Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I’m starting this week with a feeling of satisfaction and of achievement after Saturday’s Kintyre Way Ultra Relay in almost wintery weather: the word I heard over and over again to describe it was ‘brutal’ which is as accurate as you can get!

But before we get to that, here’s how the rest of the week shaped up.

Monday:

The week started off incredibly wet and windy which was not the best for a bank holiday! I think that gave the Kintyre Way a good dose of watering which helped contribute to the underfoot conditions later in the week.

We had some running about to do, including a trip to Inveraray so I didn’t do much meaningful exercise. Just a couple of short walks.

Tuesday:

A day in the office meant I packed my running gear in the off chance I could get out for a lunch run. I headed up the hill in lovely sunshine, though it was cold! I felt that the hill was a little easier than the last time I ran it so I was pleased about that.

Distance: 2.5m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 289ft

Pace: 12.04/m

Wednesday:

Another lunchtime run for me, I was trying to avoid the rain that was forecast for later in the day. In line with my plans, I kept the distance and time short and tried to keep my pace slow. The training is done, so the aim is to keep the legs and body moving without risking injury that comes with overtraining or last minute panicking.

Distance: 2.64m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 325ft

Pace: 11.22/m

Thursday:

No pictures today, I did some active recovery walks across the day both at work and also after work. I managed a step tally of over 13,000 without too much trouble.

Friday:

The day was bright and sunny, which no doubt fooled a lot into thinking we’d be treated to the same on race day! It was lovely to see the village busy up with visitors and there were plenty of runners around. I headed to the harbour just for a short shake out run, which was a pretty decent pace actually!

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 56s

Elevation: 56ft

Pace: 10.27/m

Saturday:

The day arrived and with it the weather started off calm and dry. But we all knew what was coming! as we were running as a relay team, Alison, Deirdre and I had to meet and register together at Tayinloan from where Alison would get our relay underway. I was up next but not for a couple of hours.

As we arrived at Tayinloan the rain was just starting and the wind had most definitely made an appearance, it looked like we weren’t going to be blessed with the same weather as last year at all. After Deirdre and I saw Alison safely over the start line I headed home to get ready, with buff, gloves, waterproofs, long sleeved top and even my thermal running tights back out. Who would have thought I’d need those in May!

Tony drove me to the handover point in Clachan to meet Alison coming in. I was grateful for my dryrobe while I was waiting! When Alison arrived, describing her section as absolutely brutal, I just thought I’d better get my head down and get this done!

You might remember that we recce’d this part only a couple of weeks ago and the conditions underfoot were good, with only a few boggy spots. Well, that changed from the offset, with the wood trail section muddy right from the start. And that was the theme for the next couple of hours, with driving rain, big muddy or boggy underfoot conditions continuously and strong winds. Boy, was it cold! It made for hard going on the legs and on the mind!

As I emerged along the side of Loch Ciaran, I was struck by the water’s surface which had been glass like last time, but was very different today!

Next up was a trail section which is very well known to me, and is drier underfoot. At this point, at about 4 miles in, I just decided to enjoy every second of this. I met a lady who was dropping out but looked safe on her own as she was on her way to meet the medic.

As I made my way through the lovely heathland and around the lochs, there was no sign of the Isle of Jura behind me or of Arran before me- both were well and truly hidden by cloud cover today!

The next section I knew was going to be tough, as it was open moor across the highest part of this section. It is usually pretty windy and boggy and the day’s conditions just topped anything I’d experienced on this part before. The clouds dropped, visibility was poor and the rain turned to hailstones which were driven by the winds right into my face. The wind also meant that moving forward was pretty difficult! Looking back at my stats, though, I was moving at a pace over difficult terrain – lots of bogs and rocky outcrops with ankle twisting hillocks everywhere but I somehow managed 11 minute miles!

Finally I reached the kissing gate which I knew marked the uphill climb right before the descent to the road towards Claonaig. It was pretty energy sapping, but knowing that the downhill was coming helped boost the mood!

