Crathes Half Marathon – Course Record and FINAL RACE AS A MOORE!

I was super excited for this one!

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It was the final race as a single woman, and the last one you’ll see on the entry sheet as Moore. There was zero pressure because I don’t consider myself a true runner (BUT I secretly put a little bit on because a) I wanted a headline saying we were King and Queen of Crathes Castle, much like he and Fiona got in last year’s race!, and b) there were dolla dollas up for grabs and we are VERY poor right now!) and the last goal of my racing season was at the previous week’s Scottish Standard Tri Champs – which I won yippeeee!

The weekend was actually all about wedding, honeymoon and hen stuff ie CLEEEEAAAN the house for people staying, start packing for Bali because we wont have time nearer the big time (and we leave the following day!) and make sure we have everything sorted for the 30th September. BUT we love to do some form of activity every day so a local race fit in perfectly!

We woke up naturally around 7am (I say naturally, but Chewy tends to sit on our face at that time purring like a helicopter), grabbed coffee and started blitzing the place. Around 9am, we had our usual breakfast and another coffee, then at 11am we headed to Crathes.

We parked at the non-visitor side of the estate, on a country road near the race route. We jogged the 1km to registration (we were one of the last people to register – we knew there wasn’t much shelter and it was POURING!) and did a few strides, then changed into race gear.

Luckily, we only had to wait about 5 minutes until the race, so no time to get nervous (although myself AND Fraser got a bit antsy when we noticed Kyle still wasn’t at the front of the starters with the 2 minute to go call) and everyone seemed to be laughing at just how bad the rain was!

When the gun went off, Kyle was asking why I was still with him one minute in.

“Oh yeah, oops. I’ll say bye now. See you soon – have fun!”

…and then I backed off. Within the first kilometre (when we passed our car) I found myself in a group of maybe 5. There was a headwind so I tucked behind some tall guy from Dubai.

On the downhill I took the lead, but then I was left there until about 5km. I turned around to try and get some help in this constant headwind but no one overtook, so I then just chose to run my own race.

At the 1st significant hill, a couple guys pulled away. I reeled one back in but the other went off. Then I noticed 2 guys had fell off the back, so I was running in a group of 3.

We hit the 1st trail section which was SUPER MUDDY!!!!! My trainers got soaked immediately but I tried as best I could to avoid major puddles. When my watched flashed the 1st mile in that trail as a 6.11 I was a bit concerned I was trying too hard to avoid mud and that might catch up with me. It was a flat mile but so technical and slippy that I should have been about 10seconds slower.

The trail lasted about 2km and hitting solid road again was amazing! There were a few spectators and dog walkers out but I wasn’t expected any given the weather, so was sure to wave at them to say thanks for coming out!

I hit 10km in about 38.30 – 30 seconds faster than my time in the Great Aberdeen Run…oops! That’s an oops to the GAR by the way, because at this point I still felt pretty good!

A couple of miles later, the rain was just turning to spray and the sun was starting to come out, so that cheered me up and kept me on pace.

Then there was a pretty big hill where those 2 guys I was with managed to get a gap on me. Grrr. I tried (and managed) to catch up, but then there was a HUGE downhill where my little legs couldn’t match their long ones and 1 dude got away and finished about a minute ahead of me.

Onto the second trail I began to lag. I think pushing it on that downhill to try and not get dropped, along with that speedy trail mile earlier, made me a bit tired. I was lagging and could have used a gel (I decided against one that morning just because it was a cool day and didn’t think I’d need one…wrong again). I was dropped by the 2nd dude and so was in no man’s land for those final 5kms.

In my head I was thinking what the worst possible pace I could go before finishing would be. Then I realised even if I did 7 minute miles for the next 3 miles I would still get a sub1.25.

So then my mindset changed after my 11th mile was a 6.34. Hmm I could get a decent PB here (I know I should be a bit faster but I haven’t done a proper half in years and my last half was hilly Fraserburgh last year!). Ideally on a course with no trails, or mud, or hills, or wind, and with specific training and a taper, I feel I should be able to break 80 quite comfortably.

Then I realised mile 12 was up a never ending hill, where you could see the full mile in front of you. Pretty demoralising! I managed that one in 6.42 but it felt a lot worse than that. When that mile beeped, I knew the last km w05as downhill (again, back to where I parked!) so a couple more calculations later I though Fiona’s record from last year was on! I just had to run a 4minute km down to the finish.

I saw Kyle with 800m to go. He was on his cool down and did here 1st lady wasn’t too far away.

“What the hell are you doing here? That course was mental!”

“Sorry, can’t talk – think I might break Fi’s record”

“Sprint then!!”

“This is me sprinting!”

…and off I waddled to cross the line in 1.22.27 and a new CR.

Kyle was 6 minutes faster than anyone else, going 1.11 – just a couple seconds shy of Robbie’s record (if only he’d known what it was !) – so he was elated too! It gave him the confidence he needed for the Loch Ness marathon on Sunday!

What was best was at presentation when Fraser announced that the race of the day was not Kyle’s, but mine! *cue evil laugh here!*

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He then announced that it was an even more significant race for us given we were getting married 2 weeks later! The entire crowd just went “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwh” so we laughed a lot at that!

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What made it even better was that Carolyn was there and SMASHED her PB!! She started running in January (only 3kms) and managed a 2.06 on THAT course! She is such an inspiration to working mothers out there who let exercise take a back seat for a while.

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Afterwards, Mum and Keith came over to help us sort the house out (any excuse for an Alford Tandoori 😉 !) and we had a lovely Sunday catching up on life and wedding admin!

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…Then I was headed to Paris the following day for meetings so no rest for the wicked! There were far more croissants and wine consumed so here’s hoping the dress fits ONE WEEK TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Scottish Standard Champs – 1st

I do love Knockburn! The fact it is around 45mins from my house, stunning scenery surrounds the facilty, and I don’t think you could find a flat, easy course in the area if you tried (even the swim on Sunday was hilly given the conditions!) so it’s always a fun challenge!

On Sunday, Knockburn hosted the Scottish Standard distance championships (the distance that you see them race in the Olympics). I won the title last year at Lochore Meadows, and also won the sprint distance (the distance you will see in next year’s Commonwealth Games)  a couple of months ago, one week after winning Outlaw Holkham Half Iron Elite women’s race (yes it has been a busy summer!). I hope this makes sense to any non-triathletes out there!

The field wasn’t as stacked as last year, but there were still nearly 200 entrants, so I wasn’t getting too excited. Also the fact that the previous week I had been on a surprise getaway with my Mum and sister to Spain (more on that in my next post!), where lots of champagne, sangria and Mahou was consumed, and in the days leading up to the race I had been hit with a terrible cold, meant that I didn’t have my usual mojo going into it.

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(drinking Mahou at 8am a week before race day is not conducive to good performance)

When I woke up race morning and it was pouring rain and the trees were shaking, I was actually dreading it! Again, it was awesome being a home race as I woke up IN MY BED and got to pack up THAT morning (although I was probably cutting it fine when I was cleaning my bike and chain at 7am…!) I did a wee 10min warmup on the turbo in the garage, as I don’t usually get a chance to ride at the race location because of racking bikes etc. That woke me up a bit, so had some breakfast (my usual overnight oats, peanut butter, chia seeds and banana) and coffee and headed off with Kyle as my taxi/PA.

