Wk12 into Wk13

Last week I had a good week re training, with two full strength sessions, and two bodyweight Strength sessions, four little-ish runs and a quick bike tabata.

I managed to finish off my two x three sessions of full body strength, a squat session, a deadlift session and a clean n press session. I’ve increased the weights as I’ve gone and I’m feeling good on it.

Then when I’ve been on holiday I’ve done a 25 min bodyweight session every second day.

Here’s what I did last week anyway:

Mon 18: Deadlift Strength & 4 min bike tabata
Tue 19: 4M lunchtime run
Wed 20: 5.5M run wi Twinnie
Thu 21: Clean n Press Strength & Travel
Fri 22: 2.5M Run / Bodyweight Strength
Sat 23: 4.4M Run
Sun 24: Bodyweight Strength

It’s good set up for April where I’m going to aim to strength train three times a week, on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. And I’ll run three days around that. I’ll build the weights and AMRAP reps up, taking note of them as I go.

Ive expectedly had good sleeps on holiday, although strange dreams that I’d rather not be dreaming about. But hey ho.


On Sunday coming I have the Alloa half marathon. And whilst my last long run of about 6 miles was a few days after the Inverness Half, my Garmin is apparently telling me that my reduction in training is causing me to ‘peak’ … so maybe I’ll be in good shape ahead of Alloa.

I’ll take it as it comes and see how I go. I have Monday off so that’ll be a good recovery day for me. Maybe the holiday has forced me to taper… little and often runs are fine here. And we had a rest from running on Thursday and Sunday.

In March so far I’ve run just over 70 miles, add on the half, brings it to 83.3, so I might get 90-95 miles this month. Up from 70 in January and 75 in February.

Here’s my plan for this week:

Mon 25: 4M Run (=70.2)
Tue 26: Bodyweight Strength / 3-5M Run
Wed 27: Circuit Strength / 5k Run
Thu 28: Travel & Rest
Fri 29: 4-6M Run / KB or Runner Strength
Sat 30: Rest
Sun 31: Alloa Half marathon

Oh and here’s me eating some ice cream this week too.

That’ll do. Then it’s into April and who knows what will happen then. Eeek.

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Celebrate what is different

I remember a friend of mine a long while back saying I was ‘unique’… I could have taken that as a bit of a negative judgement, or I could have taken it as I did, as a compliment. Unique, different, one of a kind. What makes you different stands you apart from the norm, makes you special.

I think it might have been my Dad or my parents who filled me with the self confidence that I have now. The confidence that being different Is a good thing.

I was the youngest of five and I felt like I had a lot to compete with. I felt like I wasn’t as good as them, as strong as them, or as clever as them. Or that they were better at school or academic subject than I was. And because they were all older than me, it was probably true.

The truth is that we were just different, and neither of us were ‘better’ than the others. (Although my brother would probably disagree!) We all brought our own talents and now I’ve realised that whilst I wasn’t a straight A’s student, my forte was and is, working with people.

I always floated around different groups of friends, and created a support network of people my own age as well as those older than me. I learned from them, and I also learned that being different was ok.

I started school when I was 4 and two months old, so I always felt like I was the smallest until I got to about 4th year and suddenly started outgrowing my school friends. I felt different from the start, but somehow I knew that it was ok to be different.

It’s probably one of the reasons I was so comfortable in coming out when I was 19… because a. I knew it was nobody’s business but my own and b. It was ok to be different.

My 87 year old kind of religious Granny even said it was fine, as long as I didn’t harm others, she knew I’d do myself proud in life.

I don’t go on about being gay, because it isn’t a big deal to me. It is what it is. I’ll talk about my partner but I don’t announce myself as being gay very often. Like a good vegan who doesn’t go on about it every day… that’s me, but just another way of living life.

And if it is a big deal to someone else, or if they don’t like it, then I’m better off without them. I learned that a long time ago. It’s no biggy. It’s not often I’ve had a negative reaction, and that’s likely because I society is more accepting, it’s my life and it shouldn’t be a big deal.

My Dad always taught me to respect others. We’re not religious, and I grew up in a small rural town. But I still grew up to respect all, not matter their religion, colour or creed. Be who you want to be and respect others as long as they aren’t doing others harm.

