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. 😀

A Break from the Games, Back to the Village

A Break from the Games, Back to the Village

I thought you might appreciate a little break from my posts about the Commonwealth Games. While I’m watching the gymnastics, including another gold for Team Scotland, I thought I’d share a local Tarbert festival, which I missed this year.

While @TheWelshWookie and I were sunning ourselves in Tenerife, my family were at our house, enjoying Tarbert Seafood Festival! I enjoyed last year’s festival so much that I split my review into two posts, which you can read here and also here.

They had fabulous weather, and they told me that there were even more stalls than there were last year. They enjoyed sampling the seafood delights:

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Enjoyed a little beer:
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and basked in glorious sunshine.
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Stacey was a winner this year: she won a fishcake! No, not a fishcake, but a Fish Cake! Nom nom nom.
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And on the Sunday, they enjoyed the music at Beer on the Pier. They took the boys over to the outdoor gym, and were able to enjoy the music from the other side of the harbour. Smart thinking, guys!
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There is no way we’ll be missing the festival in 2015 😀

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.

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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!

 

 

Movember Round Up

Movember Round Up

Well, now that we’re at the end of Movember, and staring down the barrel of December (yay!) I thought I’d do a quick Movember round-up.

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Favourite run this month?

@TheWelshWookie and I really enjoyed the MoRun earlier this month:

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And @TheWelshWookie has been sporting his Mo all month:

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All in the name of charity 😉

I was delighted to find out that my MoRun race report was mentioned on the Mo Running website’s MoBlog!

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Favourite food this month? Well, it’s been a toss-up between a bag of metcalfe’s popcorn and my pizza and salad last week:

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What has been your Movember highlight?

On My Way Today

On My Way Today

I’ve been saying how the weather has turned cold and wintry recently. I though that, today, I’d show you.

And so, I took a couple of snaps to and from Helensburgh today. Also, because the scenery is lovely 😉

Here’s a view looking down Loch Fyne, from Lochgilphead. You can see the Isle of Arran in the distance. #nofilter20131121-150959.jpg

This picture is of the snow peaked Arrochar Alps, just peeking out behind the hill, as you leave Inveraray:20131121-151109.jpg

And here’s Inveraray itself:20131121-151153.jpg

These next two pics are of Loch Long, from Arrochar at the head of the Loch:20131121-151237.jpg

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And this final pic is of the helicopter taking equipment to the guys at the Rest and Be Thankful, who are still working to reduce the landslips. The traffic was stopped both ways to allow the helicopter to fly right in, in front of me 🙂20131121-151452.jpgSo, after my four hours in the car, I’m looking forward  to hammering the treadmill and rower tonight.

Then, it’s time to pack for another weekend away, and for a glass of vino 😉

What was  your commute like today?

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Welcome to another week, laid out before us, full of possibility and opportunity.
What do you have planned? My plan is to get back to it. And to get my Christmas cards written, and pressies wrapped 😉

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Hope this helps, if you’re struggling with your Monday Mojo!

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! 😀