I wasn’t sure we’d get parked at the venue as it can get pretty busy so I was thinking of options in my head. But I was pleasantly surprised when we got an amazing space with no stress – major kudos to the race organisers for that one! About 30 seconds from registration, I was straight to the front with no issues, returned my trophy from last year (which I wasn’t allowed to keep – apparently people keep losing them…boooooo!). I then sorted out my transition area (I’m so glad it was numbered so we each got an allocated place…first come first serve transitions are AWFUL!), did a wee jog with the fiancé, had a couple belvitas biscuits, then realised it was 9.50 and I should probably get my wetsuit on.

I didn’t have a tri belt!! Oops! I left mine at Holkham (oops again) and have been tattooed at my last few races that I totally forgot! I found some safety pins, got the PA to secure my number to my back, then back on with the wetsuit, and off the the loch I went!

We got a couple minutes to “warm up” but when the water is alledgedly 13C (we’re all sure it was colder!) it’s pretty difficult to get warm! I couldn’t get my face in for a while and just tried to relax.

Being called to the start “line”, we had to wait quite a while for all the people to get in (it was a mass start at 10am), it got me used to the cold water…a little.

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(I should be somewhere near the front here…)

The gun went off and I tried to sprint for a good minute to get some clear water. I swallowed soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much water from all the splashing (men – you splash a LOT!). Around the island, I found someone’s feet but after 200m or so, they were too fast for me, so I had some clear water for most of the 1st lap.

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(the masses going around the island)

By the 2nd lap, I had actually warmed up and felt SO MUCH better, and even overtook a couple people and got back on someone’s feet! The 1st half of each lap was really fun because it was into a headwind, so there were actually waves in the normally –calm water. I really liked trying to manoeuvre my way through the chop! On the way back to finish the lap, there was a tailwind and you felt like Phelps! And I use the word “felt” pretty loosely considering the 1500m took me 20minutes (fastest swim by 1 minute)… A wee leg kick appeared with 100m to go, purely to try and get some blood flow to my legs before the cycle.

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(don’t zoom – it’s not pretty – BUT if you did you’d see I literally have blue lips!!!)

Coach Broon(!!!) was there to help us blue-lipped triathletes (literally) out the water and I coukdnt feel ANYTHING to get my wetsuit off. Was very surprised my transition was just over 40 seconds as I couldn’t even feel the zip to pull down. Once down though, it flew off with ease (thanks Zoot!) and on with the POC aero helmet (which was like a HUGE warm hug as it went on!) and could barely get on the bike as I couldn’t feel my toes and where to put them! Note: I do normally love an exaggeration however I suffer from really bad circulation issues, particularly since the accident (hence why I’m either freeeeeezing or sweating like cray-cray). It really sucks (I always carry spare clothes in case either of those issues happen). Anyhoo, back to the bike.

Getting my feet in my shoes took ages and 2 guys overtook me (grrrr). I used it as a positive, however, and didn’t want to lose them! There were marshals on every turn (HUGE shout out to the Sahraies and Duncan for the encouragement while standing looking SO COLD!) and the course was awesome. Some light undulations, tight turns and a pretty steep incline in the middle of every lap. In the 1st lap, it was pouring rain, so I took off the glasses attached to my helmet (MUCH easier than I thought) and all I could think of was “but I’m not wearing mascara for the photos” *must change mindset.

Ok lap 2! OATEY was number 1 cheerleader of the day (sorry Kyle!) – he lives literally on the course, and said he’d support (albeit with no time to make a banner…)  and was cycling the course waiting for me! He did a lap in reverse, caught me and then the next lap waited for me and got in trouble for drafting! I told him I hated where he lived (we were on the steep hill at this point) and he laughed at me, shouted some words of encouragement, and off I pedalled away from him! Major kudos for heading out on the bike in those conditions!

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(I ❤ my bike!)

Lap 3 was uneventful…there were more cars on the road and all the athletes were now on the course so there was a lot of slowing down and manoeuvring, but that’s what you get at an open road race – just make it an obstacle course!

I slowed down to turn into Knockburn one hill too early (!!). There were lots of people gathered at a corner, so I assumed that was the turn off, but they were just cheering, so stupid me had to get speed up the next hill and got overtaken into transition! Got my shoes on with ease (surprising since I still lost feeling in my toes) and aimed to overtake a couple of guys I saw in front.

Cycle time was 1.10 which was just over 22mph for the 26mile course (fastest girl by 4mins).

The 1st lap on the run was fun. It was never going to be a fast time given it was pretty much cross country apart from 400m-ish of road per 5km (the rest is grass, trail and woodland narrow path) and had 2 hills in it, but I just wanted to push the effort on the 1st lap. I was overtaken by Alan Semple about 1km into the run (thanks for the encouragement later on!) and I got to see Kyle multiple times! Also, at each turnaround the marshals were in fancy dress which DEFINITELY brought a smile to my face! I tried to crack a couple jokes so sorry if they were cringey!

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(up the hill I go)

About to go onto the 1st lap, I got encouragement from Michelle and Coach Broon which gave me a burst of energy, I then saw Kyle and asked how my lead was. Apparently it was nearly 10 minutes. I didn’t want to push the run too much given I had been ill and would rather finish slower than not at all, so I thought I’d do my last effort up the 1st hill and then jog it in after that (I asked Kyle permission to jog with about a mile to go, just in case!). I got pretty sniffly and mucussy (we’ll make that a word) up the 2nd hill and so I did walk a bit, but then manned up and jogged to the finish for a 41 minute split, which was still the fastest of the day! Andy Redman mentioned at the end they changed the course last year but it came up about 300m short, so they added that 300m in this year to make it a perfect 10k.

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(This is a real and not photo shopped actual smile!)

Happy to come top 10 overall, and win by 9ish minutes 🙂

And how do you end a race when Coach Broon is there? Jelly babies of course! Then straight into the shower, where I chatted with Kirsty (2nd place superstar!) for ages, then realised all my faffing meant the burger queue had started growing (don’t worry I waited – I don’t turn down free burgers)!

I was really happy with the organisation of transition too…we didn’t have to wait to collect our stuff. They had a really good system, so I collected my bike with ease, packed up the car (ok ok my PA did it) and then chilled in the sun froze in the wind and rain until presentations. Unfortunately, this did take a while but we had to wait for every age category winner to finish, so understandable.

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I collected my prizes and got interviewed (sorry for speaking rubbish as always!) and we headed on a celebratory café trip to the Potarch for some cake and hot chocolate!

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The rest of the day was spent watching Pirates of the Caribbean by the fire and sorting out more wedding stuff….2 weeks on Saturday!!

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(I do like being asked how I balance a career with the sport! I’ve been asked that a few times so I might write a post on it?)

