Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Forgot to mention. TheO made the most incredible Sea Bass for dinner - stuffed with loads of herbs and ginger and chilli and stuff. It rocked in every way.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


27th - took advantage of the beautiful day!

3.4 miles in 37.58 - a nice recovery pace after ... not much that week ;-)
Ran with TheO and the pooches in the woods despite me pissing her off (without my knowledge at the time!) it was a really nice run; the fresh air and actual sunshine really helps as well as the exercise.

Monday (28th) we drove for 3hours to see a house. We parked, politely told the agent we knew it was a 'no' and drove home. (Only stopping for a fried breakfast ..... noooooooooooooo.) It was a classic case of the brochure promising sooo much more than the house could ever deliver. It was not 'private' as discussed at length on the 'phone with (another) agent. This was the main bug bear, but the experience was akin to having the most sumptuous and incredible food put in front of you and then discovering it tastes like ashes. It wasn't even a 'bargin' or suspiciously priced. Pah. Damn house hunting.

Today I should have been working and instead was a bit glum - think the stress of N'edding, House hunting and raging hormones might have been a bit much for me. Apart from a Tesco's run (finally we have fruit, veg, and light-bulbs - the situation was getting a bit desperate) a trip to the gym was necessary to work me out of my slump.

So, I tried some Yasso's. As explained simply the idea is that you run 800m in the min:seconds that you ideally want to run a marathon in - in hours:min. So I was aiming for 800m in 4:50ish. I set the machine to LAPS - a delightful setting where it gives you 400m set distances and counts them in laps. Genius - as it also still counts up the milage you're running overall. It really spurred me on to know that each section was so short - what kind of wuss would I have been to wimp out, that's what I kept telling myself as I sweated away like a fat 50yr old running their first race - in Florida!

Gradient was set to 1.5% - for novelty value. Then I did my first Yasso - came in at 4.37 - was quite happy. Proceeded with a total of 10 Yasso's all in the 4:27 to 4:37 bracket - I took a maximum of 60 seconds between Yasso's to stretch and catch my breath. Doing this speed work it became clear that I don't work hard enough normally. I was fit to be wrung out by the end of it. And the time reflected that, I covered 5 miles in 44.50 which is quite quick for me. ... Doesn't count as a fastest ever though due to the rests. ;-( Begin to wonder what is possible. Could I run 20 Yasso's at this pace? Should I review my speed expectations - probably not, I should get a bit more distance under my belt and then consider how I feel about speeding up.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Birthday, birthday .... so good to me.

The 24th was my birthday (a delightful 29 years decrepit). TheO and I spent it sorting out the details for our non-wedding (aka N'edding). What I thought was going to be a dull (including a loooong time driving) and tedious day was, in fact, delightful and v exciting. It was great too just to get things confirmed, plans made, and details ... detailed.
I was also lavished with gifts (always great). Some work related (a great jewellery wrap to transport things to clients in for meetings) and some for play (a Wii remote of my very own). Then there was the running indulgence:
Ahhhh, I am not only going to be well fed and warm on my long training runs (no matter what the weather) I am going to be lookin' stylin'!

25th - saw us heading to see yet another house. We knew the moment we saw it's location (too close to a road) and garden it was a 'no'. Ah well, it was a a nice house that had been lovingly restored. The owners were v nice and assured us that the raging torrent the other side of the road (about 60m from the house) had never burst it's banks and 'never would'. On returning home we discovered that it was on the news as less than 1/2 mile from the house the road had been closed to all vehicles as the river had - inevitably- burst it's banks. Nothing like a bit of optimism when trying to sell your house.

The afternoon saw me have a mini meltdown as I couldn't find any cake I liked for my birthday celebration that evening. I blame tiredness and hormores. It was not pretty. No 29yr old should be reduced to tears of frustration by not being able to choose cake. Especially when they've just bought a really nice blue cord jacket for £10!

