Sunday, 26 February 2012

Strictly champagne drinking ,wallaby spotting and occasional running

So much for keeping up with blogging, been a busy February.

Had fabulous girly weekend in Glasgow weekend before my Birthday with Jemima. I'd got her tickets for Strictly live tour for her Birthday and Spa weekend for Christmas for same weekend. We took day off so we could make full use of facilities in Hilton Hotel. Not that it was without it's stresses leading up to it, had about 5 different phone calls from them, first of all to tell us we couldn't eat in advertised restaurant (meal was inc) but then another 4 calls from Spa asking us which treatment we wanted, what time we would like it etc etc. Didn't exactly fill me with confidence.

However we arrived and reception was great, our room was ready when we arrived (12.30) and she booked us into bar for meal as restaurant opened too late for us to get to show on time. There was bottle of Champagne waiting in room (also part of deal) and room was lovely albeit the view left something to be desired   >>>>
 We headed off to gym then to pool where we swam, jacuzzi'd and steamed ourselves. For our treatments i had Swedish massage and Jemima had lemon zest body scrub. Fabulous.

We headed back to room where we hooked up ipod and danced around room whilst getting ready. We made the somewhat out of character but sensible decision to save our champagne til we got back as a bottle of wine was included with our meal, and we knew we'd probably get few drinks at show. We had few vodkas in room whilst getting ready of course.
Here we are ready to head out. We headed off to bar for our meal, which remember was booked by reception only to find they knew nothing of it. Not great. We ordered couple glasses of wine and after being ignored several times Jemima went up to get another couple and to complain. Eventually someone took control and sorted things out for us but it shouldn't have come to that in a supposed 5 star hotel. Meal was lovely though as was guy Nick who sorted everything out for us.                                                                                   Although it's only about mile from hotel there is a big fuck off motorway (as per picture) in between so we got a taxi along. Show was just brilliant, very entertaining indeed and nice to see the judges in kilts. It was great fun and we had an amazing night.
We got back to hotel, had quick drink in bar then headed to room, i had asked at bar if it was OK to bring down bubbly and swap it if it wasn't cold enough and they were cool with that so that's what we did. So we sat in our beds and drank the champagne, decadent and fab way to end a great day. Breakfast was a disaster, but I'll leave that to the complaint letter I'm drafting.....

We left hotel around 11 to head back to Edinburgh but i wanted to see ManUt v Liverpool game so we looked around to see where was showing it, unfortunately it clashed with Rangers game and i doubt we'd have found many pubs in weej showing ManU instead of Rangers so we headed off for train. Jemima had got tickets heading out and had bought returns with it being 20p of difference so we gave them away when we arrived in Glasgow much to the delight of guy we gave it to. So we decided to do same again. Nice to make someones day with random acts of kindness i reckon, although Ian said it's not allowed :o/ oh well, we made 4 different people happy saving them £48 altogether!

As i headed home i got a phone call from Ian to see if wanted to go to Charity ball that night at Balmoral, plan was a nice quiet night in followed by early morning long run. Which is why i never stick to plans! Had to nip to Frasers on way home though as i managed to dye Ian's dress shirt for his kilt pink, oops. Nice pink though.
As we were waiting on cab i was on twitter and saw that Simon Cowell, Ant  n Dec and rest of BGT crew were staying at Balmoral and there were crowds folk outside and police everywhere. They were gone by time we arrived and i hoped we might see them in bar later but it was closed to residents only. Ball was fab though and we danced night away and didn't get to bed til 3am.

After nice long lie in we got up and headed out for 20miler, Ian is training for Blackpool Marathon and I'm doing the half so we headed down to Cramond, ran to mussel burgh and back again. 2hrs52 av pace 8.36, certainly blew the champagne cobwebs from previous night, and loosened off my doms from dancing ;)

Run to work next day wasn't as painful as i expected it, legs tired but felt ok. Busy week ahead with Valentines & my Birthday within few days of each other. Nice meal in house with some bubbly and too late a night for school night followed by night out seeing my boy and the girls who showered me with pressies, and bubbly of course. Then on Thursday it was my birthday and we went to Tigerlily for dinner. I was knackered by Friday so we had early night in preparation for National XC next day.

Now to say i wasn't up for this would possibly be a slight exaggeration, i just dont like XC, not entirely sure why, after all it's trails, kinda. Maybe it's cause it's short and you have to run hard all way, i dunno. Anyway i went, i did it and i was slower than last yr, bit rubbish really but hey ho, my head wasn't in right place for it although it was lovely to see everyone. At least we were  rewarded with stay at Oak Tree. Nothing makes me happier than to arrive in Balamaha and get welcomed by roaring log fire and nice cold drink. Really is best place on WHW, and they are even opening for WHWrace at 3.30am so crews can get proper Tea/Coffee and hot rolls, almost makes me want to be crewing again ;)

