Less than 9 weeks to go ….

So, in general you could say that I’m bricking it somewhat.  As we countdown to the end of the month it has dawned on me that a year ago I was preparing to run Callanish Stones Marathon.  Where has the time gone?  I can’t believe it has already been a year.  Then the fear comes back.

I know I laugh and joke, but I’m genuinely terrified, just as I was last year, only this year I know what I’ve got myself into.  Still that won’t stop me.  In fact it will just make me all the more determined to get on with the job and hand and smash that PB of mine.

This week saw some lovely runs with Hazlehead jogscotland advanced beginners (give yourselves a round of applause ladies) and their first official Hazlehead parkrun.  It was amazing and inspiring to see how far everyone has come and how much they now love running (note to self: this has increased my view that runners could take over the world).

An unusually good photo - courtesy of Bill Irvine :)
An unusually good photo – courtesy of Bill Irvine 🙂

Then Sunday was the big one.  Long run day.  As there are a few of us doing marathons / ultras and other crazy events around the time, this weeks run was organised / initiated by Maz.

We met nice and early then headed along a route which picked up a few others, eventually heading out the coastal path from Torry Battery to Cove.  I’ve never done this route before and it was simply stunning along the coastal path, but I’ll tell you more about that shortly.

Here is the view out over the Harbour:

Harbour entrance and pretty view.
Harbour entrance and pretty view.

We stopped here for a quick customary selfie too:

Red face already!
Red face already!

Just before we got on to the coastal path, Ann turned off as a few of the ladies had to fit the run in around other commitments.  So off we went.  I’ve never run this way before and I was astounded by how close we were to nesting seabirds (no pictures sorry).  The camera did not come out on this part of the route as the path was pretty narrow in places.

We also had a few hiccups along the path, with one of our group having to answer the call of nature and another taking a tumble.  Thankfully no damage was done.  The worst I got was very wet feet when I tried to jump over a muddy patch that Maz warned me about.  She even tried to pull me over it and I still landed in it!

Other than the beautiful coast line there were some rather more bizarre sights, the most notable one being a pile of gutted fish just lying on the path.  This was not the prettiest sight in the world, so there was no way I was going to take a picture of that one!

We went past Doonies Rare Breeds Farm, so we saw some very horny cows and a fairly menacing looking bull.  Was going to take a photo, but I thought it would be wise not to hang around too long.

Whilst running and in some places just trying to run along the path the others kept having to look for me as the grasses were so tall they were higher than me.  In some points a machete or something similar would have been useful to cut my way through the undergrowth.  I actually felt like an explorer.  I had no clue what was ahead!

Here I learned my first important lesson of the day – when running a route which incorporates nettles and thistles DO NOT wear shorts.  I’m sure you can all pretty much guess what I was wearing!

Thankfully I seemed to have come away pretty unscathed, but it was a relief when we got on to the road.  The pavements were a lot easier to run on as I didn’t have to dodge stinging and scratchy stuff.

We headed back towards town and Duthie park as Maz had suggested an alteration to the route which meant a flat finish rather than the 2 mile uphill that we would have originally had to do.  By this time, although I was running better than the previous week (and doing more of it) I was starting to get quite tired, so that option was very appealing.

Here we split off again with 2 more of our companions and then we headed along the old Deeside railway line towards chez Maz.  She had kindly offered up her other half for taxi duties to take us back to our cars.

The last 2 miles were the hardest, however I had struck it lucky in some ways:

1.  NO blisters at all, despite wet feet (I have noted exactly which socks I was wearing and they will be my marathon socks)!

2.  My Nathan hydration pack was fab.  Plenty of fluids and plenty of pockets for gels, and stuff.

3.  Tried different gels and no tummy troubles.

We plodded on with Shona (Holburnmum) and myself trying to hit the 15 mile mark, opting to run up and down a lane.  I’m sure any passers by must have thought we had a screw loose!

When my Garmin beeped I was most pleased.  Some stretching was done and soon we were chauffeured back to our vehicles.  There was even Irn Bru:

Irn Bru anyone?
Irn Bru anyone? or Does my chin look double in this?

This is how the run looked:

Sorry it's a bit blurry!
Sorry it’s a bit blurry!

Since some of the terrain had been quite challenging I was really happy with this.

There was just enough time to drive home and grab a quick shower before heading back out, this time to the gym for my induction.

Second important lesson of the day – NEVER book a gym induction for the same day as you’ve done a long run!

I want to work on my upper body strength (I have very little) and the imbalance in my glutes (I have a lazy butt!)  By the time I came out the gym, I had no idea what had hit me.  I ended up doing a weights work out and my arms were like jelly.  Trying to steer the car on the way home was interesting.

I’d still not eaten yet, so when I got home I was skulking round the kitchen so hubby made food for us, which I hoovered up.  He then drove down to Aberdeen beach so we could get ice cream 🙂

I didn’t stop there.  For some unknown mad reason I started cleaning when I got back.  Once kitchen, bathroom and downstairs loo were done I decided that it might be an idea to have an early night.

There was one thing that was between me and a peaceful slumber (well technically 2 things):

Ouch!
Ouch!

After rollering and some swearing I decided to call it a day and crashed out.

Today my legs have been pretty good.  Not really all that stiff, but my arms and shoulders won’t be back to normal for some time!

Looking forward to this weekend.  Cut back week 🙂

Also, in case you have missed it, I have created my sponsorship page.  Everyone was so generous last time and I know there are so many worthy charities out there, but if you can, please give a little.  If you do you get a guess on my finish time for your chance to win a bottle of Pink Bollinger 🙂

Here is the link:  http://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/lochnessmadness

Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with my progress xxx

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