Saturday, 13 December 2008

New Addition to the family

So - she popped!
He (for yes, it seems it is an impossibility for Islander and Ma-Ya* (for that is Sisinlaw's new moniker for blogland purposes) to produce a female child) was born at 1.28am today and is damn cute. Cute beyond measure. And will be referred to as Jr from now on.

It's been an eventful day apart from that. She is already back home with us and taking 3rd childdom in her stride. It's Islander's birthday tomorrow so the plan is to celebrate in fine style.
And maybe raise a glass to the prospect that our old place is no more (to us).
And possibly spend some time being glad that the drains might have been fixed. Let us not speak about the level of urg that I've seen today. Blocked mains drain is a terrible, horrible, thing. Ick. Ick.Ick.Ick.

The drain specialists have been at 9pm on a Saturday evening. And they return again tomorrow morning. Wish us lots of luck. A full septic tank would be a good result. A fucked-up mains drainage pipe would be a very bad result. Hell, we'll sort it whatever happens. I have the joy of having held my 3rd nephew for the first time today. He slept in my arms for about 40min and was truly wonderful. All petty iritations melt away with a baby in your arms. It's almost like some weird sort of therapy. I've felt a lot of love for my nephews over the last few weeks and this adorable little addition just reaffims quite how much I adore them and their company. Having children in your life adds a different dimension that nothing else quite matches (still happy to be able to hand them back though!).

Ah well. Must get some more xmas planning done this week. I have, the CB will be delighted to know - bought the stockings! And some work. And generally get life back to some level of normality. Must also stop eating like a P.I.G and maybe go for a run. Also get rid of this cold, seriously - I felt even worse than usual today. Maybe a good sleep will help. It would be damn nice.

*Maya is mother of the Buddah - but I also think it sounds brilliant.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Wow - the time is just flying. Which is pretty great considering the vast amount of family loitering round our house waiting for S-in-L to pop. She's now in the hospital being induced (where she has been since last night with no real progression). Fingers v firmly crossed.

I have to say it's been an incredible trip so far (20 days so far) and nothing is really getting on my wick apart from having no time to do anything, and no space. I just want to veg out and watch inappropriate TV. I basically just want to do anything inappropriate. Best behaviour (ish) isn't really my forte - and neither is mess. I love my nephews even more than I ever have but I begin to understand the parenting fascists who give their children minimalist toys "to develop their imagination" (and keep their houses looking lovely). No, I jest. It really has been fab - it's just a long ole haul. Luckily the grandparents get to say things like, "I don't think the sitting room should be used as a playroom when there are other rooms in the house." It's true - use anywhere but stop taking all the cushions off our new sofas and diving onto them. But you begin to sound a bit anti-kid and precious if it comes from you. Three Cheers for Grannu and her sensible child rearing. And three cheers for delightful boys listening to Grannu and not giving her a hard time.

The last week saw us miss Spartan's 30th bash (v. sorry) but have an incredible day with the 'phews when they both (through some twist of fate) got to ride in Santa's sleigh through Dunkeld on a perfect snowy and crisp sunshine day being pulled by reindeer. (This was after a puppet show, and before some pot/dinosaur painting - brilliant!)

Some other days are a real blur but after some frantic packing I made it to E'burgh on Tuesday night to celebrate with Spartan properly. He's done some shopping with TheO during the day - and then we all went out for a meal at a fabulous new location. One of the best settings I have ever encountered. The food was excellent to start and for pud - but the mains were both a little poor and a little prosaic. Hmmm. It was, however, one of the best nights out I've had in a while. Got to love getting the glad-ish rags on and feeling all relaxed when it's been so mad here.

The other news for the week is that our house sale DID go through. The money and keys have changed hands and we are v damn happy about it. A huge level of anxiety is finally gone; I always assume that everything will go tits-up until the final moment. That was the big joy for today. We've had a van for 2 days this week to get everything else shifted; we even managed to move the tractor mower ourselves. Now that it's all here I can declare that it was worth it. (Every box whilst lifting it however was not worth it.) Got to love hindsight.

So all in all a great week. Now if only I could get some xmas shopping done I'd be a little bit calmer. Eeeek. It's how long 'til xmas??

Also - can I please stop producing quite so much mucus. I'd like to be able to not be surrounded by tissues, not cough a lung up at every oportunity, and maybe breathe some time before 2009! Is that asking too much? Is it?

ps/ Anyone out there who reads this and expects crimbo tidings - we're not doing xmas cards this year - we've left it too late and have too many other things to do. We send you the appropriate amount of xmasy love and good wishes. With any luck we'll be in touch once we've really got the house sorted and have settled a bit more sedately. (Possibly not until 2010.)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Catchup (or: I'm too tired to think of a witty title.)

As usual much has happened since I last bored you. In my last post I neglected to mention that Kevin the contractor returned thanks to TheO playing peacemaker (whilst he accused be of being demanding and belligerent... surely my good friends know I am neither, unless under duress). Now we are still not finished - but getting ever closer. Just a few tiny things to finish. Like a fecking stove!!

As you left the house was being prepared for yet more guests. This time broinlaw and quiet-style were coming up for a w/end and poke around the new house. First night was a gentle catch-up and a nice easy-osey chat and relax. Sisinlaw cooked and I chilled out.

However I could only be partly relaxed as I knew that the next morning I was up at crack-of-sparrows to do a craft fair in Edinburgh for 2 days. Being up at 6.30 never pleases me. I'd had about 4h of sleep, has the worst period pain of my life, the temperature had dipped permanently below zero, and I was pissed off at having to work when people were visiting. Only a trip to Starbucks made the morning even bearable.

After a day of relatively poor sales, I raced home to help TheO prepare dinner for 13. Yes 13. TheO was a little stressed as in the previous 48h a total of 3 guests (all male) had dropped out for various reasons and things were a bit unbalanced on paper. (Luckily the natural testosterone of our female contingent meant that you couldn't tell!) With courses and choices for each course. It was a delightful night. It all worked well and I manged to keep my eyes and ears open long enough to catch up with friends and family.

Sunday was a bit of a case of same-shit-different-day. Enough sales were made to cover the costs and make a small profit but sales were about 50% of the previous year. Pah.

Monday was much better and we all headed to the gym to go swimming with godlet. He was delightful in the water. TheO then went shopping whilst letting me go to the gym where I managed to run 10K. This was a great moment as I felt truly dreadful, like I was coming down with something. Hot. achy. sore. But the run helped a bit and I finished all at 1% in 59min. I managed a quick sauna afterwards but the ill feeling soon came back with a vengence.

Tuesday - bit of a blank; think I might have slept and grumped my way through the fog of illness.

Wed - all was GO GO GO as Islander and Gemil arrived to make life fuller (and a little louder). TheO went off to Oban to get them and braved -10 temperatures in Crainlarich. Talk about brass monkey weather! I scrubbed, mopped and tried to make everything a little shiny round the edges as Atholl was due to arrive too - much to the delight of her daughters.

Then we relaxed with a little gentle shopping and PANCAKES in Perth the next day. A delight all round. Ok - trying to shop with 2 wee ones might not be too relaxing.

Now, here we get to the big news. The first of the Cheeseboard has sprogged up. Blarney is 13wks gone, has had her scan and is sharing news with the world. For various reasons I've known for a few weeks and I'm over the moon. Over the stars. And have possibly shed a tear (or two). I can't wait for there to be a babybell.

Last night we met to discuss friends xmas and the news was spread far and wide. The pressure is off and the celebration begins. (We also managed to plan a great deal of xmassy joy to one and all.)

I am so excited by the thought of xmas but a bit overwhelmed by the thought of it all. With Sisinlaw and her two, and husband and Atholl staying. And work; and the hideousness that has been housemoving all my shopping is being condensed into an ever smaller space. Luckily I've been putting in the thought if not the action.

So 10k run. Illness fully in progress. Friends xmas planned. Dinner for 14 and a total of 10 house guests over the last 7 days. I can just lie in a darkened room soon right. Please. Maybe take a bottle of rum with me.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

I should be sorting laundry...

but instead I'm here blogging. It's been a a busy week:
1. Did 2.3 miles on the arm bike (a think of joy and torture) at the gym in 10m on hill setting - this was before a tree brought the power line down and they had to send us home.
2.Went to my favouite hotel in the world and had another incredible meal - I always think it's going to disappoint me, it never does. (I even unpacked some shoes specially - it would have been unseemly to go in crocs.) This was to celebrate Professors bday (and hell, maybe thank Rockgod for his sterling service in the face of moving adversity).
3. Dougal arrived for his week holiday. He is a v v sweet dog who is delightful in the evening and a tiny bit exasperating during the day. But hell, he can use the internet and even sent us a care package from John Lewis - he rocks! He mixes well with small child, and no so well with wet paint.
4. Sisinlaw and godlet arrived. So we spent some considerable time getting the house ship-shape. I feel we're still a bit shit-shaped but nevermind, life is definitely too short to keep stressing out about it! (I'll just keep repeating that until I actually believe it.)
5.Managed a flimsy 5K run up the hill with Dougal and Bridie.
6. Am desperately preparing for a selling show this w/end. Keep your fingers crossed that people still want to buy craft in times of economic crisis.

Right I do have to go and do some laundry now.
More catch-up soon. Tired now. need sleep.
Have a room for shoes all done though. Priorities.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Help me yes, Kevin-the-contractor has abandoned our house with lots of things still to do. My level of fury has surpassed anything previously felt for Kevin and his ineptitude and ridiculousness. It will all get done, it's just going to be much harder and probably more expensive. Who walks away from a job when there is still so much to do? Wanker.

Today I will be mostly hating.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Run, ruuuuuuun, ruuuuuuuuuuuun

...from the wrath of me. No, not really. I've been on a remarkably even keel the last few days. Possibly TheO's hissy-fit (with stamping foot and e/thing) alerted me to the fact that every tiny inconvenience/thing that goes wrong should not be treated as if it is literally: Maybe a little perspective could be reached? This is v true, but man alive - that perspective shit is much easier to get your hands on once you've had a run, the house is warm, you feel well nutritioned, and you've fixed the PS3 (don't even ask).

