A Trail of Two Halves

 

Glen Lyon my second BAM race!! The banter as ever was epic.

 

Our journey to Glen Lyon started around 5/6 months ago when I convinced my running chum Zandra to enter this race, obviously never dreaming I would get a ballot for London.  Training had gone well, although a lot had been on tar due to wanting to nail London for a PB.

 

It was slightly arrogant of me to assume that this race would be similar to GO33, same organisers and just a glen over. Well I just couldn’t have been more wrong. Here is my epic race report/story.

 

We headed to Killin on Friday evening, with the race being early Saturday morning, and not having a chauffeur we decided to stay over.  The journey down was great fun. Zandra and I had lots of chat, and we were in Aviemore before we knew it.  We stopped for some carb-loading as it was going to be around 9pm before we got to Killin.  Where else to go but the best burger joint in town, Roos Leap.  We both had burgers – I had a massive BBQ thing with bacon, cheese, and BBQ sauce. It actually was amazing, homemade juicy. I felt like I needed to have a token side salad, to justify in my head why I was eating what looked like it could possible feed a family of 4 for two days.  I also ordered onion rings, because let’s face it, what is a massive ginormous heart attack burger without added deep fried onions with a full fat batter.  As the Insch Trail Runners web sites states, go hard or go home!! Challenge accepted!! Now Choc, before you go mental, I can hear you from here reading this. I did not manage to eat all the above mentioned food, which I was rather disappointed with.  I would have been able to put the lot away at one point.  I managed most of the meat, ¾ of my bun, and maybe 1/3 of my chips, a few onion rings, and a token mouth full of salad.  Totally forgot to mention the nachos that we shared for a starter!!

IMG_3732

We had no room left for pudding, so we payed the bill and left.  We did a quick Facebook live video for our fans! (We are in a Facebook group with all Choc’s fellow PT victims so we all keep each other up to date with our training, admittedly possibly me more than anyone, but hey does this face look bothered).  We were on the road again. Note for anyone who knows me, knows I am, let’s say, energetic the majority of the time. Add copious amounts of E numbers to that mixture, and the energetic, becomes let’s say hyper! I think this might be a good use of words here Zandra, what do you think?  We were both on the same level to be honest; we were both excited for the run the next day, full of e numbers, and starting to get tired.  Once we turned off the A9 to head to Killin it was like the country side you see in the movie the Hills Have Eyes, I mean don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but I am pretty sure that some random murderer could easily set some signs up that we would follow to a dead end, run down, deserted village, with some stuffed bodies to make the place look inhabited, to our in inevitable doom!! It was so remote.  The roads were all single track, and the sun was starting to set.  There were so many deer going around. InIMG_3733.PNG the trees, on the road, and at one point running (do deer run??) alongside my car as we drove.   I was waiting for them to change direction and jump over my roof. Lucky enough this didn’t happen.  We saw David and Pamela, and a few other campers heading to Glen Lyon as we made our way across country, although these two were so engrossed in the hills have eyes type driving experience that they didn’t see my waving like I was running from a murderer and needed help before he stole my skin for his next art peace, or peeping my horn like a crazy lady. We were kind of gutted as their banter is always amazing.  Never mind – we had a hotel to get to. We entertained ourselves by speaking to Siri, (my name is now sexy) and looking at the breath taking scenery.  We arrived, checked in, grabbed a cider and headed to bed.

IMG_3734

We woke at 5.30am, which was earlier than we needed but both Zandra and I were excited/nervous (Zandra may use different adjectives here). We sorted our stuff out, packed our back packs; I taped my knee, and just generally got my shit together.  Was slightly upset that our hotel didn’t service breakfast till 8am, and we had to leave at 7.30am to drive the 24odd miles to Glen Lyon. It would take an hour, and we needed to be there for race brief at 9.30am.  Pamela will try and tell you I like to be everywhere early, but in fact I just like to be on time.  Anyway – no breakfast before running an ultra – well planned there Jan.  I snuck into the dining area and helped myself to some car toast whilst we waited for someone to appear so we could pay our bill.  We also bumped into another Glen Lyoner as we waited. She was told us about all her other ultras and how she loved the lone running of ultras. It was nice to know another crazy person was also away to head over, as we would have someone to follow. Then we were off. Glen Lyon here we come.  We headed back the way we had come the night before, then took a left up another hills have eyes road. I was a bit worried we had gone the wrong way, but though to hell with it – lets just follow the people in front of us.  It was one of these roads that you see in postman pat with his little red van. God knows where Jess was, but there were little baby lambs to keep me entertained.  The road was twisty and well…feral! Some small pot holes, some big pot holes, it was really good fun to drive on and the scenery was beautiful, I would go as far as saying breath taking!!
IMG_3746

It took an hour to reach the start were we saw David, Pamela, Ewan, and Gavin – the fellow Insch trail runners.  Everyone was rather quiet, not sure if it was the gin the night before, or nerves especially for the boys, who are good enough to be placed in this race.  We popped up and got our numbers and our finishing t shirt. This part of the day was a bit of a blur.  All of a sudden Pamela of all people is telling us to hurry up – they were waiting for us at the race briefing.  We half listened to the very important information that we were being told. I remember hearing “always keep the water on your left going round the loch” ,  and that it was signposted well. I kinda stopped listening when he pointed at the large hill we had to climb to start with.  We took some selfies, reassured each other (Pamela, Zandra and I) that we would survive, although I did think Pamela was mental having just run the Highland Fling race the week before ( anyone that hasn’t heard of this Google it as I cant even comprehend the epic run that one is).  The horn went and we headed out. We ran all off 100 meters before we hit the first hill and we started to power walk with the rest of the pack.

IMG_3751

This is the part you have all be waiting for, am I correct? As we climbed up to the highest point we would reach around the Loch we had amazing views. The sun was shining and there was very little cloud in the sky.  There was a breeze but it was warm.  I had broken this ultra down in my head to two halves – one 17 mile loop round the loch, and one 14 mile loop round another valley.  This was neither a good idea or correct! The first 7 miles just flew past, my legs were a little tired, I did still had London in them, but the terrain, although some loose stones, was reasonably easy going.  There were some streams to cross which was ace fun.  Half my brain was thinking, oh my God, I am going to fall. The other half of my brain was thinking trust your core and move your arse.   As we made our way round the loch, the ground undulated up and down, but not by much.  I started to compare the route to a slightly more exciting railway line. There was two reasons for this, one I could see the path from where we were, to where we had to go, all the way back to the dam, and two I could see the tiny orange Gavin making his way back along…and I was still miles away.  Never the less I ran on, and once we got to the end of the loch and turned back on ourselves I started to enjoy the run again, mainly because you couldn’t see so far ahead at this point, so I wasn’t chasing an never ending trail.  I passed the time by chatting to Zandra – she was in the zone, so I often also looked at the animal poop that was around me, and this will come up again so pay attention….  I tried to decide if it was sheep poop, or lamb poop, or deer poop, or rabbit poop! Once I had done with this conversation in my head, I then went on to think about how shiny the stones were…I also spoke to the sheep,  I speak very good bahhhh!!  Are you feeling I wasn’t overly inspired by this first loop?  Once we got close to the dam, my spirts started to lift. I knew that the first loop was nearly over, and thought only 14 more miles to go once we reached the check point.  We crossed the dam (Zandra wasn’t sure there would be room to run along the top as it was rather narrow!! This made me chuckle). We ran fine knowing that our drop bags were at the other side. We passed one or two people, who due to injury or heat had decided to call it a day.  One man told us we needed sun cream on our legs as we passed.  It was warm but it wasn’t too hot at this point.

 

We ran down the grass path to the check point, were I could hear the wonderful Ruth encouraging me, telling me how proud she was of us, and asking how we were feeling.  I felt fresh still, legs still going round, not tired, not too hungry. It was a swift bag drop, my number was called out as I came down the hill, and by the time I reached the bottom there was someone handing it to me.  The only problem is it was hot now, and my coke, and chocolate snickers had been sitting in sun shine for 3hours.  I ate my snickers like an ice pole, unsure if my face was now covered in chocolate.  It was so soft it almost ran out of the packet!  I took a few swigs of my flat coke, which was just below boiling.  I knew I needed to take something on as we still had 16 miles to go.  That’s right, the first loop wasn’t 17 it was 15miles!  Never mind though, I was feeling good, and Zandra still looked fresh.  We headed across the bridge and onto the next loop. This is where we first met Jo, she was also informing us of her warm pork pie, and hot ice coffee.

In front of us was a rather large hill, and we started to power walk up, moaning quietly, and then slightly louder as we made our way up the never ending hill.  It was tar, but had lots of pot holes and loose gravel.  As we climbed, the view was amazing.  I was feeling positive that this was a loop and this hill was going to be a nice coast home.  The hill was never ending it went on for nearly 2miles, as we almost reached the top at mile say 16.5 the first male runner started to run back down.  We were slightly shocked that someone was already heading back to the finish.  Some people might feel deflated by this, but I perked up at the thought of seeing my fellow Insch runners heading back.  I was optimistic that they would be near the front.  The scenery was absolutely breath taking. I just can’t put into words how much at peace I felt with the world as we ran.  We started to count down the miles left – we figured out that we only had 10miles to do before we would be at the bottom of the hill again, there was only a 7 mile loop to do, and then we would be on the home stretch. Zandra, Jo and me played ping pong runners for a bit as we headed down the hill.  The first one of our Insch boys we saw was Gavin. I shouted with excitement that he was 3rd… keep going, not far behind him was Ewan, we high fived as we past.  The boy still looked strong in the heat, as the sun was now at its highest and relentless.  I was so proud of them, and I knew that David wouldn’t be far behind. We started heading steep downhill, and this is where my tar training came in handy, as I found it easy to run down here.  We went through a gate, and I saw David coming up the hill, goooo David, I ran down to him, gave him a quick hug and told him he was doing ace.  I was so so proud of the boys, I took great pleasure in telling another runner who we had caught up with, that 3rd, 4th and 5th were all from my running club.