It was disappointing that the cloud cover was so intense that there wasn’t even a glimpse of Arran, but I just recalled the glorious views from a couple of weeks ago instead.

I was fortunate to only pass one vehicle on the road, and when I reached the turn off for Skipness it was with mixed feelings that I headed back off the road and uphill again. In previous years the route was continuous road to Skipness which I know is mentally tough and hard on the legs. So I tried to keep that in mind as I climbed once again up a steep-ish track and along an unfamiliar trail I’ve never run before. I could see a runner ahead and tried to keep her in my sights, which really helped with the motivation!

After another mile or so we were dipping back down and there we were, at the handover point where I wished Deirdre good luck and told her to just enjoy it.

The hills, mud, rain, wind, cold and hail were certainly challenging but I absolutely loved it!

I had parked my car in Skipness the night before, so walked to collect it, and after a pretty muddy shower I felt a bit more human again!

Before I knew it we were heading down to the finish line to cheer Deirdre over and to celebrate our achievement!

And, we managed to take over 12 minutes off our time from last year- woo hoo! In glorious sunshine (but wind) last year we ran it in 7h 40m 18s, this year even in that weather we achieved 7h 28m 2s🙌

Distance: 12.1m

Time: 2h 47m 52s

Elevation: 1,516ft

Pace: 13.53/m

I just loved it!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

That’s better! We’ve had a week of cold but beautiful weather, which just makes it easier to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, so that’s exactly what I’ve done this past week.

Monday-

With it being a bank holiday, we wanted to make the most of the day and so we decided to walk up to Allt Dearg windfarm. We drive past it all the time, but had never walked up to the turbines before. Although we set out in glorious sunshine, the wind was absolutely wild the further up we climbed, and as we neared the top we were able to watch a hail shower come right across the Loch, over us, and past on its journey south. Cold, but amazing!

Distance: 6.7 miles

Elevation: 1,394 ft

Tuesday-

I was back at work after my break and although I had no time to run during the work day, it was so lovely to be able to enjoy a run after work still in daylight. It really is a joy.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 9s

Elevation: 135ft

Pace: 10.42/m

Wednesday-

I did have time today for a short lunchtime run, so I opted to do the west Loch and back, to keep it to 30 minutes. I needed the headspace!

Distance: 2.72m

Time: 30m 2s

Elevation: 115ft

Pace: 11.01/m

Friday:

It was another beautiful day, but with a number of afternoon meetings planned I stepped away from my desk slightly earlier than usual, for a wee three miles.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 39s

Elevation: 69ft

Pace: 10.51/m

Sunday-

I had arranged to meet up with Alison and Deirdre for our first run this year, to recce the middle section of the Kintyre Way in advance of our relay in May. It was just a perfect day, with lots of talking, lots of walking and lots of fun! The scenery is just spectacular, with views one way over to Jura and the other way over to Arran. Amazing!

We didn’t manage any cold water dips this week, but hopefully we might squeeze one in next week. I’m not pressuring myself- I want to keep enjoying them! I am pleased enough with how much fresh air and vitamin D I managed this week, especially as I was back at work. Let’s see where this week takes us ☺️

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

What a difference a week makes- we’ve gone from dry, bright but icy and bitterly cold to the more seasonal wet, mild and stormy weather. The wind and rain has made for some interesting running this week, and some less impressive photos than of late!

Here’s how my week turned out:

Monday-

It was really mild on Monday, and I definitely wore too many layers on this run. It came as a bit of a shock to have to remove gloves and headband mid run!

Distance: 3 miles

Time: 31m 55s

Elevation: 49ft

Pace: 10.36/m

As I had managed to fit in my run at lunchtime I was able to join Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates class again, and I’m loving them. This week we were using the prickle balls, and I definitely felt the benefit during and afterwards.

