Swim in Loch Lomond 10 October

This might be one of my favourite spots to open water swim now… on the west side of Loch Lomond, about a half hour drive from my house. It’s nice and handy, with a short walk from the car to the waters edge, it’s a nicely sheltered bit.

I came here in the middle of August with Vanessa and Linda, and I came back today for a fin assisted swim. The weather looked ok, and I planned an early morning swim, leaving the house about 8am, I was ready to be in the water for 9am.

I took my bagful off stuff… and wore my new zone 3 changing robe to keep me warm, over the top of my wetsuit and hoody.

In the bag included my shirt fins, goggles, neoprene socks, and pink hat… my safety bouy and Tony the turtle (thermometer)… a dry bag of warm clothes, and a dry bag of a couple of towels, and some water. I also had my swim watch, and my waterproof camera and my safety whistle. I left my coffee flask and some food in the car for after I’d changed after my swim.

The sun was just up as I drove to Loch Lomond. As I drove up I saw a rain cloud ahead, and a shimmer of a rainbow int be sky over where I’d be swimming. I smiled and wondered what my Granny would think of me doing this…

Known for my gadgets, Tony the thermometer was my most recent one… tied to my safety bouy, he showed that the water temperature was just under 14’C – about 2’C lower than the other weekend in Lochan Spling.

I put my phone and car keys on my safety bouy, and left a couple of bagfuls of my other gear tucked away on the shore. having my phone in the bouy would enable me to use it if I needed to, but it also enables my other half to know where I am on find my iPhone – the image below is where I was at 9:31 this morning. 🏊‍♀️

When I got to the waters edge I was a bit taken aback at how pretty it was… so tranquil and quiet, with the sun just risen, casting over the water which looked like glass.

It has been raining very lightly on my short half mile walk there, but since I was in my dry robe (waterproof on the outside) it kept me nice and dry.

I decided this time that I’d use my fins for a bit more power and strength in the water. I was going to aim for between 45-60 minutes in the water, depending on how cold I got.

My watch alerts me every 250m, so once I’d got in and submerged and warmed up a bit, I swam south along the shore towards the next bit of headland. The 250m were ticking off nicely, and I felt comfortable. I was breathing 3/4 3/4 to each side.

I looked up every now and again and saw some lovely scenery, the sun splitting through the clouds and through the water. After 1,000m I decided I’d go another 250m, and got closer to the end of the headland. I think I was swimming in front of the golf course. I tried to stick close to the shore as much as possible for safety.

At 1,250m in I was about 20 mins in I think… and I decided I’d start to head back, so that I’d end up doing around 2,500m or maybe 3,000m if I felt good near my exit point.

I was feeling good, and enjoying the water and the whole experience. I was very convoys of the cold and not wanting to get too cold… and before I knew it I was close to the entry / exit point again.

Once I got there I was 2,500m in, or about 45 mins… so I decided I’d swim a further 250m north and back, getting up to 3,000m by the time I was finished. (see my companion Tony keeping me company).

As I finished off, the rain started… the loch and surroundings went all grey… and I didn’t really fancy changing in it, but it was ok as I was able to change fine and dry under some trees where I’d left my stuff.

I kicked into the shore on my back, and noticed two other swimmers who were in for a quick dip (in their costumes!) their chatter sort of ruined the silence and tranquility, but it was good to see others enjoying the rain… I mean loch.

A faster open water swim than normal due to my fins, but I’d rather use them than not and be safe and strong in the water.

My average heart rate was 142 and max 171… the 171 seems a bit high, but it seemed to steady off once I got going. ❤️ 🏊‍♀️

I was out of the water by about 10am, and I text to let Fit Girl know I was good and finished.

Then I was careful to get dried off and changed at the waters edge, before going back to the car for coffee, water, a rego milkshake and a muller rice.

I hadn’t had breakfast, but felt good on it, and this was to refuel. I left not long after and I was home by 1130 for a warm shower.

My feet were really cold again, even though I’d worn my neoprene socks (and fins)… and it took about 2 hours after the swim for them to get back to normal. I didn’t have gloves on though, and my hands were ok.

Afterwards we went a walk in the west end and went to 279 where I had another coffee and a vegetarian breakfast (halumi and mushrooms instead of meat!).

It was a good wee day, and I hope to maybe do this once a fortnight until I decide the open water is too cold (then I’ll stick to the pools). We will see how it goes.

It’s world mental health day today, and I’m sure that did wonders for my health. There’s something indescribable about swimming in those surroundings, in the cold, but not being too cold and being protected by the wetsuit and neoprene. It’s magic. 👍🏻🏊‍♀️😇

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lovely book – Captain Tom’s Life Lessons

What a lovely and easy to read book this is – Captain Tom’s Life Lessons.

Here’s a list of the chapters.

