Sunday 31 August 2008

Paisley 10K

Today I dragged my chubby body and tired legs round the Paisley 10K. Bagging two Munros the day before isn't ideal preparation for a race, but hey, who's taking it seriously? Actually my legs probably weren't as achy as they should be.

You know you're in Paisley when you get to race registration and two of the runners are outside smoking. Now that's a challenge! To them, anything less would be cheating.

It was nice to start a race feeling so relaxed. I perched up near the back of the pack, as I thought it would be best to overtake rather than be trodden on. My legs were a little stiff for the first few kilometres, but at least I didn't walk - like some did. Once I'd loosened up my muscles I would good to go. The only thing that holds me back is my oxygen supply.

It was a pretty muggy day, so I felt quite dehydrated. Especially considering I didn't drink anything prior to the race - I was determined to get round without stopping :-) So as we rounded the corner at 4K, the marshall directed us along the left side of road - when the water station was on the right!? There was a wee guy dodging the traffic and running across with cups of water. Call me old fashioned, but wouldn't it have made more sense to carry the water table over the road? So I missed the water stop. And when I got to the station at 7K, there a queue for a serve-yourself water canister. I ran through that one too. That aside, it was a great race. Fabulous new course, which takes out the misery of the steep hill at 9K. It was well organised and well marshalled and there were pipers or drummers at every kilometre mark.

I felt really good the whole way round. And I really felt I ran well, considering. Steady and comfortable. I finished in 54.34, which I was really pleased with. Six months ago I would have probably thrown myself off a bridge, but I won't be comparing times for a while. Now it's just about staying fit and healthy and participating in the joy of races. Plus, I can't let Sonic catch up medals. I'll be back next year to better it. Well, hopefully :-)

Spilts: 9.10, 9.07, 9.15, 9.17, 8.55, 8.42

After twisting Sonic's arm to sign-up, he put in a sterling effort and finished in 29th position with 36:43. A few minutes of his PB, but much better than he expected.

Saturday 30 August 2008

My 100th Munro

I finally hit the magic 100. I started Munro bagging in May 2005 with a leisurely jaunt up Ben Lomond. Having completed two marathons and various 10Ks and half-marathons, I thought hillwalking would be a breeze. Pah! I could barely walk for four days. Walking downstairs was virtually impossible. Thankfully three years on, my legs are a little more hill savvy.

Today, I bagged the other two Munros on Black Mount - Stob Ghabhar an Stob a Choire Odhair.

On the Aonach Eagach ridge. Probably just as well that we couldn't see the drops below.

A little misty?

100 down. Only 184 to go %-)

Friday 29 August 2008

Let the holiday begin

Last night I went up to Garscube training. I ran with Kas, who is the first person I've ran with since I found out I was preggers. I suppose I've just felt more comfortable doing my own thing of late. I can stop for a breather, walk, take it easy or jump behind bush if I like. Considering Kas was my final support runner in the final stage of the WHW, she's seen me in a MUCH worse state. The 5.91 mile route (top gate, anniesland, southbrae, danes, anniesland road, home)took us 56.28. Average 9.33 m/m. I felt pretty good, but the hills are really starting to take their toll. And I bowed out of joining Kas on her sprint finish.

I went to the gym before work this morning for my usual cross-training and swim. I'm quite motivated, so getting up early is never really a problem for me. Just don't ask me to stay up past 10pm. The main challenge is the morning is getting Sonic out of bed to come with me. When I wake him at 5.50am, he rolls about squealing like a lobster in boiling water for about five minutes. Today, I took the cruel option in a vain attempt to speed up the process and pulled the covers off him. With a swinging arm tried to grab the disappearing sheet...and whacked himself in the goolies. You can't buy that kind of entertainment :-)

I've finished up at work for two whole weeks. Woohoo! We're off to Vietnam on Tuesday for a spot of sightseeing and wee bit of trekking. Can't wait. I'm starting to feel a little worn out, so I'm actually looking forward to the 15-hour flight.