Tuesday-

I had time today for a midday walk, so I headed to the West Loch again, with the aim of beating my time from the last walk out that way. I got back with less than an hour on my watch so had to go past the house and back again!🤣

Distance: 3.68m

Time: 1h 0m

Wednesday-

I timed my run incredibly well, managing to dodge the showers and even capturing one of the very few bright spells we had this week. I also managed to get a slightly longer distance in for a lunch run which was ace.

Distance: 4m

Time: 42m 50s

Elevation: 151ft

Pace: 10.42/m

Friday:

Another day, and another stormy run! I’m desperately missing my trail runs but I only had a short gap to get any outdoor exercise in, so I opted for a 30 minute relaxed run to the West Loch. I was absolutely soaked by the time I got home!

Distance: 2.75m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 144ft

Pace: 10.56/m

Sunday-

It has been quite some time since I last run on a Sunday, but Saturday was an absolute howler! I also had a busy day with clarsach classes and some online support work for those, which took longer than expected. It was a good excuse to postpone my run until Sunday, and that turned out to be a good call. The morning was dry, sunny and mild, with just a hint of spring in the air. I didn’t have enough time for a longish run but I was determined to get onto a trail, so that’s what I did, for five lovely miles.

Distance: 5.25m

Time: 1h 4m 6s

Elevation: 528ft

Pace: 12.13/m

That’s now 12/14 runs for my February Accumulator, so I’m hoping to exceed the 14 runs by one or two. Let’s see how this week goes 😉

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

This week’s theme has been consistency. Consistency in many areas, and one of those areas was with my running plans. So there was no huge uptick in progress or in plans, but consistency is the key to many things, so I’m quite happy now that I reflect back on the past seven days.

Monday-

A double header! It was a lovely bright and crisp day so I ran at lunchtime to make the most of the beautiful winter light. The weather this week has by far been dry, bitterly cold and windy, that is for sure!

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 42m 45s

Elevation: 89ft

Pace: 10.41/m

I also managed to step away from my desk in time to fit in Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates class, which I’m really enjoying, so that was another hour of exercise.

Oh, and it was also ‘Medal Monday’, with my Great Run Solo January Accumulator medal arriving:

Tuesday-

A busy day at work meant I didn’t have time to stop at lunchtime, but as it’s getting slightly lighter in the evenings we are no longer heading out for a walk or run in darkness! These photos were taken from about the same spot- one was taken on my way out around the harbour and the other on my way back.

Distance: 3.54m

Wednesday-

I fancied a change of scenery on Wednesday but didn’t have time to drive to a trail. Instead I decided to do my lunch run along the Kilberry Road. It was nice to change it up a little, but I’d forgotten how much you have to stop and hop off the road to let traffic past!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 34m 2s

Elevation: 102ft

Pace: 10.57/m

Friday-

This run was bitterly cold, and I saw for myself how the harbour itself had iced up! It’s the first time since 2010 that has happened, I think. It looks more amazing in person than it does in the photos!

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 14s

Elevation: 85ft

Pace: 10.44/m

Saturday-

I really wanted to get onto a trail for a slightly longer run, but the threat of snow in the sky meant I didn’t want to risk getting myself stuck solo on a trail. I also had some commitments today so didn’t quite have enough time for a trail either. So a run around the harbour was called for, though it was so windy I was running to stand still at times! It reminded me of mile 9 of my first Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh when I didn’t the I’d finish because of the wind as I ran up part of Arthur’s Seat. But knowing I’d managed that, I could keep going.

Distance: 4m

Time: 44m 6s

Elevation: 249ft

Pace: 11.00/m

That makes eight runs so far for my February Accumulator, so I’m getting there!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I write these weekly reviews largely for my own benefit- I find that it helps me to stop and review how my week has been and when it can sometimes feel like all I have done is work, the blog reminds me that I do manage to do more than just that (sometimes!). This past week is a good example- it’s been a full on, busy week work-wise, and though I’d managed to do some Clarsach practice earlier in the week and I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading every night, I did feel that my fitness had suffered a little.