I did manage to fit in my second exercise session of the week (the first was 30min of yoga on the 23rd - it was good to have a stretch but I really needed a run). After some dogs were dropped off late (1:15min late!) I jumped on the elliptical machine and slogged out a 5k. I did a minute and a hlaf before the distance measuring thing kicked in, but then managed a 28.37 5K on the rolling setting. This goes from level 5 to level 8 (out of 16) in rolling steps. Really made me feel much better. Managed to keep the RPM at 70 or above.

For my birthday supper we (a happy band of 8) headed out to enjoy A Thai/Japanese place. I wanted it to be something a little different and it was a good night. Excellent cocktails, yummy food, good chat. Home for cheesecake, more drinking and games and chat. A perfect understated day. (I was also lucky enough to receive some great gifts from my friends - thank you all soooo much!)

26th - we just chilled out - more games, some fabulous cakes thanks to Highheels, and general chat. It was really great to do something on a Friday night and then have a chill out day and know that everyone can still get home and have some w/end left to get on with the tedious business of life.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Just received the official news. I got into the Edinburgh Marathon through the ballot.

Might have to go for a run now.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

It was so good I might hurl at any moment.

There's nothing like a long run. Just you and the road. Calm but cold. Not icy or wet though, so I could just focus on my breathing and keep going. I almost extended my designated 9 mile run to 13 ... it just felt right, but I thought TheO might have a moment of concern if I didn't make it home. Spent my time thinking up new routes to make the longer runs interesting. Tried not to clock watch too much and just keep going. The first 3 miles were the worst, but then they always are; I don't really feel settled until I'm over the 4-5 mile point. After that the body just relaxes and plods onwards.

New Garmin is a joy to wear and has a far more accurate 'current pace' setting than my old one. Also allows me to have a stat-tastic Sunday!
9.5 mile run - decided to make it a little longer - feels more like progress.
1.41.08 - total
1336 calories
Avg speed 10.39 - still happy with anything under 11min/mile for these long training runs.

10.40 - 0.3 downhill, rest flat or slight gradient
11.10 - 0.2 steep hill, rest flat or medium uphill
11.10 - undulating and hills
9.38 - all down hill - bloody lovely
10.06 - pretty flat
10.15 - pretty flat
10.20 - undulating but only slightly
10.49 - undulating a wee bit
11.02 - flat (1.35.15 for 9 miles)
5.53 - half mile - hilly

Fastest 9mile training by 3min! Delighted by the improvement. Cold really makes a huge difference to me. Also didn't feel as dead at the end. Feels like PROGRESS. Just have to keep it up and extend these long runs. Oooh desperately want a nice deep bath but I've only just put the boost on for the hot water (forgot to do it as I left). Bugger.

Friday, 18 January 2008

As usual, my apologies. Life got in the way.

A week so HUGE in its enormity I'm not sure a blog can contain it.

Apart from: a lovely w/end where Chopper visited (as did Sis-in-Law and the 'phews) and we walked along the banks of the Tay roughly 5 mile route in 2 hours - through woods, to Birkihill House (a surprisingly lovely discovery); and the finishing of a major commission; we also managed to go to Dundee and see an exhibition which was bloody marvellous. It was by Matthew Buckingham at the DCA and entitled Play the Story. There were 3 video works which all had something relevant and thought provoking to say whilst manipulating the chosen media in original and fabulous ways. GO SEE IT if you get the chance.

However this is all more circumstantial news than the big news. On January 16th something was smiling down at me. I got accepted for funding to go to the British Craft Trade Fair. This is a BIG deal. It's the major trade fair for those who make things in Britain. No tat. Just great quality stuff. And it costs about £1500 to go - I get full funding apart from accommodation. I also opened in my first proper exhibition* - very exciting stuff - big perspex cabinets and everything! Also, as a side bar - I ran my fastest ever 5k in 26:36 at 1%. Bloody marvellous day. We then topped it off by going for dinner with Highheels and Teech at Mal Maison in Edinburgh which was delightfully convivial (even if some of the food could have been a little better). Discovered a gorgeous bar called Dragonfly - lovely coffee but the cocktail menu was amazing.

