After the high point last week of the Kintyre Way Ultra, this week has been decidedly more quiet and significantly slower paced! I’m still working my way through the May Accumulator challenge, and everything is still on track for my next event, which is the Leadership Journey 26 mile walk next Saturday.
I wanted to get a recovery run done, to shake out my legs after Saturday’s escapade. I headed to the timber route and kept my pace slow, just enjoying the views and the beautiful smell of pine, rain and soil. Gorgeous!
Time: 46m 16s
In the evening, I was able to join Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates, this week class was with prickle balls and was exactly what I needed to help with my post-race recovery. Loved it!
We went for an evening trail walk, to test out the new running poles which were delivered literally 20 minutes before the race on Saturday!🤣 I opted not to take them on Saturday, but wanted to get out to practice some technique. I think they’ll help with the 26 miles which is good news.
Only 2.88 miles, but 728ft of elevation.
A short evening run, after work. The weekend and a heavy couple of days were definitely taking their toll and I was tired for this one.
Time: 33m 24s
A short lunchtime run, feeling a little fresher than I did the day before!
Time: 31m 54s
I had originally planned another run, however My second covid vaccine was moved forward and so I headed out for a walk as soon as I’d had that taken care of. No photos, but 3.66 miles done, and no adverse effects from the second dose of vaccine thankfully!
This coming week I’ll still be keeping my training light, saving my energy and enthusiasm for next Saturday!🙌
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.
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.
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.
Time: 30m 3s
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.
Time: 30m 3s
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.
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!
Time: 31m 56s
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🙌
After a really good few weeks, the past week has been curtailed somewhat by other priorities, which has affected the number of classes I’ve been able to do (zero) and the length and time of my runs. We all get weeks like these, and I’m certainly not going to beat myself up over it – it’s just one of those things! Here is what I did fit in:
After my eight miles on the Sunday I was keeping my Monday run short, so I managed a wee 3 miler around the harbour. I was distracted, thinking ahead to my afternoon workload, and forgot to take a photo! Oh well, you’ll all know what the harbour looks like!
Time: 31m 0s
After a particularly busy day taking part in two really excellent seminars, I knew a run would be a good idea to expend the adrenaline and decompress my thoughts. It was absolutely the right thing to do and I felt so much better for doing it. I even kept my lipstick on!
Time: 45m 29s
After work, we went for a walk to the West Loch and we’re surprised to see the Gigha ferry sitting there! It was a strange site!
I was able to squeeze in a short lunchtime run and so I headed back to the West Loch to see if the ferry was still there, but it was already away. Ah well!
Time: 30m 3s
It was a really cold and wet day, and I really didn’t feel like lacing up. Ordinarily, running in the rain doesn’t bother me, but it was windy and cold, and- well- I just wanted to stay home!
I did lace up, and decided not to put myself under pressure. I opted to just do 30 minutes, just to get it done, so that’s what happened. It was so, so wet!
Time: 31m 16s
We’ll see if the coming week brings more opportunities to get a sweat on! 🤣🤷🏼♀️
And just like that, February has drawn to a close. We are already two months into 2021 and the weather has been more kind over the past week, that is for sure! The end of the month also marks the end of my February Accumulator Challenge, which I’ve completed with 17 runs. That marks five Great Run Solo challenges in a row…. so of course I’ve signed up for the March Challenge, marking six straight months if I get through this one ok.
Here’s how last week shaped up for me:
I started off the week with a lunchtime run, and as I knew I had a busy week ahead I decided to get a 4 miler in, so I knew I had some mileage under my belt. It was such a beautiful, sunny and mild day so I decided to test out the trainers I’d bought last autumn, but had put away for the spring. They felt so light compared to my winter ASICS GTX!
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 41m 55s
What a difference 24 hours makes, it was absolutely horrible outside with torrential rain, high winds and stormy weather. But, Jacqui had us all sorted with an alternative- a virtual power walking class! It was such a lot of fun, with 35 minutes of indoor walking: low intensity (ok, I did ramp it up at times, I can’t help myself!) and it passed so quickly. Can’t wait for the next one!