 

We reached the next water station to be welcomed by Sharon who cheers us on, as she helped someone who had obviously fallen and was bleeding. We are so lucky to have people like Sharon and Ruth to marshal at these races, they are so encouraging, and supportive. These guys really do keep me going.  Sharon pointed us in the right direction, and we headed off to do our final loop.  It was hard going under foot, rubbly farm tracks, and the heat was starting to become unbearable when there was no wind.  We ran along, walking the hills, and I started to hit my wall around mile 20. I knew that Zandra was also starting to struggle, and things got really quiet. I suggested playing Claire and my favourite game, the animal game, but Zandra was not up for my game, she will tell you it’s because she’s not good at it, but I think she just prefers eye spy.  So we just chatted random rubbish.  I also started examining the animal poop lying around – there wasn’t as much up here, some sheep poop, a few mini sheep poop/rabbit poop.  We headed through gates, and I moaned that someone had put a snib on one of them. Never mind the sheep getting out, am having to use my brain here and its tired! I felt like I was in Krypton Factor trying to get it open.  It was around here, that for the first time in the run, I felt like only Zandra and I were running.  It felt like we were just out for a long weekend run.  There was very little life, a few sheep, who obviously I spoke to, but other than that it was so quiet, am sure you could have heard a pin drop.  It was like we were on our own island.  We could see other runnerIMG_3782s on the path below looping back to the water station. I am not sure if I enjoyed seeing them or not, they were like tiny ants working away.  We headed along and I could see where the turning point was. As we reached it Zandra kindly informed me it looked like we had to go up before we go down.  I didn’t want to tell her that this downhill was going to be tricky part, on tired legs, uneven path, and loose stones.  We headed down, where the road spiralled round on itself, and as it did, the wind spiralled with us. The air was warm, and it offered no relief to the heat.  We reached the bottom both still upright and I was glad that bit was over. I knew there was a risk that one of us could have lost concentration and fallen.  We plodded on along the side of the river, and we could now see someone in front of us. With no desire to catch anyone up, we just enjoyed the pace and absorbed the fact that this was Scotland, and it was beautiful.  We hit 26.3 miles, and I announced to Zandra she was now a marathon runner.  I was so proud of how well she was coping, especially with the heat.  She was also starting to get emotional, and she had every right to. This was an amazing achievement, and I knew now that she would be finish no problem.  Around mile 27 we met two runners who were doing a backwards sweep, it was really hot and am sure they wanted to make sure we were all okay.  I was out of water, which was a very rookie mistake. I had under estimated how much I had left at the last water station and hadn’t refilled my bag. The two runners offered me some water, and said we would be at the next water station in around a mile.  Zandra kindly offered me some of her hydration too, so I knew I wasn’t going to dehydrate.  However I did feel slightly out of control that I had no water left, and I didn’t want to eat anything in case it made me want more water, and I didn’t want Zandra having none either.  This was probably my lowest and toughest point, however it didn’t last long, as there were cows, and highland cows, and massive cow pats to take up my attention.  I stopped and got a selfie, right before we turned to start the 2 mile climb back to the top of the hill. This proper made me smile, but I was actually starting to feel sick – not sure why, but it wasn’t fine.  Moaning about this didn’t last long (Zandra may disagree) as Jo had caught us up and we had some fresh chat.  We started our moan about the hill again, but we slogged on up, chatting and laughing, making jokes and just randomly speaking rubbish.

 

As we turned the last corner before the water station, Sharon and Andy started to walk towards us holding cups of water – it was like a mirage.  It was so nice to see, and I was so glad of the water. They told us we were doing fab, and asked us questions so they could be satisfied we were okay and safe to carry on.  They told us we looked good and that many people had passed through, not coping at all with the heat.  I asked Sharon how Pamela was doing, wondering if she had just done the first loop, or if the crazy sexy Pamela had carried on.  Sharon reassured me she was about 10 mins behind us at the check point and she was still going strong.  Go PAMELA! We filled out hydration packs and set off again with encouragement from Sharon and Andy, one mile up two miles down he told us.  As we carried on up the hill, I started to give Zandra some advice on running down the hill at the other side. I told her to pick her feet up, and to keep her stance wide, and let gravity take her down.  I am not an expert and I think I was just chatting for the sake of chatting, sure Zandra had run down plenty hills.  We got to 30 miles, and Jo, Zandra and I gave a wee cheer, not far now! I knew that the run was more like 32 miles rather than 31, but I didn’t feel we needed to discuss this, as it wouldn’t change anything.  As we started to head back downhill I started to sing, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. Zandra sang along with me and I am pretty sure Jo just thought that the sun had gone to my head.  Zandra was off down the hill, I though shit, I am never going to keep up with her.  We were strong still. Jo caught us up and we all ran down the last mile together, when Jo started singing if you’re happy and you know it, which made me laugh, and I now knew I wasn’t too crazy.  We hit the bottom of the hill, crossed the bridge and reached the last wee climb.  We gave it one last power walk, as Jo took off into the sun.  We got to the top and I said to Zandra “are you ready to threshold the shit out of this last part”, she very determinedly said yes back to me.  We had this. She started to sprint and I couldn’t keep up with her, but anyone that knows me, knows there was no way I was being left behind, and from nowhere I was sprinting too. I could hear and see both David and Ruth cheering us on, as well as the rest of the gang at the end, as we crossed the finish.  We stopped, and I turned to Zandra, gave her a massive hug, and that was it!! We did it – nearly 32 miles of tough, hot trail.  Zandra who had never even run more than 22 miles, had just finished strong a 32 mile race!! Well bloody done Zandra, and I was so proud to be there with her.  David as per usual was right there, big hugs to us both, along with Ruth as she gave us our medal.  I have only met Ruth a handful of times, but she is one of the friendliest, kindest people I have ever met.  She’s defo my adopted ultra-mum and she had nothing but praise for us both.  David of course was his usual amazing self, helping us get what we needed, helping us get back to the car, and making sure we were okay.  We grabbed our stuff from the car, and headed back to the finish, Sexy Pamela wasn’t far behind us and I wanted to see her finish.  We cheered and roared at her as she approached!! She is one crazy lady but I was glad to see her finish.  Big hugs, and some alcohol free fizz and our adventure of Glen Lyon was complete!

So what did I learn?? Never under estimate how much water you need, always have sun cream in your drop back ( I am a nice shade of tomato now) marshals make the race, and running in remote hills have eyes country side is something that I will never ever get sick of doing! Glen Lyon made Glen Ogle look like a walk in the park, but Tiree is still the toughest yet!

 

Big thanks to the BAM gang, to Ruth, David and Sharon, and to everyone else who took part in and helped at the Glen Lyon Ultramarathon.   32 miles of sheep poop and shiny stones!!

 

See you all at Glenmore x

Advertisements

London Baby! #Reasontorun #Friends

 

Things that people don’t tell you about London!!

  1. The floor is super sticky around the gel and juice stations. Felt like I was in a tough mudder for 100 meters
  2. You will never be so grateful for fancy sugar water at mile 24
  3. It’s hard to move speeds, once you’re in a group you’re in it.. so move your arse, and don’t put yourself in the wrong pen
  4. You will never be so glad to hear people Shout your name especially at mile 25, as you go under the bridge the crowd is electric!!
  5. You will cry, at least once
  6. Running near someone with an amazing outfit in gets the crowds going so stick with the tree
  7. If you have good running chums, anything is possible !!

So why is the ultra runner, running London marathon, 26.2 (or 26.5 by my watch) miles of unforgiving tar! Because what long distance runner doesn’t want to do London marathon at least once? It’s defo one for the bucket list, and not to be missed.  Every section has fancy dress in it, from the green sub 3.30s, to the ballots to the charity runners.  I was lucky enough to get a ballot space so was in the blue start.  It’s wasn’t really until the day before that I realised all my chums (the royal wee you might remember from my previous blog) were in the red section, and I was in the blue, it donned on me that I wasn’t going to be nervously excited with them waiting for the gun!! This was slightly scary, I have done races without my friends but this would be my first start with no one I knew near buy, there was no point in my husband (yes I have one of these!) to try and come to the start as only runners were allowed in, so Carly, Jan and I headed together to the DLR, to get the train to Greenwich the boys obviously waved us off.  As we arrived in Cannon Town station,  with let’s be honest, no real idea of where we were going, I met a very lovely runner who had a blue bag with her, I knew instantly that she was in my start zone, so I asked if she knew where she was going, she did, so I tagged along with her, Carly and Jan came with us on the Jubilee line till they had to leave to get the DLR to Greenwich park, I was off to Blackheath station, which involved the underground and over ground.  I was so glad to have Nicola to speak with. When we got on the train I realised that Jan had taken a black bin bag for me to keep warm once I had put my bag in, and in the mad rush I had forgotten to ask for it.  Never fear Nicola had a spare one that I could have, I felt so lucky.  She told me her story, that she had deferred her place last year due to injury, and this was her first marathon, she had been injured so was apprehensive of the run, I hope I helped reassure her, telling her, it’s your race, and your pace ( a slogan I had stolen from Carly a few days earlier at the Expo).  I also meet Ellie on the train, she sat down and joined our loner possie, I think we were all very glad to have each other.  This was her first marathon, her boyfriend was running too but, like me and my friends he was in a different start zone.  We stuck together, queued for the toilets together, dropped our bags together, but then it was time to get into our pen.  I was so glad for the girls, and I will always be grateful for their company in that few hours.