Thursday 28 August 2008

The best baby card EVER!

Over the past couple of months we have received lots of beautiful cards from family and friends, but my buddy Anita went over and above her usual creative genius to send her congratulations. Anyone who knows Anita, knows she doesn't do thing by halves. We had a club karaoke a couple of years ago, and she came dressed as Kylie. Always one to entertain, you'll find her singing and dancing on the stages of Glasgow. But yesterday, she put the biggest smile on our faces when this dropped through the letterbox.

Double click on the image to see full effect.

In the pic: Paul, Sharon, Anita, Kas, Sara and Jill

Pull the tab and the blogs scroll down!

Complete with bump

Baby in Garscube Harriers kit

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Midweek mayhem

I had a bit of a nippy head last night, so called off my planned four-mile run. Instead I had my spaghetti hoops (yep, still on them) and went to bed at 8.30pm. Unfortunately that meant I was awake at 3.30 this morning. I lay listening to the torrential rain batter off the window until it was time to go to the gym. I was quite organised last night and left my gym gear next to the bed, ready to 'jump' into. I wasn't sensible enough not to leave them under the open window though. Doh!

So 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then off for a cooling swim. I did 40 lengths of breast stroke and then 10 in front crawl. I swear I haven't done front crawl since I left school. Being raised in Dubai, swimming was a big thing at my school. Mind you, so was x-country (or x-desert). Both of which I rejected until well into my adulthood. All went well and I didn't drown. I did however gulp a bit too much water and let out a accidental belch, which seemed to echo round the pool area. Die. I couldn't even pretend it wasn't me, as everyone within earshot (and it was a massive burp) turned to look at me. There are not many places to hide your shame when your only option is airless. I'm sure you could have heard hissing when my red face hit the water.

I went out for a fabulous four-mile run when I got home. I felt the best I have done in ages. It was a lovely fresh evening with a cool breeze. I just did my usual route round Balloch. Average pace was 8.59 m/m.

I've got a hospital appointment on Friday, so I blew the dust off my pregnancy week-by-week book for some last minute swotting. I nearly keeled over in fits when I read this bit: "don't bother with expensive maternity wear. Just wear some leggings and borrow your partner's T-shirts". WTF? Who could suggest such a cardinal sin. My thoughts are: as my normal clothes get tighter, I go shopping. Pregnancy is to be enjoyed. And fretting and mopping about about what to wear would be unbearable. Well, that's my excuse for my additional purchases to my new collection.

Sunday 24 August 2008

Another two Munros

Nine of us (and Merry, the dog) headed out on a rainy Sunday morning to bag the two Munros on Black Mount - Meall a Bhuiridh and Creise.

The initial ascent was tough. Very steep grassy slopes with lots of loose rocks. We later discovered that Sonic (who was in charge of navigation) took us on the reverse circuit route to "make it a longer day". There was almost a queue to push him off. Mind you, once we were up the ridge was pretty straight forward and the route down to the ski tracks into Glencoe made the descent a doodle.

The pictures are quite deceptive, as I only took my camera out when there was a break in a rain.

If you want rainbows, you've got to put up with the rain - or so Dolly Parton would say.

No Sonic hadn't fallen in the river. It really was that wet.

The Crazy German

Saturday 23 August 2008

Groundhog Day.

Just an easy seven for me. Just for a change :-% Today I thought I'd go a bit crazy and stop my watch after a one mile warm-up and then time the six-miles. I've signed up for a couple of 10Ks over the next six weeks and I'm slightly worried that I might not break the one hour mark. Shallow, I know, but even my first ever 10K was 57 minutes. The result was I did the six miles in 54 minutes, at a relatively easy pace. So fingers crossed I'm not last. At least I'll get a PB. A Pregnancy Best that is. And boy could I do with some new (one-size-fits-no-one) race t-shirts.

Thursday 21 August 2008

The power of ten

I actually ran 10 whole miles tonight. And a very hilly 10 miles at that. Who would have thought I'd be chuffed at running 10 miles?