It was just £13 (or £8 on Amazon)… a good wee read or even nice as a wee present to someone. I’m away to eat my porridge. 😂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My winter training plans 2021

With autumn upon us, I’ve had a look at my training and set myself up with a 3 months training plan which fits with my work and life.

I tried it out last week and it seemed to work well. Although for some reason (4 strength sessions and 2 runs of 10 miles in total) my right leg is sore again. Boooo.

Here’s the basic weekly plan:

It includes:
– 3 swims (one open water once or twice a month depending on how it goes with the cold! 🥶) – 1-2 runs (or 1 spin and 1 run)
– 2-4 strength sessions
– 1-2 rest days

The strength sessions are Apple Fitness 20-30 minutes, usually with Sam or Kyle, and last week I did 3 of them in my lunchtimes which was good.

The gym is right next to our house, and I have flexi time, so it was easy to take 40 mins out for linch to do it.

Swimming is at the Gorbals through the week (I might try out Bellahouston as it’s open soon); and either Tollcross at the weekend or an open water swim in a loch.

Thursdays are full in days at work, so hence no strength training at lunch time; but I’m open to being flexible and if time does or doesn’t allow I’ll flex as suits.

Here’s what I did last week:

Coaching for the Glasgow Triathlon Club for their development swimmers has been great too. I coached some of the kids / juniors for two weeks just there, but it’s maybe a bit much with a full time working week too. We’ll see.

The plan is I’ll have a recovery week even 4 weeks up to Christmas. No events to train for, but I might do a big open water swim somewhere at some point. Tbc.

Here’s my rough plan for the next three weeks, with a recovery week each 4 weeks.

I’ll see how my leg goes and maybe cut back on the strength or the running, but I’ll see.

It’s nice to be settled in my training and in my work. Working from home really suits me, although I could probably do with some more interaction with people for both.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Medals as at 2021

51. That’s how many medals I’ve got. I started running in 2008, so that’s not many medals each year, but enough for me, and they’ve amassed over the years into quite a nice wee haul.

I finally got around to getting my extra medal hanger up… and here they all are (some of them are Fit Girl’s too – over and above my 51):

Oct 2008 Big fun 5k
Dec 2008 Glasgow Santa Dash
May 2009 Glasgow Women’s 10k
Aug 2009 Wick Sprint Triathlon
March 2010 Mighty Deerstalker (never again!)
March 2010 Balloch to Clydebank Half
April 2010 Fort William Marathon
May 2010 Glasgow Women’s 10k – PB 44:12
Sep 2010 Glasgow Half Marathon (dressed as Super Girl)
March 2011 Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon
May 2011 Glasgow Women’s 10k
Sept 2011 Glasgow Half Marathon
Sept 2011 Chicago Half Marathon

May 2012 West Highland Way Walk
Sept 2012 Glasgow Half Marathon
March 2013 Balloch to Clydebank Half marathon
March 2013 D33
May 2013 Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon
May 2013 Glasgow Women’s 10k
June 2012 Barrathon Half Marathon
May 2014 Glasgow Women’s 10k (pacing)
May 2014 Belfast Marathon PB – 3:32:37
(Fastest marathon event)
June 2014 Skye Half Marathon PB – 1:38:08
July 2014 Thunder Run 24
(Sept 2014 Glasgow Marathon PB – 3:28:18 – But not an event so I don’t have a medal!)
July 2015 Thunder Run 24
Oct 2015 Glasgow Half Marathon (pacer)
Oct 2015 Loch Ness Marathon

(Sept 2016 Glasgow Half Marathon)
Need to move this one over on the hanger.
April 2016 London Marathon
June 2016 Skye Half Marathon
Oct 2016 Loch Ness Marathon
March 2017 Loch Katrine 10k
Sept 2017 Glasgow Half Marathon
Nov 2017 Moira’s 5k
March 2018 Inverness Half Marathon
April 2018 London Marathon
May 2018 Glasgow Women’s 10k

Sept 2018 Glasgow Half Marathon
Sept 2018 Scottish Half Marathon
Nov 2018 Moira’s 5k
Dec 2018 Glasgow Santa Dash
March 2019 Inverness Half Marathon
Sept 2018 Glasgow Half Marathon
March 2019 Alloa Half Marathon
Jan 2020 Nigel Barge 10k
March 2020 Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon
Nov 2020 Moira’s 5k
Aug 2021 Loch Lomond 3,000m Swim
Sept 2021 Brighton 10k
Sept 2021 Loch Morlich 3,000m Swim

As you can see, a lot of them have been local, or at least in Scotland. My furthest away (and possibly favourite medal and one of my favourite events) was the Chicago Half Marathon in 2011.

The furthest north was the triathlon up in Wick. The furthest south, the Brighton 10k.

I think best medals are the Chicago one, the Brighton 10k one, and the marathon ones, Loch Ness and London, nice and chunky. Although the D33 and the Mok Half Marathon ones are nice as they’re hand made.