 

IMG_3510

 

IMG_3494The pens, well I honestly thought that the pens would be super friendly and chatty, however my pen was not…everyone had their head phones in, and no one wanted to speak to the scottish lass, never mind, i was too busy being annoyed at myself for  taking headphones for music for my phone because I couldn’t find the blue tooth ones James had gotten me for christmas, I had taken my old ones…so why do you think I had blue tooth ones, yes you’re thinking correctly…I have an I phone 7, which has no head phone dock!!  Never mind, I don’t listen to music on my training runs, but then I am not myself, everyone had told me that the crowds would carry me though so i was hopeful that I wouldn’t miss my darling Ed in my ear whispering about his fast car.

IMG_3495

10am came and we slowly started to move forward in our pens, walking towards our inevitable doom, the start line.  As we approached the start line on my right I noticed a rather smartly dressed celeb!! Nick Knowles, we had just been speaking about him the day before so I got a high five!! Love a celeb spot! I thought it would take ages to get to the start line with so many people but I was over the start line 7 mins after the gun, you can see the reds heading out to our right all happy and jogging, I looked over to see if I could see anyone, not sure what I thought I would see but it was a sea of people.  As i crossed the start there was a roar of people, I can’t put in words how these crowds make you feel, I don’t think I would do it justice, but it was electrifying.

 

The first miles flew, past, as the blue and green merged some of the slower greens in fancy dress filtered into our route, and i couldnt help but smile as a fancy dress car with 4 runners honked its horn and we all cheered.

 

At mile 3/4 the reds merge with the blue/green runners, this was a mass of people, there was already a sea of people, which made it hard to run in, I run with my eyes, I know I know we all run with our eyes, but the damage to my knee means I really do need to see where my feet are landing, this was so hard, I was glad that the road surface was flat, because I really could have injured myself here.  We were also ahead of the reds in pace, I was currently with the (ever optimistic) 4hr15min pacers, I looked to the right to see the green 5hr pacer, and the blue 4hr30 pacer, people started getting a bit pushy barge at this point, I honestly thought I was going down.  I just had to remember, ‘YOUR RACE YOUR PACE!!’ I sat comfortably with the 4 hrs 15min for 12 miles, and just before London Bridge lost them, and I didn’t care, I wasn’t out for a 4 hr 15min marathon time, and i was really comfortable and enjoying myself. I say a sea of people but I don’t think you realise just how many people there are running it was only at the top of a hill that you would look ahead and think holy crap.. it was a moving coloured carpet, of charity vests, running clubs and fancy dress t-shirts.

 

I had managed to take two gels (salted caramel are amazing, if you want to know about gel gate, please ask me) and some sports drink, so was feeling good.  The atmosphere at Cutty Sark till Mile 12 was  amazing the air moved with the cheers of the crowed,  then came London Bridge, nothing prepared me for the people here, this was made even better by seeing James, Phil and Steve (knowns as the boys from here on), on london bridge cheering me on!! I could have been in the lead by there screams!!  It was so nice to hear and see them and it gave me a big pick me up.  As we came off London Bridge we headed to the Island of Dogs loop, now I know that some of my friends would know how much I hate loops, and I hate passing the finish before I am there, never mind 10 mile loop to go before I would be at the same point as the Elite runners that currently ran towards me at lightening speed on the other side of the railings.  I actually loved this part of the run, I was so busy watching the runners coming back to see if I could see David, Jeni, Sharon, or Mark heading for home, but there was no sign, it kept me entertained looking. From mile 17-22 I hit the wall, I really started to struggle and I think this is reflected in my splits. It wasn’t that I was tired or going too fast, my legs just started to get sore, I was so glad to see the St John’s ambulance people out with some vaseline as I realised my thighs were chaffing!  It was also really warm..One thing that was amazing about London was the showers.  When I read about the showers I thought; ‘What?!’ Please don’t use the bottles of water to cool yourself down use the shower, who the hell is going to stop for a shower when running a marathon.  Note to everyone they are like massive sprinklers, not shower cubicles…I am sure you are all laughing at me, but I honestly thought they were going to be showers.  So  I didnt slow down by much, I had been averaging 9.45min miles, and had gone to 10.20/30. with one 11min mile when I stopped to take some proper fluids on broad and stopped for a pee.  This is the part of the race I really really missed my running chums, I missed Carly telling me to suck it up buttercup, and Zandra randomly distracting me with some stories of secret biscuit stashes, I tried to make conversations with those around me but honestly no one wanted to chat.  So instead I got the crowds going, by encouraging them to shout my names and cheer as I heckled them with my arms. There were parts where there were no crowds, these killed.

 

I stuck my head down and got on with it, I knew Choc had trained me for this, I knew that this was what all the threshold runs had been for, known how to dig deep and how deep you can dig, I tried to speed my legs up, I dug deep!! I knew that the boys wouldnt be far away, they said they would be at mine 12 and 22, I just hope I was at the right side of the road, and there they were, screaming and shouting my name!! This put an instant smile on my face.  I had also started to see the other runners that were at mile 12, and though girl you have this, and never mind that I was now at mile 23, I thought in my head, ‘Woman! You run this distance at 5am, its only round the village.’  Please don’t get me wrong I didn’t at any point hate this run, I was loving it.. I was just starting to fade.  I also knew that I was doing well for time, and if i just didn’t stop now I would get my 4hrs 30.  As we crossed under Blackfriars the crowed doubled in size, the noise was amazing, it echoed around filling the air with song and chant, I started to get emotional, a tear in my eye, I thought ‘Oh my god, I am running London Marathon, how did this happen!’  I could feel the smile on my face widen, as i read the hilarious signs, “If Donald Trump can run the USA you can run 26.2miles, You think your legs are tired, think how sore my arms are,  Think of the Prosecco, Its only pain,  as I read these sings I also thought of Carly, and her slogan, thing of the Bling and the Gin Jan…I climbed back up out the other side of the bridge and tried to put the foot down, we headed towards houses of parliament and Big Ben, everyone was screaming and shouting! Then out of nowhere, Colin Jackson is standing in front of me high 5ing the runners (if you don’t know him and your a runner shame on you, get goggling) I think I actually said OMG and Hi5, as i flew (hahaha) past him at high speed!! Well it felt fast, I was at mile 24, and I had 25 mins to get home and get my time.  It was so emotional, I don’t have words for the last 2 miles, unless you have been there and experienced the roar of the crowds shouting your name, and cheering you on! The signs to make you giggle and smile, and the companion of others around you helping those who were struggling.

 

Jan it was time to get you arse going, we turned and headed down past St James park, 600 meters to go, a women to my left said to me longest 600 meters in your life, I though let’s do this, 200 meters to go, and Buckingham is now on my left and a TV screen in front of me, and OMG I am on it! Look down at my watch 4 hr 22, you might just have this girl, you might get your 4hrs 30, we turned and headed down towards the finish, i blinked twice is that actually the finish of London Marathon I thought to myself? It sure was, there were people sitting in the fancy seats, cheering, I didn’t have a sprint left i my tired wee legs, but i did manage to speed up a little, I had tears running down my face, I had done it, I had finished, and as I hit pause on my Garmin and looked down, i thought ‘Holy shit Jan, that says 4 hrs 27mins!!!’ Happy tears started to roll down my face, and around me everyone congratulated each other as we headed for our medal, one guy put his arm round me and told me i was amazing!!

 

The bling was amazing I picked up my goody bag and headed for a photo of me with my medal … it took ages to get down for the finish to the meet point, but my legs were tired and every step was agony, but I didn’t care, I looked around at people with bleeding feet and collapsed at the side and though why do we do this? Who knows, but I love to!!  I turned my phone off airplane mode and started to call my friends and family, unfortunately due to the shear volume of traffic I only managed to get hold of Choc and Zandra.  I refreshed my London Marathon app, to see how Jan, Carly, Jeni, David, Sharon, Nicola and Emile had/were getting on.  It wasn’t working there was just too much mobile traffic in the area. I continued to what can only be described as waddle to the finishing area.  I was in a daze as I approached my bag pick up point, starting to look at my vest for my number only to be greeted by smily faced women who already had my bad in her hand. Then my phone pinged, Carly, has finished…I shouted with excitement, to no one but myself, as I rounded the corner to our agreed meet point.  I set my stuff down and spoke to two women sitting on the ground.  I was too scared to sit down, I thought to myself I won’t get back up again.  I was starting to get cold, even though the sun was out, so I took off my charity vest and changed into my Insch Trail Runners t-shirt, thinking that the girls would now easily spot me in the sea of people.  I started speaking to a women who had just finished she was celebrating with her family.  Her husband kindly offered me  an arm to balance on as I pulled my jogging bottoms on, and his daughter helped me get them over my trainers. The kindness of people always excited me but never surprises me at these events.  My phone pings again, I check it to see that both Jan and Nicole have finish, I look up to see Carly in front of me, and we both just scream and hug!  The boys arrive, more hugging and screaming! I gave James the biggest hug ever and tried really hard not to just start crying!  I grab a bag of salted crips and my can of Jack and Coke ( I forgot to mention that I had already drunk some water and and energy drink on my hobble round to the meet point), and let the world carry on around me, feeling slightly in a bubble.  Then Jan appeared and our trio was whole again!! More screaming and hugging! It was time for gin and bling, and celebrations.  So after what felt like 5 mins, we all started to move off, Carly and Jan headed to their charity meets, and James and I headed to the tube and the 02 for some dinner.  I had run for breast cancer now, but it was a fair bit to there party, and I really didn’t have the strength to battle with the crowds.

image1

The trip back to the hotel, and dinner was amazing, I wore my medel…it gave me free travel on the tube, and accepted every congratulation, well done and hats off to you from everyone who spoke to me. I loved every single second of this weekend.  I loved spending time with the girls and their other halfs, I loved seeing everyone succeed and come home with smiles on their face!!

