Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Finally made it back to the gym today after too much fun, frivolity and feasting to go into detail.
It's been a bit of a whirlwind recently and we're not even started on Christmas!
Since I was last here there's been a day in Edinburgh xmas shopping, a circuits class which was ABS HELL, dinner with some village ladies, a murder mystery party (whoo hoo), and, and I tell you - the neighbours took us out for dinner ('cos we looked like we needed feeding up after that lot!).

Everything seems to be slowly coming together. Getting (almost) all the xmas orders done was a real bonus. It feels a little like taking the monkey off my back. I just needed to know they were all where they were supposed to be well before xmas; much better than having nervous and irritated clients calling to 'just make sure' that items will arrive in time. So understandable, I too get a little impatient at this time of year. ... If I've paid for the delivery... I expect delivery in decent time.

Ah well. Today was a day of relaxation. A lie in was called for, then my only plan involved sending off parcels and going for a run.

I managed 10K - the furthest I've gone in 7 weeks (since the dreaded half). And it was quite painless, and rather lovely. Apart from me being a muppet: TheO had jumped out at the post-office and run from there. I'd seen her on my way to the gym. She initially hadn't fancied too long a run so I was sure I'd see her at the gym pretty smartly.

I ran for 4.2 miles (38.25) and got really quite panicy (can often happen to me when I run anyway, think it's a kind of syndrome). It had been almost 40 min since I arrived and she was only 10min from the gym when I passed her. Even taking into account a much longer run it was now really, really dark - and surely she had to come in soon.

Luckily I managed to hold it together mentally (for a bit) as people kept coming into the gym and no-one had that tell-tale look on their face that said "oh my god did you see the mangled and mutilated body of that runner lying by the side of road". My real fear was that, as it was dark, she'd run along the woodland path and was simply fallen and injured.

So thinking that I'd never forgive myself if I 'just finished my run' before searching for her prone body I got off the running machine (this is something that may never have happened before). I made a quick sweep of the changing room, headed outside, and saw a v happy and relaxed TheO running past me. Ascertaining she was absolutely fine, and had waved at me twice (sadly I couldn't see the outside from my position in the gym) I quickly hot footed it inside to finish my run.

I think I was away from the machine for a MAXIMUM of 3 min. So I did my last 2 miles in 18. 18
This gave me a fine total of 56.43 - not bad given I did lots of hills and am a little out of practice.

This week I just have to keep the running up and the eating down. And get the rest of the presents sorted and wrapped. Then I'll be all prepared for Christmas. Oh yes I will.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

What is it about this time of year?

I seem to be constantly busy, often not sure what I'm achieving, and regularly only fitting in ONE exercise session a week - which, in turn, doesn't help with the first two.

After the hideousness that was circuits I was determined to go to the gym on Sunday - before our guests came round. I didn't. The day seriously got away from us. Soooo the Monday was a hangover. *Shudder* I just drank way too much. It was a great night with some truly stellar food thanks to TheO - an incredible smoked salmon pate with walnuts (YUM) and then a brilliant roast. Also it turns out that the woman, who doesn't like cooked fruit, makes the best apple crumble ever.

I've also managed to get some work done this week - and get the rest of the Christmas orders under control. So, to celebrate a few days of activity we're off to Edinburgh to get some xmas shopping done tomorrow. An early start is planned. Urg.

But really I stopped in here to gloat (albeit in a quiet and unassuming manner) about beating my 5 mile time again. 44.41 so about 8.56 a mile. This really pleases me. If I'm going to be a lazy arse brat and not do much in a week, I might as well make the session count, right?

It was one of those runs (treadmill - again) that just makes you happy. Everything works, everything comes together, you've run the first mile without really thinking about it... just a damn good session. Followed by lots of stretching and 10 press-ups.

Then I had dinner made for me. (Oh so appreciated.)
Now I've got to sort out the Christmas lists for tomorrow. (And remember to come back and work rather than veg out on return.)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Still going strong

Well, a little weakly today as I went to circuits last night for the first time in TWO MONTHS. TWO. MONTHS. How the hell did that happen, and oh god why did I go back if it hurts sooo much?
Ah well, I'm pretty sure it does me good, in some way.

We have, as usual been pretty goddamn busy. It never seems to stop.
After the dogs were clipped (they may just have forgiven us) we headed south. Our first stop was a B&B - and it was crappy. Not the kind of crappy where you can complain, just the weird every surface is painted peach and an old man is watching the god-channel in the lounge way. They did food. I was served an entire quiche for 6 people... I tried v hard not to eat it all. She didn't have ANY caffeinated coffee in the house... in case she was given some by accident. In what world could that happen? GIVE ME MY DAMN COFFEE IN THE MORNING. *and breathe*

Then we made it to Staffordshire which was delightful and quite relaxing. Although it was a place that highlighted by addiction to the internet. I need to do something about that. Really,do you think blogging helps?

After a few days there we went on to London (a first for the dogs!) and all went swimmingly. We ate wonderful food, far too often, and far too much. But it was delightful. Also managed to catch the Maharaja exhibition which is ££ but worth it. Spent some time with other sister-in-law which was lovely as we don't get to see her much.

In London I paid £15 to run for 45min. It makes me quake to think of it. But, the only up side was that those 45min covered 5 miles dead - and this makes it a new PB for 5 miles. 4 miles at 2% and 1 mile at 1.5% so not slacking on the incline... delighted.

On Sunday after tennis, tea, brunch and many other meals along the way we headed north. And my god is that a long journey. I swear the entire M6 is just one set of roadworks after the other. Pah.

We arrived home to find that Dotty had not managed to find the appropriate key and therefore our house was COLD AS THE GRAVE. Or possibly colder. It took a fire, and many blankets before we even thawed through. Good to be home though.

I feel a bit like I've sleep walked though the last 4 days. Who knows what happened, not much, and yet I've been busy. Just catching up with life, work and everything I think.

It seems like 1 exercise session a week is all I've managed recently. Must UP this significantly or Christmas will end up bloating me to the size of a house. Eeeek.

Right, off to write other blogs and maybe even head to bed.
Oh it feels good to be back.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Glut or Famine, that's all you get with my posts.

Dogs walked
House Cleaned
Gym Attended.

Broke my 5mile record today. 45.04 for 5 miles miles. Would have loved to get it just under the 45min but was DELIGHTED.

A bit knackered now but really, how perfect can a Sunday be. A clean house, a great gym session, and our neighbours are about to take us out for a curry. Bliss.

All of the run was done on Aerobic setting 1, so this means 10min+ was all at 3%; 10min+ was at 2%; 20min+ was at 1%; and the rest was at 0%. It was a great run, the kind that makes you happy to be alive, and glad to have left the house in the pouring rain (again).

Ah, sigh of relief.

I've been neglecting you.

After the 4 miles it's been a complete whirlwind.
Stayed with Spartan and Blarney with BLARNEY COOKING. She did a fantastic job (the first time she's ever cooked for 6 people) with 2 full courses, the final of which was cheesecake !!!! my personal favourite.

Then we had a night away with a wine tasting and 6 course dinner. Wheeler and RF were happy to accompany us as TheO's gift to RF to help stave off her SAD. It was a brilliant night, good food, good wine, good chat. Went to bed most lubricated and fell asleep to the sound of rain pouring on the chalet roof. Wonderful.

The next morning we fortified ourselves with breakfast and headed out on a dog walk. One of the wettest dog walks I've ever taken part in. We walked for a good hour and saw the view down the valley just before the weather closed in (again).

After that it was full steam ahead, first to the new cottage where RF and Wheeler are staying. TheO made them dinner for later and RF and I built a wardrobe whilst Wheeler emptied out 'the kit room'. A very productive afternoon all round.

Then, despite this being designated as a 'quiet month' MaYa was due to arrive with Tertius. She needed to get lots of things sorted for the new house so we spent many days looking round John Lewis, Dundee and Perth to find tiles,bathrooms and the like. I think it was time use productively. (Particularly as we managed to fit in Dim Sum with Blarney too!)

But this is meant to be a blog about exercise (but the walk counts, honest)!
So, on the 18th I managed to get back to the gym.
5k in 27.46 - aerobic 1 setting. Really pushed it! It felt good to get back in there.
Then 11 proper press ups, a small rest then, 4 proper press ups.
36 sit ups
2 proper press ups -ok, 2 weak wobbly arm things that shouldn't really count.
6 scissor leg up/down things
20 bicep curls w/4kg weight
15 tricep dips
DONE (definitely said in Gordon Ramsey tones).

Since then life has been getting back to normal, catching up on all the things that need to be done. Organising a whole bunch of stuff for Christmas. And time is still running away with me.

We're off to the Peak District and London next week. It should be fun.
Right. I'm off to have breakfast (a little late I know), finish the cleaning and then go to the gym. Oh yes, and the dogs desperately need a walk..... damn.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

4 miles

Managed 4 miles in the gym on the treadmill on Tuesday, all on aeroic 1 setting as usual,
then lots of stretching and 10 full on press-ups. no stopping. This rocked.

the run was in 36.40 which pleased me as this was 9.10 a mile and not too strenuous. Also, my achillies is finally feeling as it should - result.

