Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 9

It was another rather “blah” week. I’m trying super hard to stay cheerful and positive, but when every day is the same as the day before, with no hint of a change, it can get pretty tough. That’s not to say the week was awful – there were certainly plenty of fun/satisfying moments – but my goodness it’s getting hard to find a new way to write about how I’m spending my days! Still, the streak continued, training continued, and I achieved a couple more things from my “Lockdown List”.

Monday – 5k + garden workout + home yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 8.2 miles

I actually didn’t have a theme for my running tops this week – unless the theme was “random tops I pulled from my drawer”! I did, however, take this as a kind of recovery week. Normally a training cycle would build for 3 weeks then cut back for a week to allow the body to adapt to the training. Now while I’m not training for anything (who is right now!) I am running more frequently and my average weekly mileage has risen, so it felt like a sensible idea to give my body a bit of a break while still maintaining my run streak. Not that I’ve been running hard by any stretch of the imagination, but to consciously slow it down and take things easy did feel good and I do feel more refreshed as a result.

I also kept up with my weekday yoga and had a workout on 4 out of the 5 days (it was super windy on Friday and there was some rain in the afternoon so a garden workout wasn’t really possible, and a living room workout just didn’t fit with how we have been structuring those workouts, so we just gave that one a miss).

In a week of the same old Groundhog Day existence, there were a few other things to mention.

There wasn’t much of note on Monday. I usually have my Hatha yoga class (currently via Zoom) but my teacher was having a week off so I did a Yoga with Adriene video instead.

Tuesday was far more interesting. I ordered myself a little present which arrived around lunchtime:

I have been wanting these for ages and decided now was the time to splurge and treat myself. So far I love them. The quality is so much better than the wired EarPods that come with iPhones and they are great for listening to podcasts and things around the house. I know some people wear them to run but I have no plans to do that as I prefer the open-ear experience of wearing my Aftershokz for that.

I also did a bit of life admin on Tuesday. I had received a reminder letter than my driving licence was going to expire soon, so I went through the process to renew it online, which was pretty easy. I needed my passport to do this (since I can’t go and get a new photo I had the option to renew using my passport details) and when I got my passport out I noticed that my EHIC card had expired. Since technically I still have trips booked for later this year (although I’m not very hopeful) I thought I had better renew it as it’s still needed throughout the Brexit transition period. I suspect this might be the most optimistic thing I’ve done since we went into lockdown!

After all that adulting (bleugh!) I finished up the craft project I had started at the weekend:

Can you guess?

That’s right, a stand to hold my Disney ears. My sister made me something like this a while back but I needed more so after gathering together the supplies and interrogating her about how she did it, I decided it fell within my capabilities and had a go. I’m quite pleased with the result.

And I enjoyed some snuggles with my boy.

In all honesty the most exciting thing to happen on Wednesday was that I found a four leafed clover in our back garden. In fact, we found a patch of them growing! When I was little I used to always look for these but never found any and was convinced they were just made up, so this was quite a surprise!

I also prepped a big pot of chilli ready to slow cook for our dinner the following evening.

I’m glad I was so organised as I actually found Thursday a bit stressful. The First Minister announced the Scottish Government plans for easing out of lockdown, all of which seem perfectly sensible to me. We won’t be opening our schools up until the new school year in August, but staff will likely be in schools at some point in June in order to plan for a blended approach to teaching from August. What caused me some stress was not knowing the detail of all of that yet as some of it comes from a local level, such as when we might be required back in school. The other thing stressing me out was the fact that the start of the new academic year was standardised so that ALL schools will go back on the same day. Our new school year was not due to start until the following week and initially I was concerned that we would lose holiday time (I know, I know, it’s not like I’m getting away, but after dealing with a school fire, an inspection and a global pandemic I’m needing a bit of time off!) especially since one of the trips I don’t think I’m actually going on coincides with that date! But after getting a little more detail I felt much better. I think I felt anxious because a degree of uncertainty was re-introduced to my safe and stable little world.

On the plus side, the chilli was good and Steve experimented with making rice in the steamer. I think we’ll be doing our rice that way from now on rather than using those packets that you microwave.

Friday was day a better day. A fun highlight was Steve and I finding our photos had been shared in a post marking what should have been the Edinburgh marathon weekend. These pictures bring back great memories of Steve’s 2014 adventure and my challenge from 2015 (which I wrote about here and here if you missed it).

And to keep the kitty balance, here’s Sooty in one of her favourite places to snuggle:

On Saturday it was time to debut my new parkrun apricot top. It’s a good thing it was a nice run as my parkrun quiz score wasn’t much better than last week at just 6/15 (too many complete guesses again!). At least it tells me what day it is and retains a connection to the parkrun world.

The afternoon was spent in high glamour (ha!) dusting and tidying the house. At least having my AirPods meant I could easily listen to some podcasts while I did it. I also got a second holder for my remaining Disney ears underway. I’ll not finish it for a couple of days though, as it involves some air-dry clay which needs a chance to set.

And in the evening we watched the first episode of Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime. I read the book a couple of summers ago so have been keen to see it since I started to see ads for it on YouTube videos.

Sunday’s run was the only one in the week with a particular focus to it. I had been aware of loads of discussion of “postbox bingo” on podcasts and social media posts and I decided to have a go. With a bit of planning, I was able to “collect” all the postbox ciphers available here in Perth, and actually found it quite good fun – a bit like having a quest to go on! If you had told me a few months ago that not only would I have gone out for a run with the express purpose of photographing a range of postboxes, but that I would conduct RESEARCH into where to find certain ones (and learn some interesting historical facts along the way) I would have thought you mad. And yet, here I am about to tell you that I found a Victoria, Edward 7th, George 5th, George 6th and the Scottish Crown (which is in place of Elizabeth 2nd here in Scotland following what has been dubbed The Postbox Wars in the 1950s). My research also told me of a super-rare Edward 8th about 10 miles away (a bit far as it would be a 20 mile round trip on foot!) but I also learned of a much more accessible one which bears the cipher of George 6th but is believed to have originally been intended as an Edward 8th and was hastily altered upon his abdication (it’s the one in the bottom left of my collage below). I really had no idea there was so much history in the simple postbox, such a common piece of street furniture that I hardly notice them any more, although I do have a recollection of being told about the royal ciphers when I was in primary school.

After all that excitement we ate lunch, did the food shopping, watched an episode of The Mandalorian while eating our Sunday afternoon hot cross buns and then I carried on with the housework by conducting a VERY thorough vacuuming of all the rooms – tools used and everything! Life is just a non-stop whirlwind right now!