 

Remember, be inspired by everyone around you, never be jealous of what others achieve or want to achieve and what you haven’t, because if you want it… go and get it!!!! Remember fear is but a feeling.

 

So I bet you all wanting to know… would I do London again??  The answer is of course… but I wouldn’t mind doing Berlin first!!
Now lets hope I recover quickly as its only 11 sleeps to Glen Lyon Ultra Marathon!!

There is still time to donate to my sponsor page, so please dig deep!!

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=JansLondonChallange&faId=819816&isTeam=false

 

 

 

Let’s talk races and training…Recovery week means BLOG Time.

Hello all, it’s been a while since I blogged, I have been having some well-deserved down time in December and January, but am back in full swing, with London Marathon and Glen Lyon approaching at lightning speed.  Serious training started again last month and it’s been hard going, I forgot how much I love threshold runs (actually hate these but they do make me faster).  I also forgot how hard it can be to follow a plan.  Last year I was lucky enough to have sexy Pamela (this is Pamela’s new nick name) and Claire to keep my company on my training.  Unfortunately Claire has been injured, and out of action, and Sexy Pamela, is training for her crazy year of ultras, and Lilly van adventures… but never fear I have Zandra, another crazy running chum who I have also talked into ultra-marathon running (10 weeks till Glen Lyon Zandra no pressure).  I also have some other ace friend who I run with and are doing London, Carly, and Jan.  I couldn’t possibly do this without my amazing support network of friends, family and the crazies.

So last year I ran a lot of races, these were mostly because of fear of missing out (FOMO).  Every runner will have felt this feeling at some time. Will you miss out on a) a medal, b) a t-shirt and c) fun! However entering so many races is expensive and also totally messes up your training schedule.  For example last year, I beasted Garioch 5k (3rd senior female in 25mins), then had to go and run 13 miles with Claire (moaned A LOT during this run, Claire will confirm, ask her) all to fit in my marathon training.  So this year I decided to curb the race entries.  This lasted till around about January, when I realised I had, Garioch half marathon, London, Glen Lyon, Glenmore 24, and Edinburgh Hairy Haggis race.  So firstly I thought , better stop, secondly I got into trouble from my PT who is my fountain of wisdom, who told me to calm the beans. (Am still entering Strathspey ultra choc sorry)  She’s totally right!! And here is why…

This weekend we ran 16 miles, we being Carly, Jan , Zandra and myself, I am going to refer to us as the Royal wee… this is because I am funny, and because it’s easier that trying to write those 3 names every times.  So the Royal wee discussed how hard it is to train for long races, we struggle, to balance busy life’s, full time jobs, and training, not to mention Jan and Carly who also have children to look after and ensure they keep a happy balanced family life.  I totally take my hat off to these guys, I don’t know how they do it.  Okay so I get up at 4.50am to run before work, but I only have to worry about and look after myself.  All you working and stay at home mummies who also manage to run, and training for big race your AMAZING!!

I spoke about not running as many races  this year, with  the Royal Wee  and said that I actually did not currently have a massive FOMO going on that I hadn’t entered  so many races. We  spoke about how hard it is to run races, and the pressure it creates, and here is our conclusion to why.  It’s so true that as a runner, especially if you run with a running club, or a group, we all have a slight competitive nature.  The worst person I have competitive feelings towards is myself.  Now Sexy Pamela, will tell you I am competitive by nature, but I never ever have felt like I want to or need to do better than my fellow runners, I just wanted to get better. However, I know that if I run a race, and get a slower time that I did last year, I will be upset, I got so many PBs last year, and am so proud of myself, and my running chums, however I lost a lot of weight, and am a lot fitter than I had been in 2015, so it was an easy task.  I know at some point I won’t get any faster, no matter how hard I try, okay so it’s nice to get Stava crowns, and be able to say I achieved a 50min 10k, however the running I really really enjoy is the long slow runs I do with my running buddies.  These are the runs where I get to put the worlds to right, we get to support each other, and share stories.  Realising that we are all human we all struggle and we all want to do our best.

Sorry I know am going slightly of track… so why would you put pressure on yourself, and something you enjoy, even if people don’t actually have expectation of you being better, you feel they do. I hope that this make sense, so I think it’s time that we all remember that actually we run for fun, we run to keep fit, we run to lose weight, or to just burn off the crazy. We don’t run to be better than others, or to be better than ourselves.  So embrace the fact that a 9min mile will get you the same distance as a 7min mile, and enjoy your hobby, because I sure hope that I continue to enjoy my running, and would hate to get to the point where I feel I have to run fast for others, not just myself.

So don’t be sorry if your slower, don’t feel like you’re holding others up, because we all have bad days and good days, and you know what no one you run with feels they are waiting for you, no one means to be ahead of you, and we are all there to keep each other going.  We all hit walls at different times and distances, and without each other I definitely wouldn’t’t be where I am today.

Here’s to 2017, and here’s to everyone enjoying their running, and if you’re worried about not beating a PB, then set yourself a gold, silver and bronze challenge for each race, gold being your PB, that way even if you 5 mins behind your PBB, god dam it you finished.

Happy running guys.

Ultra Addiction

GO33

Hi my name is Jan and I have a problem – I am addicted to Ultra Marathons. So who would have known that running these crazy distances would be addictive? I can’t decide why mind you, as you will soon read it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

How many people do you know that go out and run 30+ miles at a weekend? Now I know quite a few but realistically, if you’re not doing it yourself, then you probably don’t know many. However, I bet you know lots of people who run 5/6 miles at a weekend. I personally used to think that people who ran any further than 10k were mental… so I think I would fall under that category now! Six miles is a short run to me. Thinking back not that long ago, to around October 2015, sitting in Aviemore with the Insch gang, preparing for my first ever half marathon and saying, “This is it, I am not running any further than this. I am not ever doing a marathon” … well that lasted long!

What I have definitely decided is that I much prefer trail running than tar. I’m sure this won’t come as much of a surprise to those who know me. I would much rather be throwing myself down Benners on a Sunday morning than trotting round the village taking it easy. Not sure if it’s the face I like to see saying – “Hey what did you do this weekend?” And I say “Well I ran 17 miles round Bennachie”, and watching people’s face be like, are you serious? I am sure I used to look the same at Jeni Rees-Jenkins and Choc Harris when they suggested they ran ultras.

So I sat not long ago and said I’m not doing the D33 next year- it’s a road marathon and I hate the old railway…well I have already been sitting Googling the opening date. Seriously, what is wrong with me? Who drugged me? Who brain washed me? Who is responsible for this addiction? Let’s face it, one day it will ruin my body. But hey, I would rather skid into my grave sideways saying “What a life!”, than politely doing everything people think I should.

So anyway, I was going to tell you all about Glen Ogle (GO33) ultra marathon, part of the Scottish Ultra Marathon series. If you read my last blog you will know I got a space at this race by pure chance. I entered the waiting list and was lucky enough to get a space. So since I was now no longer an ultra marathon virgin, I thought I actually know what I’m doing now. David looked out for us a lot in Tiree, keeping us right and making sure we had fun. As GO33 starts in Killin, there was a lot more people I knew there, as well as a lot of people that I don’t know, or should I say do now? We left for Killin in Rosie (David’s VW camper, in case anyone hasn’t read my last blog) on Friday at 3pm. Pamela and I were definitely excited. However, I must admit to feeling slightly less prepared for this race, as before Tiree we had done hours and hours of training. The longest run I had done since Tiree was 18 miles – that’s not far at all. It was a fun journey down – we even took cut out of Claire and Daisy as we didn’t want them to feel left out, and after all they are officially part of Team Rosie.

Killin is approx 3.5 hours from Aberdeen. We headed to Forfar then across country. It was dark, wet and kind of miserable. You know when you thinking in the back of your head, I’m glad I have my waterproof with me?

We arrived in Killin around 6.30pm. We may have stopped on the way down for some “carb loading” of beer. Pamela and I were staying at Killin Hotel, David was in Rosie (poor David brrr!) and it turned out that Killin Hotel was the place to be! We arrived, checked in and dumped our bags. At this point we met Patricia who was staying with Jeni and Sharon in the hotel. We decided to have a drink and book a table for tea in the bar, where we met one of David’s running friends having her dinner. This is the point where I feel I should say that the Ultra Running Community is like one big happy family! Everyone I meet at these events is super friendly, and treats you like they have known you all your life. Once we had finished our drink we headed to register at the hall across the road, and then back for more drinks and food at the hotel.

It was starting to look busy, and lots more people joined the table. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember everyones’ names and I also didn’t get permission to mention them in this so I guess I can have some creative licence here! Sharon Parkin arrived like a whirlwind. She looked like she had been out running. She introduced herself and my first thought was, “OH MY GOD! Are you mental? Why are you running tonight when we have 33 miles to run tomorrow?” However once Sharon was introduced and started to speak I soon realised she had been injured and was in Killin to marshal at the race.