Life is returning to normal - I got some nice work pieces posted out. On time. I've started a new blog, and am feeling the pressure of trying to organise my thoughts on the topic of domesticity. Here it's easy. I come in, I write about running, and then I bugger off again. There, it feels like I should really be quite concise about committing my thoughts to ... screen.

But, much, much, much more excitingly we went to the Highland Wildlife Park today which rocked all sort of socks. We saw the polar bear (in her new and lovely enclosure), the TIGERS and their CUBS, red pandas (which were showing off big time), Elk, Bison, Wild Horses, an otter, Arctic Foxes, Japanese Monkeys, Snowy Owls, and all manner of things with horns related to deer in some way. It was marvellous and I can't wait to return, even if I am a grown-up and have no small children to use as an excuse.

And tomorrow we have a Cheeseboard meet up (yay!) and the next day we have a mystery night away with friends. And my Dad's no longer being detained in Kazakhstan. So a good few days all in all.

Off to bed to watch trashy US crime drama, what more can go right.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

It's just a blogging frenzy.

So, I've finally got the whole house clean. This means nothing to you, dear reader, but means a great deal to me. It means peace of mind. Now I can get on with the rest of my to-do list.

But, I'm really here because I went to the gym today. Despite not wanting to. Despite being knackered. But TheO said she didn't want pizza (Tesco Finest Oven pizza, not, sadly, Dominos) if she hadn't worked out. And this thought alone made me say, "Aw, let's just go." She'd done a workout yesterday so wouldn't have felt bad if she'd had a day off... Me, I've been slacking for days.

So I did lots of different things for a change today. (Also I'm nursing what threatens to be a minor achilles injury, it's just a bit stiff and sore in the morning, so I might take it easy on the ole legs for a bit.)

I did:
Reclining Bike (Precor) Fitness Test Setting. This took 10min and told me I had a HIGH level of Fitness (score 38). This pleased me no end.
1 mile run in 9.15 - at 1.5% for the whole way.
10min/2.4miles on the arm bike. Hill Setting, Level 5.

Then TheO moved onto the mat exercises, which is where I was heading, and she started doing press-ups. Not girlie press-ups oh no! Real press-ups. I marvelled at her prowess and then felt a bit jealous. I've never been able to do press-ups. My massive arms are apparently all fat. But as she said, "Go on, give it a go!", my arms suddenly worked. I managed 7 real press-ups in a row and felt like I'd just won xfactor (or something I might actually care about).

I then followed this up with:
6 lifting and crossing leg lift things. (6 each leg)
6 alternate leg/arm raise tummy lifts (6 each leg)
Plank for 1min
3 more press-ups
12 sit ups

It all rocked socks. I did just enough to get a real, massive, endorphin boost and I can't believe I can finally do press-ups. (Although I must work on this so I can do more!)
My reward. PIZZA!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Great Bra Review - Does what it says on the tin!

Now, I write this not just as a desperate attempt to get yet more people to click on this blog in search for a sports bra... but as a show of real desperation. Desperation at the lack of information out there; at the lack of reviews from women of different sizes; at the fact that the same bras keep getting great reviews. I’ve tried them, and I’m not convinced.

So many of these tests say that ‘the bra’ reduces movement by 40% ... or similar. These tests are done on the difference between a naked bra tester, and a tester with the sports bra on. No shit this makes a difference.

What I’m looking for is a bit more than that. I wear a bra all the time. I have ordinary every day bras which keep the boobs pointing the the right direction (mostly) and give me a nice(r) shape under my clothes. They stop me from hurting and make me more confident ... but running in these bras is a no-no. I have to wrap my arms across my chest and hold them in place. What I’m looking for here is a SPORTS BRA. This should be, in my opinion, DRAMATICALLY more supportive than my everyday bras (which are underwired and mostly from M&S should anyone care).

Over the last 3 years I’ve tried to find the perfect sports bra. And I’ve failed. But along the way I found some pretty good, and some pretty bad ones.

All of the comments relate to my boobs and how the bras have worked for me; it also relates to how these bras work for a DISTANCE RUNNER, lots of the problems with bras (apart from basic support issues) occur because you’re really using them for hours of high impact exercise. I’m sure almost everything I review would do pretty well for a quick trip down the gym; or a short jog, or any variety of low/middle impact exercise.

When I started running I was a 40D, now I’d wear a 37 C1/2 (in an ideal world)... but generally have to make do with a 36 or 38 C depending on brand. I am always careful to wear the size most fitting and appropriate at the time. Please remember if you do lose weight, or just boobage, though exercise you really will need a new bra, as irritating and expensive as that is.

This list is not designed to be comprehensive. I can only wear what fits me. So if you’ve got less than a C cup many of these bras will not be available in your size. (But there are loads of other great bras out there that will probably help you; and you’ll have far more choice than than your larger friends!) With that in mind, I’ve listed the sizes that all the bras come in so you can quickly tell if it’s even worth reading a section.

I am aware of the great bra sites now available and tend to buy from:
But I have also used:
www.boobydoo.co.uk. and www.sheactive.co.uk
No prices are listed as they are subject to change/special offer.

Other retailers are available but very sadly most shops, and running shops in particular, tend to stock very few brands so you never get to try them all on and see what really works for you. You try whatever they have and the least worst, or most readily available, is often the most bought.

That said, the most popular bras do tend to be popular for a reason. With that in mind I have trawled review sites and tried to find most of the best rated bras (for my size and support level) to give them a personal work out.

How the scoring works:
COMFORT this is out of 10 as without comfort a lot of the rest is irrelevant.
ADJUSTABILITY this is out of 5 as the fine tuning helps, but does not make/break the bra
APPEARANCE this is out of 5. A great looking bra is a fine thing, and an ugly bra might languish in a drawer for considerably longer. But it doesn’t affect how they ‘work’.
BOUNCE CONTROL this is out of 20. The only bit that really, really, matters.
All of the bras listed are designed to be top-level control for high impact and larger boobs.
Total score is out of 40.

I haven’t given scores for washability as not all of my bras have been put trough the same rigours. I was them all the same way (30 C cotton wash, fast spin, net bag if they’ve got catches and straps, air dry) and if they can’t withstand my gentle treatment they don’t deserve to be bought.

I’ve tried lots of the main bras, and even if they didn’t work for me I’ve listed them; as this gives a truer comparison for the ones that did work!

Enell - sizes 32C - 52E (but check their sizing table!)
Now I am aware that this bra is meant to be the bra to end all bras. And I don’t have one. The price and sizing have put me off, as has how large it is. I get hot enough without a massive layer of elastic holding me together. I’m prepared to change my mind, if anyone can tell me if it will fit I’d be delighted. It seems to be designed for ladies a little larger of boob, than me. And if you’re a C cup they’d quite like you be a 34”....
I’m prepared to be convinced and it will be my next purchase!

Anita High Control Sports Bra 5521 available in 32A - 40G
Initially ordered this as it was GMTV Best Bra Spring 2008
Sent this straight back as it did not support in any way as far as me and my boobs were concerned. Flimsy.

Thusane Force 3 Sport Bra with Top Strap available in 32B - 40E
Another sad disappointment. Really liked the design and idea of this bra but no support for me. Flimsy.

Triumph Tri-Action Extreme - available in 32B - 40E
This is a bra which has had incredible reviews (given 10/10 by The Daily Mail September 2007) and has flown off the shelves. I’ve spoken about it before as I was pretty disgusted when I received mine. Very flimsy, no support at all and was sent straight back. Two boobs, like a traditional bra. Less supportive than my ordinary bras!
Comfort 8/10 - but it was so soft it was useless
Adjustability 3/5 - promises but does not deliver
Appearance 3/5 - quite sporty but I don’t like white as it goes grey in the wash (personal thing) Too bra like for outerwear.
Support 5/20
Total: 19/40

Marks and Spencer Underwired High Impact Sports Bra (code 8465580) - sizes 32A - 2G
Works well for what it is. I find the cups a bit low cut and more like an ordinary bra. Some will love this look, others will find it a bit revealing and lacking in full boob support. Nice straps, quite wide and comfy - but I find this a nice bra to wear as everyday wear rather than a sports bra. It just doesn’t give enough support to go for a run.
Comfort 6/10
Adjustbility 4/5
Appearance 4/5 - for a bra it’s got some nice detailing and feels quite sleek and sporty
Support 13/20
Total: 27/40

Pure Lime Compression Bra 098 - available in 28C - 40G
Well, I kept it. Which is a start. Works fine but nothing special. Reduces bounce a bit but not stunningly comfortable, or stunningly supportive. Feels too soft, with too little structure. Looks v different in real life to the way it does in images. A half decent bra if you’re looking for compression and two boobs simultaneously, quite a difficult combo to pull off.
Comfort 7/10
Adjustability 3/5 - shoulder straps aren't variable enough for my short back
Appearance 3/5 - quite big above the boobs so wouldn’t work well with a lower cut sports top
Support 14/20
Total - 27/40