Interviews and race video can be found here and here  🙂

 

Your Long Awaited Race Recap: Ultra World Championships, Badia Prataglia, Team GB

http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/world-trail-champs-review/


I am not just saying this because I am about to be his blushing bride or because I am bursting with pride (poet, don’t know it) BUT this recap is phenomenal!!

I WISH y’all knew just how hard he works. He’s too modest so I’ll boast for him! To balance working in a high level position, commuting >50miles per day AND having to put up with his high maintenance bird, all while training to be one of the best in the world…against FULL TIME athletes….that LIVE in those types of mountains….just leaves me speechless! Well, almost.

Here is the champ’s recap of his 1st (hopefully of many) race as a Team GB athlete.


World Trail Running Championships Badia Prataglia, Italy

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Now that I have come down from cloud 9 after my first Team GB call up and best race of my life, I thought I will share with you my build-up of the race, the race itself and the aftermath!

After doing the trial race at Haworth in Yorkshire and squeezing into the GB team, I felt I had a lot to live up to even though I am relatively new to the Ultra racing scene. After a couple of weeks recovery from that race and 3 weeks of training, I had the small thing of running the London marathon which was going to be my A race had I not qualified for the World Champs.

For London, although I was now training for the World champs, I genuinely believed that I could still PB of around 2.23/2.24 despite interrupted training and a lack of marathon specific training due to the tapering and recovery of the trial race. On race day, everything went to plan and my spilts were bang on target…until mile 17! These final miles, I was hitting high 5/low 6 minute miles and with my ‘sensible head’ decided that the legs haven’t got the PB in them and tried to ‘enjoy’ the atmosphere running a 2 hours 29 minutes (which was well off my best 2 hours 25 minutes!).

Lesson number 1: look back on your training and assess whether the target is realistic – in this case, I hadn’t done enough mara specific sessions!

Luckily enough, my strategy worked in terms of recovery time after London – if I had tried to race it after the legs started falling off, I would likely still be recovering now! I managed to get back into a decent volume of training even after a week of easy running after London, which meant I had a good few weeks of building some decent sessions and specific for the World trail champs. I really had to do 3 things: a few steady long runs including a long decent 50k run simulating the elevation (although I fell 2500 ft short!), maintain high mileage/volume, and a decent paced session on trails

I also ran the Inter counties hill running championships and treated this as a ‘C’ race due to the training required for the worlds. So after a heavy week of training, 2 weeks after London marathon, severe grassy climbs and only 10k of work, made a lactate inducing hard run and certainly a great workout for the main race. Although I was slightly disappointed with my placing, when I reflect back there is little wonder I didn’t perform higher up the field!

So a couple of weeks before the worlds, we all received our GB kit, which made the whole trip feel real and based on my long and promising 50k effort the week prior, I felt fired up for this race and knew that I have done everything I could to train for the race including saunas 3 x per week to cope with the heat!

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(Loved the kit they gave me!)

I met up with the Scottish contingent of the team, Adrian Stott (one of the team managers), Jo Zakrzewski and Helen Bonsor at Edinburgh Airport and we made our way to Italy (Bologna Airport).

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(Leaving Debbie at the train station. Just before this, a lovely stranger shook my hand, asked what sport I did and congratulated me!)

The Thursday was a long day, but when we arrived at our monastery accommodation a few miles outside the race village, we met the whole team for dinner. The meal wasn’t the greatest to be honest – mushy meatballs and tomatoes…WHERES THE CARBS MAN!

That night, after being trapped on a plane and in a car, I went for an 11pm run around the forests where my race was taking place. It was a full moon and I could hear the wolves (yes WOLVES) howling and I risked not taking a head torch. The area we were staying in has very little phone signal and is almost completely in the middle of nowhere with many monasteries, ancient forests and a huge amount of history.

On the Friday, funnily enough, I felt quite tired after all the travelling but after a fairly modest breakfast of dried bread and cornflakes, we had to go down to the race village for doping control and health checking. We then recced the first couple of miles of the course (it would have been a bit more if we hadn’t done 3 miles off course! I soon found out that the first few miles was going to be uphill, which after trying to jog up on the Friday, I was worried I was going to be heavy legged on race day…

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(chilling with the team after arriving)

We then had the joys of going to opening ceremony at the castle overlooking Poppi, which was absolutely stunning!

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(Team GB at the opening ceremony. Photo credit @IRunFar)

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(Kitted out for the opening ceremony. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

After our meal there, we headed back for an early night and made sure we had all our race kit in order and our fuel for the 2 manned food stations (where the team managers Sam, Spencer and Adrian would be). In my head, I already had a race plan/strategy which had been prepared in the weeks building up to my training so I was fairly confident I was on the right track!

On the morning, we headed down in the race bus at 6am after another uneasy breakfast where I searched high and low for muesli and they never had any! So I had cornflakes instead but had some more white carbs and a decent meal the night before made sure that I was adequately fuelled and hydrated!

Lesson number 2: Take all your food that you eat to your races especially ones where they may not have the food you crave!

After our kit check, shoved my way to the front of the start line, which although only 10 people wide meant that I would be out of the way of people in front of me and had nothing in front of me to trip me up!

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(The start: I’m on the right of this pic. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

The gun goes, and someone rips my number off!! So I took my time to put it back on, which meant I took the first mile uphill very easy and ended up running in around 70th place! A couple of miles into the race, I was grateful to see two of my GB pals Gareth Hughes and Math Roberts next to me and throughout the first half, we ended up running together for quite a lot of it. Early on the start, I continued my tradition of falling over on what could be described as the easiest and most runnable section of the course.  I bounced back up and felt nothing of it other than a few cuts and bruises afterwards!

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(I must have been feeling good here! Photo credit Prozis)

The first half of the race was fairly cool as it was mostly in the ancient forests and good runnable trails. From the get go, the 3 of us, were gradually pipping people off and not many runners went passed us. There was one tough point when it started heating up and we climbing well along the ridge, where Gareth magically whipped out some KENDAL MINT cake, which for me was better than any gels I had been taking – it melted in your mouth, instant sugar hit and had a refreshing after taste!

Lesson 3: Buy Kendal mint cake NOW!

The latter half of the race began to get interesting and very warm – reaching 27 degrees Celsius on the exposed sections. I managed to pull away from Gareth, who wasn’t far behind me but still felt fantastic. I had no idea what position I was but at around mile 20, I was in the top 20! There was a huge climb still to come which, for me, was make or break and I took every opportunity to drink and fuel even if it meant I stopped. I had to weigh up stopping to top up my water bottle for a few seconds versus another 2 miles of no water could mean a slower overall time.

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(One of our fuel stops. Photo credit @TaritTweets)   

In the full heat of the long climb up to the exposed ridge, I started to get cramp in my inner thighs, which is something I have never experienced but I was aware I had to ensure I was getting fluids in meant that I could keep going. I knew everyone was going to be struggling in the heat, so it was just as much mental as it was physical. Along the climb, I went passed Tom Payne (flag bearer and leading Brit at the time), which was one of only goals of the race was to try and get first brit. Anything else would be a bonus!!