We had tea, drank and chatted some more. David and Sharon introduced us to lots of new friendly faces. At 11pm I knew I needed to head to bed- it had been a busy week – so I had a night cap and left Pamela, David and the rest of the gang in the bar (wondering how rough they would be in the morning!).

My alarm went off at 6am. I had slept well. There had been no Prosecco Bay this time round but I think the night cap had helped my sleep. I got dressed and headed to Pamela’s room to catch her for breakfast, upon knocking on her door I found her to be still in her PJs, not even awake yet. What time had she gone to bed? 12.30am, several gins after I had left them! Never mind I headed for breakfast myself and bumped into Jeni, Sharon, Patricia and Patrick who where all as excited as me to be running. We ate some food and headed to get our final bits together before heading to the hall for the race brief. We had 4 drop bags this time. In Tiree we had only had one so I may have gone slightly over board and put far too much in each bag but my philosophy is better to have it and not need it then to not have it and need it. Jeni and Sharon kindly helped me get the last of my stuff sorted and advised me on the drop bags. Once that was done, I checked out and we headed to the start line.

I love BAM organisers. They have a wicked sense of humour. Put it this way in our pre race info their main message is, “Don’t be a fanny, don’t park like a fanny, don’t act like a fanny, DO NOT BE A FANNY!” I don’t really remember much of what they said to me at the race briefing. I was too busy looking for Pamela and David who I had left gathering their stuff at Rosie. I found David, took some selfies with Jeni and all of a sudden we where off.

The route headed straight out of Killin onto land rover tracks and uphill!! It was a climb for the first 4 miles (not 3 as David would have you believe). I totally forgot to mention, Pamela and I had decided to run GO33 at our own pace and not wait for each other, so I found it a bit strange heading off and having no one to talk to. I had my iPod with me but didn’t really want to listen to music. I needn’t have worried because as soon as we all settled into our rhythm, everyone around me started to chat away. It was fab. I met some people room Huntly, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Falkirk. For some people this was their first Ultra and for others it was there 10th. We discussed the route and why we loved ultra running. It was so friendly and welcoming and it didn’t bother me when people would pull off ahead of me or even when I would pull off from them. I met 2 women who ran every ultra together. They had run a 100 mile race in the Welsh Vales but got lost and only did 88 miles. They didn’t even get a medal but that didn’t bother them they planned to head back again next year.

The first check point came round in no time. I didn’t really feel I needed anything at 6 miles. I mean, I was bearly warmed up but I took my blocks out of my drop bag and left the rest for whoever fancied it. My blocks were rock hard with the cold. I remember Jeni saying to me to try and eat every hour so I thought I should have something as we where at 1 hour, 10.

We were now on the old railway line. I hate old railways lines. I shouldn’t really say this as the only railway line I have run on is Dyce to Fraserburgh and I guess you shouldn’t tar every one with the same brush. It was actually beautiful! We where high up and could see for miles.

As I ran along here I met a beautiful woman with a full face of makeup. We chattered and she told me about how she was getting married in a few weeks and that everyone thought she was mad running 33 miles, but I knew what she was saying. I got married in June and running – it kept me sane. She was so laid back she wasn’t even sure if she would finish. She was running to half way where her friend would be to cheer her on. If she had had enough by then, she would just stop. As we ran we came across someone who clearly looked like they were in pain. We stopped to speak to her and as she spoke I realised she was from Orkney (where my family are from). We offered her painkillers and gel to rub on her knee. She told us that she had come all the way down for the race but the odds had been against her. Her dog had died that week and it just wasn’t going well. We ran together for a while and I asked how she was doing. She said she was sore and I told her to take her time, at which point she agreed, stopped and waved us off.

I was by myself again as I ran the last part of the old railway, and headed down to the second check point. It was a steep downhill onto the paths alongside the road. I was now making friends with a couple who had run this before and to be honest I wish I hadn’t spoken to them. They told me how hard it was climbing back up onto the railway line and how they hated that part. I didn’t really want to think about what lay in 15 miles’ time so I ran on and left them to moan.

At check point 2 I grabbed a snickers out of my drop bag, had a mouth full of Pepsi and took my breakfast bar. I knew there was a while between check points 2&3. I emptied my shoes of the stones that I had gathered (must buy gaiters for trail runs) and headed off again. I was by myself again, however next to me appeared a lovely lady who was in her 50s and running her 2nd and last ever ultra, she told me. She was with her running group from Edinburgh area (I think). She was lovely and we chatted for a while, but I soon left her and carried on at my pace. I tried to just keep my legs going round. I didn’t really plan to run at any speed – I just aimed to keep it easy pace where I could hold a conversation.

We hit the tar and started to climb. As I ran we approached Rob Roy’s grave site. I ran alongside a young man who was on his 10th Ultra. We chatted away and I asked him what he recommended Ultra wise and told him all about Tiree. He had heard it was a bitch!

As we climbed I slowly pulled away from him and was on my own again. I hit the end of the road and we started to turn back. I was at 14 miles now. I stopped and took some photos at the end of the loch then carried on. As I ran, I passed some more people, but not many passed me. As I ran I took nibbles of my snickers and enjoyed the view. There were waterfalls. It was so remote, I wondered how anyone lived the.

At about mile 16 Isabel ran up behind me. I had spoken to her briefly coming into check point 2. She had told me that she had not read the race details properly and had a late breakfast which had resulted in a rather churny tummy. We ran for a few miles together, speaking about running, about losing weight and about how ace running was for your mental health. We had a great chat and I was so grateful for her company, as mile 16/17 was always my wall in training, and this distance passed in no time.

As we reached the shaky bridge I left Isabel only to be met with Gary, one of the running chums I had met in Tiree. He wasn’t running he was em…just out for a walk. As I tried to film myself running across the bridge I heard him shouting, “Come on this isn’t Tiree!” It put a massive smile on my face. As I ran past here and across the road crossing, I was faced with a person dressed as a Scottish Saltire! This made me chuckle as it was an all in one Lycra suit. I crossed the road, saw Sharon who cheered me on and headed up the hill.

At the point I passed a gentleman who told me this hill went on forever. He wasn’t joking – it climbed and climbed. I had a good laugh with this guy as he was wicked quick downhill, but I was quicker than him up the hills so we just kept yoyoing past each other, as we made comments like, “We should stop meeting like this” and “What took you so long?” It was hard going to have such a wicked climb at miles 18-22 but I was glad to have company.

Just before I reached check point 3, once again I came across Gary out for a Saturday stroll. “Come on Tiree!” he said. This brought another smile to my face, and kept me going till I got to the check point. I was so glad to see it. I stopped here for a wee while, I ate some crisps (salt is essential as I was sweating), had a 500 ml bottle of Pepsi and some chocolate, I emptied my shoes of stones and off I went again. I desperately needed a pee but as I was running on my own I had no one to look out for me, and as you can guess there are no toilets available for my use on this route.

The next few miles climbed back up onto the railway line. As I walked up the hill (it was massively steep) my calves started to offer to cramp. I passed a guy who told me he had done every GO33 since it started and it was a nightmare to get a PB as they always changed the route. It was an ongoing joke that it was never 33 miles.

As I got to the top of the hill I climbed in some bushes for a pee and was very grateful that I managed to squat without cramping. I knew I had to run this next bit. It was a long slow drag uphill back to check point 4 but I knew it was only a few miles. There weren’t a lot of people around to speak to but those I passed I had a bit of banter with me and I told a few men to man up!! As I headed back across the viaduct, which I hadn’t seen on the way down, (we where now heading back on ourselves. I do love an out and back..said me never but I was enjoying this) I started to hit a wall. Then out of nowhere a mirage of Gary appeared and I had an instant sugar rush. It was great, it gave me a great lift as I ran the last few miles till check point 4.

There was a bitterly cold wind blowing straight down into my face and I was having to grit my teeth and duck my head to get through it but I knew I was almost there. I told myself to keep running. I didn’t want to stop. Stopping and starting is harder than just keeping going and I was so proud of myself for how I had run all the section that I could (I had, of course, walked the massive hills).

I didn’t stop at check point 4 for long. I took a drink of my cold coffee and a small piece of tablet. I think back now and think I should have had more sugar than I did but hey, what can you do but live and learn?

I knew we were now on the home stretch with only 5 miles to go. We headed down hill back to Killin. You would think that heading down hill would be easy but not after 27 miles. My legs where tired and I was getting a bit sore. Some people passed me. Someone I had spoken to in the first few miles told me she had had to ditch her friends. A lady ran up to me and ran with me saying she had been trying to catch me. She had left her friends as they where going too slow. Everyone I passed or who passed me chatted away.

I had to stop again for a wilderness pee. At this point it was mile 29ish and my legs did cramp but I managed a pee and was off again. I met a women who had passed me earlier on a climb, she had told me she had gotten lost and had run an extra 5 miles. When I had met her earlier she looked strong and didn’t hang around, however this time she looked very sore, she was in pain but she was still running. She told me how she wasn’t going to give up and I thought, “You know what, I might be sore and tired but your in 10 times more pain and you’re still going”. She totally inspired me and gave me extra energy to keep going. I said in my head I would stick with her till the end and would make sure she finished.

We were now at Killin. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the village. It wasn’t far to the finish. We picked up the pace up a bit. Some people stormed past but I knew there was still at least a mile to go so I didn’t give it my all quite yet. As we entered the park I could see the finish, we had to run round the outside to get there but this didn’t bother me. As I entered I picked my pace up and sprinted round the outside (in my head I was Bolt!). I passed a couple and headed for the finish line. I could hear Jeni and David shouting my name and that gave me the last push, and I was finished. I looked down at my watch 6 hours, 17 mins.