Berlie Shock Absorber B4490 - available in 28A - 40HH
Now this bra is meant to be the same support level as the one listed below. It’s not. I wear it for hill walking. That’s W.A.L.K.I.N.G. Oh yes. It looks lovely and I kept it as it has a place in my heart for camping and walking trips - but it is not a high level support bra. Not for my boobs. Washes well. Might be able to go smaller than usual round the back.. Crop top in compression style, but with some extra internal strapping to give individual boob support.
Comfort 8/10 -just pop it on and away you go. Although the racer back style sits differently on the neck from other bras, this does take some getting used to.
Adjustability 2/5 - barely adjustable and what it does is laughable. The tiny amount of alteration made no difference to me.
Appearance 5/5 I think these bras rock socks. Crop top style but with back fastening so you can take them off without contortions. Great colour options. Damn cute. Outerwear if you think you have the body (I don’t).
Support 12/10
Total: 27/40

Panache High Impact - theoretically available in 30B - 40FF
This Bra is now end of line... so beware if you fall in love with it, multiple order NOW.
This thing does support, initially. But to get that support I have to withstand some fat showing over the top of the sides; to be tight enough there isn’t enough fabric at the sides. I would therefore not wear this bra for a longer run as I’m pretty damn sure it would rub (I’ve not tested this, but why would I...). It’s underwired which does help the support, but also is a bit weird and unforgiving in a sports bra. Should give you the two-boob look but really it’s just a lumpy breast-shelf. I thought it felt great and supportive when I put it on, but looking in the gym mirror as I ran was another story. Movement was very obvious, and felt like a jerk up and a massive drop... don't know why. There was also still side-to-side movement too. A real disappointment.
Also really hard to put on. It has a little elastic/fabric tube section that covers the hook and eye at the back so they don’t rub (great idea)... but trying to get it on, and the bra on, I find a bit too fiddly; needed help the first few times. I can also imagine losing the little tube section really easily at the gym. Think it comes up ever so slightly small in the size dept.
Comfort 6/10
Adjustability 3/5 - small to start with, so the back hooks just give you breathing room.
Appearance 3/5 Pretty basic a cross between a crop top style and a bra style. Like the fact it comes in plain black. Could *just* get away with it as outerwear, if you’re hot, or hot and brave.
Support 15/20 Movement up and down in a tightly controlled way, but nothing side to side.
Total score: 27/40

Berlie Shock Absorber B109 - available in 30D - 40H
Now this bra saw me through all of my initial running. I had it in the cupboard and it just kept going. It did a fine job until I ran my first half marathon. Then it took chunks out of my back leaving me still scared 3 years later. It has not been forgiven.
However it does wash well, particularly now you can get it in colours. Elastic will quickly tell you when the bra has had enough. If it frays, bin it! Accurate sizing. Individual cups give great madonna-esque boobs if you don’t want your own personal breast-shelf.
Comfort 5/10 - never truly great and too many hard edges on everything.
Adjustability 4/5 - straps and 3 hooks at the back.
Appearance 2/5 - industrial looking enough to scare the horses. Not outerwear.
Support 17/20
Total: 28/40

Champion Action Shape (Cotton) -omg it’s been discontinued (sizes were as below). Find it where you can!
My other half might just be in love with this bra. They wear it all the time and find the lack of underwire and the general shape comfy for everyday wear, sport and real life. It’s a crop top compression style with a small nod towards the notion of having ‘two boobs’ but mostly it makes a breast block. The cotton version is MUCH more supportive than the Supplex. But it is also hotter and holds sweat making it a bit of a chaffer. The shoulder straps being the biggest problem. They adjust with thick velcro which doesn’t shift and keeps them in place; but the edges of that velcro will tear strips off you. I warn you now.
However, it does support quite well and is a good crop top style, but is put on like a normal bra. Now, there is another little irritation with this bra. The back strap where the hook and eyes are has an extra long ‘tail’ which goes further across and is fastened with a little popper (choice of 3, like the back hooks) this popper ALWAYS comes off. On every one of these we’ve owned (about 6-8 bras in total). It does give extra support, but then it breaks. Washes like a champion, has even survived the dryer on occasion.
Comfort 6/10 - the chaffing can’t be ignored, but depends on your activity.
Adjustability 5/5 - really adjustable straps, much larger range of adjustment.
Appearance 3/5 the cotton doesn’t make it very sexy. Basic, boxy, cottony crop top with bra back.
Support 16/20
Total: 30/40

Champion Action Shape (Cool Max/Supplex) - available in 32 C/D - 48 D/E
As above really but smoother in appearance and more wicking. But less supportive ... also less likely to chafe as narrower straps with ordinary adjustment not velcro. Washes well enough, but elastic starts to shrivel slightly more quickly than I’d like.
Comfort 7/10
Adjustability 4/5
Appearance 4/5
Support 14/20
Total: 29/40

Sportjock SuperSport Bra in Supplex - available in 28C - 44F
Now I am biased about this bra so I’ll list the negatives first.
Has no adjustment at all. Works for me and I have a very short back. I just pull the back down so it sits lower, it doesn’t ride up! But some people might find this uncomfortable.
It is also occasionally almost impossible to take off when you’re hot and sweaty and knackered. I have to step into a changing cubicle to get it off as the chances of being trapped momentarily with it half way off are quite high.
However, it is supportive enough to please me and the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn. You can forget you’re wearing it. I’ve run a marathon wearing this, and a few halfs and it never even gave me a moments thought about chaffing. I would not be without this bra DESPITE it not being the most supportive thing out there. Washes well and dries quickly. Have also washed it 100s of times and no signs of wear... although it does get a little less supportive over time.
Comfort 10/10
Adjustability 0/5
Appearance 5/5 - crop top in many colours definite outerwear potential
Support 15/20 - definite bounce still but I can still sprint without fear of pain or black eyes.
Total - 30/40

So overall I think the scores are pathetic. I’ve tried to be fair, but if the best I can find is 30/40 I think that demonstrates that the state of sports bras is quite dire.
I can’t try them all (much as I’d like to) and I would love to get my hands on some USA bras. I’ve heard that TitleNine are doing some very good things.
I’ll keep searching and I’ll add any new additions to the list. Damn manufacturers keep moving the goal posts. I did try the Nike super adjustable bra when it came out 2 years ago (with no success, despite trying 6 different sizes it just wouldn't fit appropriately) but it's no longer available. They have got some new ones out now though which I'm considering giving a go.

I would LOVE to hear any recommendations (please remember my size, I can’t try Bravissimo bras as they don’t make them in my size) and I’ll also happily post any other bra reviews from other runners. (Please: be a runner, and use the same scoring system as it helps to keep the comparisons more accurate, also state your bra size!)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Race Report
Whilst I feel I really, really, really should be cleaning the house... it's now a good time to discuss the past week (or so) and the hideousness that was The Jedburgh Half.

Time 2.24.27 (my time) 2.24.27 (gun time) - there was no chip timing.

I was delighted by these times as the course was fairly rolling over the first few miles.

Total time at 6 miles was 57.32 - which put me spot-on for a PB, my pacing was really working! I knew it was feeling hard, but I also knew I'd worked solidly in preparation and really should just be able to push through.

Normally I can just about manage to negative split as when I turn around it all comes together and I know that I'm over half way, mentally I find that a great boost.
Here (mile 7) it all went tits-up. The realisation slowly came over me that my legs were sore. The muscles from arse to achilles were all aching. This is not something that had happened before. And just as we turned, and I acknowledged that the elation that normally comes over me at this point is sadly lacking, we were faced with 3 miles of running into a 25-30mph head wind. This began to take the very last of my energy.

From this point on I had to take walking breaks. My legs were just so painful. I desperately wanted to stop but I knew that my friends were waiting in the cold and rain to see me at mile 11. They had got up early (on a desperately needed w/end day) and traipsed through Scotland to be "super supporters". This thought really, really helped. All I wanted, and from now on will carry with me, were some painkillers. If I'd have seen the first aid stop/van I would have flagged them down and begged for anything. Luckily, as I may just have hopped on the van, I never saw them. Definitely a mental note to self to ALWAYS be self reliant in these things. Carry all your own supplies, you never know if what you need/want will be available.

Mile 10 was the worst. Not only because of the wind, but because I really felt like I couldn't finish. I was getting the helpful and supportive comments from both biking marshalls, and all the F**kers who were passing me; people I'd worked so hard to overtake in the first half of the race; people who mentally I had planned to never see again. Whilst I knew they were just being helpful and kind it only made me feel more pathetic and much worse. I wanted to yell at them, "I've done this before; I don't know why it's all gone wrong; I swear I prepared properly!" I just felt like I was being judged as one of the slow fat people at the back who didn't really know what she was doing. I sense this is probably much more a problem in my head than in reality.
All I know is if you've run 10 miles and are in serious pain crying only stops you being able to breathe - so you might as well get your arse in gear and just keep sodding moving.

Now it's not just the fact that it hurts. But normally if a run isn't going well you know it's still only a matter of x minutes until you finish. This run/walk shit meant I didn't even know how long it was going to take me. I couldn't judge and I didn't have any control, which for a self-confessed control freak - was driving me crazy. There was no safe reliance that, "oh well, in 30min this will all be over".