After a brutal, sluggish climb it was fairly undulating and with only(!) 6 miles to go I knew I just had to hold on after I heard I was in 25th place! I now had one final descent of over 3 miles and with my quads severely bashed and my calves begging to cramp up, I was worried I would do a Jonny Brownlee and be nowhere near the finish line! I could hear the finish and started rehearsing my finish line celebration – a Czech guy called Tomas shouted ‘GO KYLEE, GO KYLEE, YOU CAN DO IT KYLEE’ as he whizzed passed me on the descent. So thanks Tomas, for keeping me going.

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(Going up one of the brutal climbs!)

I then turned round and there was the finish line – 40 metres, 30 metres, 20 metres and UH OH…my right calf cramped up and pointed down to the ground with little to do than hop to the RAMPED finish line…the crowd really got behind me and lifted me to the finish line. It wasn’t the celebration I was hoping for but I was delighted that the cramp only kicked in with 20 metres to go!

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(I am NOT impersonating Bolt. I was mid collapse and Bolt just took over my body!)

When I slumped my way onto the finish line, I was soon hoofed over to the physio who pushed calf back into its rightful position and Sam the team manager sorted me out with fluid and ice for my neck. It was great to be finished and when I heard I was 26th and top Brit I was absolutely over the moon.

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(Receiving help within seconds. Or were they just trying to get rid of me?)

The rest of the guys and girls in the team did amazing. The guys ended up being 9th team and the girls were 4th team! Individually, the guys were Gareth in 33rd, Tom in 38th and Matt struggled on the day, but managed to finish.

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(From left to right: Gareth, me, Tom & Math. Photo credit @TaritTweets)

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(My cheesy grin at the closing ceremony)

An incredible experience, great support from the team and friends and family back home and to Lewis who gave me some fantastic sessions to make me race ready. Debbie was a real mess – she sent me a selfie of her crying and made the excuse her training was sacrificed due to watching it on the live stream!!

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(Came to her work as soon as I arrived in Aberdeen, where she greeted me with cake, a card and a coffee!)

Now that this is over, I am looking to get into the ultra-scene but also keen to keep working on the slightly shorter half marathon to marathon distance with some high profile ultra-races in the upcoming years. Hopefully, with the runners I was racing against and beat (such as Sylvain Court who was 2nd at last years’ world champs) I can be a force to be reckoned with!

If anyone had any races in mind please let me know as I am in the middle of looking for races to keep my head in the game!!


5:10:15 is the magic number for my ridiculous finish 😉

Race video can be found here if you can’t stream the above 

 

 

8 days to go…!

Hi everyone! Kyle here 🙂

Thought I’d take over the fiancée(!)’s blog today to tell you about my preparations for my 1st race as a Team GB Athlete at the World Ultra Trail Championships in one week’s(!!!) time, held in Tuscany in Italy.

Deb told you about the bunion that my coach thought may have been gout, that came on very quickly at the beginning of the year on our skiing holiday. Well, I went up to see my coach a couple of weekends ago (he is an amazing GP) and he said that because it is most definitely bone growth (sexy), as long as it isn’t affecting me or getting worse, I should be fine.

Well, it is actually getting worse, so I’m going to have to buy wider shoes for the race, as well as looking into options afterwards. It’s not affecting training too much (I still have the Inov8s I made a hole in!), but after hard sessions it gets pretty tender.

Speaking of sessions, I have done a few long runs since London. My best one was around Clashindarroch, where I did 31 miles in the hills up Tap O Noth, and even managed a cheeky 2.58 split at the marathon mark in the pouring rain! It was a good confidence booster as I didn’t hit any wall, and it just felt like a fun – albeit lonely (no one wants to join me for these…wonder why…) – weekend long run.

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(Tap O Noth)

The last week or so, with the hotter weather we’ve been having, I’ve loved trying to replicate the race conditions. The race is going to be around 25C and pretty humid, so I did a hard session at Glen Tanar at the weekend in roughly that temperature, and have been consistently doing my sauna sessions (30minutes straight after a run, a couple of times per week) to hopefully adapt to the climate.

That Glen Tanar run by the way was awesome – James Espie (international hill runner who beat me at Snowdon) joined me for some morale (with Debbie lagging behind for her tempo 😉 ) and it was great to have someone pushing me for my 10miles worth of effort. This was followed very quickly with a trip to Coop, a picnic in the river, and a swim!

He also joined me the following day for a longer run around Lochnagar (he is great if you ever want some stunning running routes by the way, but not if you want to beat your running partner up any hill….he is a technical genius!). Deb cycled to Ballater and met us for post-training ice cream at the new ice cream parlour. Highly recommended!

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I have now officially started tapering, so will only do a couple more sessions emulating the race conditions ie tempos or intervals on undulating trails opposed to my usual beach front/track choice. I’ll cut it down to one run a day, and probably won’t go much higher than 10 miles from now until the big day!

My kit has arrived which has made me ridiculously excited (I may have told the office this is the best day I’ve had in years, when they politely told me I got engaged in December), but I am nervous at the same time in that I am finding myself checking the weather forecast a billion times per day!

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Race kicks off on the morning of the 10th June…I shall be taking pics of the opening ceremony, digs, selfies in my kit, and post race (hopefully) celebrations so watch this space! Send good vibes my way, please 🙂

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My 1st Cycle Race, and 1st Win :)

Ok ok so I didn’t mention that I was participating in a cycle race to many people, and I didn’t post it on the blog because (a) what if I came last (I know that reason is lame!), and (b) I wanted a low key, no pressure race just to test the legs after all the training I was doing instead of running!

I announced it on Strava a couple days before the race, mainly because I craved the attention, because I was actually getting nervous! But I actually enjoyed the race nerves…haven’t had them in a while! My last “race” was Lumphanan, which is always more of a “let’s burn off all the Christmas food and alcohol, while laughing at how ridiculous that hill is” than a “let’s get serious” race.

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Oh wait.

I never actually did a recap of Lumphanan this year. Let’s see…after we hosted the Hogmanay celebrations with some of our closest friends, Gary stayed an extra couple nights to partake in the hangover Lumphanan Detox 10km with us. As always, it falls on the 2nd January, a day after Mum’s birthday! Because she was off getting married in New York on her bday last year, we had a lovely dinner and cocktails on the 1st, and so we were thankful for a long lie the following day! I was still on the mend from my November injury, but Carolyn taped me up, I shoved a compression sock over it, and jogged a mile warm up and it felt ok! Gary has been running amazingly (he just went 82mins for the half mara in Inverness recently, SMASHING his PB!) so my aim was to stay ahead of him! Superstar Nicola Gauld was there so my other aim was to get the silver!

When the gun went off, I managed to stick with Gauldy for approximately 37 seconds, before she sprinted off in the distance (she made that hill look so easy!). Dino (another one who smashed the Inverness Half, and even more recently slammed through the 18 min barrier, and annihilated the 37 min barrier in the 5/10km, so is flying this year!) was so supportive throughout the entire race, and we took turns leading in the wind. In the final km, we turned into the village and had a face off!! He outsprinted me, finishing just a couple secs ahead in 38.29…until next time, Mr! (Oh and Nicola beat me by 90seconds…I have a lot of work to do!). I was happy enough given the indulgence over the festive season and injury (and that it is a BRUTAL course with a massive hill and boggy terrain!)