I waddled my bum back to the hotel, got myself changed as quickly as I could and waddled back across to the finish line to see Pamela coming in. I made it just on time to cheer her home. Even after a bucket full of gin, she still finished strong. We did it!!

GO33 was an amazing adventure. Tiree was super friendly but I hardly met anyone running. Whether that was because we ran as a threesome or because there were only 150 people and we were nearer the back, I don’t know. All I know is that GO33 was full of amazing friendly people, great marshals and an amazing atmosphere.

We didn’t stay for the dance this time, and headed straight back up the road. Next year, I am dancing!!

A massive thank to all those at BAM for organising an amazing race. I won’t forget this in a hurry and I am truly addicted!! See you all next year!

Let’s Talk Tiree and Prosecco Bay

Let’s speak Ultras, sorry I had hoped to blog sooner after Tiree, but it has been nonstop since I got back.
One sentence for you all…Tiree is flipping awesome! This run should be on every distance runners bucket list. It is so small and intimate and everyone was so friendly! However the people are just the icing on the cake!! The island is to die for!! So let me tell you all my story of Tiree, I think at this point I could say that I have creative rights to this story.
The trip to Tiree started on Friday night, to get to Tiree, you must either fly from Glasgow, or get a boat from Oban, we opted for the boat from Oban, however we didn’t bet on the ferry times changing and our check in being 4.15am. Just what you need before you first Ultra, never fear as we had Saturday to recharge and refuel and prepare ourselves both mentally and physically. So yes David, our coach for the weekend, arrived at Insch to pick Claire, Pamela and myself up in Rosie, Daisy had been collected on route, and we where off, we headed for Aviemore for our all you can eat pizza, carb loading is very important in preparation for a long run. Post fuelling we made our way south to Oban, it was dark and raining, Pamela and I where in the back, keeping ourselves entertained with some Jack Daniels and diet Coke. Obviously this was still carb loading. We arrived in Oban late, around 11pm, we headed straight for the pub here our team bonding began. One thing I will never forget about Oban was Tanya, a lovely young lady, who lets say likes to bite facial hair. I don’t feel I need to say much more. Once the pub had closed we headed to the ferry terminal to park up. Shockingly enough we actually where not the only people there. Daisy and Claire headed for a sleep whilst David, Pamela and I put the worlds to right, yes you are hearing me right we didn’t sleep at all. We boarded the boat around 4am, and got ourselves some food (you seeing why I like long distance running yet). Once we had all eaten breakfast we found a space for a nap.

We arrived in Tiree, and I must admit I wondered what I had let myself in for, we headed for Daisy and David’s camp site, it was a bit wet and wild, and I was shattered to be honest, we helped set up Daisy’s tent and ate some more food. At this point Daisy announced that she had passed all her exams at uni, so we thought we should really celebrate, I mean it was 5pm somewhere, so at 10am we opened our first bottle of prosecco. So you know between 5 people one bottle doesn’t go very far. So we had another, which also didn’t last long, at this point we felt we really needed two things
1. To explore the island
2. Get more prosecco.
So we headed to check into our hotel…yes that right there was no way I was sleeping in a tent and then running 35 miles… that wasn’t happening. I had managed to secure Claire, Pamela and myself two rooms at the best hotel on the island. NOT!! Lol we arrived to something that just reminded me of faulty towers, but never mind we dumped our stuff and headed to the beach, obviously we went past the co op and picked up some more prosecco, 4 bottles to be if anyone is counting that equals 6. Anyway… we headed to the most beautiful beach we had ever see, half way between the hotel and the camp site. Claire named this Prosecco bay (don’t forget this name it will be mentioned later) we went paddling in the sea and then sat on the dunes and drank some more Prosecco and put the worlds to right. There is very little phone signal on Tiree, which normally would drive me nuts, however because none of us had any phones to distract us, we actually sat and spoke for hours, I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in my life. Other runners passed us on their bikes and stopped for a natter, and we met the Doctor who would be covering the race, Claire informed him that he would likely see at least one of us the next day.
So 6 bottles of Prosecco later it was time for heading to registration to pick up our numbers and get the low down on Tiree Ultra. It was rather informal and we left feeling like we had some clue of what the plans for Sunday were. We also came to terms with the face that at mile 30 we would pass our hotel ( that was going to be a killer). After this we headed for tea, we headed back to the hotel for our food, and obviously went via the co op for more Procecco as we needed some for celebrating at the finish line the next day. We also picked up some other ultra runners on the way and gave them a lift to their hotel (which actually looked ace compared to mine) Just for information we ran out of processco around 3pm. David made us tomatoes basil and mozzarella salads with pine nuts. Okay so you maybe had to be there to find this funny, but David actually bought a basil plant in the shop, which had a pride of place in Rosie the whole weekend, until Claire and Daisy killed Basil on the way home. Bloody basil plant seriously David.
Okay, so am guessing you’re wondering when am going to talk about running 35miles. We all had a sensible tea and headed to bed early on Saturday with alarms set for 6am. Surprisingly to some I slept like a baby, must have been the fresh air, or possible the prosecco. At 6am we go up and headed for breakfast, David and Daisy where back at the camp site, David was collecting us at 7am (ish). The race started at 8am… not early at all. We ate as much as we could sensibly, finished packing our bags, and sorting our drop bags, and headed for hotel lobby to wait for David. For those who don’t know how ultra marathon work, it’s pretty much running between picnics. So in my drop bag went, flat coke, snicker, crisps, coffee (cold canned), sports gels, and blocks, as well as some spare clothes, and trainers, just incase. There was only one drop bag point the other 2 check points would had water, and some goodies ( I even heard a rumour that at check point 3 (28mile ish) had cakes. From here to the start line went very quickly before I knew it we where at the community centre, and Claire had realised she had left her number and her drop bag at the hotel, there was no time to head back. We all had enough food to help Claire out for her drop bag, and we also managed to find a sharpy to write her number on her leg. Some selfies and groups shot where taken and we where off.
150 people I think gathered on a beach getting ready to run 35 miles, for some it was their first Ultra, for others it was there 10th, but it didn’t matter because we all had our own adventure ahead. The first 8 miles where fab, so much fun some tar, one or two beaches, but my fav part was happy valley, a muddy cow filled field that was like moorland. It was muddy, and boggy, it was like fellrunning. There were cows to take selfies with, and best of all a massive hill that you pretty much had to crawl up on your had and knees, I nearly lost my shoe in a bog to. I don’t know if I enjoyed this part the most because I love running in mud and adventuring off-road, or because I was still fresh, we hit check point 1 at 8 miles, it was nice to see and hear everyone cheering us on. I filled my water up, and ate some orange segments, sooo fine. I also had a few bits of homemade tablet supplied by the kind marshals. Sounds good doesn’t it…however I then got a stitch for the next few miles I was not good, but I sucked it up and got on with it, it made me realise that I can’t eat too much at one time. The next 8 miles to check point 2 I found the hard, we had some tar, which was okay, I really started to struggle when we entered the sand dunes, it was hot, and just never-ending, but we made it through the other end, and as we approached check point 2 at the end of a very long beach, we could hear people cheering again. Which lifted my spirits, at this point I have never ever loved flat full fat coke as much as I did. The table spoons of sugar that your mother warns you will make your teeth fall out, gave me an instant sugar high!! AMAZEBALLS. We stopped here and ate lots, Claire and Pamela attended to their blisters, and we were off again. (Pamela will tell you at this point I wouldn’t let her stop for long enough, however in the back of my head I could hear David saying to me not to stop for too long 10min max). The next part of the course was fell running again, it was up and down, rock, mud, water, more mud, and some more rocks, and it was very hard to run this part. I think this felt like one of the longer sections, most likely because I felt like I had hit a my wall, but also because it was hard going you had to concentrate with ever step as not to end up down a rabbit hole. However to make it more fun I played mission impossible, jumping from rock to rock singing the theme tune and holding my fingers like a gun!! I know what you thinking, if you know me you know that this is true and can totally imagine me doing this, if you don’t know me you thinking what a waste of energy, prob true but it made me smile and laugh.

The next wee part (maybe 5/6 miles) was a mixture of beach, grass tracks and road. My IT band was killing me by this point; I was starting to struggle to keep up with the girls. (Claire and Pamela will tell you how much I hate being behind, I struggle with it mentally, I always just feel like I just can’t keep up) My legs were tired, my brain was tired, and the tar was hard going. The spirit of Tiree kept me going, there were locals out at there houses with water, sweetie and coke. I mean at times we didn’t see people for miles but when we did they always had a smile on there face. We knew we couldn’t be far of the next check point but this definitely was the hardest part mentally for me, between miles 16 and 24. Lucky enough my friends kept me going, I think we kept each other going, we all waited for each other, we cheered each other one, and we told each other to MAN UP!!