It was a glorious night - fresh and sunny - and the views were amazing. It's my favourite route (over to milngavie, through the back roads to Langbank), so when it was on the cards for the Garscube training night, I knew I had to give it a bash. I left a little early to allow myself plenty of time. The steep hills were a bit of a struggle, but I followed JK's WHW race plan and ran up 20 breaths and then walked for 20 seconds before carrying on and repeating. I really enjoyed the run. And the country roads made for easy "comfort breaks". Double bonus.

I got back well before the others. Only to discover it was only the fast guys who took the longer option. The rest coped out with a shorter six-miler. I was glad to see the guys were completely goosed and panting about it being a tough course. I'm sure there exertion levels were much higher than mine. And they did finish 30 minutes faster than me. But hey, it's all relative...?

Average pace 10:11

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Full-on day

I got up at 5.45am to go to the gym before work. Despite Sonic's promises to join me on my early morning workouts, there was just no shifting him. I'm not going to bore with the gym schedules, because quite frankly I'm boring myself. I just need to tell you one humorous tale: I'm quite scatterbrained at times. And especially more in recent times. But the there was a girl at the girl who took it to a new level. Whilst I was on the elliptical trainer, so was frantically pedaling away on the bike in front. When she had finished her session she quite admirably went away to get some paper towels and disinfectant spray to clean down the bike she was using. So she came back and spent a few minutes thoroughly wiping down the to the one she was using. I nearly fell off the machine laughing :-)

I had to get to work early, as I had a meeting out at Park Circus. I decided to leave my car in the carpark and walk out. It was raining, but I didn't think it was that bad. I call it falling-down-rain. I know all rain falls down, but I mean it's the kind of rain that doesn't attack you from all angles. Anyway, it wasn't my wisest decision, as I got pretty drenched - on the way out and again on the way back.

At lunchtime I dragged Sonic round the shops looking for new gear for our holiday. Not too much damaged caused, as I only came back with a pair of jeans. Shopping is quiet hard just now, as I don't want to buy anything that's only going to fit me for five minutes. I find it a bit depressing, as I never had to worry covering and hiding bits. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving my little bump. But I hate the boobs. And everything else is a little more padded than usual.

After work I went a four-mile run before the running club committee meeting. I chose quite a hilly route (Top gate, maxwell, canniesburn, switchback) so my average was even slower than normal - 9.35m/m. It was a really nice fresh night, so it was quite enjoyable.

So after a nice, uneventful, but drawn out committee meeting (need to be careful who reads this!), I was home for 10.30. Needless to say, I was pretty zonked.

Monday 18 August 2008

Back to the grindstone

Nothing much to report. Just went to the gym at lunchtime and then for a five mile run after work. Sonic went to meet the troops for a fartlek session and I went off and did my own thing. Just me, myself and my ipod. Really need to get some new tunes for running. Right now I've got a choice between dance stuff (which I previously used for speed and tempo runs) and utter rubbish.

Sunday 17 August 2008

Marathon day

We got up early to watch the Olympic Marathon this morning. Even though we taped it, because of the time difference, I wanted to watch if before someone killed the surprise. During the 2004 Olympics, I had taped the marathon and went out for the day - with a view to watching it when I got back. Of course I received numerous texts along the lines of "at least we can finish a marathon" or "poor Paula". This time the phones were ignored until the finishing line.

It was a strange battle to view. Constantina Tomescu was the only one brave enough to go for the gold. The rest were like a pack of wolves. They all wanted it, but no one was going to stick their next out an go for it..until the last couple of miles. And then it was a close battle for the top 10 positions. Paula put in a very brave performance - just to finish in 23rd place. I'm glad the Japanese gal, Reiko Tosa, pulled out. It was torture watching her struggle. Click here for full results.

I didn't really fancy a run today. My heart wasn't in it. Instead I took my niece and nephew to a local fete for some face painting, cake eating and bouncy castle-ing.