The storm had passed, leaving some overcast skies on Wednesday, with quite a bit of moisture still in the air. My legs were tired after Tuesday’s class, and I was pushed for time, but I squeezed in a half hour run to the West Loch and back.
Distance: 2.72 miles
Time: 30m 3s
Thursday saw a return to blue skies and mild weather. Tony and I were both working from home, so at lunchtime we headed out for a walk around the harbour, making the most of the day while we had the time.
Distance: 3.48 miles
I have a long weekend off work (ok, except I did do quite a bit of work on and off during the day), so I started the weekend with a run, of course. I knew I needed to get into a trail and had no plan in mind at all. My original plan was to run at Corranbuie but when I got there it was busy, so I headed to the timber route instead. As I had no plan, I took a trail that I would usually pass by, just to see where it went! It turned out to be a lovely, if not terribly long, trail and I’m glad I did it. On my way back I diverted down another trail, and found myself in some woodland. Following my instincts, I made my way through the trees and back to one of the other trails I use quite often, feeling some sense of accomplishment at not getting lost!
Distance: 4.7 miles
Time: 58m 8s
I wanted to shake out my legs a little after yesterday’s trail adventure, though they were tired and heavy when I set out. From trees to the sea!
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 42m 49s
Unusually, I headed out for an extra run to round off the month. I realised that my slightly shorter longer runs this month meant that I was just a fraction off 100k for February, so I decided to get in one wee run just to add the mileage in.
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:
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
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.
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!🤣
Time: 1h 0m
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.
Time: 42m 50s
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!
Time: 30m 3s
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.
Time: 1h 4m 6s
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 😉
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.
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.
Time: 32m 49s
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!
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.
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.
I ended the working week with another 5k around the harbour. Still raining, still bitterly cold and still very windy!
Time: 33m 7s
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
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!
Let’s start with the positives: I managed more running this week. Woo hoo! But, I didn’t manage to join any of Jacqui’s classes live this week. Boo! I just couldn’t get away from my desk on time. Hopefully this coming week might be a little easier to fit in at least on live class: we’ll see!
I also completed my Great Run Solo January Accumulator, with 24 activities. I’m pretty pleased with that result.
I had time for a short lunchtime run, and as we’d had some rainfall that morning I mistakenly thought that the underfoot conditions would be fine. Nope! There was hard packed ice en route to the astroturf, and to say I had to take my time and run very gingerly would be an understatement! It was just beautiful, though.
Time: 36m 17s
I had to venture into the office, but I packed my running gear in the hopes that I’d find time to squeeze in a run. And I did! I headed up Kilmory hill yet again, finding that there were icy patches along the way. It was tough, but worth the effort. And I was glad to be off road.
Time: 32m 42s
The Welsh Wookie and I were both working from home, and after a morning filled with online meetings, I needed to stretch my legs and take my eyes off of the screen for a while. We went for a damp walk to the West Loch, also doing Carrick Hill while we were down that way. It was very refreshing, if very wet!
Time: 1h 2m 30s
I was determined to make sure that January didn’t end without another slightly longer run under my belt. I had no scheduled meetings for the afternoon, which gave me some leeway to make the most of Friday to do just that. As the ice had gone, I thought I’d see how the castle loop was faring, which gave me just enough momentum to do 10k, with a mix of trail and road to keep it interesting. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so was low on fuel, and I think that’s probably why I could it reasonably tough. That and negative splits!
Time: 1h 13m 12s
We woke up to a gloriously sunny day, and decided that a short trail run to shake out my legs after yesterday’s tired run. It was a little windier than I had expected, but I enjoyed a short trail while listening to my audiobook.
Time: 40m 49s
So, that was just short of 16 miles of running and well over 1,000 feet of elevation this week. I was glad to be back on some trails, with less roads- I love the harbour, but it gets a little monotonous (and flat) when running and walking it multiple times each week in winter. It feels great to get exploring again!
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.
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.
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!
Time: 38m 53s
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!
Time: 36m 33s
Another harbour walk after work. It was cold, but dry. And I forgot to take a photo!
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.
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.
Time: 39m 32s
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.