At the end of mile 11 I saw my friends and it did really give me hope. I'd run up the big hill, as walking that would have been a defeat too far. No matter what the hill I try and run up it. Not only does it give me the smallest amount of satisfaction but it also gets the bloody thing over with faster. They were at their loudest and most embarrassing which makes me blush furiously but also makes me think, "those are my friends they are! And they're yelling for me!" Bless their hearts as I manage the weakest of wave/smile combos and put my head down again.

I knew that from that point onwards I only had 2.1 miles of downhill. I mean, 2.1 miles, DOWNHILL, honestly it should have been a big sigh of relief, and just a gentle unwinding of the the legs as they loped onwards.
As you can see from the times. It really wasn't a gentle lope. It was a painful crawl that involved walking at every damn point possible. I don't think I managed to run a full 1/2 mile in a go by this point. Normally the last mile is quite quick for me. Normally I can really push it. Not this time. Not in any way. I kept desperately trying to run but it was just too sore.
1.55 for final .16 of a mile.

So a good 20min slower than I was hoping for I finally finished. The last 7 miles taking me a hideous 1h 27.

I am over this though (despite all evidence). I think I know why it happened which helps: As we went home, via a horrible pub meal (booked my me, to add to my day of shame), I began to feel really bad. The cough which had appeared that morning morphed into flu. (And as a note to TheO who believes what we both had was a 'bad cold' I'll draw your attention to the nhs website... we had ALL the symptoms of flu. Just because we didn't need a doctor does not stop it being flu. Rant over.) I was sick as a dog and much, much more pathetic. Luckily TheO not only stepped-up and looked after me, but she didn't even complain about what a big gayer I was being. She said helpful things like, "Oh I'm sure you feel worse than I felt, you have just run 13 miles" which made me feel a little better... but really, I think it was the kind of flu that just makes anyone feel like shite. Luckily it's almost gone now, just some hideous remnants of cough which make those around me feel like the plague is coming.

Also as we finished our drive I realised I was really, really thirst. Despite a pot of tea and a pint of coke at lunch. I started to sip on my camelbak, the camelbak I had run with; the camelbak I always use and nearly always finish, or nearly finish, during a long run. It was still very, very full. Despite drinking like a fish most of the time there had been something about this race that had stopped me following my usual routine. I think the weather probably didn't help. It was a mixture of hot then really quite cold. The changes stopped any sense of heat build up. Also as I was going more slowly than usual I didn't feel the heat in the same way. But this is not a mistake I'll make again. I don't know how much difference it would have made as I think the 'coming down with something' factor was the biggest influence; but still, I felt like an idiot... I'd caused my own dehydration. Numpty.

Other Stuff:
Now it's been a busy week.
We came back from Jedburgh and had one day before we headed off for TheO's birthday surprise. Now I think she's covered it all v well in her blog. All I'll add is that I am a bit of an idiot and I managed to put myself under too much pressure regarding whether or not she was having a good time. This combined with being still sick as a dog made me a bit tense and crap. Luckily she managed to push through this and have a good time despite me.

The first day of activities was a success - fly fishing (excellent and really, really hard); falconry (bloody amazing and quite unexpectedly brilliant) and carriage driving (bit crap really, horse does it all and you just sit there with the vaguest veneer of control).
Hotel (Monacyle Mhor) was good but lacking in any sense of magic. All was lovely, yet not lovely enough. Very difficult to put my finger on it. Maybe it could never have been as good as I wanted it to be? Ah well. A lovely experience, but not one to rave about. It was a bit marred my not having micro planned enough for the second day. I thought a big long walk, some afternoon tea, a bit of lazing then dinner would do it; but when you both feel like crap that suddenly feels like a terrible idea. So we drove to Loch Lomond and saw some very pretty scenery (Also stopping at an inn to have the worst lunch in Scotland where I was presented with a Baked Potato which was not only hard on the bottom from being mircowaved to death, but came with an enormous pile of chips. I'm Scottish and well used to the concept of a meal composed of starch and starch... but potato and potato was new to me. TheO had a panini where they had made and baked it with lettuce in... lettuce cooked is not a pleasant experience. And this is still nothing compared to the instant coffee topped with squirty cream from a can to make it a 'cappuccino'.). Luckily dinner that night back at the hotel was excellent (albeit with a luke warm main course - AGAIN) and one can always improve your experience with Margaritas. Always.
Our return to reality was a very very sharp shock. We both knew it was coming but we really should have planned more. We had one day to plan, shop, decorate and get food sorted for a party of 14 people. Luckily we're a bit practiced at putting ourselves under that sort of pressure and all got done in the end. The house was spookily decorated for Halloween (the back door may now always look like it's been smeared with the blood of our enemies) and the food was either cooked or chopped accordingly.

The day of the party we went to Glasgow as yet another surprise for TheO. This time it was RF who'd organised it all. We went to the BBC Good Food Show and it was excellent. A full day of looking at, tasting and discussing food was marvellous. As was having a driver for the day who doesn't mind dogs clambering all over her car and curling up on coat.
We got back in fine time to put the last touches on the house, extra thanks go to RF who dealt with my rather harsh delegation style with aplomb. (My style tends to the extremes of, "oh no, don't worry about that, I'll do it" to "do this... not like that, my way!" All I can say is that I'm aware of the shortcomings of this manner of instruction and I'm trying to work on it.!

Despite my naysaying all the guests who arrived really did manage to see the house at its spooky best. And we all enjoyed a very relaxed night with guests, food, fire and eventually a lot of poker by the hardy souls who part-ayed until 3.45am.

So since then I've mostly been curled up in a ball trying to both feel better and just chill out. I've managed to tidy, but the house is still looking a little dusty round the edges. So, the obvious answer is to sit and blog for hours on end. And ignore the hoover for another day.

More importantly yesterday saw my first run since the half. It was just a little 5K in the gym (I'm still desperate not to get too cold and horrible).
5K in 28.48 (all 9.22 or faster per mile) all felt quite comfortable, and I used the aerobic 1 setting, which seems to have become a staple, so there were 3 hills of up to 3% giving a little more variety.

Today I have a slightly tight achillies which has responded well to a tubeygrip (sp?), and my leg muscles hurt just a wee bit. This is full-on pathetic... but it still feels nice to have got the first run out of the way. My minor pain is trying to tell me something. I'm desperately hoping that it's trying to tell me that after years of running so slowly that 'warming up' was desperately unnecessary (my running pace was/is slower than most runners would consider their warm-up pace); maybe now I've finally got under some magic minutes-per-mile pace that now necessitates a bit of warming up before hand. That's the most positive spin I can put on being a bit achy after a 5K. And I'm sticking with it.

And it was the most meditative of runs. I knew after the long runs of the past few weeks it was going to feel short, and it really did; I felt I could just switch off and crank out the miles. Good to know it was the race that sucked, not the running.

But enough waffle from me. Adios.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Racing away

Well, this should be a long blog about the race. But it was beyond hideous. Many things that have never happened before all occurred.

1. Very sore legs from mile 6 onwards
2. No endorphin rush at all
3. I apparently 'forgot' to drink enough
4. Had to take walking breaks

So - as you can see it wasn't the most pleasant of experiences. I managed a stonking personal worst which I will discuss in detail once I get back from a few days away with TheO. I'm still at a point where I need a little distance and perspective to try and work out why it all went tits-up.

The 'going away' is TheO's birthday present, so tomorrow we head off ... and she has no idea where she's going, which makes a v nice change.

However we're both recovering from a crappy, crappy cold. I came down with it yesterday morning, it attacked the lungs first with a rubbish cough. Now I've had a fever and sore joints. But luckily the fever has broken (it topped out at 100.6) and I'm really feeling much more chipper, I just seem to need more tissues.

TheO has been working through it very womanfully for a good few days and I really haven't been sympathetic enough. I'm rubbish when others are ill, and then need maximum support and understanding when I have a sniffle. She needed much more care than I gave, and deserves extra, bonus "super supporter" points for coming and supporting me and Dr.S on the run. How she managed to stand and clap/cheer/hand out sweeties whilst feeling as rubbish as I've felt I have no idea. Sheer will and determination, plus maybe she likes me a bit... that might help.
(Got knows why RF and Tigger did it... but "super supporters" they are.)

Only regret is feeling sooo utterly rubbish (run + illness I think) that we never made it to Blarney's ... and she made scones and cakes and everything... I'm still v sorry, but luckily she's incredibly understanding (and I told here you can freeze scones which cheered her somewhat).

With TheO in mind we have (yet again) done not a jot (quite willingly) to celebrate our anniversary. We've been together for 11 years now, and 'nedded' for 1 yr 100 days.* It seems to be working quite well. Long may it continue.

Luckily every day just seems to be a little better than the last illness wise, so I'm fairly convinced the next two days will be joyus.

*I need to point out that it's quite easy to remember that your wedding and your anniversary are 100 days apart, I don't 'count the days' or anything freakish. And yes, if you do count the days, I definitely consider it FREAKISH.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Getting jittery now.

So, the time is nigh. Sunday dawns with a proper half marathon. I've not raced since August 2008 and I can tell.

I've done my training; my panic about sudden illness is overwhelming; and I'm desperately trying to think of all the things I might just need for the race. (Trainers, spare trainers; long running leggings, capri leggings; no sleeves top, short sleeves top, long sleeves top; running jacket, running gillet; sports beans, sports drink... it just seems endless.)