Yesterday TheO decided that she's had enough. The time had come to stop ignoring the RAF flying by and to start looking for another house. The house that will be the house. The one to last forever. The one that fits all our friends or family in comfort. With that in mind we went to look at one - it sucked. She's desperate to move to the Pitlochry area - up in the mountains. I'm searching for the 'right house' regardless of location (apart from being in the country and within 2h of Edinburgh). Hopefully the two will marry well enough.

So today has been relatively quiet - a shop and a gym session. 4 miles in 37.40 at 1%, the last 0.5mile was at 2%. Work those calves. A few scant weights used up the rest of my time. Fairly pleased with the run - just have to keep building up the miles. Eeeek.

*Whilst getting ready for the exhibition opening I discovered that my hair has two settings: limp or 80s - damn it. Why do these things only become apparent when you're in a hurry?

Friday, 11 January 2008

News just in: Treadmill rocks my world. (And yes, I do need professional help.)

Awoke in terrrrrible mood - really grumpy and sad. Luckily final piece arrived for my exhibition piece and I got that finished, photographed and sent off.
Having to sort out a dog dilemma TheO had to stay in - but she wanted to come to the gym with me. I began to get a bit antsy and ate some Nature Valley biscuit things and had a bottle of Lucozade - I really wanted to do this run, my foot was literally tapping by the time we finally got to go. I was terrified that leaving it late (4pm) would mean that the gym would be full - again. (Seriously, had that been the case I might have exploded ... a small mushroom cloud would have been seen over Cupar.)

As we drove across my anxiety continued to grow, especially as I realised that it was a perfect evening; cold with wet ground but a stunning sunset. I think I just need to get outdoors more and stop being such a fecking wimp. (Might need some reflective clothing though, and maybe some long leggings.)

It was busy in there but I monopolised a corner treadmill and ran 10k - all at 1% incline.

6.2 miles in 59.30
Pace 6.2 or above - did about a mile at 6.5 - never ever dipped below
sweaty perfection - it really was nice to drip, made me feel like I'd really been working. It was just what I needed mentally and physically.

I had also had the foresight to ask TheO to cook tonight. They cooked up a STORM - amazing pancakes filled with salmon and tomato salsa - it was a taste sensation.

Just a bit of residual panic about my next project. Hey Ho - it always all gets done in the end.

Feel wonderfully energised now - 2.17am - got 3 quotes done for a friend and 2 business quotes done with sketches... crikie. must go to bed.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Weights and frustration.

Over the last few days I've been working. Really working. My labours are paying off but time for exercise has been limited. So yesterday when TheO suggested a wee trip to the gym I jumped at the chance. All I needed to do was an hour's running. That would set me back on track.

Arrived at the gym to be told we could only have 1/2h as it was shutting at 6.15 - utterly randomly and without reason. But, you know how it is, you're there - and half an hour is better than nothing at all. Went in. The running machines were all being used. One by a larger lady who had it set to high gradient and was pacing her way towards better health. The other two were being used by women in 3/4 leggings and fleeces (fleeces!!!) who were walking. On the flat. One had a steady pace but the other was just ambling along - and she never shut up. Never. Now I try to be mentally kind and remember that: she could just have had heart surgery and you wouldn't know; she could be regaining mobility after a bad break; or, she could be training for the Moonwalk or other similar long distance walk. However mental kindness, when faced with my desire to do a run of decent distance, gets a pounding. My fury at their walking has barely abated and this is a good 18h later. Pah!

There was an upside to this frustration. I used it to really push myself on the weights.
Started with my favourite:
Tummy machine on level 12 (60Kg - according to an instructor)
x 20, then x 12 side obliques, then x 12
Pull down on level 6 (30Kg)
3 x 12
Tricpet Pull down on level 5 (25kg)
3 x 12
Bicept Curl on level 5 (25kg)
3 x 12 - this was hard
Pectoral Push on level 5 (25kg)
3 x 12
Leg Press on level 8 (80Kg)
3 x 12 - really, really hard.

