Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Date: 9th November 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Frosty cold, wet

Website: http://glasgow.mo-running.com/

Positives: great fun, lovely atmosphere. very flat course

Negatives: lack of instructions

The night before the MoRun, @TheWelshWookie and I met up with my bestie Pauline, her OH Gavin and her two wonderful kids, my god daughter Olivia and her bro Christopher. We had a lovely evening carb loading, and swapping birthday pressies. Amongst other things, I received a fab new bag which has instantly become my new race day bag:

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As we had packed on Thursday night, I had my gear all prepared and ready:

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On race day, we were up early, and got ready before leaving the house. We must have looked a sight!

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Our early rise was greeted with a beautiful sunrise, through the rain. It was cold and frosty, and I had opted not to wear a base layer. I quickly realised this was a mistake, and so it meant that I had to do a quick car-change 😉

We arrived at Glasgow Green, and parked in the same place as we did for the GSR last month. We walked down to the gazebos, in the rain, to pick up our race packs and our head bands. It was so cold! But the park was looking beautiful!

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We headed back to the car, fixed on our race bibs and our head bands:

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And then we had a gel block each. Soon, it was time to brave the cold and join the rest of the runners near the start line.

Our first stop was the portaloos, as the queue was pretty long. I saw that we weren’t the only people dressed up, which was great! I was the only one sporting a green wig and moustache, though 😉

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The atmosphere was friendly, and we milled about a little, waiting for the pre-race warm up and instructions. There was a gazebo containing the PA system, and we kept warm tapping toes and dancing a little to the music (OK, maybe I was the only one). There was a guy with a mic, but no one could really hear what he was saying, which was odd.  Anyway, I figured out that they were calling the 5K runners to the start line first, and they got off pretty quickly. Oddly enough, the start line was not the start. I was about 50 metres further away. Hmmmm.

Here’s my view from the start:

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Soon, the 10K runners were moved to the start line, and we were off! I had a false start with my SportsWatch, as we ran over the finish line before the start, so I started my watch a little early.

The race itself was entirely inside Glasgow Green, and involved two laps of the route. The route was lovely and flat, with no hills at all. We ran past the Peoples Palace:

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And we also ran past the new national hockey centre, which will host the Commonwealth Games hockey sessions. Our pace was slow and steady, which was our plan all along, as @TheWelshWookie hasn’t run since the Zombie Night Run. He re-injured his knee, and so has been resting it for the past fortnight.

We also ran along the banks of the canal, and watched the rowers out on the water. As the park was open to the public, we had to run around dog walkers and others who were out and about, as well as the slower 5 and 10K runners, but all in all it was fine. The support was great, particularly from the race marshals, many of whom had some really motivational signs!

I enjoyed the second lap, as I knew by then that the course was lovely, and the time seemed to pass quickly. There was one water stop, but was only manned by two people, so some runners were having to stop and fill up their own water.

At 6K, the clouds opened, and dumped an icy rainfall onto us, for the remainder of the race. Shortly after that, at around the 7K mark, we had to stop, as @TheWelshWookie’s race bib had come off-  the rain had made the bib tear easily and so it had torn free from the safety pins. I reckon that cost us a couple of minutes at least, but as we weren’t worried too much about time, we just started running again when he was sorted.

The final half kilometre or so was great; running up towards Nelson’s Monument. Only, a few inconsiderate runners who had finished had decided to walk four abreast back down the path, meaning that those of us still running had to run around them while they laughed and joked as they walked! I’ll put that down to their post-race euphoria, but why they were allowed to do that, I don’t know.

Anyway, we were happy to reach the finish line, and collect our superb MoMedal 😀 and a bottle of lucozade sport. As it was so cold and wet, we didn’t wait about – we headed straight for the car, knowing that a warm shower was only a half hour away!

We posed for a couple of photos first, of course:

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Here’s the map of the race:

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I’d definitely do this run again!

My Stats:

Time: 1:03:29 which included the stop to sort out @TheWelshWookie’s race bib

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The Medal: a cool moustache, with runners along it:

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Goody Bag: no goodie bag, but we did get a MoRunning headband and a bottle of lucozade sport

T-shirt: no T shirt

@TheWelshWookie was running to raise funds for Movember, and he is still growing his moustache. Will give you a fundraising update when I have it! 😀

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The Perfect Present

The Perfect Present

I know that I’m very lucky, since @TheWelshWookie supports my running, and also runs with me.

