Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

I can’t quite believe that I’ve been back to my routine for a week, with my holiday not yet fading. And yes, the post-holiday lurgy has just caught up with me. Boo! I’m hoping that it will lift quickly, so that I can keep my training on track. Last week was OK- looking back I now know that this was working on me, which affected my performance at times.

Monday- I was back at WAR, which had new tracks. They were tough, but since I’d forgotten my sports bra I couldn’t work as hard as I’d like. At least I eased back in gently.

Tuesday- I ran 4 miles, and found it pretty tough. My NRC app was playing up, and I think I probably ran further but the GPS didn’t track correctly. I was glad to get it done.

Wednesday- the Jog Scotland run last week was around Stonefield and Barmore Island. It was great, with beautiful scenery even if it was a reasonably short 1.75 mile run. 

Thursday- I had PiYo and VeraFlow, and I was a little concerned I’d have fallen behind. But I was able to keep up with most of the tracks. It’s definitely my favourite classes, in terms of fitness classes.

Friday- we were back at salsa- yay! We had two new steps to learn, which were very different 😀 Our wee routine is beginning to come along nicely!

Saturday- I ran the Taynish 5k with some of the JogScotland ladies and I loved it! It was a tough out and back route, with the first kilometre a surprising uphill trek. But it was all worth it for the fabulous home baking we had in aid of Macmillan Nurses afterwards! I’ll post a race review, I was very happy with my sub 30 minute run. I was pleased to see my first ever decent race picture too: We then had another amazing afternoon at the Fèis, this time I had a guitar session and my first ever fiddle lesson: I even managed to get a tune (of sorts) out of it! 

Sunday- I had a rest day, but we did marshal at the Inveraray Jail Break once again. I love supporting this race, and I’ve written about how amazing it is before. In the afternoon we visited the Loch Fyne Food Fayre and stuffed ourselves on amazing local produce including venison, hog roast and seafood:

Today I’m skipping class for an early night, and I hope to shift this bug quickly. 

I’ll be back to it asap! 

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Race Report: The Great North Run 2015

Race Report: The Great North Run 2015

Date: 13th September 2015

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: greatrun.org

Positives: excellent organisation, first class support, seems like the whole of Newcastle, Gateshead and South Shields get behind the event

Negatives: I hate to complain about sunshine, but it was unanticipated, and I could have done without it!

As with many runners, the Great North Run has been on my bucket list for years. I had secured a lace last year, but had to defer after I picked up an injury. So, I felt more than ready and a bit overwhelmed as the date for this race came around. To add to all of that, the news that Mo Farah was running just made it even more special.

The lead up to the event was great, with frequent emails from the Great Run team and numerous social media posts about the event really meant I was looking forward to it, and very excited. @TheWelshWookie and I had booked the ‘coach, sleep and run’ package from Glasgow, via Nirvana Europe, and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We knew that our accommodation would be in Newcastle University halls of residence, which were very near the start line, and we were open to just seeing how the weekend turned out. It was excellent, and I can’t recommend the Nirvana Europe package highly enough.

We arrived at Buchanan Bus Station on Saturday morning, and spotted our bus right away:  

 We were first at the bus stance, but before long, a few other runners arrived. There were 10 of us on the bus, and it was a great crowd of friendly, supportive runners – as I’m sure you’d expect. Due to the low numbers, the coach had been subbed for a minibus (albeit a nice, comfy one), and our driver, Frank introduced himself. He’d been drafted in at short notice, and – to be honest – didn’t have much of a clue about where he was going. But, being a friendly bunch, mobiles were used as sat navs, to get us to where we were going.

Anyway, we made it to Newcastle, and to our digs, which were at Castle Leazes. We were warmly welcomed, and headed to the check in area where we were given our room keys and a goody bag:  

  That was a lovely wee surprise! There were plenty of staff on hand to continue with the welcome, and to make sure we found our rooms ok. The rooms were basic, as you’d expect, but ideal, with a bed, sink, desk, shelves, etc. There was plenty of tea and coffee available in the communal kitchen area, which was welcome.  