Check point 3 was me fav check point!! There was more coke, and CAKE!! Homemade cakes!! I mean like tiffin, victoria sponge, like stuff Mary Berry would be proud of. I was in heaven, I mean if you think about this now, we had run around 26 miles, we had started at 8am, and we where 5/6hours in had totally missed lunch, and had been running for 6 hours so of course our bodies were craving instant energy, and the best way to get this is pure hard sugary calorific food. After this we also knew we were on the home stretch, however we also knew we were away to run past our hotel, and we knew there was a massive beach ahead. The beaches where one of the toughest terrains to run on, some of them I couldn’t even run, the sand was too deep and soft (just to also note i hate getting sand in my shoes), but as the tides had gone out it had exposed harder sand, although bobbly, it was easier to run on than some of the beaches earlier in the race. We ran/walked the beach, we did a fab job but we were all starting to get tired now, Pamela’s watch was out of battery and she was stressing about her run not uploading on to Strava!! So we stopped to try to plug her watch in to her charging pebble… I contemplated burying her in a bog or sand at this point, but you know what I probably would had been the same. The end of the beach we were met with a camera man, so we all smiles for some photos, and ran up the hill to the road, we had past our hotel and knew we were on our way home. Everyone’s spirts lifted and we headed on down the tar. Claire ran off ahead to go and have a pee, and we started to meet people who had finished and heading back to their hotels houses etc, you would think this would be rather depressing, knowing you still have 5 miles to go, but every person that passed up cheered us on, told us how amazing we were and how well we were doing. The doctor even past us on his bike telling us it wasn’t far to go!!

We finally hit Prosecco bay!! We headed down onto the last sandy beach and could see the finish in site. At this point it was now Claire’s point to hit a wall. She started to tell us to go on without her, and to leave her!! There was no way that was happening, so we walked ran the last beach, we climbed the last hill back onto the road and the finish was in front of us. We grab each others hands and we ran along the grass and through the finish, where David and Daisy were waiting for us. We had been running for 8hours50min, it was so overwhelming, I just started to cry, I couldnt believe what we had achieved, our first ever ultra, and we were not last either. The best thing about the finish even though people had finished some 4 hours before us they were all still there cheering us home.

Daddy David mode kicked in as soon as we had finished, I have never been so glad of someone helping me take off my shoes, and socks and helping me put new ones on. He instructed us all to get out of our clothes and get dry clothes on, to get our clean trainers on, and to stretch !! Am not going to lie, and I know choc is reading this, but am not the best at stretching, but I was on my back on the ground with my band stretching, I needed to be able to walk the next day!! I mean we had just run 35 miles!! David sorted us all out, taking our shoes apart and helping us sort our shit!! After we had finished we then headed for fuel, where we ate a pizza and drank a can of cider!! I couldn’t believe it was all over!

After we had eaten we headed back to the hotel to get showered and changed for the ceildh at night!! I know what you thinking what idiot goes to a dance after running 35 miles. To be honest there was no way of getting off the island after the race so we were all there for another night, so why not get together and dance, and drink. So we did we drank prosecco, and danced strip the willow! I was tired am not going to lie, but we met some amazing people some from as far afield as California, USA! We ate more pizza and drank some more before we headed back to the hotel to sleep, I defo slept like a baby!!

The next morning we woke up and it was miserable, it was proper Western Isles weather. I couldnt believe the comparison to the day before, when it had been sunny and so still!! Today the waves were white and the rain was horizontal. We all looked at each other as we ate a massive breakfast and though Oh MY GOD how much would have yesterday sucked if it had been like this!! We payed our bill and headed for the boat with the majority of the rest of the runners from the day before.

The journey home was so much fun, the boat was full of people who had just run 35 miles, for some like us it was their first Ultra for others it was there 30th ultra but it didn’t matter, everyone respected each other as much as the next. We sat and spoke to people from Aberdeenshire, to USA, to Canada. I have never had the pleasure of meeting such lovely people. The atmosphere from the weekend was amazing, everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I will never forget how encouraging everyone was.
Before we had even left Tiree, Pamela and I had decided on our next ultra, we wanted to do GO33, however this was already full, with no waiting list, but that didn’t stop us, as soon as the waiting list opened we had our names on it, and now we are a week away from our second ultra.
I can safely say I have some friends for life Team Rosie you Rock!! David, Daisy, Pamela, Claire and me obviously!!!
From 19stone, to 5k to 35 miles is some journey!! I think this is a point where I should say some thanks! A missive thanks to Choc, for her guidance and support she has kept me right throughout my training! A big thanks to Jeni, David and all the Insch Train runners, who have supported me and guided me sharing their knowledge. To Zandra, Claire, Carly, Jan, Pamela, and Jennie for all their support, and encouragement and company on my long and short runs. Finally to my husband for understanding my desire to never be at home, but to be out running in some random hills, for getting up at 5am to go run up and down hills, and for running me all over the country side!
See you all soon!!

PS am totes excited to have also have a space at London Marathon 2017 is going to rock!!

The Speyside Way


So we are now into taper for Tiree Ultra, for some ultra-runners this isn’t even a real ultra because its only 35 miles…Well I what I want to say to those people is a big raspberry, with spray and everything!!!

3 weekend ago was our last long run, 6 hours of walk/run my aim was to walk the hill and run the flat, and I even managed to convince my running chum Claire to join me. Let me explain why I say convinced, the last time they (Pamela and Claire) let me plan a 20 mile run along the Speyside way, I told them it was mostly downhill, and there was a slight incline for the first 4 miles. This took palce back in May, and after about 2 miles of climbing we met what I can only describe as an eccentric old man, you know the ones who dress like the lord of the manner and speak properly. We asked him if we were heading the right direction, and he told us yes that we just had to head over the “mountain”, the Mountain being Ben Aigan a 471meter high hill near Craigellachie a village near the North East of Scotland. So now you can understand why I write the word convince.

You would think that Claire would have learnt her lesson but no, so 7am we set of from Insch to head to Grantown-on-Spey, via Craigellachie with two cars. the plan to leave one at Craigellachie and the other at Grantown, it would involve driving back to collect the second car, but it sounded much nicer than running for 3 hours in one direction turning and running back. I hate out and backs, well long out and backs anyway. I am okay if there is a purpose, you know like am off to find a hill to do hill reps and run back? Anyway back to this adventure. So we set off late…no surprise when Claire is involved (you know am joking love you). I can actually hear Pamela scoffing at me right now telling me I am always early and far to organised. The first 5 miles were great, it was a mixture of wooded paths and old railway line. We go very excited when we came across an cute little bridge, taking a range of photos. At this point Claire went into Mummy mode and told me not to climb on the wall, which of course I totally ignored, went into child mode and ended up falling. Note to self, listen to Mummy Claire. So yes were was I… After 5 miles we crossed the A95-and headed up hill. This was my favourite bit I love a nice hill, it was slippy under foot, like mossy, and a bit muddy. Claire on the other hand hates hills, never the less we carried on up to the top and down the other side. At this point I thought we would head back down to the river and cross the road. I knew there was two small climbs on this route (I know right are you hearing a Déjà vu?) so I thought that once we got to the bottom of the hill then we would be fine, but I was so wrong, you know when you look at a description of a walk or run I highly recommended reading it properly. We spent the next 4 miles on sheep tracks, ankle breaking sheep tracks, with lots of sheep gates, sheep poop and sheep. BAHHH!! I think it’s possible the hardest surface I have ever run on (this may change after Tiree). Not only was it grass, but it was so uneven, and long grass too. We eventually reached a path made of large stones through the grass, which reached another forestry track. Claire was so funny when we got to theses stones she explained to me how stupid the person who originally mapped the Speyside way may must have been, I mean why would you make it so twisty. I don’t think Claire would mind me sharing that she was struggling at this point, but we kept going and we came across the first sign of humanity we had in around 9 miles. A group of 4 or 5 holiday makers walking from Ballindalloch to Grantown. The kindly told us we were only 3 miles or so form the village of Ballindalloch. At this point Claire was really hating the hill climbs and grass tracks, so she wasn’t overly impressed when we came across what can only be described as a sheer cliff face climb (I am being very very dramatic). I actually took off in front of her, and though as I scrambled up on my hands and knees (almost true) she’s actually going to kill me at the top of here. I could feel the piercing hot gaze on my back, and almost pooped my pants when I turned round to see her carrying a massive stick. I thought she might beat me with it, so as she approached I started out running again, and thankfully she dropped the stick, no one was going to be burred in theses woods today.

So finally we headed back down towards the river, I think at this point I should tell everyone that the Speyside way dose not actually follow the river Spey. Well it dose but not as you would think, you would think that it would run along the river banks, this is not really the case for more than half of it. Anyway back to my story, I know you all enjoying reading this. The decent was hard going, it was uneven, and had lots of loose rocks, we ran alongside the A95 in what I think we can say was bushes until we crossed back over again and headed down. We were at 13 miles at this point, now it was my turn to start to struggle. I was experimenting with food, and had wanted to try and not eat until 15miles, this was a massive mistake and I was starting to fade. Not only that but my foot was starting to get sore, I thought my shoes laces were tied to tight so we faffed around for a bit trying to sort that. Now anyone who knows me know I don’t moan a lot, buy oh my god when I do I sure do moan (am I right Pamela and Claire?). When I thought that things couldn’t get any worse, we hit the old railway line, long flat grass track, it was my worst nightmare. Claire on the other hand had found her second wind and was off. We reached Ballindalloch and found the sing post to Aberlour, 10 miles, okay let me put this in a more realistic way, TEN MILES!!! I was not a happy bunny and could not manage another 15 miles, but we sucked it up and headed off along the old railway line again ( I want to just say I do, and always have hated running along old railways lines, they are far to flat, so yes it’s not uphill, but you have to remember that what goes up goes down, so I like up and downs, I mean you not freewheeling downhill but it does use different muscles). This I think was the worst part for me and I have never ever been so glad to have had Claire with me. There were no sign posted so we had no idea how far we had gone, and the yellow wind warning was upon us with bits of trees flying around. After what felt like 9 miles we realised we had only done 3, never the less Claire dragged me the next few miles. We hardly spoke, it was mind over matter, we were at 24 miles now, this is 4 miles longer than Claire had ever ran, and it had been months since I had run this far. Claire was doing so much better than me, she was still speaking and even sites seeing, much to my disgust when she shouted at me to look because she found a deer. At which point I came to a shuddering halt and my legs that I had been concentrating so hard on keeping going round, seized up.. Anyone who runs long distance can relate to this feeling, but to those who don’t, it’s like your legs lock, they become very heavy, and it’s like hand cranking a car to start again. Never mind off we went, I said to Claire how much I wished my car was at Aberlour not Craigellachie. Thank goodness when we eventually got to Aberlour it was only another 2.7miles to the car. I had already promised myself that we would walk the last bit, as I had nothing to prove by running, Claire even tried to bribe me with an ice cream, but actually when we got to Aberlour I found my second wind. That had been the hardest 12 miles I had ever ran, but we were now on the home straight, and so we had a drink and snack took some selfies and carried on finishing the 27 miles in 5hours 56 mins. This was a massive achievement, for us both. Best thing about this run was we now had a massive picnic to eat, we hardly spoke as we shovelled calories back into our bodies, and slowly, the realisation of what we had actually just completed sank in. We had just run a marathon on hard going trail.