For my birthday last year he got me my Nike LunaryFly GTX:

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I love these shoes, they’re great!

This year, he got me a new Ron Hill running jacket; perfect timing, since the weather has definitely turned cooler!

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Thanks, Wookie! I love it! I know I’ll get great use out of it now, and again in the spring.

I also received another wonderful surprise last night: I PLACED in a run!  I was the third female across the line at the CowalFest 5K on Saturday! I’m going to be crowing about this for a long time 😀

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The plan for the rest of my birthday is playing football with my nephews, dinner at the cafe, and more Harry Potter. And perhaps a celebratory glass of vino!

Race Report: Great Scottish Run

Race Report: Great Scottish Run

Date: 6th October 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Cloudy, cool, dry

Website: http://www.greatscottishrun.com/

Positives: well organised, goody bags, well supported

Negatives: narrow route in places; poor water station placing

After the excitement of the Family Mile, we had spent the evening before the race at my sister’s house, celebrating two of my nephew’s birthdays, Ryan and Aidan, who’s birthdays were on Monday and Wednesday. We had a great family party; but @TheWelshWookie and I were very good and only had a couple of beers to celebrate 😉 We carb loaded with fish n’ chips and birthday cake!

I had my gear all prepared and ready:

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We drove to Glasgow Green, and parked the car near to the finish line, for a quick get away later and walked along with lots of other runners to the start line in George Square.

Well, when I say George Square, we didn’t get near the square itself today, as the green muster area was just along Cochrane Street, back towards Merchant City. We had a long wait of about 20 minutes for the portaloos, but fortunately we had left plenty of time for this. We then headed into the corral, and it wasn’t too long until we heard the elite runners start, and we could see the big hill facing us to start the race, heading up St. Vincent Street. Here’s my view from the start:

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Very quickly, we were moved to the start line, and we were off!

We headed up the dreaded hill, and this year there seemed to be far fewer walkers here than there were last year; or maybe we were just more prepared for it? Who knows, but it was much better. The hill finishes just at the 1K mark, and by then @TheWelshWookie and I had settled into a comfortable pace.

We ran along, past the slip road we used to use, to head over the Kingston Bridge. This year, we ran along the Clydeside Expressway instead, past a few highlights of the Glasgow Skyline: the SECC, the Armadillo, the Hydro (which is a brand new venue, opened earlier this week).

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As we came off the expressway, we ran around the amazing Transport Museum, which is a fantastic building.

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But, here’s my biggest criticism: the running width narrowed substantially here, at around the 3K mark, and it stayed quite narrow for the out-and-back to the ‘Squinty Bridge’ at 6K. This definitely affected my time, and that of many other runners, who had to dodge and weave, and run on the soft verge to get past.

Fortunately, a lot of runners followed race etiquette, and walked to the right, but not all did this.

As @TheWelshWookie and I carry water, we didn’t need to pause at the water stop which was at the 5.5K mark; it was a crazy place for a water station, as it was far too narrow, the rod as still open to traffic along our left hand side, and runners were tossing bottles right into the way of traffic! That’ll need to be thought out again!

We then ran over the Squinty Bridge, and I was feeling great!

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We headed past Pacific Quay, and could see the Glasgow Science Centre, before we turned around, headed back over the bridge and ran along the Broomielaw alongside the River Clyde, towards Glasgow Green.

At around the 8K mark, @TheWelshWookie was slowing, but only ever so slightly. We had a half kilometre of a slightly slower pace, and with one mile to go, he told me to run on. I set off, still feeling really good, buoyed by the fantastic support along this stretch.

The final kilometre took me though Glasgow Green, to the finish point: again, the road narrowed, which I remembered from last year; but it was difficult to weave in and out; so my finish wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. But, all in all, I was pretty happy with my whole run!

Here’s the map of the race:

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As I crossed the finish line (and remembered to stop my SportWatch this time), there were a lot of runners  taking sick bags, and using them. A LOT. Yuk. I kept walking, and had to de-tag my trainer myself, with no scissors. I’ve bruised my leg, accidentally punching it as I pulled it off. Oh, well.

