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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One injured but one gets a GB vest!

Yep. Stiiiiiiiill injured.

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(Punk IPA and Radical Road are good ways of dealing with injury…)

Remember that time I gave advice on how to cope with injury? Yeah do as I say don’t do as I do (I have added a couple kgs from comfort eating (“ahhh my world is ending. i will never run again. oh look, chocolate”))

BUT my best friends are now my ice pack and hot water bottle, I have channeled my spare time to more biking and wedding planning, AND I have forced Kyle on the bike with me and can even smash him pip him to the top by a couple secs now!

It sucks that the weather has been glorious (for Aberdeen) and I can’t get out at lunchtimes, BUT lighter nights mean some cycling/walking outside so that keeps my vitamin D up a little.

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(my handsome fiance/walking buddy)

I have taken out these frustration on some nearby hills! Last weekend, I did some Suie hill reps after our first meeting with our humanist (realised we needed one of those otherwise it is just a big party!), then the following day redeemed myself by cycling the entire way up the Lecht rather than stopping on the first part after my granny gear failed on me last time!

 

When I checked strava, I saw Noodles had beaten me up by 5 secs and I was GUTTED!

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(he blamed using a TT bike…clearly using every excuse in the book #chicked)

Other fun news was that Speedhub sent me an aero suit to try (tri?)…!!

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(“Kyle this is so cool – take a pic take a pic!” “Shouldn’t you sort your hair and put makeup on 1st? You don’t want them to drop you already…” …should have maybe listened to him for once! 😉 and yes my leg is taped there too)

So I’ve not ran at all and Healing Hands Helen (she fixed me after the accident) has banned me for a while, but I really hope I can come back soon! I hate to love people running so amazingly well at the moment and I can’t join in the fun!

In other news, I found an action shot from Mum’s 1st 5km!

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(she’s in the zone!)

And I also found a pic from our Christmas dance

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(I am a lion)

Another random finding was Kyle finding this on Facebook:

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(oh dear to having ZERO transition skills a year ago! JK that was our first date – looking forward to our rematch! #novice)

My sister loved her bday present

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(she is now a mermaid)

Her birthday is 2 days after mine, so I guess it’s a bit like Christmas with the giving and receiving of gifts for us!

For my birthday KB and I went to Aviemore! It was beautiful and we had the best time!

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(oh yes Kyle now has Instagram – add him!!)

Why was it so amazing you ask?

BECAUSE WE WERE ALSO CELEBRATING KYLE MAKING THE GB TEAM FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!!!!

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(read all about it here!)

For those of you who don’t know, his Haworth Hobble really paid off!! I couldn’t have been more proud! It is his lifetime goal to make a legit Great Britain team and wear a GB vest to compete on a world level! I KNEW the ultra distance would suit him!

So he is off to Italy in June 😀 I’ll force him ask him nicely to do a post about his training and any team updates!

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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Scottish Aquathlon Champs – 3rd female

Positive: Glad I did it to get the race experience, good to get used to getting knocked about on the swim (and experience racing outdoors), got some dolla dolla $$, didn’t give up after being behind after transition, it was a glorious day!

Negative: Got knocked and fell back on the swim, swallowed so much water I couldn’t run fast, couldn’t get wetsuit off, couldn’t get either foot in either shoe, transition was about 20 seconds slower than anyone else in the top 15/20, probably didn’t push the run as hard as I could have (I was apprehensive given I have been/am injured, and already admitted defeat beforehand “I can’t run cross country”)

What a gorgeous day!! There were no excuses weather-wise! Zero wind (until the relays), bright sunshine (my face is still rosy!) and warm temperature (unless you were in the loch. That wasn’t warm at 15C!).

It was my 1st mass start from the water (Kalmar people jumped in the sea in waves of their predicted time) so that was…erm…interesting. I got kicked a few times and crossed elbows after the gun went off, but it was quite fun! My Kaiman Exo goggles from Aqua Sphere were actually phenomenal! They never fogged or leaked once, and usually at races I am panicking rubbing my lenses a good dozen times beforehand!