Managed one short leg-sharpening session this week. 3 x .5 of a mile in 4min each. Then lots of stretching, then 1.6miles on the elliptical in a lovely and slow 19.15. Just keeping the wheels turning.

So jittery - and I've got all of tomorrow to live through before I get a chance to sleep on it and get all prepared for Sunday. And the clocks change just to confuse me. And I might have to eat my breakfast in the car.... full of dogs and packing, and everything.

Off to finish some work bits and pieces, then panic some more before bed.
Why does running do this to us - it's not that hard really, and we can stop if it hurts - so why in godsname to I get so freaked out.

Off to check my glands one more time as I convince myself I'm about to get flu.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Just a Run

So much has happened over the last 8 days - mostly a whirlwind of family and friends staying. 10 for dinner 3 nights in a row ... who does that sort of thing? TheO (and me)... apparently. Luckily all was wonderful and I do love using the house to its full potential. I occasionally come to this realisation after people have left. The contrast can be quite stark, esp. after 10 days of company.

I love the house mini-margin less when the pump - which brings ALL of our water from the well threatens to give out on us. This gives me palpitations with a house of 10. Luckily plumber comes tomorrow morning. Unluckily plumber probably has to be paid. (Unless we really do live in a mythical place, but I can't imagine the plumber needs jewellery, dog sitting or writing services.)

We celebrated with Islander, MaYa and many weans (both theirs and others) the christening of their 3rd. It was a lovely day with much food (a gut bustingly lovely tea, and a fine supper) and chat.

TheO celebrated her birthday in fine style and we didn't head for bed until 3am on Sat - thereby demonstrating that we are officially NOT OLD. However, knowing that you have to celebrate not going to bed seems to take the shine off the 'not old' thing.

All visitors were in fine fettle and were quite relaxing to have around (apart from the fear of imminent pump-death).

But I didn't really pop in here to talk about any of that. This blog was meant to be about running and has become increasingly domestic. (New blog about such matters due to start... then my faithful readership can split their attention into topics which interest them - rather than hear yet more tails of hoovers and interior designs.)

So, with the running in mind.

On Tues I managed a 4 miler just as the islanders arrived. Just desperately trying to fit in any running is quite hard, particularly when energy is sapped and eating is more structured... But 4 miles was dutifully done in 37.30 avg of 9.23 which made me quite happy, esp as there was a 1mile hill at the start.

But today I managed to do my last long run before the half. 12 miles - OUTSIDE in the quite mild but quite wet weather. After mile 4 I was just loving it. It was a great run where it didn't feel like too much effort (but still hard) and everything flowed. I followed the route to the gym, which does involve some running along a well used B-Road, but it wasn't too bad today.
Managed the 12 in 1.58.28 (9.52 avg - so still a bit down on my inside speed training, but not too shabby) which knocks 2.28 off my last best-ever time. I'm pretty pleased as this is hillier overall than my old route, and any improvement in time makes me happy.

There really is nothing like running outside, and running with a destination rather than just for mileage. I'm fortunate enough to have a partner who'll happily go to the gym when it suits me, rather than them, and then pick me up (almost literally at times). V grateful for this. Destination runs would be almost impossible without her. Now I just need to keep stretching and put loads of Glucosamine gel on my old and aching knees.

Right, plumber coming early, I was only meant to be here for a minute or two to tell you about the run, and I'm knackered. Even more knackered than I was yesterday. Luckily the rest of the week should be quite quiet - only one dinner before the w/end. A v quite week indeed.

Toodle Pip

Monday, 12 October 2009

10 miles

Now this should be a short post as I'm using the lap top, lying on the bed, and seriously giving myself neck strain.

*lies down for a short while*

We've reached a period in time where everything gets genuinely busy. Litt'lest 'phew had a christening party over the w/end, and we've got family staying. Tomorrow MaYa, Islander and the boys arrive, then we had a dinner for 10 on Thursday and another on Friday, and another on Sat.

Then we lie down and chill out for a few days.

But, more importantly let me tell you about the 10 miles.
I had to fit it in on Friday as I knew time was v much against me for the rest of the w/end.
And it was raining, and I needed to push myself so I went to the gym.

1 mile in 9.13 on a dead-flat treadmill
Quick shift to the better treadmill which did make me look a little psychotic, but the dead flat one (I swear it has a negative gradient) is no good for training.
Next 9 miles were done on the aerobic setting, so the machine went up to 3% for 3 hills over the course of those miles, and all but 9min were at 1% or above.

I was delighted by my 1h 32min for the whole thing. (Sadly I don't know how many seconds as the machine doesn't tell you those if you run for over an hour.) I really did push myself but I generally felt quite comfortable. It does suck not to have done it outside. But given the gradient I'm prepared not to beat myself up too badly. I'll just enjoy my new record... a whole 4 min faster than the old one; this sounds great but is really on 15seconds a mile faster.

Still feel like I'm quite on course for the half in 2 weeks time. But know I still have another long run to go before that. And so many other things happening. And dogs coming to stay. And work to be getting on with.

Just thinking about it all makes me want a lie down.

I am however mighty,mighty proud of TheO who went for a 5 miler today. And then managed to only have a small salad for lunch afterwards. That's what I call dedication to the cause.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Getting back to it - and oh god it hurts.

It's been a fairly hectic week domestically and socially.

Brunch and Dim Sum to celebrate with Teech. Oh, the glory of msg and weird gloop with 1000 yr old egg. Mmmmm.
Blarney and Babybelle came for a visit, my child holding skills are still standing firm. As is my love for the little tyke. She gets bonus points for not giving me her cold.

We got a new freezer for outside to finally hold the vast amounts of meat we keep being given by neighbours. Also stores extra supermarket offers! And, the cherry on the domestic cake, a new Hoover. I could wax on for hours about hoovers, but finally I decided I could live with the current arrangement no more. Despite having good 'suck' I would not drag our 8.5kg upright dyson around a house with a large surface area which is all hard floors. As soon as you start to kick an appliance hoping it will DIE you know the time has come to move on. Found a great wee, cheap, hoover that got a Which Best Buy in April 2009 - it's bloody marvellous. (But enough about that - and I haven't even mentioned the search for a spray mop... oh what an exciting time I've been having.. TheO found me researching the options and practically wept with laughter... it is only a mop after all.)

I've also been trying to 'up' the running this week. And sort of managed. Early in the week I set out to do my 9 mile run. After 5 miles (in 49min) I just gave in. It wasn't working, in any way. I did then follow it up directly afterwards with a 2 mile dog walk... but this doesn't really add to the running.

We then went to circuits, having missed out for several weeks. It was being taken by Springbok who can give a fairly half-arsed workout. Not this time. Oh god. 3 days later I'm still wincing when I laugh. We did the usual circuits for 1min each, but between each one was another 1min of core torture. Sit ups, plank, leg raises - the works. Then do it all again with the core torture between every second exercise. All v v hard work but made me feel all endorphiny.

A lovely dinner with some semi-distant relatives of TheO's on Friday rounded out the week. Why do people keep making us 2 puds at dinner? It's happened a few times now and I just can't say no to sweet food.

The following w/end was packed. We met up with the Cheese Board in Harvey Nicks to have lunch and discuss quilt making... I know, sounds a little odd, but worked v well. After a lovely lunch we discussed designs, plans and themes for our own squares. Much discussion and decision making was done. A result all round.
On the way home we then popped in on Meeper and Ceegar who were on fine fettle, and the dogs appreciated a long walk around the school grounds. More plans were made for further catch-ups and we finally wended our way home.

Just before we got back we discovered a tree down across our road. Too big too move, and too precarious to get under. Luckily Dotty filled us in with a secret back road which led us round to home, we met Farmer (the clue really is in the name!) and told him about the tree. By the time we got back and changed in anticipation of having to move the sodding thing, all had been done. Nothing like a team of people with a tractor and the desire to scavenge wood.

That takes us to today:
I awoke at 8.30am; a time I know is laughable to many, but which I will refer to as DAWN. I stumbled downstairs, made my porridge, ate it, and went back to bed. At 9.45 I made it up, and started to dress and prepare for the run. Finally I managed to have some coffee -this improved the day immensely.

I did 9 miles in 1.28.50 avg 9.53
9.16 - flat
9.39 - short climb
10.16 - generally up but gentle gradient
9.43 - flatish/ down slightly
9.58 - flat
9.31 - slightly down
9.50 - flat
10.16 - half mile climb
10.18 - flat one very short rise

This was quite momentous as it really cleared my mind of the crap distance runs that have occurred recently. I needed to know that I could do it - I needed to know that it was all as possible as it can seem on a good day. I was very lucky with the weather. Quite cold, but not nippy, some breeze but not too much, and perfect sunshine. A great day for running.

It gives me far more hope for the run in a few weeks. I think I might, once again, be ready for the half marathon distance.

Now I wasn't overly excited by my time for the 9 miler as in the gym recently I've been so much faster and averaging just under 10min/miles seems like a bit of a back step. But my carefully kept records tell me that it's a 9 mile training run record. A good 5 min shaved off the old record. This gives me even greater hope for racing as I always get a bit of a boost from knowing it's all or nothing.