Shortly after, I saw that @TheWelshWookie had finished, so we queued to collect our goodie bags, which contained our medals and finisher T shirts. Here’s the contents:

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And we posed for a couple of photos:

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There was then another bottle neck, trying to get out of the finisher’s area, which was crazy. Then, we weren’t able to get out because so many spectators were standing about waiting to met finishers: hello, people- that’s what the meeting area is for?? Hmmm.

Other than that, it was a great, well organised event, which we thoroughly enjoyed!

My Stats:

Time: 57:45 19 seconds short of my PB, but given the issues, that’s OK. I finished 3331st out of over 8000; 484th in my age group, and the 960th female to finish. @TheWelshWookie PB’d with 58:32

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The Medal: pretty simple; the same medal was given out for a events this weekend.

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Goody Bag: draw string bag, discount leaflet, chocolate bar, power gel, gel shots, Eat Natural bar

T-shirt: A grey marl T shirt, with ‘Finisher 2013’ on it. I already had the technical shirt.

Now, do I register for my third GSR 10K in a row, or for the half next year?

A Ridiculous Run

A Ridiculous Run

I’ve entitled this post ‘A Ridiculous Run’ for two main reasons:

1. Some of the hills we tackled today were so steep, it was ridiculous:

2. I went out, looking nothing short of ridiculous!

After such a lazy day yesterday, I was looking forward to getting out in the fresh air, and blowing away some of the cobwebs. Also, I wanted to run, in honour of fellow running blogger 278toBoston’s first ever marathon, which he is running today.

@TheWelshWookie had a complete moment of madness, and suggested that, instead of running our usual route, we should go off road, and run one of the trails behind Tarbert Castle. It sounded like a great idea!

I started with an espresso, though:

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We decided to run with camelbaks, instead of using hand held water bottles. And it was raining. So I’m sure that I’ll have drawn some weird looks!

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Instead of heading straight for the Castle, we decided to tackle my nemesis from the TT10K: Big Brae. So, we did. And we ran up most of it. Result! We then ran/walked the blue route, which takes in some of the steeper hills along the trail.

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We ran up the hills, and walked some of the straight and downhill sections, to make the most of the day. It was tough, but in a good way!

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Some of the viewpoints along the way give some great views down towards the village.

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We ran past the Millennium Cairn, where is was particularly muddy today, due to the rain. It actually felt great, to be caked in mud for a change! Weird, huh?

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I need to admit that the final mile and a half was virtually all walking: the downhill sections were pretty steep, and I don’t have great balance at the best of times. But, we got out there, and we did it!

And the heather was blooming:

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Here’s a map of my run today:

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When I returned home, I caught up on 278toBoston’s progress: marathon done in 4:14:32 – amazing! Well done, what an achievement! I hope that some of the cooler air from here made its way over to you 😉

Today’s Stats:

Run: 4 mile trail run/walk

Weather: cloudy, with both rain showers and sunny spells

Trainers: LunarFly GTX +3

Favourite Running Track of the Day:

Today’s Life Lesson: sometimes the tough runs are the ones you enjoy most!

What do you find yourself thinking about when you run?

Race Report: Tarbert TT10K

Race Report: Tarbert TT10K

Date: 17th August 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Road and Trail

Weather: Cloudy, but warm

Website: TT10K

Positives: great course, well organised, good & supportive marshalls, fab t-shirt

Negatives: unpredictable weather!

This race was the first ever Tarbert 5k & 10k event, and given that it is my local village run, I was really looking forward to it, as well as being a little anxious as I knew the course would be a challenge!

@TheWelshWookie headed out early, to open the school grounds as a car park for visitors, and to check that the tape was still intact, marking out the running route around the area he was marshaling- part of the first trail run, behind Stonefield Farm & Coffee Shop. I had my gear all laid out and ready:

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That meant that I had plenty of time to get ready, and pose…

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I planned to head into the village to support the 5k runners, but I do not know what happened- I lost track of time. And so I ended up running out of the door, quite literally!

As I walked past the Village Hall, I saw that it was bedecked in bunting, ready for the barbeque and party later in the day:

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As I made my way along to Garvel Road, ready for the start of the race, the 5k runners were still milling about at the finish line. At this point, I was pretty envious: their race was over, and the party had begun!

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I took a couple of snaps, just to capture the views, and because the weather had taken me by surprise- it was almost sunny! The rain seemed to have vanished: it had surprised a lot of runners, who were wearing long running pants and jackets!