Anyhoo, this cycle race gave me good nerves! My biggest concern was coming last, because it was a male dominated race with cycling being their only sport! At the briefing, I was SO intimidated!! Although it was pretty windy and chilly, I saw the majority of athletes in shorts – and shaved legs!! Not only was I wearing leggings, the guys had less hair on their legs than me! 😉 I also had a buff and long sleeve on, and was considering ditching my Oakleys, due to rain making visibility difficult!

It was a “neutralised start” (which I had to Google!) which meant we all rolled easy as a pack behind a few cars, one having a Saltire hanging out of it. The rule was, as soon as the flag was taken in, the race began. Well I was so far back I couldn’t see the cars never mind the flag! I just felt a massive SURGE (oh how they burned!) and tried desperately not to get dropped by the wheel in front of me!

I was taught quite a lot of rules of the road from Noodles, from the Scotland camp I went on last year, and also from my APRs at Torphins Typhoons, but still managed to get shouted at for moving into spaces that didn’t exist, and going to fast when I got to the front of the “through and off” group (sorry if my termination is horrendous…still learning! Which is exactly what I shouted to the people I was offending!).

I was pretty boxed in for a couple of miles, and realised if I wanted to do well I should really get to the right hand side of the pack. I gradually weaved my way through, and made a burst sprint to be in the first few rows of the race. About 5 miles in, I saw heard Kyle (who ran 1 loop in reverse as part of his final long run before London to cheer me on!). I didn’t see him, but he always gives me a burst of energy when I know he’s there! That was when we got to the 1st hill in the 1st loop: Brindy.

Because there were loads of people that were not local to Aberdeenshire, people were full blown sprinting up (then dying at about half way). That is where I had the local advantage! For once, I held back and stayed within myself, gradually catching up again! I think a couple guys noticed this, as I was asked a few times what Suie was like, and how long it was etc etc. I was happy to give advice…as I said, this was just an experience to enjoy!

On the descent, I was a little nervous with all the people around me. I just tried to stay out of people’s way, and that is where I was overtaken by another female (must.work.on.bike.handling.skills). There was a sharp left turn at Auchleven which was a pretty narrow road for a few miles, so I was kinda stuck at the back until the Suie. I just drafted with the pack, with the aim of conserving my energy for Suie.

When we reached the Suie, again there were a lot of people going super hard, at a pace I would never be able to sustain the whole way! This steep section really broke up the group, and I passed the leading lady pretty quickly.

At the top, I was alone. I really pushed up the hill, and I wanted it to pay off. I actually had tactics in this race! My tactic here was to crest over the hill and continue the power over and down, and pedal my heart out to try and catch up with anyone ahead who had decided to recover on the descent.

My plan worked! Although it took it’s time! I was solo for quite a while, but I FINALLY caught up with a guy who had been dropped by his group, so we worked together in the now brutal headwind, and with a small pack that caught up with us, and a pack we caught up with, we were now a power pack (with no girls to be seen…yay to my plan working!). We did that through and off thing until about Leslie, then it seemed to be an individual effort towards the base of the Suie.

When the Suie hit, I gave it absolutely everything! (the race finished at the top of it, you see!). I knew exactly how hard to push considering it is in my back garden, so as not to die on the final – and what I think is the steepest – part!

Kyle ran back up the Suie (GREAT effort from him…although he should be tapering!) to see me at the top, but by then I was getting cold (it was beginning to snow!) so he ran back to the car (and ended up doing 17 miles instead of his prescribed 13…woops) and I cycled home as a cool down and to get a shower, before heading back to the hall for prize-giving. The perks of living so close to the race!

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(no pics of me – if anyone has please let me know! – but I did capture my post race treats!)

All in all, I loved the challenge of getting out my comfort zone and trying something new, and enjoyed the different feeling of pushing myself on the bike…I think it hurts more but you recover quicker, if that makes sense? I will definitely be doing another!

Oh, and my time for the ~32 mile UPHILL FINISH (grr!) race was just under 1.35 (about 20.3mph) but that’s including that neuralised start.

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(Guilty!)

For those who are not familiar with the Suie, there is a good article on it here 🙂

 

 


Ever done a race to mix things up a bit?

Do you enjoy getting out of your comfort zone?

 

Kyle’s 1st ultra

Hi people! You may have seen Facebook, but in case you didn’t, Kyle just phenomenally conquered his 1st ultra marathon, which was also the World Championship qualifier in Haworth this weekend! This is his recap:


So …around January after Googling what races to focus on this year, I decided that I would give the trial race for the IAU World Trail Running Championships a bash. The “Haworth Hobble”, as I found out afterwards is appropriately named, consists of 32 (or 32.5 for me) miles in distance with 4500 feet(!) of elevation. There was something that excited me about the prospect of doing an ‘ultra’ distance and the training that comes with it. With my background initially in mountain running (interesting fact: I went to the World Mountain Running Champs in Alaska many moons ago), then trail running (I guess I can call myself current national champ in that field) and current form in marathoning (coming 28th non-elite at London in my first marathon, and 3rd at Loch Ness), I think ultras could be something I could excel in!

So I went straight to my coach, Lewis Walker, for the go ahead. He was excited by the idea and threw me into long steady runs of marathon+ distances (including 2 x 50k runs in the hills), and regular 90-100 mile/weeks. I also tried saunas (research has shown 2x30mins per week in the sauna produces similar results to altitude training…and I’m pretty sure I didn’t make that up!), tested out solid food on my long runs (and hated it), and even threw in some faster intervals for good measure…I even experienced a catastrophic gargantuan “bonk” on a 20 miler so, all in all, I couldn’t feel anymore prepped for the race…!

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Although everything was going swimmingly well until then, the Mooreigs tend to love a bit of pre-race drama, so this was the spectacle this time:

Basically, when we were skiing in France, I discovered my left foot had changed shape drastically one day (i.e. I could get my ski boot on in the morning, then after lunch I was nowhere near getting in there, and had to go back to the hire place to get a new pair). Since then, I have struggled even in running shoes, and I have been running without soles in training.

I thought it would be a bright idea (it wasn’t) to order a different pair of Inov8’s the week of the race, that I’ve never tried before,  but – shock, horror – when they arrived they didn’t fit my newly oddly shaped foot, despite the reviews saying they had a wider toe box than my other shoes.

Kyle’s solution…cut a hole in my old shoes so my bunion could poke out!

I’ll spare you the pic of the said bunion or whatever it may be…!

Next act on the playbill was the day before the race: travel day. I don’t know what I would have done without Debs, as I was vomiting all the way down the road…regularly puking up my beetroot juice on the motorway laybys. Classy guy. By the way, I was trying the whole “beetroot juice loading” last week, which again research has shown to be effective in endurance athletes. I don’t think that was the root (gettit?) cause of my sickness, it just meant I puked a nice shade of pink. Deb was off work last week with a virus, and maybe I just caught some of it? So it was her own fault she had to drive the ENTIRE way from Alford to Yorkshire #SUPERFIANCE!