But the 9 miler wasn't the highlight of the day. We got to celebrate Tigger's birthday. Her delightful otherhalf had baked an enormous mountian of various and delicious cakes. It was lovely to celebrate, laugh with friends, eat great cake, and chill out. Although the sugarhigh after the run did almost do for me. I'm just coming down now.

But that's it - I'm off, it's late and the family descend next week - need to get that hoover into action sharpish.


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Run and Walk and Sleep.

Lovely fast 4 miles on Thursday - but in the gym again as cold and windy. Did 2 sections of 3min at 9% which was bloody hard but managed not to slow down and keep a good 9.15 pace.

No time to let the legs relax as we had a great walk with RF and Dougal-dog on Friday. We finally walk over the big hill at the top of our road. The best possible day for it, amazing stretching views, wonderful sunshine and enough wind to make you feel like the 'summit' was much higher than it really was. 6.5 miles in 3h 15min. Not too shabby given dog distractions.

Even managed to find a geocache too - hidden but spotted by RF - we left snacks... and took tools.

This was after our impromptu plucking and gutting lesson. In return for dog sitting our neighbour (Tay) had left us some very recently shot Grouse... feathers'n'all... luckily Dotty was on hand to make it a simple, if occasionally stinky process to get them 'dressed'.

Today got the house sorted. And seeing everyone tomorrow to celebrate Teech's bday. :-)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Running and other diversions.

So, it's been a while since I blogged about running. But over the last week I've actually gone out (well, to the gym) and used my legs.

Wed. 16th I manage 10K - it's been a good few weeks of recovery since I got round to this sort of distance. I'm using a new setting on the machine. Aerobic 1 - this goes up to 3% in 3 peaks during the time you're running. And only goes down to 0 very briefly twice. This makes me work a good deal harder. I've also been experimenting by going a bit faster.

This 10K was run in 57.43 - and I was pretty pleased. Only problem was no sprint finish as the machine got stuck at 5.5miles at a fixed speed. This really brought all my control issues to the fore. I was not impressed. Hilariously un-impressed for something so insignificant.

Had a lovely meal with RF on the 17th I got to use my FIRST PRIZE for WINNING the MOUSE RACE. Ah, another chance to relive the glory day. V nice to have a lovely meal out and just chill.

The next few days were set aside for some R&R. Then, Friday morning MaYa called and asked if the Island brood could come for the weekend. A resounding YES was issued from all corners and we set to making the house habitable for boys and grown-ups alike. Luckily we'd put aside time for Tescos already as we were feeding the delightful neighbous that evening anyway. Lamb shanks were a success.

Sat eve all descended and the house instantly got that 'loved and brightly coloured' look as lego, feathers, and mini pompoms marched through the library and into the kitchen as the 2 eldest took it upon themselves to make "parrots" and guns, and lego towers and generally make themselves at home - which is just as it should be!

The Islanders had brought us LOBSTER (and cake) so I was delighted with our special supper starter - and TheO did her much loved roast chicken - we also had the remains of the chantarelles and herb pancakes... and some cheese. It was a light meal.

The next day saw us do some quality foraging with the boys who took a little time to warm up, but once they started spotting stuff were delighted by the whole process. It goes much better if you have a special mushroom finding device (long stick) and wee ones who are both closer to the ground, and not short sighted. They then wore me out with hide-and-seek amoungst the bales in the field.

A further trip to Active Kids then wore them out delightfully before their intrepid parents got them fed, washed and into Jammies ready for the trip back to Oban... who says an overnight trip isn't possible!! All left quite content and with a car heavily loaded with mainland supplies. (Although I hear possibly not quite enough bread, milk or meat...)

After flopping in front of the TV for a night we girded our loins for more visitors. Spartan, Blarney and BabyI were all coming up for a day trip. Feels like we haven't seen them in aaaages. Who knew time could pass so damn fast... esp as BabyI is so damn big every time I see her. Can't believe she's almost 4 months already. A good trip to Antique soon commenced and they found a great rug for the living room (I hope it's great - it looked fab in the centre and should look brilliant in their lovely room) - all snuggly and warm for winter.

However this trip -with cake - and the previous few days only added to the food mountain that has been consumed of late. I'm just eating far, far, too much and not really depriving myself ever. Which makes for some great eats, but not for long term happiness. So we went shopping and now the house is filled with healthy, tasty stuff. It's also v v cold all of a sudden which sadly just makes me want to eat more. Must fight this urge with vast quantities of mint tea.

Now my next run was meant to be on Sunday, but visits and family and tiredness all stopped this happening. So Monday night, after the Nitten contingent left we both headed to the gym. I knew if there was any chance of me being fit and ready for the Jedburgh Half at the end of October (oh god will it be cold) I had to keep upping the miles.

Despite only having done one run last week this, the first (lets hope) run of this week was both fast and a little hilly. Back on the running machine (as it forces me to keep pace - although I have to get back outside v v soon) and still on Aerobic 1 setting. I did 7 miles all at 9.13 or faster pace. 7miles in 64.08. Really, v v pleased. This knocks a good 5 min of my last fastest ever 7 miles! I might have pushed it a mm too far as I'm a bit achy and crap (but I'm blaming the cold) - but still delighted to have pushed it. Although I know that my next longish ran HAS TO BE OUTSIDE - outside miles just feel different. And I should really run to the gym and then have a sauna afterwards. But running to the gym involves roads which are far too well used. ... DILEMMA

Ah well, I should just stop procrastinating, take the dogs (including a lovely old back lab who's staying as he's too old and arthritic to go shooting anymore) for a walk, knuckle down to some work and stop feckin winging.

At least I got the whole herb patch weeded yesterday. It breaks my heart to see what a mess it was considering how long it took to clear the first time. But I think I'm seeing the negative side of gardening now - it's all about the maintenance. Good job all the herbs are still living and looking fab. That's something at least. And the clematis has not only climbed about 10ft - it's also flowered, not something I expected in the first year.

More miles to go. Lets hope the weather stays dry.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Lists are easier. And some days are great.

Parental visits - 2 ! Shock horror. Not only have my Dad and his wife now visited our place, he actually came and fixed stuff - it's been 10years since he last fixed anything for me... I'm thinking the new wife brings out the parental side.

Food with neighbours - 2

Miles Run - 8 (getting there slowly)

Dog Miles walked - 16+

Beach walks - 1

Meals made by friends - 1
(and damn we're thankful... despite lack of contact)

Possible houses found for friends - 1
(there'll be something wrong with it, but at least it's nice to find a possible-on-paper)

Trees down taking corner of garage and smashing woodpile window - 1

Hours spent moving tree debris - 3.5
Satisfaction at moving all the wood and making a new woodpile - immense

Spa Experiences - 1

Grass Cut - 1
Knackering of Mower - 1
- if the grass is sooo long you can't see the tree stump...

Bottles and jars of foraged Rosehip Syrup made - 3

Whole attitude to housework adjusted and improved - 1

Rings to rule them all - 1

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

So now I'm back, somebody new, not that ....

you get the idea.
Roberta is the only way I could return without feeling shame, SHAME I tell you, for abandoning you all in this month of rain and misery.

Now I'm usually quite stoic about weather, it happens, you can't change it, you just have to live with it; but Jeeesus, it has to stop raining soon. No really, anytime would be fine. Sometime before most of the road and some pieces of the house actually float off would be most appreciated.

Now since the run of greatness (see far below) things took a somewhat pear-shaped turn as my bursitis flared up in my hip and I had to both take break from running and cancel running the Coll Half (it has not been a good year for races this year). This means that I've been trying to do a few bits and pieces so as not to lose the fitness.

Managed to swim 1K in the pool - which isn't tiring at the time, but you feel it a few hours afterwards. Also lots, and lots, and lots of dog walking. Have discovered that if I walk them enough they behave like angels in the evening - it's incredible - and fantastic. Definitely 2 long walks a day from now on... oh well, maybe not in the worst bits of winter...

During this time of blogglessness we had a fab w/end with HH, Teech, Spartan and Blarney who even brought the littlest up to see us for the first time (first time here, not first time seeing) and she behaved like an angel - went to the pub, survived a dinner party and was generally adorable. We were also spoilt by the neighbours who turned up with a rifle on Sunday for some target practice and mushrooms, which HH fell upon with glee.

One of our lovely neighbours also fed us last week. A fantastic 3 course dinner with 2 puddings! How did she know. It was fantastic and we managed to get drunk enough to stumble home very slowly at 1am.

Now TheO is away with HH in Copenhaaaaagen enjoying the finest food known to humanity and I am here, blogging, getting some work done and sorting out some housey stuff. Yesterday was a right-off for various reasons (but I'm blaming the rain) so today is going to be much more organised. Oh yes.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Nine miles of misery and elation.

Now, other things have happened. We had a dinner party that was 4 days work, and seemed to work well for all. TheO covered the whole menu and shebang on her blog, and I am left to witter on about my god foresaken running.