Yadda mcyadda - the house continues in the right direction with all the usual gripes. But hey the deco is really getting there and we've got CURTAINS (and a curtain pole that fell down - those damn rawl plugs exist for a reason people - skipping that step will only cause you pain).

Also we found some great stuff for the house today. A fantastic mini table which is now TheO's desk. It's in the living room and means I can sit *here* and blog whilst she ... you can see why fixing the PS3 mattered! Also a funky chair.

But - the run. Inside, on a treadmill - a fantastic 5 miles (longest in forever) in my fastest ever time 46.57. Brilliant. I didn't even know it was my fastest until I checked. Quite unexpected and quite lovely. The first 4 miles were on aerobic setting with some small hills (3%), then the last was all on 1%. It was so nice to get some more miles done. It was hard, but mostly in a muscular way - the respiratory system is holding up quite well. My poor feet were quite surprised but they'll get used to the distances again soon.

Ahwell, got loads of work done this week too. All in all more productive than last week.

Here's to a good w/end. And can anyone explain how one day we get -1 weather then the next a balmy 12 degrees. V weird, but I'm not complaining. Oh no. Me, complain?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Real News (& Boots)

After 19 days on the market we accepted an offer for the old place. And we're pretty damn happy. The buyers put in an offer below the asking price (used to be unheard of in Scotland - it was always offers over, occasionally well over), but we held out for the asking price and they came up trumps. They've had their survey so we don't even have to sit and worry about what that will say. (Not that we've sold a lemon or anything - just you never know what surveyors will see that you've never noticed.)

The last few days have been good for exercise too. A good 5K averaging 9.22/mile on 1% - with, shock horror, no holding on; then a sauna which made me feel like a new woman. (Sudden realisation that we haven't fitted in much exercise, it just feels that way when you add in the lifting and cleaning.)

Lots of housey stuff has also been done. We've got a sitting room which is finished (apart from 2 blinds to go up, and a chair to be moved when the computer gets shifted)! This was after a very speedy trip to Glenrothes to get the missing can of paint. (I did bring this stress on myself but it suddenly felt IMPERATIVE to get at least one room finished by the w/end.)
And the joiners turned up; no, really; and did some stuff. Enough to make me stop hating them, but not enough to make me sign contentedly at the finished house.

More excitingly (becuase my life revolves around tradesmen) the plumber turned up and finished the cloakroom upstairs. He's coming back Monday afternoon to finish the bathroom sink and the washing machine. Let us not talk of that! Despite 3 months notice and having been told it would be "no problem" by our builder; we were faced with digging a foot wide trench down our entire garden to put it where we wanted it. So, we rethought. The solution is far from perfect - but in uncovering the solution we discovered the old drain was completely choked and would have to have been unclogged/repiped at some point anyway. All will eventually end well - it might just take a few more days. And I'm going to need a laundry basket with wheels to get to the dryer - hell, worse things have happened. If that's all that goes wrong it wont be too bad. But there's still a surprisingly long list of work still to do. (And my fingers remain resolutely crossed.)

Today we bought lots of inessential but useful things that make life a little better. Lovely dog beds, and human bedding, and the final pair of curtains have been ordered. (Well, the final pair we need quickly, rather than the long term plans for other rooms.)

But more important that all of this. I can wear boots. To anyone out there who's ever been overweight or cursed with GIANT calves you'll understand my unbridled joy. I do own a singe, solitary, pair of boots. A great pair from Tesco in chocolate brown leather that lace all the way up the front and therefore can be altered to fit exactly. They are the only boots I've ever had. Today TheO said I was pitifully lacking in footwear (as I've failed to unpack any shoes as there's nowhere for them yet - the bootroom being full of books and dvds) and she's sick of seeing me in crocs which are now filthy and splattered in paint - as are my feet (it was gloss and hard to get off). So we took a detour from house stuff to look at boots.

We went into a few places and whilst it's still not like I can take any pair off the shelves, I did have a choice of a few pairs in each shop. It's still difficult to get anything that remotely fits my ankles (quite small) and my calves simultaneously. And, just to add insult to injury, due to a bad injury years ago one calf is much larger than the other, so I'll try on perfect boots and then forget that I've only tried on my smaller leg. Damn. (I am also under no illusions that I am suddenly sylph-like; I think manufacturers know that people are getting larger so the boots might be a little bigger now too.)

The search was not in vain and the below are my new babies. Winter booty goodness. Bliss.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Newness - and dust.

As groundbreaking as it was to blog from 'the new place' (which will shortly morph into 'home') it meant that the 300th post barrier was left unannounced. 300 posts: and so little said.

Life here continues in a whirl of tedious tiny tasks™. Applying to a new doctor. Changing more address details; going to collect yet more feckin' paint; explaining yet again what the house name is, and NO, it's not the house of exactly the same name with the word "cottage" after it just up the road. (Ie we might live in a house called Keith, and they live in Keith Cottage.)

Exercise has taken an upward turn over the last few days. Joining the local gym/spa has helped. Now we have somewhere warm and quiet to run, with a sauna, and lashings of clean towels. So there was a decent weights session and a quick hilly 2 miles on the treadmill. Then yesterday there was 4 miles (count them, I'm so proud) on aerobic setting. Joy and rapture it was hard but I averaged 9.22 a mile and there were 3 hills. It felt great to be getting back into it. I've got to go outside and run soon too - there have been some exceptionally perfect Autumn days.

Today I was told my eyes are deteriorating... but luckily just with age. Bah. Age. Damn opticians, what do they know. He also took photos of my retinas - sounds freaky, was freaky. But reassuring in a freaky/science way.

Many things were achieved. (All tedious and tiny.) But the decorator turned up - early - at dawn and is beginning to make our house fantastically liveable in. Luckily we love the colour done so far - just have to keep our fingers crossed for loving the rest.

Spoke to our builder today. And received an apology, an implication that he'd been waiting on me calling him (!), and a promise that the joiner/s would be with me tomorrow. I cheerfully told him I'd call him at 10am if they hadn't made it here. Expect me to be on the phone at 10am.

Still, every step forward is at least a step in the right direction. And yesterday the geothermal heating dudes came and turned a valve that I had previously considered turning and therefore we had water hot enough for a bath - and heating - a novel experience, and a mighty fine one.

Sometimes all life's petty moments add up to something great, and it feels like that here. Like all the dust (and my god is there a lot of dust), and boxes, and rearranging of life will form something much bigger and better than the sum of all these petty pieces. Maybe it's hormones, maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the heating, maybe it's the walk to an incredible waterfall; but all of this feels pretty bloody amazing right now.

And TheO is playing her PS3 and is a happy bunny. So bit of a warm fuzzy feeling all over the shop right now. I'm off to catch-up on the US election.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Home at last.

First posting from the new house!

We might not have a sink in the downstairs bathroom, or a washing machine, or many other things we were promised (builder obv. had fingers crossed behind his back) would be done by now; but we've got broadband which has SIGNIFICANTLY improved my mood.

Also - went for a run yesterday . Just 5K (29.30) but it was brilliant. Up hill for 1.2miles without any reprieve - but a great view when you got there - and the joy of running back down for the rest. Good to get the legs working again and feel the heart pumping. Also brought a smile to my ever stressed face!

Think TheO was v pleased to see this - I've been pretty terrible to live with over the last few weeks. I don't deal well with change/packing/moving/camping/any situation where everything isn't in its place. But we're getting there - sort of. Despite being promised (see, there's that word again) a joiner today he still hasn't turned up.

Over the last few weeks I must have done things of note, things that were fun and delightful but at the moment I can only feel the permanent ache of arms that have packed and carried too many items.

However, that said, we did have a party the day we moved in. Oh yes, 12 of us, 10 who stayed (on beds, with duvets and pillows) christened the new house. The heating did us proud - let us not talk of the hot water... it's very fiddly to set - and we haven't got the knack yet. Luckily there is also an emersion. Ah well, there's always going to be teething troubles.

All those that helped to lift and shift and unpack a vast array of boxes are due a huge thank you - or maybe another party - we could not have done it all without you. Special word goes out to Rockgod who obviously was born without the ability to say:"Sod you and your large bits of furniture and your old doors that you can't squueze a mouse through, sod your complicated items from Ikea." His patience was magnificent and everything he built is still intact! Genius.

Right - I'm off to clean/unpack/order my tax disc online/cancel by BT account/order more stuff/have lunch.

xx Thanks for the patience.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Why can't I be the kind of person I am when I run?

When I run I am focused, determined, I push myself and I am goal focused.
I am also competitive, confident, assured, and generally quite happy with myself.

Let's just say the house/moving thing is going hard and slow. Much like a marathon you didn't really intend to enter, and your watch is broken, and the mile markers are non-existent, and the water stops are our of supplies, and the weather is 20 degrees hotter than expected, and you forgot to train, and you have blisters. Picture clear enough?

Thursday, 2 October 2008


OMG I can't believe I forgot to mention the non-sweating-scary-anorexic-looking-chick (all of 15) at the gym. She was either on the bike or the elliptical for about 40min switching between the two, never broke a sweat, and combed her perfectly straight and tidy pony tail between machines. She was also of note as she looked at TheO and me like something the dog had rolled in. She would obviously never come to the gym looking such a state, let alone leave it that way. Jeesh.

Run run run - Happy happy Joy joy

So, the title tells you I'm tired. It's late. I ran. It affirmed my position mentally as somewhere above 'slug', but below 'antelope' in the fitness tables, and made me a muuuuuch happier human being. Damn it, I might be addicted. Bad moods vanish with running. And there have been bad moods all over the shop (sorry to TheO).

However, in more pleasant news we went to E'burg last week to see Spartan and Blarney who took us out for a faaaabulous dinner at Wedgewood where we drank champagne and nibbled small nibbly things and felt very swanky. This was (an unnecessary but very welcome) part of our nedding present. The boxed bit was a Wii Fit. (Again happyhappy joyjoy.) More later.

After a day in Edinburgh finding more lovely furniture that WASN'T ON THE LIST OF THINGS WE ACTUALLY NEEDED - we headed home and dealt with other house related stuff.