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Coming back round to the boathouse, I passed a couple of people but kept swallowing water (ewwww to drinking a litre of lake water in under 10 minutes!) then out I got with a stomach sloshing away and failing to unzip my suit because I wasn’t feeling great. When I got to my shoes and eventually pulled off my wetsuit, despite my towel lying there, I couldn’t get my feet dry enough to fit into my trainers! Cue a bazillion people leaving transition before me.

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I kept trying to pick people off, particularly on the wee hill we went up a couple of times, and by the time we got to the forest, I was about 30s down on Julie (who smashed it and came 2nd overall!), and could just about see her in the distance. I managed to narrow the gap in the 2nd lap, but not by much, so I crossed the line in 3rd place behind Natalie and Julie! I’m really glad I got the experience and it gives me more confidence for future races with outdoor swims!

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(Top: girl winners, Middle: age group winners, Bottom: overall winners)

 

Mixed Relay

A couple hours later, we were taking part in the mixed relay. There were 2 Triathlon Scotland Performance teams going head to head, and I was to go last in our team, comprising of Stefan (a PHENOMENAL para-triathlete!), Sarah (who is flying having broken her arm recently) and Kate (she is in the youth squad but could kick all the senior boys’ butts in a track race 😉 !)

Because I had 2 swims, I brought 2 wetsuits, keeping my Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuit for the relay to try and win for the team! Fiona was calling out splits, so when Stefan slapped me and it was my turn to go, I was just over a minute behind the other TS team! I swam hard (perhaps venturing off course slightly…oops to getting overexcited and forgetting to look where I was going), managed to get my wetsuit off in good time this time, but couldn’t jump on the bike (get some confidence girl!), so another poor T1 time for me!

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The wind had really picked up now and I was riding solo, but I felt strong going into the dead turn. After probably the slowest turn of the day, I got round the cone and tried really hard to nail it up the hill into the headwind. When I got back to about 200m from transition, I had to slow down for an ambulance who had come to rescue Tracy (she broke her toe after a nasty crash…SPEEDY recovery so you can SMASH Celtman in 4 weeks!), which again made me panic a bit getting of my bike, so coming off my shoe hit the ground and came off the bike.

The run was pretty slow for me. My legs were a little tired from earlier but I just kept trying to pick up the cadence. I was 40seconds down on the other TS team after the cycle so I tried to keep pushing so catch him! Again, the run was just that little bit too short and I managed to close the gap to 15seconds behind them. Grrr!!!! Next time!

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It was a really fun day and getting back home around 4.30 meant we could get the BBQ we bought on Saturday going, and have a few protein shakes beers in the sun before it disappeared and the working week started again!

Hope you had a good weekend and IF you happen to be reading the Scottish Herald on Saturday, look out for a certain Debzie Babez…! 😉

Dinnet Do a Trail Race if you Suck at Trails

Just a quick post to let you know the move was a SUCCESS! More on this later but we are so so happy in the new place and we have lit the woodburner every night with a glass bottle of wine and everything is starting to come together! I’ll post some pics soon but hope to see you there in person for a trail run followed by cake in front of the fire 🙂 !

To break up the monotony of unpacking, on Saturday lunchtime we hit up the Loch Kinord 10k trail race. Kyle got the record last year and we got a free meal out of it, so he was hoping for the same this year. He was not leaving me to do extra housework so I said I’d tag along.

Mistake number 1: I never run trails

Mistake number 2: I hate mud and tree roots and hills and rocks and puddles

Mistake number 3: I have dodgy lungs that I am still recovering from

To summarise, Kyle won! But no free meal. I walked up (and down) the hilly parts, avoided all puddles (pretty much 70% of the course), and allowed a veteran to pass me in the final 500m, pushing me down to a humiliating 4th place. Let’s pretend I never told you that. Shout out to Tamster who dominated the women’s race (sorry I was in poor form…I wasn’t in a good place!)!

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(No pics of us, but proof that I stopped a couple times (silly wheezing), and went so slow negotiating how to get around puddles and rocks that my Garmin thought I was having a rest (technically true but besides the point!))