Recently I saw this adorable post on a colleagues Facebook page, where it seems that being different being a good thing is maybe being taught in schools… both Jimmy’s parents are great colleagues in work, and it looks like their great ways are rubbing off on their son…

‘… He is really cool. He is different and being differ(ern)t is cool.’ (He’s about 5 or 6).

It’s cool if this is being taught in schools, or even if it’s just the parents teaching the kid who wrote this. Difference being ok should be taught, acceptance of diversity can only be a good thing.

(Not so cool in other schools like these ones in Birmingham http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-47613578)

Now at my work, I’m one of a very diverse work force – it’s rich in types of people from all different backgrounds. I’m still one of a kind and I’ve recently heard in feedback from colleagues that my ‘positivity and enthusiasm is contagious’ in my work. It seems people see me as being ‘very smiley’ and a joy to work with.

That can’t be bad and it kinda makes me want to smile even more and spread the smiles even more. 🙂

There are a few people in my work who I’m close to. Who are different, and who, when I talk to, I get a lot from. They’re confident in themselves, opinionated and knowledgable, but open to discussion. They are like the person I want to be – enthusiastic, positive, nothing is ever too much for them. They are my reason to smile in work, my network helping me to be me.

Their honesty and truth is refreshing and helps me to get perspective in life. And hopefully I help others to smile in work too. You know who you are – the people who know me well, and help me look after myself and steer myself in the right direction.

In work, I check how people are, I genuinely care about people. I make time for people who need my help. I get reward for helping people and from making things happen. I’m the positive and calm where sometimes there is negativity or stress.

Whilst others might be self conscious of what makes them different. I’m proud of what makes me different …

The dental implants I have and bump on my nose from breaking it in a car accident… it’s made me a more cautious driver, and luckily nothing more serious happened that day, and no one else was injured. It helped me to learn to be a better driver and that life isn’t eternal, or that it can end *just like that*.

I’m happy with the choices I’ve made in life… to be healthy, happy and fit. The fact that I run and strength train a lot, I make it my own and I really enjoy it. It’s my release, my chance to be the best I can be. I don’t drink, and I couldn’t care less what people think of that. I do it for my own reasons, and it works for me, and it has for the last 10 years.

I like eating, and I like to try to get a balance in life and in most things I do. I like pizza and ice cream, and I like napping in the afternoon sometimes when I need it.

I’m not ‘proud’ to be gay as I think (and hope that) society has moved on from those times. But I am what I am, or I do what I do, and I don’t make a song and dance about it. I don’t see the point. If people don’t like it, then that’s up to them, and I’ll avoid them or leave them with their opinions.

There are so many other things that make me who I am, and it makes me different from everyone else – and that can only be a good thing. If someone doesn’t like it, or me, then stuff them. I can rise above it and know that I’m being true to me.

I’m proud of who I’ve become and what I’ve overcome to get here. The people who are important to me that are proud of me too, and I’ll hopefully keep making them proud.

What is it that makes you different and why are you proud of it, or what has it helped you to learn?

Are there things you feel scared to do for fear of what others think?

Would you feel better if you just did them and made them a part of who you are? (As long as you’re not harming anyone else).

What makes you different makes you beautiful. It can help to make you be a star that sparkles that little bit brighter in the sky. And in a dark sky, it’s often nice to see the bright sparkly stars twinkle away.

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Wk11 into Wk12 & 13

Last week I had some good training sessions and managed to keep on top of my work too.

I felt recovered from the Inverness Half marathon ok. I was a bit tired ok the Monday and Tuesday, but a nice wee lunchtime easy recovery run was good.

I did 4 runs (nearly 20 miles) and two strength sessions, and I had two rest days. All good and it’s nice to be getting back into the swing of things.

My sleep has been pretty pathetic, waking up at 2 some mornings and getting up as I can’t sleep, but that’ll get better in the next week or two, so no biggie. 🙂

Here’s what I did last week:

Mon 11: Rest & Travel
Tue 12: 5k recovery run lunchtime
Wed 13: Clean n Press Strength
Thu 14: 7.8M run (coaching)
Fri 15: Rest
Sat 16: Squat Strength & 3.6M (coaching)

Sun 17: 4.5M Run DMc

Here’s my plans for the next couple of weeks ahead of the Alloa half marathon:

Mon 18: Deadlift Strength
Tue 19: Run wi Twinnie / 5k lunchtime?
Wed 20: Clean n press Strength
Thu 21: Travel / run first thing?
Fri 22: Run
Sat 23: Bodyweight Strength
Sun 24: 6-8M Run?