However, I did cyle round with Sonic on his 13-mile run. I'm sure he choose the hilly option in a vain attempt to shake me off :-)

Saturday 16 August 2008

Hitting the hills

Traded in the trainers for the boots today. Even though the forecast was for rain and more rain, I was still adamant I wanted to hit the hills.

Sonic and I were joined by Athole, David (Athole's pal) and Ben. We met them at Bridge of Orchy, as we were planning on doing Beinn Achaladair (1038 metres) and Beinn a Chreachain (1081 metres). Two new Munros for me.

When we first met David, he seemed quite impressed that we had ran the WHW race. Later we discovered that we were totally humbled by his achievements. He's this year's Scottish Teacher of the Year and going up against two others for the UK Teacher of the Year. Not only that, he organises teachers lectures, school trips, climbing clubs, school plays...and he sings, plays piano, tap dances and does ballet. I felt pretty pretty deflated about my mere ability to put one foot in front of the other %-)

Thankfully the weather forecast was slightly out. It was quite dull and windy, but we never had a drop of rain. The cool conditions were a welcome relief, as on previous trips I found I overheat quite quickly. And subsequently wilt. Considering I was out with four boys, the pace was quite steady. I'm sure they would have been up there like a rat up a pipe, if it wasn't for me though. Mind you, we finished the circuit well before the 6.5/8.5 hour time allowance recommendation, so I couldn't have been that slow.

So that's me on 96 Munros now. I really want to get to 100 before I get too fat. Then I've only got the small matter of the other 184. Sonic's done 242 (he started when he was 16!) so I've got a bit of catching up to do.

Friday 15 August 2008

Gym and swim

Managed to convince (some may call it guilt-trip) Sonic into going to the gym with me before work. I really enjoy the gym on a Friday morning, as it's really quiet. The aforementioned good intentions are usually quashed by Friday. I went on the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes and then went for a swim.

I'm finding it quite funny how your body and tastes adapt to different things when you're preggers. Previously you wouldn't have got me anywhere near a swimming pool and now I really enjoy. Which is good, as they say swimming is the best form of exercises - especially in the latter stage. Also, my day couldn't have started with a cup of coffee, whereas I'm completely off the lovely black stuff just now.

Thursday 14 August 2008

A bit more bendy

I went to my yoga class at lunchtime. Even if I do say so myself, I'm getting better. I suppose I should be, as I've been going to the class since last December. Or maybe it's the relaxin that's making me more supple. Either way, bending and twisting doesn't seem as strained as it used to. When I first joined the class, I could barely touch my knees let alone my toes. The main benefit is that it has sorted out the reoccuring adductor - I think common people call it groin strain :-) and hip injuries that I had.

Whe I got home I went for a 4.5mile run, which I really enjoyed. Average pace 9:18. I don't know how I managed it, but the average pace for all my runs over the past week or so has been 9.18. Spooky.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

The things I do for spaghetti hoops

I was pretty knackered last night, so I went to bed at 9.30pm. The flip side was that I woke up at 4am. I tried to get back to sleep, but gave in after an hour or so and decided to go the gym. Not before I threw Sonic out the door into the pouring rain to do his tempo run. I know, I'm a witch. The advantage of being early was that I didn't have to rush about getting everything in before work, so I had a 30-minute session on elliptical trainer - watching GMTV. Fascinating stuff. I know all the top news stories before I even get to work. Then I spent 30 minutes in the pool. It's great in the morning, as I pratically have the place to myself. Unlike last Monday night when I nearly drowned with the waves. Mind you, I'm sure Monday's are busier than most nights. Everyone's full of great intentions at the start of the week.

After the early rise, I was starting to wilt by mid-morning. I didn't help that I had to make a 150 mile round trip to a meeting on the east-coast. I have noticed over the last few months my tolerance levels have got even lower - if that was possible. Maybe it was the heat, or the tiredness or the traffic-jams, but I seem to have a bit more of the rage of road of late.