I had my bath as usual, but by the time I was getting ready for bed I was starting to feel a bit fed up and done with lockdown. My emotions are really torn right now: on the one hand I just want things to go back to normal, but on the other hand I’m wary and anxious about being around lots of people and potentially exposed to lots of germs again. Hopefully the gradual approach here in Scotland will ease me back in, but it’s so hard to know when is the right time to do a bit more. I suspect all the things that have been cancelled/postponed are becoming more and more noticeable to me now as well. Absolutely right not to have them happen, but there’s still a lot of disappointment attached to missing out on something you have been looking forward to and I think it’s ok to acknowledge that as part of a process of moving forward.

For now, I just keep on keeping on.

How are you feeling about the easing of restrictions and some things beginning to open up again?
Have you had a go at postbox bingo yet?

Race Report – Disneyland Paris Half Marathon 2019

I hope you like photos, because this post is full of them!

Day two of our weekend of running at Disneyland Paris this past September meant the half marathon. You might remember that the 2018 event had been my first Run Disney experience, and with theming that appealed much more to me in 2019, I was really looking forward to this race.

As with the 10k, the route was changed slightly from the previous year, but with time spent in both parks as well as the same out-and-back section outside of Disney to complete the distance.

And the theme? Couples (in all their forms). I had an idea that I wanted to dress as Belle again, but this time in her “provincial” blue dress, so this made things really easy for Steve who was able to wear his Beast T-shirt from last year again. I even did my hair like hers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you take on one of the challenges (31k or 36k) you have the same race bib (and hence the same number and corral) for every event you are in. This meant we were once more in corral A and my sister further back behind us. This race has the biggest numbers so the expo seemed much busier beforehand, but since the weather was mild (I didn’t need a foil blanket or extra layer) we just headed outside after dropping our bag off and used the portable toilets by the starting corrals as this was going to be much faster than standing in a queue for the ones inside. After this Steve and I got ourselves positioned in our corral ready for the off.

Soon enough, it was time for our wave to start, so I said goodbye to Steve and got ready to go (we were running separately again as he prefers to treat this as a race whereas I prefer to “get my money’s worth” out of the experience!).

Of course, once again I was running in kilometres and the markers in Disney are as exciting as anything else!

The first couple of photo ops were just that – photo ops rather than character stops. First with Hercules and Meg in one of the backstage areas, and then a Lion King display that looked pretty cool in the morning light.

After that, we were into the main park but it was some time before we hit Main Street for the out-and-back run as there were character stops and photo ops before then! Like the day before, I was keeping my sister posted with the characters and who they were switching with so she knew if she wanted to stop or not. Her strategy was to stop at every 3rd, unless it was characters she REALLY wanted to see, so that she could stay ahead of the sweepers.

Pocahontas & John Smith

 

Phantom Manor couple

And then it was time:

Official photo

Clarabelle & Horace

Official photo

From there, a host of further character stops, with all the characters out as couples, in line with the theme.

Aladdin & Jasmine

Tarzan & Jane

Rapunzel & Flynn Rider

Phoebus & Esmeralda

Jack Sparrow (making his way towards Angelica)

Belle & the Beast

Official photo

Buzz & Jessie

It was after this final stop with the Toy Story characters that I realised I was now behind the infamous “balloon ladies” who walk at the back of the pack at a steady pace, just within the sweep time. I wasn’t worried though as I knew I was about to run 10k outside the parks and would soon overtake them (and my sister who had been with me at Belle/Beast but had passed me while I was getting that Toy Story photo). It was such an ego boost to be passing so many people that even at a fairly easy pace I felt like I was flying – and got *that* photo:

Once outside of the parks, it’s a case of running steadily. The route leads away from Disney into a nearby village where we run around a reservoir then retrace our steps back onto Disney property. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate all the other costumes people are wearing and there are lots of what the French call “animations” – musicians, dancers, DJs, etc to keep things interesting.

Then on our way back we cross a bridge where we can see the main vehicle entrance to Disneyland.

Returning to Disney property, the route hits some of the resort areas, starting with a quick pass of the hotel we had been staying at (and where Steve was eating his second breakfast, having collected our one drop bag which he was going to meet me with later, checking us out and taking our luggage to the bagagerie for safekeeping).

Then through the grounds of the hotel we stayed in last time.

Official photo

The route finishes by following the path that leads from these hotels towards the parks, looping the water and passing through the Disney Village before making its way backstage and to the finish line by the side of the Walt Disney Studios.

This time I was greeted by Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.

Before grabbing my medal and snacks:

I got the same snacks as in the 10k, plus these extras

I then grabbed a picture outside of the finish area before making my way back to the expo – a slow business with all the crowds since part of the route was on the way I needed to go, and with Steve finding it hard to get through as well, we agreed to meet at the expo tent.

When I got there I headed on in to get my 31k challenge medal, which funnelled me straight into a photo op.

I wish I’d had my 10k medal for this, but it was with Steve and he hadn’t arrived yet, so my main learning from this is to try and have all my medals handy before getting my challenge picture. But since I was still waiting for Steve to fight his way through the crowds, I grabbed another picture in the expo tent to pass the time and browsed the event merchandise, much of which had by this point been reduced.

When Steve finally made it, we headed really quickly into the main park so I could get some pictures with my medals by the castle before we had to get back to the hotel to change and collect our bags so we could get the Magic Shuttle back to the airport.

And there was just enough time to nip into Le Passage Enchanté d’Aladdin with my 31k challenge medal since it was themed to Aladdin.

I do really enjoy this event. It actually presents quite an interesting challenge as if, like me, you stop for lots of photos it means the first half is very stop/start, but then there’s a steady section of running in the second half. By this time you’ve probably been on your feet for a couple of hours so that can feel a little harder than it would be otherwise. Still, it’s great fun and I have loved both of my experiences of it. Will I be back? You bet!

My Year Of Running 2019

Over the past few years I’ve taken part in a blog link up to recap my year. This year I haven’t been able to find that link up anywhere, but since I wanted to look back over 2019, I decided to use my previous posts (2016, 2017, 2018) as a template and write my post anyway. So here we go with the 2019 edition…

Best race experience
These days I actually don’t race very often as I much prefer the process of getting out and running to the pressure of performing in a race situation. Yes I take my running seriously, but with this being a fairly tough year at work, I needed something that would bring plenty of fun to it – and for me there’s nothing more fun than running in Disney! I loved the whole Disneyland Paris race weekend so am going to be a wee bit liberal in my interpretation of “race experience” and pick the 31k Challenge, that way I can include BOTH the 10k and the half marathon. Sneaky!