A quick - off road 5K was fitted in (32 min of hell) before dashing off to celebrate Teech living another fine year. Dinner (mmmm, it was a yummy week) in Ducks was fab - the puds are to die for - and our small, happy band drank the place quite dry before heading home (again); us to find happy, tired dogs sleeping on the sofa as they had run with us too.

Finishing off the sort through (that terrible pre-packing stage where you chuck out/ recycle/give to charity all the things you've wasted money on over the years... I even found a shirt I'd never worn) on Saturday left Sunday free for TheO to go and play golf with Teech whilst I attacked the Wii Fit for the first time.

Wiiiii Fit: Great and frustrating and evil. Some of the games are brilliant. I particularly loved hula hooping and ski jump (where I did all the actions and even cheered myself at the end). The strength exercises are evil and made me ache like a mofo the next day. The yoga postures whilst focusing on the balance was brilliant. Less delightful (although hilarious) is when it shows your Mii as fat and depressed as it should be. It's just wrong. Also, why was my Mii shocked at being a lard arse? I was already aware I was a lard arse.

Finally the estate agents have visited. We might even put the old girl on the market and let other people have a lovely time here. Still waiting on them getting back to us - which seems to be all we do these days. (Sighs heavily.)

But, moving on. The 10K was marvellous. It was only in the gym, but it was all on 1% and completed in 59.14 which makes me think I might not have lost too much fitness overall. Also, I didn't need my inhalor at the end, so the other one must be working - and, I managed to keep a nice steady pace and not be too puffed until the sprint finish. I will suffer tomorrow. Oh yes.

Oooo in news forgotten in the whirl of post (I mean bills) - I received some actual Nike shwag a few days ago. I was contacted by them as they were promoting the Here I Am campaign of female athletes in loads of different sports. There's an incredible series of YouTube videos which I suggest you have a look at. (I would link them in by I get all tangled up with the Taiwanese site and can't read the instructions to imbed it/change language or do anything useful.)

I said I would happily promote this as not only to Nike ads actually show women working hard, sweating and competing (rather than being silly prissy little delicate flowers), they make clothes that fit me, and I love their trainers. So in return they sent me a huge promo book full of artwork and images from the campaign. All told in different styles and stunningly printed.

Real blogger shwag. Free stuff just for wittering on. I could get used to this.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


I said I'd be better at this. And still, I neglect my poor blog.

Managed 5 miles in the gym which made me feel like a super star. 47min and all at 1.5 % - maybe I've not lost ever ounce of fitness, even if it feels like it!
A sweet (or sweaty) 5K was also managed outside. (I know, outside, that place with fresh air, and gentle forest sounds, and dog crap...) This was ok, I had 2 dogs, it was dead-flat and I took 29min. Not bad, but it definitely felt harder than I thought it should. Maybe I'm just too demanding.

Other News:
Probably secured some funding to help turn a stable area at the new house into a proper workshop. This is sooooo exciting. I can't wait. Still need to get all the paperwork filed, but the very nice people at our new local authority will help with that.
Finally, after far too many months got new lino put down in the kitchen and bathroom. I'd forgotten what it was like to have flooring in there not full of doggy teeth marks and ripped to shreds - quite refreshing really.

Had a lovely night with Spartan and Blarney last night as TheO was massaging them for her course. Great food, good chat and happy dogs. Perfik. Looking forward to another Nedding present this week - and a party at some point. Mmm much yuminess going on.

All of the rest of my news would be tales of tiles, and paint, and lighting, and fabrics, and tedious in the extreme to anyone apart from me and TheO; but, to be fair it's reached the point where it's tedious for us too.

My ridiculous news for the day is of bag-love. A love that only occasionally raises its perfectly supple, leather head and sings to the hills. Whilst shopping for the above fabrics/lighting/insert item of tedium/bin TheO bought the most incredible bag EVER for me. I drool at the very thought. A proper w/end bag of beauty and wonder - behold. Lily.

I think she's beooootiful. This picture doesn't do her justice, as the one I've got is 7 zips, not 5 and has a few more colours across the top. It's very silly how happy a bag can make a grown woman. It makes a v nice replacement for the overnight bag I was using last night (a Waitrose bag for life).

Off to get some delicious and not nutritious take-away. Then plan tomorrows run, and get the to-do list sorted.

Also a huge hug goes to RF who's having horrid house hideousness in the hills. A warm spot can always be found for you here!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

New Mantra

Well I'm finally back to running. Another two 5Ks have been done since the last post. Both were pretty decent but it's 23 days since I ran further than 5K. This is officially a slump. Luckily I can't wait to build back up.

It's been a damn busy week but with 2 parties as well as the usual stuff.
1st one was a delightfully impromptu bash at Spartan & Blarney's place. Lots of fizz and chilli (cooked by my own fair hand) and chat. I had a wonderful time. TheO managed to give 3 full body massages and a shoulder massage... she must have been knackered! (And not as tipsy as the rest of us.)

The following day we made it back home and then out to RF and Wheeler's House Warming. We had head-torch cheilieeeee in a barn (genius), BBQ (in a barn) and a huge fire burnt all night. (Luckily it was watched by Wheeler who stayed alert* allllll night, just to keep us all safe; this is why the fire brigade came to check the charring the next morning.)
TheO and I had our tent and camped in the back garden/wilderness. We had the blow up mattresses and it was sooo comfy I slept like a baby. Although I clung to my head torch all night like it was some kind of life giving talisman and awoke covered in deep, dark bruises.

Finally this week we've begun to progress with the house. We've picked up more furniture (pretty), ordered more fabric samples, all the paint samples, and chosen a stove (pretty much). We met Kevin today and sorted out the delays (vomiting bug) and asked for all the wee jobs to be sorted out. Also met the decorator to get a quote for all that. And, and - on our return home the skip had arrived. It's now 1/2 full as 3h hard labour moved all the junk from the garage, conservatory and all the bathroom tiles out. It was most satisfying.

Oh, and my new mantra:

The one I use for running is - "not for one step". Over anything less than 16 miles this translates as - I will not walk, not even for one step. My shiny new manta is - "not even one broken plastic spoon". This translates as, not even one tiny broken plastic spoon will move to the new house. No unnecessary shit will be boxed, moved and unpacked. It's all being binned or given to charity. It all goes. The fluff goes, the crap you collect over the years goes, the computer discs for the old computer all go! I'm with William Morris on this, only have things that are beautiful and useful in your life. All the extraneous crap can go in my big ol' battered skip. Who knew a skip could make a girl so happy. (And they're only charging me £10 for the second week.)

*Translation: got drunk and stayed up rambling round the fire with mates alllll night.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Two Weeks

Crikie. 2 weeks. It really does seem like a long time to have abandoned my little blog. It's only 2, I'm not quite sure how it coped on its own.

The reason for my abandonment is that a terrible apathy/lethargy/grumpiness/lack of desire to exercise came upon me. I did no exercise for 9 days. NINE. This is the longest since my first ever run. However it doesn't seem to have hurt me, and maybe everyone needs a break.

After Coll and the half (which I enjoyed) I'd put in a couple of half hearted small runs. But then we went away to Derbyshire for a few days to see Piano Man. Delightful grub was only barely combated by a lovely walk up and around The Roaches and, officially, the worst 5K ever known to man or woman. It was 34min with 3 mini walking breaks. Walking breaks - in a 5K - what happened? Now in my defence: it was quite hilly and we were up very high in the Peak District. But it wasn't as hilly as some stuff I usually do! Also, it was thick hot mist. So thick you couldn't see more than 15m in front of you. Freaky. Alas, alack this really made me angry. I'd gone out a bit peeved (I couldn't find my water bottle... I found it somewhere obvious that I'd put it. AAARGH) and was hoping that, as usual, the run would make everything better. It was shite.

However I don't think, at least I seriously hope, that 8/9 days of malaise can be blamed on one rubbish run. During that time I also felt a bit off colour. Just that 'I'm about to get a really bad cold' feeling. Tight limbs, little bit of congestion, scratchy throat. Usually I'd try a wee run as it more often than not makes me feel better, not this time. I was also suffering from a might blow of PMT. These things seemed to be conspiring against me. My diet was also rubbish as no one could be bothered to cook anything with a damn vegetable in it. Or cook at all.

Time and 'stuff to do' was very much against me. Things for the house and work have been taking up all my mental space. It's ridiculous but there are so many things to do. Packing, changing of addresses, deciding on everything from door handles to lighting, to colours, to furniture. I find it all a bit too much mentally. The constant making of lists ...

Seriously. I started this, got as far as 'lists' then felt compelled to research about 20 different tile options online. Jeesh. It's like my brain just.can'

So, where was I. Oh yes. A fantastic trip to Derbyshire, was followed the next w/end by Tigger, Badger and HH coming to stay. We had a lovely, very relaxed (I hope) time. On Saturday TheO had spied a Countryside Fair so we packed up Keith with multiple people and pooches (we had RF and Wheeler's dog Dougal to stay too) and wandered round feeling v v outdoorsy. If you had any combination of dog/gun/4x4 then this was the place for you. We managed to see some stunt riding (very impressive), fast pooches (almost as impressive), birds of prey and lots of shopping. I bought a mighty fine hat. (This is really the biggest news I could give - I look rubbish in hats, so this really was a first.) The outdoors made us crave some veggies for dinner and so we combated that with delicious cocktails (and some veggies).

The following day TheO was playing in a few finals at her tennis club ('cos despite all her protestations she's really not bad!). It was foul weather so our guests stayed with me and ate madelaines (thanks Badger) and drank tea. After they were safely departed I went to watch the matches. I turned up just in time to see her win the Ladies Doubles. :) However, another 3h were spent watching other matches (and desperately testing her on her massage homework) and then the Plate match in which she was also playing. Despite it being a hard fought, her partner was definitely having an off day, and they came away empty handed. Luckily the club kept the spectators supplied with tea so we didn't freeze to death. September 7th has never seemed so much like Autumn before.