She forced me to drink all evening when we got to the hotel, and a fresh air walk/recce of the final km of the race definitely helped. As did the deep fried ale pickles she ordered with her fish n chips. I was of course the better athlete and opted for carbonara and a large Cadbury’s easter egg 🙂

The morning of the race arrived and I couldn’t have been more pumped now that I felt a little better…!

I registered and arrived at the start line (there was no line) at 7.30am. The conditions were perfect for a long race…vest, shorts and Callum’s ultra bag it was! Oh, along with Callum’s Phoenix watch where I he uploaded the race course = LIFESAVER!

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The race was slightly delayed due to the number of participants (and because we were in Yorkshire, so really laid back vibe…no one even seemed nervous!) but without warning the organiser just appeared and shouted “READY…GO!”

The first 4 miles were very steady and easy – something I wasn’t used to in any race I have ever run, but I loved how relaxed it was. For these miles, I just tucked in behind the leading pack and tried to conserve as much energy as possible.

After around 6 miles, we approached the first hill and managed to fall over and hit my knee – although it was slightly cut, I couldn’t really feel it until later on in the day. That wasn’t to be my last fall…

Around the 12 mile point, Christopher Hudworth pulled away with Tom Payn (a 2.17 marathon runner and GB trail runner) and had managed to gain a 30 second lead on me by the 14 mile mark. The other group I was with were content to stay in the group so I decided to chase down Tom and run with him for a few miles. The biggest issue was that the entire course was unmarked so we really had to have our wits around us. A couple of times we went off course and had to wait until the chasing group caught up with us to find the right way – disaster!

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The greatest error was around mile 20 when we (Tom, Matt and Gary) took the wrong turn heading down towards Stoodley Pike and ended up doing probably 4/5 minutes longer than we should have done. We did manage to find out way back on course but had another pack to chase down. This was the moment Debbie found me while out on her bike and although she was really nice and asking if I needed anything, all I could shout at her was “GELLLLLL. NOW.”

I also demanded a flapjack, but at this point she was too far in front and I never realised we had to head back on trails so I missed her.

Continuing on that trail to the top, I had very little confidence left in my navigation and ran alongside the legendary Ian Holmes for a few miles and with local knowledge he kept me on the straight and narrow for the last few miles.

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The last few miles, I started to struggle and I was told I was now in 2nd place – at this point I ran out of gels and tried to eat a sausage roll and doughnut. Note to self – make sure you don’t have a dry mouth with no water when eating them as you will find you’re playing a game of chubby bunny*.

I then hit a bit of a wall at 28 miles and Tom zoomed passed me and then a mile later, Gareth and Matt caught up with me and went past me. I then started seeing flashing black lights…uh oh!

However, I was soon offered some orange juice from a passerby and that perked me up a bit to make a stab at catching Matt and Gareth who were, by mile 30, around 30 seconds behind me in 3rd and 4th place. I saw in the distance, that leading runner Chris was soon overtaken by Tom which surprised me as Chris was 4 minutes in the lead at halfway.

By mile 31, I closed gap to Matt and Gareth and then I went passed Chris to now be on 4th place. It was now all downhill and a fight for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place…

The final 400 metres of was down a narrow path and through narrow lanes…it was like a scene from the Wacky Races…never did I imagine I would be doing a sprint finish in an ULTRA marathon!

I headed into the final 100metres but took the wrong turn whilst 3rd and 4th followed me…they turned and I was now in 4th place but couldn’t overtake due to the narrow paths! All in all…it resulted in 2nd, 3rd and 4th being TWO SECONDS apart! I was pleased but gutted not to make the top 3.

After I collapsed at the finish line, much like when I was “forced” to do Debbie’s half ironman after her accident, being force fed donuts and Lucozade certainly helped, but I was a broken man! I met with a GB selector at the end who was really impressed by my performance, but as he was only 1 of 4 selectors and a budget for the World Champs in Italy hadn’t been set yet, he couldn’t tell me anything. All I can do is keep everything crossed (although not physically because my muscles are still too sore!) that they put me on the team!

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(How I look after 3h55mins, 32.5miles and 4.5k ft elevation. Still want to marry me, Debs?)

Ok, so what I’ve discovered:

Do:

  • Drink lots and lots of water in the days prior to the race (especially if being sick the day before…)
  • Try out beetroot juice the week before your big distance event
  • Read race reports for the race – it could might save you from going the wrong way or not getting that time you were looking for
  • Praise your support crew as much as possible afterwards – I wouldn’t have made it to the start line without the better half!

Don’t

  • Obsess over food the week before. I think naturally with less training, eating the same is technically carb loading
  • Leave it last minute to pack. I never learn and always turn into a stress head (Debbie moreso at me)!
  • Borrow Callum’s watch (that was not the con…that part was a life saver!) without finding out how to use it. At 10pm on Friday night, Google and Youtube were my best friends!
  • Buy shoes the week of the race
  • Leave it to a sprint finish at the end of an ultra 😉

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*Deb edit: chubby bunny is a hilarious game involving marshmallows. If you haven’t played it, buy a bag of marshmallows and do it. Tonight.


In other news, Mum did phenomenally well in the 5km at Inverness the following day!! (Yes I did a helluva lot of travelling this weekend…) She was aiming to beat her race number (3448) and crossed the line in 33.56 by my Garmin! So proud of how far she’s coming!

…and yes she beat Kyle’s mum! She’s also been ill the last few weeks and had told us she wasn’t going to do it, then she surprised me at the start line!! Amazing efforts all round!

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I was gutted I couldn’t run (virus + calf niggle = sensible Debbie for once, plus I was sore from chasing Kyle around Yorkshire on a bunch of 20% climbs!!) but everyone did so well – cannot wait to get back running and try to catch up! 🙂

2 champs in da house: Kyle is Scottish Trail Running Champ!

http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/scottish-trail-champs-review/

The old ball n chain is ready to SMASH the Loch Ness Marathon on 25th September!

The day before I won my Triathlon national title, he went and beat me to it(!), claiming gold in the Scottish trail champs held in Fife.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go down as I was on DIY duty (I was going to use that as my excuse to Kyle if I didn’t match his result the following day!) but I wish I had!

This is his recap of his national title performance:



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“It was a huge confidence booster to beat a rival of mine, who has won Loch Ness in the past and has entered it this year. I hadn’t tapered for this race; I was hoping to race under pressure on tired legs and hope I could pull it off (3 days beforehand I did 17 miles with  5x4km, averaging 5.48 per mile, inc the recovery, so I was pretty tired going into it!) .

As it wasn’t an “A” race, I wasn’t nervous at all going into this. I didn’t get that butterfly feeling until about 5 seconds before the gun went off! I’ve never had that before. I think it was a combination of feeling confident in my abilities and racing under no pressure.

I didn’t leave the house until around 10am, took a couple hours to drive down and managed to get a good 2-3 mile warm up in, with good dynamic exercises and a few strides. This is something new I’ve been working on and I think it is paying off as I’m going into sessions and races feeling more limber and relaxed! I don’t really do drills, but mobilisation exercises and strides is what I recommend!