As for lock events Moira’s 5k in Queens Park is always good, and this year I’m going to do something different with a nighttime 5k / lit up around the Kelpies in November. That’ll be my 4th medal in 4 months / this year.

I’ve won two age group prizes in my running / swimming career – usually due to lower numbers of participants! The Barrathon I got a nice glass, for being 3rd female senior I think, and for the Loch Lomond 3,000m swim I was 3rd female veteran (still waiting on my trophy!)

I’ll now likely stick to shorter runs (under the marathon, closer to the 10k mark, maybe the odd half marathon), and hopefully get some more medals at swimming events.

Now there’s some room for some more with the few extra rows on the bottom hanger I’ve added.

I think it’s safe to say that my running PBs are likely behind me (plus running fast is hard!)… but maybe I’ll get some new swimming PBs (and medals) now that I’m new / back to the sport.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September – Holidays, fun, training and plans

In September I had a good balance of training and rest, with about two weeks off work… I had a good break, but still got lots of training in.

Here’s what I did:

Walk 51 miles (20 out of 30 days)
Run 40 miles (9 times)
Swim 29km / 18 miles (10 times)
Cycle 4.2 miles (once)
Strength 1 hr 21 (2 times)

I also had 10 out of 30 days as rest (walk) days.

It was a similar amount of running, walking and swimming to the previous month, but I didn’t get into the gym as much. I’ll hopefully make a change to that in October.

When we’re on leave Fit Girl has this very healthy thing where she takes a proper break from training … giving her body a rest after consistent training when she’s not on leave.

I sort of go with it (but do the odd run or swim)… and what happens is I tend to always meet my apple activity goals (mainly through walking) when we’re on leave. She always meets hers. (See above, closed rings from 14-28 Sept – when we were on leave together). It’s good to have someone else to motivate you into healthy activity habits.

We had really good sleeps (and naps!) on leave… averaging about 10 hours sleep a night on leave. And as a result I felt nice and refreshed. Overall my sleep has been good (since my work has been good!). Long may it continue.

My weight is continuing to drop a little after I started 16:8 fasting in mid July. It’s plateaued a bit in the last week or two… but I have less routine with it. That’s probably the weight I should be now, having lost half a stone since mid July.

This was the sky early the first morning last week when we needed to get up to train before work. Autumn and dark morning skies are coming. 

Anyway, here’s the detail of the training I did in September. I keep a track of it in a draft email (and on Garmin):

I had a great time at the Brighton 10k, and kept up my swimming for the swim event on 18th.

Then we were on leave…

Then we started our leave and enjoyed nice forest walks and visits to friends.

We had wee adventures up in Pitlochry, near Aviemore, up in inverness, Beauly, Carrbridge and then also around Glasgow. It was a great couple of weeks off (even though we didn’t get to go abroad).

And of course I really enjoyed the go swim 3,000m event in Loch Morlich. It was ace.

The last week of our leave was back home, and so got 3 runs and 3 swims in and lots of walking. I finished the week off with a 2,500m swim at Lochan Spling in the Trossachs. Great fun.

Then the last week of September that was us back to normality. Back to work, nice and refreshed. I’ve got an idea of how I’ll change my training in autumn winter to include more strength training – doing a wee bit less running, but keeping the swimming up.

Other things that happened in September was I got my Glasgow Triathlon Club coaching tshirt. I’m coaching development swimmers on a Monday morning at Bishopbriggs, and trying out coaching kids on a Thursday at the Gorbals (but might not keep it up as I’m working enough I think!).

I bought and an reading this lovely book:

As mentioned, the darkness in the mornings and nights is here…

I got soaked the other morning on a wee run… thankfully my running jacket is waterproof.

But then with rain and low sun… comes rainbows…. Just in time for what would have been my Granny’s 106th birthday on the 22nd of September.

I got this one from my best friend … when her cute twin 3 year old boys got her to come out and see it.

Other things that happened in September include:

Me getting myself a cosy warm Zone 3 parka (dry robe) for after swims.

And this baby bath Turtle thermometer…to check the temperature of the water I swim in… in lochs. It was 16.4’C when swimming in Lochan Spling at the end of September. So not too bad.

And I also got welcomed into the bots!

Oh and here’s another rainbow Paul Clawson (Bella Harrier) sent me. He’s pacing a couple of runners for the virtual marathon – fellow Harrier Tania is one of them, who’s aiming for under 4 hours and she’s a very experienced runner so I think she’ll smash it.

Now the leaves are turning – see below our Virginia creeper turning red this week … and I’m looking forward to what autumn and winter bring.

I’ll post my training plan / idea for how I’ll train, soon.

I’m pleased to say with the change in work, I’m finally in a great place with everything and feeling very happy (even though the dark days of winter are coming!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lochan Spling again

Today I’d planned to find and try out an open water swim in the Lake of Menteith. It’s about an hour away from me, and some reviews online said it was good to swim in… shallow in parts, but good.