 In the evening, @TheWelshWookie and I headed out into the city, to find our bearings. We easily found the start line, and snapped a picture of what would be the start muster in only a few hours:  

 We then wandered through the city centre, and down to see the iconic landmarks at the quayside, such as the millennium bridge, and the Sage building:  

 We noticed that there was someone on the roof of the Sage building. Imagine our surprise when we got home and watched back the coverage to discover that it was none other than fellow runner and thoroughly good bloke, Professor Brian Cox, recording the opening scenes for the TV coverage! 😀   

  After a quick bite to eat, we took a lovely stroll up past St James’ Park, and back to the halls of residence for an early night. 

 As ever, I had my race gear ready to go the night before: 

 We were up at a decent time, and had arranged to get our bags back to the mini bus at 8am, so that Frank could get the bus out before the roads were closed, and we arranged to all meet back at the South Shields pick up point by 3pm or 3.30pm for departure. We then went to the refectory for breakfast. There was a brilliant spread: while we stuck to our usual breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, there was plenty of porridge and bananas being consumed, as well as some folks enjoying a full cooked breakfast 😮

Wee were grateful for the Newcastle Uni goody bags, as we could use these for some snacks and a change of clothes at the finish line. The forecast was for grey, cloudy skies and cool temperatures, so I thought we’d need something warm to change into. It had been very chilly when we put our bags onto the mini bus. Little did we know that this was going to change!

But, as we had decided to take bags, we had to get these onto the baggage buses by 10.10am. So, at around 9.50am, we strolled up to the start area, which had been totally transformed from the evening before. We easily found the right buses, and stashed our bags. I remembered to take a photo in case I couldn’t remember where the bags were:  

  And then we made our way into the starting pen. As we did so, the sun broke through the clouds, and the heat began to build. There were plenty of large screens by each pen, which was fantastic: it really kept you entertained as you waited. I also did my first ever Periscope broadcast, and having watched it back, I definitely need to give more thought to what I’m doing in future. It was fun 🙂

    
  Anyway, we watched the start of the ladies’ race and the ‘wheels of steel’ wheelchair race, and eventually it as time for the start of the men’s and mass participation race. I was great to watch Mo Farah et al actually start, knowing we’d be passing through the start soon! Then, the Red Arrows were overhead, and looked fantastic: 

 Well, when I say soon, it took our wave over half an hour to get to the start line! As we walked towards the start, there was a real mixture of excitement and a touch of angst as I realised that the sun was staying out, and I had no sun cream on. Ooops!

The support right from the beginning was amazing. As we ran through the tunnels and underpasses of the first mile or two, there was a lot of supportive ‘Oggie, oggie, oggies’ which was amazing! I had such a huge smile on my face!

The support as we ran over the Tyne Bridge was unbelievable – the streets were full, and nowhere on the course was unsupported. As we got to mile three, we had an impromptu pit stop so the ‘TheWelshWookie’ could use the facilities. And then, at mile four, it was my turn to stop. But, I stopped at the St. John’s Ambulance tent, in search of some sun cream. Fortunately, they carry sachets of Factor 30, God bless them!

Once I was suitably smothered in cream, we could get back to the run, and into our rhythm. After two early stops, and a crowded field, as well as a hot, hot day, we decided to just take the run easy, and make the most of it – savour the atmosphere. And that’s what we did.

We waved as we passed charity buses, we sang along as we passed the many music points, including joining in with ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ amongst other tunes. We high fived many, many kids who lined the route. It was awesome!

We were blown away by the support. And the food! Wow! I have never seen so many people with so much food for runners. Yes, there were tons of jelly babies and jelly beans. But there were also people handing out ice lollies and ice poles, polo mints, fresh lemonade, a young guy even offered us a can of Strongbow! 😉

Our favourite was the lady offering fresh sausage rolls, telling us that they were lovely – she sounded just like Sarah Millican! 😉 It was just awesome!

I won’t say that this race flew by – it didn’t. Miles 6 – 9 did, but there were a couple of tough points, too, particularly the hill at mile 11. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but it was tough. Just then, the Red Arrows were back overhead, and their aerial display really kept us entertained.