Best run
Can I pick Disney again? This time at Walt Disney Word in Florida where I had my first experience of a WDW resort run. Along with Steve and my sister, I took part in the Beignet Dash over at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. It was a mere 2km of running, but totally worth the early start to get a free order of WARM Mickey beignets. Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best new piece of running gear
Once again, I continued to obsessively buy running leggings with crazy patterns on them, and once again that’s not going to be my choice – too obvious! Now that my hair has grown out again, I find a cap suits me much better than when I had a bob so was keen to get something “nice” for runs on wet days (rather than the perfectly functional, but essentially freebie, one I wore before which I call my “emergency running hat”!). So in what seems to be a developing theme for this post, it’s Disney once again as I’m choosing the Disneyland Paris Magic Run Weekend hat that I made a point of buying when I was there in September.

Best running advice you’ve received this year
Not exactly advice, but I realised this year that I really needed to do more strength work to help improve my running. Ever since the summer I’ve consistently managed two sessions a week down at Steve’s studio (three when it’s been school holidays and I have more time) to work with an assortment of kit such as the TRX, weights, bar bell, Bosu, gym ball and my own body weight with a variety of press ups in order to strengthen my arms and core. I feel so much better as a result and can definitely feel the difference – and I managed to answer one of these questions without mentioning Disney (until now haha!).

Most inspirational runner
I would usually try to choose a female inspiration here, but on this occasion I just HAVE to choose Eliud Kipchoge. His achievement in running the first ever sub-2 hour marathon, even if it isn’t an official record, was an incredible moment and I’m sure it will have unlocked many more breakthroughs to come in the world of running thanks to his insistence that “no human is limited”. I actually ran to parkrun whilst simultaneously live streaming the end of Kipchoge’s historic run on my phone and will happily admit to tearing up when he crossed the line in 1:59:40. An inspirational runner, true gentleman and downright nice guy. I can’t wait to see what he does next (probably not Disney, but you never know 😂)

Favourite picture from a run or race this year
This is such an easy question for me. Thanks to the magic of – you guessed it – Disney, this year I acquired this picture which is now my all-time favourite running picture of myself. I’m dressed as my favourite Disney princess (Belle, whilst still living her provincial life – there must be some much more…), running through Disneyland Paris and grinning from ear to ear. I was loving that race and for me, the joy of the experience seems to radiate from the picture. I love it!

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
The Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. But you knew that, didn’t you!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Disney Magic. It couldn’t really be anything else! I went to WDW, DLP (twice!) and somehow managed to pour a bit of Disney into every day. Now to see if I can make 2020 even bigger, even better and with even more pairs of Mouse ears…

I’d love to hear about some of your 2019 highlights. Share below, or even better write your own post and let me know so I can read it.

Race Report – Disneyland Paris 10k 2019

“One and done” just isn’t my style. I mean, I have previous for this one, such as entering a marathon just to have the experience once…and to date, I’ve run 12 marathons! So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise at all that when it came to my Run Disney experience, “one and done” just wasn’t going to happen.

Regular readers will remember that last year I celebrated a Big Birthday and made a bit of a Big Deal about it, keeping the celebrations going through most of the year, the highlight being my first ever Run Disney experience with the half marathon at Disneyland Paris as part of their Magic Run Weekend.

At the time I wasn’t sure how Steve would take to it and so made sure to savour every moment, not sure when I would have the opportunity to run in Disney again, but when I caught him eyeing up child-sized Mr Incredible costumes in the park shops and wondering if he could make it fit him, whilst simultaneously muttering about having to up his costume game, I realised that we were DEFINITELY going to be back!

This time round I kept things a little more low-key, but at the end of September we travelled back to Disneyland Paris for our second experience of Magic Run Weekend. Unlike in 2018 when we were “only” entered in the half marathon, this time we were able to sort out our logistics so that we could also take part in the 10k on Saturday morning to complete the 31k challenge (and receive an extra T-shirt and medal for doing so). It feels so long ago now, but in this post I’ll share some details (and many, many photos!) from my 10k experience.

First of all, the theme. For the 2019 Magic Run Weekend the overall theme was “Adventure”, but each race had its own individual theme and for the 10k it was “Princesses”. Oh yes, the theming for 2019 was far more “me” than in 2018! Steve, my sister and I decided to put together a group effort when it came to the costumes and I did actual crafts (all new to me!) to make something for Steve to wear:

Anna, Olaf and Elsa

And when it came to the route, I knew that it is changed slightly each year so had no expectations other than to hit both of the Disney parks and spend a little time running behind the scenes as well.

Steve and I had both been lucky enough to get in corral A so knew that we would get underway fairly quickly after the race started as there wouldn’t be too many waves ahead of us, so with this in mind we made sure to get into our corral in good time and enjoyed some of the pre-run entertainment. This year it was all on a big screen rather than a stage, and seemed to mainly feature the Genie from Aladdin.

And then, we were off! With very different plans in mind (Steve running it all as he would any regular race, me stopping for all the photo ops) we quickly separated and set off on our first adventure of the weekend.

As is the norm in France, the route was marked in kilometres and the markers were appropriate to the theme:

The route actually took us into the main Disneyland park fairly quickly and before I knew it I was running up Main Street towards the castle. This is always such an emotional moment for me, and since this was my first sight of the castle on this trip, by the time I reached the Photopass photographers I was fighting back the lump in my throat that was threatening to have me in tears (the fact that the ambient music was the big transformation moment from Beauty and the Beast – my favourite – where the Beast turns back into the Prince wasn’t helping much either!).

Official Photo

And from there I was on a Saturday morning theme park tour, punctuated by character meet and greets, starting just around the corner by the castle stage where Belle herself was waiting for me. Perfect!

(Official Photos)

Belle. Always my favourite.

Moana – the soundtrack to our SUP yoga sessions!

Ariel – I’ve been on such a Little Mermaid kick this year!

Merida. The proud Scots!

And Rapunzel was out on a bridge spanning the route, calling encouragement to the runners.

And as with last year, all the cast members out along the course were full of energy and support. It was such an amazing atmosphere.

As I was running I knew that my sister was in a corral further behind us and that she didn’t particularly intend to stop for many pictures in order to make sure she had plenty of time in the parks later on, but I was texting her with information about where the stops were, which characters were out and, if I had heard it, which character they would switch with in case it changed before she got there. That way she could prioritise any stops she made. Since I was stopping so much, I fully expected her to catch up with me and she finally did at the very last character stop (Merida) so in the end, I wasn’t too far ahead of her in finishing the run, which made it much easier to meet up again in the finish area.

I was having such an amazing time that it felt like the finish line by the Walt Disney Studios was on me before I knew it (even though I was a good hour slower than my 10k PB haha!) At the point when I finished, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck were on the stage greeting runners so I grabbed a picture.

Then went off to collect my all-important medal and assorted snacks.

 

 

We also grabbed a couple of post-race photos before heading back to the hotel to get changed and have (second) breakfast.

