Monday Motivation: Three Weeks Until Spartan Day

Monday Motivation: Three Weeks Until Spartan Day

I can’t believe that, in three week’s time, it will all be over and I’ll have- hopefully- completed my first Spartan Run. Eek! This is hurtling towards me at an accelerated pace, and I’m hoping that my nod towards training is enough to see me through.

As I said in last Monday’s post I started the week with WAR. And I had DOMS for days, I definitely pushed myself! On Tuesday I did a 5k run/ walk which felt good, but reminded me that my body isn’t quite 100% yet, my left leg still felt a bit off and weak. I’m hoping that my runs this week will show an improvement, but who knows. 

I had an unanticipated busy week, with a trip to Islay on Wednesday meaning that I missed my regular Jog Scotland run. I was out on Thursday night and so I missed PiYo but I managed a walk and a little cross training on both nights which was better than nothing. Since then, I’ve had visitors all weekend for the Seafood Festival, which is one of the best weekends of the year in Tarbert. This year was no different: it was really wet but we had great fun, great food, excellent company and a few cheeky drinks including the newest addition to the local gin collection: Kintyre Gin   I’ve had a day off today, which had mostly been spent getting beds stripped and washed, and catching up on a few things around the house. We have a quiet weekend coming up, with no visitors which will be nice as we’ve enjoyed company for the past three weekends. I’m hoping that this week will give me a chance to keep my fitness goals on track. I’m heading to WAR later today, we’ll see how that goes after such a busy weekend 😉 

We then have a trip to London planned before the Spartan Race, so I’ll be doing what I can between times to keep up. Eeek! Here’s some Monday Motivation that I’m holding on to- I hope it works for you!

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Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hello, I hope you’re ok- particularly if you’re in the UK and affected by the dreadful flooding and poor weather this weekend.

We’ve been lucky this time around, as we weren’t hit too hard: there was a landslide on the Rest and Be Thankful, however the debris nets did their job and the road remained open- yay!

So I was able to make it to Glasgow and back on Saturday where I had a lovely festive lunch with some of the Dream Team. We even had a lovely walk around the Christmas lights, in the rain 🙂

This week, I don’t have Clubbercise and I probably won’t make my Pound class either, so I’m contemplating using that as a reason to lace up my trainers and bust out a short run. I really have to get back out there!

Here’s something to help with my motivation: 

 I hope it helps you too 😉

Gallus Glasgow

Gallus Glasgow

Well, Glasgow was indeed pure Gallus over the past fortnight.

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Our Commonwealth Games experience began on Friday, 25th July when we arrived in a sunny, scorching hot Glasgow for the live ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ broadcast from the City Halls. We were thoroughly entertained by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, John Owen Jones and Gloria Onitiri. Boy, could that girl sing!

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We were also lucky to see several British sports stars including Dame Kelly Holmes, Matt Pinsent, Rodger Black, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram. Wowsers!

We then enjoyed a Saturday night wander around the Merchant City, before heading to George Square to take some photos at the Giant G:

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I even got to ‘high-5’ Clyde:

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And to hug him, of course!

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Saturday morning was an early start, and we caught the train back into Glasgow, and headed to the SECC for the Judo. The security was very slick and efficient. and we were inside the venue in plenty of time.

Our seats were fantastic: very close to the action, and I found the contests surprisingly easy to follow. Although we only saw preliminary rounds, through QF, SF and repêchage, there was plenty of success for the home nations teams, and we saw many well deserved wins.

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When the event ended, we stopped off at the Crowne Plaza hotel for a lil’ drink. And, we were surrounded by BBC execs: Clare Balding and her team were sitting at the next table prepping their show for later in the evening 🙂

We then walked along to Glasgow Green, to experience the Commonwealth Games Festival and we had arranged to meet Simon, Pamela and Matthew, Joe, Stacey and RJ, and Angie and Ryan, and his nephew Kieran. The queues for security were quite long, but when we were inside, there were lots of activities and fun for the kids – including the big kids!

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We had a few little drinks there, and when the rain made an appearance we retreated to a nearby pub.

@The WelshWookie and I had dinner reservations for Brown’s, which was wonderful. I had lobster linguine, while @TheWookie had steak. Yummy.