Then, there was the downhill stretch towards the sea, which was tough on the joint at that stage, and we found ourselves running the final mile along the water front. The support was outstanding.
We could hear music behind us, getting closer, and as it did so, it changed to ‘Uptown Funk’. Just what we needed for the final stretch! So, there we were, belting it out as we ran along the front, when we realised that the music was from a runner pushing another participant in a wheelchair. Wowee! And, yes, they did overtake us!

Then we were at the finish, and we crossed the line, in true Mobot style. Wow. I have goosebumps thinking about it now 🙂

There was a short walk from the finish to the medal collection, where @TheWelshWookie and I had to split up, as we were funnelled through the finish by t-shirt size. I collected my medal, give to me by a young guy with a hearty ‘well done’, which he must have said hundreds or thousands of times already.

We met back up again, and then walked to the baggage buses to retrieve our gear. There was a huge changing area, which was great, as I could get into some comfy clothes for the bus journey home. We then made our way to the bus, to find that only two guys had gotten there before us! So, we had time to chill out, have some snacks, and enjoy the sun, before boarding the bus back to Glasgow.

Here’s a map of the race: 

  Our stats: 2:39:01 my slowest HM to date, but that didn’t matter in the slightest

The Medal: 

 Goody Bag: Lucozade, water, crisps, cereal bar, samples and leaflets: 

 T-shirt: A pretty cool finisher’s medal. Excuse the wild hair – I’d taken off my visor, and the wind picked up just as I was having my pic taken! 😮  

  
I had left my Nike SportWatch in my room (which the staff kindly returned to me), so I used my Nike App to record the run. I’m not sure what happened, as it recorded the run as almost 15 miles!

I can understand why people rate the GNR so highly. I really is the King of Half Marathons. If you ever get the chance to run it, take that opportunity! And if you have run it, what were your thoughts about it? I’d love to hear them.

The Playlist Swap (Part Three)

The Playlist Swap (Part Three)

It’s been a while since I posted about the Playlist swap. It has been a lot of fun!

Frequent visitors will remember that Girl Runs Wild and I swapped MP3 players earlier in the year, and it was a fantastic experience! I also shared with you that I’d received an MP3 player from Kyla at http://earlybirdfitness.com and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying her music.

Lots of tracks are upbeat and really good for running to. There were a few oldies I had forgotten about, including a track that reminds me of a holiday to Ibiza with my sister (The Ketchup Song, if you’re wondering 😉 ) and I’ve been loving the Justin Timberlake tracks!

As with Julia’s MP3, it’s been really good to hear music I didn’t know, and songs from both MP3s that were previously unknown to me have become firm favourites.

I’m looking forward to getting another MP3 in the future from The Running Princess, who has been busy running the Paris and Edinburgh marathons recently. Go, Allison!

There’s another running track that I just love running to at the moment. It’s a little slow, but very powerful. It’s from a BRILLIANT album, too. I’d highly recommend it.

‘What is it? What is it?’

I’m sure you’re shouting that out loud, while reading this post and rolling your eyes at my dramatic build-up…. 😉

It’s….

Yip, Iron Sky from Paolo Nutini’s album Caustic Love.

And I love, love, love it.

Do you have a favourite new running track at the moment? What is it?

The Playlist Swap Continues

The Playlist Swap Continues

Frequent visitors will remember that Girl Runs Wild and I recently swapped MP3 players, and it was a fantastic experience! It was so different, discovering music I didn’t know, rediscovering some tunes I had forgotten about, and being surprised by tracks that we share on our running playlists.

We’ve extended the swap further, and it now includes The Running Princess (who is just back from running the Paris Marathon) and Early Bird Fitness.

So, I was delighted to receive this in the post:

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This MP3 player came all the way from Kyla at Early Bird Fitness, and I can’t wait to try it out on my next long run! 🙂

It’ll probably be a post-wedding run, but will definitely be something I look forward to!

Do you have a favourite running track? What is it?

 

 

 

A Friday Update

A Friday Update

Happy Friday, peeps!

I thought I’d catch you up on my half marathon training: some people have been surprised to hear that @TheWelshWookie and I are going on runeymoon, but after I’ve explained that we’re able to combine a love of running with some sightseeing and relaxation, it makes more sense to them. I’m still following my Hal Higdon plan really closely, and the training is still going well. I missed one run last Saturday, but that’s really the first missed run and I’m already at the end of week 7’s training plan.