So all-in-all a fantastic start to our weekend of Disney running. I definitely recommend the 10k as an excellent event for those looking for a Run Disney experience but without the commitment of the half marathon distance, as well as for those who, like me, love the magic of Disney and never say no to a bit of a running challenge!

Stay tuned for a roundup of our half marathon experience…

Week In Review – Disney Bound!

Ohboyohboyohboy!!! What with me being so behind on my posts, I probably came across as uncharacteristically quiet about my plans, but after last year’s Run Disney adventure it was quite clear that “one and done” wasn’t going to be in our vocabulary and way back in late 2018 we made our booking for the 2019 Magic Run Weekend at Disneyland Paris. The difference is that with better knowledge of the logistics, we were able to enter both the 10k and half marathon. Also, my sister joined us this time. Separate posts are in the works for both races, but there was more to the weekend than that so I’ll cover those aspects in my roundup of that particular week.

Much of the week, of course, was business as usual as there was the small matter of work to go to, but a Disney trip to look forward to really does put a spring in the step!

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 3.8 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – travel to Disneyland Paris
Saturday – Disneyland Paris 10k
Sunday – Disneyland Paris half marathon

There was no Hatha yoga on Monday since my teacher was away on holiday so I took the time to do a little home practice then relax. My mission for the week was to get to bed sharp each night as I knew the weekend would be super busy and tiring.

On Tuesday I ran my usual 4 mile route and kept the pace nice and easy. No real need to run fast, more an opportunity to keep my legs ticking over before the weekend. I mean, realistically my distances would be pretty similar to an average weekend, it was just going to take me much longer as I fully intended to stop for lots of character photos!

Then that evening there was time for one last workout down in Steve’s studio. This time it was a combination of TRX, press ups and weights for my arm workout.

Wednesday was a rest day and the evening I had set aside to pack (although to be honest, I had been as good as packed since the weekend so it was more finalising my packing – and ensuring there were no cats in my suitcase 😹) Note: this case was to do BOTH of us (as in me and Steve, not me and the cat ha!) and was pretty empty on the way to Paris!

On Thursday I still went for a run but opted for a loop I like which is under 4 miles. This one was really more about consistency and movement than any actual preparation for the weekend. It was a chance to run things through in my head and be sure I had everything organised as I didn’t really have any further opportunity to go through my suitcase again.

I made it to my Ashtanga class in the evening. Still really frustrated with my headstand and I know I keep writing about that but it is bothering me now that I no longer seem able to do something that I was doing before. I am still certain that the problem is a mental block rather than a physical issue, I just can’t figure out how to resolve it. Happy to take suggestions!

After yoga I whizzed off to get my nails done ready for the weekend. I was so pleased that my colour choice would suit BOTH of my running costumes for the weekend 🙂

Friday was a work day but it was one of those days that I just wanted to get through so I could be on my way. Since nobody else lives near me I drove myself in with my hand luggage and the plan was to leave my car in the work car park and pick it up on our return on Sunday – basically work became an airport car park for the occasion! Steve picked me up with our suitcase at the end of the day and we drove straight to the airport, parked in our pre-booked car park and headed on through security.

Our flight was scheduled for 6:30pm so we made sure to get some dinner at the airport while we were waiting. I chose this pizza which actually had broccoli on it! Not as good as the pizza Steve makes, but good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flight was actually slightly delayed but we had a taxi booked to take us up to Disney so it wasn’t too bad (last year we had a shared taxi booked so it caused a major headache, this one was much easier although we were charged an additional fee for being after 10pm – d’oh!).

A highlight of the flight was seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit up among the lights of Paris – one of my favourite sights to see. Other than that it was fairly uneventful and we were through passport control and in our taxi family swiftly. I think it only took about half an hour to get to our hotel (we stayed in the Santa Fe this time) and I think I spent most of it communicating with my sister. She had travelled earlier in the day, checked us in to the hotel and collected all our race packs at the expo, meaning all we had to do was find our room and head to bed ready for an early start the following day.

This photo was my response to my mum asking if we had found my sister ok 😂

The Santa Fe is one of the budget hotels and themed to the Cars movies. Although a budget hotel it had everything we were going to need (it’s not like we were going to be in the room other than to sleep!) and was perfectly comfortable. I only took a few photos as my sister had already put stuff around the room, but you get the idea.

Saturday was an early start as the race began at 7am and Steve and I had scored bibs for corral A (my sister was further back). Breakfast (that is to say first breakfast since runners get 2 breakfasts on race day!) started at 5am so we were up and changed into our running costumes ready to head over there for the back of 5. So long as you show your race bib, runners hand over their breakfast vouchers and are given a wrist band to allow them a second breakfast post-race. For some reason I thought it would just be continental breakfast options out for the early breakfast, but the cooked options were out too. I stuck to pastries and things for my first one though.

After breakfast we stopped briefly by our room again since it was on the way to the start, then I got my first sight of the expo/race HQ. Since Steve would be the fastest, we put anything we needed into his kit bag and he dropped it off. We also got a couple of photos before heading over to the start line.

We all entered the 31k challenge – 10k + half marathon (21k) with an extra medal and T-shirt for the challenge.

I made Steve’s Olaf costume myself FROM SCRATCH. I’ve never been more proud!!!!

Anna, Olaf and Elsa ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The race itself was AMAZING. I will definitely write a separate post otherwise this one will be an epic, but suffice it to say I ran my slowest 10k of all time and enjoyed every single second.

I was standing at the castle and they were playing a “big” song that I really like so I was trying so hard not to cry here!

Post-race we made our way back to the expo. I had made sure I had money with me as I (obviously) wanted to buy ALL THE THINGS and making my purchases at this point saved a bit of time in our day. My sister had collected the pins I pre-ordered when she picked up our race packs, but I wanted to grab a couple of race souvenirs and had my eye on a couple of general souvenirs which I figured I could buy then and return to the room so I wouldn’t have to cart them about with me.

We also had to have our second breakfast back at the hotel, which this time I made into three courses – cured meats to start, bacon and scrambled eggs for the main (somehow I neglected to photograph that) and pastries again for dessert. I’ve said it before, but I take hotel breakfasts VERY seriously!

The rest of the day was all about the theme parks. We started in the Walt Disney Studios to do a couple of things then made our way over to the main park. We wore our 10k T-shirts and race medals so we could get some cool pictures. It was a warm day – I would have been fine in shorts! – so the parks were really busy but we still managed to do a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had originally planned to stay for the fireworks but we reached a point were we realised we weren’t going to get on any other rides so were just hanging around for a couple of hours for the fireworks. Much as I wanted to see them, we were all tired so decided the sensible thing to do would be to head back to the hotel and get a decent sleep before another early start and a longer race the following morning. It was a shame not to see the fireworks, but I’m actually glad we made this decision..