You know what I have learned from our adventures, is that I am very very lucky to have such amazing running buddies and be part of an amazing running club. If we can get through this, we can get through anything.

I know you’re thinking that was 3 weeks ago what are you doing now, well we Pamela and I are heading to the beach this weekend for 8 miles, and only 7 more sleeps till the big ULTRA!! Eeeek!!

Be Inspired

Has anyone ever told you that you would be so much prettier if you lost some weight? That if you were 2 stone lighter you would have a lovely boyfriend? I have, and it is absolute nonsense!! But, do YOU know what IS true?, if your 6.5 stone lighter life is SOOOO much better…


My friends and family keep telling me that I am inspirational, but to be inspirational you must first be inspired. My inspiration came from Hannah James, one of my riding chums, who told me is if she can do it anyone can, and Choc Harris (my personal Trainer) who royally kicked my backside in 2014. So I thought I would start a blog, if anyone wants to read my story they can, if not, they don’t have to!
In 2012 I weighed 18.9 stone ( this is the heaviest I will admit to), I know what your thinking…my poor bloody horses having to carry my fat derriere around, now your friends tell you, your not fat (this is also complete waffle, I was massive, I couldn’t sit in a aeroplane seat with the table down, it was embarrassing, I know they are only trying to help me feel good about myself but actually the truth is sometimes better (within reason), like there is no way I am telling my work colleagues that they need bigger uniforms and I am fed up of seeing their nipples every day, these are the kind of comments that should come from FRIENDS because let’s face it if they are your real friends then they will, okay first of all you might be offended by their comments, but you soon realise that they are right). So what was my point here, oh yes, I wanted to loose weight, I had a new job that meant I was now working sociable hours, being a nurse and working 12 hours shift are exhausting, yes, yes we get more days off but really you try being a nurse in a busy ward working full time, it’s not only physically demanding but it’s mentally draining as well. Back to my point, I also had a new man in my life, he seemed to like me for me, all 18 stone of me, and this gave me confidence, so who knew that feeling confident would help me to be motivated to do something good for me? This is around the same time when I met Pamela, the BOSS, my friend Shona had just started running, now Shona was nowhere near as big as me, however I thought if she can do it so can I, so off I went and started couch to 5k (this is a free NHS Choice app that helps you run 5K, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get to 5k using this app I didn’t), the BOSS has also recently started running again, and both the Boss, Karen, Shona and myself entered a 5k. If my mind serves me right the running program started with 30 sec running and a minute of walking, sounds easy enough, well all I am going to say is it WAS NOT!, I was massively over weight had stupid shoes, and being a size 22 couldn’t find a sports bra, or even sport wear to fit me, at this point. So you can only be sporty if you’re skinny!! This makes no sense to me, I read all these articles that say don’t let not having the right gear put you off going to the gym or running, well sorry but my 44DD boobs were not enjoying the ride! Anyway I persevered and once I was committed I went to a sports shop to get myself some “proper” running shoes, and I have never been treated so badly in my life, they didn’t take me seriously, and they didn’t fit my shoes right, imagine a young over weight lady looking for some help and honestly I felt like they couldn’t give a monkeys, I do however recommend Scarlet at Out Run in Fochabers – a village in Moray) . So anyway stay with me I managed to get my gear together and I completed couch to 5k with the Boss we completed our first 5k in a time of 38mins, and the rest is really history, we plodded along completed another 5k, and at the end of 2013 I met Choc. Now running is hard to start off with but it does get easier and OMG its sooo rewarding, that amazing feeling you get when you run up onto Bennachie (a 528m hill near my home) and you think “I CAN DO THIS”.
I have Alison to thank for meeting Choc, we met via the horses and on a hack one day, I moaned about not losing weight even with a personal trainer and had given up and stopped wasting my money, I just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I hated using my local gym, this is when Choc told me she had just finished her PT course and was taking on clients. Choc set me a plan, guided me on my nutrition and off I went, I didn’t really lose much weight to start with, basically because I didn’t really change my eating style, yes I worked out more but I also ate alot of starchy carbs. The first year I was with Choc I lost 3kgs (almost half a stone), at the end of the year I went on holiday to Mexico and came back almost 2 stone heavier (well it felt like that), this was a reality check, I came back determined (and engaged), however I continued to put on weight and in February 2014 I was back above the weight I had been on return from holiday 112kg (that is 17 & a half stone to old money peeps). I was so upset, I wasn’t losing weight, I even went to my GP and asked for help, we sat and spoke for ages about the fact that it’s easy losing weight – less in more out, eat good fats blah blah. That left me feeling frustrated, how dare he not give me a magic pill?, I mean, seriously??…well this is when Choc gave me a MASSIVE kick up the rear, she told me that if I wasn’t going to listen to her, she wasn’t going to waste her time nor mine by continuing to coach me. (I’m guessing that she knew I wasn’t following the nutritional guidance that she had suggested).
At this point I had two options,
1 – put my middle finger up and continue being the kinda happy over weight girl
2 – pull my finger out and sort my shit self out!
So what did I do?….
I pulled my finger out, that’s what I did, I started using my fitness pal, now I ‘couldn’t’ diet (this is a mental thing) I just had to change the amount of what I ate and find alternatives to the high starchy carbs, and processed meals (this was my biggest down fall) oh and the full fat sugary drinks!!

My fitness became like my religion, I followed every single things that Choc set out for me, not more & no less, I made sure that I put 110% into it, now I’m not going to sit here and say it was easy, feck no way, this was one of the hardest undertakings I had ever done in my life, but it was time for a change, and I had someone to focus me, I had also found a new love in my life… running, so I entered some races, we set ourselves some goals. Even when Choc became unwell in the summer of 2015 she still let me visit her and use her treadmill, I weighed myself every week, and kept her up to date, and even very ill in hospital she still supported me.

 

By the end of 2015 I weight 83kgs (13 stone), that’s 30kgs (4st 7lbs) in a year. I know right, your thinking that’s impressive… even I thought this was impressive!!
I had lost a total of 20 inches/ 50.5cms
– 10” waist & hips, 2” upper arm & 8” chest – this is actually quite upsetting, I used to have boobs!

 

The key was seeing the scales and the measurements, the more I lost the more motivated I became, and I love the sense of achievement. I know I annoy alot of people with my social media post but it helps to make me feel accountable for what I was doing, and allows me to have a massive support network. People kept telling me how good I looked, I went from a size 22 clothes to a size 14, I love the feeling, I loved the fact that I could go shopping in normal shops, which is something I had never been able to do before, I used to dread going shopping, and now, I think I am even starting to love shopping.

 

I have taken 10 mins off my 5k & over 20 minutes of my 10k PB, I have run half marathons, and even a marathon!!.
Not only did losing the weight keep make me a happier more energetic person, it also improved my horse riding AND, because of my running I have met some amazing people, and made some amazing new friends, all of whom are so supportive and encouraging. I love my Insch Trail Runners. I and sometimes look back and wondering where I would be now if I hadn’t met Choc, I know deep down without her encouragement and dedication to my “cause” I wouldn’t be where I am today, and would most definitely still be on the sofa eating crips.

 
So what’s next…..
At the moment I am training for an Ultra run, with THE BOSS, Claire and David. Non runners reading this will ask ‘what’s an ultra?’, well this one is 35miles around the island of Tiree (Island on the Inner Hebrides of Scotland), no I’m not crazy (well actually I probably, slightly am and have no problem with this at all), I am in love with the hills and the country I live in, the achievement you get from dragging you sorry butt out of bed a 4.30am to go and do hill reps, yes it’s early, yes it’s tiring but it’s so rewarding.
Now you have read my story, I hope I will manage to keep blogging and let everyone read my story, laugh, cry and celebrate with me! My biggest hope from this, is that people realise that if they want to change their life, they just need to get up and do it, don’t look for an excuse, If you want to start running and don’t want to do couch to 5k yourself, Google for a jogging group near you (jog Scotland) and find a local supportive running group (Jog Scotland is only £1 a run and always promises good banter). I used to run alone and would never run with anyone else with the exception of The Boss or Shona, I think I was embarrassed that I might be too slow, or worried I would hold people back, actually now I have such an amazing bunch of running chums, I love running with other people, and achieving new things together.
Chow for now!! Here is a before and after photo for you!!

.