Unfortunately, @TheWelshWookie slipped on some grass when playing football with the nephews on Sunday and has re-injured his knee, so he’s not run this week. Yet. Hopefully he’ll be back to it soon enough!

Runners blog relay 2014

My  Around the World Running Blog Relay mileage is about on target: I’ve already gotten in 57.96 kilometres so far, and with a 9 miler planned for tomorrow I should be adding more to that this week.

Also, it’s almost time for The 5×50 Challenge 2014. We signed up for this back in mid-December, and time has flown in, as it now kicks off in eight days: next Sunday! I’m really looking forward to it, as I know it combined with #ATWRBR2014 will definitely keep me on track!

In wedding news, everything is in a bit of a lull: everything is organised, and I’m now just waiting to carry out the last minute things that can’t be done in advance. It’s three weeks today: I can’t wait!

How are your challenges going?

Bitter Suite Friday

Bitter Suite Friday

Happy Weekend to you, welcome to Friday!

Today is exactly four weeks until @TheWelshWookie and I get married.  Eeek! Time is flying by!

wedding_meme

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we were heading to a concert tonight. Do you want to know which concert? It’s a band I was a HUGE fan of when I was at school and at University: Hue and Cry.

They’re marking the 25th Anniversary of their dual album ‘Remote’ and ‘Bitter Suite’. Remote was a good, fun pop album, with slight political overtones. Bitter Suite was more acoustic, and was recorded live at the Renfrew Ferry. I love them both!

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And so, Hue & Cry are playing two gigs: tomorrow night is a big, live full band set to celebrate Remote, while tonight is a full acoustic play through of Bitter Suite, with some ‘surprises’. I cannot wait!
http://youtu.be/ZxJjv1LQ4ic

I’m looking forward to having a break from wedding stuff, and from normal life – and reliving my teenage years for a few hours 😉

What was the last gig you went to? Have you revisited teenage bands much?

Affy Windy

Affy Windy

This morning, @TheWelshWookie and I headed out to do our eight mile run. We had perfect running conditions: it was cool and overcast but dry. However, it was affy windy. So much so that when we got to the harbour the Tarbert – Portavadie ferry wasn’t running!

We headed out on around glen road, which was where we ran a fortnight ago. It was quiet, and we kept our pace slow. We then headed back into the village, and along our usual harbour route to Garvel then around the harbour to the concrete and back. 8 miles done. It felt really good today!

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This was @TheWelshWookie’s longest ever run, and he felt good afterwards, too: the steady, slow pace and fuel practice paid off.

I took the MP3 player that Girl Runs Wild sent. And, I can tell you, she has some great taste in music! It has loads of really good, upbeat tracks, including ‘Gloria’ by Laura Brannigan, ‘Suddenly I See’ by KT Tunstall and ‘Grace Kelly’ by Mica. I was so excited to hear a track by The Lightning Seeds that I hadn’t heard for years! (It was ‘Sugar Coated Iceberg’ in case you’re wondering). Then, at around the 6 mile mark, I heard the first track that we both have, it was ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack. Love that.

As I got to my final hill, I was cheered by some good old Meatloaf, and I was signing along like a loon! @TheWelshWookie thought I was singing ‘I Battered the Hill’ instead of ‘Bat out of Hell’, so I think I’ll be sticking with those new lyrics from now on 😉

To finish the final mile, I had some Mumford and Sons, which was just right at that point in my run. I can definitely say that I am so glad we did the swap: I’ve heard some great tunes I don’t have, or I had forgotten about, and I’ve been introduced to some great music I hadn’t heard before. I’m not sure what Girl Runs Wild will think of my playlist, but I’m looking forward – with trepidation – to finding out!

After today, I’ve added to my  Around the World Running Blog Relay total by another 8 miles, or 12.88 kilometres, which brings my  total to 28.98 kilometres for week one 🙂

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend: I know it’s LA Marathon time, and the Inverness Half tomorrow too.

Are you running this weekend? What’s your goal?

An Update

An Update

Evening all!

I thought I’d give you a quick update on my half marathon training plan, and the headline is that it’s going really well.