Oh yeah, and on Tuesday we had a day off work (a lot of stuff was arriving and we wanted a relaxing day off after a mental weekend) that included Kyle attending the Garioch Running Races launch (entries opened on Tuesday!) in Inverurie while I shopped, then we ran up Bennachie on our way home.

Mistakes as per above 3 points

When I started running in 2012, I used to run up Bennachie usually before parkrun on a Saturday morning. My time up the tourist Mither Tap route was around 22 minutes.

On Tuesday, it took me 26 minutes including stops. At one point I was wheezing so much I sat down on a tree trunk and cried. I was so mad that I couldn’t even run easy up the hill just to complete it. I was mad that this had to happen to me. I was mad that I was in pain. I was embarrassed that I was running with an international hill running superstar and not by myself so noone needed to know. So many doubts crossed my mind. Why am I bothering? Why am I kidding myself with goals of Commonwealths? What have I done to deserve this?

Kyle was awesome (as always). He reminded me of what I have achieved already. How far I have come (duh, Ironman) and how far I have yet to come. The research we have done shows that most people take years to come back to fitness after multiple PEs. He said I need to be patient and everything will fall into place. That I just need to relax. Then he said if I come 4th in a local running race again he will dump me 😉

Wow I really do tell you guys everything but I just want you to know about my progress. Hopefully I can read back on this in a few years and be proud of what I’ve achieved considering. I already am proud I guess.

OK enough soppiness – THIS has already cheered me up! Remember Phil? Well he did the Birmingham half this week and sent me one of his official photos:

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(Maybe I should copyright my thumbs up pose?)

The last message put in for good measure to help with my self esteem 😉

Well he smashed it in 1.27 in his 1st half (his Kalmar run split was 5.22 but don’t tell him I told you) thanks to Kyle’s coaching skills and Phil’s phenomenal training! People doing awesome definitely inspires me and keeps me going! So y’all better keep kicking a$$!

Re-reading John’s post about trying to qualify for Kona really picked up my spirits too (thanks for the mention John!):

There are two more blogs I’d like to mention. Debbie Moore, a girl I worked with in the USA many summers ago, has taken up Ironman. She’s very good. She was more than likely going to absolutely smash Ironman Kalmar in Sweden to pieces, and more than likely give the pros a run for their money. Until she was knocked off her bike a couple of months before the race and suffered all sorts of injuries and health complications in the aftermath of her accident. She made it to the start line at Kalmar. I honestly didn’t expect much, but she demonstrated some seriously superhuman qualities and she qualified for Kona. Wow. She declined to accept her Kona slot, rightfully knowing she had put her body through hell, and rightfully knowing she needed to rest and recover, and rightfully knowing that when she races next year, she will achieve incredible things. Her blog is here.

Oh and another thing that made me laugh:

(Can anyone relate??)


Anyone had a sucky run this week?

Worse racing experience? 

Best racing experience?

Sometimes it’s nice to get away…other times face your fears!

This weekend, Kyle and I ventured to Forres to stay at Mummy & Daddy Greig’s!

On Friday evening (after stopping off to view a house en route…we are SUCH grownups), we drove up the road and stopped off at a lovely forest trail on a beach for a walk/run for me, and a run-and-come-back-like-a-boomerang-so-Debzie-doesn’t-get-lost for Kyle!

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(the forest led us to here! how pretty is this!?)

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(cute couple??)

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(that’s better!)

When we arrived, they told us we had the choice of Indian or Chinese takeaway for dinner…That was us told! While we went to pick the food up, Mummy & Daddy Greig made us “zombie” cocktails (we’re told the recipe called for 3 x different types of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, sugar and grenadine…can you tell why they’re called zombies?!) which just tasted like juice… What an awesome Friday!

On Saturday, Kyle wanted to get some hill practice in for the Scottish champs this weekend, so we drove to Cornhill Highland Games so he could take part in annihilate the field in their hill race! £250 later he was a happy boy! Well done Kylie Babez!

While he was doing that, I took it upon myself to attempt a coastal cycle…alone. I thought coast = flat. Boy was I wrong! It was STUNNING though! I felt like such a tourist, and I wasn’t as afraid as I thought I would be (the roads were quiet and cars were friendly!)!