But pausing to review what I’ve done shows a different perspective: I managed one of Jacqui’s live classes (still only one live, though, getting away from my desk on time remains a challenge), and I also got my February Accumulator Challenge underway with four runs.

Monday-

The first day of a new month and I was determined to kick start that with a run. The day was unusually dry but bitterly cold when I headed for my lunchtime run around the harbour.

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 32m 49s

Elevation: 112ft

Pace: 10.35/m

Tuesday-

I managed to step away from my desk on time for Fitness Pilates. This is such a good workout- low intensity but strong moves, and I definitely feel the burn!

Wednesday-

It was a stormy day, and I knew that the harbour would be incredibly windy so I squeezed in a short run to the West Loch and back.

Distance: 2.7m

Time: 30m

Elevation: 177ft

Pace: 11.06/m

Thursday-

At lunchtime we had time for a walk, and despite the driving, icy rain and strong winds we walked to West Loch and added to the distance and elevation by adding in Carrick hill.

Distance: 3.37m

Friday-

I ended the working week with another 5k around the harbour. Still raining, still bitterly cold and still very windy!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 33m 7s

Elevation: 148ft

Pace:

10.40/m

Saturday-

I woke up today to a dry and sunny morning, and so I pulled on my trainers and headed to a trail- the timber route- with an aim of 10k or so. I listened to Hamish Napier’s ‘The Woods’ instead of a podcast or audiobook and mixing it up was a great idea- the music perfectly matched the run!

There was even some snow at higher altitude, which added some fun to my run and it was the first run in some time that was gratifying and soul restoring, even with the stormy winds trying to blow me over!

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 1h 24m 16s

Elevation: 810ft

Pace: 12.01/m

I’m grateful for having space to reflect on this week- and to notice that, actually, it’s been a good week fitness wise! Here’s to next week!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

After cranking up the mileage last week, it’s pared back a little this week, largely due to the volume of work. But I’ve still managed to get a few runs and walks in, though not as long as I had originally planned.

Monday-

I want to commit to doing more of Jacqui’s classes live. She is working so hard giving us an excellent selection of classes and I want to make the most of that so I started the week with an Evolve Fitness Pilates – Fitness Yoga session. And, wow, I felt that! It was great to feel connected back with the class and my buddies.

Tuesday –

I headed out straight after work to get a short 5k in. After Monday’s torrential rain, however, the roads were icier than ever, so I had to take it very easy and tentatively. Glad I did it, though!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 38m 53s

Elevation: 220ft

Pace: 12.31/m

Wednesday-

I had time for a lunchtime run, so I headed out to the harbour to make the most of the daylight. It was right in the middle of a rain shower, so I was drenched by the time I got home!

Distance: 3.3m

Time: 36m 33s

Elevation: 82ft

Pace: 11.04/m

Thursday-

Another harbour walk after work. It was cold, but dry. And I forgot to take a photo!

Friday-

As @TheWelshWookie was also working from home today we went for a lunchtime walk together, heading out to the West Loch for a change, including the hill up to Carrick Cemetery. It was a much needed break away from the desk.

Saturday-

I’ve been loosely working to a plan for Kintyre Way Ultra training, but I’m not being too rigid with it as I want the flexibility of doing what feels right during this month. Despite the stormy weather with big winds and icy showers we headed to the timber route to get back on a trail again, for the first time in weeks.

It was a joy to be back – I really felt the difference of the running surface, but the weather was relentless. I dropped my LSR plan and decided instead just to keep the run short and enjoyable.

Distance: 3.31m

Time: 39m 32s

Elevation: 390ft

Pace: 11.57/s

We’ll see what the weather does this week but the plan is more of the same: have fun, chop it around a bit and do what feels right.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

In my post last week, I alluded to the fact that everyone sees themselves as the main protagonist in life. Look, I’m blogging, so doesn’t that demonstrate that principle? Assuming what I have to say is important, has value and is of interest, aren’t I?