Yesterday after a day at the house making sure they didn't put the new wall in the wrong place; (Honestly, I arrived moments before they were about to do that! However, disaster averted.) lots of making of furniture;mMeasuring of areas; and basic panic. I finally managed to get home and do some exercise. 40min on the elliptical machine with 1k weights on each arm. It wasn't fast and, as usual, the distance bit wasn't working - but it was probably about 4 miles. I also had the rolling setting on so it worked the legs quite hard. Just have to get back outside now. I know doing it makes me feel much better, and much happier. But the black dog is still nipping at my heels a bit. Ah well, I know we'll get there in the end, but occasionally it seems like there is far more to get done than we can achieve in the time.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

25,000 things

Well, that's how many it seems like I'd have to mention to fit everything in.

After a quiet spell the tiler finally finished the bathroom! It only needs lino and paint now. (And a light that feckin works. New light was fitted, light still does not work. I've checked all the cable in the loft, I've tried a new bulb. I've checked the fuse box. I. JUST. DON'T. GET.IT. Any and all ideas gratefully received.)

Managed to fit in a wee bit of kultcha and see the Vanity Fair exhib in Edinburgh. It was truly delightful if you ignore Princess Di. Some were hilarious - Jackie and Joan Collins obviously pissed and wearing too much animal print (any is too much) in the back of a limo; some were quite moving (Thatcher), and others were designed to make you vomit - the Cruise/Holmes family portrait.

Surprisingly for an exhibition it didn't provoke much discussion. I think images of the good and great (as they were before celeb culture made it anyone who wanted to be on tv for 5min) often leave us a little blank now and the power of photography lies in the images of unknown people whose expressions say far more than a celebrity status ever could. (But then I'm a huge fan of Diane Arbus.) Luckily we needed no additional impetus to conversation and all (CheeseB minus HH) had a great meal at the Grain Store. De-lish.

After than wee sojourn the next day was hectic. I was off to Oban and TheO should have been at her course - but she knackered her back and couldn't massage :-(. I managed to set off only 25 min late (practically a record) and the road to Oban was kind. I checked into my expensive B&B - with no ensuite - and was pleased to find it smelt clean and was quite warm and welcoming. Thank god as it was the only room I could find and Spartan & Blarney were also staying.

A short stroll saw me arrive at the restaurant we'd booked. The others all turned up in Norman (the camper van) and we ate until we could eat no more (which really takes some doing in our case). All tasty and some of us took our half marathon prep a little less seriously than others. (Chips! Cheesecake! G'n'T!)

All went well the next day. RF had a bad night mostly thanks to her pooch. (Don't they always have the best timing.) But we all made it onto the ferry and the eating continued... but the less said about CallMac and panic-carboloading the better. Needless to say, no matter how many rolls with stuff in them you order, to have something 'on the side' is still a crime in Scotland. That single egg deserved a roll of its very own.

Ah well. The entire Coll clan were there to greet us on arrival. I was delighted that Godlet knew I was Auntie-A instantly. Eldest was on good form and loved the vast array of adults, all of whom he'd met at the Nedding. We were whisked away to register (quick) and then taken home for cake and tea. Then delicious soup and rolls. It was v v strange preparing for a race at 3pm when you'd been up since 6am. The excitement didn't really take hold until we made it to the start line, on the pier, in the biting wind.

The first 7 miles were really quite tough. For the first time during a race I questioned what the hell I was doing. It was hard in the damp (not quite rain) and the head wind made it tough. As did the terrain. It felt all up hill (not dramatically, but gradually) for about 4 miles. Then at the 6 mile point we came to the sand. It wasn't too bad, better than expected but I had a grey ghost following me. Bro-in-Law had laughingly claimed that we'd all easily beat a wiry old guy (of 74, who Sis-in-Law later told me runs 10s of miles every day). At this point - 7 miles in - he was breathing down my neck. This was a prospect that depressed me greatly. Luckily I managed to pull away over the next mile. (Sadly I later heard he got cramp and had to retire - I wouldn't wish that on anyone!)

Once I saw the 10K to go sign everything picked up. I knew the course from then on. I knew my relations would be out in force (a force of 2 + kids), and 10K never seems that far. I kept getting stronger and was much cheered by Islander running down the hill outside the farm playing the bagpipes. Genius. (I may also have been cheered by my sports beans.)

Things were looking good and I was on for a PB at mile 10. Sadly, at mile 11 we turned into the wind. It was v v hard. It was also pouring and I was wet to the core. So wet I got nipple chafe. Man does that hurt. The last 2 miles were unbelievably hard - my pace slowed from 9 to 11 min a mile, I just couldn't get fast enough against the wind. But I still managed to overtake 6 people in the last 2 miles. I might not be quick, but I'm consistent. Managing to keep pace at the end enabled me to overtake at least 3 irritating people who'd overtaken me at about mile 4. (When I was questioning the rationale of running.)

Made it in 2.11.11 - not a PB, but not bad given the terrain. I definitely feel fitter and this is the level of fitness I want to hold at year round. Needing 4 weeks notice for a Half.

Must go to bed. More later.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Two things

1. On Sunday we visited the new house. I can't wait to move. I love it there, it's just more exciting with every trip; definitely starting to get itchy feet now - all the stuff just has to get moving. We also visited the Visitors Centre as someone told us it had a deli. It does, and it's pretty marvellous. The bread selection sucks but it has some good meat and cheese, a small wine selection and great biscuits. Good enough to help you out of a fix if you forget some stuff for a dinner party. Excellent news.

The chickens are also still alive, well, the ones we saw are - but there were far fewer than last time. I assume they've gone to pastures new, where they get fed more often... hopefully they'll come back. :-(

2. On Monday I did my last long run pre Coll Half:
This run rocked. TheO came with me on the bike despite it being the wettest and most disgusting experience for the fist 6 miles. She was a trooper.
2.00.56 for 12 miles
1663 calories
avg 10.05 (only slightly gutted)

10.29 - broke 10min mile avg by 14 seconds on a damn hill - boooo
10.42 - delighted to be done.

Still delighted, it was hard and I felt a bit crampy at 10.5 miles onwards but managed to hold it off. Also definitely felt strong enough to do another 1.1 mile at the end.

Was my best training run for 10 miles ever (by 2.50). And I think my best 12 mile training run ever ... just checked , it is by far, and OMG I never do 12 mile training runs. It's always 8 or really long for some reason. Only 2 other 12s exist in my diary... weird.

Used puffer before and straight afterward but was good chest wise for the rest of the run. Feel quite well prepared for Coll now, even though it'll be much hillier than I can possibly expect.
All of that run report was written with the endorphins still flowing. Now I'm a little bit stiff and sore. My legs feel like I raced yesterday! My hip is a tiny bit achy too. But, my major gripe is that it was so wet that my tshirt and shorts got soaking and gave me an 1" long blister across my belly button. They never give me blisters, but the rain was ridiculous, I was soaked through by mile 3 and it felt as it someone was adding weights to my legs for the next 3 as the water weighed down my clothes. However it was my first run in the rain. (I don't know quite how I've avoided it living in Scotland and running consistently for the last 2 years, but I have.) The rain is, to me, like a nice cool temperature - only a good thing. The damn sun and anything above about 14 degrees is my problem (that's 60ish for those in the states). Ah well, Coll could be anything from a winter swamp to a Caribbean dream - we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Absence makes ...

Well, apologies for the absence this week. Mostly this was due to a terrible time being had with the asthma. On the 10th I did my 10 mile run in prep for the Island Half. It was bloody awful:

Crap slow 10 miles with 2 walking breaks

avg 10.53 a mile
longest run since marathon
1.48.53 total

10.10 down and flat
11.13 up and up
11.25 rolling and .15 walked
10.08 - downhill
10.38 - gentle roll
11.04 - flat but hard as wanted to stop
11.47 - walked 0.3 ate beans
10.46 - flat
11.01 - flat
10.38 - glad to be finished

I couldn't believe I had to take walking breaks and the whole process was such hard work. I also am terrible at not being able to decide if I am being feeble and looking for excuses (like I can't breathe) or if the circumstances really do require me to walk for my own health. In the end I think the balance wasn't too bad. (Despite it feeling like my worst run ever it was only 26sec a mile worse than my best ever 10 mile training run... and it was quite hilly.) A real shock to the system though.

11th was a terrible day. Every breath was an effort and I needed my huffer constantly. Made another appointment with the doctor.
12th Saw the doc. Ended up crying like a baby as every breath being an effort and the constant pain/bowling ball on my chest was wearing me down; that and not having slept through the night for 10 days had made me a little delicate. A different doc who was simultaneously helpful and terrifying:
Helpful: take these steroids for a week and you should really be fine. The initial stage just needs to be fixed with a hard hit. After that you might be fixed for good. Running a half at the end of the month should be no problem.
Terrifying: Don't run whilst you're on the steroids as you'll aim for 5 miles and end up doing 10. A friend of mine did this at medical school and it killed him! (WTF!)

That night Bravebird and Minstrel came to dinner which luckily took my mind off the whole breathing issue quite well. It was a really lovely night, good chat and nice simple food (steak - yum).

13th Finally took my new bike out for a spin. having not ridden for many, many years I didn't want to go on the road so Wednesday evening we headed for the woods. Nice flat tracks, and no cars to freak me out. It was fantastic. A really nice way to get some exercise. Peddling along with TheO was delightful. We went all the way out to the point and saw some new bits of coastline we'd never spotted before. Wonderful summer evening. And 9 miles was about right for my chest to cope with. (Only running up a sand-dune had me reaching for the drugs.)

