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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Marathon Training Tuesday

Marathon Training Tuesday

I ran today! Woo hoo!

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Today’s Hal Higdon marathon training called for 3 miles. It was great to get out there. I sported my Great Run t-shirt for the first time 🙂

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As we headed to the harbour, it was sunny and a little warm, but by the time we got to the end of the first mile it was chucking down! But, it actually felt really good to run in the rain.

When I uploaded my Nike+ SportWatch data, I saw that the Nike+ running site has had a facelift, and I like it! 😀

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I was really pleased with the pace tonight.

I also received an email today from the organisers of the GB Relay. It contained a link to the contact details of participants, so I’ve emailed the people on either side of our stage, so that we can arrange the baton handover. Hopefully it will all go very smoothly!

Did you run in sunshine or rain today?

 

@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!

 

 

All I want for Christmas is…

All I want for Christmas is…

Is it too early to share my running Santa list with you?

No?

Good.

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good girl sometimes this year, and I have tried my hardest to run well, eat well and blog well. Here are the top five things on my Christmas Wish List:

1. Nike Shield LunarGlides. My fave shoes, waterproofed and reflective. What’s not to love?

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2. Ron Hill Vizion Photon Jacket. This is flattering, water and wind tight. And pink. Lovely!

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3. Ron Hill LED running cap. Perfect for running on dark nights 😉

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4. Lock laces. No more lace malfunctions during runs. Genius!

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5. Saucony ladies ruched hoody. Comfy and stylish. My two faves rolled into one!

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Santa, do you mind if I sneak in a sixth favourite? If you can’t decide which of these I deserve, these would be good too:

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Thank you very much. I’ll remember to leave you a glass of sherry and a mince pie on Christmas Eve, I promise.

Your friend,

TartanJogger x

What’s on your Christmas running wish list this year?

Rainy Run Road Test

Rainy Run Road Test

I’ve been waiting all day, to road test some of the new gear I bought over the weekend. I decided to try out my cool stripy tights 😀

We’ve had dreadful weather here, with gale force wind and really heavy downpours, but nothing was going to stop me from trying out these babies!

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Instead of heading to the harbour, we turned left, and ran along the Campbeltown road. @TheWelshWookie suggested running up the hill on the main road, instead of running to the West Loch: a suggestion he later regretted when he realised how steep the hill was! It was tough, but I’m really feeling the benefit of the hill training paying off.

You can see the elevation 🙂

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The hill gave me a chance to put the tights to the test. OK- so I know these are workout tights, not running tights. I know that I’ve gone for style over substance. BUT they are really comfortable to wear, and ideal for short runs. They did slip a little, so I probably won’t wear them on longer runs, or to races. But I do really like them.

@TheWelshWookie liked his new gear, too, including the new knee support, which is for his oldmanitis!

We were absolutely soaked by the time we got home, but I felt great! Autumn has definitely arrived, and I might have to dig out my running gloves soon…. my fingers were a little cold; it was around 10C/50F

On another note, the ticket ordering for the Commonwealth Games 2014 closed tonight: I hope I get some of those I’ve requested!

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Today’s Stats:

Run: 2 mile, hills

Time: 20:26 pretty good!

Weather: Rainy, and quite cold

Trainers: Nike LunarFly GTX

Today’s Life Lesson: Why do socks always come out of the washer in odd numbers?

What is your favourite running outfit?

Day off Work = Day on Running

Day off Work = Day on Running

I have a long weekend off! Woop Woop!

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And so, I’ve made use of my day: I’ve been a domestic Goddess, been shopping in the village, (and on the internet), packed for our weekend trip and gone for a run! Today is the first day that @TheWelshWookie has been for a run since our trail run on Sunday. We did a pretty solid 5K relaxed run, which I really enjoyed.

As we were heading home, the kids were having sailing lessons. By the sound of their whooping and laughter, they were having a great time! 😀

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We’ve been healthy kids, and had a lovely salmon salad for dinner:

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Beatson Challenge Update:

Day two of their three day challenge is over. Today’s section included running up (and down) The Rest and Be Thankful: a big hill which marks the half way point to Glasgow. It’s called The Rest and Be Thankful for a very good reason 😮

The report is that they even managed to run a little further than they had planned today, which must be a really good sign. They are doing absolutely brilliantly!

It’s likely that we’ll drive past them tomorrow on our way to Glasgow, so we’ll give them a wave from you all!