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Sunday morning was a little damp, but we headed into the city once again to see the marathon. Not long after we arrived in George Square, the male marathoners past us. Those guys are fast! We then met up with the wonderful Allison aka The Running Princess and her husband Steve which was fab! We watched the female marathon runners pass by, and Allison gave me the MP3 player with her running tracks on it, as part of the Great Music Swap. Stay tuned for a later post on this! 😛

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@TheWelshWookie and I walked back down towards Merchant City, and had a look around the Irn Bru ‘pop up’ museum, before stopping to cheer on the marathon runners as they made their second of three laps around the city. We then headed to Glasgow Green, and were lucky to find a spot around 100 metres from the finish line, where we could cheer the runners.

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The atmosphere was fantastic! Yes, it was a little wet and showery, but everyone was in good spirits. And when Michael  Shelley from Australia rounded the corner an realised he was at the finish line, his joy was palpable!

We then spent the rest of last week working, but glued to the Games all week.

And, on Friday at lunchtime, we headed through once again to Glasgow, for this weekend’s shenanigans!

We met up with Angie and Ryan in George Square, before catching the shuttle bus to Hampden for the athletics. And what a ball we had!

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Our seats were fantastic: right behind the flag poles, at the start of the race track. It was also just where the pole vaulters were performing.

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We had a wonderful evening, and the events seemed to fly by, including the men’s 10,000 metres, the ladies 800 metres, with Lynsey Sharp bagging a silver medal for Scotland! We also watched the pole vault final, triple jump, ladies high jump final, discus and javelin. And we also saw the heats for the 4×400 relays and, of course the 4×100 relays too!

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We were very lucky to be seated just where the anchors would start their run, which meant we could see plenty of two of the biggest sprint stars in the world: Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce and, what’s the name of that fast guy again? The entertaining one? Ummmmm.

Oh, that’s right.

Bolt. Usain Bolt.

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Despite all of the controversy during the week, he received a fntsatic reception from the crowds and he did not disappoint with his explosive running. Wowee.

You can see him in action here:  

The evening ended with the women’s 100m hurdles, which was also very impressive. We then headed back to the queue for the shuttle bus before stopping off for a night cap on our way home.

Saturday morning and we found ourselves heading back into the city for two events. It was pretty wet and damp, so we had some breakfast at the station before we caught the train to the SECC and joined the queue for the para-powerlifting event.

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As we queued the rain started, and the brollies went up. The tickets said gates would open at  12.30, but that came and went and we were still waiting in the pouring rain. Turns out there was apparently a misprint on the tickets, and they weren’t ready to let us in! Needless to say I was soaking wet, and not impressed.

Finally, we were allowed in, and both security and the Clydesiders did their best to get us into the dry of the Clyde Auditorium (a.k.a. the Armadillo) quickly. We found our seats easily, and settled with a beer to enjoy the event. The athletes were really impressive: how they have overcome various levels of disability to lift and achieve so much was inspiring. We also saw a new world record, when Ali Jawad from Team England broke his own world record not once but twice! I reckon that was one of my highlights of the games.

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When the event finished, the rain was still pouring, and so we headed back to the Crowne Plaza again, knowing we could have something to eat and wouldn’t have to go back through security once again.

The gates for the Boxing were due to open at 6.30pm in the newly built SSE Hydro, and so as I paid the bill, I saw that we’d been given a 20% VIP discount! 😀 The staff must have thought we worked for the BBC or something, as most of those there appeared to do so.

Anyway, we left the hotel at around 6.45pm, and found that the doors had not yet been opened, and for the second time in one day we found ourselves queueing in the rain. Finally, we got in, and we were in the circle, overlooking the boxing ring.

In fact, we were sitting next to the VIP area, and throughout the evening, lots of the referees and officials were coming to stand just in front of us to have their photos taken above the ring, as it was the perfect spot for that!

We saw the finals of the women’s middleweight, and the men’s middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight. The atmosphere was simply amazing! The star of the evening was Saint-Pierre, from Mauritius, who was very entertaining. But, the audience were shocked when the bout – and the gold medal – were awarded to the New Zealander he was fighting!

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By the time the boxing drew to a close and the medal ceremonies were complete, the rain had cleared and we walked to the train station, stopping for a night cap before catching the train back to Dumbarton.