I found where to park, and arranged to take my friend Lesley there this morning, early doors. With a packed lunch, coffee in a flask and all my swimming gear, I picked Lesley up at 730am and headed to the spot about an hour away.

We got there just before 830am… parked and crossed the road to have a look the loch. It had looked stunning on the drive up…. but when we got close to it, it was clear that there was a green film along a few foot of the edge of the loch.

It looked very much like green blue algae… see the pictures from Google above… I didn’t get a photo of it today, and there were no signs up, but we decided it would be better to try somewhere else.

I knew I’d been at and enjoyed a swim at Lochan Spling about 20 minutes east of where we were, so we got back in the car and headed there.

A lovely small loch (Lochan)… with a good path and forest trails around it. I’d been before so I knew a good part to park, enter and exit.

It’s so peaceful and quiet there. Once we parked we went down and had a look. The water was clear of algae, and it looked good to swim in. So not long after I was in.

I swam there in June – as my first solo open water swim after my dip in Loch Ness, and I swam all the way around it and across it a few times in about 45 minutes.

Today I took my most recent gadget (or friend?!) turtle the bath thermometer… to see what temperature the water was. It cost £8 and I’ll tie it / him to my tow float so I can see what the water temperature is.

At the side of the loch it said it was 17’C, but when I was in swimming it said around 16.4’C. A lot warmer than the sea and warm enough once you got going.

Before I got in to swim, I tied my orange dry bag to a tree so I could clearly see where to get out. The entry is a bit muddy / spongy, and I got in with my flip flops on, then threw them on shore.

Then I realised I didn’t have my neoprene socks on (which would keep my feet a bit warmer), but I’ve got used to swimming in bare feet so it was ok.

I warmed up with 2x250m swimming west to the end of the loch, then back. Then swam about 750m to the other end and back to where I’d started again.

By that point Lesley was getting ready to come in, and swam across and I waited for a bit, but went for another wee swim (to warm up) to the west side again and back, and by the time I got back she’d been in and across and back and out (in her swimming costume 🥶).

Good on her for doing that. Maybe her hat kept her warm?!

After that I swam to the east end of the loch and back… and across a few times – finishing having done around 2,500m I’m just under an hour.

By that point my feet were feeling a bit cold, and I’ll make sure I wear my socks (or fins) next time … I found a good spongy but to get out at… and then dried off, warmed up, had my coffee and packed lunch, and a protein shake.

It was a good wee morning out. And we stopped on the way back at the wee drive through coffee place where Lesley bought me a coffee and a square sausage roll. Yum. Any calories I’d burned off swimming were likely well replaced by all of that.

The loch was a lot darker than the other lochs I’ve swum in and it seems pretty deep in the middle. Near the edges you need to be careful of plants, lilies and reeds… but other than that it’s a great wee place to swim.

Afterwards I came back for a shower and Fit Girl and I went out for a walk, and a light lunch, before we were treated to a rainbow show in a wee rain light shower in Queens Park.

I’m glad we chose the safer option and changed plan when we saw the green film at the edge of the Lake of Menteith. It could have been nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s easy to change plans if you need to.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Officially a ‘bot’ for life

You might have seen on my post about the Brighton 10k and marathon a few weeks ago, I went away with a lovely group of runners from Ellon …

They call themselves ‘bots’ and all have special nicknames given to them.

I received a warm and open welcome from them from the moment I met them. I only really knew Jen and Glynis from running and from my blog many years ago. But the others welcomed me in the weekend we were away. It was great to be included.

Here’s Jen running her marathon…and about her 1,350th streak run… yes she’s still going.

I also met the lovely Fi, Steff, Wendy and Karen. There were discussions all weekend of what my bot name would be – they’d usually shortened to initials…

And yesterday I got this – my official bot tshirt…. With my nickname on there WB. Sort of linked to my name, if you ask me what it means I might tell you. Lol.

What a lovely surprise. And my first ‘running club’ too. They’re ace. Botforlife

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Loch Morlich 3,000m Swim Event

On Saturday I did my second open water swim event, up at Loch Morlich near Aviemore. The third and last in the Go Swim series this year, I entered this last minute after enjoying the event at Loch Lomond so much at the end of August.

With this event being three weeks after, I was well trained up for it, and I wanted another go at what I expected would be another well organised and fun event. And it was.

My training leading up to it was 2-3 swims a week including 1 mile time trials, and an open water swim of 3,000m in Knockburn Loch. During my swims I played abut with practicing and varying my breathing, away from the usual breathing every three, abs being more flexible with breathing every 4 or a pattern of 3/4/3/4.

All of that seemed to help on the day in Loch Morlich as I was able to be less structured with my breathing and breathe based on the waves, the current and the sun. To be honest my breathing was all over the place (in a good way – controlled, but varying) on the day, but it and I was nice and relaxed throughout.

The 3,000m event started at 945am and registration was from 845am. We had an early breakfast in our hotel, berries, yoghurt, coffee and a couple of bits of cinnamon french toast with maple syrup. I probably didn’t need the cinnamon french toast, but it was very tasty.