Happy New Year! After taking a short break from running, I’m finally back at it this week. I’ve signed up of the January Great Run Solo Accumulator, which calls for 21 days of exercise. I know I said I wasn’t going to do a January challenge but I can’t help myself!🤣 I think it’s been made easier by the weather, as it’s been dry and sunny but incredibly icy! ❄️
I’ve also started my new year training to get ready for the Kintyre Way Ultra Relay in the hopes that it might go ahead. Here’s how the New Year so far has shaped up:
New Year’s Day:
We went for a walk around the harbour, taking our time as we met others doing the same, so we enjoyed a couple of distanced chats too. That was lovely! 4.1 miles in glorious sunshine.
We decided to dig the trail shoes out and headed up to the Cairn for today’s fresh air. The views really are incredible looking over the village. 4.3 miles and 715ft of elevation.
It’s a new week, and it’s high time to dig the trainers out again- they’ve been in hibernation since 23rd December. It felt good to run so the break was definitely the right call. I only did around the harbour but it was still tricky and icy in places.
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 44m 27s
Back to work, so we went for an evening walk around the harbour. After a busy day I completely forgot to take a photo!
Working from home has its benefits, including being able to fit in the occasional lunchtime run. That’s what I managed to do here, with a short harbour run again. It’s repetitive and I really want to be in a trail, but it’s just to slippery underfoot and I don’t fancy driving in icy roads if I can avoid it!
Time: 32m 4s
Another lunchtime run, and I had two meetings cancelled meaning I had a little extra time available than usual. I thought I’d get my longer run done and set out to do 5 or 6 miles. My first plan was to run the Castle loop but when I got to the kissing gate at the orchard it was just too icy for me, and no one knew I was heading out there. So I abandoned that plan and headed back to the harbour. I fitted in some extra hills, though, just for good measure, and ran my first 10k of the year. Woo hoo!
Time: 1h 11m 27s
Since I managed my longer run yesterday, today was a wee shake out run. After an incredibly cold night I knew it would be icy- and it was. But then it started to rain mod way through the run, which was certainly a change!
Time: 33m 3s
It’s been a pretty solid start to running in 2021, though I do want to get back on the trails as soon as I can. 7/21 days done of my January Accumulator too. Yay!
We were away last weekend and so there was no blog post, so here’s a quick summary of the past two weeks for anyone who is interested (and if you aren’t you might enjoy some photos!). Long story short- it’s been tough, and I’ve had tired legs. After having 10 weeks off earlier in the year due to the pandemic response work, I’ve been consistently running at least 3 or 4 times each week since June so it’s now time for a short break before starting training again in the New Year.
A quick shuffle around the harbour at lunchtime. The weather was perfect!
Time: 30m 55s
I managed another lunchtime run which was amazing! Two in one week! This one was down to the West Loch and back.
Time: 30m 13s
A day off meant I could head to a trail and I was planning to do a slightly longer run but my legs had other ideas- they were tired and heavy so I cut it short and just did a 5k instead.
Time: 38m 11s
I thought I’d try again with another slightly longer trail run but the legs were done! It was during this run that I realised I hadn’t taken a real break since June so made the call to have a week away from running at the end of my December challenge. It was a beautiful day, though!
Time: 38m 51s
As we were away on a ‘staycation’ to another part of Argyll we decided to go for a lovely long walk. We headed out in drizzle but it quickly cleared to leave a lovely dry morning for a stroll!
Time: 3h 14m 39s
Another walk, just to give the legs a bit of a longer break. We were home by late afternoon so enjoyed a stroll around the harbour.
Time: 47m 9s
I pulled on my trainers again and enjoyed a beer short run. It was incredibly dark for mid morning!
Time: 32m 22s
I squeezed in a quick late morning run to the West Loch and it was really, really windy! Ooft!
Time: 30m 4s
Another short trail run- it was incredibly wet! I deliberately kept this one short, just to keep my motivation up for my final two runs of the year next week to see out my December accumulator.
Time: 36m 52s
So that’s 10 of my 12 December Accumulator runs done, I now have two more runs this week to round that off then I’ll refocus on training for the Kintyre Way Ultra (fingers crossed of course) Woo hoo!