Today’s Stats:

Run: 5K easy run

Time: 31:12

Weather: Cloudy. It’s definitely getting cooler

Trainers: Nike Lunar Glides

Favourite Running Track Today:

Today’s Life Lesson: When you switch on the dishwasher, remember to check that you’ve put the tablet in properly 😉

What are your plans for the weekend?

Short and Sharp

Short and Sharp

Short and Sharp. No, not my temper- though usually it is 😉 but my run this evening!

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I thought I should head out, and do a short, sharp threshold run, to see if I can build up some speed in advance of my races in October. And I ran pretty slow by most folks standards fast- for me 😉

During my first mile, I kinda forgot that I was supposed to be doing a threshold run, so I managed a mile in 9:27. My second mile was much better, at 9.05, so I was really pleased with that.

It was just as well I only planned to do two miles, as I definitely could not have maintained that for a third mile tonight!

On my way home, I found my first heart! 😀 runningtoherdreams has some beautiful pictures of nature’s hearts on her blog, and I’ve been looking for one for weeks. And tonight, I finally found one 🙂

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Today’s Stats:

Run: 2 miles, threshold run

Time: 18:32

Weather: Cloudy with still some warmth in the air. It’s definitely getting cooler, though

Trainers: Nike Lunar Glides

Favourite Running Track Today: I’ve waited ten days to come across this one on my iPod!

Today’s Life Lesson: Some days, you just make good, steady progress. Be grateful for these, they don’t come often!

When did you last do a threshold run?

Shine On Award

Shine On Award

I’d mentioned earlier in the week how pleased I had been when runningtoherdreams nominated me for the Shine On award. My first reaction was delight; my second was, fab, what is it? Being new to the blogging world, I had no idea that such awards existed, but now I do, and I’m delighted to have received this from runningtoherdreams: thank you! If you haven’t visited her blog, you really should: I’m now addicted to looking for hearts in nature while I run, but I think they hide from me!

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The rules for this blog award are simple:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.

3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.

I’m not sure if any of these things are interesting- you can judge that for yourself!

1. I’m left handed

2. I can drive a fork lift truck

3. I can read ancient Latin and ancient Greek

4. I’m a synesthete

5. I have an addiction to handbags

6. I can tap dance

7. I’m learning Spanish

4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs

I’m delighted to nominate:

BayRunner Jamie

The Improbable Runner

Loving Food, Fashion & Life

278 to Boston

mudsweatandkettebells

janelikestorun

Paul Smuts

Run Kate Run

Run Dabblers

Tub on the Run

leanneandthehalfmarathon

Run Eat Life

waistbandontherun

Run, Hemingway, Run!

Charlotte Hoather

5. Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog

Nominating blogs is much, much tougher than I had anticipated!

Today’s Stats:

Run: 3.41 miles

Time: 34:58

Weather: Sunny and warm

Trainers: Nike Lunar Racers

First Running Track Today:

Today’s Life Lesson: there are still some gentlemen out there, believe it or not

Do you have plans for the weekend?

Visiting the Velodrome

Visiting the Velodrome

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Today, I was at a networking event in Glasgow. As I left the house this morning, still half asleep, I keyed the post code into my sat nav, and I set off without thinking too much about where, or what, the venue was. It turns out that this was the venue:

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It’s the Emirates Arena, one of the brand new facilities built for the Commonwealth Games, being held in Glasgow next year.

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And do you know what venue is located within it? Go on, have a guess….. I’ll give you a hint…

Oh wait. Today’s post title gives it away!

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Yip- the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Our event was held in a room overlooking the velodrome itself, and it looked pretty impressive! I didn’t even think to take a picture though.  I was obviously too busy gossiping networking 😉

@TheWelshWookie and I are going to enter the ballot for tickets at the weekend- we have an idea of which sports we fancy watching, so we’ll see what happens.

So, I headed home feeling inspired, and went for a six mile run. Unfortunately, after 4 hour’s driving yesterday and 5 hour’s driving today, I had lead-legs, but the final mile was fast, at 9:17! 🙂

Today’s Stats:

Run: 6 miles: 2 steady, 2 with lead-legs, 2 quick

Time: 1:02:58

Weather: Sunny and warm

Trainers: Nike Lunar Glides

First Running Track Today:

Today’s Life Lesson: remember to take photos when you go somewhere interesting! Doh!

Have you ever unexpectedly ended up somewhere before?