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. 😀

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#TBT

#TBT

This time last year, @TheWelshWookie and I celebrated Hallowe’en by taking part in the Zombie Night Run. It was tough, but lots of fun. It was dark, wet, eery and very, very muddy!
We weren’t able to take part in this year’s event, which is a pity. Hope we make it in 2015.

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Do you have any seasonal races planned this year?

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Date: 8th June 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://gbrelay.com/

Positives: a very different experience, feel-good factor of participating in a world record attempt

Negatives: the time slippage

OK, so the GB Relay 2014 isn’t a race, but I thought I’d report on it using my normal format 😉

The GB Relay is a world record breaking attempt for the longest continual running relay. Each participant signs up for a stage which vary in length, but average out at around 10K. There is a baton containing a GPS unit transferred from runner to runner, and everyone is responsible for their own safety, checking out their route, etc. As it isn’t a race, and each stage has a start and finish time, everyone is encouraged to run 10 minute miles.

The first major difference for @TheWelshWookie and I in participating in this was the time of our stage: we were due to run at 6.19pm, which meant no early rise, and no need to pack the night before. We had super quality relay T shirts, which were personalised:

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So, on Sunday, we headed first to Oban, did some shopping, then onto Strath of Appin, which was our end point. We parked the car, and got ready: I gave myself a thorough coating of both suncream and midge repellent: I needed both! As we had no support available due to a family event, we had to walk to the start point of our stage: the village of Duror, in the Highlands, 8 miles away.

In the week leading up to the event, I’d been in touch with the runners on either side of our stage to agree handover locations and swap contact numbers, to keep everyone updated on progress. As @TheWookie and I were a couple of miles into our walk, we heard that the relay was running about an hour behind schedule 😦

It was too late for us to turn back and wait in the car, so we continued on, enjoying the scenery, and checking out the route itself. Fortunately, most of it could be run along the cycle path, with only the two miles immediately from Duror having to be run on the main road. The route was lovely:

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A team from Dunoon Hill Runners were running the two stages before us, including the hilly section over Glencoe. When they handed over to Ian, who was handing over to us, they got changed and drove to meet us in Duror, to collect Ian when he arrived. It was lovely to meet Kirsty again, and also to meet Jean and Angela. They had managed to pull back some of the time deficit, and so we weren’t delayed for quite an hour!

Before we knew it, Ian was approaching, and it was time for us to run!

Ian passed the GPS tracker to @TheWelshWookie, and we were off!

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The tracker was a small box with a handle, but was quite light. It was a little awkward to carry, but not as bad as I expected. The icky part was the handle and velcro wrist strap that was soaked in a week’s worth of runner’s sweat! Eeew! We were warned not to drop the tracker, or let it touch the ground because that would nullify the record attempt.

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Given that we were trying to run a little fast to make up time, and to get off the road section as soon as possible, the first two miles flew by. When we reached the start of mile 3, I thought we’d only gone one mile! Yay!

I really enjoyed running the middle part of the stage: it was great that we’d just walked it in reverse, as I was able to check of landmarks as we saw them.

At around mile 5, the walk around Oban, the walk to Duror and the slightly faster-than-usual pace took its toll on TheWelshWookie. His recurring knee problem made an unwelcome appearance, and for the next mile our pace slowed. At the six mile marker, we made the decision that I should run on, so that @TheWookie could run at a slower pace and not aggravate his knee further. We also wanted to finish on time, so I ran on ahead.

For the final mile, I struggled a little myself. I was relishing the opportunity to run on tired legs, and I reminded myself that this would stand me in good stead with my marathon training 😉

The final quarter mile is a long, flat stretch, and I could see Fee and the girls from Inveraray Jog Scotland, who I was handing the baton on to. They had their bright yellow t-shirts, which helped motivate me  in the final section. As they saw that I was on my own, they asked where my husband was: my first reaction was who? 😉 Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m married! 🙂 So I said I’d ditched him due to injury 😉

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I passed on the baton, along with the message not to let it touch the ground, and off they ran!

@TheWelshWookie was only a few minutes behind, and ran most of the last mile, which is a good sign for his knee. We rehydrated, then jumped in the car and drove to Oban where we celebrated with fish and chips 😀 Yum! The sunset was spectacular, but I didn’t get a good shot of it. The sky ahead was red, with a neon-looking rainbow, I’ve never seen one like that before. This pic does not do the vibrant colours justice:

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Here’s a map of our route:

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There is no medal, and no goodie bag, but there is a feeling of accomplishment, participation and that you’re part of something, which gives this event a really special feeling.