Our routine on Sunday was similar – get dressed, have first breakfast, head over to the start and put our things in Steve’s kit bag. The only thing to deal with was that we hadn’t been able to secure a late check out so Steve was going to return and put our luggage in the baggagerie and have his second breakfast (I sacrificed second breakfast to get photos in the main park after the race) then come back to meet us. This worked pretty well although it would have been much easier if a late check out had been available. We did ask several times but they just couldn’t do it for us.

Provincial Belle and the Beast

Again, a separate post will follow on the race. I think I smiled round the whole thing and had the best time – I even managed to go slower than last year despite being in a much better place fitness-wise, so you can tell I stopped lots!

It was a really quick run into the main park for some photos afterwards, but there was no way I was missing these shots with my haul of Disney bling!

Once we were all done, we got ourselves organised in the hotel toilets then got on the Magic Shuttle back to the airport. A whistlestop visit once again, but such good fun. I can’t wait to do it again!

What makes a race special for you?
Have you/would you run in a Disney event or other race where costumes are encouraged?

Week In Review – Summer Holidays Week 6

Rapidly running out of summer! This was week 3 of my 4 week plan to kickstart my training again, focus on strength work and yoga, and rebuild my miles. Here’s how it ended up:

Monday – PT session with Steve + Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – PT session with Steve
Thursday – 4.5 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich + Great Perthshire Tattie Run
Sunday – 12 miles

I’ve been on a bit of a streak with yoga, however I’ll admit to not doing any on Saturday and breaking that streak. The reasons why will become clear as you read through this update!

The week began, as had become my habit, with a workout down at Steve’s studio. Still a mixture of exercises focusing on my arms. Still jumping in my post-workout selfie!

It’s been so good to have my Monday night yoga class on during part of the holidays and this was the last session of the holiday block – one week off before the new block begins with the new term

My run on Tuesday turned out to be a bit of a soggy one. I ran one of my staple routes and it certainly wasn’t cold, but I definitely looked a little “damp” by the time I finished!

I was back in the studio on Wednesday for my workout. Nothing particularly interesting to say, so to liven things up I used a filter for my selfie. I’m so down with the kids 😂

And that evening my sister stopped by to bring me a little something I had tacked on to her online order. I now declare myself ready! I’m not sure if I’m ready for Strictly Come Dancing (can’t wait for the new series to start!) or Disney, or both, but either way a Mickey-shaped discoball drinks cup is perfect for me!

Slightly better weather for my Thursday run, although by this point I was rather missing the sun as I wasn’t getting out to sit in the garden anymore. Still, at least it stayed dry. I had originally intended to run a 5 mile loop, however due to some roadworks and footpath closures on part of it, I made an alteration to my route which ended up being a little shorter. No big deal.

At Ashtanga that evening I felt really strong but I think I need to do some work on my headstand in between classes. I’m really beginning to think that the issue with holding it is all in my head as I know I have the core strength but seem to keep overthinking it and thus not achieving what I want. A little project for me!

The Friday was pretty wet. I headed to the studio for my session, then was out on some errands later in the day so needed my umbrella. It turns out nobody told the cats it’s bad luck to be under an umbrella inside 😹

After a fairly routine week with nothing particularly unusual going on, Saturday was a far more interesting day.  It began with the standard parkrun sandwich and I was pleased to inch my time down a little further, confirming that I have made progress since getting back home again.

But post-parkrun, that’s when the excitement began.

This was “Super Saturday” in Perth, with a number of events taking place. One of these event was Perthshire Pride and I hadn’t really being paying much attention to what was happening, figuring I would see a lot of it when I was about town. But on the evening before, the organisers announced a pretty big coup  – securing a big name to lead the parade and speak from the stage. Can you guess who? Only Sir Ian McKellen!! He was in the area with his show and had agreed to come along.

I was really keen to see him and after our usual breakfast and coffee with Steve’s brother, I headed around to the plaza to hopefully catch a glimpse of him. In the end, I mis-timed it a little as I had to make an emergency sunglasses purchase, so just caught the end of his speech, but I quickly realised that he hadn’t been whisked right off stage but was in fact down amongst the crowd, happily chatting and posing for photos.

I sharpened my elbows and dived in, determined to get a selfie. At one point I was within touching distance and with a little manoeuvring I got myself into a prime position to request a photo.

I had heard from others that Sir Ian is lovely and I would second that. He was chatting with people, talking to their kids, cooing over babies/toddlers and had no objection to photos. There was a security guard, but people weren’t really being kept back, I guess it was more in case of lots of pushing and shoving. Once I had my photo, I moved out of the crowd so others could have a turn.

And the fun wasn’t over yet. Another part of Super Saturday was the Great Perthshire Tattie Run, an event which debuted in Perth last year. It was over by the old city hall and getting there involved a short walk away from the rainbows and bright colours of Pride, past the armour and jousting knights (yes, really) of the Medieval Fayre, to the starting area of the Tattie Run where a gantry was being set up and someone had gamely dressed as their spud mascot.

I’ll not write a separate post since it was very much the same as my previous experience and you can read about that here. In brief, it’s just under a mile (4 laps of the city hall) carrying a sack of spuds: 10kg for women, 20kg for men. Those spuds seem to get heavier and heavier as the laps go on, and they are pretty awkward to carry, but the race itself is good fun.

It’s actually a free event (although you have to register to get a race number) and there are prizes for the top three (how those women whizzed around so quickly with those spuds I’ll never know, although I suspect they hadn’t already covered 7.5ish miles that morning!). All entrants get a medal and you get to keep the potatoes. That’s right, we went home with 30kg of potatoes so spuds with everything for the foreseeable future (and if you visit my house there’s every chance you will be presented with a “party bag” of about a dozen tatties when you leave 😂).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all that I needed a kind of restful evening. I fancied a bath but was also hungry, so Steve made a batch of homemade chips which I indulgently consumed in the bath. Who says being an adult isn’t fun haha!

I had 12 miles on the schedule the next morning and while that was perfectly do-able, I did feel like I still had a sack of spuds on my shoulders for the first few miles. Still, I got the miles done and completing a longer run whilst tired is good training for endurance events when I have that expectation of my body.

And that’s it. A fairly mundane week culminating in a pretty exciting weekend. I mean, it’s not every day you get a selfie with Gandalf, is it!

What celebrities have you met?
What’s the most novel race souvenir you’ve taken home?

Race Report – Chariots Of Fire Beach Race 2019

Just a week after the Edinburgh half marathon, we were racing again but this time it was much more of a fun run experience.

This time last year we entered the Chariots of Fire 5k beach race for the first time, and although there was an issue with the turning point on the route so it was short, we still very much enjoyed the event and vowed to be back. Granted, we left it a little late to get our entries in this year, but we were both looking forward to it.