After another great dinner i really didn't think we'd be up late but we managed to get talking to 2 other couples and ended up there til chucking out time(again) We managed to say no to going back to their room for more drink though thankfully. After breakfast in morning we headed off to Crieff to do *Tour of Strathearn*  This is Ian's old stomping ground and he has threatened, i mean promised to take me on this route for ages, so we were. Beautiful part of country and more hills and fabulous views to tick off and new places to say I've now been. Bloody tough though. Ian & Phil have done route in 2.50, god only knows how, we did it in 3.55 and i was jiggerypokeried.
that downhill at end looks amazing but it nearly finished me off. Talk about 2 contrasting 20milers on consecutive weekends! Had everything on Tour of Strathearn, trails, forests, hills, hills, Emu's, Wallabies, Llamas and grouse. Great route, go do it if you get chance.
So last 3 weeks mileage have been 45.9, 57.7 and 42.6 respectively, this week was spent doing more speed stuff. Been doing some strength work too and it's working, i think.

Til next time....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Blink and it's gone

Where on earth did January go? Cannot believe we're a week into February already.

I used to blog daily now it's monthly, i wonder if it's because of Facebook & Twitter, we all tend to find out what everyone is up to on there so maybe we don't bother with blogs so much?

January was pretty good and i managed to clock up 212miles. Only one long run in there, still early in the year though so I'm not worried about that. The long run was of course the Training weekend on WHW. What a fantastic weekend it was too. The idea formed when we were last up there doing exact same run (Oct) and after chatting to Lucy (who owns the fabulous Oak Tree) the thought became a reality.

 I think it's fair to say it was a great success. Weather was "challenging" 60mph winds and rain, character building. Learnt that from last yrs double run when i had most horrendous weather. I'm a bit strange in that i tend to run in shorts n vest when most folk are layered up Ninja styleee but even i had several layers on this time. So much so i looked like Michelin man ;)  >>

I had a vest, 2 tops and jacket on.

By 2nd mile i started stripping off, by about mile 5 i was down to vest. Here i am being introduced to Lorn by JohnK. We ran fair bit together but i lost her on approach to Rowardennan.

Arrived at Rowardennan to sideways sleet and found a gaggle of people sheltering and eating and drinking. I quickly put on everything once again  to try and warm up to get one mile up road for the sun to come out! lol, Meant we were treated to a lovely rainbow though and it was here we saw The Troon runners who'd ran out earlier and were on their turnaround.

Ran fair bit of way with Helen, normally she'd be waaay ahead of me but hasn't been training much so it was nice to catch up, Mark kept running ahead then sprinting back up hills to check on her, bless. He is proper Mountain Goat.

Loved that we had the speedsters pass us as we headed towards Inversnaid, managed quick hug off 2 Andy's (Johns & Murray)  and off i went in pursuit of others. Arrived at inversnaid and again lots of people were huddled together sheltering, i had no plans to stopping so gave Ian a quick kiss then turned and ran back. I saw JohnK and another runner ahead so decided to try and catch them. And catch them i did, i stayed with them for good while which i was delighted with. Lost them couple miles past Rowardennan though but Ian caught me here so i had company again.

Having done this exact same route quite few times now this was definitely the strongest I've felt on way back. I ran hills I'd normally immediately walk up and i was feeling great. Its the last couple miles that always get me, when it's totally flat, until you get to "that" hill. You could easily sneak round corner and go across that bridge, i guess that's what always go through my mind when I'm climbing the damn thing!  Still, ther's always that feeling of satisfaction coming down those last few steps and knowing you've got less than 1/2 mile to go.

Ian was up ahead of me and i tried to put bit of sprint on to catch him but i didn't. I finished in 6hrs 3mins though which is my fastest time doing that section so i was very happy! All this without a Garmin or a watch incidentally, having forgotten mine. Maybe i should do that more often and let my body decide on pace.
JohnK snapped us just as we finished.

Great night in Oak tree later on with some of my favourite people ever. George & Andy kindly helped me eat my Pizza and everyone did their best to get Ian drunk by buying him plenty Birthday Whiskies!

I had no DOMS to speak off which is bizarre as we'd done 13miles in Pentlands the week before and we were both aching for about 4 days at least. Go figure.

Managed a quick catch up with Susan this week who was in town having lunch @ Tigerlilys for her Birthday lunch. Few glasses of bubbly went down a treat.

Plan for now is to try and push myself and go faster so we've started doing Intervals and bit of speed Training. My default pace is around 9mm, especially at 5am so I'm trying to push a bit harder.
Yesterday we had a cracking, tough run and av pace 8.08mm. Speedy for me anyway, especially on the hills.
I've let gym slip too so I've bought some weights for house and do them once home from run for about 20mins. I'll be lean mean running machine yet....

Everywhere seems to have snow except us, beautiful day here in Edinburgh. Hadn't really planned to run but too nice not to. Only did 8.5 though as wanted to be back in time to watch Super Sunday.

Got lovely girly weekend coming up with Jemima, so a 4 day week beckons. wooop!


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