The last time I participated in the national trail champs, I was 4th, so I had a goal of podium-ming (let me off since it’s me and pretend that is a real word) and I had a rough idea of the course and was pretty sure it suited me (hard packed underfoot and undulating).

I settled into a decent pace at the front with a previous Loch Ness marathon champ, and the recent Paisley 10k winner (Deb and I did Paisley a couple years ago and both came 5th, so to win is a good achievement). I used my hill running background to my advantage to tire them out on the hills, and then there was a point with about 2 miles to go, where we turned a corner and I really pushed the hill coming out of it. I ended up in the lead with a decent gap, so I kept up my pace and came away with a win by 20 seconds!

Stopping at a supermarket on the way home for celebratory cakes and crisps, we popped open some bubbles when I got back to the house (but not too much as we were up at 4.30am the next morning for Deb’s race!!) and I managed a 20 miler while watching the National Olympic Distance Triathlon champs the following day, so I wasn’t too broken!”

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And since he will be annihilating the field at Loch Ness in <2 weeks, I decided to enter the 10k as of the end of last week (triathlon season is over!). That gives me around 5 quality run sessions to try and get a decent time and not embarrass myself! This year, I was trying to get some speed, so 10k seems like a lonnnggg way at the moment. But, given that my run split at the tri champs was 39.58 for 10.4km (yep, Strava confirmed this after thinking my time was faster than that…!), hopefully I can work from that…All tips welcome!

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Snowdon: a ‘mare of a weekend

Friday:

We leave at 11am. We are told to swing by Edinburgh to pick up another member of the Scottish team. There are major holdbacks at the Forth Road Bridge so we are at a standstill for maybe an hour. Then her train was another hour or so late. Then because we went via Edinburgh and not Glasgow, we were stuck on a single track road for part of the journey to the west side of the country. We get to England. There is a crash and we are at a standstill again for maybe 45 minutes. We then get to Wales. There is another standstill. We get to the hotel at 10.45pm; nearly 12 hours after we set off. I open my toilet bag ready to brush my teeth and go straight to bed. The toothpaste I thought I saw in it was actually Kyle’s hair removal cream that I made him use on his gorilla chest before Thailand (TMI??!). Cue us both putting our trainers on and sprinting (9min/miles) to see if we remembered where the nearest Spar was. 10.58pm, as they are getting ready to close, we get straight in, procure toothpaste, then head back to the hotel.

The one thing that kept me going:

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 (woohoo to PB M&Ms!)

Saturday:

The intention was to get up at 6am to leave by 6.30am for a 60 mile cycle. I had it all mapped out. I was hoping to take my time, take in the sights (and hills) of Snowdonia, be back by 10ish, grab food with Kyle and his fellow Scotland teammates, cheer them on at the start of the race (2pm), do a run session while they race, watch the finish, then I roped a couple of them into an open water swim in the lake with beers and sunshine, then party into the night. Sounds amazing, right?

The reality was very different. I was super tired (I felt jet lagged!) from our 4.30am wake up call and near 12 hour drive the previous day, so changed my plan to have breakfast with Babez, head out by 9.30am, come back by 1pm, see him before the race, then cheer them on/run/open water swim/beers etc. That also seemed to work. I had a printed map of my route, screen shotted it on my phone AND write the road numbers on my hand, and cycled off on my merry way up a big hill out of Llanberis.

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(stunning, aint it?)

Despite taking my time, I was averaging about 19mph for the 1st hour, when it started to get even windier and constant downpours restricted my viewing pleasure. Luckily, I had waterproofs so put them on (I was already soaked through but it would help from the wind). I was still enjoying it (it was pretty warm and the scenery was breath-taking!) After a couple hours, I was at a roundabout. The rain had taken off my ink on my hand so I referred to the map for the road number. I took the exit pretty confident and continued on that road, looking for the next road. A few miles passed and I still hadn’t seen the road I was looking for (A5). I got to 53 miles in when I was still relatively confident that I had less than 10 miles to go, I checked the map thinking the A5 would maybe only last a few miles and take me straight home. It was soaked through that I couldn’t read it. I then checked my phone (which for once was reliable and had both battery AND signal!) ready to call Kyle to tell him I’d be back in less than half an hour to have lunch with him.

No. Nooo. NOOOOO!

I had gone on the right road in the WRONG DIRECTION!!! I was now 40 MILES from Llanberis!!!!!!!!! I was not only going to miss his ENTIRE race (start and finish) but I was already exhausted, only had a snickers and banana with me, and was already shivering in the cold having only stopped for a couple of minutes. I called Kyle crying. He was amazing – he didn’t panic and told me to just take my time, try and cycle on for another 20 miles, find a town and see if I could get a taxi from there.

I did as I was told (I am an Ironman after all 😉 …!) but the storm was so bad that I couldn’t feel my fingers/toes, despite good layering (I have terrible Raynaud’s – if anyone has tips let me know!). Even my Garmin crashed (no Strava QOMs for me!). I managed to cycle for an hour or so, took what I thought was the road back to the hotel, which was uphill all the way.

Starting to feel sick with the cold, I double checked my phone. WRONG WAY AGAIN!! I don’t normally like to give up (think Ironman 3 months post car-crash), but I was broken. I rolled downhill, found a small village, saw they had a hotel, dragged me and my bike into said hotel, begged for a hot chocolate (which they brought me with extra whipped cream and a chocolate dusted sad face on top…that cheered me up for 0.8seconds!), found a settee and blanket and preceded to use their wifi and message Kyle.

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At that point it was 2.55pm. Kyle had about 15 mins left of racing so I was on the tracker. I was hoping since he didn’t see me at the finish, he would know to check his phone (he is normally rubbish with his phone!) – which he DID!! He called me about 30 minutes after my arrival at the hotel and asked for details of my location and that he would be there as soon as possible. He never even got water he just took a screen shot of where I was and headed the 23 mile journey to get me. Is he amazing or what?!

Why didn’t you get a taxi, I hear you ask? Well because the bartender offered to call some taxi companies to try and get “local’s rates” but I was quoted £70, and I am an Aberdonian. I knew I would be waiting at the hotel for a couple of hours, but they were all so nice to me there and I couldn’t get out on my bike again. I would get really ill.

So back to the time. 2.55pm. The kitchen closed at 3pm and last orders at 2.45pm. Typical! Furthermore, remember my Garmin broke in the storm? Well it was making a high pitched buzzing noise. Only no one knew it was the Garmin making the noise. People in the hotel reckoned it was the speakers/camera/wifi etc. Guests were complaining and engineers were called in. Yep, my bad. Call out charges and loss of profits from guests leaving/not buying more drinks. I was the most expensive hot chocolate they’d ever served!

When Kyle picked me up, he brought a blanket and spare clothes for me, but no water or food for him, and the said 23 mile journey took him an hour because the roads were so hilly and bendy 😦 I felt horrible and couldn’t stop crying and apologising.