Our final taste of the Commonwealth Games excitement was brief, on Sunday. It wasn’t just wet, it was torrential. We had to head into the city to run an errand, and we were lucky enough to watch the men’s road race from the dry within the Apple Store on Buchanan Street.

When we got home, we settled down to enjoy the closing ceremony, and to reflect on all of our fun over the past couple of weeks.

Glasgow did itself proud: the people made the games: the friendliness, the hospitality and the support was brilliant. The Host City volunteers were a credit to Glasgow, and the Clydesider volunteers (including my sister and my mum) really made the games very special, and made everyone feel very important.

I’d like to share my wee voice of congratulations, and thanks to everyone involved in some way to making the Commonwealth Games such a wonderful success. Puredeadbrilliant!

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?

 

A New Arrival

A New Arrival

On Saturday, @TheWelshWookie and I went for a little run around Tarbert Harbour. It was a damp day, with blustery showers, but we were lucky and managed to time our run between them: more by luck than design, I hasten to add 😉

And, the village has had a new arrival: our brand new ferry is here, and almost ready for action!

Our current ferry, MV Isle of Cumbrae, is a lovely little lady. But she’s a bit tired and ever so slightly old fashioned. But we’ll miss her.

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Her replacement is a hybrid ferry, both diesel and electric, and she is much bigger than her predecessor.

She’s MV Lochinvar, and can carry 150 passengers and 23 vehicles. She’s brand, spanking new, and only the second of her hybrid-kind in the CalMac fleet.

I can’t wait until our next visit to Portavadie, so we can see what she’s like inside and on the water 🙂

When was the last time you were on a ferry? Where did you go?

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@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

First of all let me introduce myself.

My name is Tony Jones, otherwise known as @thewelshwookie, I am a 42 year old former Rugby Player and former Martial Arts who had let himself go for a good many years. A couple of years ago, my fiancée, now my wife, @tartanjogger was training for the Glasgow Women’s 10k when she injured her ankle and had to pull out, being the supportive individual I am I offered to train with her and run the Great Glasgow Run 10k with her a few months later.
So once the injury had healed training started and this 30lb overweight middle aged man set out for his first kilometre and nearly died!!!!!!!
Fast forward to April 24th 2014 and I finally stepped up to the Half Marathon.
Having studied the Race Route the previous night, I was expecting a steep start to the race and was very pleasantly surprised! Training for the run in and around Tarbert, we have been hitting some serious hills including one that I like to refer to as ‘The B!tch’ so the gradual raise for the first 6k felt almost flat. After around 4k, we ran past the first block of serious support, a group of 20somethings with huge banners and vocals declaring ánimos, which was very uplifting, especially after just passing an empty water station, luckily we carry our own!!
The course continued through the city streets, on terrain that we like to consider flat, although some reports I have read describe as undulating, passing El Corte Ingles, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Peurto De Europa to name but a few!
Passing the 10 mile marker, new territory for me as this was the longest distance run in training, I was feeling great knowing that all that was left was a lap around Parque el Retiro before entering the park and hitting the finish line. I took my final energy gel and kept my head up, then it happened, we turned a corner and saw ‘La Bruja’!! The sight of this kilometre long hill in the very last stages of the run knocked me sideways and it took every ounce of mental strength I have not to start walking and crying, but somehow I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, nowhere near the pace I had been going but technically still running, JUST!
Entering the park, the support was amazing and gave me a burst of energy from somewhere ethereal! I now know what happens when Hulk Hogan receives power from all the Hulkamaniacs to beat the bad guy.
So, first half marathon down and looking forward to the next, as the great Mo Farah says, 2014 is the year for turning metres to miles.

tonys watch

 

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Date: 25th April 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://es.competitor.com /

Positives: good expo, great course, excellent organisation, friendly runners, vocal support

Negatives: the hill at the end, lack of water

As @TheWelshWookie and I were in Madrid for the race and our honeymoon, we headed straight from the airport to our city centre hotel. As soon as we had a bite of lunch, and hopped on the Metro to the expo.

We found the location, and the queue to get into the expo was huge! So, we waited patiently in line, and it was worth the wait. The organisation for bib collection was really good, as was the goodie bag and T shirt points. I was surprised to be given the choice between a T shirt or vest, so I opted for a vest 🙂

We purchased some really cute double layered socks with Spanish flags on them, and @TheWelshWookie treated himself to a spie belt:

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I didn’t hug any expo displays this time 😦

We then headed back to the city centre, had some dinner, and went for a walk to find the start line, which was easy to find and only about one kilometre from  our hotel. Result!

