Monday Motivation: Three Weeks Until Spartan Day

Monday Motivation: Three Weeks Until Spartan Day

I can’t believe that, in three week’s time, it will all be over and I’ll have- hopefully- completed my first Spartan Run. Eek! This is hurtling towards me at an accelerated pace, and I’m hoping that my nod towards training is enough to see me through.

As I said in last Monday’s post I started the week with WAR. And I had DOMS for days, I definitely pushed myself! On Tuesday I did a 5k run/ walk which felt good, but reminded me that my body isn’t quite 100% yet, my left leg still felt a bit off and weak. I’m hoping that my runs this week will show an improvement, but who knows. 

I had an unanticipated busy week, with a trip to Islay on Wednesday meaning that I missed my regular Jog Scotland run. I was out on Thursday night and so I missed PiYo but I managed a walk and a little cross training on both nights which was better than nothing. Since then, I’ve had visitors all weekend for the Seafood Festival, which is one of the best weekends of the year in Tarbert. This year was no different: it was really wet but we had great fun, great food, excellent company and a few cheeky drinks including the newest addition to the local gin collection: Kintyre Gin   I’ve had a day off today, which had mostly been spent getting beds stripped and washed, and catching up on a few things around the house. We have a quiet weekend coming up, with no visitors which will be nice as we’ve enjoyed company for the past three weekends. I’m hoping that this week will give me a chance to keep my fitness goals on track. I’m heading to WAR later today, we’ll see how that goes after such a busy weekend 😉 

We then have a trip to London planned before the Spartan Race, so I’ll be doing what I can between times to keep up. Eeek! Here’s some Monday Motivation that I’m holding on to- I hope it works for you!

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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. 😀

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!

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! 😀 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 😀

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!

Jantastic!

Jantastic!

If, like me, you’ve had a wonderful week of eating, drinking and lazing then you might be ready for a fitness shake up. So, wit this in mind, I’ve just signed up for Jantastic 2015!

I’m all set, and raring to go again on 5th January.

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Bring it on! 😀

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Happy New Week to you all.

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How’s your weekend been? Mine’s been very relaxed and chilled: we watched some of the autumn international rugby games, and went to our local Remembrance parade yesterday.Other than that, we didn’t do much of anything.

Some times, we need a weekend to relax and recharge 🙂

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And, yes, that can include taking some time for yourself too 😀

 

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Today I’ve taken a dose of my own Monday Motivation advice, and I’ve started the week as I mean to go on.

Yes, I’ve been reunited with my trainers, and I have run! 😀 Hurrah!

I ran an easy mile on the treadmill, and followed that with 5k on the exercise bike. Now I feel fabulous!

And – more importantly – pain free 😉

How was your Hallowe’en on Friday? We had a family party at my brother and sister-in-laws, and it was loads of fun! The theme was ’80s, and we had usic and snacks from the 1980s, and most costumes were 80s themed too. @TheWelshWookie and I went as Kylie and Jason (he was Kylie, I was Jason!), my brother was also dressed as Jason, so our very own Kylie had two to choose from! We also had a couple of Madonnas,Marge Simpson, a clown, Mrs Incredible, a zombie, and many more. Janice’s costume was fab: she was Freddie Mercury, from the video for I Want to Break Free, complete with vacuum! Andrew won best costume, as  he’d come as Mr Staypuft from Ghostbusters!

The boys all had fun dooking for apples, and reaching for doughnuts, which was great.

Next, it’s Bonfire Night on Wednesday: are you having fireworks?

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Here’s some to keep you going, until then 😉

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

This weekend, I’ve been very conscious about how busy I’ve been lately. I’ve had jam-packed weekends, lots of trips and journeys, really full work days where I haven’t had time to stop.

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And, I’ve been missing running, missing taking that time for me to get out, clear my head, and chill.

Even when I’ve had ‘down time’, it’s been filled with activities, planning and sorting.

So, I’m going to gift myself some time. Some time for moi.

And, hopefully, that will include pulling on my trainers, too 🙂

40 Years On. . .

40 Years On. . .

Today, my mum and dad celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary.

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Seven kids and seven grandkids later….. still looking good!

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Congratulations! 😃