Anyway, I digress. We do position ourselves as central to our stories, and if we are able to be empathetic we can better understand how other people see themselves. I think that when people lose hope, or lose confidence they still retain an element of this but it is diminished. And it’s our job to help them recover that.

Everyone is ‘selling’ something, promoting something or trying to get others to better understand their point of view, and earlier this year I read Don Miller’s essential read How to Build a Storybrand. This book should be on your to-read list if you haven’t gotten to it already. As a writer, Don understands the power of storytelling and this book reframes how we can use that storytelling to improve our engagement with customers and with others more widely, all people we engage with. He uses some great examples to demonstrate where this does, and doesn’t, work well.

There are clear steps to achieving this but the one step that has stuck with me above the others is that customers don’t care about your story or your brand’s story. They care about their own, and want to know how your products can help them achieve their own story arc.

I’m simplifying the message, but this small snippet has stuck with me, and over the past few months I’ve been seeing this everywhere, and watching how people and businesses position their own story in comparison to how they centre their customer’s story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Spoiler alert: Don tells you early in the book that he will spoil movies for you as he talks you through how the basic narrative construction works. It hasn’t ruined anything for me, but I have found myself putting his framework to the test when watching films! Try it!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past week I’ve read a lot. And as a result of that I have lots and lots (and lots) in my head, bursting to develop into fully formed thoughts. But they’re not there yet. I’ve also been catching up on podcasts, covering everything from change to different mindsets to blaming people rather than systems. Whoa. Pretty full on, right?

But over and over, this past week has led me back to thinking about making mistakes and using them to grow and learn. I’ve also been thinking about what a journey to success looks like from the outside: linear, with no bumps. Yet we all know that’s just fantasy. No journey to success is without many mistakes, bumps in the road, full scale disaster, redirection, unsettling people (including yourself) and so on.

I was reminded of this Liz Wiseman quote:

For those who haven’t read Liz’ book, Multipliers, I’d highly recommend it.

I suppose being on the outside and looking at someone else’s journey is a difficult thing to do- we are all the heroes in our own lives and on our own journeys, so we have to remember to reframe that, and to recall that everyone is on their own messy, imperfect path with its own pitfalls and misdirection- and remember to be there to support each other along the way.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Downtime is so important, and I’m already at the midway point in my week’s leave. So far it has been lovely: some reading (not yet as much as I had planned), good food, running, stitching and listening to podcasts. And some wine, too. I think that’s why I haven’t read as much as I had planned: I’ve been catching up on a huge backlog of podcasts that have built up since I’m not driving a great deal.

When I was on my run on Monday, I listened to Whitney Johnson interview Molly Beck, the Podcast Whisperer, and it was fascinating! But the quote that leapt out at me was from the host, not the guest:

I just had to capture this as soon as I heard it, and I thought it was well worth sharing.

So if you need to hear it, please listen. Your effort won’t be going unnoticed.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Although I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about staying curious, part of the reason that I’ve restarted my blog with a focus on my Wednesday posts rather than my running is because I’ve also been doing a deep-ish dive into becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and not painting my exterior persona as being without flaws – it’s ok to just be.

And, with the trajectory we are all on this year there’s one thing I’ve been saying all too regularly: none of us has all the answers, so I’m also trying to open my horizons, share thoughts and let conversations happen. And given my penchant for unleashing my advice monster and demonstrating my ‘save it’ drama persona, I’m also trying to be more vulnerable.

A few months ago I read Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Several of the lessons resonated with me, and I was nodding a lot as I read it. It probably helped that that first section focussed on our desire to feel safe- and given the pandemic, I think that has been borne out over the past few months.

But the book also talks about how leaders have to be honest, open and need to keep in touch with reality in order to stay authentic.

This quote is one that I keep reflecting on:

So, when was the last time we admitted to weakness, or to not having all of the answers, or allowing ourselves to be vulnerable?

Probably not often enough.

It’s a journey for many of us.