Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2009 Review (Running)

2009 was another mixed year as far as running goes. Like 2008 it started well with a new PB at the Lumphanan 10K, but then went downhill. A combination of gout and taking a knock at footie was a huge set back but I managed to recover in time to take part in the Highland Fling Relay (just, I think I was about a week away from trying to find a replacement), which was a lot of fun but not a great day for me. The Durris Mast Hill Race and Hairy Haggis Relay in May went well, as did the Ythan challenge, but my run at the Stonehaven Half Marathon was a disappointment on an over-hot day.

After that, the focus was on building stamina for the Loch Ness Marathon. The LNM was great, except for the last 5 miles where my thighs hurt with every step. I also had a good time with the club's Improvers Cup runs, moonlight runs, and the couple of West Highland Way training runs we went on recently, so in general there have been a lot of good times this year.

I set my targets for this year as "a PB or two, some decent times, a 50min 10K, participation in some different events, and keep on smiling" and did OK: a new 10K PB, heaps of new events and distances, and managed to keep a smile most of the time.

Looking forward to next year, the first change is that the Lumphanan 10K will be later in January because of the weather, then I've got The Mighty Deerstalker to look forward to, along with another crack at the Fling relay. There will no doubt be a few other big runs and occasional events in there. It would be nice to get that 50min 10K, but to be honest, I'm not that fussed as long as I get out in the fresh air, do a few new things, see a few different places, meet friends new and old, and generally keep enjoying it.

Hope you all have a great 2010, whatever you get up to.

"A grand way to spend a Sunday afternoon"

Just the other week, we were staying at the Crieff Hydro for the in-laws 40th wedding celebrations and had decided to combine our trip with a bit of hill running and Munro bagging, so were going to head up Ben Chonzie (or Ben-y-Hone or whatever you want to call it). Unfortunately, the whole weekend was pretty much a white-out down at the bottom, so venturing up the hill would have been foolhardy, if not actually impossible - we couldn't even get the car out of the car park for much of the weekend. Instead we just had to do a lot of eating, drinking, playing games, and having fun with my in-laws. A very fine way to spend a snowy weekend.

We did run a couple of miles into town and around the estate, and on Sunday afternoon, Vikki and I ventured out into the snow for a quick run up The Knock. It was only a couple of miles but a nice wee gradient, a wander through the woods across the top, and then a speedy descent in the snow which felt great. We passed a woman out walking her dogs who remarked "A grand way to spend a Sunday afternoon". Couldn't agree more, and it was a nice way to build up an appetite for our meal that evening which was lovely, and during which many gifts were exchanged - the girls got lovely new rings, and the boys each got a quaich which were put to good use.

We took a few pictures:

Mum and Dad's Ruby Anniversary

Friday, 4 December 2009

2009 Advent Calendar 03

Well, things are really hotting up now. Yesterday's fantastic gift is a parrot. In the meantime, the pirate is having difficulties with a sword-wielding ghost that Calum has contributed to the scene.
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Thursday, 3 December 2009

2009 Advent Calendar 02

I wanted to do something a bit cleverer with this, but don't really have time. Hope you like it anyway!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

2009 Advent Calendar

It's December. And that means one thing (OK, it means lots of things to lots of different people but don't split hairs). It means it's time for advent calendars. This year's Lego effort (which I will once again attempt to share with you all) is pirate themed (very Christmassy). And here is day 1.....
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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

A friend reckons that the 3rd leg of the Fling relay "looks like a walk through the Dutch Tulip Fields" so I was looking forward to a nice easy run on Saturday. It turns out that my memory is probably more reliable than his speculation and yesterday's wee adventure featured rock climbing, jaggy bushes, wading in the loch, goats and bears.

We - Vikki, Loon Dod, Lintie, Dave_K, Sophster, supernormal, HappyG(rrr) (as they are popularly known on Fetch) and I - set off from The Drovers at Inverarnan just after 9 and headed South with the morning mist starting to lift and reveal the snow capped mountains. The path was frequently wet and actually disappeared into the loch a few times, so it was all a bit squelchy. Thankfully the sun was out so we all warmed up quickly enough and had a pleasant run (with a lot of walking bits). I never felt like I'd manage 28 miles so turned back at about 9 miles, leaving the ultra athletes to get on with it, and picked my way back up the path - I managed to run more than I had back in April but it was still pretty slow going.

I got back to the car, sent out a text to let people know I'd made it, then got changed and headed to the pub for a pint and to warm up. I got a reply from mrs s to say they were all OK and about 8.5 miles away. After a slow pint and a cup of coffee, I decided to go out and take a walk back along the trail for a bit, but quickly realised this wasn't such a good idea - it was starting to get dark and mrs s had my head torch so I headed back to the car and settled in to read my book for a bit as the moon rose over the hills.

Time ticked by.

I think I'd have been slightly worried but for the fact that I knew mobile phone reception was good and that there was a wealth of experience in the group. As it was I was just a little surprised how long it was before I saw the twinkles of torch light on the hillside and knew that they were getting close. I flashed the car lights a couple of times with the idea that it might be noticed and provide some encouragement. In vain, in turns out but before long, those little lights had gone off in the direction of Bein Glas and then reappeared coming down the road.

After much hugging and clothes changing we stopped for a quick drink (non-alcoholic for me since I unusually volunteered to drive) in the bar and then it was time to go home, weary and happy after another great day out in fantastic company. Thanks to everyone there who helped make it a very enjoyable day.

There are some pictures here on Picasa

As an aside, mrs s and I were getting hungry by the time we neared Perth on the way home so decided to stop and grab some food. McDonalds was convenient and against my better judgement we stopped there. And I have to admit, it was actually not too bad.