So far, Hal Higdon is working out really well: it’s a good mix of runs, with four days running, one day cross training and two rest days per week. I’ve now reached Week 5, Day 4, so I’m not quite at the half way point yet. I’m managing to do a mix of running outdoors and dreadmill runs, which is also helping to stave off boredom.

So tonight, I’ve added to my  Around the World Running Blog Relay mileage: another 3 miles, or 4.83 kilometres, which brings my  total to 16.1 kilometres so far 🙂

In wedding news, I now have virtually everything arranged, I think. And if I don’t have it arranged, it isn’t happening! I’m just about to finish off writing the Order of Service, and that will be another job done! 🙂

funny-wedding-programs

I feel as though some things are just about coming together, in terms of both running and wedding planning this week 😉

What’s going well for you at the moment?

The Playlist Swap

The Playlist Swap

Tonight, I headed out for my second dry run in a row for ages! I was running four miles, and so I was able to listen to some of Girl Runs Wild‘s running playlist. I was very excited!

The first forty five minutes worth of music is a really great mix, all of which I really enjoyed. It included:

  • the theme from Flashdance
  • a good smattering of Country music
  • some old skool James tracks
  • some Katie Melua

And, as I finished my four miles, I was running to Roar by Katy Perry! Yay!

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I’m looking forward to hearing more! As I think of some of the sad tracks on my own playlist, I think I’ve benefited from this swap! It was great to be able to run, and have no idea what music was coming next. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this aspect of my run tonight.

So, I’ve added to my  Around the World Running Blog Relay mileage: another 4 miles, or 6.44 kilometres, for a total of 11.27 kilometres so far 🙂

What’s your favourite running track?

A Blogger Surprise!

A Blogger Surprise!

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting to Girl Runs Wild about running music and playlists. During the online conversation, she mentioned that we should buy a basic MP3 player each, download our playlists, and mail them to each other.

And so, the great playlist swap has begun!

While Girl Runs Wild is still waiting for me to receive the MP3 player from Amazon to load and send to her, I received an email on Tuesday, telling me to look out for a little package through the mail 😉

And yesterday, there was a parcel waiting for me at the front door! Eeeek!

It was quite a large package, and my first thoughts were: was there something I’ve ordered for the wedding that I’ve forgotten about? Has @TheWelshWookie been doing some sneaky online shopping?

I carried the package into the kitchen, and opened it. Hmmm. It was a lovely pink box, wrapped in a silver satin ribbon. I was intrigued!

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I carefully removed the ribbon, puzzling over this lovely package.  My thoughts included have I entered and won a competition? I rechecked the name and address, in case I’d accidentally opened a package for my neighbour: nope! It’s definitely for me!

I opened the box, unsure of what to expect. And what did I find? A box of fabulous goodies, perfect for a runner!

The lovely notecard inside explained all: this wonderful blogger was treating me to the whole ‘Girl Runs Wild’ running experience, including the music, fuel, recovery food and post-run pampering kit! 😀

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In the box was: a 9 Bar (I love these), a bag of Lindt eggs (delish!), The Body Shop Total Energy Enlivening Body Gel, a big box of lovely scented tea lights and another small gift box containing the MP3 player!

I’m a very, very lucky blogger!

I’m already a huge fan of 9 bars, and I’m not sure you’ll believe this, but @TheWelshWookie and I polished off the last of our Lindt chocolate balls from Christmas only on Monday, so to receive the Lindt eggs now is just perfect!

The body gel smells really lovely, and I can’t wait to try it post-run. I use a lot of candles, and the ones Girl Runs Wild included smell divine!

I am tempted to have a sneak listen to the MP3 player but I’m going to hold off, and use it on my long run, so that I can really enjoy it. I’ll let you know all about it after I’ve listened!

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I’ve been blown away by both the generosity and the lovely, thoughtful surprise: it has really made my week!

Thank you, Girl Runs Wild! You’ve really highlighted for me how fantastic all of you bloggers are!

In case you missed it, we’re also both signed up for the Around the World Running Blog Relay 2014: Are you in yet? No? Well, you’d best get a wriggle on, it starts on Saturday! 😉 Sign up here

Have you ever received a wonderful surprise?