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My nervous walk along Garvel Road:

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The facilities not far from the start were great: runners could use the Harbour facilities before and after the race: toilets, showers, etc. The start itself was at the end of Garvel Road. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived was that this was Serious. With a Capital S. There were loads of club runners, and runners who looked like they meant business! But I could see that there were quite a few ‘normal’ runners like me!

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With about 5 minutes to go, Councillor Anne Horn gave the safety briefing- reminding us to take care on the trail parts of the course, as they would be slippery and soft underfoot. And then, almost suddenly, we were off!

As there were only 200 runners, everyone started at once. I tried to hang to the left hand side of the road, and let the faster runners past me…. there were plenty! I tried to remind myself to just go at my own pace.

Here’s the map of the race:

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At the end of Garvel Road, we headed up the main road, and uphill again, over the High Road. Remember I posted a pic from up here, when I was out checking the route?

The view from the High Road
The view from the High Road

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We then ran down the other side of the High Road, and headed off along Campbeltown Road towards Stonefield Farm & Coffee Shop. I knew that @TheWelshWookie was at the highest part of this section, so I was looking forward to reaching there! The route took us past the shop on the left hand side, and past the wigwams, which are available as holiday accommodation. Then, we were greeted with a sign saying: Welcome to Jurassic Park with a cartoon runner being chased by a dinosaur- that made me laugh!

The trail climbed steadily, and at this point, the faster runners were heading back down. Us slowbies were walking, or run/walking because I was knackered to let the faster runners by. We reached a cottage ruin, known locally as Maggie’s Cottage, which I thought was the turning point. How wrong I was! We still had a good distance, all uphill, to go!

Eventually, I caught sight of a fluorescent jacket, and I saw that it was @TheWelshWookie! Yay! We’d reached the top! He managed to take a snap, with me actually smiling- maybe it’s a grimace!

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We then turned around, and ran back down, around the opposite side of the coffee shop. I must admit, I took it easy running downhill, as it was pretty slippy underfoot, and I have terrible balance at the best of times! At the bottom of the hill was a water stop, but I was all good, and kept going.

As we left Stonefield, we headed back down Campbeltown Road back into the village. For me, this was the part I was looking forward to – my regular run along the harbour out to the end of Pier Road, where I’m used to views like this:

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At this stage, the sun really broke through, and it was pretty warm. I managed to pick off a few runners along the road. The 5K mark was just at the fish quay, which was great. I’m pretty sure that there were lots of people thinking ‘Is that all we’ve done?’

I really enjoyed my run all the way to the turning point at the end of the road, where there was a second water point. I filled up my bottle, and headed back. Why I didn’t take one of the jelly babies on offer, I will never know!

All along the route, the support was fantastic. People were out, cheering and clapping us on. The marshals, in particular, were very, very encouraging, giving me that extra boost to push on. They also had a tough job because none of the roads were closed to traffic, so they managed to cheer us by, while keeping an eye on safety.

I then reached Big Brae, which leads onto the Castle loop. After the experience at Stonefield, I knew that the fast runners would be trying to run down while us slower runners were heading up. So, I decided to play safe, and walk to the left, to let them pass more easily. But as soon as I arrived at the Castle loop, I was determined to run this part of the trail. I managed most of it- only walking a short distance up the hill on the loop. My GPS ticked off the 5th mile, and that really boosted me- I was on the final mile!

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I finished off the Castle loop, headed back down Big Brae, and made my way back along the harbour to the Harbour Office. This was it- the home straight!

The support along this final part was tremendous- loads of cheering and clapping. @TheWelshWookie was waiting at the finish line, ready to take my pic:

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I was so excited to finish that I forgot to switch off my SportWatch GPS! Doh! @TheWelshWookie handed me a bag of jelly beans, which I scoffed right away. I then collected my goodie bag.

Here’rs the contents of it:

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I collected my medal, and headed back to cheer on the rest of the finishers across the finish line.

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But, yet again, I was distracted. By some deliciously amazing home baking for the finishers- including home made tablet- pure bliss!