14th I can confirm that at this point the steroids really kicked in.* And wow - did they kick in. Apart from being hormonal, the desire to eat was more than usually overwhelming. TheO was out at an Edinburgh Festival thing so I was left to fend for myself. Let's just say I didn't make the best choices. Cheese on toast (fine, unless the whole of the rest of the day's diet was bread with something), a box (I know) of French Fancies and, here it gets better - a glass of tomato juice (for veg purposes). I also bought a tin of pineapple for more fruit and veg... but was sadly too full. Once sugared to within an inch of my life, and with some fine quality steroids coursing through my veins I hit the weight. The entire scale of our home gym equipment involves a 5K dumbbell, a thighmaster (really) and the elliptical machine upstairs. I decided to stick with the dumbbell and thighmaster. So the weights session was great. I managed to work up a real sweat and give my arms and abs quite a blasting. Doing sit ups with a 5K weight in your arms really adds to the experience! The thighmaster still burns those inner thighs even when you've been running for s while, it was a bit of a surprise, but still quite a strange thing to be sitting doing whilst watching TV.
It almost seems cruel not to be able to run on these things as the drive to DO STUFF is quite high. (I also managed to strip the tiles from the fireplace, get two loads of washing done, and sort out a whole cupboard full of stuff.)

15th Yesterday was more of a challenge, but within normal limits. Despite not being allowed to 'run' I thought a run in the gym is still a nice, controlled environment, I can't go further than I expect. However, I was still feeling a little frisky, and like my legs needed a good workout (esp. as the Island Half gets closer with each passing day) so I thought I might do 4 or 5 miles. Once on the machine I had to try for the 10K:

54.36 for 10K

6 seconds better than my best ever so a new PB

4.2 miles at 1%
1 mile at 0.5%
1 mile at 0%

Good breathing afterwards, took puffer but no choking or coughing (and did not suffer that night either).
I was really delighted with this run, it banished some of the demons from the 10miler. Now, after a few days I just have to see how the 12 miler goes, and then see if I can cope with just the huffer. Lets hope the worst of this damn asthma is at bay.

*(I would never advocate taking any unprescribed medications so the post is slightly tounge in cheek, but none the less real to me.)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Question: How does eating a box of French Fancies make you feel?
Answer: Like you don't fancy eating ever again.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Because lists are easier.

1. Was randomly diagnosed with Asthma on the 6th. A bit surprising and irritating but all will be well once it's under control. Supposedly it's "typical adult onset" asthma, and has manifested itself with a cough that mostly happens at night and stops me sleeping through the night. It sucks a bit right now.

2. On the 7th the delightful RF stayed (she was having a massage from TheO). We had a wonderful chicken stew (and I'm not one for stew) and then some homemade ice cream. Fresh cherry and chocolate in real vanilla ice cream. It was (and still is) delicious.

3. I've managed two gym sessions this week. A good 5K all at 9.15 pace on hills in the gym. This was followed by 1h of tennis practice with TheO throwing balls to me. Yesterday I did another more old fashioned gym session (preceeded by another 30min tennis session with TheO):
3k arm weights in each arm

12 x lateral raise each arm
12 x tricep dip each arm (behind head)

40 x bicep curl each arm
3 x 12 on weight 6 lateral pull down
3 x 12 on weight 5 pectoral push

sit ups
3 x 20 holding 2k medicine ball

2 x 30second planks
4.2miles on reclining bike
direct swap to upright bike 2 miles
total time 28.30 so 10K in total

The upshot is that today my arms ache for the first time in ages.
I'm off to nurse them, and maybe do something more productive.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Two Face

Good Things:
  1. A lovely dinner with Artist in Aberdour. Great chat with new, and not so new, people.
  2. Sis-in-Law stayed - sans sprogs - and we had a fabby dinner at The Fish Restaurant (yum!)
  3. Artist also stayed and brought us a picture as Nedding gift. (Sweet indeed.)
  4. I had a tennis lesson and can now hit a two-handed back hand.

Bad Things:
  1. TheO got food poisoning (before either of the delightful events listed above).
  2. If the frickin plumber and tiler don't finish our bathroom soon (it's been a month) I might go insane... TheO needs her bath back.
  3. I was told I'm not allowed to play tennis - I've got 4 colours of practice balls to work through before I'm allowed to play with a real person... and real balls. (I see some humour in this.)
  4. I have a crappy cough that killed me this morning and made me cry (because I am a big wuss). Coughing and running are not compatible.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Almost missed it.

It's 2 years (yesterday) since I started running. I'm not sure I've stuck with anything hobby-like for 2 years+ before. Long may this continue.

To 'celebrate' (ie - because I'm in training for the Island Half and have to) I went out on a good 8 miler yesterday. It was hilly as hell (the biggest challenge being a hill 0.6miles long) and quite hot too. I managed it in 1.22.38 with a nice average of 10.19 a mile. This felt pretty good for a training run, especially as it's been a hideously long 4 weeks and 1 day since I've gone that far.

I came back and checked my stats. It was my fastest ever 8 miles... or not. In my delight at running so well last month I'd neglected to update my PBs. On the flat into St. Andrews I managed an impressive (for me) 1.19.28 (taking a whole 4min 14 off my previous best).

Despite moments of yesterday's run hurting (v unusual for me, the legs were aching for miles 1 & 2) it felt great to be out covering some decent distance again. I'm quite excited about the prospect of a half - even if I don't really know how hilly it might be.

I'm feeling quite reflective today. Two years seems like such a long time. And so much has happened: Amazing places (Iceland, Madrid, Southern-Spain, Malta, lots of new bits of Scotland, Skye), First Races, First Marathon, Getting Nedded, Moving House (in a few weeks), Big Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Trying New Sports (Climbing, Tennis)... despite the lack of scintillating description at times, it really has been an exciting few years.

Through all of it the running has continued. I'm delighted that, apart from race times, all my PBs have now been set in 2008. It seems like progress. Looking back I can still remember the first time I ever ran 5K. I was so delighted (it was about 37min) and it was such a surprise; to enjoy something so simple really gives me a mental boost. It's the perfect combination of relaxing and challenging.

It still all takes me by surprise. The confidence that general fitness gives cannot be over-estimated. Even on days when I feel (and, truth be told, am) fat, knowing what your body can achieve gives me a boost. It makes me a bolder and more confident person. I'm less likely to worry about 'looking stupid' when I do something; the little voice of confidence can always whisper: "You might be shite as this, but you've run a marathon!" However, this also leads to weight complacency which is nothing but a bad thing. Still more pounds to go, but being an active person (I know, who'd of thunk it) makes it all the easier to control the bad days, and shed a few pounds on the good ones.

There could be a negative to all this. What was once a relatively competitive person has now become a snarling competitive crazed beast. (But hell, you've got to take the rough with the smooth, right?) Also, the sports bra obsession is not healthy. (Although, apparently, what 90% of people who find my blog are looking for.)

Ah, 2 years in and so many miles still to run. What a bloody brilliant feeling.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

No, really.

We won't talk about today. We won't mention the fried breakfast in the little cafe up the lane. We wont talk about the packet of mini battenburgs now empty at the bottom of the bin. We'll move on, we'll let the painters come in with their 'covers every sin' shade of gloss and call tomorrow a new day.

Last Sunday (27th) we headed to our new house. We thought we'd check it was still there. We left our little corner of Fife in thick, wet, grey mist. We couldn't even see the end of the garden. It sucked. It was so typical of our summers here, the sea harr claws it's way in. (Right now there are no lights outside and the rain is pelting the window.)
Our 45min trip saw us emerge into bright sunshine and glorious temperatures. We saw the chickens, filled the feeder, wandered around the house with dreamy expressions and left to explore the countryside. We pootled round lots of country lanes and made exclamations of cuteness at every turn. There are so many good running and cycling routes straight from the front door!
Our choice was to head to Little Glenshee and walk to Loch Tullybelton. A gentle walk of about 2k each way... not taxing. It was lovely, the dogs walked on their leads on occasionally pulling in the direction of a wayward sheep or rabbit. We eventually spotted the little loch covered with birds and lily pads. we wandered around an decided to cool off by taking a refreshing dip. TheO waded in in her pants and top, the dogs swam around her and I held the leads on the shore enjoying just paddling. She came into shore having cooled down and was towelling off whilst I tried to take my jeans off without covering them in mud and sand when there came a yelp: "What the hell is that?" She squeeked pulling something off her leg. A moments glance told us it was a leech. A LEECH. All I can add is that I didn't swim... oh no. I put my now damp and sandy jeans back on and wended our way homeward.
Had it been me, I too would have thought it gross and a bit yucky. As it was not me I was really quite fascinated, I'd never seen a leech in the wild before. This attitude seemed to make TheO smile and the horror of the leech subsided as we enjoyed our amble back to the car. It was a wonderfully beautiful spot and entirely ours for that Sunday evening.

Before leaving for the below I managed to fit in a quick gym trip.
33.43 for 4 miles a new bestest ever.
Delighted - it was on aerobic conditioning and went up from 1% to 4% in 3 hills.
The average of 8min 25 average - rocketh

28/29th saw us packing up the Drover (with massage table, dogs, golf clubs, crates, wine) and heading to Dollar-shire. TheO had many people to massage and I was along for the free grub! A v chilled out night with Ceegar and Meeper passed most amiably, followed by a great lunch at Tormaukin. Our brief trip to Wheeler and RF's (more massages) saw me almost manage to flood the Landrover. I'd left the windows open for the dogs and was inside cooking. The rain was so sudden and so heavy, by the time I made it outside (ie realised that the weird drumming noise was not a) someone drumming or, b) someone having a shower) the car was filling up. A few quick bails and she was safe again, although the pooches were pretty pissed off.
It might have been the fastest I've ever seen Wheeler move as he realised the garage (with the beloved motorbikes) was flooding. Drainage systems were quickly established - disaster averted. :)

30th Saw me get frustrated beyond belief as TheO (kindly) agreed to let me try and massacre the game of tennis a little more. I'm getting there in snail like increments. It's damn good fun though. Albeit I want to SMASH THINGS when it all goes horribly wrong, as it does every 4 shots.
We also went to see the new Batman film. I loved it. I thought it had a great combo of plot and action. Only Maggie Gyllenhall was rubbish - what's with the dead fish face?! I usually find anything over 90min a stretch (I'm a bit simple that way - and need entertainment). At 150+ minutes this really surprised me. It doesn't dawdle, and the effects and music are brilliant. Right, that's it. No more film review from me. It rocked. Nuff said.

31st There's something about the last day of a month that forces me into action. Got plenty of work done today and I tackled the tiles in the bathroom. Oh yes. About 1/7 of the tiles are now removed - it took 2 dusty, sweaty and muscle punishing hours. As I type I can feel the shoulder that wielded the hammer beginning to tighten. Eek, that's going to hurt in the morning.