By the time I got back to the office and rushed about getting stuff together for tomorrow's paper, I was like a Gremlin by the end of the day. Didn't stop me going on a seven-mile run though. I know, I'm a martyr. Even in the current condition, I still feel really guilty when I don't get my run in. Needless to say, it wasn't my finest performance. I had to take a few walking breaks, but hey ho, it's about maintaining fitness, not speed. My only incentive was to get back in time before the supermarket closed. I needed my spaghetti hoop fix :-) I don't think I'm embracing this pregnancy properly. All I seem to eat is All-Bran, cottage cheese, wholemeal bread, pasta and tinned spaghetti. Not complaining though. I'm sure by Christmas, I'll be demolishing a selection box or two.

Race pictures

Click here for Devil o' The Highlands pictures

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Four's a chore

I was full of great intentions today, but I only managed a four-mile run after work. And that was only because Sonic dropped me off four-miles from the house. I remember the days when I wouldn't have bothered dirtying a pair of socks for four miles. Mind you, I also remember the days when I didn't breath like I'd lost a lung. Anyway, after the initial humming and hawing and will I/won't I, I had a fabulous run. There was a nice drizzle, so I dint' overheat. And I managed the whole four-miles without a nature call. Now that's an accomplishment!

Monday 11 August 2008

Feeling the pinch

OK, who shrunk my clothes? It's week 17 and I'm starting to feel the snugness. I don't quite have a bump, just an all over expansion. My Sis (and mother of two) laughed when I showed her my bump yesterday. She eloquently said that it looks like I "need a good fart". Of course, my husband has been a tower of strength. Supporting me with his usual reem of Marco-isms. When I was moaning about my general growth he told me in was all in my head. Closely followed by "I know when you look in the mirror you see a big fat heifer...". Actually I don't. But NOW I DO. It's a good job I'm thick-skinned.

I'm not brave enough to stand on the scales, so I wimped out with a measuring tape instead. I've put 3.5" on my chest, which sounds quite impressive until I tell you what it was in the first place. I'm still way short of the national average. My waist is now 27.5", which is just a few fish suppers worth really.

I didn't go for run today. Just the gym after work. 30 mins on the elliptical trainer and then a 30 minute swim. It's probably one of the few times I've been to the gym in evening, and now I remember why I avoid it. What a nightmare. I can't believe people actually queue for a walk...when it's dry and sunny outside. Madness.

We went to a BBQ tonight. Dermot (from running club) and his wife were having a wee al fresco soiree. There's only one thing better than a good barbie. And that's a barbie when you're preggers. Sheer bliss. And there was lots of running chat too. Even better.

Sunday 10 August 2008

Hangover free for me. How novel.

This hangover free Sunday malarky is getting to be quite a habit. Who would have thought I'd wake up bright as a button after a wedding? The same couldn't be said for Sonic though. After working his way through copious amounts of beer, wine AND whisky, it was him that wanted to vacate the party early. I'm not convinced he didn't use me as an excuse though. So after he bounced out of the venue, passed out in the car, threatened to throw up and then crawled up the stairs to bed, he wasn't full of the joys of summer when I got up for my run at 7am.

I just went round my usual 7-mile route through Dumbarton. I was a great morning for a run. Fresh and drizzly, just the way I like it. I felt great, so 9m/m seems really easy. Although I've been very lucky with my general well-being during pregnancy, the toilet stops are getting beyond a joke. I had to stop TWICE. And I didn't even drink anything before I left for my run. I'm going to get an ASBO (or an anti social behaviour order - for my overseas readers) soon. Mind you, where we live an ASBO is probably a recognised qualification. ;-)

My plan was to run round my route and then cycle with Sonic on his 12-mile tempo. I'm sure that was Sonic's plan his head. He'd just forgotten to tell his legs. When I got home, he'd got as far as eating breakfast and had retired to the sofa to watch archery at the Olympics. I mean, who actually watches archery on TV? Apparently it's quite gripping.

