee, home baking and most especially tablet! This was manned by my friend and colleague Sheena, who snuck me a piece of tablet as I waited in the queue. Thanks, Sheena!

There was enough food to feed three villages – we could help ourselves to the home baking, as well as to water, apples, bananas, Tunnock’s caramel wafers, mars bars and a wide selection of pre-packed sandwiches. I grabbed a mars bar, water and a tuna & sweet corn sandwich – a perfect take away lunch!

We waited around, chatting with other runners, comparing times and tales from the run. We then watched the prize giving, with winners receiving bespoke acrylic plaques from Midton Acrylics. They were really unusual and brilliant!

Before we left, I popped over to have a quick chat with Lorraine, one of the organisers, and congratulated her on a job well done – and thanked her for yet another brilliant event. 

Our stats: 1:16:27. 10 minutes slower than the first year; but 2 minutes faster than last year, which is fantastic, given we had just run a 5K and last year was on fresh legs 🙂

The Medal: A locally made pottery medal, with the Tarbert Castle logo embossed on it.  

 Goody Bag: A fab gym bag with the logo on it, T shirt, trolley coin, air freshener, water and mars bar. I didn’t know these were in there before I took another of each, along with my sandwich too!  

 T-shirt: Bright neon orange this year, with silver writing and logo, with the local slogan ‘Run, Jeck, Run’ on the back 😀

 
   
I now feel ready for the Great North Run, and just need to keep on track over the next few weeks. This race is a must in my calendar, it’s been very highly rated in Runner’s World, so please check it out. Even better, come and join us next year!

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How are you all feeling after the weekend? Did you manage a run?

For us, we had our local running weekend. It kicked off on the Friday, with the ‘Dookers Dash’ races for children. By all accounts it was great fun, with t-shirts and medals for all! Unfortunately, I missed it, as work got in the way, as it does 😉

However, Saturday morning broke with beautiful sunshine, which was a lovely change! The Tarbert 5K and 10K is now in it’s third year, and the previous two years have been wet and miserable – particularly last year. So, the sunshine made a welcome visit, and we headed into the village, ready to run.

When we had collected our bibs the night before, I had said that we had to get some extra mileage in to keep our half marathon training on track. One of the wonderful race organisers, Lorraine, suggested that we tag along at the back of the 5k, before getting the 10k done. What a brilliant idea!

So that’s exactly what we did. We ran the fast, flat 5k route, but took it easy, and stayed towards the back of the pack. Then we had a quick change into fresh tops and trail shoes for the mixed surface 10k. And it was fantastic! As ever, the support, the marshalling and the organisation was second to none – these girls can give the big events a good run for a lot more money! We did the 5k in 33.15, which, even though it was taking it easy, was 3 minutes faster than my recent ParkRun time. Woop!

I don’t want to go into any more detail now – I’ll save that for my race report. But if you’re after a challenging, multi terrain 10K which is well organised and supported, I’d tell you to add this one onto your list. Well worth it, especially for the gorgeous tablet at the end!

I feel like our half marathon training is going OK after Saturday. @TheWelshWookie and I had lost some ground last week due to having nasty colds, but running the two races on Saturday really boosted my confidence. I think we could easily have gone further had we wanted to. I want to get out at least three times this week, maybe four if we can, as I won’t get a long run in this Saturday. We’ll do a final long run of 10 or 11 miles or so a week on Saturday, and then we should be all ready for our first Great North Run. Yay!

If you need a little boost to get you out the door this week, here it is:  

 Have a wonderful week!

Race Report: The Inaugural Carradale Canter 10K

Race Report: The Inaugural Carradale Canter 10K

Date: 12th July 2015

Profile: Undulating

Terrain: Mixed: road, sand and trail

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: https://www.facebook.com/greatcarradalecanter

Positives: brilliant course, with a mix of hills, flat, beach, road and trail. Excellent support, awesome views

Negatives: not a negative, but a quick field on a difficult course left me fourth from last 😮

Carradale is a picturesque village nestled on the east coast of the Kintyre peninsula, some 25 miles south of Tarbert. It’s blessed with a lovely harbour (with a working fishing fleet) as well as a golden sandy beach and a great network of forestry trails. If you read my post about crewing for Julia at the Kintyre Way ultra, you’ll perhaps remember that Carradale is also located on the Kintyre Way.

As ever, I had my race gear ready to go the night before:  Fortunately, the race wasn’t an early one as it was scheduled for an 11.30 am start (I’m assuming this might be to do with the tide, making the beach section easier to run), and so this morning we had plenty of time to get ready, have breakfast and the drive the long and winding road to Carradale (yes, THE ‘long and winding road’ that Paul McCartney wrote about 😉 )

The sun was shining as we arrived in Carradale. We parked in the primary school car park, and as we were doing so, waved to the marshals we knew, who were having their briefing. We walked to the harbour for registration, and as we walked, saw that the village was a little hillier than we had remembered!

The registration area was pretty busy when we got there, and when we checked in, I realised that I’d been given bib number one! Wowee! I realised, looking around at the other runners, that I might actually be the first runner with bib #1 to finish last 😮 

  
We checked our bags, then chatted to other runners as we waited for the race briefing, and everyone was relaxed and having fun. Then we had a short walk to the start of the 10K, where we had our race briefing. Instructions today included things like ‘watch out for adders’ and ‘beware of the mud’…. I knew this was going to be an interesting race!

Here’s a map of the race:

 The race was started by a countdown and a starter’s pistol, and we were straight onto the road leading back into the village – and it was a tough hill! It got the legs working from the start. TheWelshWookie and I knew we’d be slow, and so we kept to the back of the pack. The support was great from the start, with villagers out in their gardens to support us all.