Pre-race information is really detailed and helpful, but we were happy we knew what we were doing, as it hadn’t really changed and we know the area fairly well. Sadly the weather wasn’t looking too promising again, but that wasn’t going to dampen our spirits.

We left at a much more reasonable time, despite having to drive for an hour and wanting to get there in good time to snag a decent parking spot. Thanks to the midday race start, this meant we were still able to be fairly leisurely.

Since participants are encouraged to wear white, I dug up the skirt (I suspect it’s actually a tennis skirt) I acquired for the race last year and paired it with my 2018 event T-shirt. Because of my later entry I wasn’t able to pre-order a 2019 one and I neglected to take cash with me to get one on the day. No big deal!

Once parked by the West Sands we collected our race numbers, nipped to the loo and returned to the car to get organised and relax for a bit. As race time drew nearer we headed down onto the beach. Steve wanted a warm up and right at that moment the rain began. Typical! Fortunately, it didn’t last too long and it actually became much brighter. What was the one thing I didn’t bring with me? That’s right, sunglasses. I honestly didn’t think I would need them so didn’t pick up a pair and here was me now squinting into the brightness. Luckily Steve had a pair in the car that he lent me, however they were pretty scratched so I think I got an interesting insight into what cataracts would be like while I was wearing them!

As we got ready to run, Steve bumped into someone he knew and I spotted some friends and headed over to speak to them. We then joined the crowds at the start line for the pre-race announcements. For some reason we couldn’t hear these too well but I knew the drill – run to the turn at the piper (no way was this going to be in the wrong place this time!) then run back, hand in my timing chip and collect my goodies. Simple!

The start is always marked by the strains of Vangelis and it must look (and sound) amazing to have all these white-clad runners dashing off across the sand. The majority of the course is on the wetter, packed sand so I had opted for my Inov-8 Mudclaws as I thought they would be best on this surface and I was really happy with my decision as they felt good underfoot.

There was some softer sand for a short stretch right before the turn, but it wasn’t too bad and before I knew it I was on my way back…into a headwind once again!

The headwind did slow me a little, but I kept a steady effort throughout and was happy with my run. I have to say, the return section was a little deceptive as I kept spotting, then losing sight of, the finish gantry so was just gauging the distance by my watch. Soon enough, I could hear Vangelis drifting towards me along the sand and did my best for a sprint finish. It later turned out that there was a photographer there, which clearly I didn’t spot. Ha!

Photo: Chris Wallard Photography

I returned my chip and collected my medal before locating Steve for a few beach photos. I also took some slow-motion video of me running by the water – it had to be done!

After catching up with a few people, it was time to collect the most important of the post-race goodies: a fudge doughnut and bottle of beer. The fudge doughnuts didn’t make it out of the car park, but we kept the beers (which this year had a race-branded label which was pretty cool) for later that evening. For those in more of a hurry, the medal was also a bottle opener!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beach race is such a different race experience for me and although running on the wet sand can be rather energy sapping, it’s a great thing to do. I think this one is going to become a staple in our annual race plans now and if you can get to St Andrews in early June I would definitely recommend signing up. You won’t regret it.

Race Report – EMF Half Marathon 2019

The races in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival are hardly new to me, however this year was the first time I had returned since the infamous four races in one weekend extravaganza of 2015! (You can read about that here and here). Since that time the starting point (and therefore the first handful of miles of the route) has changed so this was an interesting combination of the new and the familiar.

The 8am race start meant an early departure for our drive to Edinburgh. We opted to park in our usual Sunday spot in town then walk from there to the start area around the university. The weather forecast had not been encouraging and the drive through was pretty miserable, but at least it wasn’t cold.

Once at the start area there was a slightly chaotic feel, probably because by this point I REALLY wanted to find the toilets and although there were plenty of giant maps up, I was struggling to get my bearings. In the end we got a race volunteer to point us in the right direction and headed to one of the university buildings that had been opened up. We then went our separate ways as Steve and I were in different start pens and we had to find the right baggage lorries (which were also in different places). This was also a bit chaotic as I quickly found myself part of a group of runners desperately seeking baggage lorries and not finding any volunteers who actually knew where we had to go! After much pushing through crowds, I eventually found the right place but the lorry I should be using had already been closed up. Fortunately, a volunteer at another one took my bag and assured me they would take it to the right place in the finish area. With that done, I made my way to my start point and waited in my disposable poncho and “emergency hat” whilst listening to all the pre-race announcements.

From where I was I couldn’t actually see the start line as the road curved around a corner, however I did hear the starting horn and could see people begin to inch forward. The pen I was in was actually pretty well organised, with event crew at the start walking everyone forwards towards the line. It probably took me 6 or 7 minutes to get there and get underway.

However I still found the first part of the route quite congested as there were sections that changed from quite wide streets to much narrower ones and this led to some sudden halts. As a result, I kept my eyes on where my feet were going so missed some of the key points of interest – the photos are from later in the day when we were returned to the start by the event buses.

Greyfriars Bobby

I had worn a lightweight waterproof jacket, but within the first couple of miles it was off and tied around my waist. It did rain again later, but by that point I was past caring about being wet and just accepted it. It was actually quite refreshing!

Once we were through Holyrood Park, I did feel like I had a bit more space and enjoyed winding my way towards the coast. Although early, there was still some pretty good crowd support, with lots of really encouraging people along the route. I very much enjoyed some of the signs, my favourite being “Don’t Quit Like Theresa!”. It took me a moment, but once I got the reference I was giggling to myself for the next few minutes. 

At this point I was ticking along nicely with the aim of a sub-2 hour finish. I knew I wasn’t in PB shape (anything under 1:53) but thought a sub-2 was within current my fitness level.

Reaching the coast, I was returned to familiar territory and knew I would keep running along there – past plenty more vociferous support – to about the 11 mile mark, then there would be a turn back to the finish. This meant that from about 9 miles onwards I could see the faster runners heading back towards the finish line. I spotted Steve but he didn’t see me despite my manic waving, and noted that everyone I saw was grimacing. I was still pretty comfortable and on-pace for my sub-2 so figured they must all be working pretty hard.

And then I reached the turn.

Suddenly, the reason for the grimaces was abundantly clear as I ran smack into a headwind that I knew I would be running into for the rest of the race. Ok, so it was “only” for 2 miles, but that’s still quite an effort after 11 miles of running! Fortunately, there was a water station so I walked through that to grab a drink and take a moment to gather myself before getting my head down and pushing on. I had my watch set so I could see my average pace and while I knew my last couple of miles would be slower, I still thought I could sneak it under the 2 hours I had targeted.

Finally, I saw the point where the route turns off into the finish area. There’s always a great crowd here and as the finish gantry came into view I picked up the pace to run over the line. Another half marathon in the bag and my time of 1:59:09 meant I had reached my target. I love it when a plan comes together!