When we finally got back, I just wanted to sit in the shower in the foetal position, but we bumped into a couple of the Irish team (who were our drinking buddies a couple years ago!) who enticed us to come downstairs for dinner and Jagerbombs…! Having a joke around when them (they were walking like penguins since the race had taken that much out of them) was all we both needed to cheer up and get ready for the night ahead.

It was actually more tame than expected! We had a nice dinner, then headed outside (as the storm finally cleared and it was glorious sunshine…TYPICAL!) for the sunset.

We all agreed to get up and do an easy run in the morning before travelling, and I joined them and finished off with the run session I was due to do the previous day (a creaky 4x5mins after 80 miles and a few ciders in my legs!).

The road trip home (we took James who ROCKED the race with an 11th place debut and 1st Scot home!) was a LOT more fun than the journey there, and not just because we stopped for a dozen Dunkin Donuts en route! But by the time we got home it was 8pm and time for dinner & bed…

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(Delirious selfie after 8 hours of driving!)

I feel so much better for ranting that out to you guys…thanks for listening!

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adasd


Every got lost on a cycle/run/race?

Most you would pay/have paid for a taxi?

Hill races: awesome or hell?

Garioch 5k win, Kyle’s ridiculous win, and the rest of my birthday

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Let’s start with mid-week, shall we? This was not how I had anticipated feeling for my birthday 😦

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It has been lingering for a while, and still(!) won’t go away! And Kyle was off work yesterday so wish him well too, ‘kay?

I had totally forgotten about St Patrick’s Day, thus forgetting my Guinness! Callum must hate me! However, I DID remember to dig out my Victoria’s Secret panties that my own MOTHER gifted me last year:

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(Anyone else think this a tad inappropriate to give your daughter?! Or for the blog….)

Ok on to birthday weekend. After a tough training week, including my 1st commute(!), I was ready for Friday afternoon off and a trip down to Dalgety Bay to visit Sisterister Emma for dinner and drinks, then shopping on Saturday morning.

Delicious food, some prosecco and easter eggs for dessert meant for such a fun evening! (Emma’s 26th birthday was yesterday! 2 years and 2 days apart!)

The following morning, I had a short n sweet 3x2min @ 10k pace run to do, so where better to do it than the Bay itself…the photos don’t do it justice – the sun was just rising and it was stunning!!

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Then we hit the outlets and Mum dropped me off back at work (where my bike was) so I could cycle home (fitting training around an action packed weekend was tough!). Unfortunately, the wind and my bad timing of how  much over the speed limit fast a car was going, meant an emergency stop and me skidding and landing on my wrist. Not cool. Look away now if you don’t like blood blisters, swelling (and my mutant toe thumbs).

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(This was the following morning…I wore a support and a big glove for the races in case clumsy me fell again)

It is actually still pretty sore and I had to do kick in the pool on Monday, and turbo instead of cycling outside, so I hope the swelling and pain goes down soon. Can someone teach me how to fall with less pain, please?

When I got in, Kyle had already left to pick up our friend Gary who came up from Edinburgh to do the Garioch Half Marathon in training his sub 3.10 in a couple weeks! 😉 so I attempted to derobe and sat in the bath and cried in pain with a hot chocolate, as the entire cycle was a freezing hell and that whipped cream, marshmallows, and bubble bath was what kept me going that entire journey. #mentaltoughness

When they arrived, I had a bag of peas on me, so I was feeling better, and Kyle cooked quesadillas while we all had some beers and caught up, so all in all it was a really fun day!

Sunday morning, I woke up to a quick breakfast in bed (cheers, Babez!) and got ready to be at the Run Garioch event for 8.30am-ish, as Kyle and I were asked if we could do a couple of the kid’s races!

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(that’s me in the pink! that was so much fun – those kids are gutsy!)

I was running with 5 year old John, who was crying because there were so many people and he was scared. I promised I wouldn’t let anything happen to him and we would run faster than the tractors he plays with at home. He stopped crying, held me hand, and we waited for the gun. Approximately 0.3seconds after the gun went off, John shot away like a bullet and I never saw him again..!

I was faffing around, playing with the kids, chatting with Callum and Mum & Keith, who had come to watch, that I totally lost track of time! I got to the start line of my 5k race with maybe 30 seconds to spare (don’t worry – the kids’ races had warmed me up, and I managed some strides a little earlier). This really got the adrenaline pumping and I was ready to race this 5k!

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I was chatting to David Langan a couple days beforehand, who had eased my mind and told me the hill wasn’t as bad as I thought. Well, we are no longer friends! That hill just kept going and going right into the countryside, where you had nowhere to hide from the wind! One guy ahead of me dropped out after the hill…I hope he was ok!?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUp6KH3RknE

Langan got 3rd place, by the way, and totally rocked it! But I may forgive him after he admitted he had underestimated said hill.

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My original plan was to try and stay close to the lead guys, so as to be protected from the wind, but they all went off like a rocket and I was left all alone. I managed to pick off one after about a mile, but he reeled me in in the final 500m (grrr!). It was a lonely race for me, but I was happy I could still see the guys in front. The revised plan was to stay within myself on the uphills, and really push the downhills.

Unfortunately, Callum caught me at the worst ever moment and I look like Voldemort. I have aged a lot this birthday…

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With about a kilometer to go, I regained my strength and powered down the hill to the finish. When my watch flashed 5km and I was nowhere near the line, I was confused, and annoyed! I tried to keep pushing (for another 30+ seconds) for 3.19 miles in 19.07 (actually  my chip time read 42 minutes, so they had to use gun time!).

Everyone else read it as super long (was it measured in the car and we were only  allowed on pavements, perhaps?), but it was never going to be a PB course with >200ft elevation gain!

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(look for orange legs and you’ll find me!)

No photos of the finish (Emma actually called my Mum while Keith was filming, which apparently loses all video history on iphones?), but I can confirm I won by just under a minute, and was 7th overall out of around 400 runners.

Kyle had a phenomenal day!!! His coach had asked him to do 7 steady paced miles right before his half started, so he could make 20 miles for the day. He average sub-6 minute miles for these, then did the half only 4 seconds over his own course record in 1.10.41!! Again, a pretty hilly course, so he is getting super confident for London now! If you missed his last update on how training is going, you will find it here!

Gary managed a 1.28 (I told him to go that time since I was 28 that day), executed to perfection, and Callum and I watched the finish line from the car park for an hour – while I was on the turbo!!! I was meant to do a recovery ride but my hand was too swollen.

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After prize-giving and a couple of beers in the VIP area, we headed back to Alford for some grub and birthday drinks!

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(a nice wee surprise post-fish n chips! poor club-hand)

Then Gary and Callum left, I opened some presents, then hit the hay (stoopid school night!).

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(no it’s my birthday, and I swim, cycle and run anyway!)

HUGE congrats to Fiona RudBri, who represented Scotland and the Home Countries International cross country champs at the weekend! And also to Jeremy Kibble who FINALLY smashed his half mara PB in Alloa!!


Who all ran Garioch? 

Did you find it hilly?

Do you prefer undulating courses or flat and fast courses?