I then decided (as the damn fool women were still ambling along and chatting) to use the crosstrainer. Put the ramp on 19 - so it worked glutes, hamstrings, thighs and calves, but only set resistance to level 2. Managed 1.1 miles in 13.30min - felt like a decent work out.

Still desperately need a run.

What a weekend!

An early start on Saturday saw an un-caffeinated TheO* reclining in Keith's passenger seat whilst I bombed along the M90. At moments we talked - I was asked, "are you in 5th?" - I thought: Ah the joys of a Landrover, you're free to roam over hill and dale - you can go anywhere you want, as long as you're prepared to go slooowly.

But hell, we made it to our wintery and rainy destination (almost on time). We looked at the rain, and at the smiling faces of High-Heels and RF and knew it was going to be a good day. We had all come prepared for the conditions. Waterproofs abounded. We headed into the woods. The walk was mostly UP for 2km. The trees sheltered us quite well from the cold wind and we all appreciated the winter-wonderland feel of a forest half buried in snow. The pooches romped (on lead) and their low centres of gravity and four-legged-ness saw them make light work of some of our more difficult scrambling.

The peak was delightfully pointy. The view was really quite spectacular - especially as we got the day's obligatory 4min of sunshine whilst standing on the summit. I have to admit that I was quite worried (scared) about coming back down the mountain as I have crappy vertigo and it was damn steep going up. For some reason, apart from watching your step as it was so slippery with snow, it was a breeze coming down. I just had to keep moving as my gloves were not in any way waterproof and had become water logged with all the scrambling over rocks and through streams. RF was kind enough to take a dog on the way back so I could warm my hands up by moving them rather than having to hold a lead.

We slogged up and back in 3h - which I don't think was too bad considering the weather. It was really busy given the weather and must be mental in the summer. Our simple packed food was eaten in the relative warmth of Keith. We ate fast and quickly decided that just heading straight for the hotel would be best. Not a difficult decision when you know that luxury, warmth, food and booze awaits!

The hotel did not disappoint. We were quite concerned that it had been some kind of aberration last time. Thankfully it was just was wonderful this time. This time the girls decided that they would treat us to the booze - this was inspired. We bathed - I in fine style, a shower to get clean, then the ultimate indulgence, a bath - for no reason other than to lie in the water and read a magazine. Fabulous.

We headed down in our glad rags. We were the young and beautiful sipping our fancy arsed cocktails then having pink champagne. The food was sublime but it is the company that makes these things. The wine and chat flowed and we ended the evening with a wee drinkie in the whisky room. To a huge bed with crisp sheets to sleep and dream of mountains and snow.

Pottering round the Kelvin Grove Museum the next day was the perfect Sunday activity.
All in all bloody marvellous - a great start to 2008, lets hope the rest of it rocks this way. ( And we were home in time to chill out a bit on Sunday night too.)

*Dangerous to be in such close proximity.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

It's official: Exercise makes me HAPPY!

Damn it but didn't those endorphins wake up today and make me feel like a much more civilised human being. (Got some work posted too.)

All did not start well at the gym. I was initially v peeved that there wasn't a running machine free. But hell - I had one of those moments, when given lemons make tangy lemon souffle. (How gay is that sentence?) I really wanted to just go in and do a longer length run - 6ish miles. But this plan had to be altered.

Apart from being a bit officious and grumpy (read: so exceptionally rude and slow that we've seriously considered complaining) the gym in St. Andrews really beats the Cupar gym hands down - it has far better weights machines and the same amount of cardio - and, best of all, WINDOWS. Plus we can take the dogs for a walk on the beach too - so all of the family, both 2 and 4 legged are happy.