Mon 25: Bodyweight Strength
Tue 26: 5M run
Wed 27: 5M / Bodyweight Strength
Thu 28: Travel & Rest
Fri 29: Run / Strength
Sat 30: Rest
Sun 31: Alloa Half marathon

Then in April I’m going to aim for 2-3 good strength sessions a week (mon wed fri ideally) and keep my running ticking over (3 runs a week ish).

I might enter an event but I’m not sure yet – any suggestions for a good event up to half marathon distance in the summer? A Scottish one probably.

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Up and up and up, but in a good way

If you know me, you know I like numbers… well below are some numbers that I’m happy with. It seems that my training is working, even with the busy-ness of work on top.

You’ll also know that I know how important it is to see weight as more than just a number on the scale – for some, higher is not necessarily worse.

Muscle takes up less space than fat… as the image below shows (I’m not sure how accurate it is, but i think it’s a good visual, and I’d like to think it’s accurate):

Last week in work, I was quietly smiling when John Beattie said to me he thought I looked like I’d lost weight. And I replied to say I’d actually put on weight and was the heaviest I’ve been for years.

(By the way, I never thought I’d be in a position to have the rather fit and accomplished ex rugby player John Beattie saying he thought I’d lost weight (especially when I’d put it on the right way). Lol. Life can be funny. It’s cool to know him, he’s such a lovely man.)

Anyway… here’s the numbers and graphs… for me in relation to what I’m talking about:

This graph above, from the end of 2012 shows my weight going up and up and up. The lowest it’s been was about 120lbs… and now it’s up about 18-20lbs in 7 years.

But we know that it’s not weight that’s the important thing, it’s body composition… and you can be just as fit and lean at ten stone as you can be at 8 stone.. or even more fit and lean at 10 stone!

I generally want body fat to reduce and lean mass to increase, and I’ve been able to do that over the years with training and eating.

When I was 120lbs / 8.5 stone, I had about 13lbs body fat, or about 11% body fat, and about 104lbs lean body mass.

5 years on and after a busy year at work… in October 2018 my stats were:

18 October: 135.8lbs / 17.1% body fat
23.3lbs body fat / 107.6lbs lbm / 4.9lbs water

Then I started afresh in January 2019 and took these measurements, up a bit in body fat lbs (same %) and up in lean body mass (too many mince pies at Christmas?!):

1 Jan: 139.5lbs / 17.1% body fat
23.9lbs body fat / 110.7lbs lbm / 4.9lbs water
+3.7lbs =
+0.6lbs body fat / +3.1lbs lbm / no change water

Two more months of attempting to fit in training and trying to be a bit more
conscious of what I’m eating (or not eating everything in sight)…

…here’s my results with a bit more of a focus on strength training since January… (lbm is lean body mass, as recorded on my scales):

2 March: 139.1lbs / 15% body fat
20.9lbs body fat / 112.5lbs lbm / 5.7lbs water
+3.3lbs =
-2.4lbs body fat / +4.9lbs lbm / +0.8lbs water

So since October last year I’ve put on 3.3lbs, but that’s +4.9lbs lean body mass, +0.8lbs water and I’ve lost -2.4lbs of body fat.

That’s about +2.2kg of muscle and about -1.1kg of body fat / a reduction in body fat of 2%.

And it’s up nearly 20lbs compared to 2012! 8lbs body fat, 8-9lbs lean body mass and 4-5lbs water. Or maybe my brain has grown as part of all that? 😉 ha, only joking.

So whilst I’ve put on weight since October, I hopefully look leaner / smaller because I have less fat / more muscle (slightly). Or maybe I look the same but I feel stronger.

I’m always going to have big hips (runs in the family) but it’s good to know the numbers are working out and I feel probably better at this weight – a stone and a half heavier than I did at 120lbs / 8.5 stone.

Saying that – imagine how much easier it would be to run carrying 8.5 stone vs 10 stone!! 😉

no wonder I was able to run a 3:28 marathon! (this was me then… see much difference compared to the pic above?)

I definately couldn’t do that now, but that’s ok for me as I have different goals, and I’ll always have that pb. 🙂

I’m also about 5-6 years older, and age catches up with you. I’m happy pushing myself when I want to and getting results like I did on Sunday at the Inverness half (avg HR 166, max 176, time 1:54 – vs a pb of 1:39 a while back).

