SpartanJogger Training Continues 

SpartanJogger Training Continues 

Well, in a fashion it does. And by fashion I mean this rather swish Spartan Ambassador Tee 😉   As the weeks go by, I’m feeling much more like my old self physically, but I still have a way to go with some numbness in my right thigh, triceps and upper back. My left knee isn’t collapsing nearly as much but I’ve not ventured a run on it yet. 

I had a great night at WAR last Monday working on my core, legs and arms in particular but I didn’t use my weighted gloves- I’m planning to add them back in tomorrow night, if my osteopath appointment goes ok. I was a bit wobbly in the legs last week, too, but much improved from the previous week. 

Yesterday, @TheWelshWookie and I went for a long, hilly walk in the woodlands above Tarbert, getting in six miles which was a real achievement: I felt ok physically, with my left leg struggling a little only in the downhill sections. 

The view was gorgeous:   When we got back, I did some work comparing my current training to the Spartan guide and there are some gaps I need to work on. Granted, I’m very happy that I’m already working hard on squats, lunges, planks, press ups and other key strength exercises, but I do have some gaps to address:

Bear Crawls: I’ll need to work on these to get my butt under the barbed wire. Not sure what to do beyond focussing on dropping my hips when holding a plank.

Pull Ups: Nope. Definitely a gap for me. Not sure I’ll ever manage pull ups so I’m going to rely on The Wookie punting me up ropes and walls 😆. Meanwhile I’ll work on my next gap:

Box Jumps: I’ve asked The Wookie to find a suitable implement we can use for practicing these- my coffee table is too high, higher than a dining chair. Still working on this one for now but I know it will be a critical one.

Sandbag Lifts: we’ve been working on imaginary sandbag lifts at WAR so I’ll have to really focus on this, and see if there’s something I can use in the meantime to build some strength here.

Not too bad, though, four key areas for development in terms of strength.

In the coming week I’m hoping to try a short run/walk/run so wish me luck with that, it’s been five weeks since my last run so I’m missing it terribly! 

All in all, training is slow: my focus has been in recovery and on returning to fitness in a measured way. Long may it continue but with five weeks until the Spartan run I hope that my improvements build momentum as my confidence in what I can do returns. 😀

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

So I’ve been AWOL over the past couple of weeks. Did you notice? Anyone miss me? I took a short break while The Welsh Wookie and I were on holiday in Tenerife. We relaxed, ate, drank beer and had a great time. 

We weren’t completely idle, though. The weekend before we went we took part in the Great Edinburgh Run, a ten mile race around the city. I’ll post my race report separately (I’ve yet to write it) but I had a great run, with a pace of 9.50 per mile, faster than I had predicted over a hilly, hot course. 

The day of the run was also the final day of my 5×50 Challenge so it was great to finish on such a high note. 

  

We then jetted off to the sunshine for ten days. We did lots of walking, getting in an average of 15,000 steps per day and I also managed a couple of hot, sweaty dreadmill 5ks but it was good to dial down the intensity a little and have some down time to relax and repair. 

But my focus is now on the next challenge: the Rock n Roll Liverpool half marathon in a couple of weeks. I managed a hot, hilly 11 miles yesterday but I found it tough going. I went with my body, though, and walked a couple of times when I had to. But the mileage is there and the training has been good until now. 

Tonight it felt amazing to be back at WAR. I kept the intensity down a notch. I had no choice, I’d forgotten to pack a sports bra…. oops! But I took part, omitting the more aerobic moves for a change! The new core section was a tough one, it was challenging across my whole body, but I’m looking forward to giving it another go, when I’m properly attired! 

Whether you’ve also taken a break from your routine or you’ve been skipping your training altogether, I hope this helps getting you back on track: 

Late Motivation 

Late Motivation 

How was your Easter weekend? Mine was fantastic, but it meant that I forgot to blog yesterday- sorry about that! I thought I’d post tonight instead, with a round up of my training from last week.