We soon turned off to the left, and headed down a country lane to the beach – my first ever race section on the beach! Although it was tough, I surprised myself, because I really enjoyed it – I had a smile plastered on my face. A lady asked to take our picture (I think she liked the skort). She had camera problems, but we stopped and waited, to let her take a snap – I think we were happy for the break, but it did cost us a couple of minutes (not that time was a concern for us). I loved dodging the jelly fish and the flotsam and jetsam, and before we knew it we were back onto a track road, and heading for the forestry section.

The forestry part was great – lovely and cool, shaded, soft underfoot. We were soon way behind the pack, and had the run to ourselves. We didn’t see any adders, but were treated to an awesome aerial display by a golden eagle – lucky us 😀

Next was a short section back on the road before heading onto the kintyre way at the Network Centre (you’ll see pictures in my blog post here), and then we were at the hilly part – a steep climb up a forestry track to the highest point of the race. Well, that got the heart going! We walked it, unsurprisingly! Next was a great downhill section for about a kilometre along forestry roads.

Finally, we had the last section: into the village along the main road, back along a side road, up a short grassy hill, down a track, through a field, over a style and then onto the harbour road, where we could see the finish line 🙂

We reached the finish line to a somewhat subdued welcome – but we were not far from last, and people had been waiting to see the finishers for a looooong time by then, so I’m thankful they stayed!

I was handed a goody bag which contained the medal, and grabbed a bottle of water. Other runners were really chatty, and we had a great catch up with quite a few people about how we’d found the run, and how amazingly scenic it was.

TheWelshWookie and I then headed to the barbecue, and joined the burger queue. As we were waiting, the prize giving was taking place. So while we cheered and clapped for the winners, I didn’t manage to take any pictures. Sorry! We were in the queue with Karen, one of our fellow SUPercisers, which was fab. We enjoyed our burgers in glorious sunshine, watching a seal play in the harbour, before heading home to Tarbert. On the walk back to the car we chatted with Gail from Campbeltown about running adventures, and I was struck once again as to how friendly and supportive runners are of each other. 

 Our stats: 1:17:17. My, my – slow, even by my slow standards! No matter, it was worth it.

 The Medal: Engraved, and it came with stickers to add your time to it. No, don’t think I’ll do that!

 Goody Bag: banana, bottle of water and an ace buff style scarf!

 T-shirt: None, but no problem with that

When I got home, I uploaded my run and was greeted with this milestone:

  
And right away, I reset my Nike Coach for the Great North Run training – nine weeks today! :O

I’d definitely do this run again. You’d never know it was an inaugural event as it was so well organised and supported. Roll on next year’s event!

A Portavadie Run

A Portavadie Run

While @TheWelshWookie and I were in Portavadie last week, we headed out for a run. On our way, we ran past the General Manager, Iain, who shouted after us that we were putting everyone else to shame! 🙂

Having said that, we only had a very short run. But it was great, to blow the cobwebs away.

Here were the views:

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20140110-194904.jpgI took a picture of that particular boat because it was called Dignity. And, to reach Portavadie, someone had obviously ‘sailed her up the West Coast’. If there are any Deacon Blue fans out there, you’ll know how cool that is!

On My Way Today

On My Way Today

I’ve been saying how the weather has turned cold and wintry recently. I though that, today, I’d show you.

And so, I took a couple of snaps to and from Helensburgh today. Also, because the scenery is lovely 😉

Here’s a view looking down Loch Fyne, from Lochgilphead. You can see the Isle of Arran in the distance. #nofilter20131121-150959.jpg

This picture is of the snow peaked Arrochar Alps, just peeking out behind the hill, as you leave Inveraray:20131121-151109.jpg

And here’s Inveraray itself:20131121-151153.jpg

These next two pics are of Loch Long, from Arrochar at the head of the Loch:20131121-151237.jpg

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And this final pic is of the helicopter taking equipment to the guys at the Rest and Be Thankful, who are still working to reduce the landslips. The traffic was stopped both ways to allow the helicopter to fly right in, in front of me 🙂20131121-151452.jpgSo, after my four hours in the car, I’m looking forward  to hammering the treadmill and rower tonight.

Then, it’s time to pack for another weekend away, and for a glass of vino 😉

What was  your commute like today?

This Weekend’s CowalFest Trail Run

This Weekend’s CowalFest Trail Run

So, today I’ve been thinking about our upcoming run this weekend, the inaugural CowalFest trail run.

CowalFest is a 10 day event which celebrates walking and outdoor activities, and it is held every October. This is the first year where a run has been part of the festivities!

We could choose between the 5K and 10K trail run, and we opted for the 5K, for three two reasons:

1. I’m lazy

2. It’s our first ever, full trail run: we usually do road runs

3. It’s sandwiched between the Great Scottish Run last weekend, and the Zombie Night Run the following weekend.

I’ve visited Benmore Gardens only once before, and it is spectacular. Would you like to see?

Source: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=A7CfBiBkzCdx9M&tbnid=u52pO5I3-lt7yM:&ved=0CAMQjhw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fclickandpray%2F8321880937%2F&ei=YJJVUpeRHYO40QWd6YGIBA&bvm=bv.53760139,d.d2k&psig=AFQjCNFgdVYHTn4ECS3zKrdgJLhGeRgIKg&ust=1381426093504143
Source: https://www.flickr.com

The 5K route is a full run of the perimeter of the gardens, and the 10K route is two circuits 🙂

The gardens are famous for their avenue of giant sequoias:

sundaypost.com
source: http://www.sundaypost.com

I’m really looking forward to this event!

Here’s a picture of the website- as you can see it’s very well organised, and great value too.

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We had quite a lot of rain yesterday, and pretty cold temps today, but the forecast is for dry weather for the rest of the week: it should lead to ideal trail running conditions, I hope!