Last week I did manage to fit in a quick 5k. It was 28.29 for the whole thing which pleased me greatly. However it was just fitted in between cooking and cleaning. (Mostly cooking and daily trips to see Mr Tesco.) We also took a trip to see Blarney and Spartan and babybelle - Blarney was in sore need of a massage and I fulfilled my role as kitchen assistant (not that I did much, Spartan cooked up a storm) and baby holder.

Now, I'm still trying quite desperately to pick up the miles in search of the Island Half. - which may morph into the Island 10K. So after a wonderfully relaxing Sat where we went mushroom hunting with a neighbour in a secret location - many good eatings were found and RF made them into a risotto that evening; post mushroom hunting we headed for a spot of lunch, then a wander round a fabulous little garden. A nice way to chill out post lots of cooking - and I only had a tiny hangover.

So relaxing and eating of leftovers was not necessarily the best preparation for a long run, but as that's what I had to work with, better to at least try.

Can best be described as: worst run ever. I took a new route as I needed to do a point to point run where there was a real destination rather than just building up the miles by heading up and down the same old roads. Sadly the route I chose (and had been warned off by TheO) was a very, very busy road. The verges looked like green pavements BUT the paths were all blocked and rough with huge divets and very long grass. Shoes were soaked in no time and I had to walk over the worst bits. This was followed by a torrential rain storm where it got so bad I couldn't see - but at that point the endorphins kicked in and this crazy, under-dressed runner was running though woods on a trail yelling "bring it on" - I may have seemed crazy but it was a very good moment. I felt like I'd defeated whatever nature was trying to thow at me. I hope that someone out there knows what I mean. I know it was all endorphins, but at least they did kick in.
9 miles and I felt I could have run further, but not a surprise as I was sooooo slow.

9miles, 1.42.29
avg 11.23 - noooooooooo

10.49 end of mile 3 the paths ended - and don't the times reflect that?
11.51 and then it started raining
11.48 and then it got dark under the trees
13.19 I finally went off road and through a woodlnd path - very rolling and there were bits of up hill walking in rain so heavy I could barely see
11.57 - still off road but getting back into my stride
11.04 - finally back on pavements and roads
11.13 - cannot be forgiven in time terms, BUT I was soaked to the skin and I swear my trainers weighed about 2stone each.

Luckily not hurting today but even before the run my knee has started to click (not painfully, just loudly) whenever I walk upstairs. Thanks body - that's the reminder of age I needed! Pah!

Monday, 3 August 2009


Just done the figures. I've run (and it must be RUN, no long walks or mountain climbs count) 1355 miles since I started running 3 years ago. This is an average of 9 1/2 miles a week, every week for 3 years.... Must keep it up though.

Going to have a wee run tomorrow too... before heading to see Spartan and Blarney.
Finally managed to get house and work under control; sad not to have gone to London, but happy to feel much calmer and more focused.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Killing one bird with 2 stones.

Now, this could be a post about weight, but sadly there is well more than 2 stone that I'm dragging round as additional ballast.

This post is about the idiot who thought that combining my hill training with my long run would be time well spent. IDIOT. It was time knackering myself. The stats are pretty horrid.
I'll describe the run:
Out of the door and 1.25 miles uphill
Back down again (total 2.5miles)
Then up again
then down again (5 miles)
Then 0.25 miles along a flat section and back (5.5miles)
Then up hill for 0.75 miles
and back down again - 7 miles total.
Was meant to be 8 miles but the hills really did me in. 1.15.00 time. Avg 10.44 (11.54 was my slowest mile - eek)

So, I'm still at least one week behind on my training for the Island Half (which may become the Island 10K... it's been a while since I raced that distance...). But I have managed 17 miles this week and a circuits class (which was shit - taken by new guy who was rubbish).

Also - that time has come again to celebrate another anniversary. It was 3 years since my first ever run yesterday - and I'm still going.

Now last year there was a lot of stuff going on, this year has been quieter-ish.
We really did move house - it only took 2 months longer than expected and there's still plenty to do! We also managed to sell the old place. TheO passed all her exams with flying colours and qualified as a massage therapist. (Lucky, lucky me.)
Got a new nephew and the Cheeseboard had it's first addition (finally a girl!). There was Friends' Christmas, my Dad got married; we went to Santorini, and I developed a love of Gardening and asthma.

So put that way, it really was a quiet year compared to the year before. However it was the year we/I needed. Now I can focus on the future, and work, and a burgeoning love of travel - I'm already planning the next trip...

From a running point of view this year had been pretty shocking. I did the IslandHalf last August but haven't raced since. Mostly due to laziness. Luckily it's the Island that calls me again this year and hopefully that'll kick start the racing again. I've also logged my fastest 5, 8 and 10 mile runs this year so the PBs do keep improving all be it incrementally.

Whilst I haven't blogged as much this year as last year, and I definitely haven't run as many miles - it's fantastic to have a record of everything, and to be able to assess what I've done and how I've done it (slowly and with much winging) a the years pass.

Feeling quite introspective now but I think that's just the endorphins leaving the need for a shower growing. Here's to another year where I might even get the extra ballast shifted too.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Arrrg, passage of time faster than I would like.

So, whilst Juneathon didn't kill me, July seems to have taken me hostage and kept me well away from the ol' blogosphere. It wasn't an uneventful month.

* There was an excellent lunch at Sangsters with the neighbours. Much laughter and good wine.
* Some running, but not enough. I managed an adequate 10K outside before heading to ...
Santorini: it was a wonderful, relaxing (read: lard-inducing), hot, luxurious holiday. It's been 2 years since I was away for more than a few nights in the UK, and it was bliss to not have a phone, any internet (ok, internet would have been nice), and just be in the heat for 7 whole days. I could describe more but I hope the following images give a clear picture.

On returning I'd barely carried my extra stomach up stairs before we were heading out to compete in the 2009 Mouse Race. (Posts from 20th-ish July 2008 will give full details of the concept.) This time it was held at Wheeler and RFs - this is because Wheeler won last year by amassing such a vast stack of points for various activities that he could not be beaten.

This year we were treated to Bacon butties and coffee on arrival :-) Not only that but the only blissfully sunny day of the last week! Then the games included dog agility (Baffie's bidability proved to be useful, and Bridie's biscuit addiction was no bad thing), space hopper jockey racing, treasure hunt, boule, gladiator battle in a river (see below where I can be seen attacking a small child), tree swings and pinata, skittles, quoits, arts and crafts, costume show and some genius rounders in grass as high as pooch; Teech's slide into the last base to win our team the game was a stroke of brilliance but TheO deserved all the plaudits as she scored 80% of all the rounders and was a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the day food was brought out to keep our strength up. And we finished with a barbecue, some excellent jamming on the guitar, fiddle and cello, and a little impromptu ceilidh dancing.

The outcome of all this was that I went into a highly competitive points frenzy and WON! You know when your serious rival is 11 that you should probably calm down, but who cares, as I was an organiser last year I couldn't take part. And yes, this does mean that next year I can't take part as we'll be hosting "Mouse Race 2010, bringing it home".

Since victory was assured I've not been resting on my laurels, today I finally dragged myself out for a proper run, a 5 miler, although it was hot, and hard, and quite unpleasant at times. But I had to do something to try and recover from the meat feast that was a barbecue followed by a huge roast Sunday lunch with Teech and HH.

Having just discovered that we don't have to go and cat sit in the middle of August this coming month is looking like it should be full of nice meetings with friends, work and pooch walks. Oh, and maybe a little more running if I want to be ready for the Island half in 3 weeks time. Eeeeek. I might even have a moment to blog it.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Not dead, Juneathon did not kill me. Although it might make me ramble a little.

Well Juneathon seems to have come and gone. I can report than I was a complete blogging failure but my Juneathon exercise stats are getting better.

Last year 10/30
This year 22/30

I'm happy to call this a result! Although I just read a quote that says, "flexible goals lead to mediocrity" - a statement that is all too true; there's nothing like pesky self justification after-the-fact...

Since I last blogged there's been a lot of walking; some in Little Glenshee with Tigger; and an epic 3h explore in Glen Garr which was bloody marvellous, although there was a little breaking-a-path through head high braken that made it less than perfect at the end. The views and complete peace was fantastic when we were in the heart of the glen.

Also walked to the pub one night which was lovely, it's so nice to live somewhere where there's a pub you actually want to go to. Where the food is tasty and the welcome friendly.

A few circuits classes have also been completed, I'm finally feeling like I might be making progress, the (knees down) press-up no longer fills me with dread. Still shit, just not as shit. Arms are definitely feeling stronger. That and I keep using them for gardening!

The garden in question is slowly, slowly getting a little bit clearer. The work to do is so enormous I only tackle a little piece at a time, and just enjoy the flowers and being outside. TheO is doing the veg patch so we might even get some food from the wilderness. People are beginning to walk in and comment on some bits that look nice though, which definitely lifts the spirits.

Had a fantastic BBQ w/end a few weeks ago with many friends and even some family. Those who were here for the whole w/end went shooting (clays) and pottered about in a boat on Loch Tay. It was a ridiculously "Perthshire" w/end. Marvellous in every way, and the BBQ and wicker man all worked a treat, friends, family and neighbours all mingled very happily. There's nothing like previously calm friends attacking a pinata with coloured sticks! Even the calm can appear to lose their minds. I will add that the shooting was particularly brilliant and I can't wait to do it on a regular basis. I need a gun licence, and a gun!