Monday was WAR. This is such a good way to start my week, I’m really feeling the benefit of the HIIT style tracks and the strength training: my arms and shoulders are stronger than they have ever been and I know the squats and lunges are paying off. I’m pushing hard, and leaving each section shaking and sweating, but I still have work to do, especially with the tricep work. I’m determined to keep building on what we are achieving so far in this session. It’s ace!

On Tuesday I ran a strong four miles in 38:55, which was better than I expected. I was running comfortably and didn’t push too hard, but want to keep the intensity on track which I think I did. 

Wednesday was a 5k run to West Loch Tarbert with Jog Scotland. This was at a comfortable talking pace which was perfect after the stronger run the evening before. The run was over before I knew it: I really look forward to my Wednesday night social runs with JogScotland.

PiYo and VeraFlow was off on Thursday due to the Easter break and so I headed out around the village for a walk which was good. I needed the break and so I listened to my body and focussed on active recovery.

Friday was a day of getting organised, but I thought I’d get in some cross training so did 30 minutes on the indoor bike. It will never be my favourite type of exercise, but I understand the benefits and so I have been just getting on with it!

On Saturday we were able to get to Victoria Park ParkRun and I was in two minds about how I’d run with a week to go before the Great Edinburgh Run. I decided to see how I coped with a sub 30 minute 5k and it turned out that it was very comfortable indeed! I was able to chat easily, and I could have easily pushed harder but to know that I can now run sub 30 minutes again shows me how far I’ve come in the past four months, I’ve knocked at least 5 or 6 minutes off my 5k time. I still have a way to go to reach my 5k PB time of 26:11 but I think I *could* have run around 28 minutes 😉 Big thanks to the 30 min pacer- she was absolutely ace!

Easter Sunday was all about family time, but I squeezed in a walk around Glasgow’s West End, in the pouring rain. And then I ate. A lot. We had Mexican food which made a change for our family: for starters I had chicken rice balls, which were like arincini followed by a spicy cod dish served with rice and finished lunch with creme egg cheesecake! Wow, it was awesome! I also had a few margaritas and a few of us had tequila shots…… as you do! Eek!  Just immediate family for dinner 🙂

After an after party at LADs house (and a couple of gins) we headed off to Ryan’s gig in Merchant City: it was amazing! They were awesome! 

On Monday @TheWelshWookie and I had some shopping to do, but when we arrived back in Tarbert we headed out for a lovely walk, soaking up the last of the bank holiday sunshine. We had stopped off at the George Hotel in Inveraray for lunch, which was ace! We definitely over indulged this weekend. 

Tonight, I headed out for an easy 5k but ended up with another four miles in the bag, at a pace of 9:22. I didn’t plan that pace, my legs just wanted to run so I went with it 🙂

I know that balance is everything- and I’ve rounded up tonight by eating half of a Lindt teddy. I don’t mind admitting it- it’s the first major chocolate fest since Christmas and I feel a bit sick after it….. not my best idea, but It is all about balance, isn’t it? At least that’s the choccie overload out of the way 🙂

I’m looking forward to getting back on track for the rest of this week, before the Great Edinburgh Run on Sunday. 

Here’s a little motivation if you’re struggling after the weekend:

 Have a great week!

5×50 Challenge: Week Five Round Up

5×50 Challenge: Week Five Round Up

5×50 Challenge: Week Four Round Up

5×50 Challenge: Week Four Round Up

5x50challenge Challenge Week Three Round Up

5x50challenge Challenge Week Three Round Up

Week One 5×50 Challenge around Up

Week One 5×50 Challenge around Up

Some photos from my week one activities while taking part in the 2016 5×50 Challenge:    
    
    
   

 

   
 

   

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!

A 5×50 Hat Trick

A 5×50 Hat Trick

Well, better late than never- for the third year in a row, I’ve signed up for the 5×50 Challenge. 

This challenge encourages all participants to carry out 5k of walking, running or cycling each day or 30 minutes of activity- an exercise class, fitness DVD or strength training.

    

It kick off tomorrow, so if you fancy signing up, you’d best get your skates on! Sign up here.

I’m off for a wet and windy run- wish me luck! ☺️