When we returned to the hotel, we laid out our running gear and headed for bed. What do you think of my race vest and shorts? Cute?

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On the morning of the race, we were up early, had our breakfast of greek yoghurt and a Nakd bar, changed and walked to the start line. As the 10K was starting at 8.30am, and the half and full marathon started together at 9am, it was pretty busy. The 10K start line was on a different street, but many of the runners obviously didn’t know that and were at the marathon start area, even as it reached 9am.

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Our corral was at the back, which was great. I could see that the other corrals were busy, and we were running for fun, not time. This was @TheWelshWookie’s first half marathon experience, and the atmosphere was great: music, excited runners and even some sky divers helped us get the party started!

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Here’s the map of the race:

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The race started at 9am, and the final corral (including us) headed off after about 10 minutes. The sun was shining, ans we were good to go! As our corral was quite quiet, it was really good to run on a lovely, wide road and we didn’t have to dodge around many other runners.

The first few kilometres were a steady incline, but I’m very grateful for our hilly training, as it felt flat to both of us. The early support around the course was great: the spectators were supportive and vocal. We ran past lots of Madrid’s sights, including Bernbau stadium, Puerto de Europa and many of the important museums and galleries.

As we reached the first water stop at 5K, we were both feeling great, and were very grateful that we’d brought our own water as they had run out. As it was warm, that will have caused some people difficulty.

The course levelled out, and the support dwindled a little, but that was fine as I was really enjoying looking at the buildings and architecture. It was gorgeous!

We then headed back towards Parque del Retiro, which was mostly downhill, and good fun. The marathoners peeled off along their course at around the 14K mark. Fortunately, there was adequate water and powerade at the rest of the water stations.

At the 15, 16K point, we were at the park, and knew that we had a lap around its perimeter before finishing in the park itself. It was warm, and the support here was good. I noticed that we were heading downhill a little at one point, and then, with about one mile to go, we turned a corner to head into the final straight, and there it was. A hill. A steep, unexpected hill. We dug in, and after haviing a fantastic 11 mile run, @TheWelshWookie began to struggle a little for the first (and only) time. I tried to keep pushing a little, but it was tough! And it lasted for the whole of that final mile!

As we turned into the park, the support was really good, and @TheWookie got a second wind. We picked up our pace, and finished the race strong. 🙂

As we crossed the line, we had our medals placed around our necks, and posed for photos. We collected water, powerade and food bags, then spent a couple of minutes celebrating.

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We then met the lovely Ro, from Run Dabblers, which was great! Ro had spotted us with 5K to go, and kindly said we’d helped pace her to the finish. She too, had found that last hill horrible!

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Our stats: 2:23:59 which is my slowest half to date, but we were not running for time. We were running for fun. Also, given the heat, the final hill and the altitude, I’ll take it! I didn’t know until afterwards that Madrid is the highest Capital city in Europe!

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The Medal: Really good, fab, sparkly and heavy!

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Goody Bag: money off vouchers, leaflets and a good quality gym bag with a mesh back.

T-shirt: It’s a fab, neon green vest!

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After a quick shower and change, @TheWelshWookie and I headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and cocktails. We had a great day!

 

 

A Christmas Day Run

A Christmas Day Run

Merry Christmas!

This morning, @TheWelshWookie and I have been for a run around the harbour. Santa brought me a new Ron Hill Vizion top and my brother in law and sister in law gave us new Ron Hill gloves and beanies, so I had lots of new gear to try out!

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We had a good run: it was cold, and very quiet. There were hailstones as we walked home, too!

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We’re now home, opening presents and feeling very lucky and spoiled while tucking into our scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and champagne.

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For dinner, we’re having rib eye and proper chips instead of turkey. Yum!

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My plan for the rest of the day is to watch Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and other festive treats, wearing my onesie, my new jammies and my new slippers 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely day planned: was Santa good to you? Did you run today?

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house…..

…..the excitement is building!

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I’ve been munching on sprouts: my fave! 🙂

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I wish you all a peaceful, fun and relaxing Christmas: unless you are running, then I wish you good weather and loads of good food!

I hope Santa brings you what you need this year 😀

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