Saturday, 26 July 2008

More Food ..

Yesterday and today have been so lovely. Ceegar and Meeper came up to see us - and cook for us! Meeper did a fantastic job of a greek inspired salad and crunchy bread, then an incredible long slow cook lamb stew, then Eton mess. 3 delightful courses with Pimms to start, some yummy Chablis, and lots of chat and chilling. Quite, quite delightful.
After a simple start to the day we headed to The Fish Restaurant for lunch. It was quite as good as it always is and crab, then turbot, and a mini pear tart put me in good spirits for shopping. And I managed not to buy anything! (This was a real success for me.) There were incredible green shoes which were so perfect and comfy - but not necessary - so were left. And the Monsoon sale was not raided, despite trying on about 50 items. Meeper found a fantastic dress reduced from £70 to £15! So she was suitably happy. We just had a great potter around and took the dogs for a good beach walk.
Stopping in to see Rockgod and The Professor for a restorative cup of tea (and to pick up a Cath Kidson bag) gave us a good opportunity to see their new place. (Farmer'sWife's old place) They've made it their own and it was great to see Prof covered in soil - a state that makes her knackered but happy - as she worked to tame the garden into some state of usefulness and prettiness.

Getting back to matters of exercise (as I threatened I would) I managed to go to the gym yesterday:
10k in 56.48
All at 6.5 mph or higher and consistent at 1% gradient
6.7 mph for all the 0.2 bits (ie from 1mile to 1.2miles, from 2miles to 2.2 miles etc)

Hands off the machine for every x.2 - x.5 so 1.5m in total hands free. This was incredibly hard and a real challenge for me - but doing it in small segments really seemed to help. It's weird that regardless of speed I can't keep my arms off the bar for too long. It obviously doesn't bother me when running outside. A puzzle.

It wasn't the fastest 10K ever but it was close and it was one of those runs that leaves you feeling like a goddess. It happens to me rarely but occasionally the endorphins go crazy and I feel invincible. It's quite odd but definitely a feeling to savour. I also had all the residual Nedding happiness rushing around my bloodstream and the exercise high on top of a good level of happiness just left me bouncing off the walls.
There are times it is so good to get back to running. There's the Coll Half to run in about 4 weeks so I've got to get back up to scratch. I seem to be a little faster than I was - now I just need to up the distance again. Mmmm miles.
Oh and a new sports bra arrived, and some tennis shoes. Let me make it clear: I bought the tennis shoes not because I am a gadget/stuff freak, but becuase I care so much for my running shoes I don't want to knacker them with unnecessary lateral movement etc. But hell, pretty new sports gear always makes me happy.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

It's all still a secret

Sooo - getting back to the busiest week ever.

10th - we high tailed it to the secret location and got lots of details finalised. TheO was due to give Wheeler another massage that eve and he'd been kind enough to offer us food. Somewhat as expected we arrived to find that RF was cooking ... I've no complaints! We had an excellent curry and, oh yes, and - MOLTEN CHOCOLATE BABY CAKES. After a very long day in the car that was just the ticket. It was a lovely catch-up and chat... only mildly marred by the evil black dog f-cking off and scaring us whitless.(There's a road that a demented cocker spaniel could head to if she wished.) Luckily there was only 10-15min of blind panic, and some wine helped to take the edge of TheO's frazzled nerves.

11th - we bought a bed. On our way to get the keys for the new house. It's perfik. We'd spotted it the day before on our drive and went back to have a proper look. The decision didn't take long.
A slightly fraught day was eventually rescued by the views from the new place. It looks quite daunting and will take quite some time to get ship-shape, but it's got all the things our present home is lacking. Also, so many things are really small jobs and quite cosmetic.
As with all home leavers the previous occupants had left us quite a bit of stuff. Sofas, a bed, a dresser... lots of things we don't really want. But they did leave a perfect mountain bike in my size. We think it needs a bit of a spruce up and some new tyres but it's pretty new. I was v excited by this as had been (somewhat reluctantly) considering getting a bike as it's only 1.5 miles to the post office and wee shop from the new place, and it's flat - so there's no excuse for not taking the bike instead of the car.

12th - had to go back to the new place again to meet KT. The lovely guy who's going to do all the work. A very productive meeting. Just got to wait for the quotes now. Whilst waiting I had a wander round the garden and looked at the peonies (my favourite), the huge lavender bush in full bloom, and fed the chickens who did, as promised, all come when I whistled for them. It was one of those ridiculous country idyll moments.
On arriving home I was quite antsy - I've managed almost no exercise this week and as such was feeling a bit out of sorts. TheO took me to 'play' tennis for an hour. She is very patient as I swipe the ball skywards time and time again, but we did manage to have a bit of a hit and as soon as my body remembers to obey the signals my brain is sending out I might be able to return it and get the damn ball in!

13th - today we broke the back of all the wee jobs still to be done for next w/end and made a final list of all the bits and pieces still to be done. The panic is beginning to abate. A bit. The excitement level is also building. I can't wait for it to be happening so I can just enjoy it and stop thinking about all the little niggly lists. (Who am I kidding, there'll always be little niggly lists, I can't help myself.)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Crumbling round the edges ...

Today we both managed to find ...
And we ordered ...
And we bought ... and ... and ...

You see - some pesky 'real people' who know me might read these ramblings so I can't tell you anything about what we did today as it was all nedding related. The nedding is only 15 - no really, 15 days away. I've already had my first anxiety dream: Badger - don't ask me how blinds work whilst I'm trying to get changed on the big day.

However the last week has been damn fine (as have the last 6 months as TheO toiled away on plans for the whole shebang and I acted like the grasshopper); it only seems fair that now a natural and realistic amount of panic is now setting in, burrowing down and making a big fat warm nest in my tummy. (Sounds a bit too much like tapeworm for my liking.)

I've discovered much to my chagrin that I might just be a bit of a bridezilla at heart. As a control freak who likes a neat world (except my desk and car), planning a bash for nearest and dearest when aspects cannot be fully controlled, and my desire to have some things 'just so' is on super-high level, and I have PMT, and our wonderful friends have planned the HAG (stag and hen combined you see) which happens in 2 days and I don't know what's happening (ok - I know roughly what to pack and where to go) - has set me into some kind of overdrive. Oh, and there's still a little bit of work to get done pre-nedding. And, and I tell you, I've found a great ... online and it's probably too late to order ... and even if I did order ... it's probably way too expensive. And why didn't I think about all this before when I was busy living in the sunshine grasshopper land. Can anyone say: CALM DOWN AND TAKE A DEEP FUCKING BREATH YOU COMPLETE STRESS-CADET

IN - - - OUT - - - IN - - - OUT - - - IN - - - OUT

Well, there has been some running.
A nice 5k up and down some serious hills in 33min. (The 26th)
A delightful 4 miler with TheO - 45min (30th).

And.. oh, no other exercise. Damn.

However I did have a dress fitting and discovered that whilst I loved my dress I was a little dissatisfied with my body. Not having a waist is a real pisser. Seriously. My boobs are about right for my ample shoulders but my waist and hips are all out of proportion. A UK size 18 waist and size 12 hips do not make for a sexy silhouette, they make for a bag of potatoes. Pah.

Distracting me from the discussion I was having with myself about my waist (as TheO was away for 2 whole days at Wimbledon and without constant human contact I talk to myself and the dogs in almost uninterrupted monologue) were Tigger and Badger who came up for the w/end. We had such a nice time: pooches walked on the beach, delightful lunch in town, the first BBQ of the season (if Scotland can be described as having such a thing), and a day rounded off with games (and Doctor Who which was surprisingly good - even though the dishwasher packed in half way through and I felt compelled to go and fix it).
Sunday followed all sunny and wonderful so we headed to West Lomond for a decent walk - it bucketed it down (as it had last time we attempted this feat)- so we headed to Balmerino and walked in blissful sunshine though the woods and let the dogs swim in the Tay.

Monday was wonderful as we had the unexpected pleasure of Wheeler, Training Wheels, and RF for dinner when we managed to have the roast pork not cooked over the w/end. The night was topped off with a fantastic walk up the hill in the near dark with our dogs running wild and Dougal (sooooo cute) walking practically to heel... Being left with the gift of Walnut (& something) Bread, as well as interiors magazine, was an unexpected pleasure.

Yesterday morning the plumber came. Honstly after years of trying to find one I wanted to pinch him and check he was real and not some kind of plumber-shaped mirage. But the dishwasher is fixed - haleluja! The god of appliances smiled on me. And, even more exciting our hideous shit-and-biscuit* coloured bathroom is going to be replaced (after living with it rotting away for 8 years) just in time for us to move. You've got to love the irony.

Signing off to go and examine our plans and purchases for the nth time today.

*This does describe the colour and not a level of cleanliness.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Never did I imagine ...

... that tiny, super-fit, friends (I mean, friend) would ever be bemoaning that I write "perky" blogs about how lovely running is. This made me giggle so much that:

I was going to bypass this post and just mention it another time. But as I now feel happily goaded I'll just say that TheO and I went to the gym today. I did a wonderful 4 miles on rising intervals which meant 2min 50 on 0% followed by 2min 50 going up from 2% to 7%. It was my fastest 4 miles ever at 34.57 and felt fantastic - even if I found it hard to breathe and walk (either independently or simultaneously) afterward.

I then managed to hold it together long enough to do the tricep pull, the lateral pull and the tummy machine (although not on my preferred weight). After this I staggered to the car.

If it makes RF feel any better this trip was pre-ceeded by ice cream from Janettas and post-ceeded (!) by Thai food. Not a great day for food. A really crappy day for food. But hell - at least some running was done. I'm finding it hard to tell if I ache from Thair food or if I ache from the running and the tummy machine.?!

Also - RF went for a surf. I want to go for a surf. Be all buffeted by the sea and salty - sounds bloody wonderful. Roll on some perfect summer day with crisp waves and sunshine in unlikely Scottish combination.