The relay is still underway, and if all goes well is due to finish on 2nd July. I can’t wait to hear if we are record breakers!

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@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

First of all let me introduce myself.

My name is Tony Jones, otherwise known as @thewelshwookie, I am a 42 year old former Rugby Player and former Martial Arts who had let himself go for a good many years. A couple of years ago, my fiancée, now my wife, @tartanjogger was training for the Glasgow Women’s 10k when she injured her ankle and had to pull out, being the supportive individual I am I offered to train with her and run the Great Glasgow Run 10k with her a few months later.
So once the injury had healed training started and this 30lb overweight middle aged man set out for his first kilometre and nearly died!!!!!!!
Fast forward to April 24th 2014 and I finally stepped up to the Half Marathon.
Having studied the Race Route the previous night, I was expecting a steep start to the race and was very pleasantly surprised! Training for the run in and around Tarbert, we have been hitting some serious hills including one that I like to refer to as ‘The B!tch’ so the gradual raise for the first 6k felt almost flat. After around 4k, we ran past the first block of serious support, a group of 20somethings with huge banners and vocals declaring ánimos, which was very uplifting, especially after just passing an empty water station, luckily we carry our own!!
The course continued through the city streets, on terrain that we like to consider flat, although some reports I have read describe as undulating, passing El Corte Ingles, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Peurto De Europa to name but a few!
Passing the 10 mile marker, new territory for me as this was the longest distance run in training, I was feeling great knowing that all that was left was a lap around Parque el Retiro before entering the park and hitting the finish line. I took my final energy gel and kept my head up, then it happened, we turned a corner and saw ‘La Bruja’!! The sight of this kilometre long hill in the very last stages of the run knocked me sideways and it took every ounce of mental strength I have not to start walking and crying, but somehow I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, nowhere near the pace I had been going but technically still running, JUST!
Entering the park, the support was amazing and gave me a burst of energy from somewhere ethereal! I now know what happens when Hulk Hogan receives power from all the Hulkamaniacs to beat the bad guy.
So, first half marathon down and looking forward to the next, as the great Mo Farah says, 2014 is the year for turning metres to miles.

tonys watch

 

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Date: 25th April 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://es.competitor.com /

Positives: good expo, great course, excellent organisation, friendly runners, vocal support

Negatives: the hill at the end, lack of water

As @TheWelshWookie and I were in Madrid for the race and our honeymoon, we headed straight from the airport to our city centre hotel. As soon as we had a bite of lunch, and hopped on the Metro to the expo.

We found the location, and the queue to get into the expo was huge! So, we waited patiently in line, and it was worth the wait. The organisation for bib collection was really good, as was the goodie bag and T shirt points. I was surprised to be given the choice between a T shirt or vest, so I opted for a vest 🙂

We purchased some really cute double layered socks with Spanish flags on them, and @TheWelshWookie treated himself to a spie belt:

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I didn’t hug any expo displays this time 😦

We then headed back to the city centre, had some dinner, and went for a walk to find the start line, which was easy to find and only about one kilometre from  our hotel. Result!

When we returned to the hotel, we laid out our running gear and headed for bed. What do you think of my race vest and shorts? Cute?

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On the morning of the race, we were up early, had our breakfast of greek yoghurt and a Nakd bar, changed and walked to the start line. As the 10K was starting at 8.30am, and the half and full marathon started together at 9am, it was pretty busy. The 10K start line was on a different street, but many of the runners obviously didn’t know that and were at the marathon start area, even as it reached 9am.

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Our corral was at the back, which was great. I could see that the other corrals were busy, and we were running for fun, not time. This was @TheWelshWookie’s first half marathon experience, and the atmosphere was great: music, excited runners and even some sky divers helped us get the party started!

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Here’s the map of the race:

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The race started at 9am, and the final corral (including us) headed off after about 10 minutes. The sun was shining, ans we were good to go! As our corral was quite quiet, it was really good to run on a lovely, wide road and we didn’t have to dodge around many other runners.

The first few kilometres were a steady incline, but I’m very grateful for our hilly training, as it felt flat to both of us. The early support around the course was great: the spectators were supportive and vocal. We ran past lots of Madrid’s sights, including Bernbau stadium, Puerto de Europa and many of the important museums and galleries.

