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  🙂

 

Overcoming Stress Through Sport

Geezo – life can be stressful sometimes! Whether it is at work, with family, in sport, or other life changes, stress really can take the fun out of it!

My biggest stress this year has been working in the oil industry! Not one but TWO rounds of redundancies in 2015! The 1st round was right around my birthday and just a couple weeks before my car accident, and the other is happening now! On Friday, I received the news that I am safe again so a) I must be doing something right,  and b) that is one GIGANTIC weight off my shoulders (until next time….!)! Going through these processes has made me realise that health comes first, what will be will be, and just make sure you stay happy!

It was just a shame that it was announced just as we’d purchased our awesome new house! Moving house is stressful enough, without not knowing whether you will be able to afford it or not! Luckily, we had a game plan for worst case scenario (run away crying, move in with parents, shop to make me feel better use savings and take any job you can while extending the mortgage) to keep as much of the strain away as possible.

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(a wee gift for our new tenant, so he wouldn’t have a panic moving!)

In sport, we put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves; whether it is to win, to get a PB EVERY race, to go faster every training session. The above has made me realise that I do sport to escape the tensions of every day life. If I were to add extra stresses from swimming, cycling and running, my head would explode! If my mind’s not in a hard workout one day, no biggie, I’ll get it next time. Trying is better than nothing. If a couple of bad sessions leads to a race that didn’t go too well due to external pressures, don’t dwell on it too much, and instead try and utilise that frustration to make you train/race harder and really release that stress! There is nothing better than nailing a tough session after a mental day in the office! You feel like you can achieve anything!

While training for the Ironman, I put a huge amount of pressure on myself. I worked hard in a difficult climate to fight for my job, and I put everything I could into rehab for my knee/lung blood clot. When I started back running, I would get mad at myself for not hitting paces that I could smash at the start of the year. There were even a couple of running sessions that I shouted at Kyle for encouraging me for being able to run, while I thought he was patronising me and my slow poke self!

I did a 180 and realised everything will fall into place! It all happens for a reason, and I am so so SO happy right now! I can swim without the bubblewrap sensation in my ribcage, I can cycle without too much knee pain, and I can run at a half decent speed (still wheezing but running nonetheless). All these things make me so happy and I use them as a frustration taker-outer (?!), an anti-depressant, a positivity maker, and a better person as a whole! Sport and exercising is super important for all round well being, and the last few weeks (with work, moving and life) has made me really realise this!

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(Perhaps 5am isn’t the best time to de-stress, but it certainly kicks off my day 5ish kilometers later!)

And food. Food also helps ease the pain of work stresses. I highly recommend either.

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(Demolished at 11pm after too many hours of moving our stuff from the flat to Mum’s garage, and moving to Mum’s flat in town)

Oh, and the rugby was particularly stressful on Sunday. Cue Kyle and I listening to it on the radio coming home from Forres and deciding it was so tense we had to go for a run. We waited in Kirkhill car park until the final second with anxiety. Half a dozen others surrounded us listening in….it was amazing! A shame, but amazing!!

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(“We are not running until the whistle goes”)

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(2minutes to go…..we are going to wiNNNN-oh no, we lost. Damn..)


What helps you relax? Bubble baths? Wine? Chocolate? All 3?!

What is your go-to exercise to chill? Yoga? Pilates? A tempo 4 miler?!

Back in the Training Mentality

For a while over Christmas I was getting the training done, but almost as a tick box exercise.

“Let’s run x miles so I can have that glass bottle of mulled wine later.”

“Let’s go for a x km swim as a hangover cure after drinking said glass bottle of wine.”

Lumphanan didn’t feel great, but that race – along with watching Unbroken with with McDoogz and Kylie – definitely made me excited for the year ahead! I have already stated my goals for this year, but I also want to enjoy the process!

I want to enjoy the adrenaline rush after being in the pain cave aka turbo for a few hours.

I want to enjoy the sicktomystomach feeling on the last rep of an interval sesh.

I want to enjoy “the wall” during the last couple miles of a long tempo run.

I want to enjoy the “I’ve done all I can” feeling when I get to the start line.

(Of course appreciating that work comes first!)

This week I was a lot more stimulated to “train” as opposed to “work out” than previous weeks. Last week I was ill so despite being mentally motivated, I lacked physical mojo. As of Monday I was back on the wagon!

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My week so far:

Monday

am swim: 5.2km, including 12×50 kick with fins on 45secs (oh, the burn!) AND 24×100 pull on 1.40 (dec 1-4)x6!

pm: ran 7 easy

also pm: I got some really good news 🙂

Tuesday

pm: (run) 1 mile WU, (60secs @ 5k pace/60secs recovery)x8 straight on to 4x6mins @ 10k pace (It might as well have been 4x1mile considering I was only .01/.02 miles over each time!) w 2mins recovery/1.5 mile CD and then sauna with Kylie babez….ouch my legs were so sore eating dinner afterwards I felt so fidgety!

Wednesday

am: 4.6km swim, including 30×100 pull on 1.40 max (I could barely type at my desk the rest of the day!)

pm: 1hr turbo, including “Russian sprints” (I think they call it?) ie 15on/45recov, 30on/30recov, 45on/15recov, 60on/60recov then back down the pyramid – I did that twice then had to call it a day and spinned my legs until I got to an hour!

Thursday

am: 2.5 run easy to work

pm: 10 mile tempo run in the Hazlehead Hurricane! Winds were mental!!! 45mph gusts in all directions when I was running! Along with running on the undulating trails I’ll take a 6.55 average!

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Friday

am: 5.1km swim, including 12×200 pull on 3.10 relatively easy

I plan on playing on the turbo after work then Saturday a long cycle/short run and long run Sunday!

So a lot of training (impressed with swimming 15km over 3 90min sessions!)

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I went to Steven at Holburn Cycles straight after work yesterday to fit a bike I’m borrowing (Phil you are amazing!), thinking “cool if I can get there for 6 I can be home half an hour later to prepare dinner for the guys”. I don’t know why I even thought that! Steve is super nice and time flies by in his shop so I was there for over an hour!! And yes, I was late for MY OWN DINNER PARTY (Kyle got extra bf points for entertaining – redeeming himself from when I was ill!)! He just chatted from everything from single leg drills (good; relevant) to plyometric training (again, relevant) to weddings (not so relevant) to flights to the Phillipenes (not relevant) to chamoix cream (back to being relevant again – thanks for the samples!!!) Steven, next time we agree to meet remind me I am not to plan anything else for the rest of the night, m’kay??!

Freyja, her bf Atki and her bro Chris were at the flat when I got back and for dins we had bbq pulled chicken burgers with sweet potato fries, and they brought THE BEST homemade brownies ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had them warmed up with ice cream and that definitely fueled me for this morning’s swim!!

…Although we watched Sabotage last night (lads choice) and I had horrible dreams all night of being a mass murderer. I kept waking up with such guilt. Lack of sleep means there’s a high chance I will crash and burn by 2pm.

Ok that’s enough from me for now. Have a great weekend…!

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Questions for you:

Ever have an “off” couple of weeks training-wise? How do you re-focus?

Weekend plans?

Does anyone else get fidgety after a hard sesh?