I just took my time and was so grateful to be on that bike again!

First stop, Portsoy:

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Then on to Cullen:

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(So beautiful!)

It was perfect timing because by the time I arrived back at the car, Kyle had picked up his trophy!

Again, on the drive to Forres, we stopped off for a wee run up to Nelson Tower. It was around 2km and took a peglegged-Debster just over 18 minutes…I am one unfit and sore runner!…Getting stronger every day though 🙂 (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway).

The views were worth it though!:

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(Super windy but still warm!)

Forres is such a friendly place! At the top of the tower there was a volunteer who let us use her binoculars, and explained to us that there are around 60 volunteers who help out with things around the town; gardening, attractions (they hold the European Pipe Band Championships there!), and other bits ‘n’ bobs! I’m not sure of any other places that would have such a passionate and proud community!?

After our run, I was STARVING!! It was nearly 4pm and I had had neither breakfast NOR lunch…just a coffee! Luckily, Hammy (Mummy Greig) had helped out at a coffee morning that day so brought back lots of cakes for us!

Kyle and I headed to Elgin to go shopping (he is that much of a runner boy he forgot jeans for the weekend!), then we all met at the bowling alley!

Needless to say I was the WINNER! (For the 1st round. Then I took the adult balls which are far too heavy for me, and came 3rd. Kid balls are so much easier. Why didn’t the handbike make me stronger these last few weeks?? Guns, where are yoooou??).

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Debzie Babez took the win with 125 points, followed not-so-closely by “Babez” (a mistake for Daddy Greig), then “KB” (Kylie Babez), then “Hammy” (Mummy Greig), who did us a favour by forcing herself to come last in both rounds… 😉

Since this is MY blog, I make the rules and I will not show you our 2nd round results. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty…

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After an UH-mazing meal in a local restaurant (after my Cullen trip I had Cullen Skink for starters…wowser!), we were soooo full so, instead of hitting the Forres pubs, or “paaabs” in their accent(!), we opted for a movie, pjs and Prosecco back at the house… we are all getting old!

On Sunday, we had breakfast and headed back down the road. The weather wasn’t so great, but nevertheless if you train in the hail and gale force winds, then you can race in anything (or sit at the side of the road and cry because your boyfriend has left you in his cosy car in the middle of nowhere, you have no phone signal in the middle of nowhere, and you have DOMS from your short cycle and run yesterday because coming back from injury is tiring and sore).

Nah, that didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong – I THOUGHT about it a bazillion times, but I tried to man up and cycle home without too much drama! Some of the scenery was INCREDIBLE but I was definitely excited to see Keith, who cycled out to meet me and cycle back with me, and go back to theirs for more BBQ fun and s’more time.

CONVENIENTLY, the sun came out AFTER I’d had a shower.

To prove just how cold I was, after my 6 hour shower (bit of an exaggeration, but go with me on this one), THIS is what I looked like:

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My outfit of choice: 2 pairs of thermal socks, large sweat pants, a ski jumper, and a dressing gown. I couldn’t feel my toes!! Kyle felt like one lucky man when he arrived and saw that stunner before his eyes!

We did some planning for Davos (we leave a week tomorrow!) and then KB and I left back to the flat to unpack and do chores. I don’t like being an adult!

After a quick Skype with coach Noodles (who keeps rubbing it in how amazing the weather is in Houston but STILL won’t invite me), we established he is still confident I can toe the line in Kalmar Ironman…less than 10 WEEKS TO GO!!!! HELP!!!!!

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In all seriousness, I really have my work cut out for me. My knee gives me pain every minute of every day.

Then I saw THIS before bed and it hit home, making me cry. It really touched me :

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Unfortunately, not all people survive car crashes. To everyone running in Eddie’s 10k tonight, thank you for doing your bit. For those of you unaware, Neil Jaffrey – a very popular runner in the area, was killed on his bike by a car last year. There is a 10k tonight in honour of him and I’ll be there marshalling!

Life is precious, people! Cherish it, and make sure you have no regrets!! ❤ xx