As we reached the first water stop at 5K, we were both feeling great, and were very grateful that we’d brought our own water as they had run out. As it was warm, that will have caused some people difficulty.

The course levelled out, and the support dwindled a little, but that was fine as I was really enjoying looking at the buildings and architecture. It was gorgeous!

We then headed back towards Parque del Retiro, which was mostly downhill, and good fun. The marathoners peeled off along their course at around the 14K mark. Fortunately, there was adequate water and powerade at the rest of the water stations.

At the 15, 16K point, we were at the park, and knew that we had a lap around its perimeter before finishing in the park itself. It was warm, and the support here was good. I noticed that we were heading downhill a little at one point, and then, with about one mile to go, we turned a corner to head into the final straight, and there it was. A hill. A steep, unexpected hill. We dug in, and after haviing a fantastic 11 mile run, @TheWelshWookie began to struggle a little for the first (and only) time. I tried to keep pushing a little, but it was tough! And it lasted for the whole of that final mile!

As we turned into the park, the support was really good, and @TheWookie got a second wind. We picked up our pace, and finished the race strong. 🙂

As we crossed the line, we had our medals placed around our necks, and posed for photos. We collected water, powerade and food bags, then spent a couple of minutes celebrating.

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We then met the lovely Ro, from Run Dabblers, which was great! Ro had spotted us with 5K to go, and kindly said we’d helped pace her to the finish. She too, had found that last hill horrible!

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Our stats: 2:23:59 which is my slowest half to date, but we were not running for time. We were running for fun. Also, given the heat, the final hill and the altitude, I’ll take it! I didn’t know until afterwards that Madrid is the highest Capital city in Europe!

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The Medal: Really good, fab, sparkly and heavy!

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Goody Bag: money off vouchers, leaflets and a good quality gym bag with a mesh back.

T-shirt: It’s a fab, neon green vest!

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After a quick shower and change, @TheWelshWookie and I headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and cocktails. We had a great day!

 

 

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

I think that we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Here’s today’s vista:

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What do you think? What’s your view like today?

Happy Samhain!

Happy Samhain!

Source: http://scottishanduniversal.newsprints.co.uk/order/26058698/egp_len_181013zombies_06_jpg
Source: http://scottishanduniversal.newsprints.co.uk/order/26058698/egp_len_181013zombies_06_jpg

Happy Samhain, or Hallowe’en!

I hope you’ve all had a fun day 😀

I’ve been to a seminar, and on my way home, I treated myself with a trip to Costa. I had spotted a new, festive drink on their Facebook page that I fancied trying, and so I rolled up to the drive thru, and as I opened my mouth to order I could not remember what it was called! I ended up asking for ‘one of those new apple-y things’ 😮 Fortunately, the  barista knew what I meant!

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It’s called an Apple Spice, BTW, and it was delish.

In other news, @TheWelshWookie and I found out that our photo is in the local Dunbartonshire newspaper this week, The Lennox Herald.

That was a little Hallowe’en shock for us 😉 It’s of the Zombie Night Run, pictured at the top of the post.

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We’re stocked up, ready for any kids who come guising tonight 😉

Race Report: Zombie Night Run

Race Report: Zombie Night Run

Date: 19th October 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Trail

Weather: Raining!

Website: Zombie Night Run

Positives: great fun run, brilliant support from marshals and other runners

Negatives: the weather, no medal, cost

This was our first ever obstacle race, and @TheWelshWookie and I had planned our outfits far more than we had planned the run itself!

My sister-in-law, Janice, transformed us into zombies, and she did a great job:

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We arrived at Helensburgh Rugby Club with plenty of time to spare, before registration opened, and so we were able to use the WCs before most people arrived, and watched the end of the rugby:

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As soon as we were able to, we signed our disclaimer forms and collected our bibs:

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And then soaked up the atmosphere. We had our photos taken with quite a few of the other runners: these are a couple from the ZNR FaceBook Page:

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I wore my base layer compression top, and long running tights with my Nike LunarFly GTX trainers. I don’t have a pre-race gear check pic 😦

The facilities at the start/finish were good, with runners having full access to the changing and shower facilities. if I knew then how much these were needed…… more of that later! There was music playing, and the runners, both zombies and survivors, were milling about, chatting and taking photos. There was a mix of runners who were, and weren’t wearing fancy dress.