Good Week

Well the good times started with an excellent 7 mile run into St. Andrews on the 18th.

Really pushed it time wise - first 5k 30min, next 5 k 30.30 seconds and then a more relaxing
final mile in 10.30 (including the 0.2 from the 10k). Total run time: 1:09.14. So averaging less than 10min/miles. Blissful.

It was a really great run - tiring and needed more food and water than I remembered, but a really lovely way to get back into doing some distance. I also was careful to do loads of stretching.

Legs were a little achy the next day so TheO gave me a delightful massage.

The 20th was jam packed.
The first good bit was that all the documents arrived about the house proving that it's in good nick, and the water is drinkable, and everything else has weathered the years well. Despite some great clauses by our solicitor, it was still extremely reassuring and quite wonderful to discover all the things the previous owners had had done when they moved in 3 years ago.

I had a very reassuring dress fitting where everything went swimmingly and I was delighted by what I saw. This made me much calmer about the whole shebang.

TheO and I then went for a fantastic hill and off road run. We headed up through the woods, across a field, down and track and then at about the half way point came back onto tarmac. It was a really hot and sunny day, we took the dogs and managed a great time of 35.12 given that it was rough terrain and really quite hilly. It made us very happy and in desperate need of a shower.

After some speed packing, washing, and car loading we headed to RF and Wheeler's country pad. (Cutest cottage ever.) My inaugural meeting with Dougal (the working cocker) took place, he's just bloody gorgeous and it makes me want more puppies quite badly.

RF then cooked a fantastic meal. The sweet potato stacks were yummy, the duck with the most incredible potato and chilli salad was INSPIRED - I mean, fantastic spicy duck with a simple and super tasty potato dish worked so well, there was none of the over-richness too often found with heavy duck dishes - but all of the big flavours. This is an idea I will be stealing. The pud was malteaser and whisky ice cream - again I think this rocked and it took some energy on my part not to have bowl after bowl. YUM.

Dinner was followed by a fantastic walk in fields around the house. Our dogs behaved delightfully with Dougal and proved their strict upbringing by heading into a field to talk to the horses. Dougal practically walked to heel...

Much good chat was had and the night was rounded off by wagon loads of cheese (mostly eaten by me) and whisky. We then headed up the stairs to a wonderful guest bedroom and a brilliant night's slumber. A better time could not have been had. Mucho Gracias to RF and Wheeler.

We were thoroughly spoiled as we were also invited out to dinner the next night. Mistrel and Brave Bird were letting us look at their new place (they moved in 10 months ago!) and have a bit of catch-up pre nedding. A wonderful coq-au-vin supper followed with profiteroles to finish ... and more cheese. (I may never need to eat again this week.) It was great to see them and have such a relaxed time. We drove home feeling very lucky to have such nice friends, and not to have had to cook for 2 whole days in a row! ;-)

A quiet few days have followed with naught but the news that everything for the house has been signed and legally we're all bound up now. Just some £££ to be moved to the appropriate places on the appropriate dates and we're all sorted.

We've also had some great chats where we sorted out loads of nedding stuff and loads of stuff for the new house. A super productive week.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Getting Lazy

Today I was busy reading other people's blogs and suddenly realised I hadn't updated my own in quite some time.

The past 10 days have been quite busy:
1/TheO went away for the w/end to do her massage course - I stayed home with the dogs, got loads of work done, and ploughed my way through 6 years worth of interiors and homes magazines. (Seriously - I never thought keeping them would be useful, it was brilliant I've now got ideas for the bathrooms all sorted.) You can imagine that TheO was actually quite happy to miss this particular frenzy.

2/ Sis-in-law, Islander and the 'Phews turned up for a 2 day visit. Ostensibly so S-i-L could go and have a scan at Dundee. Yes, she is indeed with child. What we're convinced will be boy no. 3 is doing well and due in December. It was a great trip, very relaxed and the boys were delightful.

3/Managed to fit in a 2.1 mile run (20min) including some hills. I mistimed everything so it had to be short. But better than nothing.

4/Had a terrible bridezilla dress moment on discovering that the dressmaker had ordered the wrong fabric (as the one I wanted had been discontinued) and made a disgustingly horrid dress. All was ok on discussion - think she'd just had a panic (she lost a good friend the same week v suddenly) but luckily a further appointment reassured me and new fabric was chosen.

5/Did a great 4mile run in the gym with hills - 36.22 - really worked hard.

6/ HH and Teech came up for the w/end and we had a wonderful time. Great food, great (new) games, some sunshine, lovely chat. It was v relaxing for me as TheO managed to do pretty much everything despite being struck down by a tummy bug on Friday. She soldiered through and felt much better as the w/end progressed.

7/ Did 5k on the elliptical machine in 29.40. Some hills in the first half - but mostly oscillating between 1 and 3 (just realised these setting might be percentages? - does anyone know?).

8/ Actually had some good (and non-argumentative) nedding chat which made us both feel much calmer. Time is really ticking now.... eeek.

9/ House plans are still going ahead well. The documents are shuffling back and forth between solicitors as every detail gets sorted out. We've got a date. We've got a contractor for the work. Just keep your fingers crossed for us at every turn.

I'm now off to get some more work done - just a few things to finish off before I take a work hiatus for the nedding and the move. Might also try doing a decent length run today too. (Especially as we ran out of milk so I've got coffee with a mixture of skimmed milk and cream...)

Oh yes, the running. I really need to sign up for another race. Anything will do - but I also need fixed dates for moving etc. I need something to make me work as I'm going to get FAT and LAZY really quickly.

Friday, 6 June 2008

One more note

Whilst sitting in the sun in the garden yesterday testing TheO on her up and coming tutorial (massage course) we saw a Red Kite swooping and dicing around. Really quite remarkable.

Today is grey and miserable so far - boo. We've had 2 days of great sunshine and have been topping up our Island tans.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Back to reality.

All v pleasant today. Whenever I get mildly snappish or grumpy (a usual state but exacerbated by hormones at present) TheO just turns to me and says "house". And it's true, it makes me smile just to think of it.


Sorry, drifted off there for a moment. Got a stack of work sent off again - and a few invoices done, all excellent news, means I might actually get paid. Also had a call from a new gallery that I started stocking a few weeks ago - they've managed to sell 4 pieces already. I'm delighted.

After my really very long hiatus from running post marathon (I've run a marathon you know, I feel I haven't mentioned this often enough in the last 10 days) today was the first run.

5k with TheO and the pooches in dead flat forest. Bloody wonderful, was so great to get back to it. My legs haven't forgotten how to move at relative speed, as I feared.

5k in 32.52 - Taking it nice and easy but not being too lax.

There was one point where I was running along and I thought: Running - it's like god invented a really great sport.

Needless to say I dismissed this thought in all its foolishness very quickly, but it did make me realise quite how much I'd missed it. Also, wow, 5K feels like a gentle stroll now - or maybe it only does because I'm sooo well rested. I kept thinking, I wonder how far I could run today if I just kept going? ... and wouldn't that be fun. Like all good things I might have to rein myself in - little (ish) and often does you good. Not the thought I had at mile 24 of the marathon (did I mention...): so, this ultra thing suddenly sounds like a great idea! I mean it must have been the endorphins talking - really, 'cos that's not a sensible thought.

Off to cleanse myself and mentally plan new bathrooms.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Well, it's finally happened. After two viewings over the last two weeks and a day which made me wake up early (shockhorror) and feel horribly nauseous all day the call finally came. Our offer on the perfik house was accepted. The offers went in at 12 and we didn't get the call 'til 4pm - cruel, cruel, world. I think the solicitor expected screams of excitement (poor, patient man has been through a fair few calls and ups and downs) but for some reason I was incredibly calm - as if, despite the nerves, I knew this one would go our way.

I'm not going to put too many details out there but it's a great old cottage which has some higgeldy-piggeldy cottagey extensions and a whole giant bag of character. It's in beautiful Perthshire and is surrounded by greenery. There's more room than we have at the moment, stairs (which are very exciting when you've lived in a one and a half storey bungalow) and a wonderful dog friendly garden (people friendly too). I just can't wait to get everything signed and sealed.

It needs some work (mostly bathrooms and floors) but we're going to get it all done before we move in (we know what happens if we don't). We feel like after so much looking the right house came to us. It's perfectly located for friends and family visiting and close enough to big shops to be incredibly practical. (Yes, I do know how many minutes from a 24h Tesco.)

The lovely lovely nedding list might grow rapidly as we discover lots of things the new place needs.

We're over the moon and feel like there's so much to do. Who needs to get knotted and move in the same summer. Ah well, at least there isn't footie to get in the way. ;-)

ps/ To those good friends who read this: we didn't tell anyone (apart from parents) that we were putting and offer in, or that we'd even seen a great house, because if it all went wrong and we didn't get it, we couldn't stand everyone being sad for us too, it was so horrid last time.

Monday, 2 June 2008

She returns, so much weaker than before

After the marathon I should have been taking it easy. Instead Monday dawned bright and early and saw us heading northward, far, far, northward (and a little west) in search of a perfect bothy. After 5 hours of driving (and a 20mile detour to collect the key) we tramped for a further 40min over hill and dale (this put some serious strain on the ole leg muscles) and arrived at the cottage to see a tent in the garden and people having tea. This was a surprise, but then, these things happen. The lady was extremely reluctant to let us in and after 30min of sitting outside in deep embarrassment and rising frustration and fury (with the stupid c**** of estate agents), and several calls back and forth to the agents (who initially claimed not to know who we were despite agreeing to the visit 5 days ago and giving us the key an hour previously) we had the shortest and shitest viewing of a house ever. Imagine a large continental woman standing in a small cottage doorway, opening the door and saying "that's a bedroom" whilst two of you try desperately to peer round her and actually see the place. Everything was done quickly and grudgingly. It sucked.
Luckily for the house it is in the most beautiful location EVAR. Unluckily the price is being messed around with and they want too much for it (considering it has no electricity or real water.. or, you know, access). Also she couldn't answer any of our questions and the agents haven't even replied to our pleas for information. JESUS - talk about money for old rope.

