“Strong winds are expected to hit much of Scotland this weekend with the arrival of Storm Hannah.” (Herald Scotland, 25/04/2019). That’s not the weather report you want to see when you’re planning to run a 53 mile cross country ultra from 6am on the Saturday morning. However up until now the sun had always shined on Jonny Fling, no matter what the weather report said, so all would be alright on the day…wouldn’t it?
Somehow it was the end of April and Fling time again. How had that happened? Since my great run at Falkirk (also in pretty awful weather) in February, training had been up and down. My foot had hurt post-race so I’d had a bit of recovery from that, then I got the cold, followed by a horrific bout of sinusitis which knocked me for six, followed by ANOTHER cold… and then finally when training was almost back on track it somehow became time to taper for the race. Not ideal, but with the mantra of “what will be will be” going around and around in my brain and reminding myself that yes a good race could happen, but it was all just a warm up for the West Highland Way in June , I got around to planning, prepping, stressing, and eating before I was ready to hit the hay for my pre race 3 or 4 hours sleep. A bit more stressing came with the horrific weather forecast and 3 or 4 kit choice changes were made before I decided just to be brave and go with a skort but layer up with arm sleeves, a long sleeved top and swapped my lighter jacket for my OMM and thicker gloves. After all skin is waterproof, isn’t it? Continue reading →
Busy, busy, busy. Work is really kicking me up the backside as I try to get yet another block of swimming lessons sorted in a very short period of time. However, after today we trudge on through the last 8 weeks of yet another block….. and then it’ll be the summer holidays?? Nah, that can’t be right. The trees aren’t even green yet! What’s going on this year?
Yet again, time is flying by and I was shocked to look at my calendar in work and see that April had whizzed past and we were into the second week of May already. I seem to have blinked and lost 3 whole weeks, yet in that time I have been unbelievably busy with work, running, family and everything else in between. Life really does seem to be in constant fast forward just now and this year has been the fastest so far. I think one of the main reasons I want time to slow down is because I’m heading for the big 3-0 this summer, but the less said about that the better thank you very much!
One of my big accomplishments in the past week, and something that can now be ticked off my to do list, was finally joining a running club. Something that I have wanted to do for many years but has always been put on the back burner with various excuses of working late, being knackered and mainly just being overly shy. But I did it! I went along on a lovely, if a bit windy, Tuesday night for my first session with The Wee County Harriers. Which just happened to be hill reps – oh joy! But I felt great and the people who I had been in contact with through facebook and email made me feel so welcome there. I really look forward to attending training after a hard day of working with screaming kids and to run off all the stresses of the day, and I can’t wait to go to my first race with them as part of a team. It’s the little things!
Speaking of running off the stresses of a hard day, it’s amazing how running can make you feel. It’s a release and an escape from all things that wind you up, get on your nerves or just make you want to scream. A long run with a beautiful backdrop can make you smile and forget anything that made you want to headbutt a brick wall. Last month marked the anniversary of a year of running ‘properly’ for me and as I look back I feel really proud of what I have achieved. Not only have I brought my 10k time down by near enough 10 minutes but I can now easily bash out a half marathon in a pretty respectable time and I have my sights set on bigger and better things. This time last year if you had asked me if I ever fancied running a marathon I would have laughed and said no chance. I had sworn off half marathons after my first attempt at Alloa in 2011 which killed my knees and made me ache all over and now a couple of years down the line I am happily considering running a marathon and then who knows what after that! A year of commitment and hard training for something I love and am really passionate about is paying off and after every run I feel stronger, and more determined to smash PB’s and set new goals for myself. This time a year ago I was happily entering races, just for the fun of entering them. I wasn’t expecting to beat anyone and was happily plodding along near the back of the pack. I can now happily place myself in the middle of a group of runners and know that I won’t be overtaken by near enough everyone within the first 10 minutes of a race. I don’t ever see myself being an amazing runner as I’m just not built that way, but for now I will do what I can to run to the best of my ability.
Speaking of runs that help you relax and release, I came across the most amazing trail run on Saturday. I went back up to Callander, where we ran the X 10K last month and set off from the woods along a single track road. The road was lovely and quiet and took me right along the shores of Loch Venachar. With very little traffic, I happily plodded along the side of the road one with ear phone in, hoping that no maniacs would fly down this road and have me jumping into a ditch. It was beautiful and sunny to begin with but typical Scotland, a few miles in the heavens opened and I was drenched within minutes. Not that I was complaining, it was actually really refreshing. It was one of those runs where I had to stop to open and close gates, climb over stiles and hop over cattle grids to run through fields of Highland cows. It was glorious.
And a couple of hours later I was back at my car having clocked up just over 15 miles. As I said earlier, once upon a time a marathon was something that not only did I never think I could manage, but never really appealed to me. I thought I’d get bored running for that length of time! But after 15 miles of scenic Scottish countryside, I could have gone further and my opinion of what I am capable of of may be changing….