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The race was due to start at 5.30pm, but we were told that there would be a short delay. At around 5.45, we were asked to enter an enclosed area for the pre-race briefing and warm up. As the ground was a little marshy, people (us included) were trying to find dry-ish areas. Turns out that was just daft!

The ‘survivors’ were then asked to head to the start line, and they headed off, with a five minute head start. Each survivor had a belt with two ‘life tags’, and the zombies were supposed to chase down the survivors, and take a life tag. After what seemed like forever, we were allowed to go; and we entered the forest in a cloud of dry ice- very atmospheric!

After only a couple of minutes, we were towards the back of the pack, but those in front of us took a wrong turn, and before we knew it we were leading the zombies! Of course, this only lasted for a few minutes, before we were swiftly overtaken!

The rain had just started as we began running, and the grass was wet and slippery. The light was beginning to fade, and I realised that this was going to be great fun! We reached our first obstacle, and had to crawl under a bridge, into a river, under a cargo net and up the muddy riverbank. Only then did I remember that I had my iPhone in my waistpack, and I was soaked through! Fortunately, my phone was OK!

So, even in the first kilometre my feet were squelching and I was dripping wet. We ran up a farm track, in the mud, where we were joined by a cow on the path! At the top of the muddy track was a large bog which we had to cross, and I managed to get my left leg well and truly stuck- fortunately I was able to drag myself out, and the next part of the race was through the dark forest, which was really, very muddy.

Some parts of the course were in complete darkness. Other parts of the race were lit with glow sticks, or had strobe lighting. It was slow going, but so much fun. On more than one occasion, I found myself hugging trees for dear life!

The marshals were excellent, they were very supportive and really encouraged us to keep going and kept us in character!

There were two water stops on course, with jelly babies at both, which was ideal, as much of the ‘race’ was walking, or wading through mud!

Towards the end of the run, I was able to pick up some speed, and run along a forest track road. Despite the squelching and the mud, I managed an OK pace! At around this time, the rain started to fall, really heavily, which didn’t help with visibility or the conditions; but added to the atmosphere.

At the last kilometre, we had to wade through a burn, which was icy cold. I couldn’t stop smiling! And there was one final surprise in store- a series of hay bales to climb over and cargo nets to clamber under. Fortunately, @TheWelshWookie was able to give me a shove over the hay bales: I’ll really need to work on my upper body strength! Finally, we crossed the finish line.

I’m happy to report that we finished ahead of several survivors, even though we didn’t get any life tags.

We then had to give our numbers, to make sure that all runners made it across the finish line!; and we were given our goody bags. We then grabbed our dry clothing and headed to the clubhouse to change.

Here’s the map of the race:

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The goody bag was OK: a biscuit, a snack bar, a Buff sticker and tattoo and a bottle of water:

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There as an after-run party which I’m sure was fantastic. We had planned on going, but I had a baby shower to go to and so we couldn’t stay for the party. Maybe next year!

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I have two bruised and scraped knees, but I survived!

Here’s a short video clip:

My Stats:

Time: 1:35:42, but I came up a little short on distance.

The Medal: There was no medal, though I was sure that the website did originally say there was going to be one. Maybe I dreamed that.

Goody Bag: a paper bag which was sodden in seconds, with a biscuit, a snack bar, a bottle of water and a Buff tattoo and sticker.

T-shirt: a black technical T shirt. The design is good, but it was only available in men’s large, which was a little disappointing.

This run was a little on the expensive side, given that there was no medal or choice of t shirt size, but brilliant fun.

There are some great pics on Dougie Coull’s Website you should check them out!

Tomorrow’s Run: ZNR

Tomorrow’s Run: ZNR

Happy Friday!

Tomorrow, @TheWelshWookie and I are running the Zombie Night Run UK.

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This is our first obstacle race, and I’m both excited and nervous about it!

The run is set in woodland in Helensburgh, and we’ve been told to be prepared for water, bogs and obstacles 😮

It’s an 8K run, and the first 3K is uphill, so I’m not going to even think about, or worry about time. Hills are all relative.

We could choose whether we want to run as ‘survivors’ or ‘zombies’: we’ve signed up as zombies, as I’m not sure I could cope with the thought of being chased through a dark forest at night! The race kicks off at dusk, so around 5.30pm. The survivors set off with a 5 minute head start and us zombies need to chase the survivors, and attempt to cross the finish line with a ‘life tag’ from a survivor.