I collected my post-race goodies – medal, bottle of water, High 5 tablets and a little blue box that contained my T-shirt, foil blanket and some hot/cold gels. The boxes are a great idea as they are far more environmentally sustainable than plastic bags. Another thing I noticed was that while there were small plastic bottles of water available along the course (which we were encouraged to toss into recycling bins around the aid stations) the bottles were not labelled so perhaps this event is moving away from having a bottled water company as a big sponsor. An interesting move when so often this is one of the biggest sponsors.

I found Steve, headed over to the baggage lorries and collected my bag which actually had been taken to the right place for me. Because of the forecast I had packed a full change of clothes and was soaking wet, so a change was needed. There then followed the least glamorous change of clothes of my life…in a portable toilet! I can confirm that it is possible, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if another option was available.

On a nicer day we might have stayed at the finish for a while, but this time we just headed straight off to the event buses which are at a park and ride about a mile from the finish. Runners and spectators can buy a ticket in advance and while the queue can be quite long, there are loads of buses so it keeps on moving. This is generally quite well organised, but the hike to the buses is definitely one of my least favourite things about this event. I don’t think there are any better solutions though, so just accept it’s how it is.

I was pretty hungry by this point so ate the cereal bar I had been handed at the finish and began dreaming of the post-race meal we would get once back in Edinburgh. Clearly I wasn’t the only one as I could hear others talking about how they had been dreaming of Domino’s pizza for the last few miles and when the bus went past a McDonald’s there was an audible groan from the passengers!

We were delivered back to the start area, which by now was being dismantled as the marathon itself had started, and we walked back over to town to get some food – McDonald’s remains my post-race food of choice even though I would be unlikely to want it at any other time!

We then headed to Hotel Chocolat for “dessert” before getting back in the car for the drive home. Ironically, it was much nicer weather by this time!

Overall, I liked the variation in the route but definitely caution against being distracted as it can be a bit congested at the start. I would also recommend getting to the start as early as you can in order to get your bearings and drop off baggage without too much stress. And remember that once you’re finished, you will still have a bit of a walk to the event buses to get back into Edinburgh again. In my experience, race day in Edinburgh is either roasting hot or pouring. We got pouring on this occasion, but for me it didn’t spoil the race. Not an event I do regularly these days, but it’s nice to be involved from time to time and I’m sure this won’t be my last EMF experience.

Week In Review – So Busy!

What a week! You know how sometimes you have weeks where you have zero headspace with so much going on? That. Between work commitments, personal commitments and my dogged determination to fit some running in, the week seemed to whip by without me having the slightest chance to think about anything else. Mind you, it did make for a fairly quick week and with four more to go before the summer holidays, I could do with quick weeks for the next month!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest + sports massage
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun + SUP yoga
Sunday – 5k race (Chariots of Fire beach race)

It was back to a normal work week for me after being away doing other things for part of the week before. Having been out of school on Friday I had a little catching up to do on Monday morning but it was otherwise a decent day. We had overnight visitors (a friend of Steve’s travelling around Scotland with his children) and they arrived shortly after I got home so my yoga class was a good opportunity to get some headspace. I was actually really impressed with how well-mannered the children (aged 7 and 12) were, but even so finding space to do a little of my exam marking was a little trickier for this one night.

Because of our visitors (and possibly because I had just run a half marathon a couple of days earlier) I took Tuesday as a rest day. My legs had been a little weary first thing on Monday morning but had felt fine since and I probably would have been ok for a run but thought I would be sensible and have a day off to let my body recover. I did, rather fortuitously, have my sports massage booked that evening so that was a nice way to make sure everything felt good before my next run.

Wednesday actually ended up being another rest day because I had managed to get an appointment to get my nails done. It had dawned on me that I had polish put on for my marathon at the end of April and somehow it was about to be June! I normally get them done every 3 weeks as my nails grow really quickly and I tend to start chipping the polish, but this time the polish had lasted really well. The regrowth, on the other hand, was insane! I’m not good with having my nails too long so it was nice to get them tidied up and have a good chat. Another thing in the diary, but my best chance of a bit of time to myself on that day.

I was up early to go for a run on Thursday morning. It was my usual 4 miles and I kept it nice and easy since it was my first post-half marathon. I felt pretty good during the run but for the rest of the day I was feeling a little “off”. No particular symptoms to speak of, but by the time I got home I was feeling really sleepy and still not quite right so I decided to skip my yoga class and take it easy. By this time I had realised that my electrolytes were probably a bit off as that can make me feel kind of ropey, and sure enough drinking lots of electrolytes and having a nap meant I woke up the next day feeling brand new.

On Friday afternoon I actually headed out of school again for a CPD event at Dundee university with a couple of my colleagues. It was a really nice afternoon as we arrived in time to get ourselves some lunch in a nice cafe then the event itself – about approaches to writing – was really enjoyable and provoked a great deal of useful professional discussion. It was an example of the very sort of thing that we just never have time for yet is so valuable when we do. The session didn’t finish until after 5pm and then there were refreshments brought in (orange juice for me since I was driving) so it was a bit after 6pm before I headed off. That meant no workout this week as I was really only home in time to head out for some food.

On parkrunday Steve decided to volunteer and while I would have loved to at least run down, I knew I didn’t have time to run back home again and had to leave before Steve would finish so I ended up driving down. It was one of those runs that felt like pretty hard work, perhaps after racing last weekend and perhaps because there was a bit of a wind, but I definitely felt like I was working a lot harder than the pace I was getting. Still, I hadn’t planned on running really hard so was happy enough with 25:09 at this point.

From parkrun, I nipped home to change and mark a few papers before heading out for another session of SUP yoga. It was so calm when we headed out on the water, but wouldn’t you know, the wind whipped up again just as we got to standing postures! I was fine with the sun salutations but my body just refused to get into a warrior pose this time. Moving to standing on the board was really the first time all week that I felt any residual weariness from the half marathon in my legs, so I just accepted where my body was and carried on with the other postures, before standing to paddle back in again.

The group went for lunch in the cafe afterwards again and this time I broke away from my usual chicken mayo sandwich (my favourite on their menu) and opted for one of the specials – a chorizo and fried egg wrap with rocket and capers. It was so good!!

With that done, it was back home for a glamorous combination of food shopping, exam marking and being amused by the cats, before Steve wanted to watch the football and I decided I fancied having a bath to unwind a bit after such a busy week.

Sunday was race day, but this time we were keeping much more civilised hours. I got up when the chief spokescat declared it breakfast time, but as soon as the wee monkeys were fed I headed back to bed and Steve brought me a cup of tea which I drank whilst catching up on a few social media threads. I got up for some breakfast, got ready for the race and we left around 9:30am to drive to St Andrews (it takes about an hour to get there and it’s worth being sharp for the 12 noon race to ensure you get a good parking place!).