Well, moving onwards - the next few days were spent working and catching up with that pesky thing called laundry (it really does breed when you aren't looking).

On Wednesday we climbed back into Helga (who's seen a fair few miles in the last month or so; and may be suffering a little) and headed for Oban. It was time for our much delayed Coll trip to see Sis and Bro in law and the wonderful 'Phews. Luckily the "restaurant night" had been abandoned in favour of TheO cooking a wonderful meal instead. We were laden with only a few cool bags and our pooches.
These are my notes written on the return ferry yesterday:
An incredible Coll trip that really showed off the Island to its very best.
We arrived with sis-in-law and the 'phews and Coll was bathed in sunshine. (Admittedly I can't remember as I got food poisoning the day before and projectile vomited over the hotel in Oban before spending far too much time with Mr Shanks. I slept in the ferry and for 4h when we got to the house). That night I had roast chicken (tiny scrap) and baked potato. Excellent. Another good day followed with 2 beach trips and lovely nephews; we played and paddled and the dogs behaved pretty well for mainland pooches.

Fri night TheO cooked up a storm and I ate like a queen. A good night was had by all; the Collites were in good form (Sis in Law suffering slightly from pregnancy related nausea but she put in a fantastic showing) and the chat and wine flowed all too freely. [You know that a discussion where nipple hair and loo brushes are mentioned (not in the same breath) that everyone is quite well lubricated.]
Unfortunately the next day was less pleasant as my system rejected every scrap of food I'd had the night before. So I did some childcare duty in the sun whilst the Coll-ites worked soo hard to help set up a Project Trust 40th Party.
Then we saw the new sailing club start with loads of kids in tazo mini sailing dingies - eldest 'Phew managed to have a go and was brilliant - ie actually listened and did as he was told. Party that night was ruled out for me but all had fun and the hard worked seemed to be worthwhile. TheO was amazing and just let me rest and got on with everything: children, dogs, party duty, long walks on her own back from the party, and a fair amount of washing-up.

Sunday started with Islander cooking pancakes and progressed to fishing on their boat - mackrell, gurnard and pollack were all caught and the incredible weather just kept on coming, a flock of puffins passing overhead and a seal popping up to say hello made for some pretty incredible meamories. We were both sad to have to come home (and get some bloody work done) but were delighted to have appreciated every moment.

Couldn't have been better (apart from me being a bit ill). I come back tanned and considerably thinner (whoo hoo) - albeit by unpleasant means.
I really am much lighter - it puts the perspective on the illness - I feel like I did nothing but sleep and wander around lazily, and yet I've shed 8lb. Hmm, I hate knowing it's a false-loss and will creep back on all too easily. Yuck-Poo as Godlet would say.

Today I worked like the proverbial and got loads done. I smugly headed off to the Post Office at 5pm only to discover that in the 4 days I've been away our PO has changed its hours to a mere 9 - 12:30 every day. Most Frustrating!

I am really missing running - but all advice suggests doing bugger all until I can properly digest food. RF is better now but her digestive machinations did last a good few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Ooh off to put a potato in the oven.


Monday, 26 May 2008

26.2 ROCKS (long post)

Many things ROCK but 26.2 miles for no reason (rather than being chased by big dogs, or aliens with probes) really, really rocks!

My first thought on finishing was: again, again!!

I really loved it. I really hated the training but I loved every minute of the run. (Okay, apart from the minute when the leg of the guy in front of me contorted into a wild spasm of twisted cramp and he fell to the ground screaming in agony.) [He did get medical help v quickly.]

After carefully checking myself for sores, blisters and general wear-and-tear I can conclude that I am unscathed apart from a small blister on my chest. This exists because I insist on carrying a cotton hanky for snot and plegm related emergencies. There is no excuse for gobbing in the street, particularly when bits might land on runners behind you! ICK I may have to now invent a special sports endurance hanky that doesn't leave blisters and is wicking... shhh my fortune will be found on Dragon's Den.

4.53 unofficial time - v v pleased with this in a pathetic way. I keep nudging TheO (who looks at me as if I'm about to procalim on matters of import) and saying "I ran a marathon!" I'm not sure how long I can keep this up without being punched. Also - is it wrong to have the marathon medal on the bedpost?

sport beans rocked - really BIN THE GEL BUY THE BEANS
sports bra rocked - not a mark on me and my shoulders survived the bounce
sun burn less so - luckily mild

I followed my plan (sort of)
ran 10
walked 1
ran 8
walked 1.2
ran the rest - walking in small bursts for about 10min top - probably less.

My splits tell most of the story:
Average speed 11.07
10.03 ----At this point I'd averaged just under 10min/miles - faster than expected start
WALKED mile 11 - 14.43 (Had TheO on her bike near me had a lovely chat!)
10.33 - same time as my all-run training run
11.09 - getting hot & hilly & rough underfoot
WALKED mile 20 - 15.52
13.57 - walked 0.2 miles of this mile too - wanted only 6 to run at the end
11.07 - ran all
12.47 - walked a wee bit
11.09 - ran all
13.49 - walked some with the thought of finishing strong and enjoying the end
10.52 - loving the last mile
last 0.4 (on gps) miles 4.39 - practically a sprint finish

3547 calories burnt
5,000,000 calories eaten since

The start was quite exciting and I tried really hard to pace myself. I'm glad I ran a bit faster though. Made up for the slowing at the end.

Took some time to settle and I was quite antsy and still a bit trepidatious until mile 6 or 7 where I saw Spartans parents cheering me on like wild things. They were the first cheers for me and really made me think that maybe this marathon lark wasn't going to be soooo hideous after all.

At mile 9 lots of lovely, lovely friends were there embarrassing me and making me feel like some kind of superstar. It was brilliant and really cheered me up and made me feel like maybe this was going to be ok. I wasn't crazy - 26.2 might be possible.

Mile 10 was my walking break - I really had to force myself to take it, but I think the strategy worked in the end. TheO had caught up with me on her bike and chatted to me while I chugged back sport beans and water. I got a wee bit cold but just did up my jacket and felt much better.

The next 6 were good - The Professor and Rock God (plus some family) made it out to mile 15/16 and the extra cheers really did spur me on up the hill and back down again.

18/19 were cruel jokes. The terrain turned to hard red pebbles and dusty track, there were no crowds, there was an unexpectedly unpleasant uphill, we were sheltered from the wind and the sun was baking. It took all my will power to remain running and not stop until mile 20 for my walking break.

Ahh, 20 was pure joy. I was delighted not to be feeling that intense calf agony that normally sets in at this point on the walk. I just ate more beans, had more water, cooled my head off (saw Prof and Rock God again) and desperately tried to remain focused. I'd managed to run this far by giving myself a little mental reward. I was now going to walk 1.2 miles then start running - so I'd only have 6 to do at the end - less than 10K.

I did start running again but I had to stop and start a few times as cramp was threatening in one calf. Then the guy in front of me was stricken down with it. I lightly jogged round the corner and carefully took time to stretch out the calves (whilst trying to avert my eyes as I realised I'd stopped at a sign where about 10 blokes were peeing in the bushes). After that I made it another mile or so running. There I saw TheO (who'd lent her bike to a bloke who'd missed his girlfriend and left his mobile phone with her as collateral - it all worked out, I love how trusting she is; and it often brings out the best in people) and begged for anything with salt in it - anything to help prevent the cramp. I was rewarded with a cream cracker - surprisingly good given the circumstances, a little dry though.

I then ran and walked (in small bursts) to the end. I think (possibly with the help of hindsight) that I could have gone a bit faster. I definitely had the end in mind. I wanted to enjoy it, to savour it, to not have died at 25.5. I took it easy-ish and tried to pace myself so the last mile (or so as it turned out) could be strong. I knew I was going to make it under 5h and this made me a little complacent.

It seemed to work well. When I saw my friends as I entered the race course grounds Blarney yelled: "It's *****... IT'S *****!!!!" And, I swear she was surprised to see me still alive and still running. But the whistling, cheering and general commotion was bloody marvellous.

The last bit was soo long. You saw the 26 mile marker and the run up to the finish just went on and on and on the flags started and you couldn't even see the giant inflatable gateway... it was interminable. I swear as I was running it I would have bet money that I was the only person there, the only one within about 200 yards of anywhere. It was a real shock to see a friends photo and discover that there really were other runners around me. I was in a bubble, I was in my own world. I could hear and see but it was definitely at a distance, separated from reality.

Seriously - who is that person next to me (I'm in black), they've been added in by photoshop (thanks to Badger for the pics!) - there was ONLY ME. On checking the times people finished one second before me, and one second after me ... it's amazing how the mind can block things out.

The end was truly wonderful. I collected my substantial and delightful medal, my banana and some water. I walked the 0.3 miles back to my friends and basked in the glow of finishing anf friendship possibly the finest combo known.

Spartan had finished several hours ago in a fantastic 3.23 - the man is made of some kind of speedy muscle ... or something that sound better and means the same thing. By the time he saw me he looked well rested.

Wheeler and RF had had a much harder time. RF had trained like a mad woman getting all the right things done and then was struck down with gastric-flu and then a hideous cold. How she even survived the whole process is beyond me. She was just delighted for it to be over. Had conditions been perfect (they were really quite windy and cold, followed quickly by windy and boiling) she might have given it a stab but as things were she was content to run with Wheeler, who after a long spell where training was a little neglected set in for some serious mile building only to be scythed down by RFs gastric-flu. They made a bloody amazing showing getting in at 5.15 - and they even managed to get exactly the same time as each other at the end - that takes devotion (or some kind of shared illness).

After relaxing for mere moments we headed back into Edinburgh, creaking and groaning, whilst TheO taxied us around. After depositing Wheeler and RF back at their place we headed for the park and gave our dogs the shortest little walk. A slow head up to Spartan and Blarney's place (with a minimum of cursing as they live on the 3rd floor) and a hot bath followed by a nice lie down with some toast and a Harry Potter book made me feel a little more human.

A good meal out with some new people (v exciting, hardle ever happens) was the perfect end to a really great day. Nice chat nice food. We had to leave a little before desert (why god, why) as time was ticking on and my own bed was calling me.

26.2 DONE