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I’ll be happy just to finish at all! 😉

Fancy dress is encouraged, so I’m running as a zombie doctor, and @TheWelshWookie is running as a zombie chef. My sis-in-law, Janice, is doing our make up for us, otherwise we’d end up looking like a couple of crazy clowns if I did it!

I’ll post pics….. if I dare!

Race Report: CowalFest 5K Trail Run

Race Report: CowalFest 5K Trail Run

Date: 12th October 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Trail

Weather: Cloudy, and cool

Website: CowalFest

Positives: relaxed event, well organised, good & supportive marshalls, fab goody bag

Negatives: I missed hearing the pre-race instructions

This race was the first ever CowalFest running event held as part of CowalFest, which is held every October celebrating walking and the great outdoors! This was our first ever, proper trail race, and so we opted to sign up for the 5K rather than the 10K event.

@TheWelshWookie and I left in plenty of time, as we had an hour and a half’s drive ahead of us, and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time before hand. as the traffic can be slow.

We managed to get there with plenty of time to spare, so we registered and collected our bibs, and then soaked up the atmosphere while debating whether to wear jackets or not!

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It was a cold, fresh day, but we knew that we’d warm up when the run started. As I was wearing my brand-new birthday jacket 😉 I opted to keep it on.

Here’s my pre-race gear check pic:

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The facilities at the start/finish were great. Benmore Gardens, the location of the race, has a lovely coffee shop, and so toilet facilities were better than the usual portaloo! The staff had set up an outdoor sales area, with tea, coffee and snacks available for runners and supporters. It was great!

The race was due to start at 1.30pm, and about five minutes before, we all walked towards the start area. The 10K runners were asked to keep to the front of the group, with the 5K runners further back, which made sense. There wasn’t a loud speaker, and in the beginning, I could hear what was being said. Then, after about 30 seconds or so, the people to my left started talking and laughing, which meant that @TheWelshWookie and I couldn’t hear a thing. Nice one – so thoughtful!

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Not only did I miss the briefing, but I actually missed the start of the race! 😮 People headed off, and so I was playing catch-up early on. I pressed the button on my Sport+ watch, and ran!

After we settled into the run, we decided to increase our pace slightly, as we were running well. That was until we reached THE HILL. Never having run here before, I had overheard other runners talking about The Hill, but I thought I’d wait and see it for myself. It was a long, winding monster of a hill! I managed to run for the first third of it or so, and then I power walked the best I could to the top of it. I was pretty out of breath!

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The downhill was amazing, though, the view was great (sorry about the finger in the pic!):

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I did take it easy, as I was a little worried about slipping on the shale. But I didn’t. 😉

Next, in the middle part of the race, was an out and back section, which was great: I saw that there weren’t many runners ahead of me who were running the 5K, and so my confidence grew a little. I ran a little faster (having recovered from the hill) and began picking off other runners.

In the final part of the race, I just ran. It felt great, I was really enjoying myself, and I picked off another three or four girls heading into the final stretch.

I had a couple of false finishes, though! I came around one corner, and saw a large group cheering, including my sister and three nephews. I assumed that was the finish line, and slowed down! People then started shouting ‘keep going’ and, literally, ‘this isn’t the finish line!’ lol!

I then reached the start area, and thought that I must have missed the actual finish, so again I slowed, and jogged over to the goody bags (priorities, and all that!) when I realised that I hadn’t quite reached the finish line for a second time! Doh!

I had a quick chat with the race officials, told them how much I had enjoyed the race, and then @TheWelshWookie finished.

The whole event was very relaxed, well run, and I loved it, even the big hill. I’d love to do this one again!

The gardens were beautiful:

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Here’s the map of the race:

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The goody bag was really great: I love the reusable bag. Here’s the contents of it:

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As the 5K was a fun run, it was untimed. BUT- I placed! I was the third female home! Yay! I’ve never placed before, and will probably never place again, so I’m going to enjoy this for a long time!

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It was a great run!

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My Stats:

Time: 30:02, but I came up a little short on distance.

The Medal: I was glad to have one, and it was engraved

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Goody Bag: reusable tote bag with a lovely logo, 9bar, water, an orange, jelly beans and some great money off vouchers from local businesses including Portavadie Marina and Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.

T-shirt: no t shirt, but we didn’t expect one, given the entry fee.

I’m hoping that this run will be a regular feature!