Saturday 9 August 2008

An eventful day

Well, today is our first wedding anniversary. To kick off the romance, we exchanged gifts. I bought Sonic a pair of I-nov8 Mudrocs and an Icebreaker top. Ahhh the romance. And he got me a pair of MBTs (which I will discuss at a later point)and a huge bunch of lillies. I forgot to mention that we were exchanging gifts at 4am, as we were going to cheer on out buddies who were running the Devil O' the Highlands. We could only go as far as Kingshouse though, as we had to go to someone else's wedding %-) How's that for a first anniversary? I was only slightly miffed that Marco's mate chose today to get married.

The conditions for the race seemed great for running - cool and wet - but horrible for spectating. Although the moisture would have made the rocky descents trickier to maneuver. But I would have rather tackled that than the wrestling we had to endure with the pesky midges.

It was great to catch up with some of the WHW folks - Thomas, Silke, Davie, Brian, Ian, Allybea, George and Dario. And my live wire bessie mate, Sharon, was out for her debut ultra marathon. Sharon's has come on leaps and bounds over the past two years and she's trained like a crazy woman, so I held high hopes for her performance. Actually before the race I told her I expected at least a second place position. In true Sharon-style she went that little bit further and WON the race in an amazing time of 7:12. I'm so unbelievably proud of her. I think she'll be signing up for the WHWR next year. Actually Sharon and I always joke that we have to do everything together. When Sonic previously quizzed me on my future baby thoughts, I told him I'd check with Sharon. She must be looking at my expanding waistline with fear!

There were some amazing time for the boys too. The top five broke the race record. Jez Bragg was first home in an awe-inspiring time of 5.22. I actually met Jez before the race. I did know whether to shake his hand or curtsy :-) There were some other fabulous times from Thomas (6.34), Davie (7.02), Brian (7.28), Gail (7.31), George (7.34), Aileen (8.18) and Dario (10.45). Congratulations to everyone! Particularly to those who completed the unoffical treble. My aim is to get my fat-ass in shape for next year's race. Six months should be ok, shouldn't it?

I've got some pix from the race, which I will post when I get round to it.

click here for more information on the Devil o' the highlands and race results. I think I'll need to start a petition to remove the sound effects from the site. Everytime I open it in the office, everyone looks to see who's been shot.

Friday 8 August 2008


There's a new buzz word in town: Pregorexia.

My lovely employer printed a whole feature on the subject, which prompted all my colleagues to point their fingers at me. Possibly because I'm the only pregnant gal they've every seen in running gear.

Click here

Anyway, working on my pregorexia, I've been to the gym most days this week. Oh yes, pilates and yoga. Crazy eh? I even pushed the boat right out and a couple of sessions on the elliptical trainer and did a spot of swimming. Tonight I went for a four-mile jog.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Surprise, easy five

As Garscube's Tuesday night speed sessions are out of the question, I went on my own five-mile (and a bit) tour of Knightswood. I met up with wee Ann Clan and Ali who I haven't seen in ages. Ann is injured and Ali does the Glasgow-Edinburgh commute now, so they haven't been at the club for a while. It was great to catch up with them both. Ali is so bored on her daily journey, she reads must blog. Actually she discovered it a couple of months ago, and spent a week going through every post.

Sonic was going to the club session, so I met up with the troops after my run. They were doing Parlauf - which is a Garscube term for mass confusion.

Saturday 2 August 2008

The non-long run + 16 weeks pix

Gone are the days of epic distances at the weekend. I really think 10 miles could be my maximum over the next wee while. Today I opted for seven-miles round my usual Dumbarton route. I've done quite a bit this week - including swimming yesterday - so thought it would be best to take it easy. OK, easy-ish. When I came back from my run (which I started at 7am) I cycled next to Sonic who was running the 10-mile of the Balloch Horseshoe.

For those interested in the progress of the bump. Here's some pictures of me at 16-weeks.

Marco's alternative blog report: Three miles easy (average 7.27), followed by six miles at PE level 8 (6.53, 6.50, 6.34, 7.20, 6.55, 6.27 average 6.50) and then a one mile cool down. I keep shouting at him to sort out his terrible heel-strike and hip-bent running form. I fear my coaching days could be numbered! ;-)