On a sadder note the dogs had a horrid fight (again) - it was a week ago now, and Golden dog still has a huge gash on her leg (despite vet intervention). She's such a cutie and doesn't deserve it. And damn it, the black dog is still adorable to us... ah well, life carries on as it ever did.

I've also been running more, which does nothing less than make me a MUCH happier person. It's so ridiculous; all I have to do is go for a run to be in a good mood (ok, the run has to be somewhere below disasterous).
I managed a 5 miler that was fine; a 10K in the gym which was damn fine (59.13), a horrible 5miler outside when it was so hot and heavy that I made it 2.5miles, had a 5min rest and ran home. NOTE TO SELF: when it's summer, and hot, and horrid, remember to take your preventative inhaler before going on a run, also remember to take your antihistimines. OR YOU WILL DIE. The less said about that run the better. I think I melted and sneezed myself to death simultaneously.

Today it was still a bit hot, and I'm a wuss, so I went for a run in the gym. 8 miles completed! Also my best ever time, 1.16.29. The machine was on 1% for the whole time, and I just toggled the speed between 9.40 and 9.13. Hard, and I will ache tomorrow; but definitely worth it. Proper distance running definitely fills my heart with joy. All the 3 and 4 mile runs just don't do it, they don't provide the same sense of completion and the same rush. The endorphins really get going after about 5 miles. Joy, joy, joy. (Even if I did consider going to bed at 10.06pm.)

TheO managed to cover the dinner we went to with our neighbours. We'll call him Tay and her Pickle. They were giving us a lovely 7lb salmon in thanks for past dinners and BBQ event. We were lacking in a freezer that would hold such a beast - so they set up a dinner party which was not only delicious but very good fun. We drank FAR too much and rolled home at 1.30. Luckily no apologies had to be made, but my liver may never recover. TheO manged to, very temporarily, have a little nap on the bathroom floor. Sadly I'd already passed out in bed, after forcing us to drink pints of water and eat some toast - a hangover is all in the planning!

Also - and quite finally for this huge catch-up, managed to fit in a nice, little lunch with Dr in Edinburgh, then we went to see Spartan and Blarney and Babybelle - I am delighted to report that they are not only alive (contrary to what phone and text silence would imply!) but seem to be doing wonderfully. For people who are still about to move house, and got themselves a new wain 3 weeks ago, they are coping like pros. Babybelle is alive, adorable, and always dressed beautifully. I'm reliably informed (and can feel the difference) that she's also gaining weight just like the little bloater should. Parents are looking human and able to make conversation on a number of topics, this is surely even better than can be expected at this point in time. I'm sure with a little more sleep they'll be partying like they always have. (Just a few friends, scattegories, and a little glass of wine.)

Tomorrow is a trip down the coast to Sangsters for lunch with Neighbours. Should be delighted. If I can walk after the run.

**Quick mini edit - just discovered that my fastest ever 8 miles is exactly a year after my last fastest ever 8 miles. Bizarrely feels like quite quantifiable progress.**

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A v good day.

Now I'm not just about the running, I'm also all about the handbags and shoes. That might be why today goes down as a v good day.

This morning I bounded out of bed at high speed (after a crappy night with not enough sleep, any time you go to bed and the birds are already awake... you know is not going to work well) to desperately try and get the mower going. My last hope was to charge the battery over night and try it in the morning. I knew we had plans for later in the day, and it was due to pour for about 2 days - so it was now or never. Luckily everything worked like a dream - I managed to finish the mowing about 5min before RF arrived. Another big job ticked off for a few days at least. (Damn grass - just keeps growing.)

We three headed out for a mammoth shop of House of Bruar. The place is a labyrinth of loveliness. And not only did TheO get RF some bday presents (as her gift was SHUNNED I tell you, SHUNNED ... okay, when asked if she wanted to exchange them, she didn't say no) which are truly lovely; she also spoiled me! I got a stunning dark brown bag (see below) I've been lusting after online for weeks, and a fantasticly simple and stylish pair of shoes that might stop me wandering rouund in muddy crocs the whole time whilst small children run up to me and say, "I've got those shoes." Whilst this is sweet, it's not great form for a 30yr old who is neither in her garden or on holiday.

But it really wasn't just the shopping that made it a good day - we just pottered, wandered and enjoyed each others company. We found that there was fantastic food there, and a range of cakes which almost stumped us for choice. (It got quite sad, we had to stand back and keep waving people passed us as we just. could. not. choose. - hmmmmm.) I also managed to get TheO a necklace she really liked - some simple pearl/beads in different greens and creams, it suits her perfectly. Picking up a few pieces for supper at the deli topped off our trip and we all headed home delighted.

Once home I got all the chores done and began to regret the cake, and regret how lazy I was becomming. It's been all too easy to be 'busy' and therefore not go for a run. As it was a lovely clear evening, not too warm, and I thought it would be a shame not to put it to good use.

I headed out telling myself I would try for 5 miles as it's been far, far, too long since I ran that distance. (7 weeks!) I also told myself that even 4 would be fine, as I haven't been running much. After 2 miles I knew I could turn and head home, but when it's only another half mile to the turn around it seems churlish to stop. I told myself that if the worst came to it I could always walk the last bit home. Then it struck me; as thoughts often do when you're running alone and your brain has time to empty and refil at will; I needed to run 5 miles, I needed to set myself targets and attain them, I need to enjoy the little accomplishments, enjoy getting things done rather than the (occasionally complete arse) slog of doing them. Running gives me those small accomplishments. I can complete a run that was: longer than my last/hillier than my last/faster than my last/just better than sitting on my arse. Today I felt that accomplishment and also felt like I'd mentally turned a corner; I like getting things done so why winge about doing them, I like having a nice place to live and if that takes some work sobeit. This doesn't mean I'll never winge again as soon as the next large electrical item packs-in, but I might try a little more prespective. (This is beginning to sound a little too optimistic... I might try just not letting it ruin my day; got to try and start small.)

With all that in mind, and a healthy dose of bag-love (blove) on the side I bring you the stats for today's run: 5 miles, 48.35 - avg 9.41 a mile. De-fucking-lighted!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Still slacking

Now, when you read - you'll understand the slackerage. But really, I need to get my arse in gear.

I've managed a lovely night our for dinner with HH, Tigger and Badger who were all in delightful form. Hastily thrown together by TheO as HH was having a nightmare set of hours and stress at work. Luckily she's getting to the end of the tough bit.

I've spent 2 days cleaning the house - in very vigerous and determined style - things have been cleaned that hadn't had a proper going over since we moved in! (Eeeeek) And as I had to shower after doing it, it definitely counted as exercise!

Then MaYa turned up, with her 3 boys. And my were they the most deliciously delightful that they've ever been. Apart from Eldest running in on arrival and throwing his arms around me and saying, "I'm soooooo happy to be here!"; they all were incredibly good. Now this was aided by Aunty Fun and mygoodself. We took them to an activity park on their first day. Huge swings, slides, castle, go-carts, zip line, tramploines, the whole lot. They loved it and ran themselves compeltely ragged - as did we. A double go-cart peddling up hill on gravel with a heavy boy in tow is no easy feat.

The next day we took them to Butterfly World. Less of a 'world', more of a 'big-green-house'. It was identical to when I was last there - 20 years ago (the horror of that statement has still not left me). The boys loved it, even Middlist was impressed by the creatures, the flowers, the fish and everything else. The very best bit was handling the creatures though. A giant millipede, a python and a tarantula were all presented for handling - it was brilliant. I'd never held a snake before! And I'm never holding a tarantula - thought I'd be ok - but TheO took great joy in being 'brave and unconcerned Auntie'. I'm still in awe.

On our way back from Butterfly World, Blarney and Spartan were kind enough to invite us to see the new babe - and my, were they brave when they invited in MaYa and all of her brood. MaYa was DESPERATE to see them and it all worked out well. They were marvellous for those who'd been home from the hospital all of 24h. Luckily they survived our visit and the joy of seeing them both ok, and meeting the new babybel was spectacular. I think both grandmothers were doing a fine job of being incredibly helpful, and slightly taken aback by the vast number of us.

On their final day of the Islanders visit our Neighbour brought her pony round and the boys got pony rides in the garden. It was pretty magical. Until the moment we realised middlist was seriously allergic to horses and his eyes swelled up horribly. Poor boy had to go inside, wash, and be comforted with milk ("in microwave" was asked for), and a dummy. Luckily the swelling did go down, but he was a little miserable.

They pushed off after lunch and we breathed a huge sigh and collapsed. But not for long as our neighbours were coming round for dinner. As I felt truly dreadful for a bit, TheO did sterling service and both went shopping and rustled up a huge chilli. Neighbours walked in with strawberries and champagne - a delight.

Making up for the lack of juneathon proper we went to circuits last night and knackered ourselves completely. It was hard work, and I'm horribly overweight at present - AND horribly out of shape. Must do better. Off to do some yoga before going out.

Juneathon days completeed: 8/12