After breakfast I got ready and into the bottom half of my wetsuit before we drove the 20-30 minutes to Loch Morlich. It’s a lovely part of Scotland. It has a great Sandy beach too… so I knew the entry and exit would be fine. I imagine the place possibly gets a bit busy on nice days, but I’d be tempted to come back, or to some other lochs nearby, one day.

We got there about 9am, and I registered. My number was 190. There were less competitors here than at Loch Lomond, maybe a third as many (Loch Lomond had two 3,000m starts with 80-90 people, Loch Morlich has 62).

You might remember I surprised myself with a fast than expected time at Loch Lomond, and also surprised myself with coming 3rd female veteran… (the pluses of getting older in lockdown – I’m 41 now). With an even smaller field and more confidence now I had my first event under my belt, I wasn’t sure how Loch Morlich would go, but I felt good about it anyway.

That was until there was a bit of a scramble for me before the start. We got there in plenty time, but I didn’t want to get ready too soon… I was ready by about 930, but then realised I needed a pee… so I found a portaloo, but the minutes ahead of 945 were ticking away. And I probably should have been over at the start line!

I’d been hanging around at the changing rooms a bit long, and ended up speaking with Sean who was selling bobble hats… he seems to have infected the Highlands with lots of people wearing bobble hats.

I forgot to take a caffeine gel that I was going to take (not that it mattered much)… but then I headed over to the start with a fe minutes to spare. I popped in the water to get my body and wetsuit wet and used to the cold, but it could have been done better by me!

Anyway, I got to the start fine, and at exactly 945 I hadn’t number written on my hand, and I had scooted up to the front where I was part of the second group of six swimmers going in the water. I think I like to just get it started and over with rathe than hanging around.

The course was a bit different than Loch Lomond, smaller loops of around 750m, which we had to go clockwise around, four times. I thought it wouldn’t be as easy as Loch Lomond, but it was maybe easier to sight and keep on track over the shorter distance. (It was only after my swim was tracked in Garmin that I realised the route map above wasn’t to scale – and we only swam in a wee bit of the loch 😂).

I got into my flow quickly. It was cold, but I told myself to relax and let my swimming take over. I’m as swimming with the same group for a while I think, and I ended up coming out of the water just behind someone I’d started with I think.

About 500m in I noticed that my goggles were steaming up, so not long after I took an opportunity to clear them, and from then on in they were fine. The sun was out and low again, but the glare didn’t seem as bad as Loch Lomond – my mirrored goggles probably helped.

My watch does splits every 250m in open water and I could see that most 250sAdd were ticking off in under 5 minutes which was good. I think there were only 2 which went to 5 or above… 2 less than in Loch Lomond.

As I was swimming I was conscious that it felt I was going a bit wider than other swimmers, so as the swim went on I tried to focus on getting myself in a straight line towards the bouys.

As I was starting the third lap, I noticed a couple of swimmers in pink or red hats (ours were blue)… these were likely the 10,000m swimmers. I nearly kept swimming with them, until I realised they have a longer course, and go straight on, where we turn right at the top.

Around 1,500 – 2,000m in I was starting to feel a little tired… imagining if I just did three laps, but knowing I would do 4. then when my watch ticked off at 2,500m I knew I had just 500m or less to go and I decided to get my head down, focus on aiming for the shore and breathing every 4 where I could.

At the bottom corner where I started lap 4, I noticed what looked like crowds of swimmers, instead of blue or red caps, most of them had green caps, so we had been swamped with the start of the 1,500m swimmers. I was careful to swim on route to the bouy and try to steer clear of any other swimmers, although I’m sure I touched a few at points.

It was quite hard to see the finish line, with the sun in your face,,but I managed to get there ok. I followed some splashes of other swimmers, and seemed to be heading int be right direction. I’d scoped out the finish before we started, and I remembered from last time, so I knew I needed to aim for the big yellow inflatables.

I’ll get the videos uploaded soon

As I was swimming in, I got what felt like a shove from another swimmer. I may have crossed his path, or who knows that… but it seems he was a 1,500m swimmer and I ended up out of his way and behind him as we both swam in.

I swam as far as I thought to come in, then stood up (maybe a wee bit too soon) and ran as much as I could to the finish line on the beach. As I’d stood up a bit soon, my legs fought to get through the knee high water, but it was maybe a fraction faster than swimming further. Maybe one for practicing ahead of any other swim events.

I ran across the finish mats, and stopped my watch. It looked like my watch tracked 2,850m… so about 100m shorter than Loch Lomond. I’d worked pretty hard in the last 500-750m of the swim, so I was a bit gubbed at the end, but I got my medal at the end and felt great once I’d recovered. (The photo shows me knackered and not so pretty!)