I’ll write a separate report on the race so I won’t say too much here, but we both had great fun. I mean what’s not to like about 5k on the beach, dressed in white and hearing that iconic movie theme, before being rewarded with a medal (which doubles as a bottle opener), fudge doughnut and specially produced beer. We both ate our doughnuts when we got back to the car and the beers went in the fridge when we got home, ready to be enjoyed in the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had a fairly restful afternoon, although I did do a little more of my exam work. We also popped out for a coffee but since the weather had improved and I didn’t get an ice cream when I was at the beach, I opted for a Frappuccino this time. Yummy!

So there you have it. A busy week, but the weekend was loads of fun with parkrun, SUP yoga, the beach race – all involving time spent with good friends. I wonder what the week ahead will bring…

Have you ever run or raced on the sand?
What are you looking forward to right now?

Week In Review – Half Crazy!

This was an unusual week for me as my exam marking duties took me away from my normal routine, however I was still able to prepare for my half marathon on Sunday (and enjoyed having a break from the norm!).

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – half marathon

The week began with me on the train to Glasgow to begin preparations for the exam marking process. It was a day of fairly intense discussion mixed with quite a lot of walking about as I walked from the station to the venue, the venue to my hotel and then out for a look around the shops since I had a bit of time. Since we were based in hotels I was pretty well fed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I was excited to find that my hotel gave you a warm cookie as a welcome. So warm it actually fell apart in my hadn’t, hence the lack of photo!

I saw this really cool street art when I was out for a walk:

And after dinner at my hotel I enjoyed a nice relaxing bath before heading to bed. Bliss!

On Tuesday morning I stuck to my usual routine of a 4 mile run, however this time I was leaving from my hotel and obviously was running somewhere different. I opted to run down to the river and head along the riverside path until my watch read 2 miles then turn and retrace my steps. I do know the centre of Glasgow fairly well, however this approach meant there was no need to map out a route in advance as I knew I wouldn’t have time. It greatly amused me that rather than my usual turning point of a lamppost, on this occasion I turned back here:

And saw this classic Glasgow sight on my return!

Once back and showered, it was time to make the most of the hotel breakfast. It was a buffet and since I take these things seriously, I made it a 3 course breakfast (because, you know, I needed the fuel after my 4 mile run haha!) and grabbed an “emergency apple” for later. Apparently I was concerned they might not feed us again lol!

The remainder of the day was back in the room discussing the exam paper… with a bit more food along the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were finished, I grabbed a drink at Hotel Chocolat with a friend before getting the train home again. In case you were wondering, the kittens were perfectly fine with Steve, however my wee fluffy mummy’s boy was definitely being a bit pathetic and was glad to have me back!

I was back in school on Wednesday, but with a lot of catching up to do and things going on outside of school, I made it a rest day.

Thursday had me back to my normal morning run. I was happy to take it easy as a kind of “mini taper” for my race, but I was also feeling a bit sluggish thanks to all the food at the beginning of the week and probably not having as much rest as I needed.

That evening I had my Ashtanga yoga class, however when I got there I found that we had someone else covering the class. That doesn’t bother me at all, however on this occasion we weren’t doing Ashtanga, it became a Hatha class. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that, but as the class went on I realised that while it might not have been the class I was expecting, it was most definitely the class I needed at that particular moment and I left feeling mentally restored.

I was back on the Glasgow train the next morning as it was time for the big meeting with all the exam markers. Once again a mixed day of walking lots and thinking hard. And yes, the good food was back again (although not pictured this time – it was basically the same).

Steve was Run Director at parkrun on Saturday so I decided this was an ideal time for a parkrun “open sandwich” i.e. I ran there but not home again as I went with him to the café right afterwards. By some miracle I managed to take the run fairly easily and then enjoyed my post-run bacon roll very much.

The rest of the day was pretty busy: we got the food shopping, I went to the hairdresser and then devoted much of the rest of the day to my marking duties whilst also preparing for my race the following day. We had all been sent a not-very-encouraging email with an adverse weather warning as it was looking pretty miserable for Edinburgh on Sunday morning. To be honest, running in the rain didn’t really bother me, but I was very conscious of making sure I kept dry before and after.

With this in mind, I packed a fairly extensive selection of stuff and organised my race kit.

As forecast, the weather was pretty rotten on the drive through and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had questioned my life choices at that point, however I knew once I got going it would be fine.

It was an “emergency hat” kind of a day!

We parked in our normal spot in town and walked over to the start area at Edinburgh university. The start area changed last year so this was my first time taking part in one of the EMF events since that change was made. I’ll post a separate race report with all the details, however I will say that I quite liked the new start as the university buildings provided proper toilets as well as some shelter from the rain.

Once organised, I headed to my start area (Steve and I were at different points) and waited to get underway. It was a little congested at first so I didn’t spot some of the main landmarks (although to be fair, most I had seen before) but once we hit the coast around 5-ish miles  I knew the rest of the route pretty well.

Prior to the race I had thought that while I might not be in PB shape, I should be fit enough for a sub-2 finish so had my watch set so I could see my overall average pace. I was ahead of the pace I needed for most of the race, but found the last couple of miles tough as we turned into a fairly brutal headwind which made it rather a battle. Still, I was pleased to cross the line with a time of 1:59:09. Yes, perhaps I could have been a minute or so faster, but this wasn’t a big goal race for me and I was quite happy with the experience.

I gathered all the post-race goodies, met Steve and collected my bag. There then ensued a rather inelegant change of clothes in the portable toilets (it was raining and I wanted some shelter for this) before heading up to the event buses to get back into town. After a half or full marathon my body craves McDonald’s (something I just wouldn’t want to eat at any other time) and the bus seemed to take forever. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one with an eye on the Golden Arches judging by the audible disappointment as we passed by a branch. I suspect if the driver had offered to hit the drive thru there would have been little objection!

We were eventually returned to the start area, where the race crew was busy dismantling everything. It was quite cool to see this part of the event.

Of course we made a bee-line for McDonald’s, pausing only to take photos of a couple of the points of interest we had earlier run by:

Greyfriars Bobby

As ever, I can confirm that my McDonald’s was just what I needed to replace the salts and carbs. Amusingly, we followed it with a quick visit to Hotel Chocolat (well it would be rude not to!) before heading home – the ridiculous to the sublime! I took this photo on the way back to the car: I may keep missing Andy Murray’s gold postbox in Dunblane, but I did spot Chris Hoy’s in Edinburgh!

All in all, a pretty good week. Busy, but a lot of things different to the norm and sometimes that’s just what we need.

What do you crave after a long run?
Do you notice landmarks when you race or are you so focused that you never spot them?