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There was even some entertainment for the kids:

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And just to prove that the sun came out:

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We waited for the prize giving: well done to the winnersl! Each trophy winner received a voucher for The Gallery- lucky folks! 😀

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We then headed home for a very quick change, and headed back out to the Village Hall to join in the rest of the Tarbert Harbour Authority Centenary celebrations. When we arrived, we received our ‘wages’, a copy of a salary cheque issued by the Harbour Authority 100 years ago:

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That entitled us to a free drink at the bar, and free food from the barbeque! Result! Why does free beer taste so good?

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i wore my new t-shirt, of course 😉

The Village Hall was really busy, with some people dressed as they would have 100 years ago:

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It was a real party atmosphere, with stalls and entertainment.

It was a great day!

My Stats:

Time: 1:06:55 I finished 85th out of about 140 or so runners.

The Medal: A hand made, pottery medal, made locally:

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Goody Bag: draw string bag, leaflets, lip balm, wet wipes, doggy-do bags, button badge

T-shirt: A black & red technical shirt, with the logo embroidered on the front

I’m hoping that I’ll be better prepared for next year!

Running by the Crinan Canal

Running by the Crinan Canal

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

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Today’s stats:

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

Time: 55:03

Trainers: LunarFly GTX +3

Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells, warm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you changed up your running route recently?

Hot Hills and Hazelnut Pavlova

Hot Hills and Hazelnut Pavlova

Today, I met the DreamTeam for a spot of lunch, where we promised that we would not talk about work for a whole hour. We didn’t even last five minutes! Anyway, we had a lovely lunch at The George Hotel in Inveraray. It was busy, and as ever, the food was great. We all had dessert, as their selection is fantastic. Knowing that I would be heading out for a run after work, I still decided to have a Hazelnut Pavlova served with blackberry & cream ice cream. It was amazing! Want to see?

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I knew that I’d need to head out for my hill run this evening, but being absolutely stuffed a little full after lunch, I was able to have a quick flick through my BodyFit magazine, which arrived in the post today:

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When I felt that I couldn’t put it off any longer I could actually begin to run, I headed out for a hill session. Now, this is something I’ve been putting off for quite some time! I’m the first to admit that I like to run on the flat, and any incline is difficult for me. Anyway, having signed up for the TT10K in August, I thought I’d better try out a couple of the hills that I know are en-route.

I headed out along the harbour as usual, and along to Garvel road end, which is the start of the TT10K. I ran along Garvel Road, and turned onto the main road to face the first, and the smallest, of the hills I was tackling today:

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Doesn’t look to bad, eh? It was actually ok, I wasn’t heaving and gulping in air when I got to the top. Immediately after this one, though, I crossed the road, and turned the corner onto the high road, to face the second hill. Don’t be deceived by the next picture- this is only the start of it, and the rest of the hill is over the brow of the one in the picture below:

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Yeah, right, I hear you say. It can’t be that high? Well, just to show you how high it is, I took a pic of the harbour where I started, from the viewpoint at the top of the hill:

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Pretty high, right? And gorgeous, of course. So lucky to live here.

Anyway, I managed the second hill OK too. I continued my jog back down the high road, and back along the front of the harbour, making my way to the hill that would take me up to Tarbert Castle and the Castle loop, which is a trail part of the run. This is the monster biggest of the three hills, and it snakes and winds its way up to the Castle. Here’s the first part:

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Well, by this point, my large lunch was beginning to take its toll and my legs were a bit heavy, so I lumbered powered up as best as I could. I admit that I had to stop and walk for about a minute, then I continued to run to the top of the road and onto the trail.

I had planned to finish here, but as I am totally crazy it was such a lovely evening, I thought I’d just take on the Castle Loop too.  😮

This was tough going- much more hilly to run than I remembered from walking it in the past, but I’m glad I stumbled, walked and jogged my way around it. I stopped at a bench because I was knackered to take a picture, but it doesn’t really show much, I’m afraid, though it is really pretty:

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I then headed home, to watch Andy Murray win! Woo Hoo!

Today’s stats:

Run: 3.5 mile hill run

Time: 40:25 (lots of walking!)

Trainers: Lunarfly GTX

Weather: sunny- yay!

Fave running track of the day: Gotta Get Thru This, Daniel Bedingfield. This track came on as soon as I reached the hill up to the castle!

Today’s life lesson: Don’t expect to have lunch with work folks, and avoid talking about work.

Also, don’t have a big dessert and expect to run as if you haven’t!

Have you ever regretted doing anything before going for a run?