A bit of analysis after it and I realised I swam this a bit faster than Loch Lomond… 55:08 on my watch, 55:06 as my chip time card 58:17 at Loch Lomond. Some of that would be the 100m less travelled, but it seems with one event under my belt I felt more confident and able to go a wee but faster and more consistently at Loch Morlich.

Here are my splits at Loch Morlich:

And here are my splits from Loch Lomond 3 weeks before:

After I finished, I met Fit Girl who had my bag and flip flops. I dried myself off a bit and got my flip flops on. The sand at Loch Morlich is nicer to walk on than pebbles – but it gets EVERYWHERE.

After a few pics, I went and got changed in the changing tent. This one was a lot smaller than the one at the Loch Lomond event, but I guess they were catering for less people. The base of the tent was sand, so it was a bit challenging to take your wetsuit off, but I put a towel down and it seemed to work ok. I think I’d recent benches in there for future verbs if possible.

My heart rate didn’t measure true on my watch which is a bit annoying, perhaps my watch wasn’t tight enough on, but I know I was working hard enough. My feet had been pretty cold towards the end and they took a bit of time to heat up.

Once I’d had a coffee, some soup and a tasty to refuel… I felt great. And once again, I don’t seem to have any doms or sore bits (like I would after a run event). Another reason why I think swimming is my thing!

After the race I had a quick chat with the race organiser Richard. I congratulated him on and thanked him for the two well run events I’d been at. He knew I’d packed 3rd female vet at Loch Lomond, and he’s sending my trophy out once things have settled down.

And it seems that I placed again here – unofficially 3rd female veteran again. 6th female and 12th overall. How cool is that?

Now I’m trying not to let my mind get away with me to think maybe I could do the 5,000m event next year… sort of the half marathon equivalent of running, I would be swimming for around 1:30-1:45 I’d think. We will see.

I’m actually wishing I’d done the Loch Tay event as well this year, for a full three… but maybe I’ll do that 3,000m one next year and see how my training goes for what I’ll do in the other two (if I choose to do them). I’ll see how I get on with my swim training in the Winter.

As expected, I really enjoyed this event, and I’ll hopefully be back for some more in future years. I might need to make some more room for some more medals I think.

Once again it was a great event, with swim distances catering for lots of different levels – 250m, 750m, 1,500m, 3,000m, 5km and 10km.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brighton 10km with the bots!

Well, it seems I still have it, and there’s life in me yet… last weekend I had a great time running the Brighton 10k…

I travelled down and spent the weekend the lovely and warmly welcoming ‘bots’ from Ellon, and as an honorary Ellon ‘bot’ for the weekend, I’ve now been initiated into their ‘club’ shall we call it and I gave own nickname and everything.

When you get invited in to be a bot, they give you a nickname and a code name, and I ended up with ‘W-bo’t They wanted to call me ‘sausage-bot’ which I declined (ha!)… but then they said I could be ‘LPT-bot’… then Fi bot kept trying to go back to ‘sausage bot’ – and I said I’d take anything but sausage bot…. and I’ve somehow ended up with ‘Wiener-bot’… or as I might prefer ‘Weegie-bot’… or even ‘Wicker-bot’. (Apparently I can’t get Weegie-bot as I’m not a real weegie. 😂)

Anyway, back to the event. I got on my first flight in a couple of years on Saturday, down to Heathrow, then we got a taxi van though to Brighton and picked up our numbers before race registration closed ok the Saturday.

From start to finish and the communications and app, the event was well organised and world class as far as I could tell (apart from the extra 500 or so metres on the marathon course. Oops).

As I’ve mentioned before, I entered the Brighton Marathon in May 2020, just as lockdown had taken hold, abs before we knew how long we’d be locked down for. And also 4 months before my hamstring injury would knock my running off for about a year.

The event for September 2020 was put off until this year, 12 September 2021, and I hoped it would give me time to fix myself abs I’d be able to be fit for training for and doing the marathon, but by June I knew I wouldn’t be. So I chose the sensible option to drop down to the 10k, and see if I might be ready for it.

I had my flights and hotel booked – so whatever happened I was coming down for a fun weekend getting to know the bots some more. The bots run in purple and blue, so I wore the colours, and added my go faster orange mizuno shoes, and my Scotland flag that I first wore in Chicago nearly exactly 10 years ago for the half marathon there.

I thought, why not, it might get me some cheers, and you might as well try to stand out in the crowd and do something different for a big event.

Up to the morning of the race, I felt oddly relaxed and not nervous – I didn’t have the challenging prospect of the marathon ahead of me, and I knew I’d be good for the 10k. I had no set goal, as I haven’t really been running all that much, apart from getting 4-6 miles in a couple of times a week for the last wee while since my injury miraculously went away in about early August.

If anything, with my injury and lockdown / no events, I feel very fortunate to be running at all, never mind a mass scale event. Just like the swim event I did 2 weeks ago and the swim I’ll do in Loch Morlich in less than a week, it’s great to be able to compete, have fun and get a medal… 3 in 4 weeks it’ll be hopefully!