So I did all arm weights:
Tricept dip on level 4 (12 x 3)
Shoulder press on level 1 ( x 12) then level 2 (x 12) then 1 again ( x 12) - it frickin killed me - why oh why am I so useless at that particular exercise?
Pectoral press on level 4 (3x 12)
Bicept curl 0n 4 (3 x 12)
Tummy machine ... on 12 (x 12) then on 13 (2 x 12) - highest I've ever taken it. Seriously love that exercise. The older (and incredibly strong - he had some of the weights on the very last hole) guy next to me stopped to stare - then said, "that's quite good". He obviously was trying to be complimentary without being patronising; that appears to be where British understatement comes into play.
Cross pull on 3 each arm (3 x 12)

Then, finally, after loitering with intent, a treadmill became free. I knew that time was waning and all too soon my hour would be up. I had to make a a decision. It's been a while since I did any speed work so I thought I might give a fast mile a go. I set the pace to 6.40ish and just kept running - put it up to 9mph at the end: ran my fastest mile ever 6.58. I would have done a 'happy dance ' had I not been doubled over getting my breath back. Sweet, sweet feeling.
Followed that with a 3min rest then 2.1 miles in 19.30 - good pace, really tough work out. Covered 5K overall. Still need to get a long run in. Never mind tomorrow's 4h walk should help with the stamina a wee bit.

Got to go and pack. (Waterproofs a must!)

Oh and a friend has just started her first blog - go have a look if you have any spare moments. She's all about the Tea and the Words; and not at all about exercise. Consider it a rest day.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Just about holding grumpy at bay.

Despite managing to use the wonderful new Garmin (drooool) on the 29th - a delightful 5K up past the quarry (29.50 - yippee) - I cannot upload the data as my computer's operating system is too old. Boo. Never mind, I'll update it, at some point.

It's been a bit hectic here. Sis in Law with Islander and the boys couldn't make it back to the Island due to Godson having a febrile convulsion (fever fit in a baby) whilst still in Malta. So they were with us and Highheels and Teech. HH and Teech really were great with Archie - they put up with a mammoth amount of Monster Rumble on the Playstation. (Great games for wee ones but a bit mind numbing after 15 rounds!!!) They may never breed though.

Everyone managed to be fed and watered at appropriate times (a miracle as we did the shopping about 5min before they all turned up). I think everyone had a good time - New Year was delightfully understated and full of games.

Yesterday I did manage a paltry 40min on the elliptical machine. It was nasty. Boring. And, for some sins I swear I don't remember committing, I decided to do it on a hill. The gradient oscillated between 4 and 7 (out of 15) - something I've never done before - it hurt.

This New Year malarkey has put me in a bit of a funk though. It might be the cold. It might be the dark. It might be being so damn busy, and stressed, about important bits of work to get done. It might be the feeling that having worked hard this year I'm still skint at the end of it. It definitely gives a nagging sense of a lack of achievement. I want to start the year with a bang but it all feels a bit wimpery. I also feel horribly hormonal (always helpful when added to the other general bleurghhh-ness). Maybe this year I'll manage to turn it all around.

Looking back at 2007 - it' really was a pretty amazing year.
I went to my first Trade Event (and survived).
TheO and I decided to make our ramshackle partnership legal (she's a fool for accepting this albatross).
I ran my first Half Marathon.
My work was stocked in galleries for the first time.
Went on trips to Madrid, and Malta and Skye and York.
My liver survived TWO whisky tours. And I learnt to like whisky after the second.
We went on an incredible trip to Iceland.
I saw some extremely good friends tie the knot.
We discovered a great hotel - or two ... maybe three.
I applied to run my first Marathon.
I was accepted for my first exhibition.

It doesn't look too bad when listed all together. And I love my life so much; I am fully aware that I am, quite possibly, the luckiest girl in the world. Which makes me all the more irritated with myself when this type of whinging funk descends.

I though this funk was passing - I managed to get a fair bit done today. Stuff to post off tomorrow. Bits and pieces to work on - all going well so far. However, I thought I'd check my credit card account online. It's an account I never use. The card has never left my house. I was idly checking to see if my Edinburgh Marathon application had been processed (yes, yes, I'm checking 20 days early - but you never know). I'm damn glad I did - some utter bastard has charged £120 to my account in bloody bus fares to Birmingham. So, cancelled card, and tomorrow the fight starts to prove it wasn't me. This DOES NOT IMPROVE MY MOOD or my fecking bank balance.