Who cares about all of these numbers… as long as I’m happy, healthy and fit, right?

Ps: The graphs above are generated by Health Mate by Withings… when I step on my MyWithings WiFi scale it automatically sends my stats to the app. Very clever indeed.

Do you look at your numbers like this? What have your results been? Or is it more about you getting a balance and being happy, healthy and fit?

Now that I think about it, that’s my motivator, and the numbers are a measure for me to see how I’m changing / progressing.

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New album

Here’s a new album I’ve downloaded, 60 songs, 5 hours. Should be good in the gym.

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Wk10 into Wk11

Last week I got 3 runs and 2 strength sessions done, including the race on Sunday. I had some travel and rest days, and today I took another rest day and travelled back.

My body isn’t too sore / no real doms after the half marathon yesterday… I have tight shoulders and a bit of a sore neck (probably from tensing in the cold / rain), but the main effect I’m feeling is tiredness. It’s like a hangover, but not as bad. And it is self inflicted, so I’ll shut up about it now.

Mon: Rest
Tue: Squat Strength & 5k lunchtime
Wed: Deadlift Strength
Thu: Rest & Travel
Fri: 3.6M easy run
Sat: Rest
Sun: 13.1M Inverness half marathon race

I also spent a good couple of days with colleagues and friends in Inverness.. a good week, but I’m looking forward to a holiday.

Here’s my plans for this week coming if I feel rested enough.

Mon 11: Rest & Travel
Tue 12: Clean n Press Strength (or rest / lie in) & 5k
Wed 13: 4-5M run
Thu 14: 5-6 Run
Fri 15: Squat Strength
Sat 16: 9-10M easy
Sun 17: Deadlift Strength

I’ll see if I have time to do some Bike HIIT after my strength sessions too. I might take some extra rest, but I’ll see how it goes. It’s all a balance and I’ve learned to listen to my body to make sure I get the recovery I need.

I have some training plans to do this week, so I’ll get on with them hopefully on Tuesday night.

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Inverness Half Marathon 2019

I don’t know what it was but I had a feeling the Inverness half marathon this year wouldn’t be as good as last years one. Be it less training by me, or me being in a bit of an uncertain time, or simply the weather conditions making it harder.

It was due to be cold and wet and windy… so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But in an odd way, i wasn’t too nervous either. I took confidence that I’d done it before, and it was a good event and route and I really enjoyed it. Here’s what the weather forecast was the night before.

Sleet due after sun in the morning then cold and wind and rain. Lovely. I forgot to pack a buff and cap, so I knew that wasn’t the best prep but all of my other gear was spot on. Purple capris, a compression vest, yellow tshirt, yellow arms (like Mo Farah’s, but no where near as fast). My yellow nike gilet, and my water pack. I managed to borrow a buff from my friend and I needed it to shelter my face from the wind and rain and my neck from the wind and the cold.

I parked about a mile away and walked to the start. I’d had breakfast and a coffee, then just before I left, I had a small mars bar for energy and a sis caffeine shot (150mg caffeine). My water pack kept me nice and hydrated all the way through although I probably didn’t drink as much as I should have.

I got to the start line and heard the subtle tones of Bryan Burnett over the start line, along with the nice welcoming sound of the pipes playing. I got to the start line with about 5-10 minutes to spare, but the fast walk there warmed me up.

I spoke with they guy on the right of me in this picture, then before we knew it, we were off. Wind behind us for the first wee bit, j probably went off a bit fast, and noticed in the first mile or so that my heart rate went up pretty high compared to when I run races. I try to be a bit more conservative, HR 150-155, but it w as quickly up to 165.

I possibly started further forward than I should have, and I spent the first 4-5 miles being overtaken mostly. After a mile or so we were running into the wind and I was trying to use tall / wide men as wind breakers, or just men. It sometimes worked, and took my mind off how hard it was anyway.

This was me before the start, just getting there, then I didn’t take many photos on the run. Another thing that isn’t like me is that I didn’t talk to any other runners along the way. I find this tends to make the whole thing more enjoyable, but today I just wasn’t up for it.

It was more like a case of get running and keep running. Head down, or head up in fact, and get it done.

I remembered the route from last year and my time in Inverness. I usually aim to have my heart rate average 165 in races and today I got it bang on, on average… and it leaking at 176. That’s working at average 95% of my max and peaking at 97% – 6 beats under my max… at the end.

Up to about mile 6, you’ll see from the numbers above that I was working pretty hard, but trying to ease off on the hills. 160-171… about 2 miles in I was wondering why the hell I’d entered. But by about 5 miles I was in it for the long haul.

Then the course went down a bit and flat, with a few more ups before doing down again to the river and leisure centre. The wind was pretty relentless, up until we got down the big hill at mile 9 and into mile 10 where the wind was behind us for a couple of miles.

At about mile 6 I felt strong, 10k in about 56 or 58 minutes, then I think the downhill and the wind behind me helped me get a negative split. About mile 8 I think I saw a nice wee old lady standing on her doorstep cheering everyone on very enthusiastically. I gave her a big wave and carried on. Past a school, it felt like the wind was never ending.

I’d had the caffeine shot an hour before I started, then a double espresso sis energy gel at the start line, and a cherry sis caffeine Energy gel about 6 miles in. 150 + 125 + 75mg caffeine = 300mg and I’d had enough.

11 miles in and about 2 miles to go, I was feeling good again. I ran next to a woman in orange who was clipping along at a nice pace, with a strong fast cadence. We silently ran together for about 1.5 miles. Usually I would chat and get her name, but I knew I wasn’t up to it.

With about a mile to go I knew I would probably finish in about 1:54… I kept running strong across the bridge, then ran back into the bl%$dy wind for the last mile or so. Aaahhhh. I’d over taken a few people, and then they over took me back. Half a mile to go and I was nearly there. Dire straits came on my headphones and I thought of my dad.

A quarter of a mile and my right hand started to go numb. The cold, plus tense arms…ouch. I moved my fingers a bit and focused on finishing strong. In the last wee bit I pushed strongly and overtook a couple of people before going onto the track to finish.

The Australian lady in my Garmin was telling me that my heart rate was 176 and I was glad I was about to finish. Some people flew
past me and I ran past a few others. Average heart rate on the last stretch was 175. 😳

Then I crossed the line in about 1:54:22, or 1:54:18 chip time. About 4 minutes slower than last year, but so much harder due to the weather, and maybe because of less training for it by me. It’s amazing how the conditions can change a run so much. All good anyway. I stuck with it and worked hard to do it and to finish.

When I stopped I felt a bit of a thing in my hamstring, but it was maybe just cold and a bit worn out. I stopped and said hello tot he woman in orange. She was called carol and she’d travelled from edinburgh. It was good to run the last couple of miles with her, even though it was silent. I also said hello to Bryan when he noticed me gubbed at the end.

My hair was a riot when I finished. Great fun, and next time I won’t forget my cap to keep the rain out of my eyes.

When I finished I got warm and stretched in the leisure centre and plucked up the courage to walk the mile back to my car. I got into my warm gear and devoured two small mars bars.

Posted about the run, text a few people and called Fit Girl saying I wasn’t doing that ever again. Lol.

I got back to my friends house and got warmed up with a hot chocolate. I was feeling a bit sick after the run. It was about 4’c the whole way and it was probably a side effect of the cold. And my body working at 95% for almost 2 hours. Running can be hard work!

I do love how I can nail it exactly to my race plan – run on average with my heart rate at 165 and see what the result is.

At the end the offer was short read which I passed on, or some bloks which h took for another run, or an Apple. I prefer a banana for refuelling. But never mind.

I came in 890th overall, and 233rd woman. 134th in my category (918th overall) based on my chip time. A bit of a difference to last year where it was 650th / 135th / 75th / 654th.

After a nice warm bath at about 5pm I was treated to a nice rare sirloin steak and chips and veg. My nice hosts Rhona and Ewan looking after me well.

I finally felt much better after that, I’d finally warmed up and felt a bit more recovered. T was an orange medal and T-shirt last year and this year it was a green medal and T-shirt. Here’s me at the end. Smiling, but not my happiest at the end of a race. We can’t win em all. 😉

Tonight my body doesn’t feel too sore. I oddly have a sore elbow and not so oddly a sore second toe. My neck and shoulders feel quite tense too. I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.

I’d really recommend this race to anyone, it’s a good, well organised race with just under 3,000 runners. A small but not too big field of runners and a good challenging route. 🙂

I’m away for a big sleep.

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