When I registered for my number I was asked what time I’d do it in. Genuinely unsure, I said, maybe 52? You get your number, then drop your kit bag in as above, the day before race day. Then it’s rest for you at the end bot worked well.

With me just being happy I can run again, I didn’t set a time goal, but I thought I could do it in 55, but perhaps the event on the day would carry me home faster. My main aim was to enjoy it and not kill myself, and I managed that fine.

I knew it would likely be hot, so I was careful not to overdress, and I had a bum bag type thing for my phone and room key. It was a little annoying to start off with, but it soon settled down. I had a gu caffeine gel, which I took about half an hour before, and I’d had a coffee and (don’t judge me!) a small mars bar finger for the 95 calories and sugar boost, before I left the hotel.

I met Wendy (WP-bot) and Steff (Jeff-bot) and we walked the mile to the start. They started the 10k a bit later than me, and Jen (J-Bolt bit), Glynis (G bot), fiona (Fi bot) and Karen (Stickers bot) we’re starting the marathon a bit later.

I was given a red number in the C corral, and at the start I ended up just going more or less to the front if the start, albeit to the side to get out of any faster runners ways.

The start was organised really well in Preston Park – very well spaced out for the most part, then filtered with string and barriers to help spread people out.

Brighton on a whole didn’t seem to be don’t mask wearing though – which was a bit odd abs unsettling… but hopefully being double vaccinated and me wearing my mask when I wanted to helped protect me from any virus.

A couple of guys spoke to me at the start, joking that they wondered where I was from. And I had a joke with some ‘vegan runners’ about being from glasgow and chasing them. Then after that, the crowds didn’t seem to react too wildly to my Scottish flag / cape as I ran. Maybe 10-12 shout outs as I ran – ‘go Scotland’ … and the odd Scottish (and English) accent shouting out, cheering me on.

The best one was a young kid, about 9, cane right out of his way on the boardwalk afterwards as I was cooling down. He bounded over to me and said very energetically ‘I saw you on the course and you looked GREAT’. Then not long after a Scottish guy congratulated me in his strongest Scottish accent he could muster. We both laughed and I felt I’d made a wee bitty of a mark.

Anyway, back to the run. I decided that I would just go out and run it and enjoy myself. Keep abs eye on my heart rate, keep it below around 165 ish and see what happened. No pressure, not time goal, just run and see what the outcome would be.

The race started at 830 dead on, and before I knew it I noticed we seemed to be running on a gradual downhill or flat for quite a bit of the way. I took it all in and tried not to get carried along / away by all the male club runners around me, and before long I was settled into a nice pace.

Unfortunately my Garmin heart rate wasn’t coming though right, and it was telling me my heart rate was 130-140… when I knew it was probably 20 beats higher than that. So I had to ignore that and run by feel. It felt like it was around 155-165… so I stuck with it.

At around 2.5 miles in there was a short steep uphill, and I was chatting with a guy who was full of beans until the start of the hill, when I told him I wouldn’t talking up the hill, and let him bound on.

What goes up must come down, and we were back on the downhill again before I knew it. My miles were ticking off at under 8 minute mile pace, so I was good with that. I haven’t run that fast in I don’t know how long, and it was nice to be doing it in such nice conditions, at an event.

The weather wasn’t too warm, but it was getting there, and I had a feeling that it would be warm along the front. It was shaded under trees and buildings up to shut mile 4, and then as I thought, when you got into the front; the sun blasted the runners… first from the back, and then in your faces as you ran along the last mile and a quarter home.

I spoke to a few people on the course.. at one point around the 4.5 mile point I felt a runner just behind / alongside me… out of the corner of my eye I saw she had a red club vest on. We were ticking along really well together and I realised she was probably helping me to keep pace.

I asked her her name, and she said Jen. She looked like she was in her early 50s maybe (?) and we stuck together for a bit, before I said to her I might see her at the end and let her run on. I know my pace and heart rate by feel, and I knew I was probably going a wee bit too fast.

The last mile was hot, and I had mostly men around me. I asked one guy who seemed to be struggling (but keeping pace with me), his name. He was called Dan. I encouraged him along and with about a mile to go I said we could try to finish together.

A bit further along he asked me if I was going to do a spring finish… and I said I’d been sprinting the whole way. Lol.

With about 5 minutes to go I felt good, and knew I could probably hold on, even in the heat. Perhaps my flag cape was helping me too. Along the finish straight, I think I left Dan behind, and joked with 3 other men that they couldn’t be over taken by a woman, abs tried to get them to overtake me… but they weren’t up for it 😂…

I stopped my watch at 6.2 miles, a little bit before the chop finish line… and tried to do my best to smile / not to grimace for the cameras.

My watch said 47:20, and I was well pleased with that. At that time I had no real idea what my heart rate had been, but I know I pushed it to the max, and the downhills probably helped me go fast.

With my many watches (Garmin forerunner 645 for running, Apple Watch under a sweat band in my right arm) – it turns out my average HR was 161, and my max just as I finished was 180 – probably the max it should go.

The finish was very well organised. Filtering through, drinking water, picking up a banana, and getting my kit bag that is dropped in the day before. Better than doing it on the morning of the race. A change due to covid, but it would be good if that type of change is kept.

Fit Girl sent me a screenshot of my gun tune, 47:44, and it turns out my chip fine was 47:43. I was 47th female across the line (out if 1,200), and I was 6th in my 40-44 age group.

Looking back, it seems like this was my 4th fastest 10k, and my fastest since the women’s 10k in 2018 (47:10). With my pb of 44:14 well in the distant past (2011!). Running fast is hard, and I think that’ll be me for a while lol.
At the end as I got out onto the beachfront, a nice man called Dennis started taking the me saying I was ahead of him, and it looked like I had a great run. I took the opportunity to stretch my legs and we walked right along he boardwalk, until I knew i needed to get back to meet Wendy and Steff. He was saying his wife was recently injured from a half marathon they’d both done.

We got a selfie together, then I walked back to refill my bottle, rehydrate and eat my banana. Then I FaceTimed my dad and step mum and changed into some dryer tops.

I got Wendy and Steff after they finished we waited to see the marathon runners on the course. We saw Glynis at about 12 miles in abs she was looking very strong and happy.

Then hunger took over and we ended up getting over to the other side of the road though an illusive underpass before we had a good portion of fish and chips.

On a very hot day they did well, but there were some casualties. And as we stood about 0.3 miles from the finish, and about 26.5 miles into the course… I saw many many runners and reasons NOT to ever do a marathon again. We’ll see. Maybe one final one, one day.

At the end we helped Jen, Glynis, Fiona and Karen after their marathons. They did so well and I hope their bodies aren’t too sore for too long. They train well (Jen and Fi just did Glenmore 24 / 100 miles in 24 hours last weekend!)… and Glynis is on around 1352 days of a streak.

Fiona, Glynis and Jen went into the sea after And knowing how limbs don’t tend to work too well after marathons I went down to help them. I didn’t mean to get my feet / shoes in, but it was inevitable.

My soggy shoes and socks eventually dried out in front of a fan in my room when we were out for dinner.

Steak eggs and chips and a pudding I probably didn’t need, but it was tasty. I didn’t have great sleeps when I was away as the room was a bit hot, but I’ll have a relaxing Monday travelling back up, and then a good couple of weeks of leave to get me back and recovered.

All in all a great weekend, full of fun, laughter and back to near normality. I didn’t have an actual ice cream, but I did have ice cream with my apple crumble and custard dessert. It seemed like most of the ice cream stands were mr whippy types, so I’ll hold on for some real gelato at some point soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ready for the Brighton 10k!

It’s been about 21 months in the waiting this event… but finally tonight I put my first flat lay for what feels like years, out… here it is…

Mostly in ‘bot’ colours apart from my trainers …including my Scotland flag / cape. lol.

I got my number earlier and I’m in the red coral, group C… so I need to be there for 8am. I’m not sure when the race starts but I’m sure I’ll be ready.

I have all my gear, although I don’t think I’ll wear my purple arms… I’ll swap them out for my sunglasses as it’s due to be sunny (and warm enough too).

The flight down was fine, masked up, well managed boarding and disembarking… although there seems to be less mask wearing around here… I must remember mine tomorrow, just incase.

I got a couple of energy gels at the expo today, I’ll use one, the cold brew one with the highest amount of caffeine in it, probably around 8am, or half an hour before the 10k is due to start. I probably don’t need it, but I might as well. It’ll do me no harm and give me some calories and caffeine.

I was looking back, and my last event was the Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon, just as lock down started, in March 2020. And my last 10k race was in January 2020 – the Nigel Barge 10k… where I beasted it and finished just under 50 minutes.

I doubt I have anywhere near that on the bag for tomorrow, given my hamstring injury which has recently cleared up, and my relatively low level of run training of two runs a week. I’ll see how it goes, settle into it abs watch my heart rate / keep it around 165 hopefully – and see what the outcome is.

Earlier on we went down to collect our numbers, and we dropped our kit bags off, so they’ll be ready for collection after the run. It’s been done a bit differently due to covid etc, but it seemed to work quite well. I imagine it’ll be easy to find / get your kit bag after the run tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

We all went out for dinner tonight – pizza for me… four of us (on the left) are doing the marathon and the other three of us are doing the 10k. It’ll be good to cheer everyone on and celebrate anyway.

When we were walking back from picking up our numbers Jen pointed out this – a sun-bow / halo. I had thought about bringing and elephant to drop in memory of my Granny, but I think I’ll do it next weekend (around my swim at Loch Morlich) instead.

Good luck to all the runners tomorrow. I look forward to seeing how everyone does.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment